A CHRISTMAS THAT IS…

December 24, 2019

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

The risen living Christ sends a letter to a Church in Laodicea, as recorded in Chapter Three of the Revelation. The church has been reading that letter for 2000 years. The risen Christ wishes they were hot, but if they are not going to get hot He would rather they be cold. Because they are neither cold, nor hot, but lukewarm – they make Him want to throw up!

The risen Christ then tells them how to have a Christmas that is and can be all day long, every day of the year. It is as if their life is a house and their heart is the door to that house. He is knocking on that door. He is patiently waiting for them to open that door and invite Him into all the meaningful areas of their life.

Verse 19 makes it clear that His knocking is chastisement which He wants to grow into repentance. His inspired metaphor illustrates repentance. It would seem there is no latch on the outside of the door.

The door must be opened from the inside.

Martin Luther wrote a Christmas carol that uses a similar metaphor: “Holy Jesus, precious Child make Thee a bed soft, undefiled, within my heart that it may be a quiet chamber kept for Thee.”

In our church on Christmas Eve children sing: “Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart.  Somewhere deep inside you that’s where Christmas really starts. So give your heart to Jesus. You’ll discover when you do, that it’s Christmas, really Christmas for you!”

 Dick Woodward, 24 December 2010


Redemption: A Personal Christmas

December 20, 2019

“… and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

If there was anyone in the Christmas story who had the right to an explanation of what was happening, it surely was Joseph. The angel who shared these words with Joseph expressed what Christmas is all about when he told Joseph to call the baby Mary was going to have “Jesus” because He would save His people from their sins.

The word “Jesus” actually means “Savior.” But I would like to call your attention to the reality that the baby was to be given this name because He would save His people from their sins.

Many evangelical believers seem to put a spin on this statement of the angel that was never intended. Our spin is something like “forgive His people for their sins.” However, the hard reality is the angel declared that it was the purpose on the heart of God to save His people from their sins.

In the words of Psalm 107’s redemption hymn, when God redeems us from our chaos it is also God’s plan to deliver us from our chains. That is obviously on the heart of God when the angel pronounced this Christmas Good News.

Redemption means “to buy back and bring back that which was lost.” Rehabilitation in its Latin root means “to invest again with dignity.” Jesus came to forgive us for our sins, but He came to offer us much more than that. Jesus wants to save (and deliver) us from our sins.

This year have a personal Christmas – believe the declaration the angel made to Joseph!

Dick Woodward, 24 December 2009


Christmas: The Word Made Flesh

December 17, 2019

 “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is translated, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

The essence of Christmas can be described by the word “incarnation.”  The biblical word ‘carne’ is the Greek word for ‘flesh.” When we consider the Christmas that was, we find ourselves face to face with the incarnation – the miracle that God decided to make human flesh His official residence for 33 years. We date time from the first Christmas because human flesh became God’s address when Christ was born in Bethlehem.

Asked who Jesus is, a little boy answered, “God with skin on.” That’s good theology! One of the names of Jesus is “Emmanuel,” which means God with us.

The Bible also frequently uses the word flesh to mean “human nature, unaided by God.” God knew that our human nature desperately needed supernatural aid. The essence of incarnation demonstrates the reality that we need God to do something for us that we cannot possibly do for ourselves. On that first Christmas Eve God intersected human history with what we might call “The Great Intervention,” that we may experience salvation.

If you carefully read the first chapter of Luke, you will discover that God told a priest what He was going to do and the priest did not believe Him. God responded by shutting the priest’s mouth.  Zacharias had the greatest sermon to preach, but lost the opportunity because unbelief shut his mouth…

“Oh Holy Child of Bethlehem descend to us we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today…” (Phillips Brooks, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”)

Dick Woodward, A Christmas Prescription


A Christmas Greeting: “ALL PEOPLE!!”

December 13, 2019

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”(Luke 2:10)

When the angels appeared to those frightened shepherds, they gave a wonderful Christmas greeting. They announced that they were bringing good tidings of great joy to all people.

These good tidings were not just for Jewish people or for good people.They are to bring great joy to ALL people! That means all kinds of people, and all kinds of people everywhere!

Before He ascended, the last words of Jesus were: “… be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere… to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Some people enjoy their faith as if the last words of Jesus were “Now don’t let it get around!” They live out their faith as if the Gospel is a secret to be kept.

Never forget those two beautiful Christmas words, “All people!”

The spiritual community of those who believe and follow Jesus is not to be a secret organization. It is a community of people who exist for the benefit of their non-members.

Jesus Christ came to bring good news and great joy to people who are not good. The Bible tells us that all of us have gone astray and turned every one of us to his or her own way. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that God laid the penalty for all of our sins on His Son. (Isaiah 53:6)

Two more great Christmas words are “mercy” and “grace.” The mercy of God withholds from us what we deserve and God’s grace lavishes on us all kinds of marvelous things we do not deserve. God’s mercy and grace give us more blessings than we can count if we have the faith to receive them.

Dick Woodward, 23 December 2011


#FAITH: Christmas Negligence

December 10, 2019

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

After the Angel Gabriel visited the priest Zechariah he went to the village of Nazareth to a peasant girl named Mary. When Angel Gabriel told Mary she was going to be the mother of God she responded in several ways. The Scripture states very clearly that she believed and praised God. (Luke 1:45-55)

As we might well imagine, we read that she was so filled with awe the first person to question the virgin birth was the Virgin. Mary showed us that honest inquiry is not the sign of a weak faith. The verse above tells us that she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

When the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles tell us about the Christmas that shall be when Jesus Christ comes back again, they tell us that His coming is the hope of the world and the blessed hope of the church.

Hope is the conviction that something good exists in this world and we are going to experience it. Close to 30,000 people in America take their life every year because they no longer believe in something good. In other words, they end their lives when they lose hope.

Some believers are so awed by the miracle of the Second Coming they ask questions and experience a “paralysis of analysis” which is followed by much pondering in their hearts.

When we realize that we have a message of hope to tell people without hope about the Christmas that shall be, we simply must share that good news. It is Christmas negligence to have this hope and not share it with people who have no hope.

Dick Woodward, 06 December 2011


A Christmas Question: Where is He?

December 6, 2019

“… Behold, wise men …came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He? …” (Matthew 2:2)

In the Old Testament God begins a dialogue with us by asking the question “Where are you?” The New Testament begins with wise men asking the question “Where is He?”

As we read the Old Testament, God will show us where we truly are. By the time we reach the New Testament we are ready for the question of the wise men because by then we know that we need a Savior – and we want to know where our Savior is.

Wise men and women still ask the question, “Where is He?”

The Gospel of Matthew reports that those wise men were directed to a house where they found and worshiped the young Christ Child about two years of age. By application, when we ask that question today, what are the answers we should expect to receive?

In the profound letter of the Apostle John that is found at the end of the New Testament we find these words: “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) These three words “as He is” raise the question: in what forms and in what ways can we expect to find Jesus today?

If you ask the question “Where is He?” today, I suggest that you look where a unique quality of Christ’s Love can be found. Look for where a unique quality of Christ’s Light and Truth can be found. Look where an abundant and rich quality of Life is being experienced.

If you want to know where Jesus is, look where the Light is.

Then become a conduit of that Light.

Dick Woodward, 07 December 2010


Dois Rosser: An Extraordinary Man of Faith

December 2, 2019

“…Well done, good and faithful servant…” Matthew 25:23

On 12 November the world lost a valiant man of faith, but Heaven gained a steadfast soul. As Dois Rosser went to be with Jesus, he joins his precious wife, Shirley, along with his long-time friend and partner in ministry, Pastor Dick Woodward.

Extraordinary is a word that describes Dois Rosser. He humbly called himself “a car salesman.” That’s the ‘ordinary’ part of Dois, although he ran one of the most successful car dealerships in the country and hobnobbed with business luminaries like Lee Iacocca.

The ‘extra’ in extraordinary depicts his incredible devotion to Jesus Christ and His commandment, “Go and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

While leading his booming businesses in the 1960s and 1970s, Dois also served on the Boards of Trans World Radio, Prison Fellowship, Leighton Ford Ministries and was involved with the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism.

Extraordinary is the way Dois offered up his everything for the Kingdom, especially at the age of 65 (when most businessmen contemplate playing golf fulltime) he founded International Cooperating Ministries (ICM) in 1986.

Extraordinary describes his friendship with Dick Woodward that continues to yield miraculous fruit for the Kingdom today. Dick had a vision to make the “whole Word available for the whole world” through the Mini Bible College, an Old and New Testament survey course designed to make Scripture applicable in our daily lives.

Dois was mesmerized with how Dick’s MBC teachings put the Bible “on a shelf of understanding accessible to all.” He made Dick’s vision a reality with strategic efforts undergirded by prayer. After recording the MBC in the early 1980s before Dick’s neurological disease constricted him to a wheelchair, Dois sponsored broadcasts and translations of the MBC.

At Dick’s memorial celebration in 2014, Dois said that God intersected his life with Dick’s and blessed their friendship into a miracle: the ministry of ICM (assisting church growth worldwide) and MBC (nurturing believers with practical discipleship tools.)

To date ICM has constructed 8,700 churches in 93 countries with indigenous ministry partners, while MBC has been translated in 56 languages and shared with millions around the world.

Dois was also an extraordinary conduit of God’s love. He spread the love of Jesus in ways that mattered, often anonymously.

He loved his precious wife, Shirley, for 76 years of marriage before she passed on September 29th. He loved his daughters – Pam, Cindy, and Janice – and their families.

Dois also shared the love of Jesus as a great friend and brother in Christ. Before Dick’s quadriplegia, Dois organized speaking opportunities for him around the country with Prison Fellowship and other organizations. Dois and Shirley and Dick and Ginny enjoyed sweet fellowship on many of those trips.

When doctors said Dick would need a wheelchair, Dois organized a group of friends to build a one-story house especially equipped for Dick’s health challenges. When Dick needed an expensive van for his wheelchair to get around, Dois helped. When Dick became a homebound bedfast quadriplegic, Dois brought countless visitors to Williamsburg to see him there.

When not scheduled to visit, Dois called regularly to check in, “How’s it going, Dick?”

Dois Rosser leaves a legacy of extraordinary love, faithfulness and friendship. He will be missed!

Dick, Dois, and his daughter, Janice Allen (CEO of ICM)

Our hearts, prayers and love are with his daughters – Pam Minter, Cindy Higgins, Janice Allen – and the extended Rosser family at this time along with everyone at ICM.

A Memorial Celebration of Dois Rosser’s life and ministry will be held on Sunday, December 8th at 3:00PM at the Williamsburg Community Chapel (3899 John Tyler Hwy) in Williamsburg, Virginia.