The Christmas That Shall Be (Part II)

December 23, 2015

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27:13)

The Old Testament people of God lived their lives believing it was possible to ‘see the Good.’  In Psalm 34 King David challenges hopeless fugitives to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good,’ and the Lord is the Good they have been seeking all their lives.

In the great love chapter of the Bible, the Apostle Paul tells us the three lasting, eternal values in life are faith, hope, and love (I Cor. 13:13).  Love is the greatest of these eternal values because God is Love.  Faith is an eternal value because faith brings us to God.  Hope is also one of the three great eternal values because hope brings us to the faith that brings us to God.  In the heart of every human being, God plants hope – the conviction that something good exists in this life and someday that good is going to intersect our lives.  That is what the author of Hebrews means when he tells us that faith gives substance to the things for which we have been hoping. (Hebrews 11:1)

Every year, approximately 30,000 people commit suicide.  Research by sociologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists tells us they commit suicide because they lose hope.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must realize that we have the Good News that can give hope to the hopeless.  Because we really believe in the Christmas that was, we should share it with the people Jesus came to seek and to save.  (Luke 19:10).  We show that we really believe in the Christmas that shall be when we tell hopeless people that God is going to give us another Christmas.

Like the wise men we should ask the question, “Where is He?,” seek Him until we find Him, worship Him, and give the gift of our lives to Him.  Then, like the shepherds, we should tell everybody the very Good News that Christmas has come and Christmas is coming again to this otherwise hopeless world!

Dick Woodward, A Christmas Prescription


Grand-daughter Discipleship (via email!)

October 28, 2014

At Dick’s Memorial Celebration his grand-daughter shared a moving tribute. Be blessed and challenged today by Morgan’s words & ‘inbox discipleship.’

“Granddaddy was, and still is, my hero. He was so compassionate… He was always there for me – loving me so well, exactly where I was, providing endless affirmation.  When I was 18 and wrestling with my faith, Granddad was there to disciple me. I may have gone to a ‘missionary school,’ but the true discipleship in my life took place in my e-mail inbox.  I would ask the most difficult theological questions you can imagine and he would take the time to answer them in full.  One of my favorite responses he gave is this:

Precious Granddaughter, do not judge too quickly about the context in which you find yourself.  It is easier to move to a consistent and problem-free extreme than to remain at the center of tension on any biblical issue; but the truth is found at the center.  One of the greatest things you will learn in this adventure out there is that God can use you.  That truth is on a need to know basis.  When we place ourselves between the love of Christ and the pain of hurting people, we discover that He loves to turn us into conduits of His love (I John 4:16.)  When that happens we find out where He is and where we want to be for the rest of our lives.  You know my four spiritual secrets.  We learn them best when we are in over our heads and He is using us to do what only He can do.  The miracle is that He does work through us.  Looking back, standing on the finish line, I see clearly that His plan for me was perfect and wonderful!  What He gave me or did not give me shaped me into the person, the unique person He wanted me to be for His glory, not my own. He is doing the same thing in your life, precious granddaughter.

“…And the Lord is doing that for us all.  Let us all pick up the baton today and follow Granddad’s legacy as we lean in to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ – that we may all be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Morgan Perry  (15 March 2014)


The New Commandment

April 5, 2012

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”   (John 13:1)

Jesus was celebrating the Passover with His apostles.  Luke writes that on the way to the upper room where they were to celebrate the Passover with Jesus the apostles argued about which of them would be the greatest in the kingdom Jesus promised.  What a shock it must have been when Jesus assumed the attire of a slave and washed their feet!

Having washed their feet He asked the question “Do you know what I have done to you?” His question is answered in the words quoted above.  The most dynamic characteristic of the personality of Jesus was love.  He had loved these men for three years in ways they had never been loved before in their entire lives.

He also answered His question by telling them that He had given them an example.  If He as their Lord and Teacher had washed their feet they should wash each other’s feet.  Then He made the connection between feet washing and love by giving them the New Commandment.  They were to love one another in the same ways He had loved them.  This would be the absolute credential that they were His disciples.

A New Commandment directed them to a New Commitment.  Each of them had made a commitment to Jesus but now they were to make a commitment to each other.  This new commitment established a New Community.  We call it the church.  The secular people said of the early church, “Behold how they love one another!”  If they made that charge today about your church or mine would there be enough evidence to convict us?

Oh Lord make it so!