A Key to Spiritual Greatness

March 31, 2017

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”  (John 3:30)

Who was the greatest prophet who ever lived? According to Jesus the answer is John the Baptist (Luke 7:28; Matthew 11:11). After studying the Scriptures for six decades, I find that answer intriguing because there’s very little space in the Bible recording John the Baptist’s life and ministry.

As I meditate on the Scriptures that describe him, I have come to a conclusion that at least one key to John the Baptist’s greatness was that he accepted the limits of his limitations and the responsibility for his ability.

“…Jesus must increase, and I must decrease…”

As we attempt to discover who we are and what God wants to do through our lives, it is a good rule of thumb to accept the limits of our limitations and the responsibility for our abilities. When a degenerative disease of the spinal cord took away my physical abilities, it was critical for me to accept my increasing limitations and yet continue to be responsible for my abilities.

After two years of illness when acceptance came, it was so profound I decided it was a form of inner healing. Using speech recognition software on my computer I received God’s grace to write about ten thousand pages of the Mini Bible College. These 782 studies of the Bible have been translated into 28 languages* and are used in sixty countries.

It fills me with grateful worship to realize that the formula for greatness I learned from John the Baptist has guided me to the most important work I have done for the Kingdom.

Are you willing to accept the limits of your limitations and the responsibility for your abilities?

Dick Woodward, 16 October 2012

*Editor’s Note: At last check with International Cooperating Ministries, the Mini Bible College has now been translated in 41 languages… with nine more (& counting) in translation process!


Waiting on the Lord

February 19, 2016

“They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

We must learn from the eagle how to access the wind of the Holy Spirit the way the eagle trusts the wind currents. We must learn the difference between what we can do and what only God can do.  We must have faith to wait on the Lord until He empowers and enables us to do what He desires.

I have summarized waiting on the Lord in my ‘Four Spiritual Secrets’: I’m not, but He is; I can’t, but He can; I don’t want to, but He want to; and I didn’t, but He did.’  These spiritual secrets affirm that it is not a matter of who we are, but Who God is; it’s not a matter of what we can do, but what He can do; it’s not a matter of what we want, but what He wants.  If these first three secrets are in place, we will know the joy of one day looking back and affirming it was not a matter of what we did, but what God did through us.

When I first began learning these spiritual secrets, I’d say, “I can’t, but He can.” Then, as a mover and shaker, I’d look at my watch, “I’ll give Him five minutes, and if He doesn’t, I will!”  It took 40 years and a bush to teach Moses how to wait on the Lord, and it has taken 40 years for me to learn how to wait on the Lord the way and eagle waits on the wind.

I call the unique experience of Jacob, described in Genesis 32, the “Cripple Crown Blessing.” God had to cripple Jacob before He could crown him with His blessing.  After all, when a man is crippled, what else can he do but wait on the Lord?

I identify with Jacob’s experience because I received from the Lord my greatest anointing after a crippling disease put me in a wheelchair in 1983. My crippling made it possible to do what God had called me to do for 45 years.

In Romans 12, Paul says, “Let him who teaches give all that he has to his teaching.” As a pastor of a large church, I found that hard to implement.  As a consequence of my ‘cripple crown blessing,’ however, I give all to my teaching which is now nurturing believers in 24* languages all around the world.

Waiting on the Lord was not my style until my illness forced me to learn why an eagle sits on the side of its nest and waits until the wind currents are strong enough to soar over the winds of a storm.

Dick Woodward, As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple

Editor’s Note: The MBC has now been translated into 36 languages. Currently over 52,500 small groups are using solar powered audio players to study the Bible in their languages. 


Ability and Availability

December 2, 2014

“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9)

There is a myth many of God’s people believe today.  It goes something like this,”God uses super-duper people to do super-duper things because they are super-duper people.”  The truth is the exact opposite.  Throughout Scriptures we are told that God loves to use very ordinary people to do extraordinary things because they are available.

As a pastor I have often observed that people who are long on ability are very often short on availability, while people who are short on ability are very often long on availability. The exhortation in Scripture comes down to this: whether we are long or short on ability, the important thing is to be long on availability.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, we find the great miracle of Jesus called ‘the Feeding of the Five Thousand.’  Jesus actually fed 5,000 men and their families, which means that He probably fed at least 20,000 people.

An important part of this miracle has to do with where Jesus got the bread and fish that He blessed and multiplied.  Simon Peter’s brother, Andrew, discovered the little boy who was willing to give up his lunch that was probably five little biscuits and two sardines.  “What are they among so many?” It’s a profound question.  The answer is, “in the hands of Jesus they are enough to feed 20,000 hungry people.”

The application is that little is much when God is in it, and little is much when placed in the hands of Jesus. In the early 1980’s God laid it on my heart to put together the Mini-Bible College.  Once in place, He spoke to me through the availability of the little boy’s lunch, so I placed the MBC in His hands…

May I challenge you with the missionary vision of Jesus Christ, and the missionary vision of a little boy who placed what little he had in the hands of Jesus?  Many of us say we would give to the cause of Christ or serve Him if we had much to give or great abilities to serve.  We must see, however, that our stewardship is not based upon what we do not have, but upon what we have.

God is looking for people who can take whatever they have and place it in the hands of Jesus.  The greatest ability is therefore availability.

Dick Woodward, MBC Report (Fall, 1993)

Editor’s Note: By the grace of God, the MBC has been translated in over 31 languages with 10 more in process. As the ministry of ICM has built thousands of churches, thousands upon thousands of people in most every corner of the globe have come into deeper faith through the MBC.  To God be the glory, great things He has done (& is doing!)


MBC Deuteronomy nuggets

April 25, 2014

Although it has been almost 7 weeks since Pastor Dick Woodward went to rest in the Everlasting Arms of God, his words continue to bless many people around the world through the ministry of the Mini Bible College. It’s exciting to learn that the MBC has been translated into 31 languages, with another 9 in production through ICM (International Cooperating Ministries.)  Thousands of small groups meet regularly in remote villages listening to the MBC on solar-activated audio-players – what Dick called “God-pods” – that are small like iPods, but loaded with big spiritual power that transforms lives.  The family has been overwhelmed by international responses like Pastor Samuel from the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) who said, “Rev. Dick Woodward will always be a blessing to our churches and pastors.”  As pastors and laypeople go through the MBC, they feel like he is their pastor.

Many of you reading this blog have gone through the MBC, perhaps some of you may have even attended the classes in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg  and Norfolk over 30 years ago.  If you did not have the chance then, today you’re in for a treat.  Here’s a video of an MBC lesson from Deuteronomy the Blog Posting Elf found on YouTube.  Lots of nuggets in this lesson that begins with one of Papa’s favorites, “God loves you, anyway…”  We still have the signs he spoke of (& yes, we did occasionally tiptoe by the second sign hoping the floor wouldn’t squeak by his door!)

grace, peace & still-applicable nuggets*

    The Blog Posting Elf

*Note: the video was taped over 30 years ago, but the truths therein still apply!

 


Dick Woodward: the MBC & Chuck Colson

April 9, 2014

Walking down the Mini Bible College memory lane (remember the 3-ring spiral notebooks?), here’s a video of an interview Chuck Colson did with Pastor Dick Woodward years ago. The video takes about half an hour to watch.

 

If you would like to access the Memorial Celebration that took place on March 15th, you may click here to view the video of it on the Williamsburg Community Chapel’s website. The family has been so blessed by the amazing responses of so many who attended & many others who have watched it online.  It was truly a celebration of Dick Woodward’s life and the legacy of faith he left with us – to God be all the glory! (The 2 hour service requires a time commitment to watch, but don’t miss a minute. Be blessed!)


If You Continue

April 11, 2013

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’” (John 8: 31 KJV)

One of the most important words in the New Testament is the word “continue.” From the horrible Mamertine prison in Rome Paul dictated his last words to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith.  He fervently exhorted Timothy to continue in the things he had learned.

International Cooperating Ministries has built more than 4,000 churches in 65 countries.  One of the greatest challenges we face is attrition.  This is both in individuals who profess faith in Christ and churches that are started by professing believers.  We have found that churches are 91% more likely to continue and build daughter churches it they get into our four year curriculum of Bible study we call “The Mini Bible College.”

Our Lord was intensely realistic.  He knew all about the hard reality of attrition.  In His Parable of the Sower He taught that nothing happens 75% of the time the Word of God is proclaimed or taught.  That’s why when people professed to believe in Him, His challenge to them was to continue in His Word and be His disciples indeed.

His Great Commission to His disciples was to make disciples (Matthew 28: 18-20).  There were three participles in that commission: going, baptizing and teaching.  But there was only one commanding imperative: to make disciples.

Apply this word “continue” to your own personal commitment to follow Jesus and remember this concept when you share the Gospel with others.  It is critically important that we, and they, not only profess to believe but make the commitment to continue and become disciples indeed of our glorious and victorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.