Ability and Availability

September 19, 2017

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

A myth often believed today 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 God uses many ordinary people to do extraordinary things because they are available.

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

In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, we find the miracle of the “Feeding of the Five Thousand.” As Jesus fed this great multitude, He passed the fragments of bread and fish through the hands of His disciples to all the hungry people.

Where did Jesus get the bread and fish? Simon Peter’s brother, Andrew, discovered a little boy who was willing to give up his lunch, something like five little biscuits and two sardines. “What are they among so many?” In the hands of Jesus, enough.

When God is in something, little is much when placed in the hands of Jesus.

I challenge you with the 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 and 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.

Dick Woodward, (MBC Report, Fall 1993)


A Prescription for Burnout

January 30, 2015

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.  And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11)

Jesus goes to a wedding and when they run out of wine, He creates more wine. In addition to the record of a miracle, this story is a formula for regeneration and a prescription for renewal.  There is tired and there is tired of.  Disciples of Jesus not only get tired – they get tired of.  We call this “burnout.”

I’m convinced this first miracle presents a prescription for burnout.  If you are experiencing the need of renewal consider this prescription.  Mary tells Jesus they have no wine.  Since wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible let this represent your confession that you need renewal because you are tired of, dry, and burned out.

Then block out some time to fill your human vessel with the Word of God as symbolized by the vessels being filled with water.  While you are filling up on the Word of God do whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do.  Then realize that your renewal is not just to give you an experience, it is for the benefit of those God wants to touch and bless using you as His channel.

Let these four principles we learn from this miracle that first brought glory to Jesus and faith to His disciples bring renewal to you as you serve Jesus.  Our Lord often invited His apostles to come apart and rest awhile.  If you don’t come apart to rest at times and take this prescription of Jesus for your burnout – you will come apart.

Let Jesus turn your water into wine. 

Dick Woodward, 16 November 2011


A Prescription for Renewal

November 16, 2011

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.  And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2: 11)

Jesus goes to a wedding and when they run out of wine, He creates more wine. In addition to the record of a miracle, this story is a formula for regeneration and a prescription for renewal.  There is tired and there is tired of.  Disciples of Jesus not only get tired – they get tired of.  We call this “burnout.”

I’m convinced this first miracle presents a prescription for burnout.  If you are experiencing the need of renewal consider this prescription.  When Mary tells Jesus they have no wine, since wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible let this represent your confession that you need renewal because you are tired of, dry, and burned out.

Then block out some time to fill your human vessel with the Word of God as symbolized by the vessels being filled with water.  While you are filling up on the Word of God do whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do.  Then realize that your renewal is not just to give you an experience, it is for the benefit of those God wants to touch and bless using you as His channel.

Let these four principles you can learn from this miracle that first brought glory to Jesus and faith to His disciples bring renewal to you as you serve Jesus.  Our Lord often invited His apostles to come apart and rest awhile.  If you don’t come apart at times and take this prescription of Jesus for your burnout – you will come apart.  Let Jesus turn your water into wine.  That will bring glory to Jesus and make a restored believer out of you!