A Blueprint against Burn Out

January 10, 2017

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He Who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)

There are times when God’s people are so weak we don’t know how to pray. In effect, Paul teaches that when we are burned out and we don’t know what to ask God, we should pray anyway. The Spirit of God knows the mind and will of God. When we are so weak we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit will make intercession for us according to the will of God. Then, even if we ask for the wrong things, our loving Heavenly Father will give us the right things.

Imagine the stress Moses endured all those years in wilderness wanderings. With more than 600,000 fighting men, plus women and children, meant that Moses led somewhere between two and three million people around in circles in the desert. He was the only legal judge to settle all their squabbles. His frustration reached the level of exasperation. He was so burned out, he actually asked God to kill him. (Numbers 11:11-15)

When Moses asked God to kill him, he was so weak and tired of he did not know what to pray. He prayed anyway. Even though he asked for the wrong things, God knew his heart and gave him the right things. God made Moses know that His work requires a team effort. Serving God is a team sport.

The marketplace can burn you out big time if you have not learned that running a business is a team sport. Other players on your team have gifts and skill sets that you do not have and you have what they do not have. Therefore, it is a good blueprint against burnout to accept the reality of beauty in diversity. Diversity should be celebrated rather than resolved.

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples (p. 144-146)


Walking by Faith

August 30, 2016

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? (Proverbs 20:24, NIV)

When God spoke through the prophet Isaiah God told us there is as much difference between the way God thinks and does things and the way we think and do things as the heavens are high above the earth.  Building on that revelation the wisest man who ever lived proposed a logical question: if God is directing the steps of a person how can that person always expect to understand the way they are going?

As a God-passionate person, doing your best to follow the guidance of the Lord, have you ever found yourself completely baffled and blown away by inexplicable happenings like the sudden death of a loved one, or other tragedies?  When we put the two Scriptures quoted above side by side we should expect there to be times when we simply do not understand what God is up to.

Moses explained what he called the “secret things” belong to the Lord but the things God wants us to do God makes very clear (Deuteronomy 29:29).  That means there are secret things God is keeping secret.  If God is keeping those things secret nobody can explain them.

All these verses considered together are telling us that while we walk with God we should not expect to understand everything.  We walk by faith.

Dick Woodward, 19 October 2010


Look and Live

February 26, 2016

“… Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:9)

When the children of Israel complained and griped about Moses, God showed how He felt about the gripers.  He sent snakes to bite them.  (Some pastors may wish they could do the same.) Then God in His mercy directed Moses to erect a pole at the center of the camp with a bronze serpent on top of it.  The good news was proclaimed: if any of the snake-bitten gripers would get to the center of the camp and look at the bronze serpent they would be healed of their snakebites.

Some of them said that defied all the laws of medical science and they died of their snakebites.  Others said it didn’t make sense but it was the only hope they had.  With help they somehow got to the center of the camp and looked at the bronze serpent on the pole.  When they looked, they were healed and lived!

This story takes on much greater meaning when Jesus makes His most dogmatic declaration: He is God’s only Son, God’s only Solution and God’s only Savior (John 3:1-21).  As He told a Rabbi named Nicodemus about Moses lifting that serpent in the wilderness, it is a picture of something in the future.  If we will look to Jesus on His cross with faith we will be healed of our sin problem.

Jesus made it simple.  Just look and live.  When you want to solve problems that demand a supernatural solution, look and live.  Have you ever done that?  Why not do it now?

Dick Woodward, 10 December 2013


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. 


The 4 R’s of Parenting

January 7, 2014

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  (Deuteronomy 6: 6, 7 NKJV)

Have you discovered that parenting is emphasized in the Bible?  The Bible mentions mothers more than 300 times.  Since God assigns the spiritual nurture of children primarily to fathers, the Bible mentions fathers more than 1,400 times.  Children are mentioned just under 6,000 times, which shows how important they are to God.

This teaching method of Moses in Deuteronomy rests on four foundations. The first one is responsibility.  Moses gives the responsibility for the education of children to parents.  There are 8,760 hours in a year.  Since children receive about thirty minutes of instruction in the average Sunday school class, if that is their only source of spiritual education, they are only spending .02% (one-fifth of one percent) of their time being spiritually nurtured.  If you send them to a Christian School they still spend 87.3% of their time with you.  Can you see why Moses gave this responsibility to parents?

The second foundation is revelation.  We are to teach the revealed Word of God to our children.  The third foundation is relationship.  You cannot apply this teaching method without having a relationship with your children.  The fourth foundation is reality. These words must dwell in your heart and life before you teach them to your children.  Your children will remember your example far more than your teaching.

Is your parenting built squarely on these four solid foundations?


Revelation or Medical Scoop?

December 14, 2013

“Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died… that person shall be cut off from Israel.”  (Numbers 19:13)

In 1970 a medical doctor named S. I. McMillen wrote a book entitled None of These Diseases.  In his book Dr. McMillen highlighted practices Moses mandated like quarantines and sterilization of medical instruments.  As quoted above, if a person had contact with a dead body (and in other verses someone who was sick), they were considered unclean for seven days and quarantined from the rest of the population.

Dr. McMillen referenced the discovery of a low percentage of ovarian cancer at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City, which research traced to the fact that Jewish husbands were circumcised as mandated by Moses.  This led to the common practice of circumcising male babies.  At the end of each chapter this doctor raises the question: did Moses scoop medical science by thousands of years, or did he have a revelation from God as he claimed?

This should convince us that the Bible is in fact the Word of God.  And it should inspire us to follow the wise counsels of the Bible ourselves and then share them with others.  As a young pastor I was mentored by Dr. Henry Brandt, a Christian clinical psychologist. He encouraged me to use the wise counsels in the Bible as I helped those in my congregation who had many problems.

As I did I found the Bible to be filled with counseling for the problems people had with worry, stress, personal peace, prayer, guidance, love, marriage, the dynamic to cope and other issues. The best marriage counseling in the world is in the Bible.

Do you believe you can trust the counseling you find in the Bible?


Look and Live

December 10, 2013

“… Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:9)

When the children of Israel complained and griped about Moses God showed how He felt about the gripers.  He sent snakes to bite them.  (Some pastors may wish they could do the same.) Then God in His mercy directed Moses to erect a pole at the center of the camp with a bronze serpent on top of it.  The good news was proclaimed: If any of the snake-bitten gripers would get to the center of the camp and look at the bronze serpent they would be healed of their snakebites.

Some of them said that defied all the laws of medical science and they died of their snakebites.  Others said it didn’t make sense but it was the only hope they had.  With help they somehow got to the center of the camp and looked at the bronze serpent on the pole.  When they looked, they were healed and lived!

This story takes on much greater meaning when Jesus makes His most dogmatic declaration: He is God’s only Son, God’s only Solution and God’s only Savior (John 3: 1-21).  As He told a Rabbi named Nicodemus about Moses lifting that serpent in the wilderness, it is a picture of something in the future.  If we will look to Jesus on His cross with faith we will be healed of our sin problem.

Jesus made it simple.  Just look and live.  When you want to solve problems that demand a supernatural solution, look and live.  Have you ever done that?  Why not do it now?