Setting Big & Audacious Goals

January 4, 2019

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)

In this first week of the New Year a friend informed me that he no longer makes New Year’s resolutions. When I asked him why he said, “My willpower is nearly always out of power.”

The Apostle Paul’s favorite Church was the one he planted at Philippi. Having brought scores of people to faith in Christ in that city, he finds himself in prison and unable to have physical contact with them. As their pastor he cannot use his powers of reason and persuasion or his spiritual gifts of wisdom, preaching and teaching. Yet he has unwavering confidence that they will continue in their faith in Jesus Christ.

This confidence is not based on them or on himself. He has his upbeat perspective about them because he knows that the One Who began a miraculous work in them will complete what He started.

The word ‘perspective’ means “to look through to the end.” At the starting gate of a New Year it’s important to have healthy perspective. I’m not thinking about willpower driven resolutions but spiritual goals that only the risen, living Christ can make doable.

I’m talking about what you would like to see Jesus Christ do in your life this year.

This year I have a new challenge for setting goals – to make them big and audacious.  As we set goals for this New Year, be sure to make them big enough to let Christ in. Then watch Christ work because we have set big and audacious goals that only He can accomplish!

Dick Woodward, 04 January 2011


Being Jesus in the New Year

December 27, 2016

“… as He is, so are we in this world.”  (1 John 4:17)

Christmas has a twin holiday that slips into many Christmas cards. Millions include a letter – complete with family pictures – that gives an update on how the year has come and gone.

With lingering economic downturns, what security do we have as we begin the new year?

In nine words the aged Apostle of Love gives us a marvelous perspective on security. There are several ways we can interpret and apply these beautiful words. We can say it is only because Jesus is that we can be as we should be in this world. We can say that our security rests in the proposition that Jesus is and He will equip us to be as He wants us to be in this world.

We can say these words mean Jesus lives in us and through us.  For 33 years Jesus had a physical body of His own.  For over 2000 years His followers have been the only body He has. This presents the challenge that the only Christ the people in this world know is the Christ they see revealed in, and through, you and me.

As you meditate on the memorial portraits of Christ in the New Testament presented by those who knew Him, realize these portraits are precisely the way He wants to be revealed to this world through your life and mine today.

The overwhelming personality trait of Jesus Christ is love.

Love is as He was and as He is today.

Our purpose is not to be secure, but to let the love of Jesus pass to others through our lives.

Dick Woodward, 27 December 2011


New Year’s Eve Question

December 31, 2015

“Where have you come from, and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)

The last days of the year are a good time for reflection and resolution.  Have you ever had a year that was so bad you could not live with the idea of another year of the same?  Are you there now? If you are, you could be ready to hear the question quoted above that God likes to ask people from time to time.

This is the consummate question of direction.  It implies that if we do not have a crisis that changes things, we are going where we have come from.

Sometimes we are the thing that needs to change. Jeremiah actually mocks us for trying to change ourselves: “Why do you gad about so much to change your ways? …  Can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin or the leopard its spots?  Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to doing evil.” (Jeremiah 2:36; 13:23)

There is a big difference between trying to change ourselves and being changed by God.  Unless we are changed by God, or God changes what only He can change, we’re trapped in a cycle of going where we have come from.

With great spiritual discernment David asked God to create in him a new heart and God answered that prayer for him (Psalm 51:10).  God can do that today.  We’re not doomed to that cycle of going where we have come from.  We can be changed and God can change the things that must change so we will not go where we have come from next year.

Confess that you can’t change yourself or your circumstances, but believe God can as you enter the New Year… then watch at God work.

Dick Woodward, 30 December 2011


A New Perspective

January 2, 2015

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)

This is second day of a new year.  A friend informed me that he no longer makes New Year’s resolutions.  When I asked why he said, “My willpower is nearly always out of power.”

The Apostle Paul’s favorite Church was the Church he planted at Philippi.  Having brought scores and scores of people to faith in Christ in that city, he finds himself in prison and unable to have any physical contact with them.  As their pastor he cannot use his powers of reason and persuasion or his spiritual gifts of wisdom, preaching and teaching.  Yet he has an unwavering confidence that they will continue in their faith until Jesus Christ returns.

This confidence is not based on them or on himself.  He believes his positive and upbeat perspective about them because he knows that the One Who began a miraculous work in them will complete what He has started.

The word “perspective” means “to look through to the end.” At the starting gate of a New Year it’s so very important to have healthy perspective.  I’m not thinking about willpower driven resolutions but spiritual goals that only the risen, living Christ can make doable.  I’m talking about what you would like to see Christ do in your life this year.

I have recently learned a new formula for setting goals.  In the context I have established, let the letters BHAG stand for Big, Hilarious, Audacious, Goals.  As you set goals for the New Year make them big enough to let Christ in.  Watch Him work because you have set goals that only He can accomplish!

Dick Woodward, 04 January 2011


New Things for the New Year

December 30, 2014

“Then He brought us out that He might bring us in…”   (Deuteronomy 6:23)

Are you ready for a new thing?  God often wants to do a new thing in our lives but He has three challenges.  When He wants to bring us out of the old and into a new place He cannot get us out of the old because we are insecure and want to hold on to the old place.  He then has to blast us out of the old.  That’s why a call of God is often made up of a pull from the front and a boot from the rear.

His second challenge is that He has to pull us through the transition between the old place and the new.  Transitions can last for years and they can be very painful.  But He promises He can pull us through the worst of them.

His third challenge is to get us right so He can settle us into the new place.  We should no more resist that work of God than a baby should resist being born and coming out into life.

Don’t give God a hard time when He wants to do a new thing in your life.  We must believe that God is good all the time.  If we trust His character we should cooperate with Him when He wants to make changes and do new things in us and for us.  A rut is a grave with both ends knocked out.  Our loving Heavenly Father does not want to see His children in the living death of a rut.

Instead of giving God a hard time, make it easy for Him as He brings you out of the old place and leads you into the new places He has for you in the New Year.


How Are You Going to Spend Your Year?

January 3, 2014

“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.”  (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

According to Moses, we should realize that life is like a game of Monopoly.  We all begin with the same amount of currency.  When we begin a new year we are given 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week and 8,760 hours a year.  You often hear the remark: “I haven’t got time for that!” This implies that we are not given the same amount of time.  It would be more accurate to say: “I don’t value that activity enough to spend some of my time in that way.”

The dictionaries tell us a value is “that quality of any certain thing by which it is determined by us to be more or less important, useful, profitable and therefore desirable.” We all have a set of values.  We spend our time on the things we consider important, useful, profitable and desirable.

When we ask God to teach us how to spend our time He will challenge us to consider the values of Jesus Christ.  One of the many reasons He became flesh and lived among us for 33 years was to show us how to live.  He did that by presenting us with a set of values.  As we read the four Gospels and follow Jesus every time He models and teaches a value, that spiritual discipline will revolutionize the way we spend our time.

I challenge you to ask God, “How should I spend my time?” I also challenge you to let the values of Christ revolutionize the way you spend your time in 2014.


What is Your Life?

December 31, 2013

“It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  (James 4:14)

Have you ever considered these questions about your life: what it is, how much life you have, and why it is so valuable?  I challenge you to study all the metaphors the Bible uses to answer these questions.  According to James, our life is a little thing like the vapor of smoke that appears and then disappears.  Now you see it – now you don’t.

Moses tells us that we spend our years like a tale that is told and forgotten (Psalm 90:9 KJV).  In his culture people would sit around a fire and tell tales.  After a fourth or fifth tale was told nobody would probably remember the second or third tale told in that setting.  That is our life according to Moses.

Biblical metaphors tell us that our life is brief, short and like a dream when we awake.  We are given 70 or perhaps 80 years and they are full of trouble.  We are to learn to value our days and receive wisdom from God about what we should do with them.

Another metaphor tells us our life is uncertain.  Our life is like a thread that is about to be cut by the scissors of the Weaver.  God is the one with the scissors and we do not control when He will cut that thread.  So, for us life is uncertain.

Jesus tells us He can join our little, transitory, uncertain life to Him and to God by faith and make our life eternal and everlasting.

What is your life?  It is the opportunity to make that transaction with Christ and live for Him.  Have you made that faith transaction?