God’s Beautiful Concertos (on one string!)

October 3, 2014

“… every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  (John 15: 2)

 My mentor Ray Stedman loved to tell the story about the famous violinist Paganini.  As a brilliant violinist and a superb showman, he would attach a sharp razor to his wrist.  At the right moment he would cut one of the strings on his violin.  The string would pop and the audience would gasp, but the most famous violinist in the world would keep playing.  He did this repeatedly and dramatically until he only had one string left on his violin.  With genius he would then play the entire concerto on that one string.

Ray’s application was that God sometimes likes to cut back our strings and play the concert of our life on one string.  This brings great glory to Him because people can’t believe that as we are experiencing those cutbacks our concerto continues to play with an even more beautiful sound.

My precious wife lost the use of her left arm and I lost the use of all four limbs.  But the concerto of our lives and ministry continues to be more fruitful than it has ever been which brings great glory to God who is the One playing the concerto of our lives.

The explanation of Jesus was that He is a Vine and we are branches related to Him.  When we are fruitful because of that alignment He cuts us back to make us more fruitful.  Is it possible that events in your life that you have considered a setback are actually the cutback of your loving Lord and Savior who wants your life to be fruitful and your reward to be great in heaven?

Dick Woodward, 14 August 2012


The Greatest Teaching Method in the World

December 8, 2012

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

The Apostle Paul invested himself in a one on one relationship with a young man named Timothy.  In the verse above he challenged Timothy to have that same kind of relationship with other men, who would then have that kind of relationship with other faithful men.

I had about seven years of classroom education for the ministry.  I also had a handful of older men who mentored me personally in a relationship like Paul had with Timothy.  A great pastor named Ray Stedman invested four hours every Thursday afternoon for a year with me in the Word of God.  He challenged me to do the same with others.

As I have considered the impact of Doctor Stedman’s investment in me and my investment in others, I have come to the conclusion that this is the greatest teaching method in the world.

This method actually started for me when I was a small boy.  I watched my father spend hours sitting in a rocking chair preparing his Sunday school lesson.  Every now and then he would exclaim, “Oh this is wonderful!”

I realized there is wonderful truth in the Bible.  When I was a late teenager I adopted that declared value of my father and have passed that value on to my son who is a pastor.  I am greatly blessed to have had a father and a mother who taught me the Scriptures in a one on one relationship like Paul had with Timothy.

If you are a Timothy, do you have a Paul? If you are a Paul, do you have a Timothy?


A Setback or a Cutback?

August 14, 2012

“… every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  (John 15: 2)

 My mentor Ray Stedman loved to tell the story about the famous violinist Paganini.  As a brilliant violinist and a superb showman, he liked to attach a sharp razor to his wrist.  At the right moment he would cut one of the strings on his violin.  The string would pop and the audience would gasp, but the most famous violinist in the world would keep playing.  He did this repeatedly and dramatically until he only had one string left on his violin.  As a genius he would then play the entire concerto on that one string.

Ray’s application was that God sometimes likes to cut back our strings and play the concert of our life on one string.  This brings great glory to Him because people can’t believe that as we are experiencing those cutbacks our concerto continues to play with an even more beautiful sound.

My precious wife has lost the use of her left arm and I have lost the use of all four limbs.  But the concerto of our lives and ministry continues to be more fruitful than it has ever been which brings great glory to God who is the One playing the concerto of our lives.

The explanation of Jesus was that He is a Vine and we are branches related to Him.  When we are fruitful because of that alignment He cuts us back to make us more fruitful.  Is it possible that events in your life that you have considered a setback are actually the cutback of your loving Lord and Savior who wants your life to be fruitful and your reward to be great in heaven?