VISION, FAITH & SACRIFICE

October 3, 2017

“… But for this reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.”  (John 12:27-28)

When we have a vision, we must also have a plan. It has been said that without vision the people perish, but without a plan the vision perishes. Nehemiah not only had a vision to repair and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, he had a plan to do so. As an enslaved exile his plan was to present his vision to the emperor for whom he was a cup bearer.

This was extremely dangerous. At that time there was a death penalty for being sad in the presence of the emperor, or for bringing anything negative to the attention of the emperor while serving him. Nehemiah had the faith to pray silently and then present his vision to the emperor. The emperor showed empathy and compassion for Nehemiah by approving his plan and supplying everything needed to see that the plan was followed to the letter.

Has God put a vision in your heart of what He wants you to do? If you have a vision, do you have a plan? In that context consider this formula for your vision:

vision + faith + sacrifice = miracle.

If you have a vision and a plan to carry out that vision, are you willing to sacrifice for that vision? Are you willing to die for that vision?

Our Lord Jesus Christ had a vision and a plan. He was willing to sacrifice and die for His vision and plan. He mandated that we should follow His example.

Regarding your vision and plan, are you willing to pray essentially:

“Father glorify Yourself and send me the bill.

Anything Father, just glorify Yourself?”

Dick Woodward, 30 January 2010


How Do You See Things?

April 22, 2016

 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”  (Matthew 6:22-23)

When you break down the word perspective, it literally means “to look through” (per = through, specto = look.)  The expression tunnel vision is a good paraphrase for perspective. People with tunnel vision see their objective as if through a tunnel; they are oblivious to all the obstacles and distractions that could keep them from accomplishing their goals and objectives.

Jesus showed us the importance of our perspective when He told us our lives can be filled with joy or with sadness.  Those two awesome opposites are determined by what Jesus calls our ‘eye.’  By the eye Jesus means how we see things. One of the most important questions you will answer is: “How do you see things?”

According to Jesus, if the way you see things is healthy and whole, your life will be filled with joy and light.  If your outlook, mindset and perspective are not healthy, but defective, your life will be filled with darkness, unhappiness, sadness and depression.

God liked to ask the Old Testament prophets:  What do you see, Elijah? What do you see, Ezekiel? What do you see, Jeremiah?  The Old Testament is filled with stories of godly people who distinguished themselves because when God asked them that question they saw what God wanted them to see.

Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) A discerning spiritual leader added these words: “Where there is no plan, the vision perishes.”  As the eagle has binocular and monocular vision, we must have a vision which continuously holds in perspective the long view of what God wants to do through us.  We must also have a plan that gives us monocular vision to keep our vision from perishing as we move forward.

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


Critical Importance of Vision (personalized)

January 27, 2015

“So he said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’” (Acts 9:6 NKJV)

Two Men named Marx and Engels authored The Communist Manifesto. For years after their book was written the membership in the Communist Party was meager. Then a man named Lenin appeared on the scene and wrote a very short pamphlet entitled: “What Is to Be Done?” His thesis was that if you read the book authored by Marx and Engels and then look at the world, what do you think should be done by those who truly believe what they wrote? Until the collapse of the “Iron Curtain” there were a billion people under the control of the Communist Party.

During the height of The Cold War, I was obsessed with this question: As a devout follower of Jesus Christ why not write a short booklet entitled ‘What Is to Be Done?’ by those who read and believe the Bible and then look at the world?  After asking many of the spiritual heavyweights I met this question, the best answer came from a man I highly respected. He told me that no one person could write that booklet for everyone. Each individual disciple of Jesus needs to write his own booklet by asking the question the Apostle Paul asked the risen Christ on the road to Damascus.

“Lord, what do you want me to do?”

The way we each receive the answers to that question from the Lord can become our personal vision and marching orders for what we are to do. Sadly, so many followers of Jesus do not have a vision of what Christ wants them to do.

I challenge you to ask the risen Christ, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

Dick Woodward, 24 January 2010


Playing Games vs. Following Jesus Christ

June 27, 2014

“To what can I compare the people of this generation? How can I describe them? They are like children playing games in the marketplace. They complain to their friends, ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t weep.’” (Luke 7: 31, 32)

Jesus said some very hard things.  For most of His three years of public ministry, He had an ongoing hostile dialogue with the religious leaders of His day.  Jesus spoke these metaphors in the context of the religious establishment’s criticism of John the Baptist and Himself.  They criticized John the Baptist because he was too austere and disciplined.  They criticized Jesus that He was too happy and presented the image of the happy man.

In that culture, children played games in the busy marketplace.  Since they had observed weddings and funeral processions they imitated those proceedings in their play.  They would stop busy merchants and say “We are playing funeral today.  Stop and weep with us!” Or, “We’re playing wedding today and we’re playing flutes.  Dance with us!”  Of course, busy merchants had no time for children’s games.

Jesus turned this metaphor into one of His hard sayings when He applied this to their critical attitudes toward John the Baptist and Himself.  To paraphrase the application, Jesus was saying ‘John and I have not come to play your silly little religious games.  We know our vision and our mission objectives.  We have come to revolutionize the Jewish religion.’

Today many members of our religious and secular culture continue playing games that keep us from spreading and being the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others.  We need to have clear vision and mission objectives to overcome the distractions and temptation of playing religious games vs. encountering and following Jesus Christ.

Dick Woodward, 29 May 2011