Friday, March 30, 2007

No Fear

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

When my family and I traveled through Egypt we were a little nervous. You know traveling through a Middle Eastern country these days can cause any American family (especially a military family) a little fear. But, Egypt has more security than you can shake a stick at. There's a soldier with an AK-47 rifle on every corner. We had a plain clothed Secret Serviceman with us almost everywhere we went. After evaluating their vigilance, I still wasn't sure a dedicated terrorist couldn't sneak by their security. Then I thought about God's security. Whose intentions can go unnoticed by Him? Who can overcome His defensive plan? No One! With Him as our security there is truly “No Fear.”

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sticking Out Like a Swore Thumb

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is… His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Our family had a chance to vacation in Egypt with some friends. You can bet we practiced as many force protection measures as possible. But try as we may to look like tourist, our hair cuts, the way we walked, and the terms we used would give us away as American military. It should be just as easy to identify us as followers of Jesus. The way we act, talk, and carry ourselves should be a dead give away that we are not like the world around us. We need to check our motivations and attitudes to see if we have really been transformed. Do we really stand up and stand out for Christ!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Recruiter Told Me…

Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

I've always liked the Marines slogan, 'We're looking for a few good men.' And I've always liked the way the Marines recruit. They don't pull any punches. They don't advertise their college benefits, travel opportunities, or skills for a future job. They simply give it to you straight. If you want to be a US Marine you need to first and foremost want to be a warrior. I think that is exactly what Jesus did in His recruiting. He didn't promise a life of ease or riches. Instead, He challenges us to live a life of sacrifice and endurance. He advocates a life that is sold out for His objective to share the gospel with all the nations. Who wants to sign up?

Pass this on to another warrior who wants to follow Jesus!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Needs vs Wants

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

I was talking to a young sergeant a while back who was worried about his next assignment. Turns out he got exactly the opposite of what he wanted. He wanted East Coast, he got West. He wanted TOE, he got TDA. I encouraged him to continue to pray and work the system but I also told him God will ultimately chose his next assignment. God does give us our 'wants' but He is more interested in meeting our 'needs'. Sometimes the very place or thing we don't want turns out to be what we needed most. God is our real Branch Manager and He is willing and able to meet our needs.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Compass for the Heart

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9, 11)

One of the keys to land navigation is to trust your compass. I can't count the number of times I've traveled through thick vegetation in the blackness of night and wondered, “how lost am I, really?” But, in the end, following the luminous dial on my lensatic compass, led me to my destination. My compass kept me from wondering off course (where I could have found myself in a heap of trouble). The Bible is our spiritual compass. It points our heart in the right direction no matter what temptations may try to pull us to the one way or another. We need to read it and follow it. The Word of God will guide us in the straight and narrow way and to our final destination, being like Jesus.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Men of Zebulun, experienced soldiers prepared for battle with every type of weapon, to help David with undivided loyalty… (1 Chronicles 12:33)

Loyalty is one of our most prized values but different things can ambush relationships. We can be put in circumstances where commitments to one another are tested. Things like misunderstandings, unresolved conflict, or petty jealousies can rip us apart. Sometimes people want us to cross over to the other side by joining in on gossip. And you know what? There are times, in our weakness, we give in to saying or doing something against the ones we love the most. Commanders, peers, parishioners, friends, and family all deserve our faithfulness. My prayer for you and I is that we will recognize the ambush and steer clear. Be true to the people around you.

The Wood Family

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Connect the Dots

For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

This morning Jeff Struecker (Famed Ranger from “Blackhawk Down” and now Chaplain at the RTB) gave me the opportunity to share my testimony with 150 young Rangers. I shared how I could look back and “connect the dots” of God’s plan for my life and how faithful Jesus had been to guide me through the years even as a young unbeliever in the Mountain Phase of Ranger School. It was there I started reading the Bible for the first time. Later I would return to same location and preach my first sermon as a E5 Platoon Sergeant playing opposing force against the ranger students. After a few years I was assigned to Dahlonega as a Ranger Instructor, where Jesus used Debbie and I to minister to military, collegiate, and the community. It was in those same mountains that I received my call to be an Army Chaplain and would later serve as the Ranger Training Brigade Chaplain and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with thousands of ranger students over the course of three years. And this morning, at the crack of dawn, Jeff Struecker and I presented Jesus to the men I love dearly, once again. God has a plan indeed! The first part of His plan is to begin following His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord. To know Him, serve Him and walk as He walked (1 Jn 2.6). The Second is to make Him known to those around you (Mt 4.19). Let’s get cracking at His great plan for our lives.

May I recommend Jeff’s new book: The Road to Unafraid

Just a small side note: Ranger Coleman, one of the men at the service this morning said as he was leaving, "Thanks for starting SWORDPOINT up again!" He's welcome and you're welcome. And I thank you for your support. Pass this on to some other warrior who needs to hear about Jesus.

Friday, March 23, 2007

True Strength

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Being in the military is a young man's game. We walk, run, march, throw, lift, push, carry, and drag. You have to be in good shape at all times. Units take a lot of pride in their physical fitness. We can get so physically strong we almost start feeling like there's nothing we can't do. Then life slaps us around and we come to grips with our mortality. We face challenges that stretch us to the point of failure, not only physically and mentally, but spiritually too. It’s then that we find our true strength is in Jesus Christ. He gives us strength beyond our own. Call upon the Lord. He will renew your strength.'

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:12)

I was talking to an ederly lady on a flight home during Christmas leave years ago. As we discussed her grandchildren and other things, she asked me what I did for a living. I told her I was an Airborne Ranger. Her response was typical for those who know nothing about the military, ‘Oh, that's good. We need people to take care of our forests and animals.’ This nice lady didn't have a clue. It's the same with the world. When it comes to spiritual things, they just don't get it. But we should! As believers in Christ, we have the Spirit of God within us and we should know better. Live what you know!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

To Cross

‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

I've built a lot of rope bridges and most of them were near an existing bridge or a fallen log. It was all good training but it looked pretty ridiculous building a rope bridge next to a perfectly good concrete bridge 100 meters away. You can bet in a real situation we wouldn't stop to build a bridge if the other was secure. The objective is to get to the other side. It’s the same in our spiritual life. If Jesus has already made the bridge, the work has already been done and we simply walk across in faith. We cross at the Cross.

Monday, March 19, 2007


He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5)

A good friend of mine, Major Rusty Rowe, saved another soldier from drowning. For his act of selfless service and courage, he has been recommended for the Soldier's Medal. Two soldiers were swimming during riptide conditions and one could not make it back to shore without help. So Doc Rowe swam out and brought the young soldier back to shore. He saved her. In the same way, we are drowning in our sin and there is no way we can make it to Heaven through our own efforts. It's Jesus who, in the depths of our despair, has made His way out to us and rescued us through His work on the cross.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

When I attended Recondo School at Ft Bragg, I was a young E4. At the end of the three-week course there was a board for Distinguished Honor Graduate. As we went into the small Quonset hut we had to knock on the door before we entered. I was last to appear before the board. I knocked on the door so hard the window pains cracked and they yelled, ‘Come In.’ I entered and slammed the door behind me insuring it would need future repairs. As I saluted the All Special Forces panel their eyes gleamed and they all had a halfcocked smile. Later, I was informed that it was my knock at the door that persuaded the board to award me the top position and not my correct answers on patrolling. God is beating on the door. All you have to do is say, ‘Come In.’

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18)

American Veterans are passionate about POW/MIAs. You see the black and white flag flying all over our nation. Even over some State capitals. We want to bring our own home and we won't give up. Some are still wearing red bracelets for the missing from the Vietnam War some thirty years later. This is so important to us, that we are willing to spend millions to recover the remains of our fallen comrades. God feels even stronger about His own. We are POW/MIAs in this world. He has gone to great efforts through the sacrifice of His Son to find us and bring us home.

Application: Do you know a spiritual POW/MIA? Why not send them SWORDPOINT or some other devotional. Invite them to your church or Bible study. You'd be amazed how Jesus can use these simple acts of kindness.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27)

At the National Training Center, the training is as real as it gets. The exercises even include the evacuation of the wounded and dead. Once the simulated dead and dying reached a certain destination in the rear, they stayed out of the fight for a number of hours and then were Reincarnated as a replacement to be sent back to the units. There's much talk in the spiritual world of reincarnation. Even Patton thought he was a reincarnated soldier. But the Bible teaches there is no second life here on earth. You get one shot at this life and then the big After Action Review in the sky. One chance to live a life of Faith in Christ. Use it wisely.

My brother Mike and I, building the Prayer Cabin on our 6 acres of retreat for soldiers at Fort Benning.

Monday, March 12, 2007


We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

The radio transmissions I've found the hardest to take to the TOC were, 'We have lost a Ranger Student.' Ranger students were so tired and in such a state of delirium they sometimes would walk away from the patrol. Or if the patrol stopped for even a second, you ran the risk of one of the students falling asleep on the spot and the patrol would move on without them. When this happened, everything else stopped and we went looking for the lost Ranger. Sheep do the same thing in the flock and so do we with God. Have you drifted from the fold? He's looking for you. Come on home.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24,25)

Frequently, while running in formation, there are those who fall out. You can hear the NCOs in the rear calling, ‘Come on, don't give up, get your carcass up here...’ And if you are in a tight unit you can even hear their peers calling, ‘Hang in there man, don't give up, keep going...’ Everyone is trying to hang together and finish as a team, as a unit. So, why are we so offended when someone comes along side and tries to ‘spur us on’ in the faith? The next time someone challenges you in your faith, listen-up and get back in formation. Hope I'm spurring you on!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)

As Ranger students we were told we could open the Ranger Handbook in any situation to get the answer. It's amazing how much information is in that little handbook. But what's even more amazing is how many Ranger students would completely ignore the book and wing it. You know God has given us a book with 99% of the answers. You aren't cheating if you open it up and look for guidance in the Bible. Life is an Open Book Test!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.’ (John 14:21)

LTC K was our Battalion Commander in the 2-503rd. He was a great commander. Everyone respected him and we called him Coach. He was just like a football coach. It was like being on the field and he would call in the plays, give instructions and encourage us to do better. He was tough but fair. I always wanted to do what he commanded. Not out of fear but out of love. We loved him so it made it easier to do what we were told to do. Think of all the things God has done for you. Count your blessings. That should make it easier to do what He commands us to do.

Monday, March 05, 2007


I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Mortality is a reality in the military. Even in simple training exercises soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines lose their lives. We knew when we signed up we would put our lives on the line. And for what? For our country, that's what! We give our lives in exchange for others that they may have freedom and liberty. But Christ gave His life in exchange for our eternal freedom. He gave His life that we might have liberty over death. Now I cast my allegiance to Christ and reciprocate life for life. I have given my life for Christ's sake.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Planting Seeds

Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches." (Luke 13:18-19)

As an AIT Chaplain, I didn’t see a lot of the fruit of my labor. The soldiers are only in the unit for 5 to 10 weeks and then they are dispersed into different units all over the world. So I have to trust what the Word of God says, we plant the seed and it will grow. Often times you and I will not see the impact we’ve made with a few words or a kind deed and most importantly telling someone about Jesus. We only have the assurance that God will tend the Church as only a Master Gardener can. Keep sowing the seed.