Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Flock

Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." (Luke 15:1-2)

I was setting up my pup tent in the “Dust Bowl” at the National Training Center when one of my young pious soldiers came to me with a look of distress. “Chaplain, how can you stand this place? I mean with all the dirt, and foul language and these…these guys…” So, I stopped and looked and listened to my soldiers around me. Hard working troops with uniforms stained with the odd mixture of camouflage, salt, sweat, and dust. The sight was mingled with the pinging of tent pegs and the sounds of joking, swearing, and complaining. I replied, “Looks and sounds like my mission field. And do you know what? Sooner or later the Love of God is going to break through and I want to be here when it does.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ (Matthew 5:27-28)

Purity Check! How are you doing in the area of lust? This temptation starts with the eyes, enters the mind and could end up in sin, either in thought or action. Our first line of defense is having a sentry at our eyes. The simple act of looking away can be a big help. ‘Halt, Who Goes There! Do Not Advance to Be Recognized.’ Stay Alert, Stay Vigilant.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dead or Alive

Say to them, `As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. (Ezekiel 33:11)

As Christian warriors, how should we respond to victories in battle? I think we can certainly rejoice that we have triumphed over evil. But, when we look at God's attitude about people dying for their wicked ways, we see He would rather they repent. Christ tells us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). How do we actually practice that? I think a practical way is to pray for them. Here’s an example of a prayer for our enemies; ‘God help our enemies to turn from their destruction before it is too late. Help them to wisely choose Your ways rather then the ways of the wicked.’ God would rather have a person turn and live than continue in evil and perish.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Brand New

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)

When I graduated from Basic Training I was a new person. I went from 17-year-old high school drop out, to being a soldier. A transformation had taken place and I would never be the same. I was a young rebellious kid who had been changed into a disciplined young man. I was brand new. As Christians, we have undergone a change as well. First, there is a spiritual change in our status with God. We have a new relationship with the Father through the righteousness of Christ. Then there are new adjustments in our actions. A soldier acts like a soldier. A Christian should act like Jesus Christ. There should be a definite transformation in us as we put our faith in Jesus. Live the New Life!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pay Back is a Medevac

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

We used to have a saying, ‘Pay Back is a Medevac.’ We would jokingly (and sometimes seriously) use this comeback when we had been slighted in some way or someone hurt one of our own. But, individual revenge is strictly off limits for Christians. We are commanded not to act as though we are judge, jury and executioner. We should leave the business of vengeance to God. There is no room for individual revenge in our Christian lives. However, before anyone relates this to the war on terrorism read Romans Chapter 13. Individual revenge? No. Governmental justice? Yes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When We Go Off

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)

I was standing on the hood of a M-151 Jeep exploding on my warriors who stood there looking sheepish. A section of my reconnaissance platoon had just crossed a wide-open danger area with no security measures. I was spitting flames when it dawned on me, ‘These guys know I'm a Christian and here I am cussing and swearing and peeling the paint off my jeep.’ Some may be quick to let me off the hook with, ‘You were a Platoon Sergeant, that's the way you're supposed to act’ or ‘That's the only language troops understand.’ But the scriptures say that a man who can’t control his anger is a fool. Control is demonstrated when we consciously choose our words and how they are delivered. So now, when I feel like blowing up, I don’t act like a dud. C4 - Check Fire, Calm Down, Control Words, Communicate Effectively.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (PS 51:9-10)

Have you ever been so relaxed around your supervisor that you said or did something you later regretted? Once I was talking to the Battalion XO and complaining about an issue. As I left the room I thought about how immature and petty I had sounded and wished I had never said anything at all. I made myself look bad in my supervisor’s eyes. But, those were my real thoughts and attitudes about the issues and as immature as they were, it was the real me. We try to hide our weaknesses from others in order to appear more mature or noble then we really are. We can't do this with God. He sees and hears everything, even the things hidden deep in our hearts. I'm glad we don't have to fake it with God. He knows us to the bone and when we confess our shortcomings He's ready and willing to forgive.

Monday, May 21, 2007


And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

The second offensive weapon in the full armor of God is prayer. Prayer can be compared to modern day artillery. It's called for over the radio from afar and able to rain fire on the enemy. In spiritual warfare, prayer is our preparatory and sustained attack on the plans of the enemy and allows us to participate in the work of God. I wonder how much has been accomplished in these last days by a nation united in prayer. Much more than we'll ever know.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Weapon Proficiency

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:11, 17b)

The Word of God is compared to the weapon of the day, the sword. Today it can be compared to the rifle of the modern soldier. It takes familiarization, training and practice to become proficient with an individual weapon. I remember doing blindfolded assembly and disassembly, shooting from different stances in bad weather and at night, even firing with a gas mask on. We as Christians need to be just as serious in being proficient with our weapon, the Scriptures. We should read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Word of God. Let me take this opportunity to encourage you to read your Bible daily and begin memorizing some key passage of scripture.

Today is the 100th post of SWORDPOINT!
Pass it on to a friend.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Put on your K-pot

Take the helmet of salvation... (Ephesians 6:17)

In 4-64 Armor at Fort Stewart, we had a display case in the battalion headquarters. There were many artifacts from Desert Storm and one of the most interesting was a Kevlar helmet. It had been worn by a young Private First Class who is certainly counting his blessings everyday. The Kevlar bears the scars of a 7.62, AK-47 bullet. The helmet saved his life. That's a great description of the ‘helmet of Salvation.’ It's an eternal lifesaver and the scars it bears are those inflicted on the Lord Jesus at the cross.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bullet Stopper addition to all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)

As I read Blackhawk Down, I was struck by the incredible punishment the Ranger convoy endured as it roamed the streets of Mogadishu. The lost string of vehicles became great sport for their enemy as both men and machine were riddled with bullets. One of the Rangers noted that it looked as though the sun was poking holes in the Humvee door. What a terrifying experience! In the same way, our everyday lives are just as penetrable as our spiritual enemy tries to take us out. Without protection, we can be riddled with unholy holes. We try to duck behind our own strength or wisdom for protection, but the flaming missiles of the evil one streak through it all. God is our only shield and our trust in Him deflects the enemy’s projectiles. By faith, we hunker down behind His love and promises and we are protected. Take Cover Behind Jesus!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Intentionality in Ministry (Part 3)


...and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15)

As a young infantryman in training the Drill Sergeant kept saying to us, ‘We'll be traveling by LPCs today.’ We always expected some vehicle to pick us up and take us to our destination. Invariably, we would end up walking everywhere we went. Then we figured it out. LPC stood for Leather Personnel Carrier, boots! The soldier’s feet are one of his greatest assets and must be protected with properly fitted boots. They protect the feet of those on the go. Jesus commanded us to ‘Go.’ In Matthew 28:19, He says, ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples...’ We are called to a mission. And, as we are going, part of our protection and presentation is the Gospel. Think about that for a few minutes. There's protection in presenting Jesus Christ and bringing peace into other's lives. Lace up those boots!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Put On Your Body Armor

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place... (Ephesians 6:13-14)

Sometimes during PT we run in our body armor to add weight and make running a little more challenging. Once PT is done, we can drop that heavy armor in the closet. When we are deployed, however, we wear it 24/7 because if lead starts flying we want to have it on. For the believer, our body armor is RIGHTEOUSNESS. Not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ. It's issued to us at spiritual birth. This spiritual flack vest is put on by acknowledging the fact that our good deeds don't cut it. If we begin to think that somehow our good works make us more acceptable to God, the spiritual shrapnel of Satan's accusations begin to wound us. We need Christ to protect us with His holiness. Nothing can penetrate the Righteousness of Christ. Keep your spiritual body armor on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Truth Based Faith

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. (Ephesians 6:14a)

I was confronted with this question, ‘If I could prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus never existed, would you believe it?’ Without a second's hesitation I responded, ‘Yes.’ My challenger was dumbfounded and stood there with his mouth open. When he regained his wits he replied, ‘You are the first Christian I've met who has ever responded that way.’ Obviously, he'd been setting up trip wires for Christians for some time. I then explained that my faith was based on evidence gathered from the scripture, history, science, and my experiences in life. I told him I was pursuing the truth, not a fairy tale. Both he and I knew he could not disprove the existence of Christ. He was testing my foundation for faith. We seek the truth. Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.’ (John 14:6)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Safety First?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

We were rushing down the runway at Ft. Benning in a C-141 and settling in for the long flight to Ft. Bliss, Texas. We had grown so comfortable with our frequent trips to the desert that we ignored some of the basic safety precautions. Then suddenly there was deafening explosion. I jumped as though a bolt of lightning had struck me. A portion of the engine housing had ripped off. Now things like putting on a helmet and rolling down sleeves didn't seem so trivial. Both were done in seconds, but precious seconds that were only given by the grace of God. We made a safe emergency landing at a nearby airport. Seconds. That's all it takes. In the spiritual realm the unprepared trooper can have his or her life suddenly and irrevocably changed by a bad decision that the tempter has initiated. Be prepared. Put on the full armor of God.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Don’t Give Up on Them

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Failure is a tough part of life. I tried for the Expert Infantrymen's Badge (EIB) seven times and failed seven times. I was always the honor graduate in everything I did but for some reason I would always bolo the EIB. I knew I wouldn’t quit until I conquered it and others assisted me as well. My Chain of Command could have said, “Wood, you've wasted enough time on this. Face it, you’ll never be good enough.” However, they stuck by me. They encouraged me and allowed me to train year after year. We also fail in our spiritual lives. Our brothers and sisters fail too. Our job is to encourage and lift up, not to discard or ignore. It takes support and encouragement to restore the fallen and the goal should always be restoration. By the way, on my eighth try I finally received my EIB.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

You Struggle with that Too?

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

One of the things I found unique in Ranger School was that everyone was the same. Although there were officers and enlisted in the course, we wore no rank and were forbidden to even mention it. Everyone carried a heavy rucksack. Everyone had their turn at carrying the radio and the M60 machinegun. And most importantly, EVERYONE was evaluated on leadership and followership. Everyone experienced the same thing. Much like it is in the Christian life. We all experience temptation and we all have the means by which to escape it. Jesus makes sure of that. He gives a way for success. The question is, are we willing to take it? Pop Smoke and Break Contact!

Intentional Ministry (Part 1)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)

In the Army we find it too easy to say, ‘This is worthless.’ MRE toilet paper when it's wet is worthless. A dud grenade, old chemlights, and a protective mask with no filter are all worthless. If you were around for the Gamagoat (6 wheel utility truck), we said it was worthless. But, one thing we should never call worthless is another human being. You and I are worth a great deal in the eyes of God. He proved it by sending His Son to pay the ultimate price for our salvation. He counts us as worthy of His priceless sacrifice on the cross. To God, you and I are His most valued creation.