Friday, February 29, 2008

I Know Snow

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow… Isaiah 1:18

We had flown all night loaded up with heavy rucks, snowshoes and artic gear. The flight was rough approaching the dropzone and as we hooked up, I stood half bent over under the tremendous weight. As I exited the door, the deafening roar of the C130 turned into silence and the strain of the heavy equipment was immediately relieved. I was floating under my parachute and I surveyed the dropzone. I noticed it was covered with three foot of new snow. A sudden wave of peace overwhelmed me . The stark winter landscape had been covered with a perfect blanket of pure white snow. It was the softest landing of any jump. That memory creates another picture in my mind, the mental image of forgiveness. When I consider how the blood of Jesus Christ has completely covered my sins, I realize that God’s view of me is a spectacular sight of forgiveness. The followers of Jesus have been cleansed as white as snow and we are at peace. A soft landing indeed. SP207

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spit Shining Our Eternity

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3

I know I’m dating myself but I wish I had kept track of the number hours I’ve spent shining my boots. Probably enough to build the space shuttle. The frustrating thing is that the shine only lasts for a day or two. Then it’s back to “a little polish, a little water, little circles, a little polish, a little water, little circles...” God gives us the opportunity to have something that will shine for all eternity. If we give our lives to the pursuit of wisdom (God’s Word) and leading people to righteousness (God’s Son), WE will shine like the stars forever. Don’t show up to the heavenly formation with just a brush shine, go for the spit shine Trooper!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Knowing it By Heart

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11

I remember memorizing the Ranger Creed as a young Specialist and wondered why we had to drone on in monotonous repetition. I was a knucklehead and after a few hundred push-ups, I could finally recite the creed without error. In recent years, I have realized memorization is an important tool that infuses values and vision. In today’s Army, soldiers of every branch are required to memorize script that includes the Soldier’s Creed and the Army Song. Just the other day I heard a resounding rendition of the NCO creed. The more these words are internalized, the more they can change the way soldiers think and act. We really ought to do the same with scripture. We should have a “basic load” of Bible verses that address key areas of the Christian life. This discipline of memorizing scripture can make a major impact in our lives. Start with your top ten verses. SP205

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LIVE on Ustream Wednesday Night

I will be sharing “The Temple” on Ustream on Wednesday, 27 Feb 08 at 2100 EST. This is an illustration you can show young believers who are struggling in the area of fellowship and influences in their lives. And of course for those who want to talk shop, we’ll be taking your questions and comments via chat, email, and Skype. Bring you Bible, pen, paper (napkin) and your questions.Website: talk on Skype, you’ll need to have the free software down loaded from (make sure you get the free stuff). And add my contact info by searching for me by using my email:

Underestimated Power

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. Matthew 22:29

I was standing in front of the First Sergeant’s desk at a rigid position of parade rest. He was having a very loud one-way discussion with me about the exploits of the night before. I was the demolition man in charge of blowing up all the OPFOR’s equipment. I did exactly that and more. During the ambush, I threw a grenade simulator in the back of a military pick-up truck. The explosion split the top of the camper shell wide open like a sardine can. I had sorely underestimated the power of the training explosive. You know, at times we can do the same with the power of God. God is the Almighty. His power exceeds our wildest expectations. When we recognize His power, we can press forward in obedience and faith no matter what the circumstances. SP204

Monday, February 25, 2008

LIVE on Ustream Wednesday 27 Feb 08 at 2100

I will be sharing “The Temple” on Ustream on Wednesday, 27 Feb 08 at 2100 EST. This is an illustration you can show young believers who are struggling in the area of fellowship and influences in their lives. And of course for those who want to talk shop, we’ll be taking your questions and comments via chat, email, and Skype. Bring you Bible, pen, paper (napkin) and your questions.Website:

To talk on Skype, you’ll need to have the free software down loaded from (make sure you get the free stuff). And add my contact info by searching for me by using my email:

Making it Happen

For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 2 Corinthians 8:17

I think initiative is one of the toughest leadership qualities to teach. That ability to see what needs to be done and then doing it without being told. You can tell when a young leader turns the corner and begins to anticipate the instructions of a superior. They instinctively size up the situation and begin working on solutions or improvements. They operate from a broader understanding of their leader’s intent. I think Jesus wants us to develop this same trait in our walk with Him. As we learn the broader scope of His design and desires, we begin to carry out His will intuitively (instead of waiting to be struck by some holy telegram). Read the scriptures, learn the broader intent and will of God and then take the initiative. SP203

We have 89 subscribers to SWORDPOINT right now, my goal is 100 by the end of March. Can you help me put the word out to those who would be helped by this ministry? They can subscribe on the Blogsite Thanks!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Big Inspection

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:42

One of my men had been “working” on the jeep for months and it was time for the change of command inspection. Although I’d never seen the vehicle myself, I was confident that the inspection would go well. As we approached the line of jeeps, one stood out from all the rest. It was so badly rusted, you couldn’t read the bumper number. It had bird droppings all over it and four flat tires. It was obvious, from the many missing parts; it had become the hanger queen. Surprise, surprise, the jeep belonged to me. My jeep was not even operational let alone ready for inspection. I had failed to supervise and keep a close eye on my equipment. If the Lord came today to inspect our lives, what would He see? Would He find us busy maintaining our lives in accordance with His desires or would He find something that looked like SGT Wood’s jeep? Keep watch, the inspector’s coming.

Friday, February 22, 2008

We are getting some good questions and feed back from the laborers summit. Join us this Wednesday night for a discusion on the summit and other discipleship related questions.

Wednesday - 2100 EST

Hook Up!

Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.’ John 14:6

The static line snap hook is the most important connection made by a paratrooper. By hooking the snap hook to the anchor cable inside the aircraft, it becomes the vital link that pulls the parachute out of the deployment bag when the trooper exits the door. No snap hook, no open parachute. Our spiritual lives must also be securely connected to God the Father. God has provided the vital connection through His Son. By redirecting our lives toward God and placing our trust in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, our sins are forgiven and our relationship with Him is secure. There is no other way to hook up. Are you telling others how to “hook up.” SP201

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Failure to Be Recognized

Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'? John 14:9

I walked up to a small huddle of Ranger Students in the middle of the night to find them complaining about their Ranger Instructor. Cloaked by the darkness, I eased into their little group and listened to their grievances and complaints. It was hilarious to listen to them criticize me so strongly and not know I was standing right there. In the humor of it all, I ease dropped for a few minutes. Then I interrupted the gripe session by asking, “Don’t you men have better things to do than snivel about me holding your feet to the fire?” The group quickly and sheepishly disbanded. In the darkness they failed to recognize that their RI was standing in their midst. Sometimes, in the darkness of our understanding, we may fail to recognize Jesus in our presence. He’s not just a great teacher or a great prophet, He is God. He hears every word and sees every act. Have we truly recognized Him in our midst? (John 1:1-2,14) SP200

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Careful Where You Aim that Thing

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:14-15

My team leader and I snuck through the darkness into the opposing force’s perimeter. They knew something was up and I could hear them frantically communicating with each other. Suddenly, my own team leader began to yell, “They’re in the perimeter, they’re in the perimeter!” The next thing I knew, all three machineguns and other small arms turned toward the middle of the perimeter and opened fire. We had set up a perfect self-destructive ambush. I think Satan is busy doing the same to the Church. Once he’s got us shooting one another, his battle is almost won. Remember, friendly fire isn’t so friendly. SP199

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Integrity Under Fire

And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. Psalm 78:72

Before a road march out to the field, I stated to my platoon, “All right, this is a period of amnesty. If you have anything in your ruck you shouldn’t, bring it up front.” I could not believe the contraband that was being piled up at my feet (even a bottle of whiskey!). Just then, my commander walked by and noticed my little collection. He demanded to know the rightful owners of these prohibited items. I told him, “I’m sorry sir, but I told my men that this was a period of amnesty.” I knew I was in trouble at that point but I could not violate a promise made to my men. I took the heat that day, (and learned a better procedure for amnesty) but I gained the respect of my platoon by leading with integrity. SP198

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Dirty Trick

Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. Luke 17:1-3

Some Ranger Instructors liked to play mind games with the students. For instance, on dark nights, when all that could be seen was the luminous tape on the back of a patrol cap, they would take off their hats and guide the unsuspecting ranger students into trees and bushes. The students were unaware that the light they followed was being held at arm length and intended to lead them astray. If that sounds like a dirty trick, think about a person who misleads someone spiritually. The last thing we want to do is to cause another person to stumble. As we let our lives shine for Jesus Christ, let’s make sure we are guiding others down a safe and true path. SP197

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Afraid to Die?

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

I was walking through the motor pool, minding my own business, when a mechanic suddenly appeared. “Hey Chaplain, you afraid to die?” My response was quick and definite, “Why should I be afraid to die? I’m following Jesus Christ who gives me eternal life.” The answer shocked him. Apparently, this crusty veteran had been ambushing Christians for quite some time. He admitted that when he would get a less than enthusiastic response from the believer, he would chide them for not believing their own religion. I don’t think most believers respond from a lack of faith. When asked a question like that, most of us are thinking about the process of death. The pain and suffering. But if we were given the time to explain fully, we would eventually get to the hope of eternal life in Christ. That’s the part of death we can get excited about. SP196

Friday, February 15, 2008

Illustration: Four Soils (Part 2 of 4) by Chuck Wood

PCS Prayers

In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. "Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?" he asked. The LORD said, "Go up." David asked, "Where shall I go?" "To Hebron," the LORD answered. 2 Samuel 2:1

“Would you like to go to Italy?” “Yes, but let me pray about it.” Now why in the world would anyone have to pray about an assignment to Italy?! Because the Kingdom always comes first (Mat 6.33). Although my dream sheet was blank, I believe God guided me to exactly the right places at the right time in every assignment. He was my Branch Manager. He knew exactly what we needed and where we needed to go. Funny thing is, He often gives us the desire of our hearts. We did go to Italy and lived two blocks from the Med. Italy was so much more enjoyable knowing that God put me there. SP195

PCS – Permanent Change of Station

Thursday, February 14, 2008

LIVE Ustream of the South East Laborer’s Summit - Saturday 16 Feb 08

LIVE Ustream of the South East Laborer’s Summit
Recruiting Laborers to a Vision to Build an Army for Christ
Savannah, GA

Saturday 16 Feb 08 EST

1030-1130 - State of the Army Work- Andrew Stroud
1400-1500 - Focusing on Developing the Man in Light of the Movement - Cecil Bean
1500-1600 - The Needs of the Work, Who’s In? - Chuck Wood
1700-1800 - Staff Funding- John Snyder and Joseph Peer

If you want to tune in on any of the sessions, click on the link below:

Leading in Darkness

Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:12

At night, ranger patrols normally snake their way through the mountains at a slow and tedious pace. This is especially true when it’s moonless and pitch-black. One night I noticed from the rear of the patrol that we were moving at a pretty good clip. I was curious at this oddity and made my way to the front of the patrol. I found the point man was wearing night vision goggles and sporting an infrared lens on his flashlight. To the naked eye, there was only darkness, but to him it was like daylight. The point man was leading his fellow students through the darkness with ease. As Christians, we can do the same for those around us. Jesus said we are the light of the world and we have the light of His Word. We are guides for those trying to find their way through spiritual darkness. Let your light shine and lead others to Jesus. SP194

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

All OD Green

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

Back in the days before BDUs and ACUs we wore Olive Drab fatigues. There was a saying at the time; “We’re all OD green.” This was an attempt to build unity and to cut down on some of the racial problems experienced by the Army in the late 70s. It has since become less than politically correct to say we are all the “same” because of the fear of losing our uniqueness. However, I think finding and celebrating our commonality is just as valid as enjoying our individuality. As Christians, we should celebrate our unity in Christ. No matter what race, color, ethnic background, gender, etc… we are all one in Christ. Maybe not politically correct, but correct nonetheless. SP193

Tonight, Wednesday 13 Feb 08, I will be doing a LIVE Streaming on the internet at 2100 EST. The topic will start with the parable of the soils and then we'll talk shop about ministry.

You can tune in at:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Important Guys

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5

The generator mechanic was making his third trip outside into the blizzard like conditions. As the Pathfinder Platoon Sergeant, I was enjoying one of those rare opportunities to actually be in a warm tent and in a sleeping bag. In the darkness I was thinking about how all my hardcore guys were sound asleep while this poor Specialist was outside freezing in the dark trying to get the electricity flowing again. Without the mechanics expertise, the Tactical Operation Center would probably shut down. There wasn't much need for high speed Pathfinders at that point. It dawned on me how important this guy really was. Everyone has his or her own unique contribution to the effort. The next time you run into one of these important guys, give him or her a pat on the back. And I personally thank you for all you do as an individual for our country, but most importantly, for the Kingdom. Your contribution counts. SP192

Monday, February 11, 2008

When Doubts Leave Us Stranded

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19

I was the lone pathfinder on the top of a mountain. As I looked out for miles around, all I could see was the desert floor and the intense heat waves rising off the sand. A thought ran through my head, “What if the pilot forgets that I’m out here? What if he experiences some kind of mechanical trouble and he leaves me here in the desert? What if…” Suddenly, breaking my chain of worrisome thoughts, I heard the familiar sound of helicopter blades beating the air. The prospects of being stranded alone in a desolate wasteland ended because the pilot fulfilled his promise. There are times in life when we start feeling alone. Times when we doubt God’s dependability. Times when we waver with the “What ifs” and we feel like He may leave us stranded. In those times we need to remind ourselves, He is always dependable and will fulfill every promise. SP191

Sunday, February 10, 2008


When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Act 4:13

I was preaching to the islanders during a missions trip to the Solomon Islands. The pastor came up to me afterwards and asked through the translator, “Are you a soldier?” I was amazed because at the time, I had just finished seminary and was waiting to come back in the Army as a chaplain. My hair was not regulation and I wasn’t wearing a uniform, how could he tell I had been a soldier? When I asked, he said “You just look and act like a soldier.” I guess after being in the service so long it’s pretty obvious. But here’s a more important question; when people look at us is it obvious that we are Christians? When we live our lives with Jesus intensely, others will readily recognize who we’ve been with. SP190

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Power of Camaraderie

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47

As a member of an infantry squad I became a pretty tight with the other guys in the unit. We ate together, lived in the barracks, cleaned the latrine, told war stories, buffed the floors, went to the field, did PT, got chewed out, everything we did was together. Although at times it was a strain, being together made us a better unit. We knew each other and we took care of one another. The dynamics for creating community haven’t changed. Look at the early church. Although they were a part of a larger congregation, they also spent a lot of time together in smaller groups. Hanging out in one another’s homes, eating together, studying the Bible, and praying together. It was good for them and it’s good for us. This kind of community is essential for strong and healthy churches. Are you a member of a spiritual squad?

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Right Man for the Job

Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen” Acts 1:24

A CH-47 helicopter had crashed on a small island near the coast of North and South Korea. SSG Craig was chosen to take his Pathfinder Team to secure the aircraft. There was only one problem, I was the Platoon Sergeant and no one said anything to me. Never mind protocol, I was just mad because I wasn’t picked. Then I found out that instead of issuing the ammo to SSG Craig’s team, they locked it in a footlocker. I was boiling! In fact, I kind of had the reputation of being hot headed. On the other hand, SSG Craig was cool, calm, and collective in stressful situations. You think these different character traits made a difference in who they selected for the mission? I’ve sense learned to manage my temper a little better. God is looking for men and women with the right heart. Character makes all the difference.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Onward Christian Soldiers

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified. And the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he praised God and said, "Surely this man was a righteous man and the Son of God!" (Composite Statements from Matthew 27:54 Mark 15:39 Luke 23:47 NIV)

Soldiers following orders hung the Savior of the world on a cross and when it was finished, the commander recognized Jesus for who He really was, the Son of God. For 2000 years soldiers have been recognizing Jesus Christ for who He is, the forgiver of their sins, and their true Commander. From privates to generals, soldiers have declared their faith and allegiance to the Son of God. The very sort that executed Him, now receive Him as their Lord and God. We have placed our trust in Him, because in this brutal profession of preserving peace and liberty, He is our only hope. SP187

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Point Man

On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." Luke 22:40 (NIV)

We moved down the trail in total darkness and the only thing we could see was the dim outline of the trees along the path. I was the point man and I could hear voices up ahead. Excitement was building as I lead the reconnaissance patrol toward the suspected mortar position. Then suddenly, there was a deafening bang next to my right ear and a flash blinded me. The mortar crew had put out a booby trap. As we stumbled back down the trail with our tail between our legs and seeing nothing but white dots, I realized I had failed as the point man that night. Aren’t you glad that God can see every trip wire and every ambush? We need to pray that God will go before us as our point man and warn us about the temptations that lay in our path.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What’s Gonna Last

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Luke 21:33

It was over. I was no longer part of the team. The Meritorious Service Medal dangled from my chest like a small insignificant period at the end of the final sentence of a long book. 29 years had gone by so fast. I knew retirement would come one day. That’s why I decided a long time ago not to wrap my whole identity around my Army career. I could have sacrificed my wife, my kids, my dog, my cat, and yes even my very soul and what would I have in the end? Don’t get me wrong, I loved being in the Army and I took my duties very seriously. But, I put things in perspective. Everything fades away except the few that are eternal: God and His Word, the souls of people, and my reward in heaven. These investments will not disappoint. SP 185

Saturday, February 02, 2008


But Jesus looked at them and said, "What then is this that is written:

Luke 20:17

I was moving from squad to squad on the rifle range visiting the soldiers that would soon be attached to us for our deployment to Kuwait. As I approached, I noticed a crusty old Platoon Sergeant sneaking away as I walked up to each group. It was obvious by the scowl on his face that he was not happy to see the chaplain. I immediately started praying, “Lord, give me a great friendship with this man.” During the deployment we managed to have several good conversations about Jesus Christ. Now, when he would see me, it wasn’t the cold shoulder, it was a warm greeting. Finally, we were back home in the States and I saw him across the parking lot. He yelled, “Hey Chaplain, look what I got!” holding up his brand new baby in the air. I thought to myself, “Mission Accomplished.” Men rejected Christ and yet He still died for them, shouldn’t we do the same?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Growing in Wisdom

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

Two of our greatest challenges; not knowing what to do and not doing what we know. One deals with experience and the other with choice. But, both have to do with maturity. The mature soldier is both growing in knowledge and the ability to take action with the information he has. When the two are put together, it’s called wisdom. It’s important that we never stop growing and maturing whether we are fresh out of Basic Training or we’ve been around since the water tower was a listerbag. SP 183