"Pastor Charlie Woodward", "Charlie Woodward"Pastor Charlie Woodward writes a daily devotion for the pandemic days until things are back to “normal,” whenever that may be. As the title states, we are in the wilderness alone, but we are still together. We may feel isolated and on our own. But we are in this together. I want to make sure we have an opportunity to stay connected. Each devotion will include a Bible verse, a brief reflection and prayer.  

Find a link to each day’s devotion below, or sign up here to receive the devotions to your inbox every morning. Choose the Devotions distribution list.

This is an opportunity for us to be present with each other in the days to come. You can be present by sharing your comments, insights, prayers and pictures in response to what Pastor Charlie shares in the coming days. For we are in this together. And where two or three are gathered in God’s name, God is present, too.

Speaking About What We Believe

The book of Acts of the Apostles is filled with stories of these followers of Jesus speaking up with the voices they are given to proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord.

In November 2018, I was blessed to participate in a class sponsored by Lutheran World Federation. This class brought Lutheran pastors from around the world, from Mexico to Myanmar, from United States to India, from Namibia to Nicaragua, from Brazil to Denmark, from Germany to Madagascar and more. I was thankful the classes were in English, and we were able to converse in English as well.

We spent a day going to Wartburg Castle, where Luther hid out and spent time translating the Bible to German. As we walked up the path, one of my colleagues from The U.S. said, “I wish I had my binoculars!” Our German friend asked what binoculars were. She didn’t recognize that word. So we explained to her what they were. Later she tried to recall this new English word, but it came out “banana-killers.” My American friend corrected her and told her how to say “binoculars” again. Then she pointed to her teeth and said, “THESE are my banana-killers!”

I believe sometimes we are afraid of speaking up and speaking out about what we believe, because we don’t have the right words or know what to say. I would argue that you do have the words. It is as simple as sharing where you see God in your life. Where have you seen the hand of God today?

In sharing this, we share that God is a part of who we are, and that God is with us. That works in EVERY language.

A few weeks ago, my friend from Mexico asked us to send him a video of ourselves reading a passage of scripture in our native tongue. He compiled it for Pentecost Sunday. Check it out to the right. 
 

Philippians 2:11 

Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

 

Let us pray

Almighty God, we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Open our lips to proclaim the Good News today. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Acts 5:17-26 

 

17 Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, 18 arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.” 21 When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.

When the high priest and those with him arrived, they called together the council and the whole body of the elders of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the temple police went there, they did not find them in the prison; so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering what might be going on. 25 Then someone arrived and announced, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went with the temple police and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
 
 

 


Disciples and Apostles

A Sunday School teacher asked her class if anyone in the class knew the difference between angels and saints. One of the boys raised his hand and said, “That’s easy! The Angels are a baseball team and the Saints are a football team!”

Oh how I miss sports … but I digress.

In today’s lesson we hear of Jesus choosing the twelve disciples, whom he also named apostles.

So what’s the difference?

A disciple is a student. In Jesus day, a disciple would learn the teaching of the rabbi. The disciple would learn the interpretations of the scripture, the life teachings and more. There was a blessing in Jesus’ day – “May you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi.” May you follow so closely behind and in the steps of your teacher that the very dust that is being kicked up by his sandals cover you.

An apostle is one who is sent. The word “postal,” as in postal service, comes from the same word. The apostle is one who is sent out to share the message of the teacher or leader.

The two seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? As a teacher, you would hope that your student not only hears the message, but shares it as well.

We do that as parents, don’t we? We teach our children and hope they learn and carry that message forward. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t!

When our daughter was about two years old, my wife had her up on the bed as she folded laundry. When the task was about done, my wife accidentally knocked a stack onto the floor. “Shoot!” she said. A couple minutes later, our daughter was throwing the folded laundry items onto the floor, one at a time and saying, “Shoot!” with each toss. My wife was thankful she said “Shoot!” and not somethings else!

As a pastor, one of my greatest joys is when I hear a member of the congregation repeat a statement of faith that they had picked up from me. While it is not all about me, it still warms my heart to know that these disciples have become apostles, too.

In that list of names, add your name, too. For I believe God has called you to follow and to learn, and I also believe that God sends you to spread the message.

Legend has it that St. Francis of Assisi put it this way, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

Luke 6:12-19 

 

Jesus Chooses the Twelve Apostles

12 Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Jesus Teaches and Heals

17 He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
 
 

Let us pray:

You have called us to follow. You call us to share. With all your saints and angels, open our ears to hear what you command, and move our feet do to your will. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.