Christian Report August 2022
Spotlight on Ministry: NAS Pensacola
Spotlight on Ministry: NAS Pensacola
CMF newcomer Rick Hamme introduces himself and the ministry he will be conducting on behalf of CMF in the Florida Panhandle.
It's only fitting that since I came to the Lord long ago in an enlisted Bible Study with my fellow enlisted classmates who were in a follow-on school after basic training, I would end up doing a similar type of study in my ministry. Upon graduating from USNA and completing a tour as a USMC helicopter pilot, the Lord called me to serve Him as a Navy Chaplain. After over 37 years in professional ministry, I have returned to my roots! It is my joy to lead weekly Bible studies in the barracks of Marines and Sailors, studying how to work on aircraft at NAS Pensacola.
Twice a week, armed with homemade chocolate chip cookies (that are made with loving care by my lovely wife Jan), and drinks, I am doubly blessed to enter these barracks. First, I am blessed to be so warmly welcomed, and second, to make a difference in their lives.
After doing this for years, there are a substantial number of students that I have found to be 'hungry!' Hungry for a relationship with God and hungry for a relationship with others (especially after COVID)! At boot camp, these students did everything together! Now at this school, they are isolated after class, leading to feeling more separate and alone. These young men tend to be over the "homesickness" phase of life, but now they long for more of the closeness they felt while going through boot camp together. That's the operative word — together. They are with their classmates in class, but it is different.
Unlike boot camp, when these men go to chow, liberty, or work out, they don't go in a pre-made crowd. This leads to an unusual (for them) sense of isolation. To mitigate this, the men and I play Ultimate Frisbee on Saturday mornings. It is a great team sport, easy to learn, and new players can play well very quickly. It’s also a great workout while having a great time. We provide equipment and water and play with them. For many, it is a highlight of their week (other than Bible Study, of course!)
Finally, I am also blessed to be able to teach a Spiritual Fitness Class to one-half of the Marines, where I have a chance to encourage them not only to pursue their spiritual fitness, but to view these next many months that they are here as a fresh start in their life. To set the course not only for their professional military life but for their whole life. I also address the difference between killing and murder, which for an overwhelmingly large number of them is the first official class on the topic for our newest “hired professional killers.”
For far too long, the Marine Corps (and all the branches of the service) have taught them how to kill without equipping our warriors on how to deal with that life-changing responsibility. I am blessed to do so some and to point them in the direction of further heart preparation!
You Can’t Finish Well if You Don’t Keep Going
What if our well-intentioned response to another’s pain actually causes them more problems?
My husband Paul recently showed me a video of extreme skater Danny Way doing an amazing stunt over the Great Wall of China. He had trained and planned and anticipated this moment for ages, and his very first jump resulted in a severely sprained ankle. Danny took a moment to nurse his ankle, knowing if he bandaged it correctly before it could swell, he’d be in better shape to keep going. Instead of calling it quits, Danny continued to jump the Great Wall a handful more times.
As the clip finished, Paul was marveling at the amazing feat of the man and his stamina to endure the pain in order to accomplish the goal he’d set out to do. But me? My “mother’s heart” was bleeding and wincing in pain for the poor guy.
I considered what we had watched and told Paul if one of our boys attempted that and got hurt, I would have encouraged them to quit and ice their ankle. And I probably would have gotten them whatever their hearts desired to help them feel better. Lollipop? Character band aid? I’ll hunt it down and nurse that hurt with hugs and kisses and chocolate.
But the more I thought about it, I realized what I would have kept my son from accomplishing his mission if I encouraged him to quit because of pain. I realized my coddling would actually be detrimental to his purpose. It made me think of situations in my life where I have been in pain and well-meaning folks have hindered healing and growth.
As a young mom with young kids and a husband who was away a lot with the military, the most common “words of encouragement” I received were; “I don’t know how you do it. I never could.”
And oh, the volume of tears those misplaced words caused! Because I couldn’t have anticipated being able to do what I was doing. But it was and is the life to which God led us and in those early years I struggled through great pain and confusion as to how to do it well.
It was rare, but so meaningful, when someone would simply encourage; “I know this is hard. God is faithful. Keep going.”
Pain and suffering and hurt doesn’t need to be coddled away.
We need to remember the goal, press on, and take the time to learn what it means to truly encourage one another in the race that they have been called to run.
There is this quote that says something like; “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship was intended for.” And a rather profound Psalm tells us;
“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.” (Ps 107:23-24)
Let’s not forget that when fellow believers experience hurt or pain — when sorrows like sea billows roll in their deep waters — that their purpose to know Christ and to make Him known is still their purpose and let us be an encouragement to them to finish well.
Jessica Morris, along with her husband, SFC Paul Morris, AGR, are CMF Local Reps in Georgia.
Something Special for Our Deployed Members
Something Special for Our Deployed Members
Many of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines live in cramped quarters with other personnel, in very uncomfortable and challenging circumstances, working hard and putting in long hours every day — too tired to read a Bible, even if they have one.
The Military BibleStick reaches these service men and women, deployed in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, with God’s Word in audio — It can go with them and sustain them in even the most difficult circumstances.
It contains the entire Audio Drama New Testament and selected Psalms chosen specifically for “warriors,” yet it’s only about the size of a pack of chewing gum.
Designed to military specifications for safe and discreet use in low-light conditions, it features a matte black finish and red-light-only operation — and runs on an included single AAA battery!
Non-deployed members can purchase a Military Bible Stick for $25.00.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 798-7875 if you are interested in obtaining one.
The Peace of God Will Guard Your Heart
When mariners describe a tempest that no sailor can escape, they call it a “perfect storm.” Not perfect in the sense of ideal, but perfect in the sense of combining factors. All the elements, such as hurricane-force winds, a cold front, and downpouring rain, work together to create an insurmountable disaster. The winds alone would be a challenge—but the winds plus the cold plus the rain? The perfect recipe for disaster.
You don’t need to be a mariner to experience a perfect storm. In fact, you’ve undoubtedly already faced a few in your lifetime. A layoff plus recession. An illness plus a job change. A relationship breakup plus a college rejection. A sudden loss plus an unforeseen event that threatens your future. Individually, these elements might be manageable. But collectively, they are absolutely formidable. It’s enough to make you wonder, Will I even survive?
Paul’s answer to that question is as profound as it is concise. When you present your requests to God with thanksgiving, “the peace of God ... will guard your heart” (Philippians 4:7 NIV). In other words, as you do your part and release the worry to God, he does his part by bestowing on you his perfect peace. You should be worried ... but you’re not. You should be upset ... but you are calm. The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it.
When Paul was faced with a “perfect storm” at sea, he told the sailors, “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul...God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you'" (Acts 27:23–24 NIV). On the deck of a sinking ship, God sent angels to minister to Paul. He will do the same for you. Unlike the world, His resources are limitless, and His peace is permanent.
Perhaps you’ve prayed and prayed and heard nothing. Don’t give up! Rest in the truth that just as God sent angels to protect those you read about in the Bible, he will send his angels to protect you—even as your storm continues to rage. When you gave your life to Him, He took you into His family as a cherished child. He has purpose for your days, and He invites you to join in accomplishing His will in the world. He will use the storms to grow your faith and trust in Him.
When you seek the Lord, you will find Him. So seek Him first. Lead with worship and thanksgiving. Go first to your Father in prayer and praise. Confess to Him your fears. Gather with His people. Set your face toward God. Cry out for help. Admit your weakness. Then, once God moves, take a step and move with Him.
Expect to see the God of ages fight for you. He is near, as near as your next breath. You may be facing the perfect storm, but Jesus offers the perfect peace.
What are some “perfect storms” that you have faced in your life? What made them so difficult?
In what ways is God’s peace different from the kind of peace the world has to offer?
What protection do you need God to provide right now? How can you express your trust in God’s ability to care for you in the midst of these difficult circumstances?
Chief Derrick Norris serves on the board of CMF. He is also the Senior Pastor of Andice Baptist Church. He retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 2002. He loves to serve God, his country, and people. He wants to be a living example of a loving God to a world that is watching.
My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. (James 19-20)
We are fancy dirt and whatever is planted in our hearts and minds grows. If I plant unforgiveness — bitterness grows; sadness and sorrow — depression; anger or frustration — rage and isolation.
Do not be deceived: God is not to be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
LORD, Help me to be aware what I plant in my heart and mind,... and to choose You above everything else.
I will trust in You.
LCDR Scott Lawrence Radetski, CHC, USN (Ret.) is a long-time CMF Regional Ministry Representative, who energetically ministers to the military community in the Pacific Northwest.
Sharing Jesus Part 3 – The Sin Problem: How Bad Is It?
Having realized that the issue of sin is at the center of what’s wrong with the world and that it’s a very human problem, we need to ask “How bad is it?” If we know the answer, we can offer the best solution.
It’s like having a computer problem. Do I just have too many webpages trying to all load at the same time, or is there a problem so deep that I need to call the Geek Squad to fix things?
If we have a heart for sharing Jesus with others, what we understand that the inner problem of sin defines how we share Jesus with others. If sin is a problem deep inside of us, where did it come from and again, how bad is it?
Most of us would agree that the problem of sin began when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. We would also agree that what followed their disobedience was physical death in this life and a separation from God. What we might not agree on is the nature of the ‘separation’ from God. Assuming that Adam’s sin affected all of mankind, does that mean that all human beings are born basically good with some flaws but are able to help themselves out of a pickle? Or does it mean that we are so messed up that we are totally unable to dig ourselves out of the ditch? What does the Bible say?
The Bible tells us that those with carnal minds (the only kind possible for an unbeliever) are actually in active rebellion against God and can do nothing to please God (Rom 8:7). The Bible also tells us that a person without the Spirit of God (all unbelievers) cannot understand the things of God and thinks they are a bunch of foolishness (1 Cor 2:14). And the Bible tells us that the ‘natural’ man is completely unable to approach God on his own (John 6:44 & 65).
If just having ‘capability’ issues isn’t bad enough, the Bible tells us that we aren’t just wounded, we are totally and completely ‘dead’ in our trespasses and sin, not that we are basically good and just ‘do’ bad stuff now and again (Eph 2:1 & 5, Col 2:13).
It’s not that we are as bad or evil as we could be, but that we are as bad off as we could possibly be when we live apart from Christ. After all, how ‘dead’ is dead? What can a ‘dead’ man do? (If those aren’t rhetorical questions, we have a problem.)
We probably don’t need Ralph Venning’s “Sinfulness of Sin” or to be able to explain the difference between a ‘trespass’ and a ‘sin’ at this point, but what’s really important is understanding and being able to talk about the depth of the problem of sin. That understanding will affect how we share Christ with those who desperately need Him.
So, armed with a biblical understanding of ‘spiritually dead’ and understanding that in essence, unbelievers are ‘dead men walking’, we can now move on to the next part of our short series, providing the solution to the problem of sin in a manner that honors God.
Stay tuned for Part 4!
SGM Daniel Cartwright, USA (Ret.) is a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces and long-time member of Christian Military Fellowship. He also serves on the CMF Board of Directors.
Happy Anniversary Udell and Janet!
Udell and Janet Meyers (Quantico MCB) recently celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary with a wonderful meal in their home. When asked if they also shared the meal with a houseful of Marines, Udell assured us that for this occasion, it was just he and Janet! Happy anniversary!
Christian Military Fellowship
An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Christian Service Charities in order to maintain the highest standards of excellence and accountability.
We are pleased to announce that MinistryWatch has listed CMF as one of their “Shining Light” Ministries. To become a MinistryWatch “Shining Light,” a ministry must have earned a 5-star rating on MinistryWatch’s 5-star financial efficiency scale. Further, those ministries on this list have a Transparency Grade of “A.” That’s MinistryWatch’s highest transparency grade. Out of 700 ministries, only 13 meet these strict criteria.
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Veradale, WA 99037-0449