Christian Report June 2022
News of the Christian Military Fellowship
Soldiers of the Cross Live and Fight with ENDURANCE!
God’s true warriors must fight the good fight of faith. Our Commander in Chief isn’t asking us to represent His Command by wounding allies or abusing the lost. Paul uses this example of fighting, waging war, and soldiering, to call young Timothy and every Soldier of the Cross to exercise the qualities of a warrior who is fighting against the enemy.
Paul ordered Timothy to “fight the good fight” in 1 Timothy 1. He called Archippus, who hosted a church in his home, a “fellow soldier” in Philemon 2. He called Epaphroditus, the messenger to the church at Philippi, a “fellow soldier” in Philippians 2. Paul used each part of a warrior’s armament to demonstrate a lesson for spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6.
This picture of a soldier paints a passionate portrait for each believer to pursue. What does your Commander want from you, soldier? Instant obedience to His orders, deep loyalty, rigid self-discipline, bold in speaking out and valor in defense of the truth. These qualities should characterize each one of Christ’s warriors–reminding you that the path of devotion to Christ is not easy or instant, it is a long and difficult road to follow.
Maturity and effective service requires steadfast endurance and abiding faith. To effectively flee sin and pursue Christlike character, to minister greatly, serve diligently, disciple aggressively, teach clearly–then we must have a warrior’s mentality. A French general in World War I, Marshall Foch commanded, “You must not retire, you must hold at all costs.” “Then,” said the officer, “that means we must die.” Foch answered, “Precisely!”
Warfare demands courage, commitment, and sacrifice. Paul orders Timothy “Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 2: 3a) Timothy, join in suffering with me. Join me in obedience. Join me in unfaltering loyalty. Join me in sacrifice and discipline.
The main predicate phrase, “suffer hardship,” doesn’t sound fun or easy, and it isn’t. It’s a compound verb translated in other places “as share my pain,” “take your part in suffering,” “accept your share of unjust evil,” “take your part of rough treatment,” or “endure harshness.” “Suffer hardship” literally means “to suffer evil, to suffer trouble, and to endure injustice.”
This is the reverse of what is being taught today. Listen Army of the Lord. The Commander in Chief isn’t handing out brochures, offering fringe benefits to those who become Christians. God enlists us as soldiers and calls us to engage as warriors in a battle that will not end until death or until the Lord returns. As Paul wrote these words, he was an embattled warrior, a POW who was sentenced to death. He would remain faithful to the end, and he wanted Timothy to show the same endurance as he did.
Truly being a soldier involves suffering. Warriors exercise until they think they might die. Privates eat whatever’s served them, they sleep in foxholes, they remain in the dirt until they’re told they can leave. The lot of every Marine is to endure hardships and privations–which might include persecution, imprisonment, and even death.
Thankfully, Paul added “Suffer hardship with me.” Paul would never ask anything of Timothy he himself wasn’t willing to endure. Paul is suffering for his faith in Christ, and he orders Timothy to suffer for his faith in Christ. Not a system, not a religion–but suffer for the Commander who already suffered and died for you.
Both Paul and Timothy were facing beatings, imprisonment, and even death. However, Christians today, might be facing embarrassment, the removal of benefits, and the loss of freedoms. The more faithful we are to sound doctrine and intense training; the more our Commander will bless our labor. Thus, making us a target for the enemy!
Satan, the enemy, will place landmines, put up roadblocks, and initiate rejections that result in hurtful difficulties. Spiritual warfare will intensify, and greater hardships will fall on you. Paul commands, “Take it like a good soldier. Endure! Don’t run from battle, don’t start living like a civilian. But fight the good fight as you continue to trust in God’s control, love, and wisdom.” Will you continue to have faith that everything He does is for His glory and your ultimate good?
Every Christian is a warrior in the Army of Christ. The Lord is your Commander. As a soldier, we fight on God’s side, serve under His Command, stay focused on His mission, obey His orders instantly, and seek to please Him in all things. Like a good soldier, live with endurance under hardship.
To Win… To Disciple… To Equip… To Win !!!
This series will continue next month by examining the entanglements the enemy uses to divert our purpose.
Dr. Doug Sullivan is the Chairman of the Board for CMF. He is a prior-enlisted, prior-line officer who then became a USAF chaplain and retired in 2006. Lt. Col Sullivan continues to serve as the Command Staff Chaplain for the Texas Civil Defense.
A Worship Lifestyle
What comes to mind when I mention the word ‘worship’? Do you think of the way people look upon the Hollywood megastars or NFL gridiron giants? What about the Wall Street investors who seem to worship the stock and commodity markets? Who can ignore that guy who is always out in the driveway washing and polishing that classic sports car? Should we use the word worship for those temporal things, or would we be better served to say that people are ‘enamored’ by those things? Worship is a word that is very overused and cheapened when it’s not reserved for God.
Perhaps when I mention worship, you think of a specific time on Sundays where people assemble in a church building with a hymnbook. Those hymn collections do not always have the soundest of theology, but they are certainly rich in verbal treasures that grip the heart. A very famous hymn was penned by a man who had lost his entire family at sea. Many were written by Fanny Crosby who was blind in sight but, certainly could see levels of spirituality beyond what 20/20 eyesight can bring.
Many battles have been fought over worship. What a strange thing to say! We tend to think of worship as an event that starts at 11 am sharp and ends at 12 pm dull. You might think of holding a tattered hymnal that you pull from the back of the pew so you can try to figure out why only the 1st, 2nd and 5th stanzas are sang in a song. It makes me feel sorry for the poor chap that wrote the hymn since a couple of the verses he labored over are frequently skipped in the interest of time.
The Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, recently pointed out that 99% of our worship opportunities are between Monday – Saturday. The hour or two we are at church is our opportunity to worship corporately. However, a thorough examination of the life and teachings of Jesus demonstrates that our worship of God is not to be a once-a-week event. For a heart that has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, worship is the natural expression of a grateful heart. In fact, the great A.W. Tozer stated, “If you’re not worshiping God on Monday the way you did the day before, perhaps you’re not worshiping Him at all.”
The old Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Worshipping God is a way of life. While many self-improvement gurus will tout the value of yoga, martial arts, meditation and other methods to deal with the stress of hectic lives, the time-tested practice of worshipping the creator of all is a way to take the focus off of our own woes as we praise the King of kings and Lord of lords. A woman once asked Jesus about the best place to worship. Jesus responded with a comment that God desires people who worship in spirit and in truth. In a world of chaos, find an oasis of worship and as the old hymn states, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Tony “T-Bar” Barnes is a 28-year veteran of the Marine Corps and Air Force. He also retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs after 10 years. Tony serves on CMF’s Board of Directors.
Sharing Jesus Part 1 – Starting a Conversation
Here’s the scenario: God has placed in your heart a desire to share Jesus. Although you’ve studied various ‘methods’ of evangelism, you’re not sure how to start. How do you proceed with this important task? Well, like the title of this blog post suggests, start a conversation, after having asked God to open a heart to hear a hard message!
First, you need to identify the root problem before you offer a solution. Jesus didn’t come to earth and die on a cross for ‘your best life now’. He came to die for the sins of God’s people (Matthew 1:21). Our ultimate goal is to share the Christ who died for our sins. You can start this most important conversation just like you might start any other. Choose a topic from the news. Think of something ‘bad’ that was reported. It could be local crime, dirty politics, another mass shooting, or a terrorist attack. You might ask, “Did you hear about what happened at _________?” “Why do you think that guy did that?” Ask about something specific everyone probably knows about and ask a “Why do you think…..” question. You’re sending the message that you are interested in a thoughtful response, the other person’s opinion.
The answer most likely will be something like “He was nuts/ mean/etc.” Take the reason given and ask another “why do you think” question. “Why do you think he’s nuts, mean, etc.”? That’s a different level question that goes to the motive for the ‘act’.
What you would like to hear is something like “Well, maybe there’s something inside that caused him to …” If you get that response, you can take the conversation to a still deeper level by asking another question: “What do you think that ‘inner’ problem might be?” At this point it’s time to identify and name the problem. The Bible calls our problem “sin”. This is the moment in the conversation to bring that up. The conversation has officially begun!
Do you see where this is going? Some have called this the Colombo” technique (think Peter Falk and all his question asking). All you are doing is having a friendly conversation with the goal of taking the conversation to the main problem we all have - sin. You don’t really have to open a Bible until you get to the part where you suggest that “The Bible calls our problem sin.” That’s the time to read directly from its pages (Romans 3:23 for example). So that’s how you start a conversation with an unbeliever. It might only take a single conversation to get to the main issue, or it might take longer. You asked God to open a heart before you began the conversation and you continued to pray during the conversation. Now pray that God, through the Holy Spirit, would water the seeds you planted.
Dan Cartwright 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.
Many people think the opposite of fear is hope, courage, or strength. The true opposite of fear is faith. And when fear causes paralysis, it not only quenches one’s peace, but it attacks the foundation of that peace—namely, our faith. Peace goes out the window when fear is present.
Much of fear is rooted in doubt that God will be present, provide justice or help, or be capable of dealing with the crisis at hand. Faith says, “Yes, God is here. Yes, God will provide. Yes, God is capable of all things!”
Much of fear is rooted in threats—sometimes threatening words, sometimes threatening behavior. Faith says, “I will not be traumatized by threats. I will act wisely, not fearfully. I believe God will prevent whatever the threat is from ever coming to pass. And if the threat does come to pass, I believe God will help me deal with whatever is thrown at me.”
When Saul, king of Israel, realized that God had taken His hand of anointing and blessing from him (because of his arrogance and disobedience) and had placed it instead upon the young man, David, he was furious. He began a campaign to find David and kill him—to remove this threat from his life (1 Sam. 19). On the other hand, David felt threatened by Saul’s army and on several occasions feared for his life. But Scripture tells us that David was strengthened by God’s promises to protect him and one day make him king of Israel.
In our modern world, we often read of people who, in spite of intimidation by disease, accident, or danger, pressed ahead to uncertain outcomes—rejection, defeat, and, yes, sometimes victory. Arctic explorers, Olympic athletes, missionaries, venture capitalists, and philanthropists come to mind. So threats do not have to stymie and cripple us.
Our challenge in times of threat is not to focus on what might become a reality, but rather, to focus on what we can count on being true.
Many people are living under a dark cloud of threat today. Some are experiencing the threat of disease, some are facing the threats of injury to their children, and some are hearing threats related to the loss of their job.
The answer to all these types of threats is faith in what we know to be true about God and about His love and care for us and His ability to provide for all we need—especially His peace, which can help carry us through anything.
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.
Book of the Month
A Tale of Three Kings By Gene Edwards
This best-selling tale is based on the biblical figures of David, Saul, and Absalom. For the many Christians who have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing, and hope. Christian leaders and directors of religious movements throughout the world have recommended this simple, powerful, and beautiful story to their members and staff. You will want to join the thousands who have been profoundly touched by this incomparable story.
Here’s how to order: As a member, you may order this book for free either through our website or by emailing us at: Resource@cmfhq.org
Are You Interested in Becoming a Local Leader?
Christian Military Fellowship exists to help you fulfill your calling in Christ to share the hope that is in you with those with whom you interact as part of your daily life.
Remember our motto, in keeping with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is: “To win , to disciple, to equip, to win”!
Toward that end we encourage you to complete the briefing material we send to our new members:
Orientation (Brief #1) that shares an overview of the CMF ministry.
Developing a Local Ministry (Brief #2) that shares the Biblical foundation for you local ministry and delineates the logical steps in beginning your local ministry.
Pray and Plan (Brief #3) that shares the most important activity of all! Asking Jesus what He would have you to do and then being obedient to follow His leading in your local ministry. This will begin your journey of obedience to the Great Commission (Matthew 18:28-30).
If you choose to begin this process, you may send your completed and signed exams to us by US Mail or via email at:
They are also available at the CMF Web Site at Members Only->Member Downloads->Be a Leader tab.
We’re praying for you!
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.