Christian Report May 2022
News of the Christian Military Fellowship
Never Forget — You are Soldiers in a war!
By Doug Sullivan
“You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Tim 2: 1-4)
Onward Christians Soldiers! We are at war and need to be tough. Roman soldiers of Paul’s time were the toughest, most disciplined, and most resourceful fighting force in the world. They marched some 20 miles a day with over 50 pounds of gear. When they weren’t fighting, they practiced for battle, and they constructed roads and public buildings.
Roman soldiers under Centurion command were multi-gifted: they threw javelins, used short swords in battle, most could also swim across rivers and moats to get to an enemy, climb walls, shoot arrows, ride horses, and operate Roman war machines. In addition, Roman soldiers were the national police force–Federal Marshals for Rome. They maintained the peace by enforcing Roman law. Soldiers and their Centurions were found everywhere in the empire.
Jesus and Paul both knew soldiers personally. Jesus was very impressed with a Roman Centurion who came to Him for assistance.
“The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Matt 8:8-10)
Now, operating as a Roman citizen, Saul who became Paul writes: “You, Tim, are to be a ‘soldier of Christ.’” [paraphrased] (2 Timothy 2:3-4) A good soldier doesn’t quit because he faces difficult tasks or dangerous situations. He knows life is expendable, and he must be prepared to lay it down when required. This is what Paul is ordering Timothy to understand–stay in the battle regardless. Keep fighting the good fight of faith !!!
God calls each of us to become warriors. We must respond as good soldiers, “Yes sir, Lord”—not, “Whatever,” or “I’ll get to it.” Young couples need to develop more soldierly discipline raising children and managing their money. Warriors in their forties need to reject life choices which distract them from soldiering for Christ.
Older commanders must embrace assignments of investing in the lower ranks and not merely looking for the next weekend pass or opportunity to hang out at the BX or Commissary. Single Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines need to make a big impact for their Commander during this undistracted season of life. Why? Effective soldiers willingly disentangle their lives to please our Commander in Chief. This is how we accomplish our mission: To win, to disciple, to equip, to win !!!
Next month we will be examining the two major points Paul makes in the Greek text which involve endurance and entanglements.
You Were Dead
By Michael Kelley
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also.”
This is how the Bible describes all of humanity in Ephesians chapter 2:1–3. It’s a pretty dire situation. Notice in particular the word the Bible uses to describe the human condition: Dead.
If that word doesn’t speak to the severity and desperation of our situation, then surely nothing does. In fact, this word moves our situation well past desperate and into the territory of hopeless. And in a surprising way, this description from Ephesians 2 serves to contradict a well-known cultural axiom:
Christianity is a crutch for the weak.
When someone makes this statement, they usually mean it as an insult. What they mean is that people believe in God and in particular Jesus because they need to believe in him. Such people don’t have the intestinal fortitude to accept the randomness of life, so they fabricate this idea of a sovereign and loving God who is in control of events. They lean on this belief like a crutch because they aren’t strong enough to stand underneath the reality of the universe.
But according to Ephesians 2, Christianity isn’t a crutch for the weak, but not because that statement is insulting.
According to Ephesians 2, that statement isn’t insulting enough.
Christianity isn’t a crutch for the weak, because a crutch gives us far too much credit and robs the gospel of its full implication and power.
Christianity isn’t a crutch for the weak; it’s a stretcher for the dead.
We often think being saved is something like this: We are floating in the sea of sin and death about to drown when, with our last bit of strength, we cry out to Jesus who throws us a life preserver. That’s certainly a situation from which we would need to be saved, but that’s not what we see in this passage of Scripture. Instead, the picture here is not of someone who is drowning, but of a corpse, dead and bloated, floating face down in the sea. No strength. No power. No hope.
That’s what it means to be saved.
And that’s the promise of the gospel. Ephesians 2 continues with two of the most amazing words in all of Scripture: “But God …” We were dead, but God … We had no hope, but God … We could not rescue ourselves, but God …
The gospel doesn’t claim to help the weak; it claims to make the dead live again.
It is only when we begin to see the true nature of the utter despair of humanity that we begin to see Jesus not as the key to a better life. Not as a sage only teaching about love. Not as a miracle worker only concerned with the alleviation of human suffering.
Jesus is our Rescuer. And, according to the Bible, he rescues from sin and death. In the ultimate “But God” moment, Jesus reaches down and hauls the corpse of humanity up and breathes new life into it. In so doing, he saves us from sin and its corresponding just punishment: death. Jesus, the Great Rescuer, has come, and his salvation is the move from spiritual death to spiritual life forever with him.
© Outreach Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. OutreachMagazine.com
Fighting the Battle
By Becky Juett Miller
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
I don't know what struggle you have, but one of mine is imaginations. The enemy knows this so he tries to attack me in this area. Sometimes I allow him to, instead of fighting back with scripture. We who are Christians should be aware we are in a battle for our very souls. To be able to get a brother or sister in Christ imagining things and trying to figure things out is a specialty of the enemy. If you feel this occurring stop what you are doing and tell Satan to leave you alone.
One example is that you think people are thinking something they are not. It is necessary to take every thought captive and focus on good things and not dwell on stuff that will make you start thinking wrong things. I am not saying this in a mentally ill sense but just the sheer area of controlling what your mind is allowed to dwell on.
Wake up daily and grab your Bible and saturate your mind with good thoughts. Tell Satan he is to leave you alone because you are a child of the King. Then go enjoy a peace filled day.
PRAYER: I choose this day to focus on things above and how I can add joy to someone's life around me. I cast down any wrong thinking. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Let Us Engage & Run Together
By Mike Fligg
Let’s Engage & Run TOGETHER (E&RT)!… because it’s time for a reproducible approach to discipleship.
Continuous/combat operations, deployments and personnel turbulence require simple ideas, simple tools, low overhead activities, and personal initiative. Let’s tailor how we follow Christ and how we train others so that it works in any environment. The enemy of our souls is looking to devour isolated soldiers/seamen/airmen and families … many get at most an hour a week of spiritual input and think they have no need for more! As we Engage & Run TOGETHER we can include them in small groups, draw them to Christ, and train them to Engage & Run Together wherever they go.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV)
Perhaps initiated by a CMF leader or a Chaplain, small groups organize and direct themselves in cooperation with Chaplains, Pastors, and CMF leaders. The key idea is that each participant should see, live, and learn these seven “reproducibles” well enough to begin reproducing them at his or her next duty station:
Inductive Bible Study P Grow Together
Conversational Prayer P Pray and Plan
Excellence in all Things
Pray and Plan
Lead by Example
While a curriculum is something you start, follow for a while, and finish, E&RT is a framework, a philosophy of ministry, a set of basic tools and attitudes …something to be taught by example, lived individually and in small groups; a way to help us and those we lead to press on toward the mark. After a Bible Study of three sets of foundational verses and the seven reproducibles, subsequent study topics should be pray-and-planned by the group in coordination with Chaplains/Pastors and leaders.
Download the E&RT overview and curriculum. Let’s win, disciple, equip, and win more souls!
How a 19th Century Criminal Set My Soul On Fire
His name was Charles F. Peace, Charlie to all who knew him, and most who knew him wished they didn’t. You see, Charlie was a criminal, a burglar and a murderer, and he lived for his own pleasure and that alone.
Many years ago, as a new Christian, my pastor spoke of Charlie Peace and his criminal life. According to Wikipedia, he was “born on 14 May 1832, in Darnall, Sheffield...At age fourteen, Charles was permanently crippled in an accident at a steel-rolling mill.”
In 1854, Charlie was found guilty of multiple burglaries and sentenced to four years of penal servitude. Soon afterwards he committed a major burglary in Manchester, nearly killing a police officer who came to arrest him, and was sentenced to six years' penal servitude.
In 1876, while fleeing the scene of a burglary he had just committed, Charlie shot and killed the constable who was trying to bring him to justice. Soon thereafter, Charlie murdered a friend after becoming obsessively interested in his friend’s wife.
There’s quite a bit recorded of this topic of English folklore. Books have been written and movies have been made about him. Even his last meal has been recorded:
“On the morning of his execution, Peace ate a hearty breakfast of eggs and salty bacon and calmly awaited the coming of the public executioner, William Marwood, inventor of the "long drop". He was escorted on the death-walk by the prison chaplain, who was reading aloud from The Consolations of Religion about the fires of hell. Peace burst out "Sir, if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!" Peace was buried in Armley Gaol. He was 46 years old.”
When my pastor shared Peace’s impassioned words, my heart was forever changed and I developed a tremendous burden for the lost. How can I let people go to hell when I know the one route of escape? Indeed, if we believe, why would we not put ourselves through any discomfort to win souls? If you would like to learn how to lead someone to Christ, let us know! And if you know, pray for those divine appointments. Remember, he who wins souls is wise. — Kathi Jo Orr
Book of the Month
Year of the Military Bible Challenge
Hard. But not that hard.
It’s 75 Bible passages divided into five sections over 15 days each. The accounts may be read straight through each day or five days a week for several weeks.
“Similar to the course instructions you receive when entering the military, you have arrived at a set of instructions that will change your life and transform you in every possible way.”
Order your book and let’s move out!
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 found in 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.
By completing the Orientation Exam, Leader Certification Questionnaire, and Developing a Local Ministry Exam you can become a CMF Local Representative. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
They are also available at the CMF Web Site at Members Only->Member Downloads->Be a Leader tab (you must be logged in to access).
We’re praying for you!