Saturday, June 30, 2007

Attitude Adjustment

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

Reality was beginning to sink in when they issued me my Desert Camouflage Uniforms. I was headed to Kuwait and I knew the four-month deployment would be miserable. My brother Mike had just returned from a rotation in the desert and I got a full debriefing. I was forewarned. So instead of viewing it as some torturous expedition, I made up my mind to have a positive attitude. I memorized Philippians 4:8 and repeated it often during the sand storms, heat, bugs, long hours of counseling, monotonous meals, etc. I must say, it was one of the best times of my life. What you think develops an attitude and attitude can change everything.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Driving On

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)

He gave no instructions, we just started running. My Samoan Squad Leader was a PT animal. We ran around Abrams Drop Zone and then to the river and started heading for the barracks (about 12 miles). We were relieved and proud that we had accomplished such a physical feat. But, we didn’t stop! The Squad Leader just kept running. We ran right past the barracks as the rest of the company was heading for the showers. What a deflating moment. A few of us hung in there. We would not allow ourselves to quit. We proceeded to run around North Fort and back (another 6 miles). Eighteen miles for Monday morning PT! You know the Christian life is a lot like that run. Sometimes we think we have arrived and then we realize the finish line is still way down the road. Life is not a sprint. We need to be faithful for the long haul. Don’t Quit, Keep Driving On!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I Believe in Life After Death

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11:25-26)

In a moon lit night the swift current of the Nasqually River took control of the 15-man rubber raft. My PSG knew we were out of control and made one last command, ‘Don’t let this thing turn sideways.’ No sooner had he barked out the order, when we hit a massive tree stump in the middle of the river. The raft turned sideways and dumped its contents of rangers into the glacier fed waters. As the other rangers swan free, I was trapped under water, snared in the raft’s rigging. As I tried to untangle myself, I thought, ‘This is it, this is the end.’ Suddenly, the upside-down raft jolted and I was unshackled. I popped out of the water gasping for air. “I’m alive!” I believe this a good picture of what it will be like for us when we experience physical death. We will pop out of the turbulent waters of this life into the next. What an exciting promise to look forward to.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Timid Ranger

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Most people don’t know this but I have an incredible fear of drowning. Because I was close to becoming fish food on three separate military training events, I get a little nervous or timid around water. I recognized this weakness and I enrolled in a scuba diving class. I wanted to confront my fear head on. Several friends in my Sunday School class also signed up. As we got in the water and began to be acquainted with the breathing apparatus, all but one friend dropped from the class. As I watched the others get out of the water, fear was raging inside of me. I aggressively reminded myself I could not quit and had to overcome this phobia. Soon I was 15-20 feet below, exploring the waters. This is the way we should tackle our fears in our spiritual lives as well. We cannot allow timidity to sideline us in our walk with Christ. Take the plunge and go for it!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Good Commo

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

In my 26 years of service I've been through 3 generations of radios. I found that no matter which radio, you could always establish good commo if you knew what you were doing. I heard, 'This radio is a piece of junk!' over and over again. I even said it myself a few times. But most of the time it wasn't the radio with the problem, it was the operator. It took time and effort to learn to use our communications gear effectively. It's the same with prayer and seeking God. There are those who have given up on prayer because 'it didn't work.' But let me assure you there is nothing wrong with the receiver, it's the transmitter. Seek Him with all your heart.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

This is God's desire for each of us: success (as defined by God, not man), hope, and a future. Three things none of us would turn down. But every time we do not follow the Commander's Intent we end up doing just that, denying the very power to receive them. Following the whole plan of God for our lives is essential. We often get daily FRAGOs (fragmentary orders). How we follow the FRAGOs will determine how well we follow the big plan.

Charlie Mike! (Continue Mission)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)

Wow, we have done some waiting in the military haven't we? Sometimes it's in the most miserable weather, too. One of the most notorious places for waiting is Green Ramp at Pope Air Force Base. When I was in the 82nd Airborne Division I sat on that concrete forever waiting for a jump (and sometimes just to find out the jump was cancelled). But when it comes to waiting on God, we can be assured it's always beneficial. Sometimes it's a matter of our not being ready. Sometimes it's a matter of lining up other people and circumstances. But waiting on God is always about perfect timing. Who knows where that extra time in the chow line or the delay traffic will lead. Learn to rest in your waiting.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Jesus replied: `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ (Matthew 22:37-40)

Being an Infantryman was great because everything was boiled down to its most basic elements. Folks often joke about grunts being less than intellectual in their profession. More brawn then brains. (I did like coloring all those pictures in my FMs) But, the truth of the matter is the simpler the task, the easier it is to implement. Christian living is simple too. We only need to remember two things: Love God and Love People. Simple, right? It's a good thing too, because if you're like me, that's plenty.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

PX Warriors

If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

Ever run into a PX warrior? You know what I mean, guys who really haven't earned a badge or award but are wearing it anyway. When they are discovered, it’s quite a disappointment. The soldier is stealing the hard earned merits of those who really deserve the honor. It’s false advertising and their individual integrity isn't worth the price of the badge itself. Do we fall into the trap of false advertising as Christians? Isn’t it the same when we say we love God and do not love our brothers? Love for God cannot exist without love for others. Don't be a PX Christian, love God by loving the people around you.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

I'm not sure I counted Ranger School as pure joy. But one thing for sure, it did develop perseverance. It was also a time of growing faith. I read parts of the New Testament up in the mountains and down in Florida. I considered for the first time that maybe I ought to seriously seek out a relationship with God. And I was stiffly confronted on my own sin. All this was brought on by a prolonged period of suffering. As I look at the results, not only physically but spiritually, I can count it all joy. But Ranger School isn't the toughest thing life has to hand out. We can suffer in many ways but we have more hope when we understand its process and product. Hang in there.

One Target, Three Questions

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Going to See the General

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

I checked in with the secretary and then entered the General’s office. It was the first time I wasn't nervous around a general officer. Oh, don't get me wrong. I demonstrated the respect due any senior leader but my knees weren’t knocking. I wasn't feeling the anxiety I normally experienced. The reason for the calm is clear. He had been my battalion commander and we had developed a close professional relationship. Relationship makes all the difference. That's what we have with God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, a relationship. And now, rendering all proper respect due to the Creator, we can enter into God's presence with confidence and calm.

Friday, June 15, 2007


The LORD said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, `Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.'‘ So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. (Judges 7:2-3)

The answer was ‘NO’ from the Chief of Chaplain's Office the first time I applied for the chaplaincy. I had banked on the fact that I was an Airborne Ranger and the Army needed me. Even the Chief's Office had affirmed me two and half years earlier. Seems my permanent hearing loss and my school credentials would keep the chaplaincy out of my reach ‘forever’. I was crushed. Three years later, through some miraculous circumstances, I was suddenly eligible again. The message was clear. God didn't need all my tabs and badges. He would receive the credit for my accessioning to the Army Chaplaincy. Some times more is not better. To God be the glory!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

When you are young, death seems like something reserved for the unlucky in combat or a parachute jump. But the older you get the more the reality of such a fate begins to soak in. Then the big reach for significance begins to take over; a reach for promotion, power, material goods, and anything that would satisfy the yearning to be somebody who has done something. But unless we invest in the eternal, we simply toss it all to the wind. Fix your eyes on the eternal.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

My brother, was talking to an older gentleman when he remarked, ‘I'm feeling old.’ My 41-year-old brother, replied, ‘Yah, I know what you mean.’ The man in his 60's rebutted, ‘No you don't. You're still young.’ To which my brother replied again, ‘And how many combat equipment parachute jumps do YOU have?’ You know, my brother has a point. For a lot of us it's not age, it's mileage. Yes this tent will fade but our hope is in Christ who will be able to rescue us from our decay. Everyday is just one step closer to glory.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Souvenirs VS Treasures

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

I can remember as a kid sneaking up to the attic to look at some of my Dad's old stuff. My favorite things were in an old footlocker. The wooden box contained maps, uniforms, equipment, and other trinkets. When I opened it up, I was immediately confronted with the smell of rotting souvenirs from the Vietnam War. The smell was an aged combination of jungle and sweat, a unique odor of decay. They were pretty cool things to rummage through but it would be foolish to treasure that kind of stuff (or any other material thing for that matter). It's all rotting away. We need to remember that our riches are stored in heaven. We need to deepen our relationship with Christ and extend our love to other people. These are the treasures that bear the sweet aroma of our good works and are kept safe in an eternal footlocker.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

You are Different

The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

(1 John 2:6)


I had the opportunity to walk through the halls of the High School I had dropped out of six months prior. I strutted past familiar classrooms in my dress greens and peered through the glass looking for friends. I came to my US History class and the teacher glanced my way. It was the same teacher who told me I would never amount to anything. It was apparent that he either didn't recognize me or didn't want to recognize me. One thing for sure, I was different. I was not the same guy he had scolded a half a year earlier. The same should be said for us as Christians as we walk the halls of this world. A good question to ask ourselves; Am I the same person I was six months ago, a year ago?  Am I becoming more like Christ?


Pass it on to a friend in need of change. 





Friday, June 08, 2007

Set Free

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

After returning from a deployment to Kuwait for Intrinsic Action and Operation Desert Fox, I jumped into my car for the first time. As I drove down the street, my Explorer seemed like a new fit and much more comfortable than my Hummer back in the desert. I also realized I could drive anywhere I wanted. I was free. What a feeling of relief! We can experience a similar freedom in our lives through our relationship in Christ. Jesus has freed us from the power of sin and death. We receive incredible liberty through the knowledge of God’s love and His benevolent acts of grace toward us. We breath a sigh of relief, knowing that our freedom leads to eternal life and greater commitment to Him. We are free in Christ!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

First Shot is Not Always a Hit

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19-20)

It was a perfectly good windshield on a old pick up truck and everyone was eager to get a shot at it. The goal for the eight snipers was to see what type of deflection the windshield would have on the bullet. The Lieutenant was standing on the firing line explaining how we would all shoot at the same time. Ready, aim, fire, BANG, my weapon was the only one that splattered the windshield. It seems the LT was still in the process of explaining the commands. Not only was he very weak-kneed from being scared half to death by the unexpected shot, but he was very angry (so were the rest of my sniper compadres). Likewise, there are times we are quick to shoot off our mouth before we fully understand the situation. We need to listen carefully before we engage in speech, especially if we are angry. Once words are spoken, they can’t be retrieved.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Through the Storm, Not Always from the Storm

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18)

Have you ever noticed they don't put guys who are cold, wet, and hungry on recruiting posters? The fact of the matter is, as a soldier, sometime or another, you'll be all three (and probably all at the same time). That's the reality of being a soldier. The same is true for the Christian life. God does not promise a painless life but He does promise He'll get you through it. He will make a way through those tough circumstances. Our job is to endure and trust in Him as He guides us through the storm.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior (Psalm 42:5)

One of our greatest fears as soldiers is NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare), especially the nerve agents. When we see the films of the poor goats exposed to agents and slowly twitch to death, it makes us very aware that this stuff is dangerous. But there is an antidote and if you inject yourself quick enough you'll survive. Depression can be like a nerve agent. It can begin to dim the senses and paralyze positive thinking. Putting our hope in God and His promises is the antidote to depression.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


‘In your anger do not sin’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

As a soldier I've been all over the world and I have seen a lot of awesome sunsets. Kuwait, California, Korea, The Carolinas, Egypt, Texas, Italy, Kentucky, all with their own beautiful sunsets. But they also have one other thing in common. We're not to let the Big Heat Tab in the Sky go down with our anger still simmering. That means dropping your ruck of frustration before BENT (Beginning Evening Nautical Twilight). Sunset mean letting it go.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

When We are Weak

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We were training with Navy SEALs at Coronado, California and the obstacle course was getting a work out. Seems a little competition was going on between commanders. We had four consecutive runs at the sandy torture chamber and it appeared no one was winning. By the fourth round of affliction, my comrades and I had hit muscle failure and were doing more bumbling and stumbling than running and climbing. We had become weak, a tough thing for a young Ranger to admit. Certainly, we all have felt weak at one time or another. We run the obstacle course of life and sometimes we just get plain smoked. There are times we feel so weak, we wonder if we can make it another day. This is when we really get to see the strength of Christ in us. Call on Him and He will give you the strength you need to press on. (Phil 4:13)

Friday, June 01, 2007

It’s the Little Things

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” (Luke 16:10)

Proud of myself and after much labor, I thought I had done a great job on making a new instructor assignment board. My Team Chief, a stickler for details, was quick to point out that the nametapes were not all the same length. A small detail that would certainly make the board look a lot better. He was instrumental in teaching me to pay attention to details. We also have to be very careful with the little things in our spiritual lives. We may start missing our weekly fellowship, or a daily devotion, or forget to pray. If we neglect these details, it hinders our fellowship with God. The smallest tasks may be the most important.