Newsletter - May 2012
God Gave Me What I Need
My life verse has always been Philippians 4:13 (NASB), "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." For a long time I believed that meant God would give me what I needed to do all things. What I have discovered is that God gives us the strength to endure all things and be content in them for His glory, not mine.
The realization of this truly began to dawn on me as I answered the call to become a military chaplain. I thought I knew how my life and ministry was going to progress. For the last two decades I had been a staff pastor at various churches serving mainly in the area of worship and additional responsibilities. I was enjoying life in Lincoln, Nebraska and overseeing the local volunteer police/fire chaplaincy ministry. Then it all began to change.
My wife and I had the opportunity to go to a chaplaincy conference. We were very excited because we had never been to one on a national level. At the conference we met several military chaplains and their spouses. The topic was excellent and really spoke to me about ministry and outreach. Then came the bomb: the head of the chaplaincy ministry for our denomination talked about the shortage, at the time, of military chaplains and requested that everyone present pray for those being called to the ministry to step forward.Rest of Larry's story.
"Let not your hearts be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:1-2
How many funeral services include that verse? How many people have died defending our freedom? 25,000 Americans (those who fought to become "Americans") died in the Revolutionary War and 405,399 American's alone died during WW II. Unbelievable isn't it? I once saw a bumper sticker that said, "You don't have to agree with war to honor the soldiers." We just celebrated Memorial Day - most people got off work that date. Most of us enjoyed the day - maybe went to the beach, worked a little in the yard, cooked out, caught up on errands, or even rested and relaxed by the pool. That's what we normally do. Quite honestly, in years past I've looked for activities for us to do as a family that could teach our son the true meaning of the day and find some way of honoring our veterans - this year we were successful - we went to an "old time" picnic and among other things, heard from veterans - a couple of gentlemen who had stormed the beaches at Normandy! Also, in the last month we'd been blessed to spend time with some of our Country's finest.
I was able to host a man in our home who dropped everything because he felt he'd been called by God to be a Military Chaplin. He had to work HARD to make it happen...go back to school, lose over 100 lbs., etc., but he and his wife both agreed that this was what God wanted him to do. What a blessing it has been! Not only for himself (he is much healthier) but to the 32 Marines he helped lead to Christ, etc... His story is our feature story this month.
Also I was able to attend a nephew's military graduation at Ft. Bennington, GA. I've never seen one before. I am so proud of the "new man" he's grown to be - and see how proud he has become of all that he has endured already. Then, I also got to see his younger brother who has just returned from Afghanistan. You can read his story, "Military Bootcamp," at http://www.hanginonfaith.org/stories/story.php?num=12 and how he depended on his faith to survive.
And last but not least - I was able to see all the branches of our military together AND check off something from my bucket list when my family surprised me and took me to an Air Show at Cherry Point, NC. Totally cool (though it was extremely hot outside)!
I think we should be diligent about praying for those who have served and those currently serving and their families... whether you support war or not.
And there is another person that gave His life so that we could be free... free from sin and death, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We should honor His sacrifice every day - share His love to those around us.