Join me in prayer for Afghanistan

Dear friends of the Canadian military community,
 
The events of this past week in Afghanistan and in particular in the capital of Kabul are widely known. For many of us the rapid Taliban take-over of the nation is not only shocking, but also heart breaking. Many members of our community have worked sacrificially in support of aiding the people of Afghanistan to gain freedoms that we in Canada take for granted. We have suffered injuries and we have lost comrades. We now experience grief anew, frustration, anger and disappointment. There is a very real tendency to lay blame on politicians, on Afghan security forces or on anyone else who we think added to this catastrophic turn of events. Yet, these reactions will not help either ourselves or the people of Afghanistan.
 
We members of the military Christian community have a unique opportunity in these matters. We are called to pray and to offer support where, when and how we are able. We must pray for political leaders to act with wisdom towards the new regime of Afghanistan for the sake of the Afghans, we must pray for the hand of God to restrain acts of violence against the people, we must pray for our fellow military community members who are and will be further injured by these events, and we must pray for the media that they will be able to keep us informed of what is truly happening on the ground in Afghanistan and be kept safe from recriminations. In short, we must pray. We are told that the prayers of a righteous person can accomplish much (James 5:16). 
 
If you are able, please implore your faith community leaders to join you in these prayers. The very next time you gather, either in person or online, bring to the conversation the very real needs of the people of Afghanistan and ask them to join you and others in prayer.  These are not the only events in need of prayer, but Afghanistan has been the focus of Canadian military effort for many years and her people warrant the intercessory prayers of the believing military community of Canada.  Please join me in prayer and pray for Afghanistan.
 
Gerry Potter (Colonel Retired)
President

ALPHA FALL SESSION

I am looking forward to what the Lord has determined that the MCF will be involved in this fall.

This season we offer our fifth online Alpha Course.
Sunday, 12 September online 7:00 pm EST

I love this course as it presents the fundamentals of the Christian faith in an easy to understand yet sufficiently profound way that participants have all that they need to become followers of Jesus.  And for those who already know Him, their faith will be steeled.

The MCF’s core mission, the reason that we exist, is to bring the gospel to the Military community at home and abroad. The Alpha course is an excellent tool to use in accomplishing that mission.

If you haven’t been on an Alpha course, please consider joining us or some other Alpha course in your local setting.  If you have been on the course, then talk to your military community friend or family member about joining us on Alpha this fall.

Get out there and invite (virtually) your bud, your bro, your sis, your mom, your… and register for the MCF Alpha course. The experience will change them and you…forever.

Are you ready to join us, here are the coordinates for the group:
Sunday, 12 September online at 7:00 pm EST
Leading the sessions: Gerry Potter – mcfoffice@themcf.ca

Pray for the Afghan people and their country

Last week I asked you to join with me in prayer for the Afghan people who were trying to escape the oppression that had fallen on their country and the efforts of Canada to assist them in their struggle. We prayed for wisdom and we prayed for effectiveness in the mission. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces deployed and worked along side allies as together they tried to help many Canadians and refugees gain access to flights out of Kabul. The work was dangerous and exceedingly heartbreaking. I am sure that you have seen some of the images of the thousands of fear-filled people desperately trying to escape. Even as I write this call to prayer, an attack upon the innocents has taken place, carried out by those whose sole intent is evil. 
 
On Thursday, 26 Aug, the CAF mission was concluded due to the increasing threat of terror attacks which had already begun. Our military men and women have left and they returned knowing that the need was grave, but they were unable to help anymore. Our military men and women need our prayers for their mental and spiritual well-being. The images they have witnessed, and the inability to do more will haunt them.
 
There are still thousands of Afghans and Canadian citizens still trapped under the oppression of the Taliban, we need to pray for them. God can do immeasurably more that all we hope or imagine, so let us not be idle, let us pray with sincerity and faith that He will move. 
 
Please, for the love of God and those who are so filled with fear and anguish, pray. I beg you, pray.
 
Gerry Potter (Colonel Retired)
President 

ATTITUDE OF PRAYER

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  Matthew 6:5-8

Prayer is something that we are all familiar with, but are we familiar enough with prayer or is it possible that we have become too familiar with prayer. I believe there are instances in our lives where both are true. Many times, prayer has become so friendly that we aren’t earnest enough in it, and then there are times when we feel so inadequate. Whatever the circumstance, I am confident that we all could improve regarding our prayer life. 

As you study the life of Christ, it is quickly evident that He was committed to prayer. He enjoyed an unhindered fellowship with the Father and was in continual communication with Him through prayer. In our text, Jesus addresses various attitudes of prayer, two of which are unacceptable, and one will be heard and answered. 

Jesus had witnessed those who loved to offer prayers in public places. They wanted to ensure that others would see them as they prayed and heard the words they offered. They were not interested in getting in touch with the Lord or even having their prayers answered; they desired the recognition of men. There was no depth or substance to their prayers. They were only offered for show and recognition.

This is not a condemnation of public prayer. Jesus is not teaching that we should never pray audibly in the presence of others. Public prayer can be an effective witness for the Lord. When offered from a pure heart, we can display our faith before others as we pray. The difference lies within the motive. If we are offering a public prayer in sincerity, God will hear that prayer. If it is offered to receive the recognition and praise of others, it is nothing more than words uttered from our lips. There is something within the nature of man that desires praise. If we aren’t careful, we will seek to pray in a way that pleases others rather than making our requests known to God. 

We all know that we can pray anywhere and at any time. We are to be in a continual state of prayer. That is the beautiful thing about prayer; it isn’t reserved for special times and occasions. However, there is a great truth that we need to consider. Jesus encouraged that we have a specific place in which to pray, a prayer closet. That speaks of a storage room, but it also can refer to an inner chamber or a secret room. The point is we need a place where we are comfortable and able to pray. It may be in a particular room, the basement, or out in the garage. It doesn’t matter where it is if we have a place to pray and seek the Lord. We all need that quiet place of prayer and meditation.

God’s people need to understand and exercise the privilege of prayer. We need to come boldly before the throne of grace and make our petitions known. This is not done so that others might think we are holy, but to intercede for the needs of our day! We need to maintain a positive witness among the world, but there are far greater needs than what others think of us. We need to get in touch with God and plead for the souls of humanity and the perils that plague our modern society.

If you are facing needs or difficulties in life, bring them unto the Lord. He already knows, and He is waiting to hear from you. If you have never accepted Christ as your Saviour, He stands ready to save you today. Whatever the need is, bring it to the Lord.

Tell Your Story!

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

We love to talk about the weather or sports or our kids or about politics. But when it comes to talking about our faith, many of us cower like chickens running away from the Colonel. If we know Jesus, we have GOOD NEWS! It’s like a life ring thrown to the person drowning or a fire alarm to rouse the sleeping from a burning building! 

Some people seem to think that a life-witness is good enough; that is, quietly living your life of devotion to Christ before others. It is NOT enough. People need to hear what Jesus means to us, so we need to share our personal testimony. 


Here are a few tips on how to share: 

Practice – Work out what you will say so that you aren’t ever caught off guard. Have a long and short version for different situations.

Pray – Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to work in the person with whom you are sharing.

Personal – Give enough details to help them understand where and why.

Be yourself – Don’t try to be more “spiritual” than you are. Just tell your story.

Understandable – Don’t use “churchy” words. Say “Bible” instead of “the Word.”

Witness – A witness is someone who tells what they saw, heard, or experienced. You are simply telling your story of how you met Jesus. Relive your experience through words.

Transformed Life – Talk about your life before Christ, how you came to Christ, and the change in your life since being saved.

Evangelize – Take it from telling your story to asking if something like that has ever happened to them. Explain how they can be saved.

God wants us to tell His story through our experiences. If we ask him, he will prepare someone to hear our story. He is not going to set us up to fail but will be with us. The Good news is not meant to be kept secret, and many around us need to be thrown that life-saving truth found in the Good news. 

Youtube has several versions of the song: “I love to tell the story.” Take a few minutes today and play one such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPtzKT-JLw0 and then pray that God helps you tell His story. 


DO IT NOW!

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17, NIV)

Humanly speaking, procrastination is understandable and likely. However, procrastination is not part of God’s best plan for our lives. We don’t often view procrastination as sin, but it is. Sin is not merely doing wrong. It is failing to do what you know you should do when you know you should do it. Knowledge equals responsibility. Procrastination and disobedience are just opposite sides of the same coin.

Procrastination helps us avoid doing the things we don’t want to do, the tasks that require personal discipline and a commitment to godly goals. Wasting time often creates a restless feeling that produces a sense of failure. When the deadline we were supposed to meet has come and gone, or the dreaded task we keep putting off spirals out of control,guilt sets in. We try to rationalize it away when the simple truth is that we have sinned.

Do you realize that it takes as much energy to avoid a task as it does to do it? Procrastination drains energy while action produces power. God empowers us to do what He calls us to do. Truth is for now. God is not impressed with good intentions. Obedience today is the most significant preparation for tomorrow. So do what you know to do today!

Procrastination is about loving self and pleasing self above others. In Romans 12:10, Paul says we should love each other profoundly and honour others more than we love and honour ourselves. The moments God gives us, matter now and eternally. We are responsible for how we spend them. Each moment in time represents an eternal opportunity. Evaluate your life in light of these truths. How well do you invest your time? What one change can you make this week to overcome procrastination? Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable to make that change.

Come out of The Closet

“But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven” Matthew 10:33.

We are in a time when nearly every day, the headlines talk about someone coming out of the closet regarding their sexual identity or some skeleton they had hidden. Things that were hidden for years are open for all to see and hear and many see this as a good thing.  

Unfortunately, too many Christians keep their Christianity in a small closet. They follow the old admonishment not to discuss religion or politics. The two things that shape a person’s life are not to be discussed. Jesus did not call us to be closet disciples. Indeed, He gives some stern warnings about denying Him. Jesus wants to be in our home, but He also told us to go into all the world with Him. Our faith was made to be made public because we are called to evangelize the world, and we cannot do that silently.

Admittedly, there have been times from the 1st century until now when it was not very advantageous to be publicly known as Christians. Indeed, Joseph of Arimathea was a closet believer until he came forward to claim the body of Christ. Peter denied he knew Jesus when things got sticky. The Disciples did hide until Pentecost. During the Inquisitions, it was not suitable to be known as a Christian that was not a Roman Catholic. In Nazi Germany, it was good to be a quiet Christian and certainly one that did not hide Jews. Being a Christian in communist countries from Stalin on was very treacherous. Christians in areas dominated by non-Christian faith groups live in a day-to-day brink of death mode. In Canada, it is certainly not popular to be an actual or biblical Christian that lives the faith. Nicole, warning people about Hell and Jesus being the only way to salvation will not get you invited to many places. Christ did not call us to a comfortable Christianity. In all those not so convenient times, God has called His people to stand up for Him and be ambassadors and witnesses. He saved them to share until He returns or calls them home. 

Joseph of Arimathea did come out in public. When filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter did repent and stood before thousands of people boldly preaching the Gospel. We are also called to fight the good fight, and you cannot do that by staying at home or denying the faith when it looks like it will not go well.

Christians, “let’s come out of the closet and share the good news”.  

Finding Common Ground

On a visit to Colorado Springs, I spent time with a group that helped young military families adapt to their new environment. One speaker shared that she found young wives were stressed at the thought of the wife of a more senior military person visiting their home, even if it was just to share news or drop off something. These younger wives were often busy with children and running the household and did not see having their homes perfectly clean as a priority.  The speaker mentioned she taught them a trick to make the home seem more presentable. She advised them to stand at their front door facing inside the house. They were to then make a V with their arms outstretched in front of their bodies. They were to note that a visitor standing at their front door would only be able to see whatever was inside that V line of sight. Her advice was to just tidy up in that line of sight. Any visitor looking into the home would see a clean area not knowing what was behind the closed doors, or under beds and so on. 

God invites us to share the Good News, but decades of inward focus and gimmickry has caused the church to hide their true selves. Unfortunately, too many church goers have adapted their own V line of site, not presenting themselves as they truly are. To an outsider, churches give a picture of perfection with those behind the beautiful front doors frowning upon those who do not belong to the church. Many in our communities have no church experience.

They don’t go to their parents’ church because there is a good chance their parents didn’t go to church. So people who are not used to going to church are fearful of entering our front doors because they are afraid they cannot live up to the image. Life is full of disappointments and failures, and so people don’t want to see the church as another one of those letdowns. People want to know that church folks are real, genuine and that what they claim matches their lives. 

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians suggests how we can become more effective messengers of the Good News. It is not by COMPROMISING our faith or acting in an unprincipled manner. Jesus told us, “You are in the world, but you are not of the world” (John 17:16). Our mindset should focus on finding common ground and interests to at least begin a conversation. We must enter the world with 360-degree exposure, not just showing the “US” we want people to see. 

God has invited believers to join Him on His mission to share the Gospel. We must be aware and mindful that God alone draws people to Him, not our gimmicks or flowery speech. When we take up this call we must do so remembering we are second messengers, as God has already gone before us. So go, be true and be prepared to share your story with others. 

Padre (Capt) Andrew Whitman (Executive)

Andrew is an army chaplain since 2015. Together with his wife, Nicole and their three daughters, he has served in Gagetown, New Brunswick with the Sappers (both at CFSME and 4 ESR), in Cold Lake, Alberta with 4 wing and now in Ottawa training for a position in ethics.  Andrew joined the Canadian Army in 1988 as an artillery officer, where he served 17 years including one battle group tour in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Lord opened Andrew’s heart at age 7, and he committed his life to Jesus and was baptized. He always wanted to be an ‘army man’, and even at 16, he prayed to God to bless the local army cadet corps and make it a ministry for him.  Andrew became involved with the MCF at Royal Military College, where they developed a small group ministry with 5-6 groups at a time. During this time, he was convicted, while reading Ezekiel 33, that God has appointed us to be watchmen for the military community. So, he sought to be a gospel trumpet by serving the artillery well – serving his commanders, his troops, and his peers – so as to honour Christ, and to be transparent with what he believes.  It was only much later that God called him into the chaplaincy.  As chaplain, Andrew’s goal is to empower many to be watchmen for the military community of Canada (and abroad).

Choose Wisely

Adam and Eve were placed in a special environment where they had all they ever needed. They were also created perfect in that they knew how to make all the right decisions, were not judgmental, and their relationship with each other and God was unselfish. They were the model for the family, relationship, and marriage. 

When God created the world, He clearly defined right from wrong. All moral issues were objective and not subjective. There was one, obvious, absolute morality. One could choose to do the wrong thing, but that choice was clear. In their home, “the garden”, was a tree that God told Adam and Eve not to touch. The tree had a tremendous alluring power, primarily in how it affected the senses: Eve first listens to the snake’s seduction. She is then attracted to the look of the tree. She then takes the fruit in hand and tastes it. As the verses say: “And when the woman saw that the tree was… a delight to the eyes… she took of the fruit, and did eat…” (Genesis 3:6).

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree, it triggered a new modus operandi for the entire human experience: senses became more powerful than the intellect. And because all sensory delights are subjective, many choices become personal rather than universal. Adam and Eve were aware of what they were doing. They knew that the Tree was off limits. They were not lacking anything in the Garden of Eden so, what did they feel was missing that they chose to disobey God?

It is said that there are two ways to attain wisdom: either to learn about it intellectually, or to acquire it through life experience.

From a sensory perspective, the thrill of experience is unmatched. But at the same time, it is fraught with danger. Do we really need to experience every drug and every decadent activity to know that it’s not for us? We’ve all seen how the result of these experiences can carry the danger of permanent physical and/or emotional scarring. So why do we make these bad choices?

God’s discussion with Adam and Eve after their sin is not about punishment, but about consequence. God says: If this is the choice you are making then this is how your life will play out. Adam and Eve’s choices have (unfortunately) affected all their descendants, for all generations.

The story of the Tree of Knowledge is the ongoing story of humanity. We are convinced of the correctness of our actions. And when we err, God presents another chance to realize and admit our mistake. If we do, we draw closer to God than ever before. But if we egotistically defend our position, then we further carve an identity separate from God. 

Even though Adam and Eve did not choose correctly, we still can. And in doing so, we can rectify that original sin, and bring about a return to Eden, the ultimate era of heaven on earth for which we all so desperately yearn.