“The MCF War Room”

In 1st Timothy Paul writes to his protégé telling him to stay in Ephesus and intervene with those who were teaching false doctrine.  In Ephesus, there were teacher-wanna-bees who, as Paul describes them, were fully confident of their worldly viewpoints and sought to communicate their heresy.  It is clear from Paul’s instruction that there were many who taught error and shipwrecked not only their faith, but the faith of others.  Two thousand years later, such circumstances continue.

There is a popularized phrase that one can hear used by various personalities, both national and international, that being “fake news.”  Fake news isn’t new.  It existed when the gospel was first being proclaimed.  Paul’s council to Timothy is as applicable to you and me as it was when Timothy was in Ephesus.  So, I want us to take note of the specific action step that Paul gave to Timothy.

In Chapter 2 Paul states:

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Paul’s first line of offense was petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving so that all people (that’s everyone) would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. The objective is not to be a better debater than the fake-news artist, but it is to know Christ and to make Him known.  The first means by which to attain that objective is through the spiritual weapon called prayer.

Prayer? Yes prayer!

In chapter 5 of James, the author also discusses the weapon of prayer and what is accomplished when it is welded by a person who is right with God.  It is powerful and effective.  Ordinary Christ-followers who have prayed in faith have witnessed and experienced the intervention of the Living God, who desires to answer their prayers as they intercede for others. Recently, a film entitled “The War Room” dramatically presented prayer as a weapon of spiritual warfare that when use by the Christ-follower results in spiritual breakthroughs.  Prayer is not a repetition of some magical incantation, rather it is a conversation with our Lord expressing our thanks to Him, raising matters of spiritual and practical needs on our own behalves and the behalves of others.  Jesus taught us repeatedly (Matt 18:19; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13; 15:7; 15:16; and 16:23) that we are to present our requests, our concerns, and our hopes for the spread of the gospel.  This is what we intend to do.

During the past several months, a number of MCF members have been gathering together to pray for the military community.  The objects of our prayers have been for political and military leaders; for churches that seek to minister to the military community and for individuals within that community.  We are seeing and hearing of positive developments within those areas that we pray for.  We get it – prayer works.  So, beginning on 21 October, the Ottawa group of the MCF will live-stream on Facebook what we have entitled “The MCF War Room.”  We have chosen to live-stream the event so that you may observe, be inspired to do the same and participate either in praying with us or by submitting your prayer requests to us, which we will immediately pray for.  The focus of our prayer will generally remain the same, the Canadian military community and the proclamation of Jesus throughout.  Exact timings, and other details will be communicated to you in the following weeks.

I admit that I am nervous and a bit intimidated at where the Lord is leading us, but more than that I am excited to see what He will do.  The men, women, and families of the military community need Jesus; our mission is to bring His good news of relationship with him to this community; will you join us in the War Room?

Until All 

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)
President

An invitation to stop and spend time with the Living God and with others who seek the same.

How long does it take you to get ready for the day? When I have a heavy schedule, I can be out of bed, saved, showered, dressed and in the car with coffee in hand in under 15 minutes.  If I leave by 6:00 am and drive and the traffic lights are just right, I can be in downtown Ottawa in 20 minutes.  Depending on where I park, I can end up behind a computer on and be triaging emails within 50 minutes of waking up.  Depending where you live, your timing could be faster than mine, but if you lived next door to me, you would be hard pressed to beat my time.  If I leave downtown before 3:00 pm, it takes 25 minutes to get home, again depending on the lights.  Now, I don’t have young children, but if I did, my arrival at home would be the commencement of another schedule, which would run until those kids were in bed.  Working Monday to Friday and managing a family means that weekends are full of the stuff that I didn’t have time for during the week, its catch up time.  Then there are the weekend responsibilities in support of kid’s sports, in support of church and maybe other activities.  Generally, life is busy, and for some real busy.

For the past few years the MCF has held its AGM in concert with Remembrance Day.  We chose that day because, for the military community, it is generally mandated that those serving stop and take time to remember the sacrifices of their comrades, both present and past.  As the military community is already oriented towards contemplation, it is appropriate for those who follow Jesus to concurrently fix their gaze upon Him.  In contrast to the speed of life described in the beginning of this letter, last year I sought to change that pace and offered members an occasion to extend their Remembrance Day pause by attending a spiritual retreat during which a short period of time was allocated to the MCF AGM.  For those who were able to participate and enter Christ’s rest, an experience of spiritual refreshment took place.  The after effects were not an over-stimulated “energizer bunny” as some conferences tend to produce, but rather a strengthening of faith and a deepening of friendships.

This fall, 10-12 November, we will again hold a spiritual retreat for MCF members and you are invited.  We will meet at the National House of prayer in Ottawa beginning on Friday evening, 10 November. The evening will be a time of fellowship, reflection and worship.  On Saturday morning we will meet again for a prayer breakfast after which we will proceed to the National War Memorial to witness the Remembrance Day ceremonies.  In the afternoon we will continue our reflection and prayer culminating with a fellowship meal.  After the meal we will hold the business portion of the weekend otherwise known as the AGM, during which those gathered will have opportunity to share what the Lord has been communicating to them during the previous two days.  Our evening will conclude with worship and prayer.  Sunday, MCF members from out of town will be invited to attend local churches of their specific faith tradition.  We will provide recommendations based upon a survey of churches that will feature a military community oriented service as part of the Remembrance Day weekend.

Please inquire of the Lord if He desires that you come and be part of the 2017 spiritual retreat and then contact the MCF office to let us know so that we can prepare for your arrival.  Over the next few weeks additional details will be forwarded to you.  May you know the peace of the Lord our Saviour.

Until All 

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)
President

2017 – GOALS

2017-goals.

Last month, On November 11th and 12th, the MCF held its first spiritual retreat in conjunction with the annual general meeting.  The intent was to come together in the name of Jesus, stop our busy routines, worship, fellowship, reflect upon the Word, listen and pray.  The hope that prompted the retreat was that we would encounter the Lord in a tangible way.  We were not disappointed.

The two-day retreat began with a prayer breakfast at the National House of Prayer.  Next, all those gathered, walked to the National War Memorial to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony.  After the ceremony, folks fellowshipped over lunch.  Beginning in the afternoon of the 11th and running until the afternoon of the 12th we followed a pattern of: orientation, silent prayer, scripture reading and meditation, then communal reflection upon what each person learned and experienced during their contemplative time with the Lord.  The retreat was based upon two words: disciple and disciple-making. When the group reviewed the results of the communal reflection period several themes became obvious, which together provided direction for the MCF.

In Matthew 18 Jesus responded to what in military terms could be called “careerism.”  Careerism occurs in various degrees, but the central issue is the pursuit of a mission for the primary purpose of advancing one’s career, one’s self interests.  The disciples came to Jesus and asked Him “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  Wow, it’s difficult to believe that they could be so bold, so presumptuous as to ask such a question.  Yet, I appreciate their honesty.  Who hasn’t sought to be elevated?  The military’s personnel evaluation system is dedicated to elevating people and most members are assimilated into its thinking, but the mindset is counter-Kingdom.  Jesus’ response is to point to a child as the standard for greatness: humble, trusting and obedient.  While Jesus continued to amplify His point, it is verse 20 that reflects part of what the Lord was communicating to us at the spiritual retreat – “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them”.

The MCF’s mission is to bring the gospel to the military community.  Ok, then how?  Should we hold regional evangelistic meetings?  Should we preach on street corners?  Should we produce all sorts of printed material and distribute it door-to-door?  Should we knock on doors, should we host MCF events?  How people and organizations have communicated the gospel is diverse; however, the direction to the MCF reflects Matthew 18:20.  Small groups of two or three people are the core of how the MCF is to bring the gospel.  One-on-one disciple-making and discipleship.  While the MCF operates within a military culture, which is personified by a hierarchy of authority, the MCF is a network of small, and some would say very small, groups in which one member disciples another.  The group needs to be singularly focused on following Jesus together.

So, over the next year there are five simple goals that I would like each of us to pursue together:
  1. Every member is in an MCF small group (2-3 people – sometimes more);
  2. Every member understands who Jesus is and how to become one of his disciples;
  3. Every member can confidently present their testimony of faith in Jesus;
  4. Every member can confidently explain how to become a follower of Jesus;
  5. Every member is active in praying regularly for at least one unsaved family member or friend.
Jesus wants us to disciple others as we go about our lives.  The pursuit and achievement of these five goals will enable each of us to fulfill His call on our lives.  Pursuing these goals together within the military community will enable us to achieve the MCF mission.

Until All
Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)
President

“Remember me”

 remember-me-1
Remember Me
Jesus, beaten, tortured, humiliated, on the cross, crucified, thirsting, bleeding, dying, an object of ridicule, receiving on to Himself the sin of the world for all time for every person who had lived, who lived and who would live.  Jesus, in the midst of the physical and emotional pain, who also was experiencing the rejection and judgement of God the Father, experiencing the most profound spiritual pain, heard the voice of the criminal who had been crucified beside him – “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The criminal, who was dying beside Jesus, admitted openly, that he was being punished justly, that he was getting what his deeds deserved.  Incredibly, through the illumination that only comes from the Holy Spirit, the criminal recognized Jesus as sinless, as the King of kings, whose kingdom transcended this world.  In his absolute poverty, the criminal appealed to Jesus, “remember me.”
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31, tells us, that God choses those whom society rejects to nullify those whose worldly position gives them reason to boast.  God’s man, the person who is granted entrance into the kingdom, is the one who reflects the criminal on the cross.  Broken in spirit, broken and contrite of heart, aware of one’s lostness and need of a saviour, this is the person whom God remembers (Psalm 51:17).
Some, will appeal to Jesus “Lord, Lord, remember me” but they will not enter the kingdom, and instead they will hear Jesus say “I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers.”  What a horrible day that will be for those who Jesus does not remember (Matthew 7:23).
Friday, 11 November, is the day we remember the sacrifice of men, women, families, communities, and countries.  We are grateful for the temporal freedom that we have been given as a result of their sacrifice. As you take pause this day, to show your love and respect, as you bow your head, please take time to plead your case before the Father, to bow your soul in the full acknowledgement of your sinfulness and the just consequences that you deserve and ask Jesus – “remember me.”
God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9) and keeps His promise and His loving-kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 7:9). God will sanctify you through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Jesus, remember me.

Update to the MCF Spiritual Retreat and AGM 2016

mcf-newsletter-2016-09-16-spiritual-retreat
A reminder to set aside a few days to join us for our first annual spiritual retreat in Ottawa, which will coincide with our annual general meeting. On Friday, November 11th, there will be an MCF prayer breakfast at 7:00 am at the National House of Prayer, 17 Myrand Ave, Ottawa, ON. K1N 5N7, which will be followed by attendance at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in downtown Ottawa.  Lunch is available at the Chateau Laurier, or at various Messes in Ottawa. For information on these, please contact the MCF office.
 
In the afternoon, beginning at 1:30 pm, at Greenbelt Church, 839 Shefford Rd Ottawa, we will spend time reflecting upon Jesus’ call to us to make disciples.  The session will start with a tutorial on disciple-making and then continue with individual prayer and meditation on the Scriptures.  We will then come together again to share what the Lord has been communicating to us individually.  We will close the day at approximately 5:30 pm. 
 
On Saturday, November 12th, a small change in the schedule, we will recommence at 9:00 am with prayer and worship.  Snack and coffee will be served and in our second session we will consider the concept of discipleship.  Following a similar agenda to the previous afternoon, we anticipate ending the session at 12:00 and then share lunch together, which will be provided.  The annual general meeting will commence at 1:00 pm.
 
Please reply to this email if the Spirit leads you to join us in Ottawa.  As we get closer to the weekend of the spiritual retreat, more details will be forth coming.
 
Life is busy, there are many demands to which we must respond.  God knows this and He gives us strength to endure, but He also instructs us to stop, listen, and pray.  Take time to be still and know that He is God.  I invite you to come and stop together on the 1st annual MCF spiritual retreat.

Soldier on

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-9-38-45-pm
…1 Peter 4:1,5  As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 
It was during my second posting that I became a follower of Jesus.  Circumstances in my life had become dire. Work was suffering, relationships were suffering, and financial challenges were overwhelming. I came to the end of myself. Christ stepped in front of me and figuratively held out His hand.  I was a broken man, my pride was gone, so I grabbed hold, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and He began His work in me to transform me, my life and my mission to being that of a servant, a Disciple-maker.
The joy and the peace I experienced as a result of my re-birth was extraordinary and, being a person who likes to share experiences, I shared my new found faith with my spouse, my friends and co-workers. Oddly, they weren’t as excited as I was about my experience with Jesus.  Some were polite, some less so.  For a short while I enjoyed a type of honeymoon with Jesus.  When I read His word I understood, when I spent time with other Christ-followers I was inexplicably encouraged and when I worshiped with others, hearing His word preached and singing songs that praised Jesus I was filled with that crazy consuming joy.  I know that at times I was irritatingly joyful, but it was uncontrollable.
Soon, my friends and colleagues began to push back.  On occasion they would avoid me, sometimes walk away, and sometimes maliciously attack me.  I began to learn to temper my enthusiasm. However, the push back began to turn into efforts to get me to compromise the rule that I had chosen to follow.  When I did not compromise, then ridicule followed. It followed me into the work place and it followed me into social settings and I began to withdraw.
The description given in 1 Peter 4 of what a follower of Jesus will experience is real.  It will be different for each of us depending on our life circumstances, but the effects will be very similar.
I came to a point where I had to make a decision between three options: blend in, go along to get along, so that the persecution would stop; continue to withdraw and isolate myself so that I could minimized the frequency and intensity of the attacks; or I could resume my willingness to be transparent about my love for Jesus regardless of the reaction.  After a few weeks of discussions with God, my pastor and my fellow believers, I chose option three.  I admit that the experience did temper my enthusiasm somewhat, and I was not as bubbly with some people as I was before, but I lived my faith openly.
The efforts of others to get me to compromise resumed with intensity, but my temporary retreat seemed to steel my will to follow Jesus.  Instead of withdrawing, I placed the names of my persecutors on a piece of paper and prayed for them daily. I asked God to help me remain faithful, to love those who sought to cause me harm, and to give me opportunities to serve them.  Those opportunities came and I served.  Eventually, the attacks diminished and became infrequent, and some began to ask questions about this Jesus, even going to church to check Him out and some, even becoming Christ-followers themselves.
Jesus tells us that the struggles that Christians face are many times the result of the spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12), who use people and circumstances to persecute Christians, but we also are told that those forces are no match for the power of the Living God who lives in the Christ-follower in the form of His Spirit (1 John 4:4-5). “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.”
I have been walking with Jesus for 33 years now.  My circle of friends and colleagues still contains many more non-believers than believers.  The joy I have in Christ continues unabated as does the persecutions, albeit they are more sophisticate and subtle now, yet I know I still fight the same enemy and I still use the same weapons and in Christ I still win.  I am grateful for Jesus and His love for me, I am grateful that He still gives me opportunity to serve in His mission, to be in the fight.
How about you? How goes the fight? We are in this together, and though it might seem at times that the darkness has the edge, it has already lost.
Soldier on.

The Gospel

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-4-00-01-pm.

The two-word phrase “the gospel,” is derived from the Greek word “euangelion.” Though not a commonly used phrase today, on occasion one hears its use within Western English speaking society as a metaphor that attributes the quality of truth to a particular set of assertions. While the roots of the phrase pre-exist its use in the New Testament, the quality that it denotes when it is used to qualify a grouping of ideas is derived from its use in the Bible.

Within Christianity, the phrase has been used to describe various view points as to what Christians should be doing to improve their surroundings and in so doing, working to steadily usher in the Kingdom of God on earth. However, theologically this is an incorrect premise. 2 Peter 3:10 tells the reader that the earth is destined for complete renewal, so no amount of effort on man’s part will hinder what is in store for the earth on the Day of the Lord. Other Christians take the perspective that the gospel is about loving one’s neighbour, commonly referred to as “the social gospel.” The responsibility for Christians to love their neighbour is foundational; it is one of the two core commands pronounced by Jesus, yet it is a command for the right conduct of those who have become children of God, and while it is good news for those who are in need of social assistance, for those who are concerned for the environment; for social equality; for social justice, etc.; it is not the good news of The Gospel.

As communicated in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which is the clearest, concise and most precise explanation, The Gospel is simply:

  • Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
  • Christ was buried;
  • Christ was raised to life on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Romans 10:9 communicates that if a person declares with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead, that they will be saved.  While The Gospel is simple and it can be stated in a few short phrases, man’s comprehension and subsequent response to it requires the supernatural intervention of God’s Holy Spirit, who grants the gift of faith to a person, enabling them to act in accordance with Romans 10:9.
When I was 13 years old, I recognized my need for Jesus and I responded to an offer to confess and repent of my sin, declaring Jesus as my Lord, believing in His death and resurrection as the sole means by which I am forgiven.  Yet, it was not until I was 26 years old and at the end of myself, that I surrendered my life to Jesus.  Today, 33 years later, my awareness of my need of Jesus and my gratefulness for the salvation that I have received continues to increase.  Without Jesus, I am lost: spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.  With Jesus I have hope: hope for today and for tomorrow; hope for my family and for those whom God has allowed me to have influence with; and I have hope for eternity.
I have heard it said that the Church is the hope of the world, and while the phrase sounds good, I am not sure of its theological soundness.  My understanding is that The Gospel is the hope of the world, and the Church has been assigned the task of communicating it to the world.  The Church is the chosen tool of God with which He communicates His message of hope and He has given it clear, concise and precise orders – “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”[1]  God has not given this directive to anyone else, so the hope that the world needs will come only from the church.  As such the church must be focused on communicating The Gospel.  Though there are many “good” activities that the church could be involved in, if the communication of The Gospel is not its primary intent, if The Gospel does not permeate everything that the Church does, then it is abdicating its primary purpose and the world is lost.

Bring the Gospel

Bring the Gospel 2016-06-30 at 9.22.15 PM
As a follower of Jesus I am grateful for the mercy and grace of God the Father to me and to my brothers and sisters in Christ.  If not for His mercy and grace, I would be hopelessly lost due to my sin nature and the sins that result from that nature.  However, because I have confessed my sinfulness, accepted Jesus’ sacrifice of His life as the sole payment for my sin, asked God for his forgiveness based upon Jesus’ sacrifice and turned away from sinfulness, pursuing instead Jesus, God has saved me.  I have been saved from a life of hopelessness, being a victim of Satan’s evil torment here on earth, an eternal existence in the unquenchable fire where I would have experienced eternal destruction.  I have been saved for a mission of incomparable worth, a relationship with the one true God, to experience the wonders of God’s mercy, grace, provision and joy.
Yet, with all that I have been saved from and for, there is a warning that God has given me – bring The Gospel.  Several years ago I had a conversation with a fellow disciple, a brother in the Lord, concerning The Gospel.  The MCF has as its mission “Bring the Gospel to the Canadian military community at home and abroad,” so I wanted to clearly state what is meant by the Gospel, so that there wouldn’t be any confusion as to what the MCF was called to bring forth.  My brother immediately and fervently resisted my intent, and I was perplexed by his position.  I had thought that being clear about what is the Gospel was “a no-brainer,” but I was naive.
The gospel of Jesus has been distorted, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of the fear of man, and sometimes with evil intent.  God is clear on this matter, if someone brings a gospel other than The Gospel, whether they are a person of influence, an angel or even an apostle, then they are at risk of being under God’s curse.  What would that be like, to be under God’s curse?  I do not know; however, I do know that all of mankind is under God’s curse of eternal separation from Him, unless they confess Jesus as Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead.  I know, that for those who remain in their sin, that eternity in hell is their fate.  So, I know with all certainty that as I pursue the mission that I want to bring The Gospel. So, what is The Gospel?
The clearest, concise and most precise explanation of The Gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:
  • Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
  • Christ was buried;
  • Christ was raised to life on the third day according to the Scriptures;
If anyone comes and tries to present a gospel that is different from these simple, yet profound facts; if anyone comes and tries to present any other way for sinful man to become right with God; if anyone adds to this truth then they are at risk of being under God’s curse.

Do you know Jesus?  Do you know that you are hopelessly lost and under the condemnation of God because of your innate sinfulness?  Do you realize that as a sinner, you are under the curse of God and destined for eternity in hell?  Will you confess your sinfulness?  Will you accept the sacrificial death of Jesus as the payment for your sin and do you believe that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead?  If so, then welcome into the family of God!  Let me know if you have decided to follow Jesus so

Until All
Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)

Keith’s Perspective on the Book of John

The writer
Keith Magee

Some time ago I met Keith Magee, a former member of the Royal Canadian Navy. Keith served in the Navy as a “Rating” (radio communications) from 1965 to 1970. After his service Keith went on to study mechanical engineering and to get married. A few years later Keith became the youngest teacher at the BC Institute of Technology. Keith was responsible for preparing students in overland conveyor design intended for the Tumbler Ridge coal mines. At that time, both the department head and a fellow instructor were Christians. These two individuals would openly share Christ with Keith, and within a few months Keith brought a Bible to his office and started reading it in his off-hours. Bill (Department Head) and Gary (fellow instructor) always seemed to be close at hand to answer Keith’s questions. Within four months (Dec 28, 1983) Keith confessed his sins, repented, and accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour and Lord. Keith joined the local Baptist Church, and was baptized within the year.  Read more

The Buddy System – The Sentinel Program

Early in my military career I was trained to perform the role of Ships Diving Officer by the Fleet Diving Unit – Atlantic.  The training was rigorous and of the 30 candidates who started the course, only 9 finished the program, which was apparently the norm.  Though challenging, I loved the experience of suiting up and entering the underwater world where there was adventure as well as risk.  Because of the risks, every diver was teamed up with a “buddy,” and the primary task that we had was to make sure our buddy was safe – always.  To drive the message home, we practiced sharing one tank through “buddy breathing,” we worked on underwater tasks in pairs and there were times when were literally were tied together at the wrist, particularly during night dives.  Having been trained as a lifeguard prior to joining the military, I had an understanding of the value of the buddy system, but those night dives raised the concept of the buddy system to a new level.  At first, being tied together, was awkward, it slowed me down when all I wanted to do was to complete the task, the mission that I had been assigned, but it was the way we were to do things, so I followed the procedure.  Eventually, being in close proximity with my buddy became second nature and I found myself instinctively always checking my buddy every 10-20 seconds or so, and rarely being out of arms-reach.

Years later, I introduced my oldest son to diving.  He was a natural, “a chip off the old block.”  On one dive we were particularly adventurous and dove on a wreck in the Saint Lawrence River down to a depth of 120 feet.  We hadn’t intended on diving that deep when we started out, but we were so enthralled by the wreck that we neglected to check our depth gauges until we arrived at the bottom.  Upon realizing our depth, we immediately began our assent, but we figured that we needed to make a decompression stop at 50 feet, just to be on the safe side.  We found a ledge on an outcropping and were just looking around, when I caught a glimpse of something falling beside my son, who was about three feet away from me.  I looked directly at him and saw that his weight belt had just fallen off and he was ascending.  I reached out and grabbed his ankle and held on like a pit bull.  At almost the same time I reached down to the ledge and grasped his weight belt.  I then pulled my son back down to the ledge and handed him his weight belt, which I then helped him cinch tight!  We finished our decompression stop and ascended to the surface.  That was a close one!  When we got back on shore, we emotionally decompressed and I was grateful for my training that stressed being within reach of your buddy.  Had I not been able to grab my son’s ankle, he would have ascended rapidly and uncontrollably risking injury to his lungs and even death.

In the book of Luke, chapter 10, Jesus is recorded as explaining to a lawyer what it means to “love your neighbour as yourself.”  The explanation Jesus gave is known as the story of the Good Samaritan.  Jesus’ explanation is similar to the buddy system I had been trained in.  As a follower of Jesus, we are called by Christ to look out for our buddy.  According to Jesus, we are not to be observers, but we are to be actively engaged in assuring the well-being of our neighbour, our buddy.  “Who is my buddy (neighbour),?” the lawyer asked. Jesus’ response was whomever you see in need.  “But, there is so much need that I see!”  Start with the person who is within reach, he is your buddy.

So, nice story, but what can you do practically.  The Commander of the Canadian Army issued an operations order on 9 December 2015 to launch a program called “Sentinels.”  The program leaders are the chaplains, and the program’s purpose “is to strengthen unit cohesion in the collective effort to prevent and identify psychological distress that can affect the well-being of [military] members.”  My read of the Commander’s intent is he is calling out for men and women who will be “Good Samaritans” to their fellow military members.  While designated as the leaders for the program, the chaplains must rely upon you who are in uniform to be what the Commander has called “Sentinels.”  My view, is that the Commander’s call is an opportunity for Christ-followers to love their neighbour as themselves.  So, what can you do… contact your unit chaplain and volunteer to be a “Sentinel.”

The Commander of Heaven has called each of us to be a Good Samaritan, a good buddy, and the Commander of the Canadian Army is inviting you to do that which Christ has called you to within the military.  Please let me know as well as the MCF prayer team when you have signed up and we will pray for your effectiveness by joining the mission.

Until All…

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’)
President
Military Christian Fellowship of Canada/

Fraternité Chrétienne Militaire du Canada.

Link to Additional Resource from CAF website