“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

Member of the MCF participating in the annual Army Run.

Last Sunday, 17 September, several members of the Ottawa chapter of the MCF participated in the annual Army Run.  Our goal was to help raise funds for the Soldier On program, to interact with members of the military community, to get some exercise and in doing all this, bring a smile on the Lord’s face.  By the way, I love to do that, make my Father smile and even laugh with joy over how I serve Him.  Anyway, the day was hot, real hot, like give me a towel and throw ice water on me hot.  Three of us walked the 10 km route as a group, which gave us a better opportunity to talk with people.  We were able to hear people’s stories of how and why they were there.  There was this one guy, Trevor Sanderson, who was wearing shorts and t-shirt, combat boots and carrying a full ruck on his back.  On the back of his ruck was a sign that stated:

“I’m walking across Canada to raise awareness to low income families, seniors, vets and first responders with PTSD.”

I spoke with Trevor and found out that he had started walking in Newfoundland in the spring and was headed for BC. He told me about how he was injured while serving in the military and about his struggle with PTSD.  Trevor explained to me that his struggles had led him to become concerned for other folks who suffered the effects of PTSD. As I listened to Trevor, it was obvious that his compassion for others was profound.  He had been offered a job in Alberta at $44/hour, but opted to live on the street so that he could find others who themselves had become homeless, and then help them to get connected to VETS Canada, a non-profit that helps homeless vets get off the street. I explained to him who I was and that I too was on a mission to the military community, to bring the gospel.  But as I have been reflecting on my encounter with Trevor this week, I am humbled by Trevor’s passion, conviction, and sacrifice for people he doesn’t know, but who need the message of hope that Trevor brings.  Trevor has a Facebook page “CANADIANS joining with CANADIANS,” so you may want to check it out.

Mark 2:16-17 records Jesus’ encounter with the scribes who were Pharisees when they criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners.  Jesus’ response to their criticism was “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Jesus went to the outcasts of society, bringing to them the good news.  Trevor, like Jesus is going to the outcasts of the military community, and while he does not preach the gospel to them, he is trying to bring hope.  Would you pray for Trevor and for those who Trevor meets?

Until All 

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)
President

MISSION TRIP REPORT FROM BORDEN

Mission’s Trip Report
June 13-14, 2017

Some months ago I became aware of several chaplains at 16 Wing Borden who had engaged with local churches to provide a contemporary Christ-centered praise and worship experience to the military community whom they serve.  Several members of the Ottawa MCF traveled to Borden to witness and participate in what God was doing there.  Their report was exciting.

This past week I travel to Borden along with some of the Ottawa MCF members who first visited the base to witness and participate in the new work. The focus of effort is a monthly event that has been entitled “Love Borden,” which occurs on a Wednesday evening.  The service began at 7:00 pm with Padre Darren Miller providing an explanation of the intent of the evening; that being to experience, through scripture reading, teaching, singing and prayer an encounter with the Living God. Though, many church leaders make similar claims and promises, Padre Miller’s introductory remarks were accompanied by a tangible air of hope and expectation that the Spirit would meet with those gathered.  We were lead in songs of praise by a worship leader from one of the local churches, and though initially I sought to restrain my voice, I was compelled to worship wholeheartedly.  I was moved by the revelation that the Living God was present and I desired to adore Him. After a time of song, Darren shared with us his testimony of his experiences with God though Bible study, prayer and worship; then he presented his understanding of several passages of scripture that explained to those listening that they too could have a personal relationship with the Living God.  The gist of Darren’s message was an invitation.

Padre Dave Fowler next discussed the peace that he has found in Jesus, providing evidence of the calming effect that communion with God can have on a person and then led those present in the Lord’s Table.  Concurrently, Darren and his wife Sally prayed with people individually and anointed them with oil.  I partook of the elements and then went to Darren and Sally to have them pray for me. I then returned to my place and joined with the worship leader as he provided us an opportunity to again express our adoration of Jesus.  It was then that I experienced the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit and I was filled with gratitude for God.  So filled with adoration, I began to cry uncontrollably.  I will tell you that I am not a man who does such things as a matter of practice, and in fact, I have not experienced God as intensely since 1997.  God was with us. We sang a few more songs, and then Darren pronounced a blessing on us and then dismissed us.

I listened to and spoke with several people after the service had concluded and found that the experience of God that I had encountered that evening was not unique, but was wide spread.

What is happening in Borden?  From what I have learned, I can tell you that two chaplains, Darren and Dave, operating under the oversight of their leadership, have been earnestly and persistently praying for God to move in Borden.  They have engaged with local churches to obtain their endorsement and participation, to which several have responded. And, they have started a monthly praise and worship service.  People are coming, Christ and his message of hope is being proclaimed and lives are being changed.  Though these are still early days, the impression I was left with was that of a beach-head having been established from which by the grace of God and the collaborative work of chaplains and local churches were generating a fresh experience of Jesus within the military community.

After folks had left I asked Darren and Dave what could the MCF do to support them, and they were quick to respond.  They have asked for prayer.  Specifically, they seek prayer for:

  • Wisdom and strength for the work that needs to be done;

  • Increased unity among the key stakeholders of the monthly event called “Love Borden;” and

  • Increased influence among the members of the military community who need Christ and the life-changing message that He brings.

I am humbled by the love that Darren, Dave and Sally and participating local churches have for the members of the military community at Borden and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a witness and beneficiary of the move of God occurring there.  Please pray as they have requested and please consider how you may either support this new initiative in Borden or how you may be able to follow their example and do likewise in your local area.

Gerry Potter
MCF President

Immanuel – God is with us

AMCF prayer week 2017-01-18

On Saturday, 28 January, the Ottawa chapter of the Canadian MCF met for prayer. During the past week MCF groups of various countries across North America, the Caribbean and South America also held prayer meetings. These groups, who represent various nationalities, cultures and faith traditions were unified in prayer to the Lord. While there were unique prayers offered for specific localized needs and desires, there was unity of desire that the Lord to pour out His Spirit on His children to enable them to bring the gospel to their fellow military community members.

I need to pause as I write this, to try to appreciate what has happened and is happening. Christ followers of such diversity in unison praying for God to move in His people to enable them to accomplish Matthew 28:18-20. In John 17 Jesus’ prayer to the Father is recorded. Jesus asked on behalf of all those who would become His disciples that they would be one; even as Jesus and the Father are one so that: believers could be in Jesus and the Father; and so that the world may believe in Jesus.

I am in awe. For those of us who came together in Ottawa on Saturday we did so not with a grand strategy to fulfill Jesus’ prayer, but simply because we heard of other MCFs in other countries praying and we were moved to join in the initiative. So, we came together and we prayed and we fellowshipped and we experienced unity in the faith. I am humbled, I am grateful, and I am hopeful for the work of Christ through the members of the MCF in Canada in their joint efforts to obey Jesus by joining Him in His mission to make disciples. In Isaiah 7 it is recorded that Jesus would be born of a virgin and he would be called “Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” In Matthew 28:18-20, after Jesus gives the apostles their mission, which is the mission that all followers of Jesus have been given, Jesus said “…I am with you, always, to the very end of the age.”

Members of MCFs across the Northern and Southern hemispheres are coming together in unified prayer asking for the Lord to do exactly what is His will, surrendering themselves to His working in them. God is with us. Is there any more evidence that we need? Is there anything else that is more worthy of our efforts than to be in unity pursing His mission?

I am profoundly grateful for the indescribable privilege to be part of the Lord’s mission, and to see the unity that He is creating among the members of the multiple national MCFs who are singularly focused on bringing the gospel to the military community. If you are reading this and you sense the Lord calling you to be part of His mission into the unique culture of the military community, please contact us. Immanuel – God is with us.

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

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…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.

1st Annual MCF Spiritual Retreat

mcf-newsletter-2016-09-16-spiritual-retreat 

Life is busy. 

Early in my military career I was an operator and I loved it. Every day featured one drama or another, problem solving, decision-making, learning, training etc. Life was like surfing. However, in the midst of my second tour, my CO it was time for me to train to become a staff officer. Gag! I knew staff officers, my occupation had its share and what I saw was operators who were stuck behind a desk longing to get back into operations. Yet, the CO is the CO and his intent was my mission, so off to the staff course I went. Gratefully, the course was interesting. We learned about current and anticipated events from excellent guest speakers, we learned from each other about the various operations that the military was conducting and we learned what was on the hearts and minds of senior leaders as they shared their stories and intents. And yes, we also learned how to be good desk jockeys. 

One of the most startling lessons was that staff officers are in a constant state of overload. Always more to do than time permitted. The staff work was relentless and the inbox was constantly in a state of overflowing. I and the rest of my colleges endured the course, all the while thinking that there is no way that staff officers had this much work. 

I returned to my unit, back to operations, glad I had done my duty and I could put that course behind me. However, one year later the posting message arrived and I was assigned a staff position in Ottawa. My family was excited to go to the Nation’s capital, but I mourned leaving operations. My new role as a staff officer started somewhat slowly, for about a week, and then, what my instructors had stated, came true –overload. It was relentless. My time as a young operator was over. 

Life as a military member is generally like that, too much to do and not enough time to do it. If it isn’t work, it is family responsibilities, and if it isn’t family it is the varied volunteer activities we naturally participate in and lead. Thank God for the energy He gives us to maintain the pace of life we find ourselves in. Yet, God also gave us direction to Stop! Spend time with Him. Psalm 46:10 states “Be still and know that I am God.” 

Some of us have learned to stop and spend time with God, even practicing this spiritual discipline daily. But, it is hard to carve out that time. Time with God in not just an obedient response to God’s command, it is exactly what He designed it to be, it is refreshing, spiritually refreshing. Once you have experienced it, you can’t wait to be back in His presence, quietly meditating on God and His Word, hearing Him speak to you. And then sharing your experience with others who are on the journey with you. Just like sleep, our souls need to be still and know that God is God. 

To this end, the MCF will conduct its first annual spiritual retreat in Ottawa to coincide with the annual general meeting. On Friday, November 11th, there will be an MCF prayer breakfast, which will be followed by attendance at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in downtown Ottawa. Lunch is available at the Chateau Laurier, or at the various Messes. 

In the afternoon, beginning at 1:30 pm, at Greenbelt Church, we will spend time reflecting upon the 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 that discuss the concept. 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 we will recommence at 8:30 am with prayer and worship. Our second session will consider the concept of discipleship. Following a similar agenda to the previous afternoon, we anticipate ending the session at 12:30 and then share lunch together before we begin the annual general meeting. 

As we get closer to the weekend of the spiritual retreat, more details will be forth coming, yet in the meantime I welcome your thoughts on this initiative. 

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! 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.