Mid-Year Report 2020

The first six months of this year has presented us all with challenges that were not anticipate. We have all had to adapt to the continually evolving Covid-19 environment, the end of which is still in the distant future. Our primary job has become taking care of ourselves and those closest to us so as to ensure that we do not become infected and then cause others to become infected as well.  I think that not since World War II has there been a threat that was so widespread. Yet, we have also witnessed a shift in the ways and means used to communicate the gospel.

Initiated in January 2019, the MCF has been conducting an experimental online NextLevel men’s discipleship group. Members of the group come from Kingston, Ottawa, Valcartier, Gagetown and the Miramichi area. While other in-person groups have ceased, and their members have drifted, the MCF group has been an outstanding success providing its members with a consistent and rich Christian fellowship experience that has facilitated a deeper relationship with our Lord.

In April while the Covid-19 caseload was expanding across Canada, in response to the Lord’s calling a team of MCF members joined together to deliver the Alpha Course online. We unknowingly became part of a movement of God to provide the gospel through online Alpha that stretches across Canada, the US, the UK and other locations that I am just now hearing about.  The MCF group has seen great results as the Holy Spirit has worked in the lives of everyone who is on the course, both team leaders and participants. This coming weekend marks the end of the course and we are expectant that the Lord will do more in the lives of everyone who has been involved.

On May 9th the MCF collaborated with Ellel Ministries Canada to deliver a webinar on moral injury resulting from military operations. A first for both organizations. The MCF had been working with Ellel Ministries International to hold a weekend seminar in the Netherlands coinciding with the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands; however, global restricts forced the cancellation of that event.  The planning team came together to pray and discuss if there was anything that we could do, and we were unanimous in our understanding that we should not lose faith but press on to find another way.  The result was the delivery of a webinar that was attended by 67 people from Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia. The MCF has never before had such a reach. All due to the Lord’s intervention and favour.

In the next six months we understand that we are to again offer the Alpha Course online, that we are to again provide a webinar experience for members of the military community and that we are to provide training for NextLevel group leaders for the development of new online Nextlevel groups amongst military community leaders.

Thank you for your prayers for the military community, they are having an effect that has eternal implications.

Gerry Potter

Telling Someone

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done” Psalm 105:1

Imagine that you have a friend who has been in trouble at work because of lateness. You know they are often late because, when you leave for work in the morning, you see their car is still in the driveway even though they start work 30 minutes before you. One day your friend confides in you and shares that their boss has threatened to fire them. You know your friend was previously given warnings, fines and even a suspension, but it seems the boss has had enough. Your friend adds that their life would become horrible if fired. In addition to losing their home, they stated their spouse warned they would leave with the children. You listened empathetically and even offered some tips to early rising. Although the friend heard your comments, they ended the conversation with, “it was not their fault, the world was against them, they were a good person, and why should they lose everything because of some poor choices?”

The following week, as you leave for work, you look towards your friend’s driveway and are relieved to see it empty. You are pleased they heeded the boss’s warning. However, one morning, as you head off to work, you notice their car is still in the driveway, but you are not alarmed. There is still time for them to get to work on time. You are leaving early because of the violent storm the previous evening. You anticipate debris in your workplace, and so you want to get an early start on the cleanup. As you turn the last corner before crossing the bridge, you see flashing lights. The bridge has washed out during the storm. There are emergency lights and crew on the other side of the missing bridge but not on yours. You decide that, before emergency services arrive, you will stop and warn others of the danger.  As you prepare to set up your roadblock, you hear screeching of tires. When you look in the direction of the sound, you notice your neighbour’s cars speeding down the hill towards the bridge. Your friend is trying to make sure they are not late. As you watch the car, you recall the distress they expressed regarding the consequences of their next lateness. You imagine their panic and worry as they race down the hill. You also remember that they stated, with bitterness, how others were to blame for their troubles. You now have your dilemma. If you stop your friend and warn them about the bridge, they will undoubtedly be late and will more than likely blame you for losing their job. If you don’t stop them, they will fly off the bridge into the river below and die.

You ask yourself, “Why should you be held responsible for them losing their job, their family, and their home?” What do you do? As they get closer, you must decide whether you are going to step in front of them or whether you are going to step aside?

God often puts us in the path of people whose lifestyle and choices are leading them to eternal ruin. We know the consequences of their actions. We can choose to step aside and let them continue their way, believing or hoping that someone else will tell them. Or, we can step in front of them and also choose to stand beside them to share the simple truth about Jesus’ love for them. Pray the Holy Spirit helps when you are faced with these kinds of decisions. Pray, we do not let anyone fly off the bridge.

The Shield – download PDF

January 2020                 February 2020               March 2020

April 2020                       May 2020                       June 2020


December 2019            November 2019         October 2019

September 2019           August 2019

June 2019                     May 2019                     April 2019

March 2019                 February 2019             January 2019


December 2018        November 2018          October 2018

September 2018       August 2018                July 2018

In God I Trust

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6

My friend is dying. On Monday she was told she has probably three weeks to live. She was diagnosed with cancer last July and has been undergoing aggressive and even experimental treatment since then. Four weeks ago, she was preparing to come home. She rung the bell and was ready to return home. Last week she started to get headaches and they conducted tests. That is when she was told her cancer was back, and it was worse. She is a follower of Christ and knows what awaits her, but eternity is our reward for following Christ, not an exit strategy she wishes to pursue at this time because life hurts.

I share this story not to elicit condolences for her or me; I do cherish your prayers for her. I want to tell you about a journey our church family has been going through as we prayed for her.  Many righteous followers of Christ have dropped to their knees and pleaded on her behalf. The elders anointed her with oil and the church sang praises to God. We acknowledged God’s control over all of His creation and surrendered to His will but not in a way to suggest we gave up interceding for her. We prayed daily and have asked other communities to join with us. Admittingly our overall prayers have been selfish because we have asked God to leave her with us so we can enjoy her company and blessings. However, we prayed for more than the healing of the body. We prayed for peace and comfort to engulf her so she could face this journey and be a light to her family. She has shone brightly throughout, reminding people to put their trust and hope in God no matter the circumstances.

So, what good have our prayers been? If she goes to glory in a few weeks some people will be asking themselves “why bother praying”? Her healing was at the forefront of our prayers, but we also prayed that she does not experience any of the known side effects of cancer and chemotherapy. She has felt no pain and if you ask her, she will tell you, “I don’t feel like I’m sick at all”.  We prayed for God’s peace over her so she could help her family and friends deal with the cancer. God’s granted her this allowing her to keep her focus on Him, her spouse and family and even allowed her to comfort those able to visit. He gave her His peace to face this struggle and she has been a role model showing us how we can face life and all its ugliness with Christ at our side. We prayed that as people watched their friend deal with cancer, they would reflect on their own immortality and seek God. The ways God has been working in her life and that of others has been incredible. We are thankful that He has reminded us that He was listening to our prayers.

My friend has been scared. She has cried and she has laughed. But mostly she has been strong and wise. All who have visited or talk with her have left feeling uplifted. Even when people have asked her why she looks to God, she has given the wonderful Job reply, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10b).

Her doctors say she has three weeks, but we have not stopped praying for her. It is not because we are stubborn, but we know that at this time only God truly knows whether she will live or die. Paul’s letter to the Philippians reminds us to bring all our concerns to God so we can experience His peace. When you pray today, will you remember Dorothy in your prayers? Will you also ask the Holy Spirit to open Ambrose’s (Dorothy’s husband) heart and eyes so that he may see and feel the peace, hope and joy that come with trusting and loving God.

What really matters.

“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor”. (1 Peter 2:17)

I have four children. They are adults now with children of their own. When they were younger my wife and I always tried to make sure that we treated them equally and justly. We tried to provide then with the same opportunities, blessings, and love so that no one could be seen as the favourite. My children are not identical despite growing up in the same environment. They each have their own unique set of skills, traits and personalities. Sometimes, as parents, we were challenged by their uniqueness, but that did not stop us from loving them and wanting what was good.

When I had been posted to Kingston to do schooling, my wife and three children (one had yet to be born) accompanied me. This was a very important time in my career, but I wanted to ensure I had a balanced school and home life. One night, after the children were in bed, my wife and I were watching TV and heard a loud thump. We ran upstairs to see what had happened and found our son lying on the floor convulsing.  He slept on the top bunk of the bed and we had assumed he had fallen out. We took him to the hospital, and he was admitted for observation and care. Although I was in the midst of school exams, I spent every moment I could with him because, at the time of his suffering, his life mattered to me. I did not love his sisters any less but during his time in the hospital, I admit my focus was more on him. The lives of all my children mattered but at that time I knew I had to focus on him. I wanted to ensure, to the best of my abilities, that his suffering was addressed.

We are witnessing an emotional reaction to an injustice faced by a group in our society who are often looked at because of the colour of their skin and not their value to our society. They are suffering and feeling that their lives and circumstance don’t matter to the rest of us. On the walls of a large courthouse are the words: “The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government.” That is, for the government to serve its people properly, it must dispense its laws, and make its judgements with wisdom and fairness.
I’m not sure many would disagree with that because there’s an inherent desire in everyone to be treated fairly. However, in light of the events around us, we must admit that our society as a whole is not ensuring all are treated justly or equally. We must not remain blind to the truth that when one part of our community is treated differently, unjustly, we are all impacted.

Many of us have never experienced life like those in this suffering community but it does not mean we cannot join together to seek justice. We must ensure we do not compete with them for attention but stand together as best as we can.

“God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

The truth is He wants to reconcile His creation to Him and has invited followers of Christ to be part of His mission to bring the Good news to all. Part of that mission is to seek justice for all who suffer especially when it is blatantly obvious.  We may feel uncomfortable marching in pursuit of justice, but that does not mean we can’t seek what is right. What really matters is, at a minimum, we must do a self-examination and ask; “am I loving God by loving others”. 

God is a just God

“Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Why are people so angry? It seems the slightest difference of opinion can lead to insults, accusations and in some cases violence. Instead of saying, “I disagree”, people are reacting irrationally. What is truly sad is watching those who declare their love for Jesus who are responding as the world responds in equally disrespectful ways.

This explosion of anger has been developing for several years as people have felt helpless to address the good and bad changes happening around them. Our generation has been feed by social media platforms that push entitlement and self-fulfilment. It wants what is right for them. To be heard, they attach themselves to causes in the hope of seeking justice, but most are ignorant as to what true justice look likes. People want to offer an opinion but often logic is put aside and replaced by emotions. Adding to the problem is the difficulty in finding a legitimate cause because many have been hijacked by individuals with agendas to bringing about anarchy and violence.

A friend recently noted that this current explosion of anger was inevitable. Covid-19 has possibly ignited the powder keg. People have been locked in their homes for months, some within a dysfunctional family setting. Freedom of movement has been restricted and people are upset they can’t do things they weren’t even doing before the virus hit. Many have lost their employment, which some have linked to their identity and self-worth. All these factors have contributed to the growth of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty which in turn has fueled angry confrontations in grocery store lines, parking lots, recreational areas, and especially social media.

So how do disciples of Christ respond not only to the rising anger around us but also to perceived injustices? Firstly, we must step back and look to the cross. We must remember God’s love allowed the sacrifice of Jesus so that underserving humanity could be saved from the deprived and offensive decisions it makes. We must turn our gaze upwards and seek God’s peace, wisdom and love to speak for justice and to be able to love our enemies. Secondly, we should remember the power of words to hurt and scar. We must adopt the psalmist mindset when he wrote, Psalm 19:14. Lastly, we should consider these words from James in “James 1:26”. We are on display for Jesus and must be mindful of how our words and actions can destroy our witness.

God is a just God and as Isaiah shared God wants us to, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow’s cause,” (Isaiah 1:17). God also wants us to be concerned about the way we interact with each other. He created us to live in harmonious relationship with one another and that has become difficult as Satan’s influence have turned us against one another. We should be on the side of justice for all, but we need to approach these issues with love and logic vice pure emotions. Anger and violence births anger and violence whereas godly wisdom and love bring about peace. Martin Luther King offered these words during a speech he made called Loving your Enemies, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. The Apostle John wrote “dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”, (1 John 3:18). By our deeds and words, we must be the light to the world around us and love as God desires.

What exactly do we mean by it?

There is a word that Christians often say but rarely define: the word “gospel.” What exactly do we mean by it?
In the Bible, the word used for “gospel” simply means “good news.”

This Greek word, euangelion, is not unique to the Bible, but is used in many places to proclaim all sorts of news that was considered “good.” For example, we have ancient writings celebrating the “good news” (or “gospel”) of Caesar Augustus after he had just won a great battle. Often, this word was used to announce the fact that a ruler had just won a battle, and their kingdom was therefore advancing. This context helps us make sense of what’s happening when we see Jesus preaching the good news, or gospel, “Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark. 1:14–15 NLT). In other words, Jesus is proclaiming the fact that God’s kingdom is advancing, so we’d all better get in line with it! The battle is being won, with the decisive victory being the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, perhaps we can attempt a simple definition of the gospel: The gospel is the good news that God’s kingdom has come through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who now rules overall. Therefore, we can be forgiven for our rebellion and enjoy a life with God in His kingdom. Now that’s good news!

How do we share this good news with others? That’s what we do with good news: we share it. If we don’t, then it would appear we don’t think it’s particularly “good.” The first thing to understand is that nothing beats your own story. There’s no comparison for having your own transforming relationship with Jesus to share with others. Even in the Bible, we see the power of personal stories to transform lives (see Luke 8:39).

Consider these four statements that you can use to help people understand God:
God loves you, sin causes death, Jesus gives life, and live for Jesus. 

1. God loves you. Romans 8:38. One of the most important things we can understand is that God loves us more than we can imagine. Romans 8:38 makes clear, God will stop at nothing to show us this love.

2. Sin causes death. Romans 6:23. We all try to do God’s job, and in doing that, we rebel against him. This separates us from God forever, and it causes eternal death in our souls. The good news is that…

3. Jesus brings life. Ephesians 2:4–5. Not because of anything we’ve done, and not because we deserve it—but purely because of God’s unfathomable love—he provided a way for our sin problem to be cured. Jesus did it by sacrificing his own life for you, and when God raised him from the dead, that meant that when we decide to make Jesus our master, sin and death will no longer have victory in our lives, not only in this life but in the next!

4. Live for Jesus. 2 Cor. 5:15. The key to receiving this new life is that we no longer live for ourselves, but for Jesus! It’s God’s upside-down sort of way. To have an abundant life, we must give it away! Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Jesus offers life to us, and all we have to do is surrender to him.

Have you changed?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”   Galatians 5:22

When I joined the military I was 124 pounds of nothing. I was told the military would change me and I was too young to even realize I needed to be changed. I didn’t even shave yet, but because my MCpl thought it important, I shaved every morning only to be chided on the drill square for misusing all the band-aides in the section first aid kit. Like many, my first three months in the military were spent in Cornwallis where I learnt much about life. Beaches aren’t meant to be walked on and every footprint cost 25 push-ups. Grown men do cry when a burly MCpl is barking in their ear because they can’t slow march. Eagerness to volunteer is rewarded by fire piquet at the base pool. When a superior tells you that you can call them by their first name, it will take about 500 push-ups to realize that the Sergeant is Sgt and not Archie. My time in the military changed me and now I believe I am twice the man I was before I joined (at least that what my bathroom scale suggests).

Joking aside, I can identify things in my life that was changed because of my time with the military. I can identify dates, people and events that affected me and changed my outlook, behaviour and even attitude. In second Corinthians we are told, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  So, we are told we will change, and I am certain many of us did not even know we had to be changed. In conversations with friends, we agree that Christ-followers like to say, “Jesus has changed me” and they can quote the various verses that state this will happen. But many do struggle to say what has changed. The Galatians’ quote at the start of this article, identifies the fruit that comes with being indwelled with the Holy Spirit. If you want a measuring stick of change in your life, look at each of them and identify where you are. We get all the fruit, not just bits of it and so if you do not see a change in these areas, speak with the Father.

We have been told that the military will make a man or woman out of those who join. Our prayer for our military brothers and sisters should be that we ask God to make a child out of them – a child of God. Many young people are signing up to serve this country and are being changed. Let’s be an agent for change and bring them before God’s throne room as ask the Holy Spirit to engage and change them. Ask the Holy Spirit to set them up for someone to come near them and tell them about the gift and change that God offers.

Seek to please God

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 2:41

The coronavirus quarantine seems to have resulted in increased time in front of a TV or computer. People are watching and surfing more and feel inclined to share their favourites on social media, and it seems endorsements have picked up since the quarantine. I was interested in some of the recommendations made mostly because of the comments associated with them. Christians and non-believers alike are recommending movies that one certainly would watch with their children, and people are chiming in with their opinions. Some followers have openly criticized the choices suggested because of the sexual content and excessive vulgarity. Others jumped into these opinions by offering, “it’s just a movie.”  Few believers, but not all, did not cut their Christian peers any slack and suggested there is no grey area between what is appropriate and what is not.

Years ago, a book and movie 50 Shades of Grey were released and opened conversations in the Christian community as to what Christians should or shouldn’t read or watch it. Some people took the stance that it’s “no big deal,” while others suggested our leisure time can have an impact on eternity. So, where do we draw the line? Do we never watch a movie or browse the internet because of its potential to disagree with our faith? That seems archaic; however, we certainly can know what is appropriate and what is not. God has chosen Christians to be His people, Holy and righteous. That does not mean boring and stuffy. And to some, making a moral choice may seem somewhat legalistic, but it is the nature of who we are as children of God. Our pastors or a Christian sister or brother can help us draw the line. They should use scripture to highlight God’s desires for us, reminding us that we have the Holy Spirit to help us with our choices. Each of us should have conversations with God about the things we do to entertain ourselves. We are his children 24/7 and should not step back while we seek enjoyment. I suggest that one of the things that hurt, and insults God is the blatant disregard for our bodies as the temples of His Holy Spirit. By walking on a grey line, we tempt ourselves, and we know the evil one is ready to trip us up.

God blessed us with senses, and so they are ours to use. If you are uncertain about your activities and whether they would be offensive to God, speak with Him. Express your thoughts and desires and seek His guidance. Look to scripture and don’t ignore it or exploit it looking for a loophole. Seek to please God.

Moral Injury: Trauma In Active Service

Due to social distancing we have an update on the Moral Injury conference originally planned for Netherlands. It will now be a 1 day VIRTUAL seminar. May 9, 2020, the  find the brochure HERE. MCF and Ellel Ministry will co-host a seminar on moral injury and will be available free to all participants. Please register as soon as possible: Registration form.

Earlier last fall Kevin Davis invited me to a one-day training session with Ellel Ministries during which leaders from this ministry presented a theological framework for the progressive healing of first-responders who had been subjected to spiritual trauma as a result of situations they faced within their areas of work. I found that the framework presented dove-tailed well into the studies that I had been conducting on the subject of Moral Injury within the context of military operations. Kevin and I met with representatives of Ellel
Ministries from both Canada and the Netherlands in an effort to discern if there could be an opportunity for us to work together. Our discussions have been fruitful.

Just War Theory has been and continues to be a subject of debate within academic circles. Governments and military leadership alike discuss its application, many times indirectly and on occasion unconsciously as they consider potential and actual courses of action. Such discussions are of no value to the men and women who are directly involved in the application of military power and experience the effects of both their actions and inactions while performing such work. Increasingly, recognition of the existence of moral injury is occurring. While the lifting of the veil on a previously ill-recognized effect of military operations is important, it is only the beginning of what needs to be a fulsome understanding of the malady and its successful treatment from a sound theological perspective. This joint seminar is the MCF’s first foray into what has been a previously poorly understood effect of military operations.

If you have been sensitized to the matter of moral injury either as a care practitioner or as an individual who has them-self suffered such an injury or has a friend or family member who has been so injured I recommend that come to this seminar. You will not be disappointed.

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Retired)