Category Archives: military

Why I Have a Patriotic Worship Service

I love the patriotic worship service our church has each 4th of July Sunday. I would not have thought that to be a controversial statement a few years ago but some theologs suggest this to be a bad thing. I hear them out, but disagree. In fact, some seem to have a wrong idea about what goes on at these events. So, right in the dead of winter, when picnics seem distant, let me suggest some food for thought (that picnic thing got me food focused).

What we don’t do.

We don’t worship our country. We have only Continue reading

Civil War Reading

The Civil War wasn’t very civil. There were more American casualties than all the rest of our wars combined. It was ugly and brutal and lasted far longer than any had anticipated.

On summer vacation I read “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson. It won a Pulitzer Prize so I figured I should give it a try. And why, by the way, have my books been skipped over in this Pulitzer Prize thing? But I digress.
The book is less than 900 pages. Long, but much shorter than some others including Shelby Foote’s trilogy. It is well documented and well written. The well written part is really helpful, especially when there are 900 pages involved.

I note a couple of things that I learned or Continue reading

Why We Need the Military

I read a biography some time back on the life of Albert Einstein. There were some surprises. First, he was pretty smart. (It takes a genius to recognize one!) Second, when it came to family life and morality, he was no Einstein. A terrible example in some ways.
But there was one area where Einstein changed his views entirely. Early in his life, he was a committed pacifist. He was so committed to his view that he urged people to refuse to serve if drafted.
He changed his views. Can you guess why? Continue reading

A Patriotic Worship Service

I love the patriotic worship service we have at FBC O’Fallon, IL each 4th of July weekend. It is exciting, moving and fun.
Once in a while, I read others who complain about churches having a patriotic service. They remind us of the dangers of patriotism replacing worship and zeal for the nation replacing zeal for the Lord. Duly noted.
But I do believe we can keep a proper perspective of the role of God and country. The first point of my sermon on Sunday was “We have earthly responsibilities but a greater allegiance.” (I preached from the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Daniel 3 and the greater allegiance referred to the Lord, not D.C. My wife says it was the greatest sermon preached in the history of Christendom- but Continue reading

Finding Salvation

   I recently baptized a young Air Force pilot.  His wife gave her life to Christ many years ago.  But he felt that he was self-sufficient.  He didn’t need God.  If others did, that was fine.  He didn’t need anything else.  He was smart, successful and talented.  He would be just fine without giving control of his life over to God. 

   His wife prayed for him often.  She even persuaded him to join her in worship on occasion.  Their son attended our Christian school and he trusted Christ as his savior.  He was baptized in our church.  But dad, well, he just didn’t need God in his life.

   And then, one Sunday, God just broke through the stubbornness.  God showed him Continue reading

Military types and the church

   I love that the church where I am pastor (FBC O’Fallon, IL) is near Scott Air Force base.  We have hundreds of military folks in our church and it is a great blessing.  It will be 19 years this summer since I came and I’ve learned some things about the military folks.  (I am a slow learner.)  Here are some things I’ve learned about ministry with the military community.

1.  Military types move.  A lot.  To lots of places.  It isn’t unusual for me to meet a new family moving in from Guam while saying goodbye to another moving to Germany.  Some move in saying “I’m only here for three years so I’m jumping into the church with both feet.”  They look immediately for opportunities to serve and connect.  I love that!  Others say, “I’m only here for three years so I’m not going to get involved.”  The smart aleck in me responds with, “How long will you be here if you do get involved?”

Military families learn how to deal with new circumstances and environments.  The children of military parents learn to make friends and adjust to new things.  Their moves make them interesting to us civilians.  They have seen places we haven’t and enjoyed experiences foreign to us.  We are impressed with the variety of their experiences. 

They are so interesting.  But, they leave us.  And, if we aren’t careful, we guard our hearts against the pain of their departures.  I remind our church often that we must be willing to love each other- military and civilian- even though our hearts are broken when we part.  Love is worth the pain.

2.  Military types deploy. Continue reading