My wife often tells me, “I hope you write a book someday.” As I write, I feel that God is allowing me to use one of the gifts He’s given me to reach others.
This summer, Chaplain Scott McChrystal, a mentor of mine, encouraged me to contribute articles to a recently founded non-profit organization called The Warrior’s Journey (TWJ). Its an online resource for the military community that addresses our values, challenges and opportunities from a Christian perspective. It’s been endorsed by General Stan McChrystal (Ret.) and Delta Force legend Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin (Ret.). TWJ is partner with Officer Christian Fellowship, militarybeliever.com, Life Publishers and others.
I’ve ended up submitting about 10 articles. And I’m having a lot of fun doing so. The CEO, Rev. Kevin Weaver, recently told me that nearly 70,000 people have visited TWJ in the past 14 months. So I feel that perhaps part of my calling and legacy to the world and church is happening in this writing!
Something else I’m passionate about is “resourcing people”. Onboard I often do this by bringing around a French Press of San Diego’s Café Moto Coffee and pouring coffee for the crew during their long watches. Or I’ll carry around a “survival kit” (shaving kit size) of candy that Damaris sent on deployment with me. Who’s going to turn down Nerds, Swedish Fish or, Chewy Sweet Tarts at 2200 at night, while standing a Bridge or Combat Information Center Watch?! I also love giving away a book well-timed for a shipmate’s life circumstances.
I try to live out the verse from Proverbs 18:6, “The gift opens the way for the giver.” In some ways I do it because it can be the simplest way to try to communicate to the people I run across the message that they are special. Each person is so valuable to God. He gave His only Son for them. Often I think, “maybe in my gift giving I will have opportunity to open doors to share about Jesus, the greatest gift ever given.”
It makes me a little uncomfortable to talk about things that I do as I live out God’s call upon my life, in this season serving as a Navy Chaplain. But I do so because I hope you’ll consider today, to what are you called? In what unique areas are you gifted and impassioned? I like the author Frederick Buechner’s words, “The place God calls us to is where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” In this brief statement he hammers home that calling is linked to our passion and giftedness.
Christian Thinker Os Guinness–also the great, great grandson of the famed Guinness Beer brewers, wrote a book that inspired me and ignited a passion to live my life out of calling.
The book, “The Call”, re-orients our thinking surrounding big questions, like “Why am I here?”, and “What was I made for?” It elevates our sense of God’s hand in leading our lives. And builds with excitement about His way of appointing us to certain work and life commitments. All of this flowing first out of relationship to Him who simply said to Galilean Fishermen, “Come, Follow Me.” Living a called life as warriors can be a struggle. Sometimes what we do can seem discordant with our personal passions or best skills. Understanding that His Call is primary can set our feet back on solid ground by emphasizing to WHOM we are called over to WHAT we are called. He will sort out what we do, when first we’ll just choose to walk with Him and live unto Him.
I have to say, I get buzzed, “caffeinated” almost, when I think of Warriors catching hold of this concept, that GOD is calling them. They aren’t an anomaly. They are not by themselves. They are highly valued, totally known, and in a position to greatly know and honor God and change this world around to look like His Kingdom does. If they’ll but know Him and walk in obedience.
Below are links two articles I’ve contributed to the warriorsjourney.org. It made my heart sing to do so. I want to continue more and more to walk out the implications of His calling. Keeping close in my sights Jesus who leads faithfully, giving of His Spirit without limit, and breathing “dunamis” life into the work of my hands.
(Dunamis is a Biblical Greek word that expresses a Spirit-given dynamite effect)
For Further Consideration:
I believe that understanding the concept of”Calling” and becoming aware of our Spiritual Gifts are closely related. The following passages are inspiring and challenging: 1 Corinthians 12 & 14, Ephesians 4:11-12, Romans 12:4-8, 1 Peter 4:10-11.
To get traction on finding what your spiritual gifts may be take a look at “Network” by: Bruce Bugbee.
Reading this, or taking a “Shapes Inventory” from a local church may really help you. But nothing is as important in discerning spiritual gifts as having godly mentors, committed Christian family members and friends, your pastor, Christian professors, coaches and teachers, and inspiring Christian heroes (living and deceased) whom you study. Sometimes if we’ll take a look at these heroes we most admire, it shines light on areas we are gifted in, or perhaps ways we are called to serve.
Below is one of the most important passages on Spiritual Gifts:
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
“4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same LORD. 6There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”