Worthy Heroes

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This Thanksgiving, Kinser Chapel’s congregations along with the Camp Kinser Community, had the opportunity to serve Marines and Sailors a special Thanksgiving Day dinner. It was a beautiful moment, when young and old volunteers, many ovens across camp, and leaders joined in to show love to our warriors who serve here far from home.

As I recall yesterday’s meal, and remember those strong, fine young Americans, relaxing at the table, I can’t help but think of the communities that they represent.  Many at home long to see them and to spend time with them during the holidays.

I think it’s safe to say that many of our Marines and Sailors are considered with a hero-status by their younger siblings, nieces and nephews, and communities back home. With that in mind, let me share two thoughts with you.  The first is that being a worthy role-model is needed by our Country today.  The second is this, if we are to be worthy heroes, it helps to have worthy heroes ourselves. This is because the level of greatness that our heroes have attained often becomes the maximum level for which we ourselves are reaching.

There was an early Christian leader named Paul who said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”  He was very focused on the one whom he considered his hero. To the extent that his hero loved, served and humbled himself, Paul would do the same.

I am proud to serve among American warriors in Okinawa.  They inspire me daily. This holiday season may each of us recognize the incredible strength of the example we provide to our families and communities. When we feel the pressure of our burden of duty, may we remember worthy heroes who inspire us to reach forward gladly, with all our strength.

Picture: Volunteers from Camp Kinser Chapel’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Yep, the children volunteered too. They kept the Marines entertained, and carried more than their weight.

Choosing Heroes

Choosing Heroes

Did you have a childhood hero? Heroes have a special quality about them…sometimes charisma, other times beauty, or perhaps intelligent creativity. Whatever it is, they have a greatness in them that we admire and to which we aspire. It can be dangerous to have the wrong heroes. This is because the level of greatness our heroes have attained becomes for us the maximum level for which we ourselves are reaching. As you’ve likely noticed, heroes often fall short. As you listen to today’s sermon, test this statement out, “Show me your heroes and I’ll show you your future.” In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, notice how Jesus-focused he is. In the first 34 verses of his letter to this church, he mentions Jesus Christ 22 times. He is absorbed in wonder at this person Jesus. “To me to live is Jesus Christ,” he says. Good thing Paul chose the right hero. He goes on to tell the Philippians, that they, like him, should make Jesus Christ their model. “Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” To the extent that he loved, served and humbled himself, they should do the same. Due to Jesus Christ’s obedience and commitment, even unto humiliating death on a cross, God exalted Him to true hero status, and has given Him the name LORD, at which every knee will bow and every mouth confess that reality. Who is your hero? May Jesus capture your heart and be the the standard for your greatest aspirations.

Click on link to hear sermon:  https://soundcloud.com/kinser-chaplain/choosing-heroes-philippians-2

 

Operation One Macedonia: The Call to Unity

Operation One Macedonia –The Call to Unity

In a fractured world of broken families, warring nations, and self-focus, Christians find themselves in enemy territory. Strangers to this world and to the things it holds most dear, God calls us to be united citizens of his coming eternal Kingdom. The Apostle Paul brought word of this truth to the Philippian Church of Macedonia in a letter written from his prison cell in Rome, 62AD. He told them to “stand fast together. Conduct yourselves in a kingdom-of-heaven manner worthy of Jesus. Be courageous in the face of sufferings given you by God. You are sharing these pains with Jesus, even as they confirm your commitment to Him. The courage you show in your Gospel mission is a sign of God’s salvation power and of your enemies’ soon rendezvous with judgment.” Unity among God’s people is a critical strategy of Jesus’ Kingdom advance. That unity is made possible by something potent and uncommon on earth: selfless love. This kind of love is the way of Jesus. It’s the way to live peaceably and purposefully among each other. Such love reaches hardened hearts with the hope of Eternity and forgiveness, revolutionizing the world.

Click on link to hear audio message:  https://soundcloud.com/kinser-chaplain/operation-one-macedonia

Prayer for Veteran’s Day 2013: Commemorating 50th Anniversary of American Involvement in Vietnam

Vietnam Commemorative Flag 50th

Merciful God, we are gathered together this special fall day to honor America’s Veterans… especially those who 50 years ago began answering our nation’s call to the Vietnam War. 

They answered that call, or draft letter, from varied circumstances: while among family, friends, school halls, farm fields, enterprises, arts and athletic aspirations. They were asked to risk all for the sake of freedom, to intervene for a country which could no longer defend itself from the atrocities taking hold in the North.  

Precious was the gift of life they gave in Vietnam.  For the 58,220 who gave all, we stop and grieve their departure…    We thank you for the priceless gift of their lives. 

For the multiplied thousands who continue on, grieving their absence, we ask you to comfort, heal and bring joy.    

You showed us that “no greater love has anyone than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friend.”  So for those dreams cut short in jungle heat, prolonged rainy days and fighting nights… we dream again.  Render your aid to us in this endeavor, especially upon disabled and wounded veterans, fill them with new strength; and for the missing, that they be found.

We want to work for the cause of justice, peace, and freedom, especially for the weak.  Help us Oh God. In this way we can honor you & bless these fallen and bless the beautiful country, America, for whom they gave their last breath.

In the Holy name of Jesus Christ, I pray, amen.

Joy in Adversity

Joy in Adversity

When freedom’s lost and you are cornered, friends have become enemies, & life itself seems fragilely close to the precipice, Christians can still have joy. That is the message Paul shared with the Philippian Church during his imprisonment in Rome in 62 AD. He encouraged his concerned friends, “It’s going to be okay.” How could he say this with a potential death sentence hanging over his head? And how can we ourselves find joy in difficult circumstances we face right now? Philippians 1:12-26 teaches us four truths about joy in adversity. 1. Joy results despite our physical freedoms lost because the Gospel is bringing about great freedom in the lives of many others through our testimony. In Paul’s case, this happened among Caesar’s hardened Praetorian Guard. 2. We are called to joy even if dealing with the pain of of betrayal and animosity coming from so-called friends, because the hope of the Gospel stills spreads whenever Jesus Christ is spoken of. 3. Joy springs in adversity, too, because Christians have total confidence in a final deliverance – our forever life to come with Jesus Christ. 4. Finally, joy may be had in the worst adversity because Death itself has lost its power and fear because God has overcome it in Jesus Christ. He is with us, and brings believing friends into our lives to love us & pray us through! Adversity will come. Count on it. But know, friend, that God doesn’t work in your life despite adversity; he actually takes the adversity, regardless of its origins rooted in a fallen world of sin, using it to propel you to joy, the Gospel to wider embrace, and the purpose of your life to beautiful heights.

Sermon slides may be viewed at: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=o…05041&type=1

Click on link to hear or download sermon audio: https://soundcloud.com/kinser-chaplain/joy-in-adversity-philippians-1

Gift of Joy

Gift of Joy

Life’s not easy.  We face uncertainties and unexpected challenge all the time.  But God has given a gift to us to carry us through these times.  That gift is joy, which increases our love, strengthens our faith, and helps us to reach the world around with God’s hope.   In the first chapter of Philippians we learn that the church at Philippi brought Paul tons of joy, even though facing potential death, imprisoned in Rome.  This joy came from the fellowship they shared in the world’s most important mission—the gospel, and in their sharing a common Savior, Jesus.  How is it with you? Do you know that God has built into the fabric of our Christian experience joy?  It comes in waves of affection from our fellow believers, given by His Holy Spirit, right when we need it.  And this joy is backed up by a promise:  He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the end.  We are going to make it & we’ll pass with flying colors! Our God said so. And so we rejoice.

You can click on link below if you’d like to listen to the audio sermon from yesterday’s message to Faith Community Church at Camp Kinser, Okinawa.

https://soundcloud.com/kinser-chaplain/gift-of-joy-philippians-1-1-11

–Much love to friends and family across the miles.  You are missed and so precious to me and Damaris.

Rare Christianity: One, John 17.20-26

Rare Christianity: One, John 17.20-26

God is awesome.  Trying to understanding who He is, is tough, but worth the effort. Trusting in the reality of His triune nature: Father, Son, & Spirit, is the biggest confidence booster a Christian can receive as he approaches the Lord and seeks to understand Him more.  Historically when those seeking God lose sight of His triune nature: 3 co-equal, co-eternal persons with different functions but one being,  multitudes are led astray.  If Christ Jesus is believed to be less than fully God (and fully man), the opportunity for forgiveness of sins, the grace of his resurrection power, and the hope of His glory fades and false religions take hold.  Come walk through the Scriptural foundation for understanding God as “trinity.” Look at a key creedal affirmation of the Early Church;  learn the different works of God: Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier; and briefly consider analogies to help us understand how 3 can be 1.  As you listen, may you gain a more rooted faith, deeper trust , confidence to approach Him, and confidence to share His salvation to all those around. Such confidence in the One is rare Christianity.

Click on link below to listen:

https://soundcloud.com/kinser-chaplain/rare-christianity-one-john-17

Rare Christianity: Gifts, Romans 12:3-8, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, Oct 06, 2013

Rare Christianity: Gifts, Romans 12:3-8, Kristian Carlson, Faith Community Church, Oct 06, 2013

Believers who know their spiritual gifts and use them in unified teamwork change the world. But Christians often neglect to use their gifts. They belittle them, fear to step out in them, or do not recognize them. At times they are over confident in them. When it comes to gifts offer yourself to God. Develop your gifts. Study the gifts lists in the New Testament and read books like “Networking” by Bruce Bugbee. The best spiritual gift is the one needed right at the moment in the church. We need leaders, but more so we need “chairstackers” who glory in doing what needs done and following the lead of pastors and elders. God distributes spiritual gifts to build up Christ’s body that it would effectively bring Jesus’ hope to a hardened, lost world.