Monday, December 21, 2009

The Blessing Lady went home!

A few years ago I wrote about a lady that I used to see all the time while working out at the gym at FT Jackson.
http://chaplainbrad.blogspot.com/2006/12/blessing-lady.html

. She would come up to everyone that she saw in the gym and ask, "Have I blessed you today?"
I always said, "No! You haven't belssed me...please do!" She would then pray a short prayer of blessing. What an encouragement she was to me and many others.
I got this note from her daughter today in the comments section and thought is was nice and I'd like to share it with you all.

Dear Brad, My name is Cyndi Jones. I am the daughter of "The Blessing Lady" that you met out at Ft. Jackson at the Perez Gym in b2006. I just wanted to let you know that she went home to Heaven yesterday. She hadn't been sick, she just went to sleep and didn't wake up. I used the blog that you wrote about her as part of her obituary in The State newspaper...hope that you don't mind. May God Bless you!

Cyndi, your mom was a blessing to us! Now she's home waiting for the rest of us and I'm sure she's still blessing people!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crossfit


Being in the Army, physical preparedness is of utmost importance, your life can depend on it. I'm always looking for challenging routines to push myself to newer levels of strength and endurance. I've been working out in one way or another since I was 7 years old, from soccer, to high school football, basketball, tennis and even a few triathlons. But I have come across a training regimen that is pushing the bounds of what I thought I could do. Its called Crossfit. It combines functional movements with short high intensity routines that continually change. SSG Russ Robinson, my phenomenal Chaplain assistant and I have been pushing ourselves to the limit. Russ is a beast and can do about 30 pull ups, which is not fair at all. If you go to the Crossfit website at www.crossfit.com you can see the workouts and follow them. There are video demos and instructions on how to do them. Best part is, the workouts are scalable to ability and age, which for me is a blessing. Some of the workouts are named after girls and many of those are particularly brutal. So we decided to name workouts after the women in our lives. So we have the Jenn and the Tammy after our wives. We are soon coming out with workouts named after our daughters and I'm going to have a "hero" workout for my son Jack. Should be a hoot. So if you are interested in following along with us here is what we did today...its called "Tammy"

15 Decline situps with a 25 Lb. plate
15 overhead squats 80lbs (bar held above your head)
50 reps on speed rope (jump rope)
15 45lb Kettlebell swings

20 minute time limit as many sets as you can do in that amount of time. We did 6 and I about puked!

Was thinking of this and it dawned on me that being disciplined to workout each day, to follow through and restrict myself from giving up actually brings freedom in my life. By training I limit injury, sickness and my overall well being is enhanced.

On a spiritual note, being disciplined to pray, seek God in personal time, to give up maybe an hour sleep a day to rise early and long for His presence like two friends meeting, will also bring freedom in our lives. I have recently picked up a small book that has nearly revolutionized my prayer life. Its called "The hour that changes the world". The author challenges his readers to pray for an hour, because it is through prayer that God changes things. Does God need our prayers...well....thrologically speaking no, God needs nothing. But Jesus gave us in his life an example of prayer and very often early in the morning long before anyone else was up.

I thought long and hard about this, being a Chaplain and a Pastor people kind of expect me to have a solid prayer life. I can honestly say that there has not been one day in the last decade where I did not pray. But sitting down to pray for an hour solid and me having untreated ADD that was asking too much.

But I thought what can I lose. So one morning on leave I jumped out of bed and cracked open this little book, my Bible and my journal...all the things that help me to pray. I used the author's suggestions of 5 minute section of 12 different types of prayer. Guess what, I couldn't pray for an hour....I prayed for an hour and half! I got lost in it, talking to God, reading His word, meditating, confessing, listening, interceding, petitioning, even singing. The next day was similar, and now I find myself going to bed itching to get up and spend my hour...at least with Jesus.

What has it produced...freedom for me! Freedom to follow Jesus daily in this place called Iraq. Freedom to hear from Him. Freedom to interact with those that He loves empowered by His Spirit.Even today as I spent my prayer time I was praying for one of my friends here who is a true seeker, I has spent a couple of days with his team and we had a long conversation of a particularly spiritual nature. I my prayer time I felt prompted to pray for him and that God would reveal Himself. Just as I was praying that there was a knock at my door....guess who it was...you got it!

He walked in my room and said, "So, we've all got to be saved...right?"

It was on after that. I just laughed inside all the way through at the way God works.
I could go on an on.

So my challenge to you is spend some time changing your world through time with Him. You'll be different and the world around you will be different!

Have yourself a great day!

So be Crossfit!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving




Its been a while since I've posted. I've been at home with my family, completely immersed in spending time with them, so blogging has not been my first and foremost concern. I head back to Iraq tomorrow. Its a sad and happy day here. Its sad because I'm leaving again, but its happy too because the next time we see each other I'll be done. I've been in the Army for almost 6 years now, a reservist (yeah right). We knew what we were in for. I've been either in a school, mobilized away from home or on deployment for 4 out of those six years. We have grown accustomed to it now. It is a part of our lives. One thing I have found out is that no matter how many times you leave your family in the service of your God and your country, it does not get easier. And to be quite honest that is a really good thing. I fear the day that I am ready or happy to walk away from my family. This feeling of dread that I have of leaving them is a blessing. It reminds me that I sit here in this modest home with the most important people in the world, my wife, my daughter and my son. The Kingdom of God is made of families and I have been entrusted with these here with me now. The Army is not my career, my family is and the Kingdom is. Some day the uniforms will be packed away, the deployments will be summed up in a plaque on the wall, but my family will remain. My identity is not found in being a Chaplain or an officer in the Army, but in being a follower of Jesus, a husband and a dad. And for that I am thankful. So, I'll leave tomorrow...again...but a few short months from now I'll see them again, waiting for me at the airport....and we'll come home together, back here to the place God has given us to love each other and build a life. And I am thankful for that too. So...back to work now, back to taking care of soldiers, pointing them to Jesus and the Kingdom.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This video is from our Chapel service here at COB Speicher. We are in transition now with our brothers and sisters from 25 ID out of Hawaii handing off to our new friends from 3ID out of FT Stewart GA. Lightning Chapel as it is known now will give way to the Rock of the Marne Chapel. Both are the call signs of each division. We have a great crowd each week and I have been honored to be one of the pastors that gets to preach. I have enjoyed getting to know so many fine folks. We are finishing up a series on the Kingdom of God. And the more I study the King and the Kingdom the more He blows my mind. It has been my distinct honor to share the pulpit with CH Dave Shoffner and CH Tom Wheatley, both of whom have made a great impact on me. They have years of experience taking care of soldiers and I have watched and listened with an open heart as they have mentored me.

Our band is amazing too, led by the precocious one, SPC James Doty, from Corpus Christi TX. He'll be famous someday....I hope he remembers us little people!

Hope all is well back home. I'll be there for a visit soon! Some of the things I'm looking forward to are hunting deer with my son and my buddies, drinking a cold cheerwine, going to church and seeing all my brothers and sisters in Christ, falling asleep in my chair, playing with my dogs, seeing my mom, dad, and brother, listening to Tori tell me about her awesome life as a teenager, and finally having morning coffee with the love of my life....Tammy.

I am a blessed man.

See you all soon!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Stupid Story Night

Its stupid story night here in Iraq. We pull out our worst jokes ever. All done around a campfire on a roof at the men's night "Gathering"

Listen Now!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Prone to Forget

"We often forget the things that we thought we would never forget".

I found that quote today and put it my briefing for my commander. I had forgotten all this week. I sit here hacking this email out just a few miles from the Tigris river in the desert of the middle east. I am surrounded each day by soldiers who leave the "wire" and expose themselves to death. Just this week I was reminded again of how real all this is. At our combat surgical hospital, the choppers came in, the docs were scrubbed and ready to go to do what they do, but that didn't happen. Because there was no one to save. All three young soldiers had been killed when an explosion blew up their MRAP. So this week some Chaplain and another officer had to go to some poor woman's house and ruin her life that her son or husband was killed in action. And that was done three times this week. It was a sobering day.

I met with a soldier from that unit today. His best friend was killed in the attack. He's a strong man, but the weight of the instantaneous loss of his buddy is taking its toll. The strain is ever-present in his eyes. As he knelt in tears all I could or needed to do was pray with Him.

Like it or not the events of this week began 8 years ago today, actually back further than that, but the hinge point was September 11th. I know it was for me. It was the day that I knew I'd be at some point serving in the Army, kneeling with soldiers in grief and smiling with them in joy.

We are prone to forget. I forgot that I was working on a sliding glass door with my buddy Nathan. I forgot as we watched through that glass at some lady's house in Troutman NC and wondered what could be going on in New York. I forgot about the smoke and fire that came out of those buildings. I forgot the replays over and over again of that plane tearing through that building in a giant ball of fire. I forgot that the three of us watched on live TV, most of us did, as those massive buildings fell in seconds. I forgot the sick feeling I had in my stomach. I forgot how mad I was. I forgot the prayer that we prayed on our knees in that living room of some woman that I have not seen since. I forgot the conversation that I had with my wife on the phone, "Can you beleive it?!" What is going to happen now?" I forgot how we cried as we watched on TV all that day and all the next week. I had forgotten it all. That is until I remembered it. Then it all flooded back in. And one way or another I sit here, half a world away from my family and my home simply because 9-11 happened. I am here now, because that day quickened my soul and I could no longer sit by and just let things happen any more. Small is it may be, I had to play my part.

We had a 9-11 memorial service today to jog our memories. We saw the pictures again, heard the news clips. The stories were shared again. It is through this sharing of experience that we lessen the plague of forgetfulness. Remember today what you felt like that day. Don't forget the thing that you swore you could never forget.

I am even more aware now of Jesus' words, "Do this in remembrance of me", because He knew that if we did not have a reminder, some way of jogging us out of our daily slumber, we'd forget the thing we swore we'd never forget.

I have not forgotten today.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

God is Faithful




Welcome to all the Mcullough family and friends as Mark's participation in the Podcast has increased the readership of Gone Fishin Again to a whopping 45 subscribers. Wow! Who would have thunk it!

I spoke at "Big Church" this morning at what is known as Lightning Chapel here on COB Spiecher. The message was from Exodus 3 and Moses' encounter with God at the Burning Bush. God's faithfulness is the source of my faithfulness. I saw four things emerge from that text and from the context and thought I might share them here for you all.
  1. God is Faithful to Follow us- God had been following Moses since his unlikely salvation from death as a baby. God had followed and provided and watched over Moses through his childhood, even into his adulthood as a warrior and then even as he committed murder and ran from the charges. You can rest assured that God does the same in your life...He is faithful to follow!
  2. God is Faithful to Find us- Moses had been wandering the desert in his safe little job, his risk free life of a shepherd...40 years he did this! But God found him, exactly at the right time for God's purposes. He found me 15 years ago. He provided Moses a burning bush...He provided me a radio broadcast (See the video clip at the bottom of this page). Understand this, that God is the one that pursues us. He's just waiting for us to notice!
  3. God is faithful to Free us- He told Moses to take off his sandals. Our shoes have been everywhere we've been. They know all the dirt of our past. God, set Moses free of that and he does the same for us. The holy ground that we shed our "shoes" is the ground at the cross. The blood covenant that God promised was sealed there. Our freedom ensued!
  4. God is faithful to Fill us- God took Moses, an 80 year old, stuttering, murdering, running from his problems kind of guy and set a nation free with him. He'll take you and me and we can be used to bring freedom to this world, freedom in Christ. He'll fill us with power of the Holy Spirit, he'll empower us to have the fruit of the Spirit. He'll fill us for His purposes, partners with God in the Kingdom, servants of the King. And all it takes is us to simply say yes...Lord...be faithful and fill me!
God is faithful when we are not.

On a lighter note we had a Baptism service today(Pictures above), but the water truck forgot about us (no running water here) So me and and about 5 Chaplain assistants opened up 2.5 pallets of 1 liter water bottles, one bottle at a time, in about an hour to get the pool ready for dunkin!

It was a sight!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Heart of a Soldier: Rabies Awareness Podcast


Under a Gibbous Moon its a podcast from the heart, including crazy captain guy and the rabies awareness run and more shout-outs!

Listen now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Heart of a Soldier: Podcast Four!

Its been a while and we're glad to be back! Mark has been to Baghdad to see Flintstone Village and Brad has been infected and is highly motivated at all times!

Listen Now!

Another Podcast is on the way!


Don't worry, we've got another podcast in the can and it will be up here soon. We know all of our 17 listeners can't wait! Hang in there, its coming!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Highly Motivated at All Times!


Some people have mottoes that they say, you know "The buck stops here" and "I did it my way" and other life mottoes that people spout off. Most of the time they are really just words. Words that have no real value attached to them because the words are not accompanied by any such action. But when you come across one of those rare individuals that has a motto and then lives by it, now that is something to take notice of. Then you find a guy with one of those mottoes that is so high above the standard, so far from the norm and then that guy lives by it, brothers and sisters, you find out what makes that guy/gal tick and you get some of that. Now, my friend Jeff Pugh would be appalled if he knew I was writing this. Because guys like him don't seek the spotlight.

Jeff is Major in the Army. He's a commander. In the civilian world he's a police officer and a commander. He has a commanding presence and no he's not 6'3" and built like Arnold. He's actually kind of….well…..ok he's short. But what he loses in height he makes up for in encouragement. You can tell a good leader by one thing…do people follow him? When a real leader gets up to go do something, everyone in the room follows.

That is the kind of guy Jeff is.
Jeff's motto is "Highly Motivated at All Times!" He greets me with it, he says goodbye with it. He says it in the heat and in when the AC is blowing and going. And guess what…He actually means it. In a world steeped in sarcasm, lethargy, and mediocrity, Jeff is not any of those things. He leads from the front. He does the little things like staying with the trucks that need guarding while his soldiers eat. He is the last guy to lie down. He is the first with a good morning. He is the first with a smile…even when its 125 degrees and no one is physically happy. He really is motivated at all times…I mean really. And do you know what effect that has on people…yep they get motivated too. They want to follow him. Hec, I do too.

If you hang around a guy and you feel better about yourself and your life for having been around that person, then that is an encourager. Ask yourself this question, "When people are around me, are they encouraged or discouraged? Are they full of energy or are they sucked dry?"

Jeff told me that he wants to be an energy giver, not an energy taker. What if we had more people that had that as their motivation every day? I mean really? What if we all said, "Today I'm going to pour myself into the lives of others!" What would it look like. It would probably look a lot like Jeff Pugh's Civil Affairs Company, Alpha 490th. It is an organization that has been infected with Jeff's attitude and they are so much fun to work with and be around.

Ultimately where do Jeff and other people like him get their energy from. Well, I would submit that it can only come from our God. Jesus was a energy giver. Everything about him was giving. His healing, his encouragement, his teaching, his loving, his dying, his resurrection and his soon coming all were and will be acts of giving. Giving glory to God by saving the crown of Creation…mankind, giving of Himself, Giving of His power.

Now, post resurrection and post-Pentecost we all have access to an unlimited supply of spiritual encouragement and motivation. The Holy Spirit offers us fruit and gifts. Fruits like love and peace and patience, gifts like evangelism, encouragement, service, prophecy are all offered to us…conditionally mind you.

One of my new favorite Pastors here is Chaplain Dave Shoffner. He gave a great message today in Lightning Chapel. The sermons series has been on the Fruit of the Spirit and today it was peace. Hear what Jesus says in John16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

One thing I had never noticed about that verse. The offer is there from Jesus for peace. Notice that "you may"…its there for the taking, but He also says in the world "you will have tribulation".
Peace is offered, Trouble is certain. Peace comes with submission to the Spirit. Trouble comes with getting up in the morning and just going outside. Peace is offered, trouble is certain.

But notice…Jesus says that He has overcome the world…He means the world system, tainted and broken by sin and the devil. And since Jesus is an overcomer, by faith I am an overcomer. I take those things quite literally.

Jeff has a lot of peace in his life. He's cool with who he is. Does he face trouble, are you kidding? After 3 combat tours in the war you better believe he's faced trouble. But how he stays motivated comes through a supernatural interaction with the Power that is available to all of us. Jeff is an overcomer!

Simply put, when we submit ourselves to God's plans and The Spirit we become a real live energy givers and not energy takers.

I hope you'll do that today..And be Highly Motivated at all times!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Heart of a Soldier Special Podcast: James Doty

Mark took the day off to make sure people can communicate with each other and Brad interviews James Doty. James is the worship leader for Lightning Chapel at lovely COB Spiecher. He'll be famous someday!

Listen Now

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Iwo Jima

This picture was taken outside a little village in Iraq. As our MRAP was coming through this check point the antenna got hung in this gate and tore it loose. So being the kindhearted American soldiers we are, we set about fixing it. I got to hoist the thing into place and our combat cameraman caught the action and the result was this photo. Enjoy!
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Heart of a Soldier: Movie Night Podcast



Brad and Mark after movie night discuss, fobbits, battle rhythms, the eye of Sauron, crack houses, GI Moke and Chinook Helicopters....Enjoy!

Listen Now

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Roof Top Podcast!



Brad and Mark philosophize about life in the desert, dust storms, and over eager Ugandan security guards!

Listen Now!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Friday, June 05, 2009

Isaiah 58:11


"And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Its hot here! Its dry, dusty, arid, and any other descriptive term you can use. I was walking across the compound the other day saying "This place is devoid of life!" I could not have been more wrong. Did you know when the rains come in January in Kuwait the entire desert springs forth life? Flowers and green plants come popping up everywhere. It often seems that where there seems to be death that life is just waiting under the surface to explode. According to God's Word this is a spiritual fact as well. I have been experiencing in this land a bit spiritual dryness. I find myself as a Chaplain feeling marginalized and unimportant. its the nature of things in the military, no one thinks of the Chaplain until something bad happens.

Just when I thought there could be no life in this place, God showed up. I had my Pastor, Mack Jarvis pray for me as many of you do. I realized...again... that as Scripture teaches, our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the wicked powers of this world. Its not people who are the enemy, its the system that sets itself up against God.

At breakfast, still feeling sorry for myself a young soldier in my unit asked me if I had a few minutes for him. As we sat and talked I found out that he is being sent to an area where enemy activity is at its highest and that he'll be going outside the wire on a regular basis. He had deep and profound questions about life and death, the taking of life and the losing of life.

We talked through breakfast, through a trip to the PX and then finally back to our tent. I took him to 1John 5:11-13 which speaks of the profound truth of "knowing" that we have eternal life when as John says it, we "have the Son". I could see in his eyes that God had established this time for this young man. And on a couple of sandbags outside our tent, in the 120 degree heat, in a dry and barren land, God poured out some living water. My young trooper confessed his need for Jesus and received the "life" that John told us about.

I sat for a minute dumbfounded....again....as God continually reminds me that He is in charge, that He can make a way even in the scorched land.

What an amazing ministry this is with soldiers, in the rough and tumble world of weapons, stark conditions, war, life and death God is still who He is and still reaching out, still dispensing grace and mercy.

Who knows what He will do today! I can't wait to see!

On an administrative note, my friends here, Mark and Travis and I are putting together a Podcast called, "Heart of a Soldier". It'll be a time of laughter and theological reflection (as best as we can do that!)
Be looking for it on here and on itunes!

Blessings from the sun scorched land!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A soldier dispenses his views!


I get to meet and make friends with some hilarious people in the Army. Many could have sob stories that are truly legitimate then others just seem to make the best of things and their situations. My friend Mark was out of the Army in the Individual Ready Reserve for over 12 years. That means he was out, like not ever putting on a uniform. He had a great job, a great wife and a gaggle of kids. But in December he gets a letter in the mail saying, "Welcome back! And oh by the way its involuntary, you are going to Iraq" (my paraphrase).
Instead of ducking the mission, instead of griping and complaining, Mark chooses to laugh and make others laugh. I thank God for him and others like him in these trying times. I hope you will as well! Enjoy....by the way, its really hot in Kuwait in case you were wondering!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wheels Up


I'll be wheels up soon as we head to Iraq for our mission there to button up this conflict and get all my soldiers home safe and sound. Once I clear everything with public affairs, I'll continue to update this blog and keep everyone abreast of how I and my soldiers are doing. We had a predeployment service last night, it was awesome to get together and sing songs, read God's word, pray together and to experience the presence of an almighty God. Today is frenetic and busy as we load trucks and prepare for the flight line. I have a great sense of anticipation watching and waiting to see what God will do over the next 10 months. Much love to you all. I will be in touch. Tammy, Tori and Jack....I love you with all my heart!

Strength and Courage

Joshua 1:9

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Double Bull Podcast

Turkey season wrap-up, the Double Bull Blind story, Lord of the Spring, and Brad is home for a few days before heading to Iraq!

Listen Now.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dave

You never know what is going to happen as you rise from bed each day. Every day of our lives God provides junctions of obedience opportunities. I got up Thursday at beautiful FT Dix for an exciting day of Dr's appointments...woo hoo! My task was to get a ride off post to a civilian doctor to check my hearing....for the 3rd time, good grief. I was picked up here on post in 15 pack van by a big ol jolly guy named Dave. As we left post I found that Dave was the talkative type, just me and him in this van cruising the NJ countryside. The drive was about an hour. I didn't feel much like talking, I had the doctor's eval on my mind. But, I found out some info about Dave that would come in handy on our return trip. Dave is 62 years old and his job is to take soldiers to physician appointments. It seems that Dave loves to talk to other drivers while he navigates....you know the type. I also found out that Dave's wife died just a year and a half ago after a 14 month battle with cancer. But, he seemed happy. I would also find out why later on.

I got done at the doctor, where I had promptly failed my audiogram. Now once a again my deployment lay in a state of limbo. I came back to Dave's van feeling sorry for myself. Dave and I headed back for FT Dix. I made some small talk with him about the weather, NJ cops, convenience stores and other insignificant dribble.

There was a lull in the conversation and I began to gaze out the window, noticing that spring is busting loose all over NJ now. Just then, God spoke in my spirit. "You need to talk to this man about me" I quickly replied, "No God, he is just fine, he's happy driving his van and he does not want me to talk about You." How stupid was that?! I continued to look out the window avoiding God. But...you know what...you can't avoid God can you? There is no hiding from Him is there? Just check out Psalm 139:7

It kept on, "Talk to this man about Me". I continued to disobey what I knew was the right thing to do. So... relented. I tried to think of a springboard to talk to him. Football? Van driving? The pleasant weather in NJ...not likely. Finally I blurted out, "You know a friend of mine lost his wife to cancer last weekend." My friend Steve's wife did pass away last weekend.

I said, "Even though it has been a year and half for you, it still must be very difficult." He replied,
"It will really test your faith."

Hmmm, I thought, "He said faith, I wonder where this is going?"

Dave said, "Its funny that I'm riding with a Chaplain today, do you mind if I tell you a story?"
I said, "Dave, I'd love to hear your story."

He went on to tell me of the pain that he had gone through at the death of his wife. How he had almost given up. And of how his cousin invited him to an FCA breakfast. He said, "My cousin is one of those born again guys, do you know what I am talking about?"

I slyly said, "Yes Dave, I do know about those guys."

He went on to say that he had gone to the breakfast and the speaker had him hanging on every word. And at the end of the guys message there was an invitation of some kind.

Dave said, "He asked us all to close our eyes and bow our heads. Then he asked us if we wanted to receive Christ as the savior of our lives that we should raise our hand! Brad, I can't explain it but my hand shot up in the air and then the guy asked us to come up front with him. And there were 700 people there. Guess what I did Brad?"

"I don't know Dave, what did you do?"

"Brad, I was the first guy down front, and I still can't explain it. All I know is that as weird as it sounds, with my wife dying , I am more at peace now than I ever have been in my life. Do you understand what I am saying?" He reminded me of the blind guy in John 9:25 who said, "All I know is that I was blind but now I see!'

I said quietly with tears hidden behind my sunglasses for effect, "Yes Dave, I know exactly what you mean."

For the rest of the ride Dave and I talked about the goodness of Jesus. We prayed together as he dropped me off at my place of duty. I left the vehicle stunned.

I was stunned and my stiff neck, stunned at God's continual work. I was grateful that in the moment I had to be obedient God persisted. Not because He wanted me to have an evangelistic scalp to hang on my spiritual lodge pole, but because God wanted to display His glory to me and to Dave. We were just two guys whose journeys crossed paths that day. And beleive me God's glory was on display!

I told Dave what I tell alot of people in those situations, maybe at an airport or in a big city. I'll probably never see Dave this side of heaven. With that in mind I closed with this.
"Dave, If don't see you here, I'll see you there!"

He answered back, "That is the truth!"

And that is the truth.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

5 weeks in!

Its been 5 weeks since I left home for the lovely confines of FT Dix New Jersey. Our time here is fast winding down. It won't be long before we board our plane for the middle east. In that time our unit has been trained up well by the cadre here and we have grown together as a unit and as friends.

Now we are in the medical screening process. It is a nerve racking time especially for us older guys. One thing in the medical screening can get you taken off a mission and health issues are more prevalent as one tips the calendar after 40.

I am not immune to this. I have failed a hearing exam. I am now classified on profile for moderate to sever hearing loss. Its frustrating, because there is little I can do about it. I have worked all my life around power tools and weapons. I should have worn ear protection but never did. I am praying that the docs will allow me to go with my troops in spite of this. Funny thing is, I can hear people when they talk to me and I can hear a deer in the woods when I'm hunting.

In my prayer time I've been asking alot of why to God. It was 4 years ago that I was removed from a mission to Afghanistan due to a paperwork issue. It feels alot like groundhog day for me.
But praying this morning I was reminded of Psalm 145 that says the following:
The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And gracious in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him;
He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord preserves all who love Him

The verse that jumped out at me this mornig was, He hears their cry and saves them. Even if I cannot hear, God hears. He hears my cry. He saves me. Last night I prayed with my friend Wes, who is also going through a physical issue that might jeopardize his mission. We prayed together and cried out to God, mainly because there is no where else we can go. I feel alot like Richard Gere in An Officer and A Gentleman. The Gunnery SGT was trying to get him to quit through some tortuous PT. But he wouldn't quit and he screamed out, "I got no where else to go!"

I really feel like that today. I know without a doubt I am where I am supposed to be today. I got no where else to go!

So pray for us old guys as we try to live out this mission. Pray that health issues will not get in the way.

I'll post another update in the near future and I'll let you all know how the medical stuff shakes out. Thanks again for your prayers!


















My quarters....tight!




















The Company Guidon

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good Morning 1st SGT!

Back in the 80's there was a great Army commercial that showed all these high speed Army guys jumping out of a C-130, landing gathering up chutes, and having coffee afterwards. The tag line was,"we do more before 9 am than most people do all day!" The commercial ended with some bubba saying, "Good morning 1st SGT!"

Well, my new 1st SGT has taken that to a new level. He likes to get up every morning at 3 a.m. This morning he told me that he did more before 5 a.m. than most people did all day. And I believe him.

I'm writing to you all from lovely FT Dix New Jersey. Its not really that lovely. It has been cold and wet and then it gets wet and cold. Luckily we have been issued some really good wet weather gear. As you can see from the photo that body armor is required for all training. It weighs about 40lbs. And a ruck sack and you are toting from 40-70 lbs and that is without ammo, because as a Chaplain I don't carry that.
Will, our battalion XO hates the body armor. He's an old Ranger type and believes in using cover and concealment to avoid incoming rounds. He says he feels like a turtle, he would rather wear a baseball cap to war.

We have a great mix of soldier, 19 year old privates to men in their 50's with years of experience. Its a diverse group and God is beginning to knit us together. I have had many opportunities every day to engage soldiers in conversations about the Lord. This morning we talked about the possibility of Jesus returning today and how that would change the way we thought about people. It was awesome. I pray that many more opportunities will present themselves as Jesus sees fit. I plan to be ready as He opens doors.

Much love to you all, thanks for your prayers and your continued support. All for now.......TBC

Friday, March 20, 2009

Podcast: Turkey Fest in God's Country

The HOS fellas head to God's Country Outfitters in Albemarle, NC and meet up with Virginia State Turkey Calling Champion, Ricky Higgins. Shortly after our interview, Ricky walked away the winner of yet another calling contest - listen and you'll even get to hear one of the calls that helped him win the championship. ALSO - this will be the last podcast for Chaplain Brad as he will be heading to serve our country over in Iraq next week. God Bless Brad and God bless America!

Listen!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The great tug of war

Publish Post

Last Saturday my son, Jack, and all his buddies from church participated in the AWANA Olympics. AWANA is a church program that incorporates games and Scripture memory. Jack loves the games! Jack is a big bruising kid so he doesn't get the speed events, but he does get the strength events. He slapped his gloves on and off he went. The goal is to pull the rope and get hold of a bean bag laying on the ground. Its called the 4 way tug, but in this case it was the 3 way tug. They didn't win, but that didn't matter!

I love yelling for him when he is competing. Being a father is a great job. Even when he doesn't win I'm proud, proud that he competes and that he is great little guy. I was praying for my children this morning and facing a year away from them, it got very emotional. God spoke very clearly to me though. As the pain of missing events like this swept over me, the missed time, the instruction in life that I'll miss with Jack and Tori, God spoke. "Do you love your children Brad?"

I answered, "Yes, Lord...more than my own life"

Then it came, "I love them more than you do!"

That realization eased my spirit, that even though I leave to proclaim the Gospel, the God of the Gospel will not leave my kids. He is their heavenly Father and always has been and always will be.

That was my tug of war this morning, I greatfully lose that one in total dependance on God.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Grace in the midst of the mess


I had an opportunity to give a class on suicide awareness and intervention last night to a Celebrate Recovery class at a church nearby. It was a group of about 20 people. The group was diverse both in race and gender. There were old and young alike. Celebrate recovery applies the 12 step recovery process but is specifically Christ centered. It has brought hope to literally thousands of people around the world. In this little group I met two people that really struck me. During my workshop I deal with what you should do when a person is dangerously close to suicide and has a weapon. I talk about removing the weapon from the person. As I was doing this portion I noticed this lady break down and sob. I obviously knew that this had touched a chord with her and apologized publicly for opening an old wound for her. She came up to me after the lesson was over and shared with me why she became so emotional. It seems that 14 years ago her daughter had a friend who was suicidal and had a gun in his mouth threatening to pull the trigger. This woman's daughter grabbed the gun and a struggle ensued at which point the firearm discharged and the round struck her daughter in the neck. The would severed her spinal cord and and she has been paralyzed ever since. I was dumbfounded as she shared this story. To think that her daughter cared enough to physically wrestle with her friend to save his life at risk of her own was truly remarkable. She said her daughter gave up everything for her friend. Her friend has survived and gone on to live a healthy life. She is stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. As you can imagine both mother and daughter have struggled with these events.

The other lady I met had been a heroin addict for 30 years. She showed me the ravages of addiction on her arms, needle scars even between her fingers. A young man was there speaking with me and mentioned that he had though about doing heroin and she overheard. Immediately she jumped into the conversation showing this young man her arms and telling him of the years she spent in jails and in poverty and addiction. She told him that she had never had a childhood, only years with the needle and that her addiction had even spilled over into the lives of her kids. But 18 months ago she found freedom, freedom in the saving life of a savior who is a man of sorrows, stricken, wounded all for us, to set the captives free. It was awesome to hear the hope in her voice after so many years of despair.

In both lives there was grace in the midst of the mess, grace in the life a mother who has watched her daughter imprisoned by an act of selflessness. Grace in the life of a drug addict set free from the pit of despair. If you ever get a chance to go to a Celebrate Recovery meeting, go. If you can support one where you are support it. They are messy places, but in the midst of that mess the light and love of Jesus shine really bright.

Many props go out to my friends Peter and Renee Gray for starting this ministry at our church. For more information go to www.celebraterecovery.com

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Podcast: Treeing Walker Days

All the fellas at the 35th annual Southeastern Treeing Walker Days (That's coon hunting for those that don't know) festival at the Rowan County Fairgrounds.

Listen now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here we go again!

Well after almost 2 years at home (except for 4 months training at FT Bragg) its time to once again put the uniform back on for another mission. My last tour was 27 months at FT Jackson as a Chaplain for basic training soldiers. This next one will take me half way around the world to Iraq as a Chaplain for a Civil Affairs unit. It'll be a long year away from my wife and kids but it will also hold many opportunities to bring the light of the Gospel in many different ways. I'll be updating my blog hopefully on a regular basis so that you all can keep up, with pictures and stories from the front. I hope you will continue to support us as a family in your prayers as we enter together a new season of ministry. Tammy is doing well as we face this term of being apart. She is a strong woman and totally committed to the ministry that we both have been called to. I would ask you to pray for her. Its still a few weeks before I leave, so I'll be updating again soon. Keep an eye out for links to the podcast Jeremy Harrill and I do for the Heart of a Sportsman ministry. I thank you in advance for your prayers and may God bless each and every one of you.

In Christ Alone

Monday, February 16, 2009

Podcast: Live From I-85

Podcast live from I-85 as the guys make their trip home from Westover Church in Greensboro, NC.

Listen.

God's Containment System


My pastor, Mack Jarvis, www.cornerstonenc.org gave an awesome message this past weekend on suffering and how to deal with it. I wish I could take credit for his brilliant opening illustration, but I can't. The weight loss drug ALLI is an over the counter pill that causes your body not to metabolize the fat that you take in. If you don't metabolize the fat obviously it comes out of your body the old fashioned way. ALLI however has side effects, uncontrolled flatulence and bowel movements and they company has renamed them "treatment effects". Even to the point that if you take ALLI, make sure you keep dark clothes with you just in case! That is classic!

Mack went on to say that there are also side effects with life, discouragement, job loss, broken relationships and the like. we've all experienced these things. Many times believers go through "treatment effects" in our relationship with God that we just don't understand.

Mack talked about the different kinds of suffering that we experience. The suffering we bring upon ourselves by being stupid like driving a car when we are drunk. He also talked about the suffering as a result of a broken world, the cancers and hurricanes, you know the stuff that is just a product of the world being infected by sin.

And one of the hardest to understand is the discipline of God. The bible clearly tells us that He disciplines those He loves. This idea became crystal clear to me today as I have purchased a wireless containment system for our fuzzy little dog Sophie. She is a great little dog, but prone to wander. I've seen one of my dogs get hit by a car and I'm not about to see that or let my children see that horrific event again. Sophie wandered into the neighborhood behind us yesterday investigating the sounds of children ecstatically screaming in some backyard game.

To Sophie it was all harmless enough, but to me and Tammy it was absolutely dangerous and deadly. Because we know what is in the roads around our house. Large self-propelled machines that can kill little dogs in a fraction of second.

So we bought today a shock collar for Sophie. Its an ingenious device, wireless and easy to set up. There are no cables to bury and you are training in a matter of moments. We took Sophie outside on her leash and eased her up to the flags that are placed at the edge of the invisible force field. We deliberately take her into the danger area to let her get a little shock.

And...she did...it was traumatic. She yelped and ran back towards the house. But then I got an unexpected reaction. As I approached her, the dog who greets me every day wagging her tail and licking my hand, was deathly afraid of me. She tucked her tail between her legs and ran to the front porch in terror. I was thinking, "maybe this shock thing wasn't such a great idea"

But then I remembered the car that hit my other dog. I remembered the hurt that I felt. I realized that the temporary pain that my little dog went through was for her own good, keeping her from something that could kill her. But guess what, I cannot explain that to her. She just does not understand me. My words mean nothing to her. She has no capacity to understand my reasons for setting up the shock collar. She still does not understand and maybe never will. But I understand that by doing this and setting these boundaries I am setting the stage for our little dog to live.

I suspect that is much the way God interacts with us. He sometimes sets painful boundaries that we have no capacity to understand. We look up in the sky and wonder why we are going through the pain that we are going through. I suspect that even if God did explain it to us we'd be alot like Sophie, still wondering what in the world this massive being is talking about. Psalm 94:12, Proverbs 3:11, and Hebrews 12:6 just to name a few are verses of Scripture that point us to the loving hand of God that disciplines. Its not punishment, discipline leads to life, it is correction from an errant course. It is the boundary line of God's love to save us from ourselves.

But when we learn God's boundaries, life follows. I think that I can live with that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Old People!"


Tammy and I are in Gatlinburg TN this weekend. I'm teaching at Crossroads Winter Conference. There are about 800 High School and 300 college students at this event (www.crossroadsworldwide.com)
I've been teaching at these events with some of my best friends in the world for the last decade or so. I'm almost 4 years past 40 and find that I keep getting advanced in my years and the kids all stay the same age. Tammy and I went out to lunch today and decided to come back to the fabulous Edgewater Hotel and get a bit of rest prior to teaching time. We headed up the elevator and a young man about 14 years old, dripping wet from the swimming pool joined us. I asked a stupid question, "You been swimming?". He was very polite and said "Yes, it was awesome!" Then he inquired, "Did you bring your trunks?" I told him..."No, we thought we'd just take a nap." He snickered and in an exasperated voice said, "Old people!" The doors opened and he stepped out of our lives....thank God! Tammy looked at me, still in shock from the profundity of the moment and declared, "He just called us old!" Yes he did! I put this picture on here for all to see that my wife is 41 years old, proud of it and still is an amazing beauty! It must have been me that kid was looking at!

Power in a life lived well

A friend of mine sent the following link. Its sort of a video diary of Penn Gillette of the comedy/majic team of Penn and Teller. Penn is an avowed atheist, but a very thoughtful man. If you've ever seen their act or heard him speak, he's quite brilliant and a great entertainer. Take about 5 minutes to view this and think long and hard about what he has to say. For those of us that follow Christ he has some profound things to say. Enjoy!

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...