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
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!
Monday, March 16, 2009
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
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
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