Urgent Text from Chaplain Brian Hargis

hargis1Chaplain Brian Hargis, Schofield Barracks, HI

Sunday, November 27, 2106 (11:12 AM MMS)

Bro. Andy, [and members, friends & supporters of CBAmerica Chaplaincy]

Today I become the senior pastor of a new congregation/Chapel here in Hawaii. Blessed to see it grow from 15 to 66 in two months.  The command chaplain (Colonel) for the post was going to shut it down, but God sent me to plow.

Expecting 100 today and so much more as we launch a new theme for all the Army Installations in April. This is a huge project – eventually every US Army base will use our template to grow a congregation like ours.  Talk about church planting in the Army!

hargis2I’m bringing in the Deputy Chief of Chaplains (Brigadier General Solhjem – a Baptist) at the Pentagon, and the installation Chaplain at Fort Campbell, KY (Colonel Murphy, another Baptist) and some other heavy hitters in the Chaplain Corps to preach a revival and to help launch it.

The theme is IMPACT.  God making an impact in us so that we can IMPACT our community and the world.

The last time a [US Army] Chapel theme was launched was 1999. The theme was “Chapel Next,” taking the “next step.”  Chapel Next is still around at most every Army Installation, but IMPACT Chapel will be the new theme encouraging a deeper relationship with God, a deeper dive into Scripture, and a deeper concentration on Service.  Time is short, and it’s time to get off the pews and make an IMPACT.

hargis3I can’t tell you how big this may be as God gets behind our prayers to work by, with, and through us to IMPACT the Army.  I’m super excited and humbled to have this opportunity.

Please tell CBAmerica that I need them now more than ever, because Satan certainly wants to keep our IMPACT minimal. But…greater is He who in in us….

Blessings,

Brian Hargis Chaplain, Captain, US Army Senior Pastor (Protestant) MHR Chapel Schofield Barracks, HI

 

Chaplain Andy adds:  Please join me in praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, empowerment and blessing on this new “Army Chaplaincy Initiative.”  For more stories of God working in and through CBAmerica chaplains, go to http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/

Now Hear This: Ministering on a Floating City

carlton1By Chaplain Aaron Carlton, US Navy – afloat, as reported to Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy.

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The location and ministry of military chaplains are often shrouded in secrecy. As a result, I am sometimes surprised by their location and ministry activity.  From somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, I received a ministry report from Navy Chaplain Aaron Carlton, assigned to a large amphibious task force steaming to a volatile part of the world.

Chaplain Carlton writes:

One of the great blessings that I am thankful for as we start our deployment is the quality of fellow chaplains we have on board.  We all seem to get along well and I think each is open to listening to each other and truly doing the best.  Also, we are all open to personal growth and accountability.  This is not as common in the chaplaincy as one would hope.  So this is a blessing.

A second blessing is that our church on board this ship is rocking and rolling, literally and figuratively.  We have had packed services each weekend and are considering adding another Christian worship service.”

carlton2Please pray for:  My family (wife, Lily and 3 young daughters, Mayah, Noelle & Sophia) and their emotional and spiritual health during this time.  The safety and protection of all the Sailors and Marines on board the 3-ship group.  Especially as we will be in the Middle East during a season of political change at home and international turmoil abroad.

Ministry Activities:  Worship Services: 13, One-On-One Visits: 158, Bible Studies: 15, Other small groups: 3,  Outreach: First Time Decisions: 3, Rededications: 18, Baptisms: 1”

I asked Chaplain Carlton to tell me about the ship’s “Evening Prayer.”  The evening prayer over the ship’s intercom is one of the enduring US Naval traditions.  It is also one that is still being fought against, by anti-religion groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

carlton3Chaplain Carlton sent three of his recent “Evening Prayers:”

“Good evening, friends.  This is Chaplain Carlton.  Think of the wisest person you know.  I would venture to guess that they are also the most humble.  If we would aspire to greater wisdom in our work, in relationships, in life, one of the best ways to get there is to pursue genuine humility.

Genuine humility listens to others’ perspectives and treats each person with elevated dignity and respect.  Instead of just looking at another’s flaws, we become honest and aware of our own shortcomings.  Instead of demanding respect, we earn it by showing it to others.

Pride and ego elevates the self at the expense of others, humility gets low and lifts others up.  On the path to becoming wise, let us learn to be humble.”

“Living God, help us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but in sober judgment, let us put others first. Help us to see correctly our own weakness, before we see the faults in others. In Your Name, Amen.”

*************

“Good evening, friends.  This is Chaplain Carlton.  As we end our day, I would invite you to consider the power of our words… have you ever been around someone who was negative all the time? At best it is unpleasant, at worst, it is destructive to the morale and well-being of those around us. Have you ever been around someone who was positive and uplifting? Which one are you? With our mouths we bless or we curse, we provide hope or we extinguish it, we uplift or we tear down. Often times we do both within a matter of minutes… tonight as we close the day, let us be resolved to choose our words wisely and in doing so give life and strength to those who hear us.”

“Living God, refresh those who refresh others.  Replenish the inner storeroom of their souls.  And grant us all wisdom in our words and in our deeds.  In Your name we pray, Amen.”

**************

“Good evening, friends.  This is Chaplain Carlton.  Moses once prayed, ‘Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ One pathway to a wise life is a healthy perspective of each day that we are given on this earth. Each day is a gift. Let us receive each moment then with thankfulness and resolve to do as much good upon this earth as we can, while we can, for as long as we can.  If you are here today, you are here for just that reason.”

“Living God, help us to take nothing for granted. Each day we are here is an opportunity to use our time wisely and to make a difference.  Each moment is a chance for us to improve our souls, to right our wrongs, and to make the world a better place by exerting our influence.

For this ship, for each aircraft and landing craft, for every soul on board, grant us an extra measure of your unseen protection and care as we learn to number our days.”

Respectfully submitted,

Chaplain Aaron Carlton, USN (Deployed)

Chaplain Andy concludes: Please join me in praying for the health, safety, and success of Chaplain Carlton and his task force.  Thank God for his obvious hand working while “under way.”

 

carlton4Photo Caption: Chaplain Aaron Carlton on the far right with Aviation Supply Officer, in blue. Aviation Maintenance Division Officer in white.  And a supply tech rep… we’re all on the flight deck somewhere in the south pacific.

 

Care Packages

For those churches and individuals interested in supporting the ministry of this chaplain team, Care Packages can be sent per the following guidelines to the address below:

Care Packages, absolutely we will accept… some standard that are always good are:

– ATT Calling Cards

– Snacks/Goodies/Treats

– Candy/Mints

– Nuts/trail mix

– Cup of Noodles/ramen

– Crossword books/Sudoku books

– Magazines

– Dried fruit

– Cards/UNO/Card games

– Blank birthday/Christmas/greeting cards

 

Some things that really won’t work in shipping to us on board the ship:

– NO Liquids

– NO Wipes

– NO gum

– NO soap

 

Mail to:

Chaplain Dept.
USS MAKIN ISLAND (LHD 8)
Unit 100222 Box 802
FPO AP 96672

 

Judge Issues Temporary Injunction Halting the Implementation of Overtime Pay Rule

overtimeOn March 13, 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of Labor to update and modernize the regulations defining which white collar workers are protected by the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime standards. The result of that update was the Overtime Final Rule which was set to go into place December 1, 2016.  This ruling, if implemented has a profound impact on non-profits, churches, and other religious ministries.

On Tuesday, November 22 a federal judge yesterday issued a nationwide temporary injunction halting the implementation of a new overtime pay rule scheduled to go into effect.

If you are interested in what impact this ruling might have on your ministry, please click on one of the following links –

While it is believed that the judge will ultimately rule that the that the overtime rule is invalid, organizations “should remain attentive, however, to legal compliance in other still-applicable areas of overtime rules, such as making sure that the job duties necessary to meet the white-collar exemption are satisfied and that currently non-exempt employees are properly paid overtime.”

Broadcast Live Video of Your Services

be-lsAny number of sources will affirm the reality that church attendance in America continues to decline.  We hold firm to the belief that the hope of any nation or people is the Good News or Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul so believed this that his parting words as mentor to Timothy, his disciple were to: “… preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. … do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Paul’s grasp of the mission of the church, or perhaps more appropriately the grasp of the mission of God upon Paul’s life led him to a pervasive pragmatic persuasion: “I have become all things to all people, THAT BY ALL MEANS I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23, emphasis added)

One of the means of Gospel impact that was heretofore unavailable to all but the larger churches is the ability to broadcast live video of your services. Internet technology is currently available to break through the barriers of expense and equipment know-how for even the most remote location and church size to have a larger footprint in their community and beyond.

Live Streaming CDN is one such service that would love to help you explore the possibility of implementing the live streaming of your services, and they have a special offer for your church.  You can check it out at this link https://www.livestreamingcdn.com/churchspecial/.

Churches Can Use Meal Train to Reach Their Communities

mealtrain_calendar

Meal Train is a tool to use to organize meals for a friend after a birth, surgery or illness.
When a friend is in need, everyone asks “What can I do to help?” The answer is always to make a meal. When many friends make and deliver a meal, this is a meal train.
This website helps eliminate confusion and increase support. A shared Meal Train calendar and meal instructions answer questions in advance like, What do they like? When are they available? What have they already had? Are there any allergies? and When should I drop off a meal?

By setting it all up on a website, people in the church and community can get involved.

This is where the church can minister to people in and outside of their congregation. When there is a need, the church can set up a meal train for that person and then let others know how they can help. People from the church then sign up to help and they can also share the website with their friends. The original family may start getting help from people they don’t even know.

For more information go to MealTrain.com

Saving for tomorrow starts today

guidestoneWe all know it’s important to start saving for retirement. But 40 million working-age households – nearly 50% – do not have any retirement savings.

All employees are eligible.

CB America has partnered with GuideStone Financial Resources to provide a new retirement option. The retirement plan is offered through the Northwest Conservative Baptist Association. Set up your CB America retirement plan today.

Establishing your retirement plan is simple. There are no costs to the CBAmerica church/ministry for participation and no required minimum contributions.

How does it work?

  • Ministers and non-ministerial employees who receive W-2 income from a participating CBAmerica church/ministry are eligible.
  • Contributions can be made by the employer, employee or both.
  • Salary-reduced contributions can be made as tax-deferred or Roth.
  • There are no costs to the church/ministry for participation and no required minimum contributions.
  • Employer and employee contributions can be made on behalf of every employee

Financially prepare employees for the future.

Implementing an CBAmerica retirement plan will help your employees prepare for retirement. Once it’s established by the church, your employees will have the retirement plan they need to help them along their savings journey.

Support retirement preparedness by encouraging employees to:

  • Sign up for their retirement plan.
  • Start contributing what they can financially afford.
  • Increase their contributions regularly (aim for a 15% savings goal).
  • Focus on reaching their long-term goals.

What are you waiting for?

To get started today, contact Holly Taylor at (214) 720-6453 or Holly.Taylor@GuideStone.org

Good News from a VA Medical Center

va2By Chaplain Gary Cowden, Veterans Health Administration, (With introduction and commentary by Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy)

There’s been a lot of bad news coming out of our Veterans Administration Healthcare System. So much so, that one can be led to think “can anything good come out of the VA?”  For this reason, I’ve followed closely the ministry reports of our seven chaplains serving in the VA.  Of special note was a recent report by Gary Cowden, Chief Chaplain at the Puget Sound VA Healthcare Center in Seattle.  When asked to describe some of his greatest blessings over the first half of 2016, Gary wrote:

“The growth of our team. I am the Chief of Chaplain Service, so my great joy is in providing leadership to our service line. In June we had our second annual spiritual life retreat at a Catholic retreat center – it was a tremendous blessing to us all.  The Chaplain Service continues to grow; we now have eight staff chaplains and thirteen CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) students, including a Supervisory Education Student (a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) instructor in training).

My emphasis is on team and spiritual unity, so we meet daily for prayer as we begin the day. This emphasis on prayer has brought a great sense of teamwork and spiritual vitality to our team, enabling us to endure many difficult life events (death of a daughter, serious health and family issues, wayward children, birth of a special needs child).  I view the staff support provided as the essential factor in high team functioning.  The team is composed of two Catholic Priests, two Presbyterian women chaplains, a Church of God in Christ chaplain, an Assembly of God former Navy chaplain, and a CB/Calvary Chapel Supervisor. (This is the nature of pluralistic ministry in an institutional setting.)  All truly love the Lord and enjoy serving Christ together.  We may have doctrinal differences, but deep love and respect for each other.

Beyond that, my efforts in the area of Moral Injury continue forward. I have conducted two groups of Veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and moral injury; and continue the training of other mental health professionals on the subject.  The topic is receiving more scrutiny in the literature all the time.  It is a blessing to be on the cutting edge of this ministry.  We have seen lives changed as Veterans have recommitted their lives to God following their recovery from the moral injury of war.”

cowdenThis past September 9-11, Gary (far right in purple shirt) again facilitated a seminar at the CBNW Men’s Round Up on the topic of Moral Injury and Healing.  After a well-attended session last year, incorporating the testimony of a Vietnam Veteran, who had been suffering from the debilitating impact of moral injury, Gary invited two Vietnam Vets who had found forgiveness and healing of their soul through Christ. (See group photos of chaplains and Veterans – can you distinguish between them!).  Over 50 men, many Veterans and those ministering to Veterans in their churches and communities attended and lingered after with questions.

When asked for what he’d like prayer, Chaplain Gary wrote:

“Continued team unity. This is a great place to work because the team functions so well together.  Also please pray for the spiritual vitality of myself and the rest of the VA chaplain staff.”

One might ask: “How do you quantify the ministry impact of chaplains like Gary?”   Gary summarized this six-month ministry period thus:  Worship Services: 12, Bible Studies: 4, Small Groups: 36, One-on One Visits: 150, Rededications: 1!!  It’s clear from his summary, Gary is a “player-coach,” actively and effectively involved in direct ministry on top of his supervisory duties.

Pray for Gary and the other 175 CBAmerica chaplains serving in Federal and Civilian settings across America; on military bases, VA hospitals, and Prisons; as well as medical centers, hospitals, hospices, and with first responders (police, fire, EMS), rescue missions, Veterans, Motor Sports, and Wounded Warriors. Pray that men and women will find forgiveness and spiritual healing of their souls in Christ.

 

No Pool, No Problem: Base Pond Serves for Believer’s Baptism

roy1By Chaplain Roy Fondren

Whiting Field, Florida

“Naval Health Clinic Whiting Field’s PO2 Lovin desired to publically display his faith in Jesus via Baptism. Upon discovering the Base Pool was drained for the season, he said ‘no problem, no reason why the Base Pond won’t do!’ So it was in the cool waters of this sun and Son shining day that the faithful display of his obedience to Christ was seen by those that celebrated with him! It’s a tremendous joy to see and serve our Sailors as they excel personally and professionally! Lord, may our Brother and Sailor enjoy Your grace richly each day You purpose him for Your Glory! Amen!

My Greatest Blessing of the Quarter:

roy2Beneath the surface relationships are increasing! I have the honor of serving about 3,400 folks but yet; with this quarter representing year one done, I’m humbled to actually get to know and be known by folks significantly deeper.  I fretted that upon arriving…’how can I get deep with sooo many to serve’ and yet, it’s happening via Spirit led deckplate* ministry!  It’s crazy exciting!

I also am near completing the Fly Doctors Aviator Syllabus. Something no other Chaplain has completed.  By God’s grace, I’ll be able to continue plugging away at it and complete it! I’ve been able to now fly the T6, Th-57, MH-53E and MH-60. I’m set to fly the T-45 in the next few weeks.  I share that only for the sake of joyfulness of contextual connection with my people! I’m surrounded by Aviators, Students and Fleet seasoned warriors; so the more aircraft I have ‘Pilot at the Controls’ experience with, the greater my ability to relate and get deeper! God’s awesome!”

roy3Chaplain Fondren reported the following ministry results during this last quarter: Worship Services: 3, Bible Studies: 2, Crisis Interventions: 3, First-time Decisions: 14, Rededications: 6, Baptisms: 1!

Rejoice with Chaplain Fondren over the new names written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life! And rejoice over the several hundred professions of faith and baptisms witnessed by our CBAmerica chaplains thus far in 2016.

 

roy4For more stories of God’s amazing work in and through our CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy. For information on endorsement for chaplaincy, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

 

*Deckplate ministry is a Navy term much like “workplace ministry.”

Outnumbered: Chaplains Team Up to Baptize 115!

hargisBy Chaplain Brian Hargis, US Army

In March and April I was afforded the opportunity to cover down (military term for “fill in”) for Chaplain (Captain) Sarah Tarpley Vesselee (www.facebook.com/sdtarpley?fref=ts), battalion chaplain for the 3-13 Infantry Battalion (BCT) at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  The 3-13 IN is a basic combat training battalion (BCT).

hargis1This was my first opportunity to minister in a Basic Training Battalion – something I always wanted to do.  For the first service in March, it was WEEK 1 for the Soldiers and over 200 attended the chapel service.  No doubt that numerous Soldiers received the Gospel for the first time in their lives.  So many came to Jesus that it was more than I could count.

Realizing that I was outnumbered, I was able to solicit the help of Chaplain (Captain) Rick Pak and Family for the next two services.  More Soldiers attended and many more professed Christ as Savior.

For the last week, the services had grown by word of mouth. We needed more chairs in the battalion conference room to seat 250 Soldiers.  And by this time, numerous Soldiers joined me in music, singing, and testimony of what God was doing!  Watch the video, see and hear the good reports of God working among the Soldiers! They were very eager and enthusiastic to worship the Lord and testify of His goodness.

hargis2Closing the service, a line formed 50+ deep of Soldiers that wanted to hug and say, “thank you.” Because there were so many Soldiers, and I could not deal with them each individually, I asked them if they had truly received Jesus Christ as Savior to shake my hand and say, “Chaplain, I’m on Team Jesus, now.”

A female Soldier was in line visibly shaken.  She cried, hugged me and asked me to pray for her.  She said, “Chaplain, I’m a lesbian and I know it’s wrong.  Please pray that God will forgive me and change me.”  Wow!  No doubt that the Lord had met with her that Sunday morning!

Knowing that so many had trusted Christ, I prepared a sign-up for baptism. Over 100 Soldiers signed up, with many indicating that they wanted to speak with Chaplain Sarah for counseling.  Each Soldier was also given a Bible and some had already started small group Bible studies!

hargis3Chaplain Sarah returned and finished the services until graduation. She said that she never had so many professions of faith before, and that she was overwhelmed with counseling!

A graduation Baptism was scheduled for Sunday, 3 April 2016, in the common area of the battalion.  Drill Sergeants marched platoons of Soldiers to the mini-service with towels and shower shoes in hand!  Chaplain Sarah’s assistant filled a round baptismal pool and staged audio equipment.  We played and sang a few hymns and I preached a short sermon about the importance of biblical baptism.

hargis4One by one, we baptized 115 Soldiers in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and presented baptismal certificates.  There were so many Soldiers that I didn’t even bother to count, but Chaplain Sarah said that they had printed 115 individual baptismal certificates for those that had signed up; and when we were finished, there were no certificates left.  It was an amazing experience of receiving and celebrating new life in Christ!

A female Drill Sergeant gave me her phone number for follow-up. She is a Christian seeking God’s will and is interested in becoming a chaplain.  I was able to talk to her for several weeks following, and she is now in the process of becoming a Chaplain.

Chaplain Hargis’ Prayer Requests/Praises include:

  • Pray that churches and bookstores will purchase my book “Marriage is a Four-Letter Word.” One church used it for a Young Couples group, but I would love to see it picked up on a larger scale of use.
  • Jordan Hargis (our 19-year-old son) is in the Ohio Army National Guard and works as an MP (Military Policeman). He was activated for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Although there were no riots, some shots were fired at the MPs. As a Father, I thank God for Jordan’s safety and trust God to protect him.
  • Pray for a close relationship with my new Commander (LTC Miller) at Schofield Barracks, HI. I want to be used by God to be a blessing to him and his Squadron.
  • Pray for God’s direction to the right chapel service for me, my Family, and the congregants. We like to be involved.
  • Pray for my wife, Tracy, as she homeschools the boys – this will be our first full year of homeschool.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Chaplain Brian Hargis Chaplain, US Army

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If you are interested in reading more stories of God’s amazing work in and through our CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy. For information on endorsement for chaplaincy, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.