Making Cents Out of Christmas

According to ShopperTrak, consumers spent an estimated $10.4 billion in stores on Black Friday and $1.8 billion on Thanksgiving.  There is more.  CNN just released figures that online sales on Cyber Monday most likely will reach $3 billion for the first time, making it the largest single day for digital sales in history.
Hearing the “good news” (my sarcasm) of historic sales, I wanted to scream, “What about Christmas?”  We all know when it comes to our society celebrating Christmas, it is not about the miracle of Christ’s birth.  In reality it comes down to whether or not the retailers can get out of the “red” and into the “black”.
It is no surprise to understand that Christmas is not defined by money or retail goals, but by the incredible miracle of Christ’s birth.  Christmas is much more than just the birth of a baby.  It is when God became a man.  The miracle we call the Incarnation.  How will this amazing truth change your life?
I am having the privilege of discipling a young Millennial right now.  He recently came out of church with us and said, “I just got kicked in the stomach!”  Curious about what he was processing, I asked for clarification.  It was quite simple really.  God spoke to him, he was under conviction and he needed to make some changes.  I love what I saw in this young disciple as he wrestled with life-changing truth.
Truth.  The Incarnation of Christ is the ultimate and final disclosure of the eternal God.  Can you grasp that?  It answers for us the mystery of who God is, what God is like, and what God wants.  The Incarnation is the self-revelation of God Himself, the pre-existent Son of God and the second person of the Trinity taking human form.  Jesus is the “fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).  In the Incarnation, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV).  The Word here is the name of the Eternal God and the flesh is the designation of a time-bound human being in contrast to God.  God sent His Son born of a woman.  Yet the Word, who is God, continues to be what He was before becoming flesh (John 1:1).  Try to explain all that to the National Federation of Retailers.

I always like to ask the question after hearing something profound, “So what?  How does that impact my life?”   You know, there is a result to this incredible intervention of God into the world who was “made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7).  First, the eternal love of God is revealed to the entire world in its fullest expression, so all that believe will have eternal life (John 3:16).  Second, He who shared of flesh and blood (Hebrews 2:14) causes those who believe to share in the same divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).  Third, Jesus who committed no sin was made sin that those who believe might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Lastly, Jesus who came to reconcile the world unto Himself has given to those who believe the work of reconciliation to a lost world (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Pat Phinney
My prayer for us this Christmas is that our celebration would go far beyond traditional cultural symbols such as profit margins, decorative lights, festive parties and lavish gift-giving.  May your focus be upon the celebration of the “Gift of God” that is meant to provide eternal life for all who sincerely seek Him.  I enjoy the thought that the Eternal One loves this broken world more than I can even imagine.
I am so blessed to serve as your Regional Director for CB North Central.  Karen and I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful Christ-filled Christmas.  We look forward to serving you for years to come.
Pat Phinney
CBNC Regional Director

 

Holy Smoke, Batman!

HolyGreetings, from Bahrain!

Well, we have completed our first month of deployment here in Bahrain. For me it has been a slow start since I have to wait to learn the rhythm of the Squadron before I can adjust to serve the Marines and Sailors effectively and efficiently. We have been busy though setting up our office spaces and implementing our services of ministry opportunities and relationship building activities. I am not conducting any religious services during our time here because there is a Chaplain that is assigned to the base whose role is to provide services so we fall into his Sunday service as well as weekly Bible Studies.

I have started the Holy Smokes Fellowship which is a weekly cigar smoke to allow Marines to get away from the business of deployment and sit back, relax and enjoy time building relationships with other Marines and myself. We have a steady group of about seven Marines that are coming each week to that and we hope to continue to grow but are excited about the seven that are coming.

We have, in our office space, a care package corner where we have shelves full of hygiene, snacks and other entertainment items (books, magazines, movies) for the Marines to take and use. We also have a coffee mess for them to use. These things are great because it allows me the opportunity to see the Marines and interact with them when they come into the office.

We have started doing some cultural tours around the island of Bahrain. We are visiting different sites to allow the Marines to get to know the location and culture of where we are in the world. It is a very different place than what we are used to. It is enjoyable time to get off base and take the Marines to these locations and help them to see something that is new. On the first trip we went to the Bahrain Fort, the Souq (Market), and the King’s Camel

This month was Halloween so the Religious Program Specialist, two other Marines and I conducted a reverse trick-or-treat. A reverse trick-or-treat is where we dress up in costumes and bring candy to the Marines. It was awesome to see the smiles and the laughing because of how ridiculous we looked; but it was worth it.

We have a good schedule out here and it allows for some free time in the evenings to do whatever we need to. I have been doing really well with going to the gym 2 times a day for most of the first month and have lost about 12 lbs. already and plan to lose more as we continue. I have also had the time to get some reading in and have already read a couple of books and keep on reading. The food is good here which means I have to pay attention because it could be contrary to my goal to lose weight! We also have good internet connections in our rooms so I have the ability to skype and email my family regularly so that has been a joy to get to see my family.

The family is doing well in Indiana, staying with my wife’s mom. It is starting to get colder but they are using every moment they can, while the temperature is good, to play outside and go to the zoo. Everyone is getting bigger, especially Avery who is 10 months now. Liz sends me lots of pictures and sends me care packages with letters and art from kids so I can enjoy their many talents. They have even sent me some Lego sets so I can have fun as well!

Thank you for your continued support of love and prayers. Keep them coming. Below I have made a few lists of prayer requests and also items that can be sent in care packages if you desire to send some.

Prayer Requests

  • Safety of our Marines standing post and traveling
  • Safety of Families back home
  • Relationships that are struggling
  • Opportunities to tell Marines about Christ/ encourage them in their faith

 

Care Package Needs

  • Hygiene items – liquid soap, shaving cream, razors, foot powder, tooth brushes, tooth paste, mouth wash, hand sanitizers, lotion, shower shoes, sun screen.
  • Food – snacks, candy bars, drink mixes, coffee supplies (Sugars, creamers, NO coffee)
  • Entertainment – Books, movies, CDs, board games, musical instruments, thank you cards.
  • Holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year decorations. Cards to Marines and blank cards for them to send home.

 

Send items to:

Chaplain Boon, Nathan
SPMAGTF MWSS 372 (Bravo Co)
Unit 10189
FPO AP 96610-0189

Smoke Batman

 

Ministering to Suffering Children and Parents

nationwide-childrens-logoOne of the most difficult things for adults to endure is the suffering of children.  Over the years, while standing at bedside, I have heard many parents exclaim through tears, “If only I could take my child’s pain, I would.  I can’t bear to watch her suffering so.”   Chaplain David Kuntz’ daily ministry involves the suffering of children and their parents.  He is a staff chaplain at Nationwide Children’s Hospital; a primary pediatric hospital in Columbus, Ohio, with more than 1,170 medical staff members and nearly 10,000 total employees.

Imagine walking down a hospital corridor, and a public affairs specialist calls you over for an “on-the-spot” interview.  The journalist says, “For the record, would you share a little bit about why you like being a chaplain?”  To read David’s response, follow this link to his interview in Nationwide Children’s Hospital “Employee News Update.”

I invite you to join me in praying for “Reverend David,” as he ministers non-stop to children, parents, and other loved ones, as well as to the 10,000 employees of that amazing hospital.  Pray that he would have open eyes, ears, and heart to discern the spiritual needs of each one he encounters.   Pray that each one will eventually open their hearts to Jesus.

Pray also for David as he has applied for commissioning as an Army Reserve chaplain.  The review board meets the first week of November.  I believe David will make an effective reserve military chaplain.  Join me in praying that the members of the chaplains board will agree.

Chaplain Andy Meverden
Director of Chaplaincy
CBAmerica.org

For more information about CBAmerica Chaplaincy and what’s involved in seeking endorsement, contact Chaplain Andy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

David
Reverend David

 

Veterans Day, Every Day: Visiting Colorado State Veterans Homes

Andy and MyraBy Chaplain, (Colonel) Andy Meverden, US Army, Retired*
October 22, 2015

Once a month, my wife and I help out with Bingo at the Colorado State Veterans Home on the old Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center grounds.  The once imposing multi-story, stone, Fitzsimmons Army Hospital is now dwarfed by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, the infamous over-budget VA Hospital, and dozens of other structures of this emerging “Medical City.”   Except for a newly built Army Reserve Readiness Center, most vestiges of Fitzsimmons’ storied military past, are, as we say, “history.”  But in a small section of “Fitz” is a living national treasure; a place where old Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Merchant Marines, and their spouses come to “fade away.”

My perspective is unique.  For eight consecutive years, while serving as Command Chaplain for the Colorado National Guard, under Air Force Major General, H. Michael Edwards (Call sign: “Farmer”), the Adjutant General of the State of Colorado, I had the privilege of visiting all five of Colorado’s State Veterans Homes annually; in Florence, Walsenburg, Home Lake, Craig and the one in Denver at Fitzsimmons.  And almost always, weather permitting, we flew in by Blackhawk helicopter.  Our two-ship mission, loaded with Colorado Generals, State leaders, Army and Air staff, and me as chaplain, flew from Denver each year to visit some of Colorado’s senior Great Americans.

Imagine approaching at 150 knots, descending from cruising altitude to about 300 feet above the Veterans facility, residents and staff gathered outside, waving and clapping, as we circled overhead.  After landing in a nearby field, 10-20 passengers “assault” the gathered residents, greeting, and catching up since last visit.  The staff looks on as uniformed personnel and other civilians work their way through those able to be outside, mostly in wheel chairs.  After a time, the Facility Director invites us in for a “visit.”  I usually pushed a wheelchair-bound Veteran inside.

Over the years, I’ve met Veterans from WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and their widows.  Some were missing limbs.  Many bald heads bore telltale scares.  Some could not speak.  Others told stories of service in the Pacific; its jungle-covered islands, and the sands of Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Tinian, Saipan, Okinawa, Guam, and the frozen Aleutians.  I heard harrowing sea stories from Sailors, Submariners and Naval Aviators.  Others spoke of Europe, fighting across North Africa, Sicily, Anzio, or up through Italy or Southern France. Some told of the horrors of Normandy, D-Day, D+1, D+2, and the fight across France into Belgium, the Battle of the Bulge, and eventually Germany. I was surprised by the number of aviators, pilots, crewmembers, gunners and bombardiers.  Some were shot down; most of these captured and imprisoned.  Others spoke of the cold snowy mountains of the Korean peninsula, and how they fought unprepared with leftover equipment from WW2 in “Task Force Smith.”  I heard of the horrors and heroism in the jungles of Vietnam.  Some were officers, most were enlisted.  All were great Americans who shaped our history and maintained our freedom.  And I was privileged to hear their stories first-hand. These annual visits became a highlight of my chaplaincy.

As the years passed, we would return and reconnect with the resident Veterans.  Many wanted to see “the General” who would spend time with everyone who wanted to see him; even those who didn’t know he was a “General.”  The nursing staff would often take me to the rooms of residents unable to get out of bed.  There I would kneel at bedside, visit, and offer a word of comfort or prayer.  Too often on a visit, we’d ask about a particular resident, and get the sad news of their passing.  We missed seeing them, sometimes by only a few weeks or days.  That was a sad part of our visits, yet we were thankful we got to know them while they were still alive.

Typically flying to two or three Veterans Homes each day, we were “herded” by the Deputy Director of Military and Veterans Affairs, USAF Retired Chief Master Sergeant, Mickey Hunt, and Legislative Liaison, Greg Dorman.  Occasionally, I was the last one to board the waiting helicopters, but usually it was “the General” holding up departure.   Both sons of WW2 Veterans, Maj Gen Edwards and I held the sacrifice of our parents’ generation in high esteem.  We treated these Veterans and spouses like we would want our fathers and mothers treated – according to “The Golden Rule.”  Often, while walking back, “The General” and I would share stories of those we had visited: “Did you meet that Army Air Corps pilot that was shot down over Germany?”  “Yeah, and did you meet the Veteran with 17 children?”

In September of 2014, I made my last aerial visits to all five Colorado Veterans Homes.  I asked two successor chaplains to come along.  On this last visit, I decided to take my time and let the other chaplains circulate.  I sat with fewer Veterans, asked more questions and listened more patiently.  Each story was precious.   Our last stop was Fitzsimmons.  Due to the new taller buildings adjacent to the facility, our skilled, combat-proven Army Guard pilots executed safe, yet technical approaches and landings onto the grassy field between the facility and tree-lined golf course across the street.  After the visit, with angelic skill, we flew straight up 100 feet before making our signature “victory lap” while waving to the Veterans, widows, and staff below.  As I waved good-bye, a tear ran down my cheek.  It would be my last “air assault” of a Veterans’ home.

Last Wednesday, I accompanied my wife, Myra, who is the volunteer chaplain for the Rocky Mountain Submarine Veterans group.  She joined them several years ago as an associate member, and a few years later, they elected her their chaplain.  Last year I joined, as her “RP” (Religious Program Specialist – the Navy term for a chaplain assistant).  My main job is to drive her, and protect her from Sailors – just kidding!  Whenever I can, I like to help with Bingo.  I got to call the numbers once, but usually I help the residents who can’t hear or see very well.  I always come away blessed.

Today, I helped a 94 year old WW2 infantryman named Harry play Bingo.  He couldn’t hear the caller, so I touched the numbers and let him mark his card.  Sometimes I moved the card a little closer so he could reach it; just far enough so he’d have to stretch a little.  During the session, I asked him a few questions about his military service.  He struggled to tell me how he served under Patton and came ashore on the 2nd or 3rd wave into Normandy. When I thanked him for his service, he said, “I didn’t do much.” Yeah, right. He just helped save the world from fascist domination!  May God bless your remaining days on earth, until the Lord welcomes you into Heaven.

I’m thankful that God’s plan for my post-military career allows me time to visit Colorado’s State Veterans Homes!  I think it will make it easier for me, when my time comes to fade away.

____________________

*Chaplain Meverden currently serves as Director of Chaplaincy for CBAmerica, an association of 1200 churches across the US, that endorses 200+ chaplains in the Military, Bureau of Prisons, Veterans Health Administration, and Civil Air Patrol, as well as civilian hospitals, hospices, law enforcement agencies, State prisons, rescue missions, Veterans groups, motor sports and wounded warrior outreach.  His 26 years of Army Guard and Reserve chaplaincy prepared him for this undertaking, as did his visits to the Colorado State Veterans Homes.  Chaplain Andy’s wife, Myra, is a volunteer chaplain with the Rocky Mountain Submarine Veterans.  She was endorsed by CBAmerica in 2012.

Building Disciples: Essential in a Small Church and a Large Church

Building DisciplesMeet two churches different in many ways: First Baptist Church of Tuba City, a little over a hundred in average attendance, mainly Native Americans ministering to Native Americans and Palm Valley Church (two campuses in Goodyear and Buckeye), about 4,000 in attendance, primarily younger and a somewhat racially diverse generation ministering to a primarily younger and diverse generation.

Despite their differences, these churches share a common passion for discipleship. When Mike Hudson, the new pastor of First Baptist Church, was asked how he sees discipleship, he views it as intentionally partnering with another believer to help that person grow in relationship with the Lord so that he or she can help others do the same. When Ryan Nunez, lead pastor of Palm Valley Church, was asked the same question, he responded that Christian discipleship is when a mature believer goes life on life with a less mature believer and helps that person grow towards becoming a reproducing disciple of Jesus Christ.

Do you see something in common here? Relationship and reproduction! No matter what the size of the church, these two elements form the backbone of the discipleship process. Paul conveys these ideas to Timothy when he says, “The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses (that’s relationship) entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (that’s reproduction).” (2Tim 2:2)

Both pastors see discipleship as a growing process of counting the cost and following Jesus Christ. When asked what this process looked like in his church, Ryan says that at Palm Valley they first set forth a clear definition that a disciple is someone who trusts Jesus Christ for forgiveness, is being changed by Christ every day, and who is committed to the mission of Christ. Also, and very importantly, he or she reproduces by making more disciples. A mature disciple is a reproducing one. Therefore, at Palm Valley every mature follower of Jesus is trained to combine intentional shepherding in a relational environment using a reproducible process to make disciples who make disciples.

Mike, when asked the same question, pointed out that though he has been at this church for only a short time, he is already focusing on building relationships. He believes discipleship, which he too defines as disciples who are making disciples, must begin with relationship building. In order for this to happen, consistent time with other believers in the word and everyday life is essential.

Two different types of churches, different sizes, different target groups, but committed to same purpose: developing disciples through relationship and reproduction.

By Dwight Hunt, SWCC Church Health and Placement Consultant

 

 

My Teachable Moment

Prison MinistryRev. Jan Michael Nace, Th.D.

It happened to me on my way back from solitary confinement. I was ministering to a middle-aged prisoner whose son had been horribly assaulted by a predator. It nearly drove the prisoner insane. He had written me in the hope for someone to talk to. When I read his letter I had no choice but to go see him.

As I looked into his face as he related his story I detected a tear dropping off his chin. I was reminded even grown macho men have emotions. Especially when it comes to family. As I listened I waited to hear what God would give me to tell him. Finally, when he finished I told him “I will keep what you have told me in prayer for this next week and write you what the Lord shows me. But in the meantime I want you to grasp the truth that God is bigger than any life event, in fact, he is bigger than life itself. We need to hold on to that so we can hear from God.” He seemed to receive that message and show signs of hope. I will keep my promise. That is my policy. It has been my policy for 28 years and will never change. You see, I am a Prison Chaplain.

I have been a Prison Chaplain full time for 29 years. It is my parish. It is one of the richest environments anyone would hope to work in. It is not for everyone. But it is for some like me. At least for now.

 

So as I was walking back from the solitary confinement quarters with its grim reminder of the forgotten, I reviewed my ministry there. So often I had said to my wife “I long for a ministry [after 29 years] on the outside.”  Being full time in prison work removes you from society, and among the forgotten. Life goes on outside but stands still on the inside in many ways. You watch men get older but don’t see their circumstances change. It is like frozen time. You never seem to go into the future.

So as I was reviewing my ministry inside I thought of the conversation I had just had with this gentleman in solitary. I wondered who would have visited him if I had not arrived. He told me he had written over 15 people to come see him and I was so far the only response he had. When I heard that I was reminded why I was in there – in prison ministry.  I was a lifeline of hope.

And then I reflected on a recent ministry opportunity I had which would take me out of the prison ministry if I was chosen for ministry in an outside community setting. It was what I had been dreaming of for years. But suddenly I could not get this gentleman out of my mind. And I learned something important. I learned where I belonged in ministry.

I realized I belong in ministry where I am most needed. Where I have a burden for the people I serve and they receive genuine ministry from me. This burden takes the form of being pulled toward ministering to God’s place of ministry and the needy people awaiting His ministry and seeing God use me in ministry in that space. It is like a marriage. God puts us together with the people we belong with and are matched best with to serve and do life together with. And then he wonderfully works his Presence in and through us.

I began to wonder if the people in the other ministry I had applied for needed me as much as these prisoners, even after all these years. I wondered who would take care of the prisoners if I left and was successful obtaining the new job. And it caused me to come to an uncomfortable conclusion: Serve where I am placed and being used of God now, even if it is tedious, tiring and difficult, until he moves me to my next place.

It may or may not be the location of my application for another ministry.

I would know soon. And then the process of walking by faith will continue. In the meantime I continue to serve one of earth’s neediest congregations. Men who are isolated from their families, loved ones, and society. Not perfect men. Some are Forgiven men. All are Needy men. Most all are Forgotten men.

Funny how a walk back to my office after touring solitary can give me thoughts like this and bring eternal perspective. But that’s what happened. As we interact with people who are in need God is there with us, at work, a theological moment. And when it is over we become aware of the fact that we have just had a teaching moment. A moment when heaven reached us, caught our attention, and gave us some important detail to think about.  Just when we least expected it. But always on time.

As it turned out I didn’t get that other job. And maybe that’s all it was–a job. Whatever the case, I am still in Prison ministry but with new perspective. I have accepted that this is where I belong. It does not carry the excitement of a new location, but it carries the familiarity of an old friend. I have come to see the advantages of both sides. The familiarity of the old, with the people that know me, and my ever-increasing influence where I minister. The excitement of the new, or possibly temptation of the new, creating a tension with the timing to leave the old. And in the middle of it all my age which is passing mid- 60s.

This has been a lesson in grace on many levels.  Seeing God minister after all these years, even in my older years, after walking prison hallways and walkways for nearly 30 years, has a blessing of its own. Seeing prisoners relate to me, especially the younger ones, is a blessing as well like when recently a younger prisoner said to me, “Rev, you still got it going on!” Feeling the soothing Presence of God as I walk the grounds of one of the largest prisons in the Northeast beings a satisfaction unmatched by a newer job or location, with its adjustments, its new people, and learning curves. Yes, God has been good. And His grace has been real. I’ve tasted it over and over.

Now it’s time to sink my roots deeper. Deeper into the soil of corrections and the people whose lives (staff and offenders) populate the landscape of corrections. It’s time to listen more, listen closer, look at the faces of those passing my paths, and silently asking the questions of what is going on in their lives underneath the exterior. Taking a prophetic stance when needed and speaking from the years of experience into the present life of this system called incarceration. And risking the consequences for that stand in some cases. And what shall I say?

Prisoners are people. Real people. With families. With feelings. With hopes and dreams. With scars. With fears. With institution issues in some cases. But didn’t Jesus tell us in Matthew 25 that He was in prison and we visited Him there? Is that the magnetic pull I feel toward prisoners – the explanation of Scripture – that Jesus Christ is with them in this place? Has that changed since the Bible was written? No, the Gospel commands us to go beyond our comfort zone and minister to the needs of the dispossessed. So that’s where I am. And that’s where I have been called. And that’s why I’m there. And that’s where I will stay. And that is where God will find me. And this humble experience has settled the comfort issue for me once for all. It’s more important to be where we are called that be where we want to call ourselves.

And so I invite you to take another look at your ministry and ask yourself the question: “Is Jesus there?”  And if he is, it may not be comfortable, but it will be where you are called, and most importantly, it is where God will be found and working. Does anything else matter?

On the Road Again

New AndyDirector’s Travel Update: “On the Road Again…”

My summer travels have taken me to California, Arizona, D.C., Maryland, Washington and Oregon to visit chaplains, attend the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Academy and attend Regional Network meetings.  At the Network meetings I presented updates on chaplaincy to assembled pastors, elders and lay men and women.  I also visited with area chaplains and candidates, and met with others considering chaplaincy as a career or volunteer path.

In August I attended the Navy Senior Leader Symposium (SLC) Endorser’s Day in the DC area.  Along with other endorsers, I received updates on Navy chaplaincy issues, and had opportunity to meet with Navy Chief of Chaplains, Rear Admiral Maggie Kibben, and her deputies for Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard chaplaincies.  I found it helpful to have shared presenter duties with the Navy Chief in years past.  We both did “exciting” tours in Afghanistan.  Relationships matter.

In September, I flew to Seattle, for a NW visit.  I met with Navy chaplains working with CREDO and at an Air Wing, at Oak Harbor and Whidbey Island, respectively.  Both ministries are strategic and fruitful, and exciting to follow.  Lunch with an Army Chaplain stationed at JBLM was an encouragement, as was an evening visit with an Oregon Guard/Hospice chaplain’s family in the Vancouver, WA area.  It seemed like I spent my time driving and eating.

11-13 September was invested in spending time and ministry with seven other CB chaplains at the NWCB Men’s Roundup in Central Oregon and a gathering of 1500 men!   For a second year, we “camped” in a Yurt near the Meadow Ridge Pavilion – a great facility with shower and toilet facilities.  Not only did we benefit from the food, fellowship, worship and teaching times, but our chaplains led two workshops of chaplain ministries, and one on “PTSD and Moral Injury and Healing,” with testimony from a Vietnam Vet ministered to by Chaplain Gary Cowden, Chief of Chaplain Services at the Puget Sound VA Medical Center.  Over 100 men, mostly vets, attended our sessions and “Walks with a Chaplain,” throughout the weekend.  My hat’s off to Chaplains Dave Lundell, Gordon Ruddick, Adam Kawaguchi, Paul Castillo, Brad West, and Gary Cowden for sharing their ministries and taking time to interact with a number of inquisitive and hurting men.  For those interested in attending the Men’s Roundup, check out http://mensroundup.com/ for more information on next year’s event.

Final Word:

Please accept my special thanks for your cooperation and assistance during these first nine months of my tenure as director of chaplaincy.  I will need even more grace as I transfer data from my old laptop to this new one I’m using right now.  My old laptop picked up a bad virus and I decided it was time to replace it.  My cloud backup seems to be working, but I am struggling to find a few files…they’re probably in there somewhere.

Latest word from Chaplain Al Russell is that a recent cardiac scan went well, and he’s hitting on all cylinders.  He and Carol are enjoying traveling and are having fun with their new Smart Car.  They send their greetings to all.  My wife, Myra and I plan to visit them mid-October, pick up some remaining files and visit an area supporting church.

I had the honor of laying to rest two Korean War veterans this past quarter; one an Army ordinance officer, the other a Navy diesel boat submariner.  On the way back from Ft. Logan National Cemetery, I stopped by the Colorado National Guard Headquarters to get my final retirement photo taken.  My goal is to stay physically fit enough to wear my uniform for such duties so that I might be a “chaplain for life,” and a “player-coach!”

Be aware of our continued prayers for you, your family and your ministry.  Knowing how to pray really helps keep us “on target.”

In your corner, on my knees!

Andy Meverden
Director of Chaplaincy
CBAmerica.org/chaplaincy
303-263-1675
chapandy@cbamerica.org

The Beginning and the End

AndyThe Board of CBAmerica (of which I am now a functioning member) recently went through the process of updating our Mission Statement.  What we agreed upon was: “CBAmerica champions Great Commission fulfillment through its regional networks.”  At the national level we saw this focus carried out through our eight regional church networks and, likewise, through our network of chaplains.  We came to the realization that we didn’t have eight regional networks, but nine, including chaplaincy.

In a similarly comprehensive way we crafted our new Vision Statement: “Gospel-centered congregations transforming every community.”  Like churches, many chaplains lead and develop groups of believers in military units, chapels, prisons, hospitals and other unique settings.

Then we settled on three Values: Congregational Health, Congregational Multiplication and Leadership Development, all focused on reproducing disciples, leaders and congregations.  This fits well with the variety of chaplaincy ministries, most of which have strong components of evangelism and discipleship.  

So, back to the title of this article, the “Beginning and the End.”  It comes from the Book of Revelation where it is found three times:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”  (Revelation 22:13-14 (NIV)

CBAmerica chaplaincy champions Great Commission fulfillment through the ministry of its 160 chaplains serving in paid and volunteer positions, in hospitals, prisons, hospices, police and fire departments, and among veterans groups, wounded warriors, motor clubs and other specialized ministries, across the US, and on military bases, posts, camps stations, and ships literally around the world.  A wide variety of contexts, but all fulfilling the Great Commission.

This report of our newest military chaplain Lt. Roy Fondren, assigned to the Marines, highlights how the newer generation approaches outreach.

But outreach and evangelism are not simply for the young and healthy.  “Retired” hospice chaplain, Jim McMillan, who planned to take it easy in a Florida retirement community, found a new ministry in an old, familiar setting. Both of these chaplains epitomize the Mission, Vision and Values of CBAmerica.  No one is too young or too old for the Gospel!

If you are interested in pursuing a ministry in chaplaincy, check out our website at www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy for more stories from chaplains.  There you will see that our focus is Gospel ministry, “Beginning to the End!”

Finally, here is a link to the brochure of CBAmerica’s Director of Chaplaincy, “Ecclesiastical Endorsement: What it is, What it is not, How Long it takes.”

 

Chaplain for Life: Rev. Jim McMillan

 

Hospice ChaplainI recall an interview where Evangelist, Billy Graham was asked when he would retire.  The essence of his brief reply was, “Well, I don’t find the word ‘retirement’ in the Bible.”  As I write this, Rev. Graham is still actively reaching others for Christ well into his 90s.

So is Rev. Jim McMillan, CBAmerica chaplain, who retired from hospice ministry on April 30, 2014.  After moving to Florida, Chaplain Jim, like Rev. Graham, found that he couldn’t just sit around and “enjoy a well-earned retirement,” while people were dying and going to a Christ-less eternity. Instead, he looked around and found a new ministry he could pursue; serving as interim chaplain with Cornerstone Hospice.  Jim tried to use the new CBAmerica web-based electronic chaplain ministry report, but it wouldn’t work for him (Has that ever happened to you?).  Not to be deterred from reporting in, he printed his report, and mailed it the “old fashioned way.”  What Jim shared warmed my heart. “I had the privilege of baptizing a patient who had wanted baptism, but no one was available to do so.”  I understand Jim discovered that therapeutic whirlpools have a good secondary religious purpose.  “It was a God-appointment.”  Who better than a seasoned chaplain to recognize God’s hand!  ” I also was able to help a retired West Point grad reconnect with his faith shortly before his death.”  Jim’s words remind me of Romans 4:14: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”  Chaplain Jim inspires me.

He closed his ministry report requesting prayer for: “Continued opportunities as I serve as a spiritual care volunteer.”  Will you join me and pray for Chaplain Jim, and the dozen or so hospice chaplains ministering under CBAmerica?  Pray that they would be alert and available to the Spirit’s leading to hearts ready for the Gospel.

If you sense God’s call into professional or volunteer hospice chaplaincy, and would like information on how to secure an “Endorsement” for this or other chaplaincy ministries, click this link to CBAmerica’s Director of Chaplaincy for a brochure, “Ecclesiastical Endorsement: What it is, What it is not, How Long it takes.”  

Andy Meverden
Director of Chaplaincy
CBAmerica
O: 720-283-3030
C: 303-263-6175
3686 Stagecoach Rd, Unit F
Longmont, CO 80504-5660