Living With the End in View: A Timely Book for the Miramar Brig

By Chaplain Dan Klender, USN, Miramar Marine Corps Naval Air Station

While transiting back to the states from the British Indian Ocean Territories in October 2018, I spent ten days in Yokosuka, Japan. While there, I was able to fellowship with one of our great Navy chaplains, Jonathan Stephens, and his lovely family. After an incredibly busy tour at Diego Garcia, I finally had some free time to resume writing a book I had started several months earlier, Living With the End in View: Escaping the Tyranny of the Here and Now

This work is not about the signs of the times, or the apocalypse, but eternal rewards. Unbeknownst to all of us, the COVID pandemic invaded our lives in early 2020.  

As the chaplain for at Navy Consolidated Brig Miramar, California, I began to reflect on how this book might encourage our prisoner population and others. As you might imagine, prisoners often find themselves mired in the swamp of despair. 

While they eagerly anticipate the day of their release, they fear considerable challenges of employment, re-assimilation into society, family reintegration, and social ostracization. 

I began to wonder how the book might offer hope to this segment of the body of Christ. I quickly made several copies available through the chapel library. 

The feedback I received from many of the prisoners reading the book was positive.  

C.S. Lewis asserted, “God is not as interested in what a man is currently, but what he is becoming.” This is a quote I often cite to the men and women at the BRIG. Erstwhile United States Senate chaplain, Peter Marshall, was surely correct while rhapsodizing, “It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.”  

Below is an excerpt from Living With the End in View: Escaping the Tyranny of the Here and Now.

What Are You Living For? 

Corporal Jason Dunham was born on November 10th, the Marine Corps’ birthday. As a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Dunham was born to be a Marine. What did Corporal Dunham do to merit the U.S. military’s most distinguished award? He had been leading a fire team of Marines who were ambushed. He quickly found himself locked in hand-to-hand combat with an insurgent. As an Iraqi militant had seized Dunham by the neck, he shouted to team members, “Watch out he has a grenade in his hand!” At which point the insurgent tossed the grenade into the group of Marines after releasing his grip from Dunham. This brave young Marine without a seconds’ hesitation thrust his Kevlar (helmet) and body over the grenade to shield his fellow Marines from the impact. 

Dunham was mortally wounded, dying eight days later at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. For his heroism, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and had a U.S. Destroyer, the Jason Dunham named for him.  

The pastor officiating at his memorial service remarked: “Jason died as he lived, caring more about others than himself.”    

The selfless heroics of this dauntless Marine rise out of a warriors’ mentality that greets death with a wink and a nod. Such warriors, much like America’s founding fathers, “mutually pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” After hugging their family members before deployment, Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Marines embrace the sobering prospect that it may be their final farewell. In brief, they live with the end in view.  


Once again, a CBAmerica chaplain publishes a timely book on a relevant topic. Published by Covenant Books on May 6th, 2020, Chaplain Dan Klender’s work can be purchased on Amazon and wherever good books are sold.

For more stories by and about CBAmerica chaplaincies, visit www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. To inquire about endorsement for chaplaincy, email Randy Brandt at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Pandemic Ministry: Air Force Chaplains baptize and disciple despite challenges

By Chaplain Steve Kim, USAF, Sheppard AFB, TX

Greetings Sir/Gentlemen,

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!!!

The base commander had a fireworks show on base where we could see it from our driveway (on base) – it was great!!

My Wing (senior supervisory) Chaplain retired – it was tough to see him go — he was prior enlisted and served for 36 years!!  My immediate supervisor is transferring to a new location – and it is also tough to see him go.  He has been a great mentor and friend. It is always so tough to see good people leave and to let them go. 

Big praise – I was ranked #2 of 8 chaplains with a recommendation to attend Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training in the future.  I’m very blessed and humbled by that.  I hope to attend CPE in the future. 

Here are some pictures from this quarter’s baptisms (April – June).  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to baptize an Airman on Easter Sunday and the Sunday afterwards.  Two Airmen are following their call to serve as a military chaplain (and one of the Airmen was my Chaplain Assistant):

My supervisor (Protestant Chaplain) and I had the privilege to baptize these great Airmen during covid-19 – what a blessing!! 

My Chaplain Assistant / Religious Affairs Airman is standing right next to me – he was born in Ghana and he is now a US citizen – his dad is also a Pastor!! Pastor’s kids unite!- lol!!

I pray you & your family are doing well!

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Many Blessings,
Steve

Steve Kim, 1st Lt, USAF
Chaplain (Active Duty)
Sheppard AFB, TX

RESPONSE TO RACIAL INJUSTICE

I have grieved over the murder of George Floyd and grieved for his family as he was laid to rest this past week. Outrage over the incident has spread across the country. People are angry, disturbed, heartbroken. That includes us as leaders of CBAmerica. We are frustrated that these incidences continue to happen with no change in sight. We lament and recognize they are part of American history where thousands upon thousands of names could be added.

I believe that we cannot shy away from these issues. CBA believes that God has created every person in His own image, with inherent value that cannot be taken away. We recognize and repent, that we have not been more proactive as followers of Jesus Christ, that we have allowed indifference, politics and our agendas to divide us. Satan would love nothing more than to see us divide over these issues rather than applying the gospel to them.

When we say that the gospel changes everything, we need to be willing to examine ourselves to see where we need heart change. We recognize that we have not been listening well to the brokenness of all those in minority communities. We have not taken the time to learn about the injustices that they have experienced and endured. We confess that needs to change. Isaiah says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (53:4)”. We want the heart of our Savior, to bear griefs and sorrows, to heal the brokenhearted, provide liberty, righteousness and justice. We ask for forgiveness of any way we have not walked in step with the gospel concerning these issues.

“…the gospel changes everything, we need to be willing to examine ourselves to see where we need heart change.”

We grieve with our brothers and sisters in the African American community, along with all minorities who have similar experiences in life. We can’t possibly understand how this makes them feel, but we do choose to listen to them when they talk about their anger, fears and frustrations.

“We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ tears down barriers, and that the Church is to provide hope that through Jesus …”

We oppose any kind of injustice. We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ tears down barriers, and that the Church is to provide hope that through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the hostility and division that exist between peoples are reconciled. “For he himself is our peace, who…destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…to create in himself one new humanity…thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility (Ephesians 2:14–16). We believe we should use our resources and the influence that we have to bring true peace.

We also oppose lawlessness as a means of addressing these issues. We believe all authorities, (including police and civil authorities) are ministers of God (Romans 13:1-7). We also believe that all authority and their policies should be under accountability and that there are legal means by which grievances can and should be dealt with.

We are committed to listening, learning and leveraging our network to listen to the voices that need to be heard. We will take action to be a part of the solution, asking the question of Micah 6:8…And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

God calls us to the ministry of reconciliation through the gospel. He gives us the responsibility to call people in broken and estranged relationships to be reconciled to God and to one another through the work of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) …to bring peace.

God calls us to the ministry of reconciliation through the gospel.

CBAmerica will deeply examine where we have missed God’s calling. It is our prayer that we will join with our Lord, who enjoys the diversity of human creation, which He created for His glory and good pleasure. Regardless of our racial and cultural differences, we will hold the clear and uncompromising teachings of Scripture as our final authority in all matters.

It is our prayer, that our Lord’s Kingdom will come, that His will is done, on earth as it is in heaven. That we will celebrate now, what all followers of Jesus will one day experience:
And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).

Thank you all for coming alongside us as we develop a better CBAmerica as we venture together, advancing gospel-centered transformational churches in every community we touch!

Sincerely,

Dr David Whitaker
President, CBAmerica
on behalf of the Regional Executive Directors

COVID19 Ministry: Reaching Airmen through Innovative Means

Chaplain Torrey Garrison, USAFR, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS

Chaplain Torrey Garrison is a United States Air Force Reserve Chaplain Major assigned to RAF Mildenhall north of London.  He is married to Carrie and has three children and two grandchildren. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic the military grounded all reserve members from traveling overseas.  He fell back to Keesler Air Force Base to tele-work.  During this time, he was assigned to provide a series of sermon videos to be used for their members on Sunday morning.  This is his sermon from Memorial Day Sunday, “Five Qualities of a Good Soldier.”

Also, you can keep up with Chaplain Garrison a little at www.torreygarrison.com

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Join us in thanking God for inspiring creative response to COVID19 restrictions through modern means.  Despite, limitations due to social distancing, Chaplain Garrison, along with other CBAmerica chaplain colleagues, have taken a lemon and made lemonade.  Pray for their resilience and sustainment through these difficult days.

For more stories by and about CBAmerica chaplains, visit http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/.

To discuss endorsement for a wide variety of chaplain subspecialties, email Randy Brandt, director of chaplaincy, at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Air Assault: A Chaplain’s Reflections

Chaplain (CPT) Phil Persing
Regimental Engineer Squadron
3d U.S. Cavalry, Fort Hood, Texas

April 2019

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend U.S. Army Air Assault School at Ft. Hood, my current home station. Affectionately billed as “The Ten Toughest Days” in the Army (a highly debatable statement, but it makes the point), Air Assault students are subjected to rigorous and relentless physical and mental demands. The training focuses primarily on helicopter operations, training Soldiers in everything from aircraft hand and arm signals to external load inspections to actually rappelling from Blackhawks. Graduates must complete an obstacle course, multiple written and hands-on exams, and two timed ruck marches (6 mi. and 12 mi.).

Students Conduct Their Final Rappel
From a UH-60 (Blackhawk)

Participation in Air Assault School is completely voluntary. No one asked me or expected me to sign up for this. So, why would a chaplain care to subject himself to Air Assault School?
Aside from the general fulfillment of pushing oneself to new levels and learning new skills, there are reasons why Air Assault School is a particularly valuable opportunity for chaplains.

Students Conduct Their
Final Rappel From a UH-60 (Blackhawk)

First, chaplains are much more likely to “win a hearing” with other Soldiers if we go where they go and experience what they experience. I developed quick connections with fellow students during those weeks because we trained and suffered together. This opened doors for conversations about the gospel and our public Christian witness through words, as well as prayer with students as we approached the final assessments in the school.

Graduation Day
(That’s Me in the Middle!)

Additionally, Air Assault experience has positioned me to be an informed encourager and cheerleader for future Soldiers in my unit who aspire to this training. It is yet another point of connection to develop relationships with those I serve, and I now know better how to pray for each one who goes through the school.
I thank God for the opportunity for this training—may He use it to declare His glory and goodness among Soldiers!

Graduation Day
(That’s Me in the Middle)

CBAmerica Board Appoints New President

At the Winter Meeting of the CBAmerica Board, January 29th and 30th held in Laguna Beach, CA, Dave Whitaker was appointed President of CBAmerica. He is taking on the newly defined position:

“In recognition of the covenantal commitment of CBA, the President shall serve the member networks, facilitating national vision, coordinating and managing the network of national resources and services; he shall be a part of the selection process for any new Executive Director of a member network; he shall facilitate the expansion of CBA into more networks.”

Church ministry is woven into the fabric of Dave’s life. A “preacher’s kid” born in Iowa, Dave grew up in the East San Francisco Bay Area town of Pleasanton. After receiving undergraduate and seminary degrees, Dave served seven years as an associate pastor of his home church in San Ramon, CA, then thirteen years as senior pastor of Heart to Heart Bible Church in Phoenix, AZ. During the years in Phoenix, Dave received his Doctor of Sacred Ministries degree from Northland International University. Dave’s burden to return to the Bay Area led him in 2004 to become the lead pastor of Morgan Hill Bible Church, serving also as a volunteer chaplain with the Morgan Hill Police Department.

For over eight years, Dave served as the Executive Director of Next Generation Churches in northern California, one of eight regions in CBAmerica. Along with serving on the various boards of CBAmerica, Dave serves also as Vice-Chairman of Western Seminary.

Dave & Lanette Whitaker

Dave and his wife, Lanette, have been married for 37 years. Their daughter Kaylan lives in Manhattan and son Jonathan and wife Carrie, and their first grandchild, Sylvia, live in Brooklyn, NY. Dave enjoys hanging out with family and friends, reading, playing golf and playing with his Apple gadgets. Even more, Dave loves communicating the Word and is passionate about seeing local churches and pastors flourishing in the gospel, connecting people into a vital relationship with Jesus Christ.

Dave will continue as the lead pastor of Morgan Hill Bible Church but will be handing off his role of director of Next Generation Ministries with the appointment of a new Regional Director.

Commissioning of the USS Colorado Invocation and Benediction by Chaplain Andrew Meverden

CBAmerica’s Director of Chaplaincy Andrew Meverden at the Commissioning of the USS Colorado a $2.6 billion Virginia class fast attack submarine at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT.

Chaplain Meverden is introduced at 7 minutes and delivers the Invocation at around 15 minutes and the Benediction at 1:12:00.

Click here for a good article with photographs of the USS Colorado.

Hurricane Harvey Relief in the Houston Area

Follow-up to a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey requires an anchor church or ministry that has a passion to provide the framework for receiving, supporting and coordinating teams from outside of the affected area.  Crossover Bible Church of Houston and their partners, the Houston Church Planting Network are exactly what is needed to bring aid to churches and families needing assistance.  If you are considering engaging in the relief efforts in the Houston area by desiring to send a team here is a link:

http://www.hcpn.org/teamform

The following videos will help you grasp the scope of the work of recovery and the strategy that Crossover Bible Church has initiated.

Invitation to churches from Crossover Bible Fellowship’s Pastor Blake Wilson

Jeff Denlinger’s reaction to Houston devastation and challenge to churches to serve

WorldVenture/Crossover Bible Fellowship “He Is Able” Music Video

CBAmerica is receiving designated gifts for Hurricane Harvey and other disaster relief  efforts click HERE.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Jose; Fires in Western US and the Mexico Earthquake

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Jose; Fires in Western US and the Mexico Earthquake

Our hearts break for those who are experiencing such great loss of life and property in the face of multiple catastrophic events in our sphere of influence.  The number and scope of the current needs are so great that you and your congregation may feel paralyzed, not knowing what to do.

CBAmerica’s strategy in light of these needs is:

Encouraging individuals and congregations to consider initially giving to those organizations best prepared for early relief efforts.  Our early response agency of choice would be Samaritan’s Purse. Other options would include the Salvation Army, Red Cross and the North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist).

To help meet long-term recovery efforts we are encouraging individuals and churches to give to CBAmerica’s ACTS Fund. Along with WorldVenture, we are partnering with Crossover Bible Fellowship of Houston and the Houston Church Planting Network.  They are an anchor relief church and organization that are receiving teams from church wanting to help (use this hyperlink to access a team form).

Mission Mid-Atlantic Director, Jim Leary is in contact with CBAmerica Churches in Florida in advance of Hurricane Irma’s landfall on Southwest Florida.  Pray for Parkway Baptist Church, Pastor Len Anderson, in Fort Meyer, FL as Irma is projected to have a great impact on this area.

We continue to communicate with our CBNorthwest Region in regard to the fires that are devastating the area.  Additionally, we will look to Missions Door for disaster relief efforts in the Caribbean and Southern Mexico.