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Archive for August, 2009

And yes this is a shameless self indulgent plug to get you to keep/start reading my blog.

9.  Where else does anyone attempt to solve one of the world’s great problems in 800 words or less? 

8.  Because no one else you know HATES Facabook and Twitter status updates as much as I.  (And no I really do not care what you had for lunch, that you hate monday’s, or the fact that you are helping your granny look for her lost dentures.  Good luck to Granny on finding those though).      

7.  It’s not the worst blog out there (right)?

6.  Because you wanted to feel smarter but the Holiday Inn Express was not an option.

5.  People…I was in college for like 6 years, surely I can write something worth reading now and then.

4.  To count the number of grammatical mistakes I make (To all my former English teachers…I am so sorry, and no I was not paying attention in your class.)    

3.  Because it’s the Home of the Weekly Word.  Bet you wish your in-laws only had something to say once a week.

2.  Because if you don’t, no one else will.

1.  Because Jesus Christ will be presented as the all satisfying, saving, and sovereign joy over all things and in all things.    

Why 9 you ask?  Well it occurred to me there was no other logical or good reason for you or anyone else to read this blog that I could find within this space-time continuum.

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Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

 The Word of God is the single greatest physical resource we have as believers to draw near to Christ and grow in his likeness.  We can not live on mere food alone, but It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” The Word supplies the type of nutrition and satisfaction our regenerative soul craves and must have to grow.  John Piper once said, “I never met a strong Christian who didn’t spend time in the Word each day.  And I never met someone who spent time in the word each day and wasn’t a strong Christian.”  If anyone desires to come after God, become a dedicated follower of Christ, and reach his world (that is his/her sphere of influence) he must be grounded in the Word.  We don’t have to have any other book that is sold in Christian book stores, or on Amazon.com by Christian authors, but we must have the Word.  As David Platt has said, “God has only promised to bless his Word.”  Therefore, it is essential that you and I give the greatest amount of time and study to the revelation of God comprised in the 66 Holy Spirit inspired books of the Bible.  If we study or desire to obtain any knowledge in this life let it be that we would desire Christ and His Word above all else.  You and I may never (we also might) receive a PhD from a theological seminary, but we can be PhD like students of the Word.  Nothing else, absolutely nothing else will provide the nourishment our spirit longs for, even begs for, than the Holy Scriptures.  It is the supreme and last authority on all matters, and needs to be supreme in devotion and affections.  The Holy Spirit that takes up residence in the heart and soul of the believer is from God.  The Spirit of God in personhood understands perfectly the purpose, importance, and person of the Word.  The Spirit desires for us to be satisfied in communion with God as He is.  Though that type of communion will never fully be realized here on earth, the best way to know Christ is through his Word, revealed by His Spirit.  As I have heard someone else say in regards to the Word, “we are literally thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”  Nothing could be more profound, more stimulating, more thought provoking, more satisfying than thinking God’s thoughts after Him.  The originator of though itself has revealed Himself to us in written and spoken Word.  What else could consume our lives like that?  What else could compel us to consider all other things as rubbish compared to knowing and loving Christ (Philippians 3:8)? What else could satisfy our ever raging quest to be filled, and yet still leave us wanting more?  The Word, that is all.  It is all we need and just what we need.  The Word is enough and more.  If we are hungry, let us be filled.  For we have the means to feast and the food is plentiful.  If you are hungry would you not eat?  And if you had no food would you not go in search of some?  Are you hungry, are you filled?  If not, you know where to go, and if you are filled…there is always room for more.  Be satisfied friends.

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Over the course of the next few months I will be conducting interviews and posting them here of people I have great admiration for.  I want to highlight certain spiritual attributes or characteristics in the lives of those I have chosen that I believe make them stand out as great men and Christians.   The first is Captain Dave Dice, United States Army Chaplain stationed in Iraq.  Capt. Dice is without a doubt one of the bravest and most honorable men I know.  He is a lion of courage when it comes to ministering the gospel of Christ.  You wont find too many Christian men excited about the chance to go to Iraq to share the gospel, but Dave Dice aint too many men.  Dave has decided to go to a hard place and do a hard thing.  He is literally and simontaniously giving his life for his country and the gospel.  In my mind any man who serves our country through the armed forces of the U.S.A. is worthy of  our greatest amount of honor.  Any man who faithfully serves our creator is due right respect.  Capt. Dice is worthy of both as a patriot and a minister.  The following are questions I emailed him, and his responses.  I hope you enjoy my interview with Captain Dave Dice the brave.

 

Dave Dice Interview

 Q: When and how did you become a Christian?

 A: I began my journey as a Christian when I was 7 years old, back in 1989.  No stranger to the Gospel message as a seven year old, I finally committed my life to Christ as my dad read me passages of Scripture from Romans.  In that moment the Spirit drew me to Himself in a way that was undoubtedly the moving of Christ in my life. 

The continuing story of my salvation has been marked by several other key moments of “realization” and rededication; one of which occurred in high school and the other in seminary.  At these places in my life God showed me my sin, my selfishness, and my lack of commitment and reminded me of the forgiveness of sin that I’d embraced back in 1989.

 Q: Walk us through the process of how God lead you to Army Chaplaincy.

 A:  I first heard about the U.S. Army Chaplaincy when I was a sophomore in college.  Prior to that I had never heard of this ministry and I was searching out God’s potential calling to youth ministry or inner-city ministry at that time.  From the moment I heard about it, there was definitely a stirring in my heart; looking  back now, this was certainly a moving of the Spirit in my life, pushing me towards this.  I spent some time considering this, praying about it, and talking to as many other people as I could about what all was involved.  In 2004, a month before I graduated from Cedarville University with a double major in Broadcast Production and Pre-Seminary,  I commissioned into the U.S. Army Individual Ready Reserve as a chaplain candidate. 

I headed to Ft. Jackson, SC to the United States Army Chaplain Center and School (USACHS)  in the summer of 2004 to complete the first two phases of Chaplain Officer Training.  The following summer I spent four weeks at Ft. Campbell, KY shadowing another chaplain to gain more of an understanding of the Army chaplaincy and to ascertain whether this was where God was leading.  Just a side note, upon commissioning and entering the Chaplain Candidate program, I was free at any time to get out and turn in my commission, a great benefit to this program if in the process I decided that this was not God’s calling for my life and ministry. 

Upon completion of my second year of seminary I then moved to Maine to serve on staff with a church and finish my final seminary classes by correspondence.  Then, two years later, God finally confirmed the call for me to enter active duty as a U.S. Army chaplain.  A call and desire that had lain dormant for the past two years was again revived and following that desire to serve God amongst our bravest soldiers, I packed my bags for the Army, volunteering not only for service in the Army, but also as an Airborne Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. 

 Q:  How hot is it right now in Iraq?

 A:  I had to check the weather.  It says it is 120 today in Baghdad.  This morning I started out my day in the eastern desert at a place called FOB Hammer where it was about 130.  I went for a jog about 0930 this morning and let me tell you, it was HOT.  At noon I got on a Blackhawk to return to my little trashy home here in the city, where it is apparently 120 degrees today (cooler because of Tigris River which is about ½ mile from our outpost.)

 Q: What is the strangest animal you have ever petted?

 A: I’d have to say that the strangest animal I’ve ever petted was Boa Constrictor snake when I lived in Maine.  Someone let me put this gigantic snake around my shoulders and pet it!

 Q:  What is the hardest part about your job?

 A: The hardest part about my job is definitely having to work so far away from home and to go for a year without being around my family and dearest of friends.  I get up each morning at about 3:45am in Iraq and call my fiancé.  You get so used to talking on the phone, but you never forget how much you are missing in the States.

 Q:  What is the best part about your job?

 A:  Well, first of all I get to serve Christ and minister to other men and women every day of my life, and that is by far the coolest part.  But another VERY cool part of my job is the unique places that I get to do ministry and the unique opportunities I have had.  I’ve been in the Army on active duty for less than two years.  So far I have:

  • Lived/trained at Ft. Jackson, SC and had the opportunity to go through some simulated combat experience there.
  • Been assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, known as “America’s Guard of Honor.”  We are trained to deploy anywhere in the world in less than 18 hours. 
  • I attended Airborne School for 3 weeks in Ft. Benning, GA, jumping from a high performance aircraft 5 times to get my “wings.” 
  • I have deployed to Ft. Polk, LA for a month to live in a simulated “Iraq” for a month.  Okay, that actually wasn’t fun, but looking back it was alright.
  • My first jump at Ft. Bragg was from a Blackhawk helicopter.  The Army takes the doors off both sides of the helicopter, four guys dangle their feet off one side sitting on ledge, four on the other, and then when they tap your ACH (Army Combat Helmet), you push yourself off the edge, down to the drop zone!
  • Trained for two weeks at Ft. Sam Houston, TX in an Emergency Medical Ministry course, as a chaplain on call for trauma emergencies in the ER, as well as providing ministry to severe burn survivors from OIF and OEF.
  • Deployed to Eastern Baghdad, Iraq where there are too many adventures and stories to tell; some of which I will have to wait some years to retell.

 Q:  Which really good friend sent you a Georgia Tech visor?

A:  I can’t remember; I think I bought it on Ebay!  Haha, no, that would be the one and only, Taylor Stewart!

 Q:  How can we best pray for you as you serve our brave men and women? 

 A:   Pray for spiritual birth and revival amongst my Paratroopers!  Soldiers have so many needs, but center among them is their need for Christ.  So please pray that those who don’t know him will hear the Gospel from me, and those who do know Him, will be revived, renewed, and recommitted!              

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I Timothy 1:17

17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I know what media outlets are talking about…Health care, Michael Vick, Brett Farve, Swine Flu, and Hurricane Bill.  These topics and many more are on the minds and lips of many Americans.  But what if we stopped to consider what the celestial beings and souls of heaven were discussing at the moment.  What is the topic on conversation in Heaven?  I believe heaven is presently consumed by the presence and greatness of God, so much so that He is all there is to anyone who is present.  This is not to say we should not have discussions regarding health care, and other important topics (Note…Brett Farve is not an important topic.  If he wants to play let him play.  It matters not what you and I think.  He is getting older, not better.   And as far as Mike Vick goes…What he did was terribly wrong, hopefully he knows that.  Killing unborn babies is much much worse, yet where is the public outcry against that? Furthermore, is not not the Gospel all about second chances for repentant sinners?  And if Tony Dungy is ok with Mike to play, then so am I).  What I am saying is that as much as we are discussing how hot August is, and news worthy buzz items of the day, we should equally and more so devote our minds and lips to thoughts and conversations that have eternal impact and perspective.  We will talk about news worthy items today, and then on to some more tomorrow, but we as believers will talk about Christ for eternity.  It is extremelyy important to be relevant and up to date culturally speaking, so that we can engage the people of our culture in a meaningful and informed way.  But we always must be thinking beyond being relevant and informed, and unto Christ and how we can love him more and help others see and experience for themselves his love and greatness.  The news we view changes almost daily.  The news of Heaven is and will forever be the good news of Jesus Christ concerning sinners.  The conversation of heaven is all about the glory of God in Christ (Philippians 2:10-11).  The question for you and I is…are we more concerned with the news of the day, or the news of eternity?        

Revelation 7:10-12       

10And they cried out in a loud voice:
   “Salvation belongs to our God,
   who sits on the throne,
   and to the Lamb.” 11All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying:
   “Amen!
   Praise and glory
   and wisdom and thanks and honor
   and power and strength
   be to our God for ever and ever.
   Amen!”

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Romans 8:28-29

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Most of you who read this blog know of the struggle I have gone through the past 2 & 1/2 yrs concerning my health and chronic fatigue syndrome.  I can tell you for certain chronic fatigue is a very serious and difficult illness.  It’s not just being tired almost always, it’s feeling wiped out most of each day.  There were scary moments along the way especially in the beginning when several different doctors had great difficulty diagnosing the problem.  There was never a guarantee even when I was diagnosed that I would return my prior state of health, or even close to it.  But today I stand before you 90% (in my own estimation, but I know my body better than anyone) healed from CFS.  Over the past several months I have been able to do things I did not know if I would ever do again (i.e. I worked out with weights for 53 min one day last week.  I played a 2 & 1/2 hour tennis match this past summer.  I am currently working out with wights three times a week and plan to play tennis three days a week also).  I have more energy and mental clarity today than I have since I first became ill.  I can’t say for sure if I will ever run a marathon again, but I can say for certain I will never take another day of health for granted.  Just posessing the energy to get out of bed and put in a full days work without feeling like I finished a marathon is an enormous blessing.  I praise The God Almighty, The God of Jesus Christ for his faithfulness and His merciful hand of healing He has placed on me.  I did nothing to deserve good health for the twentyy six I had it, and I deserved not His healing over the past two years.  God, through his goodness in Christ choose to allow me to become sick, and He  has chosen to make me well.  I have no right to stand before His mighty and demand anything from Him (Romans 9:14-21).  God alone makes demands, and we if wise will carry them out.  God in His infinite wisdom wrote the last chapter of my life (2 & 1/2 yrs)  just as he had desired (Romans 8:28).  Was it a chapter filled with great difficulty,  Absolutely!  Has it been a a great time of drawing near to God and trusting in His faithfulness, like never before.  I also need to think the physicians who helped and continue to help me on my road to recovery, Dr. Mike Goodlett, Dr. Evan Johnson, and Dr. Satish Cuddepha.  God has used these great men along with nurses and others to encourage me, and walk with me, and providing the greatest amount of care and wisdom on my road to recovery.  God has chosen to heal me through various means and resources.  I ask you now to celebrate with me for my health has been restored.  Come along side me and praise the God who heals those who don’t deserve his healing.  Sing a new song to the Lord with me, for I have been through the dark and difficult valley and now find myself climbing up towards the mountain top again.  Pray for those whose bodies have yet to be healed by God.  Pray that God would use all things including disease and sickness to draw men unto himself and bring glory to His holy name.  I don’t know what the future holds for my health, but I will trust in the one who has seen my everyday.  In Him alone shall I trust!  In Him alone shall I glory!        

Psalm 97:11-12

11 Light is shed upon the righteous
       and joy on the upright in heart.

 12 Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous,
       and praise his holy name.

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