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Outfitting Soldiers for the Fight of Faith

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
May 27, 2022 12:01 am

Outfitting Soldiers for the Fight of Faith

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 27, 2022 12:01 am

Military chaplains who partner with Ligonier Ministries receive discipleship materials to serve men and women around the world. In this special edition, hear from members of the armed forces and military families to discover the impact of this outreach--and ways you can help.

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Today I'm Renewing Your Mind. The challenges military families face. I think the first thing that comes to everyone's mind is the obvious deployment challenge. I was just counting through. How many moves we've had in 23 years and 14 you're looking at new schools, new churches, new identities, like all of these challenges without the constant necessarily of a good strong church support serving those sure so we like to think of would be a new strategic outreach to those in the Armed Forces around the world billowed welcome to special addition of Renewing Your Mind to let you know more about this initiative and how you can play a key role. I am pleased to be joined by two special gifts there with me is looking your ministry. Senior advisor for travel and outreach sniffing. Serve 30 years as a U.S. Army chaplain retiring as a full Col. in 2021 held high level positions in the trap, including chief of religious support operations for the nearly 100,000 US personnel at the time was deployed to Afghanistan.

He also assured this college chaplain and Prof. of strategic leadership at the U.S. Army war College, also with us today is Kristin.

She is the wife of a military chaplain. Kristin has earned multiple awards for her volunteer service to the military community and her husband has been on active duty for more than 20, welcome to you both think accurately you and others on your team.

What your ministries are providing litigator resources to 446 military chaplains or care for military men and women around the world. Tell us a little bit about our outreach to these chaplains, yes, we support chaplains and through supporting chaplain support service members are support to chaplains consists of providing usually about once or twice a year, a resource credit for chaplains to order like in your materials. So if they determined that a particular subject, whether it be worldview or they want to do a particular course on a particular book of the Bible are particular theological subject. They have complete freedom to go through our resource catalog and select all the resources they need to facilitate their ministry.

During that period of time that also includes resources that they can distribute their pay when you talk about that credit gets important to assure that the one we made that credit available. Many fathers serving in the military requested copies of Dr. Sproles children's books to send back to their families to help them grow in their faith.

While dad was out of the country, serving yeah that is true, and we have gotten those books to those families and unit with the technology today where you can be deployed and connected through products like face time and soon they have been able to read those resources together. Matter fact, the USO certain places downrange often will set up a camera where a servicemember can go in and create a video of them reading a book for their kids. But this is another use of those materials out one of the other great new resources is link interconnect so that we give every chaplain that requests a free linear connect account and you know that's interactive. So now the chaplain can be leading a Bible study with his own family from a deployed location. Are you can be leading a Bible study that includes multiple families in the unit from a deployed location so all of this technology, whether it just be a book of printed book are the digital resources that Ligonier is providing our absolutely incredible in sustaining these families of the service and sacrifice of those in the Armed Forces. Of course, is not limited to the one who is in uniform, their spouses and their children serve as well in their own ways.

They face unique challenges on the homefront in the Peter Kristin.

I know that you and your families have known one another for years and I thought that the two of you could talk about that, Pete. Maybe you have some questions for Kristin and Chris and I know that you have a unique perspective on the challenges that spouses face thanks you for the opportunity think I think the first thing that comes to everyone's mind is the obvious deployment challenge. Our challenge is that the bigger challenge for us has to do more.

I think with the multiple names that we have.

I was just counting. Three. How many moves we've had in 23 years and 1414 moves around the country around the world, even three of those being international made so when you think about and mom with children moving internationally or are even just across the United States. You're looking at new schools, new churches, new identities like friends like teens moving during teen years. Like all of these challenges without the constant necessarily of a good strong church support where wherever you are in the world. You may not have email a strong church support. So having the ability to build a ministry and having the solid foundation to give your family from a reformed perspective having those resources is powerful in the midst of all those challenges. How is your face supported you as a mother and a wife to a servicemember.

The first immediate answer that comes to mind as I can even imagine living this life without faith without like a rock solid understanding that my life is wrapped up in Christ that it's unimaginable that like a practical daily basis.

Being able to get, you know, look at all of the little knots a little challenges I think medical care and school and all of those things that going at the even in the moment going cuts got this like you know he is sovereign and it's in his hands, was that especially true Kristin when your husband was twice deployed to the war zone in Iraq absolutely and I don't want to say that it wasn't a very difficult time that I can tell you that from my experience whenever my husband deployed.

We were in Germany and so we didn't have like a local church in our denomination that I was attending, so are our church family. Was it general Protestant in a group and primarily it was women because most of the men were deployed so during those deployments. I was with a group of women from all different Protestant backgrounds and I'm so thankful because I could see a difference in how I was able to process what was going on through the faith of our other sovereign God like three faith in that this is not going to be out of the hands of God.

He knows and sees everything and the comfort that gave me. That made a foundation I was able to then minister to others out of that comfort that I had received Christian you've had some foundational and very shaping experiences with Ligonier ministries tell us a little bit about that influence well. I married into Ligonier ministries. I think whenever I married my husband. He was already ordained in the PCA and already on active duty even before I came into our marriage. I did not come from a reformed background and whenever I was first confronted with the truth of God's sovereignty. It was it was jarring to me. I think it is showing to a lot of people that through RC Sproles, but chosen by God well on through discussions with my husband and most importantly, the word of God.

God showed he revealed his sovereignty in such an amazing and beautiful way and from that moment on, my husband has often joked that I like. I just it's been unshakable because when she requests that you can take on the world. You can do dangerous and scary things because God is in control and you don't have to live in fear.

So those resources early on in our marriage, and even before we were married really helps shape and become foundational for the life of the military wife that I was going to lead that anything no what challenges I was going to face, but clearly God I am right now leading a women's Bible study and the resource that they chose for this is not from a reformed perspective. But you know what commentary I'm using I'm using RC Sproles first and second Peter commentary like it's next to me and so even if you're not using the exact resources for this specific Bible study because you're in a note nondenominational general Protestant setting to have the resources to be able to put the truth of God's word in their to go deeper is so helpful. We recently heard from Rich, who served in the US Marine Corps for more than 20 years. This story was so encouraging. I thought that you'd both appreciate hearing it but I heard RC stroll on the radio at the time talking about the Roman Catholic Church and so I asked for the tape series on Roman Catholicism and the netbook faith alone that you know the nature of the military is that you're often not able to be around. Local churches sell a lot chaplaincy was really important in connecting me to some of those resources as well.

I didn't have a chance to listen to the tape series, but I ended up bringing the book with me on the flight over to Okinawa as part of some work I was doing and he really opened up my eyes to the gospel. I had been raised Roman Catholic.

I was in a Roman Catholic Church that was part of the kind of the charismatic renewal that swept Roman Catholicism and so at the time I was attending a charismatic church. I had never really understood what the Protestant Reformation was about and it really just blew my mind. I mean, I still credit to this day, RC Sproles book in the fact that he cared enough, I think even to risk friendships at the time to point out that important, since this doctor and if he hadn't written this book and it had been provided it's it's in God's providence is the thing that really helped me understand what the importance of justification by faith alone was so many things fell into place. At that point because you know your you're acquainted with the Scriptures and hear the Scriptures regularly and often the way it's presented in this is important and I remember just distinctly just being enthralled and just emotional as RC stroll on past these truths that had been there all along, but he helped open up my eyes and just in and gave me compassion for these things, not for their own sake but for the clarity and the importance of this doctrine in and how much. Prior to that I had been kind of caught in charismatic experience almost as a way to kinda get excited to be able to feel like I have a connection with Christ. But at this point my passion was on what Christ had done for me and what the clarity of the gospel had provided. I became a then called take months supporter. Thereafter, just because of how important that was to me and it really just change the entire trajectory of my my life from that point on to me late in the year and RC Sproles ministry has always been something that I've appreciated since gosh this is been 1997, 625 years 1/4 century Lincoln year had reached out to its message of the month partners on the occasion of RC Sproles 75th birthday and they asked for contributions for what has his ministry meant to you. And so I wrote a heartfelt note about it was his book that really help me understand the gospel for the first time so I I am a regular listener to the podcast and so they did a special on that celebration and he investor on that and mine was the first letter read and so was just really exciting to hear that. And so for me it was kind of nice because he reacted warmly to doubt and so was, like a small way of knowing that small way of knowing that RC new that his ministry had at least changed my life. But we appreciate Richard service in the Marine Corps and were grateful for him assuring those thoughts with us and traveled sniff and having served for more than 30 years, yourself and the fact that you interact with somebody of the chaplains who remain on active duty. What are some of the challenges that they face those chaplains who hold fast to the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture and who want to maintain biblical fidelity. One of the challenges they face in the military today. Well I would say that they don't have regular access to their ministerial bodies that support them so they're out there around the world and they are often isolated even in the book of Proverbs it says that those that are isolated is not you think isolate yourself and so we have to work to overcome that and to avoid spiritual isolation. So these products although we think of them primarily for the chaplains to use them in the ministry.

These products are a ministry to the chaplain every once in a while when you've been away from seminarian outside the reach of resources like public international conference when you get the lectures are DVD series.

I just recently started listening to Steve Lawson's new series of Philippians. That's very encouraging. They don't have that teaching on a regular basis out there in Afghanistan and Iraq Eastern Europe today when you have that arrive in your mailbox when you get something fresh like a new series from Lincoln year, whether it be Dr. Thomas on collation sore hard as I said Dr. Lawson on Philippians that's very rejuvenated. Of course in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have all but wound down, but Kristin do military families still face challenges on the home front. I will absolutely we have five children and being in the military as a mother of five children. The challenges that we face on a daily basis are the multiple bids and that the strain on relationships. The lack of a continuous support from a specific church body with whom you have strong relationships for you, yourself and for your children.

We have children with multiple medical needs and just like organizing and navigating you know where you get your teeth cleaned from anywhere you can have your next major surgery. Those challenges are what we face on in a regular daily constant basis whereas the deployments may be winding down, but this is not going to go away. This is the military life.

Want to reiterate what Krista said there these families have gone through multiple deployments over that period of time and when the servicemembers were home.

They were training for redeployment. So, family life, marital life can become frayed during those times relationships with extended family and friends becomes distant.

Now they are home and rebuilding. Sometimes even the wounds that have developed over that time of enduring conflict and yet there is always the potential of more conflict we see look at the news on the rise. And so while there rebuilding their hesitant because they know something else can come up. Well it's been so encouraging to hear from these chaplains that we are privileged to serve 11 military chaplain is named Josh why he wrote this to us. He said I want to thank you for dinner for your continued support to us. I had heard of your support for years, but when I went to Germany last May, a friend help me finally make the connection and I've been so richly blessed.

I lead one of two small groups in our chapel and we are going through the gospel according to Matthew through legionnaires chaplain credit program you provided a copy of Dr. Sproles commentary for each family that attends our group.

We have a couple who were new believers and they faithfully read this commentary weakly before attending. We have seen them grow so deeply in their faith. The other couples enjoy this as well. Just wanted to thank you again in obedience to the great commission later ministries shares discipleship resources globally. Our desire is to build up growing Christians around the world with trustworthy teaching. We have translated or dubbed many of our books, articles and video teaching series in the 45 languages working in some of the most spoken languages in the world, and responding to requests from churches and publishers in many other languages.

What impact is all of this having what I wanted you to hear from one military chaplain who was on active duty.

He sent us this testimony that were not able to identify him or give you his location but here's what he had to say during this deployment on a peacekeeping mission under the auspices of the United Nations I've served in a biblically significant geographical area in this place. It is been a true privilege and blessing to receive and distribute the sound biblical resources provided by Ligonier ministries.

They've had a significant spiritual and ministerial impact on members of the task force across our multinational formation.

The fact that legionnaire has translated these resources into several strategic languages has facilitated the reach of my ministry tremendously and has enabled chaplains or partner nations to use the resources with great effect. Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Tracy, the wife of an active duty service member and the mother for who expressed that military life has given her children a very clear perspective on the sovereignty of God, and their eternal destiny. She said they know they were made for eternity that our citizenship is in heaven. As it says in Philippians 320, we asked Tracy what she would say to those who are listening today. She said pray for the endurance of military families be welcoming of them into your communities and don't write them off knowing they might be there just for short time.

So Kristin given your appreciation for looking your ministries and the impact on you and your family and the people that God is called you and your husband to serve with. How can the legionnaire community best support and pray for military families. I think we need to pray the first of all I thank you over never again for the ministry.

The ministry that's here and thank you for all have given and the prayers right now from where I'm standing. We need prayers for marriages in the military is a hard life to live out this relationship and I see the impacts of this all across the military.

So if we can be in prayer for families and for marriages in particular of military families.

If you will, would you let our listeners know how they can become involved in the strategic outreach to military chaplains. Surely well the first thing I would say, of course, is that asked them to pray for military families.

In light of the challenges that Kristin and Rich have are articulated so well today we worship a God who can answer and does answer our prayers above beyond what we can think or even dare to imagine and so your investment in prayers for military family are going to be a great source of strength for them, and God will use them and so I ask you to invest your prayers and it us will ask you to invest in this outreach and to continue to give everything that we've mentioned that we're doing for chaplains is donor based and we have an immensely generous group of ministry partners and donors to look in the year.

We are eternally thankful for you and for the generosity that is so robust and so I just asked that beginner donors and members of her leg and her family. Just continue to give. According to the generosity that they have shown for so many years to this outreach and this outreach will continue to grow through that generosity. If you would like to join us with a donation to this military chaplain outreach.

You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or if you prefer you can go online to that's before we go I want to share with you how much this outreach means to me personally.

I have the privilege of serving eight years in a reserve capacity in the Army National Guard, one of my sons was an Army officer who served in combat in Iraq.

The military has been a significant part of my extended family, so I have a passion for this ministry and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of this outreach. So, if you will allow us to close our time together in prayer. Our God and our father. We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of those who were in the military some serving right now in remote places on this earth. We think first and foremost of those who are in harms way. Would you provide safety and protection for them.

Would you give them a sense of comfort and peace that David experience when he said to him the end and lay your hand upon me.

Where can I go from your spirit work and I flee from your presence. When asked to that their family members by Kristin who face unique challenges on the home front that you would be with them as well and comfort them. Father, we lift up the chaplains were serving those who serve.

We realize that there are not immune from the challenges and hardships of their fellow service members would you equip them. We pray to be strong and courageous as they wage a different kind of warfare that they would feel free to share the truth of your word. Sometimes the hard truth of your word were grateful for the privilege.

We have dinner ministries to provide these resources would you use them father to strengthen the faith of servicemembers as well as their families.

We ask that you would increase and multiply this outreach so that many more are awakened to your holiness. It's in Jesus name we pray. Amen Leslie close Kristin. I want to thank you for being with us today, ensuring your perspective of the military life.

Thank you great joy that you have a sniff and we are honored that are part of the legionnaire team. Thank you for your many years of service in the military grateful for my great aunt to you, our listeners on behalf of all of my colleagues here at dinner ministries.

Thank you for joining us. We hope to see you next time

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