Friday, December 11, 2009

Go Navy! Beat Army!

Gone to Philly to cheer on Navy!

I would like to thank everyone that has read/continues to read the blog - over 350 hits in the first 5 days! I'll be writing again Sunday afternoon - hope to see you then.

Go Navy! Beat Army!

Carrying Stones

I read this excerpt from Keller's "The Prodigal God" attributed to Elizabeth Elliot (the story is apocryphal and not found in the Bible).

I felt convicted and driven to prayer.

"One day Jesus said to his disciples: "I'd like you to carry a stone for Me." He didn't give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find. After all, Jesus didn't give any regulations for weights and size! So he put it in his pocket. Jesus then said: "Follow me." He led them on a journey. About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down. He waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread. He said, "Now it's time for lunch." In a few seconds, Peter's lunch was over. When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up. He said again, "I'd like you to carry a stone for Me." This time Peter said, "Aha! Now I get it!" So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger. But he said, "I can't wait for supper." Jesus then said: "Follow Me." He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said, "Now everyone throw your stones into the water." They did. The he said, "Follow Me," and began to walk. Peter and the others looked at hi dumbfounded. Jesus sighed and said, "Don't you remember what I asked you to do? Who were you carrying the stone for?"

So, I wonder, today, who do I carry this stone for? How about in my career?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fraternization = Failed Leadership

"For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]." (Rom. 2:11)

Navy Times article on USS James E. Williams fraternization

"Such a large number of fraternization cases in one command is a clear indication of a leadership failure," stated Adm. J. C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. "This leadership failure fostered a command climate that allowed the fraternization to occur. The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute. It is our tradition that with responsibility goes authority and with them both goes accountability. This accountability is not for the intentions, but for the deed. Nobody trusts or has confidence in leaders who believe they cannot be held accountable for what they do. And when confidence and trust are lost in those who lead, we fail. The James E. Williams' commanding officer and command master chief are being held accountable for the fraternization that occurred on their watch."

What are your thoughts on frat? What would you have done different (depending on what level of leadership you are at)? Are many of the tenants of Christ-like leadership counter to military anti-frat policy? Is there an increased risk/danger for the Christian leader to fraternize? I hope to hear from you.

Prodded By Purpose

"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself." Acts 20:24

It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the common-sense basis.

What do I really count dear? If I have not been gripped by Jesus Christ, I will count service dear, time given to God dear, my life dear unto myself. Paul says he counted his life dear only in order that he might fulfill the ministry he had received; he refused to use his energy for any other thing. Acts 20:24 states Paul's almost sublime annoyance at being asked to consider himself; he was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God, because practical work is based on this argument - Remember how 'useful you are here, or - Think how much value you would be in that particular type of work." That attitude does not put Jesus Christ as the Guide as to where we should go, but our judgment as to where we are of most use. Never consider whether you are of use; but ever consider that you are not your own but His.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Being a Great Division Officer (Part 6)

The goal and intent is to increase in credibility as a professional and a leader. Credibility is the key – there are essentially 4 pillars (4 C’s) to effective/credible leadership as a Naval Officer:

- Competence: Technical & Tactical expertise, operation of your watch station, oversight of maintenance, and qualifications.
- Communication: non-verbal (i.e. military bearing), written (i.e. e-mails, CASREP, messages), verbal, and most importantly listening. Be positive and encouraging almost always! Communicate with your Department Head often. They want to know what is going on with you and your Division.
- Care: care for the ship’s mission, demonstrate it in high quality work (no matter how menial the task seems), possess initiative (have a vision for things that need done, anticipate your boss’s next need), care for your shipmates (influence them for good, ask how they are doing, share information, encourage them), be a role model/mentor for those that may be subordinate to you, and always work as a team - with your fellow DivOs, your Chief, and your Sailors.
- Character: moral judgment (at work and on liberty - you are being watched), in your relationships (boy/girlfriend, spouse, family, friends), finances, and physical fitness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Vision

The author of this powerful poem is unknown. It was found scribbled on a wall in an abandoned London warehouse where a group of young people had been meeting for countless days, engaged in 24 hour prayer. I first read it in 2001 while at school as a part of a powerful movement of future military leaders engaged in prayer. God moved in mighty ways during that time. I’ve had a copy of it taped in the front cover of my Bible ever since and I cannot read it without feeling revived with passion for the coming Kingdom of God and the pleasure I have for joining Him in His work.


The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.
The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army.
And they are FREE from materialism.
They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the ay the West was won.
They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and the dying.

What is the vision?
The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.
Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to lose that they might one day win the great “Well done”
Of faithful sons and daughters.
Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night.
They don’t need fame from names.
Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing. . . . . . . . .

And the army is discipl[in]ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes
Winners. Martyrs. Who can stop them?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them?
And the generation prays like a dying man with groans beyond talking,
With warrior cries, sulfuric tears and with great barrow loads of laughter!

Waiting: 24 – 7 – 365.
Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules.
Shaking mediocrity from its cozy little hide.
Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials.
The advertisers cannot mold them.
Hollywood cannot hold them.
Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.
They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive inside.
On the outside? They hardly care.
They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives – swap seat with the man on death row – guilty as hell.
A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,
The pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.
Their DNA chooses JESUS.
(He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings.
They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centers.
Don’t hear them coming?
Herald the weirdos!
Summon the losers and freaks.
Here comes the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.
They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed
By these children of another dimension.
Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dreams of Eden.

And this vision will be.
It will come to pass; it will come easily; it will come soon.
How do I know?
Because this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the Spirit, the very dream of God.
My tomorrow is His today.
My distant hope is His 3D.
And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a
Thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great “Amen!” from countless angels, from heroes of the faith, from Christ Himself.
And He is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Being a Great Division Officer (Part 5)

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:2)
“Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” (Jn. 4:38)

- Be patient. With people and the accomplishment of your personal agenda.
- Think the best of others. Sailors will rarely disappoint; they will almost always exceed expectations. Look for excuses to reward them.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor Day

Stop and consider . . . then give thanks and strengthen your resolve in light of our generations "Pearl Harbor."

Being a Great Division Officer (Part 4)

"But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love . . ." (2 Cor. 8:7)

This is part 4 of a series intended to equip tactical level leaders for excellence upon appointment to their position of responsibility.

- Be knowledgeable. Know your people holistically – who they are on and off the ship. Know who and what is important to them and then remember to talk to them about those things. Assess your people and know their strengths and weaknesses in order to employ them effectively. Know your equipment and programs. Know 3-M, OMMS-NG, DC and every critical program you are responsible for. Be the subject matter expert.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reflecting the Light in a Dark Place

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life . . ." (Phil. 2:12-16)

Below is an e-mail I sent to a fellow Naval Officer struggling with the inconsistencies found in his Command leadership and Wardroom preaching "professionalism" while being anything but while on liberty. Raises a significant and important question on how to influence a group (Biblically) when you are in no position to do so.

hey brother-

congrats on the shellbacking - good times! sounds like you are getting saltier by the day ;-) enjoy it because i guarantee you'll miss it some day. so, are you looking to board for the coveted eoow letter prior to returning home? are you going to complete the entire cruise or are they flying you back early? have your orders come through yet?

as for my two cents. it is always helpful when assessing a problem to really define it and then determine the things that you are able to influence and those things that are just outside your control. so, what's the real problem? is it the hypocrisy - the difference between what they say and what they do? if so, i've gotta say - hypocrisy is the norm with people, and i mean all people - you, me, christians, non-believes, etc. i suspect what's really bothering you is the sin of others, but not just their unabashed sinfulness - instead their sin in the face of their apparent knowledge of a more righteous (they call it "professional") way. it's as if they know better (because they speak as if they do), but then they act entirely counter to their proclamations. i can tell you - what always has broken my heart with regard to others, but even more so with myself, is not just hypocrisy, but the actual sins being committed. the leaders of your ship are sinners, but (most of
them) are not redeemed sinners. are you expecting holy spirit behavior from people that don't have the holy spirit?

so, what? what do you do - that's the question. i would suggest that you view your ship much like [our mentors that are becoming missionaries] are viewing japan or the missionaries of old viewed east swaziland or some other "barbarian" land. it's a mission field - and yours is an area that may be more difficult than even the tribes of the amazon. ok, where do you start? pray, right? pray - specifically for individuals - plead the scriptures over people by name (His Word does not return void (is. 55:11)). ask crazy things - our God is big and actually does some pretty crazy things. the next thing to do is shine. you know "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (matt 5:16). you've heard it said before - you may be all the Bible these folks will ever see, certainly in any given day. so, encourage them, serve them, possibly even be so bold as to love them. lastly, pray again. this time pray for the peace of God to reign in your heart toward this wayward people. realize your desperate need for the Gospel and how you too would be indulging in the debauchery that sickens you if not for the grace that has been lavished upon you. consider how far you are from being Jesus - compared to him you are the hypocrite, yet he loves you anyways. he sees all of your hypocrisy and gently and genuinely serves, engages, communes, interacts, and helps. this type of self-examination will give you a healthy perspective toward those you mention. brother, you have been loved so that you can love. bear the cross.

forget what they say. for that matter forget what they do. see their hearts. they are dark. but, you have the Light that overcomes the darkness (1 jn. 2:7-9). they are terminally ill. but, you know the One who came to heal (Matt. 9: 12). you have to minister the Gospel. you see they love a whole lot of things other than God and this is causing them to do a whole lot of things that fail to honor God. would you be happy if they were perfectly professional, the epitome of a naval officer (JPJ himself), yet they were living for themselves - destined for eternal darkness? being professional means nothing - not to us Christians. being right with Christ - now that has value! when their few years of naval service has come and gone and their insignificant lives have passed (rather 1, 5, or 50 years) there is forever for which their souls will exist. i think at the root of it this may be what is bothering you. sinners on the fast track to hell is disturbing to the desensitized.

the bottom line, brother - you can't do much. but, the good news is you know the One who is more than able. press into Him. if you haven't truly cried out to the Redeemer on behalf of those around you (like a prophet of the OT) then you've done little more than complain. that's not to indict, that's to encourage. KISS: pray, practice, pray. Pray the gospel for others. Practice the gospel to others. Pray the gospel for yourself. Repeat.

that's all i've got. i'll commit to praying for you.

if none of what i wrote helps forget it all and take this advice from Paul (after all he was a sailor for a time): "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." (1st Cor. 16: 13-14).


Being a Great Division Officer (Part 3)

"Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Tim. 4:15-16)

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves." (2 Cor. 13:5)

Part 3 of a series focused on leadership at the divisional level.

- Lead by example. As a Division Officer your ability to lead is predicated on solid and consistent self-leadership. Make sure you are where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there, and you have high standards of personal appearance. Never be late or accept tardiness. Be the example of character and morality on and off the ship.