When the pressures of the military life and life in general seem overwhelming, who's your support system? Do you have a person or group that, like you, is running this most difficult of races, that you can rely on, and who in turn can depend on you when times get tough?
The story of Army Master Sergeant William Crawford, a Medal of Honor recipient whose job as squadron janitor at the Air Force Academy, inspired Col James Moschgat to pen 10 lessons in leadership.
In this episode, we focus on how to ask the right types of questions for your next Bible study, class, or seminar by sharing a pitfall question to avoid, and then offering a solution to help ask the right type of question.
Life moves fast. And in the high-tempo, transient lifestyle of the military, do we really have time to pour into someone else and answer the call to make more disciples? The guest for this episode is COL Scott Kelly, USA, and he’ll share his insights on the topic of discipleship.
In this episode, we chat with 1LT Ryan Menicucci, USA, about what it takes to be a leader that God can use. The context for the conversation comes from a weekend ROTC retreat at OCF's White Sulphur Springs Conference Center in 2017. 1LT Menicucci recalls three important lessons learned that weekend: We must have faith in something that is worthy of our faith; we must know who we are in Christ; and we must be prepared to fight the good fight, as we engage in spiritual warfare.
"So help me God." It's the final four words in oaths for both officers and enlisted. Have you thought about what the phrase means, or what it implies? Our guest today is Col Richard Toliver, USAF (Ret.), and he’s going to unpack those four words—what he calls "a sacred covenant.”
LTC Tom Schmidt, USA (Ret.), chats with CH(MAJ) Mark Winton, USA, on the topic of “affections for Christ.” Our affections are typically rooted in our answer to this question: “What are our heart longings for?” As CH Winton suggests, our answer ultimately shows what drives our hearts and where our affections lie.
The topic of today’s show is character, and our guest for this episode likens character to a muscle that must be continually developed if we’re going to conduct our lives as Christians in a way that pleases and honors God.
When it comes to the various parts of your life—family, military profession, friends, relationships with others, and your relationship with God—should you be striving to find a balance among all those things? Or should you learn to thrive in the unbalance?
What are your rights as an American in uniform? Is it permissible for a chaplain to pray in Jesus’s name? Can you have a prayer breakfast on a military installation? What about sharing my faith—can I do that?
In this episode, OCF Managing Editor Karen Fliedner chats with Col Art Athens, USMC (Ret), about amazing grace—specifically, the four-part message Col Athens shared at a weekend retreat at White Sulphur Springs in 2004
Sometimes the storms of life can be metaphorical, such as a difficult deployment, move, or career transition. However, there are those times when the storms of life refer to literal storms. Such was the case for our guest today, LT James Rader, USCG, as he took part in search-and-rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey this past August.
Interview with Brig Gen David Warner, USAF (Ret): "We are made up of men and women in the military. That's our center of gravity. That's how we do ministry."
Who will you meet today in an unexpected encounter, whether in a combat area, passageway, flight line, or on drills and maneuvers? And what will you say—and hear? In your command, how will you show Christ in your servant leadership?
I long to do great and noble things, but God reminds me it’s in the humble things that He can be extraordinary through me. Ultimately, I desire to be like Helen Keller: to do humble tasks as though they were great and noble.
It’s not unusual to hear people ask, “What is OCF?” or “What does OCF do?” They may wonder if OCF is a club of officers like-minded in their Christian faith, or just the local Bible study fellowship they attend.
As a servant leader being the hands and heart of Christ to others in life’s tragedies, TSgt Padgett suggested that helping others is as simple as being aware of the ways you can do so.
How does a faithful walk with Jesus give life, context, and direction to the exercise of military leadership? What opportunities do I have for doing good for others’ welfare and for God’s glory?
So much of today’s culture dwells on victimhood, on wounds that seem resistant to heal. Christ-followers don’t deny the wounds but come alongside the struggling wounded to offer the salve secured by the scarred, yet now Risen Lamb’s victory over sin and death.
For His disciples, God gives direction. Develop a habit of checking your tendency to slide off the course He sets. Seek and find that direction in all parts of life: personal, family, professional, and community.
Every planner for ground tactical combat operations knows the value of seeing the area of operations from above. Looking down on the terrain, you see risks, opportunities, and new ways to achieve your objective that cannot be seen from the ground.
A particularly effective leader sees the ends amidst the overwhelming hubbub of the present. Opposition, complexity, danger, and distracting opportunities threaten to paralyze or draw the leader off course.
One simple request from a platoon leader in one small group at one location on a single evening. But when multiplied over the weeks and miles of hundreds of Christian fellowships, just consider how the Spirit might work!
We all have hitches in our giddy-up. Most are wounds within our soul: bitterness, deceit, fear, shame, guilt, and others. They hinder us; they limit us in our service with and leadership of others.
If you are a leader, perhaps you are the one God appointed to initiate and lead a local fellowship, or you may be the one leader Christ has chosen as His ambassador in a unit or staff.
Men and women of authority, education, and influence are particularly susceptible. Their gifting, potentially so helpful in service and leadership, spills over to coat the heart with ill-placed personal pride and assurance.
No, we cannot redeem this fallen world and its deathly power on our own, but the One who can has asked us to partner in His work with what we can do. He simply asks us to “take away the stone.”
We all could use a Sherpa when facing new and formidable challenges. Junior leaders and young couples with their abundance of zeal and energy, but with limited experience, particularly benefit from a seasoned guide as they break new ground in life.
Also essential for Christian leaders are the daily development of subordinates; team building for unit cohesion and performance; setting of standards of respect and performance; and seasoning the unit culture with the aroma of Christ.
Including stewardship in our leader lexicon may put our responsibility and authority in proper balance. The goal of a Christ-like leader will remain Christ’s goals; the methods, means, and accompanying perks will then better honor Christ in practice
For those who have never led a small group, the prospect of starting such an endeavor might appear daunting and overwhelming given the busy lifestyle of those in the military. Here are tips for the new leader to consider both before and after his or her first meeting.
Traditionally, Christian small-group activities are more positive, edifying, less contentious, and less confrontational than their secular or non-Christian counterparts.
Small groups and Bible study may take place in a variety of settings, from foxholes to comfortable homes. Only one book is essential to the study—the Bible.
While we may be accustomed to defining the essence of our Christian faith in other ways, Christianity involves not only a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but also an entirely different outlook on life that is grounded in the hope we have for all that God has promised.
By surrendering their spring break of relaxation to instead labor for the impoverished, the mission field experiences help cadets and midshipmen hone skills of selflessness and sacrifice that are essential to becoming effective Christ-like military leaders.
What does that look like today? How are you courageously standing firm personally and in your family? Are you modeling an integrated life of faith, family, and profession to your family, those around you personally, and in the workplace?
To be a leader God can use, three things must happen: We must have faith in something that is worthy of our faith; we must know who we are in Christ; and we must be prepared to fight the good fight, as we engage in spiritual warfare.
The world desperately needs to hear about Jesus, and we’ve been called to share Him. I encourage you to become competent in your knowledge of Him. Draw people through your professional excellence. Be prepared through your life and words to shine His life-saving light.
Those who have laced up boots or buttoned an Armed Forces uniform in service to our nation know all-too-well the difficult and tough terrain of the transitional military life they lead.
Life in general is complicated. Life in the military is extremely difficult and challenging and carries with it an increasing amount of angst with the operations tempo, separations, threats to life and limb, and the increasing challenges from within our own nation.
COMMAND asked a trio of chaplains—LT Jon Uyboco, CHC, USN; CH(MAJ) Todd Cheney, USA, and CH(COL) Marc Gauthier, USA—to share some insights and experiences of serving military men and women for Christ.
As our culture continues drifting further into a post-Christian neo-pagan worldview, Christ-followers may be tempted to spiritual panic attacks. Especially for those of us striving to integrate faith and biblical worldview into our military profession, how can we remain faithful to our call when policies and programs appear to oppose higher principles and priorities?
When he was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, Mike says he worked through the usual questions and doubt—why me? what did I do?—but it was the continued struggle through multiple rounds of chemo, radiation, and surgeries that caused him to take a deeper look at the testimony God was preparing him for.
Take time to examine your own support system, or if you do not have one, get started now. The health of a marriage can often hinge upon the strength of the support system that has been established.
We reached out to two OCF small group leaders, LTC Tom Matelski, USA, and Lt Col Jim Wamhoff, USAF, and asked them to share their insights on starting and effectively leading a small group.
The term “servant leadership” evokes a varied range of impressions as to what that really means, looks like, and how it plays out in real life. At first glance, the seemingly incongruous servant leadership concept appears especially contrary in business settings or military circles where typically bosses lead, employees serve.
Transformational leaders help people understand the purpose, objectives and values of an organization by articulating a clear and appealing vision. From both a practical and biblical perspective, transformational leadership inspires, develops and empowers followers; it also hones our leadership skills so we become better leaders.
Just like the silly banana-eating Minions, each of us was created with an innate desire to belong to a community in fellowship. It’s not just a group of people with similar interests, but a body of believers united for a common purpose.
As a relational ministry where genuine biblical fellowship is essential for spiritual growth and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, the very heart of the ministry of Officers’ Christian Fellowship remains small group fellowships.
In preparation for our move, I found myself wondering what our new neighbors would be like. OK, I was obsessing over it. We have grown to love the people we live next to, and trying to imagine unfriendly neighbors peering at us while grilling out on the deck was making my stomach hurt.
We leaders often cope with stress by trying to survive our wounding rather than allow God to heal and refresh us to fully live. God doesn’t want us to simply survive. God’s mission field, after all, is your heart and mine.
Like you, my husband, Steve, and I know what it’s like for our marriage to have to go into survival mode during extended periods of separation. We know the pressure of caring for children in the midst of huge transitions. We know the challenge of supporting each other when our own personal resources are depleted.
When PCSing, the most common strategies teens use with one another involve simple avoidance, picking a fight to create distance so it’s easier to leave, disconnecting through moodiness or hyperactivity, or adopting the “It’s all cool” act. This is why we need to build a RAFT.
Only by trusting God and His plan for our lives can we lead courageously in our duty as both officers and Christians. It’s time to build a strategy that calculates the risks of leadership minefields and faces them with a moral courage that matches the bravery of those we lead on the battlefield.
The Four Chaplains, also referred to as the "Immortal Chaplains" or the "Dorchester Chaplains," were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save other civilian and military personnel as the troop ship USAT Dorchester sank on February 3, 1943, during World War II. They helped other soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out.
The heartbeat of OCF is the small group fellowship, over 360 of them occurring throughout our nation and across the globe, including New Zealand, Korea and Norway.
Given the description in Ephesians 6 of the spiritual battle raging around us, what can we do to prepare for the moral ambushes upon us from the enemy and avoid becoming a spiritual casualty? This article explores 6 tactics to help you avoid becoming a spiritual casualty.
Don’t you love it when the Lord reveals something new through His Word? I have read Matthew many times. And I’ll admit that I usually skim past the genealogy to get to the “meat” proclaiming the birth, life and good news about our Savior. Recently, however, my eyes were opened to two truths that penetrated my heart, ensuring that I will never again fast forward past these verses and forever ponder my lineage and legacy.
Marriage is hard enough for the everyday civilian. But add in the unique challenges of deployments, frequent moves, and high-pressure situations, and it’s no wonder military marriages are under stress.
Since warfare in and of itself is ultimately the warfare of our soul and spirit, we have the choice of allowing our healing to proceed through our spiritual maturation instead of succumbing to substance abuse to mask problems. Ultimately our ability to be healed, or at least cope with our issues, is based upon spiritual healing.
Do you see others as the Lord sees them, as diamonds waiting to be set free to achieve their full potential? Steward leadership is taking care of the people who have been “given” to you, developing their full potential, and earning you those wonderful words from the ultimate Steward Leader, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”
The following short story was written by OCF member MAJ Mario Miglietta, USA. It is based on a story told during an OCF Bible study that he attends. A person in the Bible study told of a Soldier from his battalion who had fallen on hard times, but who found encouragement and hope from a letter he received from his little sister. Mario says he was inspired by that story and wrote about what the Soldier had gone through—"how I imagined the story evolved."
For seven decades the living waters of Jesus Christ have flowed forth, from the heart of the ministry of Officers’ Christian Fellowship—innumerable men and women making a kingdom difference by living, loving and working with others throughout the military society.
How do others see you fulfilling your dual commissions? Do they see a leader who cares for them with the heart of Jesus, who is humble, grace-filled and selfless, and who ultimately serves the One and only Lord? As you serve your nation and serve your Lord, you will have ample opportunities to shine the Light of Christ through your love and service to others.
When commissioned at an OCF bar-pinning ceremony twenty years ago, I was ready to take on the world, but acutely aware I knew little about leadership and military service! Through mistakes and the Lord’s patient refinement, I learned that the Bible is the greatest leadership manual ever written, but we must apply its timeless truths to the circumstances of our lives.
Not many of us give much thought to that question on a daily basis. And truthfully, some days I may not really want to know the answer. But knowing how the Lord sees us is something we must consider because the answer dramatically affects our calling.
Authentic leadership deals with life's real issues of pain, trauma and suffering while pointing beyond to a life in Christ. As Paul reminds us, our present trials are but a means to an end; particularly for the Christian leader, hope is the final reality of life.
Christian officer, leader—how important is prayer to you? As Christians serving in the military, do we recognize what and for whom we should be praying for in our leadership roles? Godly officers and leaders pray.
Congratulations on your commission! Now what? You have walked the long hard road, surviving to receive the prize—a commission in the U.S. military. As you embark on the next phase of your journey, let me recommend competence, courage, and commitment as keys to your blueprint for successfully integrating faith and profession as military leaders.
We’ve been through a lot in our four short years of marriage, but it’s been exciting to look back and see how God has been a part of it all, especially in the last two years. God poured out countless blessings on my husband in the pursuit of his dreams, making it through the arduous training without any major injuries or setbacks. I couldn’t be prouder of him!
Combating Satan's tool of discouragement requires confident faith in Jesus Christ, that unutterable trust of knowing He is always standing with us through all life's bewildering fires.
If your military family is a typical one, chances are you have moved about once every two to three years. With the many stresses associated with moving, one of the most difficult decisions can be whether to buy a house or rent one.
We never think it will happen to us, but the reality is that each of us will someday receive our final PCS orders to stand before the Lord. Do you have a spiritual sponsor for that coming day?
There are certain moments in a lifetime you never forget. For me, the memories of formally giving a father’s blessing to my children in person continues to give me joy as I recall each event.
As Christians, we have the privilege of serving the King of kings and Lord of lords. But He also invites us to come aside and just enjoy being His children. That time will stoke the brightness of His light within us and our faces will reflect that glory He gave us! Where’s your refuge?