What advice would you give to a young person going to war?
Become a Christian and seek to actively live your life for Christ. Learn and exercise Christian spiritual disciplines with rigor and zeal: be committed to corporate worship, reading/studying your Bible and memorizing passages, fellowshipping with other believers, corporate and individual prayer, and sharing Christ with others.
And most important in the midst of this mindset: get a grip on God’s grace and what that means so you don’t become self-righteous as you live for the Savior.
Get physically fit, get mentally fit. Remind yourself that you are going to war, which is a form of controlled and channeled violence under authority.
The enemy will physically kill you if he has the opportunity; the enemy of your soul will destroy you as well if given the opportunity. If you are in the military, God calls you to be nothing short of a warrior. Prepare yourself mentally for what war is all about. This current conflict promises to be a long one and a violent one. Biblical fitness will sustain you.
Any thoughts for someone being deployed—again?
Focus on praising God for the positive opportunities He is going to give you again. Get on your knees and pray, thanking God for what we have in this country. Thank God that you are able to defend yourself and others.
Pray that God would penetrate the land to which He is sending you with His glorious and powerful good news. If that doesn’t eventually occur, any physical victory is of no long term benefit.
If you are married with a family, get some great family photos taken by a professional photographer.
Read a daily devotional together/simultaneously with your family members.
Write often—or at least as often as possible. If you’re not good with words, this is your opportunity to improve. Some words are better than none.
For men, get accountable with others in order to avoid the scourge of pornographic material or it will destroy you.
Work on a project for the Lord while deployed/separated. Focus on how you can serve Him today.
What advice would you give to their families?
Don’t give in to grumbling and complaining. It is a spiritual cancer that will distract you from thankfulness and praise.
We are at war, spiritually and physically. Service members have lost their lives, and families have lost their loved ones for spiritual and political freedom. Others are completing third and fourth deployments.
It’s been a long time since we had to pay any substantial price for what we have come to take for granted as a nation and as the church of Christ. Get on your knees and pray, thanking God for what we do have.
What advice would you give to someone considering the chaplaincy?
Confirm your calling to ministry in the local church. You may think you are called, but the internal call is only half the equation.
Is it confirmed by God’s people as they observe your life within the body of Christ? Read and study the Bible. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to a high view of Scripture.