Spring Canyon Conference Center has long been a “home away from home,” a stable, welcoming place providing military men, women, and families a brief respite from their demanding military lives. The Buena Vista, Colo.-based conference center is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
Small group Bible studies have been part of the DNA of OCF since the ministry began in 1943. Within these small groups, there is spiritual growth, an increased understanding of what it means to be a Christian, and a resilience developed for all of life—especially life within the military.
“An enduring and faithful pursuit in the face of affliction.” That’s how ENS Nelson Chiaravallotti, USN, defines perseverance. In this episode, Nelson also talks about leadership lessons he learned during his time at A&M Galveston and reflects on the sadness and loss of two classmates, one by suicide.
Liliane talks about the significance of the 9/11 attacks on her Army career, how she struggled with comparing herself to others, and how trauma from a molestation as a child had a profound impact on her life before she followed that gentle nudging from God to get help and healing.
Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed like God was using affliction to draw you to Him? In the face of a chronic illness that seems to have no end, Karis Meier chooses to respond in this way—give thanks.
Some 2,500 years after the time of the prophet Habakkuk, Lt Col Ron Bracy, USAF (Ret.), found himself asking the same question as the Old Testament prophet: “How long, O Lord, will I call and you will not hear me?”
In this episode, Amanda concludes her story by sharing how God began to radically heal her heart and change her life through a series of events.
“In order to tangibly strengthen our connectivity, we have an enormous need for members to step into the yoke with the Lord and one another. If you are willing to be spent for the Gospel, we have a myriad of areas where you can sign up to serve.”
Capt Amanda Yashack, USAFR, talks about how her life spiraled out of control when she was in ROTC, largely as a result of the trauma she experienced after a sexual assault, and then how that led to burnout, compartmentalizing her pain, and as she calls it…rock bottom.
LT Sam Alexander, USN, gives a peek into submarine culture, how isolation can have an impact on one's faith, and the importance of developing a spiritual support system or a mentoring relationship.
Today you're going to hear from LT Hannah Johnson, USN, as she talks about her struggles with spiritual perfectionism, and as she says, the fear of being a fraud or being found out.
As we continue this multi-episode focus on the topic of identity, you’re going to hear from LT Grant Johnson, USN, as he shares his story of dreaming to be a jet pilot, only to come up short.
Lynda Johnson's identity was shaken after she was told she couldn’t run anymore unless she wanted to risk more damage to her health. Today, she shares her story of military life at the intersection of faith, family, and profession.
Christian athlete and Marine aviator are two things first lieutenant Aaron Zimmerman wanted to be known for. However, a medical diagnosis would ground his aspirations of being a Marine aviator and raise questions about where he was placing his identity.
Chris shares her story of military life at the intersection of faith, family, and profession by telling the story of her daughter, Betsy, and offering insights on life as a Gold Star Mother.
The arrival of the COVID-related shutdowns during the spring of 2020 brought an end to both conference centers’ plans for their normal summer programs and events. Nonetheless, both locations have overcome many of the challenges the pandemic has created.
Capt Rico Lane, USAF, shares his story, which includes three primary themes: fatherhood, faith, and family—specifically how God used the Bible verse text messages of a grandfather to begin changing Rico’s life.
Becky’s story is one of battling through anxiety and self-worth. It’s a story that tells of her journey to be in a right relationship with her Heavenly Father even when it seems like life sometimes has more valleys than mountaintops, even when it seems like God just doesn’t care.
According to the Barna Group, a market research firm specializing in studying religious beliefs and behavior, as of 2015 only 17% of practicing Christians said they meet regularly with a spiritual mentor.
Do you sense God calling you out, asking you to do something that is outside your comfort zone? In your intimidating assignment look for encouragement through a prayer partner, a mentoring relationship, or participation in a workplace Bible study.
When circumstances turn from desirable to undesirable or when the task ahead is greater than one’s resources, it is common to want to know our importance to God and whether He is with us in our labors.
Take a minute and evaluate the presence of the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Which fruit is most abundant in your life right now? After reflecting on the abundance, think on the fruit you sense needs to be growing in you.
Consider that our leadership role is not always one of preventing another from his determined path. In some cases, the correction or consequence that follows will have the greater impact on a person’s decision to walk with integrity.
Have you made an error in judgment by insisting things go your way? Perhaps you are presently in the midst of unintended consequences from a rash decision. If so, follow David’s example.
Whether in a personal relationship or in the workplace, Jesus’ admonition to forgive remains. As servant leaders, how we forgive and restore is a mark of obedience to Christ’s commands.
Little by little, in God’s time He performs His purposes. Some leaders, thrust into positions of greater responsibility as a reward for a job well done, fizzle in their performance because they lack the wisdom that seasoning and time bring.
How does one keep focus when distractions and discouragement come? Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Keep focus on the big picture and ask His help. Remind yourself that what you do is for His glory.
God does not abandon us in the face of weighty circumstances and pressures. Consider God’s prevailing truth and rely on His presence during your times of need for deliverance from nagging circumstances.
Paul’s admonition to “show tolerance for one another in love” is not a call to disregard others’ immoral practices, but to be ready to show compassion and to sow seeds of right thinking and being.
Are you seeking clarity from God on a matter but are uncertain that you are hearing correctly? Do not ask for something for yourself but ask that His will in that situation be done and earnestly desire to be part of the answer.
What is God speaking to your heart regarding the application of justice, loving kindness, and humility? God’s preferred sacrifice is a “broken spirit and a contrite heart.” He rejects self-justification but embraces compassion.
Hollywood squares. Brady Bunch. Tic-tac-toe. Whatever you call it, OCF largely is doing fellowship in a virtual box so far in 2020 because of COVID-19. This digital frontier has not been without its share of challenges and disappointments, but amid the uncertainty, there are stories of opportunities found and unexpected blessings received from among the membership.
Cleansing and restoration has everything to do with the integrity of who God is. As God completes His refining process, we must be mindful that if we want God to forgive us, we must be willing to forgive and help restore others.
The unexpected need not derail us as we lean on Him, for it is God who guides and helps. The one whose confidence is in the Lord has no weakness a foe can take advantage of. May the Lord be our guide in all circumstances, and may He daily strengthen us to be suited for whatever comes our way.
Cornelius seamlessly integrated his faith with his profession and availed himself for God’s use. This “devout man” pleased the Lord and received His commendation. What about you? How are you consistently availing yourself for Christ’s service?
What does Jesus want from you? That your faith not fail, that you keep turning to Him, and finally, that you lead by encouraging and strengthening others who face similar circumstances. Be encouraged, Jesus stands by you.
“God will supply every need of yours” whether it is a financial concern, effective time management, or dealing with disgruntled people. Jesus is the resource for all our needs. As faithful followers, ours is to approach Him confidently for grace and help.
Faith and leadership are more appropriately modeled through keeping sight of how to achieve God’s purposes in and out of the workplace through godly influence, using softer tones, quieter approaches and direct resolve to see the mission through. Simply acting or reacting is not necessarily an effective leadership quality.
Are you discerning God’s voice when you find yourself speaking to many, a few, or one on one? Just as Jesus spent much time in prayer and solitude with God, the basis of our responses may be proportional to the time we spend with God in study of the Scriptures.
Positive influence on others requires full obedience. I am impressed that Noah’s influence over his sons was greater than the negative influences around them. Noah honored God, and his sons followed suit.
When faced with matters that seem insurmountable, revisit the full text of God’s mission for Moses, move ahead in faith, and walk confidently in the assurance of God’s presence in demanding circumstances. Courageously strive to fulfill His intent.
Jesus said He “did not come to destroy lives but to save them.” If one’s tendency is to write people off when there is disagreement, might this have the same effect as “commanding fire” or wishing another dead, spiritually dead that is. The gospel message is for all people and the servant leader does not withhold the message at the first sign of personal rejection.
Faith, like any muscle, requires exercise. Faith enlarges our leadership effectiveness, enables us to achieve the mission, and makes us more capable of serving others. Those who follow your lead will note your faith in action and prayerfully glorify God.
The leader whose commander is the Lord knows who controls his destiny. The tug of fleshly desires is weakened when I take my mind off my own interests and focus on God’s interests. When I do that, I am, in effect, denying myself.
When I am suddenly arrested by God’s word, it becomes immediately apparent that God is commanding my attention. He is redirecting my swayed focus to sharpen or to compel me to obedience. God sometimes invades my private world because I have lost sight of Him.
How do you respond to shaping? I mean the kind of shaping that causes you to conform fully to the one doing the shaping. As leaders, do you reflect the positive image you desire to see in your followers?
While our salvation is a one-time occurrence, the work of sanctification (or being set apart and refined to be more Christlike) is an ongoing process that we experience our entire life on Earth.
Where do we, in our leadership zeal, draw the line when it comes to pushing our own agenda or totally acquiescing to God’s divine plan? Are we convinced that God has a plan, or do we “head fake” God by developing our plan then devoutly asking His blessing?
Today, you’re going to hear the story of Midshipman Isaiah Walker, he’s a senior in the ROTC program at Ole Miss who has struggled with isolation and the challenges of integrating faith and profession.
Who around you needs your tutelage and encouragement? Let’s imitate what Paul did for Timothy. Don’t ask for volunteers, but encourage others to fulfill their calling or act of service.
So should we question God’s authority? Regardless of how righteous the question might seem, we would be wise to consider the Holy Scriptures and to pattern our questions and concerns after Jesus’ response while here on earth.
Today you're going to hear the story of Joshua and Lindsey Bowen, both captains in the Army. And, while their story contains a few themes, such as mentoring, leadership, and spiritual growth, the one common thread throughout their story is the small group fellowship and the importance that fellowship has played in their lives...going all the way back to when they first met.
Have you ever been invited to do something only to wonder…why did I agree to that? My guest today went through something like that, and ultimately, it might have saved her life and the lives of her children.
What brings leaders to the point of task overload—the belief that only we know what’s best, perhaps distrust of others, or possibly personal ownership? How are you doing in your pursuit to invite others with similar heart and vision into your area of responsibility?
Have you ever known anyone who’s been passed over for promotion? Maybe it’s your name that wasn’t on the promotion list. COL McRae talks about identity, motives, and what success looks like in the eyes of God.
From a leadership perspective, I must ask: What enables Christian leaders to maintain the charge when all around us say, “Give up?” Oaths, contracts, and legal agreements bind some to the task, but that which binds the Christian and Christian leader is God’s demonstrated faithfulness.
We need much wisdom from the Holy Spirit to bear His image faithfully. As an image bearer of God, may your identity in Christ motivate you to be a worthy representative of our Father to all who see Christ in you, the hope of glory.
By what do we choose to be mastered? Men and women who have committed to serve in the military might easily, if jokingly, identify the military as their master. Do Christian military personnel see this in a different light?
As Christ followers one of the questions we must consider is “Do we find it hard to show mercy?” In striving to live out one’s faith in one’s profession, Christian leaders must rightly handle this issue.
Introducing "Leader, Draw Near," a weekly podcast devotional for your pursuit of God. Each episode is fashioned to prompt reflection on a specific topic, and ends with a few Points to Ponder, which are perfect for personal reflection, or for use with a mentor or in a small group setting.
The third and final encore episode comes from episode 27, with LTC Todd Plotner, USA (Ret.), who talks about leadership lessons for young warriors. The conversation was based on an article he wrote for Command magazine back in 2013 when he was the Army ROTC Professor of Military Science at Washington State University.
This encore episode harkens back to episode 9, with guest LT Ryan Menicucci, USA. There were three things we talked about: first, we must have faith in something that is worthy of our faith; second, we must know who we are in Christ; and third, we must be prepared to fight the good fight, as we engage in spiritual warfare.
In this special encore episode, we're going all the way back to episode 2 and the story of Coast Guard Lieutenant James Rader. 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 James Rader as he took part in search-and-rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey.
What do you think of when I say, “Military Sisterhood”? That was the question Kristin Goodrich posed to about 50 women at the beginning of a weekend retreat last March at OCF's White Sulphur Springs Conference Center. One West Point cadet’s response stood out amid the varied responses, "Sisterhood? What sisterhood?" We'll answer those questions and more.
First Class Cadet Brigit Jogan, a senior at the United States Coast Guard Academy, hiked the summit of Mount Antero in Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks during her time at Rocky Mountain High this past summer, and it was during that physical climb to the mountaintop that she experienced the Spirit of God moving in a mighty way. Today, Brigit is going to talk about that experience as she shares her story.
November 23, 2014. Does that date ring any bells for you? For my guest this episode— Col Rich Tatem, USAF (Ret.)—that date will forever be etched into his memory as the day his son, Brennan, committed suicide.
My guest today is Pastor Keith Peck. He has over 40 years of pastoral ministry experience, and recently retired as pastor emeritus of Broadneck Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Annapolis, Maryland, where he served for 27 years. Keith offers his insights on the application of wisdom.
Today, we’re talking about spiritual warfare, and our guest is MG Kurt Fuller, USA (Ret.). MG Fuller served 26 years as a paratrooper, 12 years in the Ranger Regiment, and 6 years in combat, including Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Haiti, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.