CREATION AND YOUR PLACE IN IT
If Christ is Lord of all, then He is the Lord of everything we think, do, and say—every bit of our life and every choice we make. Are you one who operates from a Christian worldview by allowing the Bible to develop your understanding of the universe and our place in it?
By trusting what the Bible says about how the universe came into being and why the world has brokenness, when you study it to discover what is true and what is good, and when you hold fast in hope because of God’s coming judgment with a new heaven and a new earth, your worldview is a distinctly Christian one. Christians have confidence that justice will prevail because God is good, He rules over all things, and He will make all things right even as He judges His enemies.
HABITUAL THINKING FOR CRISES
The leaders of OCF are committed to the proposition that Christ’s lordship extends to our every thought, word, and deed. OCF, and every ministry, is valuable to the extent we spur others to live Coram Deo (before the face of God). Everything in this Handbook is written with the hope that you will adopt a thoroughly Christian worldview and that every choice you make will draw you and others to greater holiness through greater love for God and your fellow man.
This worldview develops naturally as Christian leaders learn from the Bible the history of God’s work in the creation, fall, and redemption. The Bible teaches that what God says is good, and it shows how God is keeping all the promises He has made. Daily decisions anchored in a Biblical worldview become second nature as the Christian leader studies to become more and more saturated in Biblical thinking.
When faced with ethical and moral decisions during crisis moments, military professionals make decisions that are the result of past habitual Christian thinking. At non-crisis moments, there may be the opportunity to weigh decisions using careful study, prayer, counsel, course of action analysis, etc. We trust that God rules over the affairs of mankind, and we know there will be an accounting for what we do in this life. Each of us has a limited amount of time given us by God to do good work and not be idle (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
UNDERSTAND THE TIMES
Since the Bible is God’s Word inspired by the Holy Spirit, we should expect our observations of everyday life, known historical facts, scientific methods, and the experiences of people across cultures and time to line up with what Scripture reveals. While the Bible proves itself true again and again, there are occasions when we are perplexed and don’t understand how to align our observations with Scripture. When this happens, you can still trust God’s Word, asking Him to increase your understanding as you seek answers. Keep growing by reading excellent books, studying apologetics of the faith, talking to mentors, and learning to think deeply about the narrative God reveals in the pages of Scripture. The chiefs of Issachar had an “understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do … ” (1 Chronicles 12:32) as they led their kinsmen. May you also know how to lead with an understanding of the changing times.
Paul spent weeks, months, and years at a time away from home while serving Christ’s church. He wrote to the Thessalonians that, in addition to the gospel of God, he was ready to give his very self to them (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8), and to the Corinthians he said that he would gladly spend and be spent for their souls (2 Corinthians 12:15). Similar to Paul’s affection for the Thessalonians (like a mother for her child) after a very short stay with them, we can expect military ministry to grow our love for others.
We will increasingly learn to be ready to give our lives and to spend resources and energy so that Christ is made visible where we serve. The two passages mentioned above mean that we not only share the good news of God the Son becoming flesh, taking our sin, and rising from the dead, but they also mean that we are “all in”—everything committed for the sake of the souls of the military community serving alongside and around us.
THE VALUE OF EVERY PERSON
We see every person in the community as image bearers of God (all have dignity, value, worth), and because we have been forgiven much by God, He expects us to love much (Luke 7:47). We forgive as we have been forgiven (Matthew 6:12). “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6).
Every person is born with the corruption of sin upon them, yet we all inhabit exactly the body God chose to give us and the one in which He calls us to glorify Him. We are to patiently bear the quirkiness and shortcomings of other people since we also have persistent sin (brokenness) that is still being put to death. We do our best to add, improve, beautify, and lead with the expectation that future generations will be blessed by our work. In fact, we value all work, not thinking that certain types of work are more important than others. We are to, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
We are under authority, and in authority, as we exercise leadership. Military leadership is an extension of the authorities God has established within our nation. Our lives should be more and more consistently obedient to God’s commands in all that we think, say, and do. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). This integrated living will mature so that how we act in private will more consistently reflect how we act in public.
For example, if we have a family, our children can testify whether patience, love, kindness, generosity, etc., exist when others are not watching. What goes on in the car should be able to be said outside the car. This growing sense of living before the face of God prepares us for Christ’s return, when we will give an account of our stewardship to our Lord Jesus Christ. He has given us much, so much is required (Luke 12:48). If we lack this eternal perspective, it is likely our leadership will be self-focused, rather than a blessing to those we desire to serve.
Worldview informs our priorities, and these priorities determine our use of time for the work of ministry within the military society. We know that time is limited, and we can never turn time back for a “do over.”
Have you read and considered Jesus’ teaching about counting the cost and renouncing all we have to be a disciple of Christ (Luke 14:25-33)? Be sober minded about your priorities. Think about why God has called you into military service and influence. Decide ahead of time the few things that will cause you to cancel or not join a regular gathering of military believers in Bible study and fellowship (e.g., sickness, military exercise, bad weather). These reasons should be few as you prioritize a conviction to gather with the body. Having a prayerful conversation about consistency with others beforehand will guard you from making last-minute excuses. Knowing we will give an account for how we use time and resources (Matthew 24:36-25:46), be sure to have the finish line in sight before you join the race.