Since of founding in 1949, our proximity to Maxwell Air Force Base has afforded us the special blessing of having United States military personal as active members of our church family.Over the years, we have been immensely blessed by their talents, there leadership gifts, their work ethic, and their dedication to Christ.Even today, these committed families serve among us faithfully, sharing their lives and Christ’s love on so many different levels.
Within the next few months, it will be time once again to bid farewell to 6 different families that have been part of us.I personally grieve at the thought of them going out from us, but I also rejoice when I consider how God has worked in them and through them as they have been at Morningview.I am likewise excited when I consider how God will use them in their new assignments.
As their time of departure approaches, I want to share some words of encouragement regarding our overall approach to military ministry.Then I would also like to share some personal words with these special families who have been such vibrant parts of our lives.
(1) As a church in the United States of America, we enjoy the affluence of democracy and freedom and religious liberty beyond what any other society in world history has ever realized.Those blessings have been protected and maintained by our military.They are men and women who have surrendered to a calling as warrior patriots, and we who benefit from their sacrifices should constantly demonstrate a spirit of thankfulness towards them.
(2) As a church located close to a significant Air Force base, we have an ongoing opportunity to truly be “family” to those who have left their roots and relocate often.Embracing this opportunity goes far beyond a mere church slogan.We must continue to welcome our military members into our hearts and homes and peer groups with true expressions of support and love.Because of the lifestyle they maintain, our military families are very good at assimilating quickly; they are anxious to bond and to serve.Thus, let us endeavor to be even more faithful in embracing them , including them, and pouring our hearts into them.
(3) In addition to providing an atmosphere of home and family, we also want to be conscious of our mission to make reproducing disciples of Christ.There are no accidents, every person drawn to this church is here according to God’s plan and purpose for them.We all know that every Christian is a missionary in this world, and in the case of our military families, the U.S. Government is their strategic sending agency.Therefore, we must endeavor to be a biblical training ground for them.We must teach and pray and equip in a manner that leads us all to fulfill this higher calling to gospel ministry.In particular regards to our military members, we must seize the brief window of opportunity that God affords us to build them and instill them with the knowledge that they are first and foremost soldiers of Christ.
On a more personal note, I would like to thank all of you who have served or who currently serve in our armed forces.As most of you know, I was headed for a career in the Air Force prior to receiving my call to ministry.On the basis of my own experience, I want you to know that I truly appreciate you and the sacrifices you regularly make to serve our nation.As your pastor, I want you to know what a blessing it is to have you as part of our family.I some of you prepare to relocate, I also want to share some words of loving exhortation.
(1) Live your lives as humble seekers of Christ.In Matthew 8:5-10, we see Jesus Himself commending the faith of the Roman Centurion.Here was a man who himself had great authority, yet he also demonstrated wisdom and humility as he bowed to the ultimate authority of Christ and trusted Him to meet his needs.Though you have earthly commanders, remember that your first allegiance is to our Sovereign Lord of Hosts – the Commander of the heavenly armies.Serve your military calling as unto the Lord, living a life that embodies His presence and priorities wherever you go.
(2) Remember your primary objective – making disciples.Every 1 to 3 years, our Department of Defense relocates you to a new position of service.Remember, though, that our Sovereign God directs the hearts of kings and rulers and even those at the highest levels of the DOD.In terms of the Lord’s spiritual planning, you go nowhere by accident.So wherever you go, be salt and light!Be forces for purity and preservation and for bringing light to dark places.Be missionaries who proclaim the truth of the gospel to all with whom you come in contact.“Quench not the Spirit, waste not the day, succumb not to fear, teach others The Way.”
(3) Finally and simply, know you are loved by us.We hope we will see you again, but know that even if we do not cross paths again in this life, we are anxiously awaiting a reunion with you in eternity.There we will will gather around the throne together and once again join our hearts and voices in worship.Not even death can separate us.I love you all dearly!