|FCPO Newsletter and Bible Study
||The "thin blue line" covered by the blood of Christ.
With time short and hours few, I'll be brief.
I'll post the recap of our last (Tuesday night) "cop church" Bible study (John 2) in NEXT week's newsletter -- stay tuned. Likewise, if you missed last week's, here again is "Come and See!" (now "go and tell"). Don't forget that I also
re-post past editions on our
pages as well.
Let's stay safe on the street but radically
bold in Christ!
PRAYER REQUESTS/PRAISE REPORTS
(1) Colorado Mounted Rangers Captain
Doug Brown requests prayer ref. an upcoming hip surgery.
(2) Continue to pray for a colleague battling kidney disease. Praise God, his recent surgery to remove stones from his remaining kidney was a success.
(3) Pray for those being impacted by the volcano eruption in Guatemala.
(4) Pray for those impacted by the disastrous flooding in MD (including a number of first responders who lost their homes).
(5) Update on Chief
(the "father" of Christian law enforcement ministry). Please continue to pray.
Update on Chief Vernon
Have a prayer request or announcement you would like included here? Need prayer?
! I also post prayer requests on my Facebook page ("friend" me).
(1) I don't always post my own seminars here but I'll be teaching my Centurion Church Safety & Security Seminar at Outpost Calvary this Saturday, (June 9th) from 9 AM - 1 PM. All are welcome and the event is FREE. Be sure to register.
(2) Colorado Springs PD Officer
is hosting the
2018 First Responder Retreat
in the mountains near Wheatland, WY.
(4) FCPO-Canada is hosting their 2018 National Conference in Newfoundland & Labrador on August 3-5. You'll get to see a special part of Canada while hanging out with a great group of brother and sister officers.
(5) The Sheepdog Seminars is led by my friends Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Officer/Minister Jimmy Meeks and fellow church safety expert Carl Chinn (among others). Outstanding, highly recommended training for every sheepdog (sworn and unsworn alike)!
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
is a national, FCPO-affiliated, evangelical Christian outreach to our own in law enforcement. These newsletters and Bible studies are part of this effort and past editions can be found on our
and our social media
) feeds. As always, feel free to adapt these messages for your own individual or group use and please share them with others.
The Centurion Ministry is lead by Police Officer and Chaplain/Evangelist Michael "MC" Williams, a 30-year law enforcement veteran and sought-after instructor and speaker at churches [including the well-received Centurion Church Security Seminar], retreats and both law enforcement and civilian conferences and seminars around the country. Contact MC via email for more.
Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers
FCPO-USA exists to provide biblical support ("backup"), accountability and iron sharpens iron fellowship to Christian officers first in the U.S. and throughout the world as well. Our metro-Denver chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers -- (aka FCPO Chapter 217) -- is a Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry affiliate. We meet most 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings starting at 7 PM in Highlands Ranch (email me for address and details) for profession-focused/life-focused
Bible study, prayer and servant-warrior/sheepdog fellowship (the iron sharpens iron kind). Spouses are both welcome and encouraged to attend with their LEO.
Our next meeting is set for Tuesday, June 19th.
"God's Standard for Success"
It is not that often that I share someone else's message as a Bible study but our current verse-by-verse exploration through the Gospel of John makes this a good time to do so. We just finished John 1 where we're introduced to John the Baptist. Now there are those who might not think his life amounted to much (itchy clothing, eating bugs, imprisonment and execution). But God has a very different standard for our lives. Accordingly, let's open our Bibles and see what God has for us through
V. Rendall Risner's fine work on this subject (and I'll have some final thoughts at the end).
John the Baptist's life began with great promise. An angelic proclamation. A call from God. A thriving ministry. Yet his life ended in virtual obscurity - alone in a small prison cell.
John is not what we would consider a success. We celebrate people who begin with nothing and end with great accomplishments. We often find little to admire when it's the other way around. Most of us begin with great expectations for our own lives. We want to make a name for ourselves, or have a fulfilling career, or raise an exceptional family.
When the years go by and we have not accomplished what we had hoped to, we are left wondering what good our lives have been. We have a nagging feeling that somehow we haven't measured up.
I know that feeling all too well.
I started off wanting it all. I wanted to make a name for myself in a successful career, while being a
Proverbs 31 woman and raising an exceptional family. At first, it all seemed attainable.
After earning my MBA, it felt like I was on the fast track to success. When I chose, a few years later, to be a stay-at-home mom, I felt the sting of embarrassment when several classmates laughed at my "admirable" choices.
I then focused my energies on making our home a warm and hospitable place, a place where people felt welcome and cared for. But a diagnosis of post-polio syndrome forced me to stop using my arms for anything besides self-care, leaving little room for hospitality, much less home-cooked meals.
Though I couldn't serve others physically, I still poured myself into raising a strong family by trying to be a supportive wife and mother. So, when my husband left our family and later filed for divorce, I was completely devastated. Not only for myself, but also for our children. They struggled with explosive anger and hurt, further intensifying my sadness and shame.
I felt like an absolute failure. Not only could I not meet all my goals; I couldn't meet any of them.
Not Called to Succeed
Mother Teresa's words gave me life as I considered all the ways I hadn't measured up. I hung onto this simple statement and have reminded myself of it throughout my life: "God did not call me to be successful; he called me to be faithful."
John the Baptist would have agreed. His coming was marked with great anticipation. Both Isaiah and Malachi prophesied about the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah (
Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1
). Even before he was born, the angel Gabriel said that he would be great before the Lord, would be filled with the Holy Spirit even in his mother's womb, and would go out in the spirit and power of Elijah (
With proclamations like that, how could John the Baptist not be successful?
The Last Great Prophet
At first, he achieved great success. Indeed, John preached with great power, like Elijah. Crowds flocked to him in his short public ministry, which scholars say may have lasted less than a year. In that brief time, John drew much attention from the scribes and Pharisees, who were threatened by the people who thought John was the Messiah.
John was the last of the old-covenant prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, who all predicted the coming of Christ. He was "the voice of one crying in the wilderness: '
Prepare the way of the Lord'
). But John was the only prophet who was privileged to see the Messiah in the flesh. John even baptized Jesus, and saw the Spirit descending on him, and heard with his own ears God saying, "
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased
John undoubtedly would have been excited about what God was doing. The long-awaited Messiah had come, and John might have assumed that he, his herald, would minister (and succeed) at his side.
I Must Decrease
But John was imprisoned just a few months after Jesus began his public ministry. John didn't see the fulfillment of his ministry; he simply had to trust that God was using his life's work.
John exemplified these words from the Lord's Prayer: "
Your kingdom come, your will be done
). John was not focused on his own kingdom; he was focused on the kingdom of God. He didn't try to expand his ministry or influence; he was content to go where God had called him. He didn't feel slighted that his popularity was waning; he rejoiced that Christ's fame was spreading. In every case, John subordinated his ego and his plans to God's.
John's life kept diminishing and fading away. Once Jesus emerged, the masses paid less and less attention to John. Some of his disciples, like Andrew, left him to follow Jesus. When his ministry overlapped with Jesus's, John's disciples noted, "
Look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him
). John's response: "
This joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease
Faithful unto Death
From a worldly perspective, John probably looked like a failure. He was never prosperous, and his ministry evaporated quickly. He didn't even have a glorious death. He died at the whim of a foolish girl, her vengeful mother, and a wicked and weak king.
Yet John the Baptist was wildly successful in God's eyes. John had served a crucial purpose in the kingdom, faithfully preparing the way for Christ. He didn't see the fruit of his ministry. Many of us never do. Yet Jesus exhorts us in
Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Jesus had nothing but praise for John. He said he was the greatest man who had ever lived up to that time (
). But John's life and ministry was probably nothing like John envisioned.
Good and Faithful Servant
Does your life sometimes feel small and insignificant? Did you start off with great plans for your life, yet now it seems you have done little of what you set out to do? Are you judging your worth by the standards of worldly success?
If you started out your career or your ministry or your calling full of promise, but it didn't unfold as you planned, take heart. God is after your faithfulness, not your success.
Remember what God values. He's after our hearts - our willingness to be used by him. Can we find joy when God uses us, like John, even if it looks like our influence and popularity is diminishing? Can we find our worth in Christ alone and remember that our goal on this earth is to make God's name look great and not our own?
I wish I could say that I've let go of my desire to look successful in other people's eyes, but honestly, I still struggle with it. I struggle with viewing success as a benchmark rather than a blessing. I struggle with comparing myself to people who have accomplished more than I have. I struggle with needing to produce measurable fruit, even in ministry.
Yet when I remember that God calls me to be faithful not successful, I realize how misplaced my desires can be. I don't need to compare myself with others; I need to focus on being faithful in what God has called me to do. I can learn from John the Baptist and await my reward, when I hear those precious words, "
Well done, good and faithful servant. . . . Enter into the joy of your master
So how does this apply to us? To you? Perhaps you've had a great career with many worldly accolades but are wondering if you've truly made a lasting difference (remember, without being first born again in Christ, we can NEVER be "good" enough or otherwise be able to "earn" heaven or escape hell). Or perhaps you're not anywhere near where you thought you would be on "the job" or in ministry (every Christian is called to ministry in one form or another). Yet here we find that God's standard for success is in fact very different from that of "the world." I can assure you that it's not too late to turn things around God's way! For me, in whatever time I have left, I'm living for the nineteen words shared by my Savior in Mathew 25 that begin with, "Well done, good and faithful servant..."
So is that you? Are you serving and living in the way that God would have you to? Have you embraced God's standard for success? Are you "good and faithful" in His eyes? Know that you can be (not too late), starting TODAY, but there is only one way to get get there:
I. Again, still think you "deserve" or can otherwise be "good" enough to "earn" or badge your way into heaven or escape hell? That you don't need Jesus? Take
Good Person Test
and see how you do. Well?
esus' first recorded words in His earthly ministry were and remain, "
Repent and believe in the Good News
is a "180" -- a complete, radical change of mind and heart as it relates our sin. To
(pisteuo in the original Greek) as Jesus intends it here is to cry out to God for your salvation and wholeheartedly
surrender to Christ in faith
in the same way we have "faith" that our body armor will do its job against the rounds it is intended to stop, that our weapons will function properly in when facing criminals intent on destroying us, or that a sky jumper's parachute will open when it is supposed to (we stake our very lives on it)! And the "Good News"? That is simply the Gospel of Christ (good news indeed)!
III. This same concept of "
" (the saving kind) is further revealed in
where Jesus says, "...
you must be born again.
" Note our Lord's emphasis on the word "
" (not "may" or "should"): this is ultimately the
personal relationship (and NOT "religion") with Jesus Christ that I stress here every week (see
What does it mean to be a born again Christian
?) through which we are in fact made "righteous" before a just and Holy God.
Still in doubt? Check out this powerful, short video message by my friend, fellow officer and noted trainer,
Cops and Salvation.
So have you said "yes" to Jesus but are wondering what to do next? Then
Understand that the "Now what?" has to include regular fellowship with other believers -- including other mature Christian officers -- who can help support you, encourage you, disciple (help you grow) you in the faith and yes, hold you lovingly accountable. Message me for how you can do that!
Can't encourage you enough to start living for Christ today!