The Belay-Man

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

One of my greatest fears was climbing on Mount Yonah during the two-man buddy climb. It’s a shear cliff and if you fell the only thing between you and rock poisoning was your belay-man. It was his responsibility to hold the rope in case you slipped during your climb and you had to trust him. The only question, ‘was he trustworthy?’ Thankfully, there is no question when it comes to the trustworthiness of God. He is the Great Belay-Man; ‘He is able to keep you from falling.’


My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

In Panama while I was doing jungle training we ran out of water. We got so thirsty that we elected to fill our canteens with the water from a mud puddle. It took 4 iodine tablets and sifting the mud and sticks between our teeth as we drank. God makes sure that we always have cool, clean water. But if we don’t report to Him and draw our rations, we are left with the foul waters of our own choosing.


‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ (Jeremiah 1:5)

Each person is special in God’s eyes. He sees us before we are even born. He equips us with our own special destiny and then ushers us into the world. But each day brings the little choices that lead us closer or further from the glory. God has big plans for us. Are we fulfilling our God-given destiny? It starts with the right choices right now.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I’ve done a lot of dangerous things in my career. Jumping out of aircraft, repelling out of helicopters, surf infiltration, platoon night live fires, and the list goes on. I also took my life into my hands every time I drove my car when I was stationed in Italy. But the things I worry about are usually simple. How are my boys going to do in life, what will my next assignment be, am I doing a good job. We worry about all kind of things. But God says, ‘Stop worrying, call unto me and I’ll take care of you.’ We can take Him at His Word. Lift up you worries to Him in faith and carry on.


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

At times as a chaplain you have to tell people they are wrong. And sometimes that includes the Commander. When I was stationed at Ft. Stewart I had to go into the Old Man’s office and tell him he was making a big mistake in leadership. He sat there silently and listened to what I had to say. Now as the Commander he doesn’t have to listen to a Captain Chaplain. And who’s to say I was right. I’m only an advisor. But he humbled himself. He said, ‘Chaplain, you are right. I’m going to change that.’ Humility is a rare trait among those who serve in the military, but when you see it, you really appreciate it. I really admired the Commander for that. Remember this, teachability and humility go hand in hand. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your personal or spiritual growth.


But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5:3)

There is a very distinct sound when the chaplain comes visiting in the field. You can hear it in the tents, on a M1 tank, in the fighting position, and even in the Tactical Operation Center. It’s the sound of rustling pages of the pornographic magazines as they fly to a safe hiding place. Why? Well most guys don’t want the chaplain to see such things that a man of the cloth shouldn’t. But another reason is because many of them are professing Christians and they know they’re wrong. The real damage is not done when the chaplain is around. The real damage is done when our comrades observe a believer acting in a obviously ungodly manner. We call that hypocrisy. Adjust Fire, Fire for Effect, Over.

Application: The worst source of pornographic temptation today is the internet. I assume that if you are reading this Blog entry, you have the internet. If you are struggling, may I recommend that you get an accountability partner and Covenant Eyes at and fight this one with all your might.


‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 13:34-35)

We have all heard it said, ‘Do as I say, Not as I do.’ But we also know that this form of leadership doesn’t cut it. Jesus was a Do as I Do leader. He says, ‘Here’s My Command, Love one another.’ But, He doesn’t leave it there. He adds, ‘As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ He leads by example. Now the real question; are we loving one another the way Christ loved us? Follow the leader!

Application: Start reading a gospel and write down the ways Jesus loved others and then practice the same.


But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

I must have listened to a 1000 warning orders as a Ranger Instructor. In the warning order you have the mission statement which covers the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Here Jesus gives His mission statement to His disciples and to the church for that matter. Who = You, What = Receive Power, When = the Holy Spirit comes on You (you become a Christian), Where = Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth, Why = to tell others about Christ. Pretty simple, right? It was meant to be. Are you accomplishing the MISSION?

Application: Step 1: Tell someone in your city about Jesus. Step 2: Tell someone in your state about Jesus. Step 3: Tell someone from another nation about Jesus.


Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)

One of the things chaplains get stingy about is their vehicle. First, they have to be lucky enough to have one and then they have to be like a pit bull to keep it from being taken away. Another thing chaplain’s vehicles are know for is being poorly maintained. I took a lot of pride in the fact that not only did I have a vehicle but kept it in great shape. One day the SGM asked me if he could have one of my windshield wipers. WHAT? Everything in me wanted to say NO but I remembered the law of giving. When you give, you receive. So with great reluctance I gave him one of my two windshield wiper blades. From that moment on the SGM flooded me with things I needed. He gave me a radio for my vehicle, a man to help me when my chaplain assistant got sick, different supplies, and the list goes on and on. All for one windshield wiper blade. When you give, it comes back. That’s the law of giving.

Application: How are you giving to the Lord (your finances, your time, your abilities)?


For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

We were at the NTC and it was time for the arduous task of fixing, cleaning, and turning in vehicles. As I walked through the motor pool talking to troops and passing out ice-cold sodas, I saw CPT B. Now, to see a Captain in the motor pool was not rare, but to see one covered in grease and oil, armpit deep in the engine compartment is another thing. As I talked to the guys in Headquarters Company it was evident they really admired their commander. The good captain did not spend more that a couple of hours playing mechanic, but it sure made an impression on his men. As leaders we have a lot to do but it pays great dividends when we will occasionally pitch in on the mundane stuff our warriors do day in and day out. Christ did it and so can you.

Application: Who can you serve for the Kingdom today? Write down one thing you can do for one person today in order to demonstrate Christ’s love.