We’re Praying for Epiphany Fellowship
Sun Mar 09, 2014
by Mark Driscoll
Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
Biography of a Christian Soldier Part 1
Watching the Twin Towers crumble to the ground like a couple of Jenga towers, I knew that my future would be in the military. It didn’t help that Band of Brothers was currently playing on HBO, and I would have felt like a wuss if I hadn’t joined the military. After finishing college and joining the Army, it wasn’t long before I found myself in northern Afghanistan.
It was a couple of surreal weeks during my first month in Afghanistan. I was conducting missions during the day, reading the book of John at night, and watching porn before I went to sleep. It was during this time that Jesus took my heart of stone, gave me a heart of flesh, took the scales off my eyes, and gave me the ears to hear His call.
During these sleepless nights in Afghanistan, as I went through C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, I came face to face with having to decide who I thought Jesus Christ actually was. Through the grace of God, I knew that if He was indeed Lord (and not a liar or a lunatic), the way I had been living my life—commonly referred to as sinning—was putting me at odds with the Creator of the universe. This was when I became a Christian.
I started getting plugged into a Bible study with our battalion chaplain, who was a King James-only Baptist dude. I still love the guy to this day, just not some of his theology. He had some arguments for why every other Bible translation was actually from Satan, and as a new Christian I believed him. Thankfully, as I continued to read God’s Word, speak with other believers, and read what other folks had to say, I realized that there's more to Christianity than this.
A year after getting back from Afghanistan, I found myself in a remote base in northern Iraq, which used to be a granary but was now occupied by 500 Iraqi Army soldiers and 75 US military personnel. We had a solid chaplain assigned to our unit, but he was only able to visit our base about once a month.
Jesus laid it on my heart to just start pulling guys together on a regular basis to open the Bible, read it, and have it transform our lives. Over the 14 months that I was in Iraq, our group would fluctuate from 3 guys to 15 depending on our OPTEMPO (operations tempo). We started with the book of John, and chewed our way through 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Matthew.
Gals with shaved heads
Right before we actually got to Iraq, I started to listen to some sermons on my iPod that I had randomly downloaded off of iTunes from this guy from a church in Seattle called Mark Driscoll. The first sermon I listened to was out of 1 Corinthians 11, in which Paul is speaking about head coverings and symbols of authority. As soon as Pastor Mark made some comment about butch ladies and bucking authority, I was hooked on this guy’s teaching.
My wife started burning anything she could get her hands on from Mars Hill, from audio sermons to video sermons, and mailing them out to me in Iraq. We started rounding up the guys and showing at least one sermon a week on a laptop through a projector with speakers hooked up to it, and this was our Sunday church service. There were nights when we would even just chill, drink some coffee, and go through a few sermons.
The floodgates opened up with the guys as we worked through porn, masturbating, beer, Calvinism, the exclusivity of Christ, being a husband and daddy, and war, just to name a few topics.
Gigs of Gospel
When guys are deployed, a lot of them have external hard drives that they keep all their media files on (music, movies, pictures), and they share these with one another. Guys are notorious for having gigs upon gigs of porn—all classified appropriately by gal, act, you name it.
One of the coolest things I got to experience was seeing guys borrow external hard drives from one another, not to get the latest porn, but rather to make sure they had all of the vodcasts posted by Mars Hill from the “Christians Gone Wild” series (1 Corinthians), the “Redeeming Ruth” series (book of Ruth), or the “Vintage Jesus” series. Instead of filling their brains with endless hours of garbage, they were watching Pastor Mark preach through the Word.
Continued in Part 2 here
If you're interested in finding out more about the Mars Hill Military Mission, email firstname.lastname@example.org.