Thursday, October 23, 2008

The I.D. Badge

Matthew 10:32-38: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

As we think of National Telecommunicators Week, a good majority of dispatchers put on some type of uniform every day for work. I read a lot about uniform and ideas for uniforms in websites such as “Dispatch Monthly” and “The Emergency Dispatcher” (Yahoo Groups). I wore a police style uniform during my tenures at Shelby Township and Romeo Police Departments complete with shoulder patches, name tag, and badge. Today, I wear a “soft” uniform at Clinton Township Police Department, which consists of a blue polo shirt or sweatshirt and khaki pants. In any case, the uniform represents the department served.

But did you know as a Christian, you wear a “uniform” each day as you serve Jesus Christ? No, you don’t have a physical badge or I.D. card. You might say you are “plainclothes” because others cannot see your heart. Therefore, I want to give you some identifiers of a Christian.

First, we need to tell others about Christ. As we look at a couple of the charges Christ gives to witness to the lost world, He says in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Further, in Acts 1:8, Christ says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” So, the Holy Spirit will give you the opportunities and the words to say if you will look to Him. (And there’s nothing wrong with leaving a tract somewhere for others to read.)

Secondly, I believe we need to pray. Do you ask for God’s wisdom before you start your shift? We need to ask God for His help and assistance. We need to acknowledge God for something He has done for us. Even if we bow our head before partaking food, thanking God for the provisions He has provided for our needs.

Thirdly, we need to be a good testimony for Christ before others. In other words, we need to “talk the talk” and then “walk the walk.” We see a lot in our world today. Therefore, we need to be a good example in front of others and avoid the temptation to do wrong.

Finally, we need to carry or read our Bibles. Now you may not be able to carry a full-size Bible with you during your daily activities. But you should be able to have a small Bible, maybe a New Testament, at your disposal. I carry a small Bible provided by the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers in the front compartment of my lunch bag. That way, if I want to read a passage or look up something, it’s right there for me. Plus, it’s an encouragement to get something from the Word of God.

In conclusion, we must wear our “Christian badges” proudly. You will be surprised at who is watching you, whether you would be praying at the lunch table, avoiding temptation, or just by your attitude. People will see a difference in our lives. They will want to know why we are different. This could then be the opportunity to tell them about Jesus Christ. Think of this fact: In front of the multitudes of people, Christ walked through the city with Roman soldiers to Calvary. There He hung on the cross for our sins.

You have something to live for if you are a Christian. Don’t hide it! Learn to tell others about Jesus, but when you are not witnessing for Him, be an example for Jesus Christ. We are not perfect - that’s why Christ paid the price for us on the cross - but we should stick out in the crowd, just like we do when we wear our uniforms. For many years, I have proudly wore the uniform of the department I have represented, which stands for justice and protection of the citizens and property of that community. All of us should be proud to be Christians, soldiers for Jesus Christ, and be an example for Him in our daily lives. Wear the badge of Jesus Christ proudly in your hearts and lives.

Special thanks to Chaplain Dave Purdle, Founder, Ministry 9-1-1, Shelby Twp., Michigan, for this article.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Indianapolis, Indiana

It has been a few weeks since I have updated the blog. I have been travelling the last couple of weeks and just returned home. I recently got back from a wonderful week in Indianapolis, Indiana.

I started the week by visiting the Acting Police Chief of Butler University. I met Andy in September 2006 when I walked into a dorm room at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. To say I was nervous about whom I was about to spend the next 11 weeks with in a small dorm room was an understatement. I was pleased to find that Andy and I had two things in common. We were both active police trainers and members of the International Law Enforcement Educators' and Trainers' Association (ILEETA) and followers of Christ. It was a memorable 11 weeks and Andy spent almost an entire day with me.

Crime is different on a college campus. I noticed this Mascot Head and Andy told me that he had identified the suspects. They were from Purdue University. The body remains missing.

Butler University is famous for their basketball. It seems like they make it to the Sweet 16 just about every year and last year won 32 games. Their Basketball Court was the one used in the film Hoosiers and it was one of the nicest I have ever seen.

Unfortunately, football isn't taken as serious at Butler. I thought I was looking at the practice field but Andy informed me it was indeed the football field.

Chief Andy Ryan was a great host and it was a great start of a week in Indiana. I would complete the week at an Emergency Vehicle Training Conference. It was a week of meeting new friends and reuniting with old ones.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


On the opening weekend of FIREPROOF, Ten-Four Ministries was blessed to sponsor a free showing of the movie for the first responders in the Tulsa (OK) community. We would not have been able to do this if it wasn't for the help of two area churches that helped finance the showing - First Baptist Broken Arrow and Sheridan Christian Church. When we arrived, it was good to see a sell out (above photo) and although myself and a small team of volunteers arrived an hour early, our firefighters and police officers were there in line ready to see the movie.

The Tulsa Fire Department graciously sent out a truck to help us promote the event and the movie. I am fortunate to live in a community that permits this activity by our first responders.

The line was waiting on us and I had the opportunity to meet many of our local heroes. They were curious as to who paid for their movie tickets and a large drink and I told them to please stay in the theater after the movie and they would have a chance to thank them. I only saw two people leave after the movie which was an incredible blessing.

The movie was powerful and during certain parts you could have heard a pin drop. It was clear that not everyone in the theater knew this was a Christian film. At least one heckler did not like the message but the conviction in the faces of the majority was clear. Who heard the Gospel during this movie? I personally knew atheists, agnostics and individuals living in open sin in the theater. I also knew Christians and many other individuals that I did not know.

As the movie concluded, the credits rolled and the theater turned the sound down. I stepped in front of almost 200 first responders and introduced the Churches that helped sponsor the movie and then left them with one more presentation of the Gospel. Here is what they heard:

"I want to first thank everyone for coming out tonight. I hope you recognize the important messages in this movie. I want to remind you of one particular scene where the father of the main character tells his son that saving someone from a fire does not make you right with God. You have violated his standards and one day you will be judged for that.

The first responders in this room are no doubt the heroes of our community. What you do on a daily basis is nothing short of heroic and I am amazed by it. Firefighters go into buildings that are on fire and police officers run towards gun shots instead of away. I am so amazed by that. Thank you so much for what you do.

But just like the father said in the movie, “I love you too much to not tell you the truth."

The truth is this. The Bible tells us that it is appointed for man to die and then there is judgment (Hebrews 9:27). We will not be judged based on our career or the fact that we have saved lives or done heroic deeds. We will be judged by God’s standards and you heard some of those in the movie.

Lust, stealing, lying, blasphemy, and other sins are an offense to God. The punishment for sin is an eternity in hell. None of us can pass this standard but the good news is this.

God sent his only son, Jesus Christ to earth. God walked the earth for 33 years and lived a perfect life. He was murdered on a cross over 2000 years ago and rose from the dead 3 days later. Over 500 witnesses saw him alive after he was crucified. There is no question on these facts.

Jesus died for all of us. He paid the penalty for our sins. A penalty we cannot pay. That alone is not enough. We must come to Jesus on His terms and the movie you just watched depicts this well.

We must repent of our sins, turn from those sins and trust alone in Jesus Christ for our salvation.

The literal meaning of repentance is to change one’s mind or purpose. It is much more than intellectual. It involves a change of behavior.

Then give your entire life over to Jesus. Trust in him for everything.

There are some in here that have done that. There are some that have not or are not sure. I am asking you to examine your faith and not let another day go by without ensuring that on that day of judgment, you will be found innocent because of the Blood of Jesus Christ.

There are Pastors here at the front to speak with you if you like.

Thank you so much for coming. Please have a safe night."

A local reporter was present in the audience and on this past Saturday, this article appeared in the Tulsa World.

When I originally saw FIREPROOF in August it was my prayer that this movie would make a difference and that Ten-Four Ministries could some how use it to reach the first responder community. As usual, God's plan surpassed anything I could have anticipated. What a blessing it was to be involved in this outreach.

Here is just one testimony that has come to us through our website:

"This movie so clearly mirrors my current marital situation that the less than stellar acting didn't matter, but the message did matter to me -- quite considerably.

Incidentally, three days before seeing this movie I had come to realize that my marriage was failing because Christ was not at the center of my life or our marriage. I have surrendered myself to Christ as Caleb ultimately did.

I know my marriage and my life will become more challenging as Satan tests my resolve, but I feel prepared for the fight. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

I saw this movie alone, and I am glad I did. I would like my wife to see it too, but not in my presence. The message was the point and I took it well. One of the better $10 bills I have spent. This is not feel good movie as much as a tough love story."