SGM Daniel Cartwright, USA (Ret)
Dan has been with CMF since 1982. He has served as a Local Leader, Regional Representative, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dan served 28 years with the United States Army Special Forces. He and his wife, Dee, live near Fort Carson, Colorado.
CMF and Me
Where do I begin? It’s been a long journey, about 30 years now. I guess I should start at the point in my life when God snatched me out of ODF status (Out Dere Flappin’) near the end of ’76, a few months before our first son was born. In terms of this life, I had it pretty well made — I was a young Staff Sergeant on a Special Forces ‘A’ Detachment, had met and married a wonderful woman (just had our 34th anniversary, BTW), and my lonely past seemed over. However, I had left the Savior of my youth in the dust, so to speak. About ten years earlier, I had decided that organized religion was a fake and struck out on my own — ODF big time, but happy as a pig in mud with my life at that point.
The story around how God snatched me back from ODF status stands on its own and is too long for this venue. But snatch me back He did! We became involved in the Chapel system on Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, including a mid-week lunch time Bible study at the Special Forces chapel, which is how I found out about CMF. At about the same time, the thought of full-time ministry in the military surfaced, and I considered becoming a chaplain. That thought was fleeting however, when I discovered it would take about eight years of schooling outside of the military before I could re-enter as a chaplain. But I could see there was plenty of “service for God” in uniform that needed attention right away!
So there I was, plugged in to chapels and Bible studies, learning and growing, and along came Ernie Miller, who was at that time leader of the CMF ministry. He visited the Bible study I attended and presented to us the concept of the CMF ministry: a network of believers in uniform, focused mainly on us enlisted types. Sounded good. When Ernie talked about this worldwide prayer network, my ears really perked up, considering all the different time zones around the globe and a prayer request being presented before the throne of grace around the clock on a given day! Ernie also talked about the structure of the network of believers: CMF Christian contacts, along with local and area-wide CMF representatives, plugged into the small home office in Denver. I was hooked — this was the ministry for me!
That was then and this is now, thirty years later. Until I retired in 1996, I had the opportunity to be a Christian contact and CMF Local Representative anywhere I went, on permanent or temporary assignment, a paid “missionary” in uniform, funded by Uncle Sam! My marching orders in our Lord’s Army? Acts 1:8 — “BE” a witness for Christ — not preach, wear Christian “stuff,” or carry a CMF flag everywhere I went. I was to be available for whatever specific task God had waiting for me. I was just supposed to be a well cared for “tool” of the Master, ready, willing, and able for “divine appointments” whenever they presented themselves — which was usually without my knowing that God was setting these appointments.
Pastor Bob Bingham
In 1962 Bob and his wife Dorothy were appointed as missionaries with the Overseas Christian Servicemen's Centers (now Cadence International), and served with them for 21 years, 17 of those years serving at three different military bases in the Philippines. Hospitality and discipleship training became the focus of those years with hundreds of lives being touched for eternity.
A change of ministry came in September of 1982 when he joined Scope Ministries (a biblical counseling ministry headquartered in Oklahoma City). This led to Bob's present ministry, CUPbearers, a discipleship ministry centered on the Lord Jesus Christ located in Englewood, Colorado.
For more than 25 years Bob has pastored the Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church in Black Hawk, Colorado, in tandem with his discipling ministry.
Bob has ministered in the Philippines (1962-1979, 1995, 1998) and a number of other countries in Asia and Europe with OCSC (1962-82), Panama (1996) and in Trinidad (1998). His additional ministry opportunities have been to Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong (2001), and Nepal (2001), China (2006).
Bob also served as Chairman on the CMF Board of Directors for many years.
Happiness and Joy
Happiness and Joy
These two words are often considered as synonyms, but the Scriptures make a distinction between them.
Biblical HAPPINESS is generally dependent upon the circumstances that one experiences. The law of Moses identifies happiness in marriage, “when a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken” (Deuteronomy 24:5).
Another example, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7).
In general, we are happy when life and things are going well, and we are unhappy when life and things are not going as well as we had hoped they would.
Biblical JOY is more of a state of being and is not dependent upon our circumstances. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exalt over you with joy, he will be quiet in his love, he will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Jeremiah the prophet discovered that ingesting God’s word brought him great joy. “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by your name O Lord of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).
The apostle John gives a few quotes of Jesus Who is our joy, “These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11). Jesus prays to his father, “But now I come to you; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have my joy made full in themselves" (John 17:13).
The Apostle Paul adds, “You also become imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).
“Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Jesus Christ endured the cross expressly for the joy of bringing you into his eternal kingdom.
The Angelic Announcement to Shepherds
"There were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8 – 11).
The Shepherds Terror Changed to Great Joy
"When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to the Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us… So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph and the baby as he lay in the manger. When they had seen this, [with great joy] they made known the statement which has been told them about this child” (Luke 2:15-27).
The Magi's Long Journey Brought Them Great Joy
“After coming into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they [with great joy] fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:1).
“Now when they had gone, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up!” Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the child to destroy Him. So Joseph got up and took the child and his mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt" (Matthew 2:13-14).
God’s plan probably did not make Joseph very happy, but he had great joy since God must have provided the Magi’s gifts to finance their trip and time in Egypt.
It is quite possible that the uncertainty of the world's chaos and current circumstances that you face today may produce in your heart and mind a lack of happiness.
Nevertheless, Jesus who is our everlasting joy, assures us, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
However, let’s remember what the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of GREAT JOY which will be for all the people” (Luke 2:11).
Our prayer is that we together with you will remember and celebrate Jesus and His many blessings to us with GREAT JOY!
Robert W. Flynn
Bob has been with the Christian Military Fellowship since 1981. He has served as a Local Leader, Coordinator of Ministries, Chief Operating Officer, President/CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. After a short retirement he returned as Chief Information Officer. His ministry area has been one-on-one mentoring and discipleship. He now also leads the the Remote Access Discipleship Program creating opportunities for our members to engage in Bible study where ever they happen to be standing.
Christmas Waves a Wand Over This World
“Christmas waves a wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Norman Vincent Peale
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before You as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For You will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as You did when You destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” Isaiah 9:2-7 NLT
Christmas is the day each year when we celebrate the arrival of the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God in this world. God come down as a man. I would have thought that such an arrival would have been witnessed by the priests and kings of the nation to whom this was promised. Would not all of Israel wish to celebrate with festivals of grandeur at the fulfillment of the promised messiah?
But when the right time came, God sent His Son, to buy freedom for us who were slaves, so that He could adopt us as His very own children (Galatians 4:4 paraphrase mine).
“And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 NLT
Instead, the God in whom, by whom, and through whom everything exists, and from whom the cherubim hide their faces, is born in a cave and is lying in a cattle feeder. A perfect time and a perfect way of His own choosing!
We could ponder a great many things about this amazing and wonderful demonstration of grace and humility. However, the one that screams out to me is that preserved for us in the First Epistle to the Church at Corinth:
“This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:25-29 NLT
By human standards this was a most ill-conceived event! For what would appear more weak or powerless than a newborn babe? God, in this apparent folly, did not choose the heralds of an earthly court to announce the arrival of His beloved Son. Rather he sent the angels (heavenly host—armies of heaven) to give this message to the cultural outcasts of this time ─ the lowly, roughhewn shepherds, lacking even a modicum of culture, men who spoke in terms that would probably make a sailor blush. This is who announced this glorious arrival of the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!
Let us then pause and enjoy Christmas knowing that it is the immeasurable, magnificent love of Christ that stooped to save the most vile of sinners—”The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.” Rejoice, O Sinner! For God’s love “goes beneath the deepest stain that sin could ever leave, redeeming souls to live again who will on Christ believe!”
Yes, He picked the outcasts of society who were despised by the world to announce the arrival of the weakest person of all, a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger, who even at that moment held the world together with His might and caused all things to exist.
“For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us.”
I certainly was not “wise in the world’s eyes, or powerful or wealthy” when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see the salvation that is in God’s Son! Oh what joy fills my heart!
Maranatha! Oh come, Lord Jesus! Let this Christmas be the last before you return. The arms of the warriors are heavy from the fighting, and wives and families weep at home because of their long absence. We look forward to that day when “the boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire” and war will be no more.
“The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4 NLT
May Christ wave a wand over your world, dear brothers and sisters, as you celebrate Christmas. Hugs to all of you, from all of us!
Dr. Douglas Sullivan
Doctor Sullivan served in the United States Air Force from 1983 to 2006. He began his career as an enlisted man and rose through the ranks and eventually became commissioned serving as a Missile Combat Crew Commander and Instructor. After 15 years of military service and rising to the rank of Captain, he became a Chaplain in 1998. He retired from the Air Force in 1998. He lives on a small farm in Waxahachie, Texas, with his wife Debbie, who is an elementary school teacher. They stay busy raising horses, llamas, goats, chickens, and other farm animals. His two children, Daniel and Catherine, live in Waxahachie, Texas, as well. Daniel is a Dallas Police Officer, and Catherine teaches Kindergarten at Felty Elementary School. Doug and Debbie Sullivan have been blessed with three grandchildren, two by Daniel and his wife Brandi and one by Catherine and her husband Tyler. Chaplain Sullivan, now Doctor Sullivan after earning his Doctor of ministry from Evangel University, continues to serve today as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Civil Defense in Red Oak, Texas, as the Command Staff Chaplain. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy/religion at Navarro College in Waxahachie, Texas. Dr. Sullivan enjoys restoring antique cars in his free time and provides spiritual guidance as a Hospice Chaplain for those who are terminal, helping them find peace in their last stage of life. He also serves as Chairman off the Christian Military Fellowship Board of Directors.
Leaning on Jesus!
A pastor of a small rural church in Texas would occasionally call on an old farmer in his congregation to pray, and every time this brother would pray, he would end his prayer with the strangest phrase, “And, oh Lord, prop us up on our leaning side.”
Finally, the pastor pulled him aside, and he said, “I love how you pray, but I don’t understand how you end your prayer. What are you talking about – prop us up on our leaning side?”
The old man responded, “Well, Pastor, I’m a just a farmer. I live out on my farm in the country. I’ve got a real old barn. It’s been there a long time. It’s been through a lot of weather, and a lot of storms, and a lot of bugs and termites have eaten at it.”
He said, “I got to looking at it one day when I was plowing on my tractor, and I noticed that it was leaning to one side. So, I thought to myself, oh no! The barn is leaning, and it’s just a matter of time before the whole thing falls. He continued, “So, you know what I did? I went and got some big beams, and I propped it up on its leaning side.” He said, “It still leans bad, and probably always will. But I propped it up on its leaning side. And it’s not going to fall now, because I propped it up on its leaning side. It’s leaning against something stronger than itself!
And I also got to thinking some more later when I was riding on my tractor again, about the kind of year I’ve had, and some of the storms I’ve been through, and some of the people that are bugging me, and eating away at my joy and eating away at my spirit. And I just started to think, you know, I’m still here! I’m still standing after all that stuff I’ve been through. The storms, and the howling winds – they couldn’t topple me because I’ve been leaning on Jesus! I’m still standing by the grace of God.”
He concluded, “From time to time, I still find myself leaning… toward old desires, leaning toward anger, leaning toward becoming bitter or hateful at the people who are bugging me, or leaning toward going back to the old habits and the old life I used to have. And when I feel myself start to lean toward those things, I just remember that I’m supposed to lean on Jesus! Then I think about my old barn, and I pray out loud - "Lord, thank you for propping me up on my leaning side."