A Message of Peace at Christmas

Can you imagine peace this Christmas?  Imagine a time of where war would cease  so that Soldiers could honor the Prince of Peace.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

This is a message that needs to be heard today, as it was years ago.

A commercial came out this year, highlighting the true events of war from Christmas 100 years ago.  As you watch the ad and reflect on the story, remember to pray for our Soldiers and Families today.

Click here to see a video on the story behind the ad

What has been the favorite Christmas message you have heard or preached?

Our Chapel is using the principles of Advent Conspiracy this year, you will  find some resources (here)

Pray for our Soldiers who are often in the middle of conflict, that they will begin to know true Peace that comes from a baby born in a manger so long ago.

Merry Christmas!

The Funeral Message & a Few Resources

CH MooreA few weeks ago, I was featured in a news article about teaching on “The Funeral Message”.  The article entitled “Chaplain Trains Civilian Counterparts” can be found here.

What we say and how we say it matters.  As chaplains we must do our best to honor God, the service of those who have served, and care for those left behind.

For those of you who want to get better at funerals, below are some resources for you:

The first is a resource put together by one of my friends Ron Fisher.


  • Dignity with Brevity – A Concise Guide to Crafting Christian Funeral Services APR 2014

The Second is the Army Manual providing guidance for Funerals.

There is also a Digital Reference that is a great resource below is a link. (you may need CAC access to view)

There are many books and manuals written to help with funerals.

Do you have any favorites or go-to resources?

Leave a comment and let us know.


A Look at 20 years of Military Chaplains’ Review with an Eye on Preaching

militarychaplain19721unse_0001The Military Chaplains’ Review was a professional publication in cooperation with all military branches to discuss issues that are important to Chaplains and their ministry.  Each issue can be found in an Online Archive here.  The Military Chaplain’s Review was published from 1972-1992.  Below you will find an extended bibliography of all the articles on preaching from this publication.  Each entry is divided by section and is alphabetical by author.  The name of the article, issue, and a brief description is listed for your help.

  • General Works

 Ferguson, Earl H.

“Where is Preaching?” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol 1 No. 3 (Aug 1972): 53-64.

Discusses the state of preaching in the military. The author challenges Chaplains that despite a “crisis” of negative preaching, one can focus on individual skills and raise the level of specific preaching.

Nuscher, Max.
“The Chaplain’s Message.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1978): 93-102. States that preaching is an event composed of more than a sermon. It is preparation of sermon, self, congregation, service, and the military community. Article also discusses McLuhan and Bultmann in regards to preaching.

Scott, Manuel L.

“What is the Nature of Effective Preaching?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 1-6. Defines effective preaching within a Protestant and Catholic context. Scott provides solutions for relevant preaching.

  • Preaching and Theology

Burslie, Bruce L.

“The Army Pulpit from One Perspective.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 42-44. There is a collective opinion that Chaplains cannot preach effectively. Burslie provides key theological principles to encourage better preaching and proposes that making preaching a priority can reverse the negative perspectives.

Fant, Clyde E.

“Communicating the Gospel.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 15-22.

Explains communication of the gospel as a theological problem. Fant explores the human and divine dimensions.

Wolfe, Charles

“Homiletical Insights from Variant Readings.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1979): 37-42. Discusses the use of variant readings in the sermon to provide new insights and enliven the text in unusual ways.

  • Topics of Preaching

Hufham, William L.

“Preaching the Prophets: A suggested methodology.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 31-41. Looks at Old Testament prophets and discusses a methodology for preaching. He uses Isaiah as a model and has a three-fold structure: I. Separation, II. Invitation, and III. Restoration.

Mitchell, Henry H.

“The Preaching Ministry to Blacks.” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol. No. 1 (January 1972): 1-18. Discusses the uniqueness of black preaching and helps chaplains understand the unique ministry they can have to blacks in the military.

O’Driscoll, Herbert

“Preaching in an Apocalyptic Age.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 7-14.

Starting with Revelation 12, the author discusses preaching and the connections to spirituality and Biblical hope.

Troxell, Thomas, E.

“Humor as a Preaching Tool” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 59-63.

Discusses the importance of humor in preaching and effective methodologies for use in the sermon.

Walaskay, Maxine

“Gender and Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1983): 55-60.

Discusses both positive and negative responses to women preachers. She examines solutions for reversing role prejudices.

  • The Preacher

Burghardt, Walter J.

“From Study to Proclamation.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 76-88.

Provides a guide to move from the classroom to the pulpit. The author discusses the importance of the preacher in knowing God and shaping the sermon.

Ennis, Raymond E.

“Imagination and the Preaching of a Military Chaplain.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 52-58. Discusses the many different levels of the preaching imagination and lists practical tips for preachers to nurture imagination.

Galle, Joseph E.

“The Use of Imagination in Preaching Today” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol. 2 No. 4 (November 1973): 60-63. Discusses the need of the preacher to see and experience the message. He draws upon the book Preaching Today as a resource for effective communication.

Hedrick, Charles W.
“Excellence in Preaching: A Neglected Art?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1979): 1-10. Despite their multifaceted ministries, Hedrick challenges chaplains to be first and foremost “ministers of the Word.” He discusses the importance of excellence in scholarship and the holistic approach to knowledge. He states that the sermon reflects the character of the preacher and offers tips to provide more depth.

Troeger, Thomas. “What Shall I Preach on Sunday?”
 Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1980): 1-8. Discusses importance of deciding on sermon topic. He examines people’s struggles, actions and the work of the Spirit.

  • The Congregation

Dodd, Paul W.

“Preaching in the Army Showcase.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 22-30.

Provides a case study of pulpit ministry at FT Meyers. He also reflects on important and high profile ministry of the chapel.

Henderson, J. Frank.

“One Layman’s View of Contemporary Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1977): 75-78. A Catholic layman reflections on a year’s worth of sermons in an attempt to help the preacher understand the perspective from the pew.

Keizer Jr., Herman.

“Ethics and Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review(Winter 1986): 68-75.

Asserts that preaching is central to what is happening in the Christian community. He analyzes preaching and ethics, specifically the relationship between speech and action.

Morris, George E.
“Preaching in a Multi-Cultural Context.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1981): 23-36. Discusses the difficulty of preaching in a multicultural context and examines various questions in regards to differing responses to situations. He discusses the importance of building relationships in the breaking down of barriers.

Tyson, Grandville.
“Strategy for Competing with the Media Preachers.”
 Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1984): 5-14. Discusses the impact of media preachers on the chapel congregation. He highlights the importance of the personal nature of ministry and the preaching of the chaplain.

  • The Setting-Liturgical

Crews, James

“Wrestling with the Lectionary.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 16-19.

Preaching using the Lectionary has many benefits to the chaplain and congregation.

Chaplain reflects personally on how he has been encouraged and challenged by using it.

Randolph, David James.

“Christian Faith as Event: Implications for Worship and Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 32-37. Preaching is not a problem to be solved, but a potential to be developed. This article makes a connection between preaching and worship.

Strange, Herbert B.

“Liturgics: A forgotten art in the chaplaincy?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 39-45. Chaplain Strange writes, “Quality preaching is mark of quality ministry.” The article focuses on the importance of preaching and the chaplain’s role in planning worship.

  • The Setting- Special Occasions

Phillips, Robert J.

“A Good Word for Wedding Sermons.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 64-67. Article discusses the importance if wedding sermons and provides principles. Author explores various purposes of the wedding sermon.

Smartt, David W.

“The Field Preaching Experience.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 15-21.

Discusses the importance of preaching in the field and the unique relationship between the Soldiers and the chaplains.

Warme, Thomas. “At Arlington Cemetery The Sermons Came To Life.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1978): 85-92. Discusses the importance of the funeral sermon. Chaplain gives personal reflections on sermons preached and observed at Arlington National Cemetery.

  • The Sermon

 Atwood, Bertram.

“The Preacher as Interpreter” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1976): 65-74.

Discusses the technique of questioning the scripture to bring the sermon to life. The author provides sample questions and models the questioning technique.

Furgeson, Earl H.

“Where Does a Sermon Begin?” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol. 2 No. 1 (January 1973): 1-7. Discusses the proclamational theory of preaching and the shared conviction of both Catholic and Protestant to preach the gospel. The theory is then discussed regarding the conception and delivery of the sermon.

Swander, J. Phillip.

“Action in the Art of Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 89-96.

Points out misconceptions of preaching and explains how preaching is the art of the spoken word. He asserts that the fundamental element of preaching is action.

  • Delivery

Davidson, Neil R.

“Let’s Try Innovative Preaching: An experiment and the results.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1974): 11-12. Looks at new communication methods to close the gap between pulpit and pew. Practical models and methods are discussed and results of feedback are presented.

Kirkland, Bryant M.

“Say It So They Can See It.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 3-8.

Challenges preachers to create more visual sermons. The key is to have sermon material that is real, reliable, redemptive, retrievable and replicated in the life of the preacher.

Myers, David G. and John J. Shaughnessy.
“Memorable Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1981): 9-16. Discusses approaches to making sermons more memorable. They list five key steps based on Yale research.

Nichols, J. Randall.

“The Languages of Preaching” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1975): 13-26. Preaching has many different strands of communication. The preacher must learn how the different languages of preaching are heard so they can communicate more effectively in the pulpit and be understood by the congregation.

  •  History-Periods

 Perry, Edwin M.

“Before the Troops: Sermons to militias 1763-1775.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1987): 9-22. Highlights sermons before a formalized chaplain corps during the revolutionary war.

  • History-Theory

Thompson, William D.

“Homiletics- State of the Art, 1986.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 1-6.

Discusses a renewal in preaching going on in 1986. Author highlights key books in the field regarding the New Homiletic as well as a move to traditional forms of preaching.

  • Teaching

Burke, John.

“Preaching Perspectives.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 7-14.

Describes methods and programs aimed at homiletical improvement. He uses principles learned while teaching speech and drama at a Catholic university.

Nichols, J. Randall.

“What Should We Teach the Preacher?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 23-31. Discusses the crisis point in ministry when the preacher fails to understand the purpose of preaching. He explains the purpose of a stated objective and proposition.

Sandrow, Edward T.

“Homiletics as a Science and Preaching as an Art.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1975): 47-51. Discusses homiletics as a discipline in the training of rabbis as well as the task of the Jewish preacher and chaplain.

Thompson, William D.

“Evaluating Chaplaincy Skills in Preaching and Worship.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 23-33. Discusses the role of preaching in various faith traditions. He highlights ways to help evaluate preaching by complaining and contrasting 12 traditions.

U.S. Army Chaplaincy Service Support Agency

“The Army Training Strategy in Homiletics.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 20-22. Army policy for training chaplains in homiletics is laid out in article.

Check out an interview with my friend, Justin Roberts and Dr. Darrell Bock from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).

Justin discusses the movie “The Hornets Nest” and personal reflections on serving as a Chaplain.

If you want to check out part 2 of the interview, “How to help Veterans” click here.

Deep Sermons cannot be preached by shallow people.  Profound sermons only come from people who enjoy a profound relationship with God.  Like it or not, the condition of our personal relationship with God will control our public ministry for God.  – J. Kent Edwards

Deep Preaching, Edwards 43

Wrong Side of Heaven (a reflection)

When deployed to Iraq a few years ago.  I was driving past a concert after a day of Chapel services.  I stopped to see what was going on.  The music was different from what I was used to and I asked one of the Soldiers, “Who is this band?”  They looked at me like I was so uncool and said, “It’s 5 Finger Death Punch!” I replied, “oh thanks”.  When I headed back to my compound and told some of my friends, they said “no way” and were mad that I saw them.

They recently posted a music video that has been popular through social media entitled,

Wrong Side of Heaven. It is worth your attention and reflection.

The videos communicates on various levels.

The words to the song (below), with various images of war on the homefront and battlefront, and messages about the needs that Veterans have.

I spoke to god today, and she said that she’s ashamed.
What have I become, what have I done?
I spoke to the devil today, and he swears he’s not to blame.
And I understood, cuz I feel the same.Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, righteous side of hell.I heard from god today, and she sounded just like me.
What have I done, and who have I become.
I saw the devil today, and he looked a lot like me.
I looked away, I turned away!Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, the righteous side of hell.I’m not defending, downward descending,
falling further and further away!
I’m closer EVERYDAY!I’m getting closer every day, to the end.
The end, The end, the end,
I’m getting closer EVERYDAY!Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, the righteous side of hell.
What feeling do you have from watching the video and reading the lyrics to this song?
-Admittedly mine are mixed, but I am provoked and challenged.
We must connect, care, and communicate in deeper and more profound ways.
The song, Wrong Side of Heaven gives voice to the feelings many have.
The truth is that it is a reality that many are living, now.
Reflect on the needs of those we serve and question the most effective way to respond as we prepare and preach.
       *Use some of these questions to get you started and add some of your own:
  • As a Chaplain and/or preacher how will you respond?
  • How will your sermon help bridge the gap between how one feels about God and the truth of how God feels about them?
  • Will your message listen to and/or answer one’s cry for help?
  • Will what say help heal the broken heart or the weary soul?
  • Is there hope?  Do you care?  Does God Care?

As Chaplains we must understand those we serve and seek to connect them to the ONE whom we serve!

FREE I-BOOK download from Nancy Duarte: RESONATE

resonate_multimedia2-1024x575Free interactive I Book from Nancy Duarte.

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Be Strong and Courageous E-book


army book

Be Strong and Courageous:  An anthology of sermons to warriors is a completion of war sermons and memorial messages.  It is a sample of the voices of comfort in the midst of war.

“This anthology captures the collective soul of chaplains who daily stand before soldiers engaged in combat and its aftermath. They are messages spoken on the battlefield and on the homefront, captured in worship services or at memorials, whispered in a soldier’s ear, or shouted above the din of a truck’s engine. They are words spoken to soldiers at an opportune time, reminding them that God is still present and still sovereign. They are often worlds of comfort and encouragement, of strength and hope; but they can also be words that address the immense struggle of the soul in the midst of pain or doubt.” — From the Foreword

This book was compiled and edited by Chaplain (Colonel) C. David Reese and published by the U.S, Army Chaplain Corps in 2012.  It has unlimited distribution, download your copy here.

Click on link:  Be Strong and Courageous E-book

Chaplain Journal on Preaching

Chaplain_LogoThe Army professional journal Fall-Summer 2010,

entitled Strengthening Army Communities though Ministries of Sacred Speech

The Former Chief of Chaplains MG Doug Carver writes,

Chaplains are called upon to communicate various messages in multiple contexts. We speak in briefings, during training events, in moments of religious education, in worship, and even to open or close a Battle Update Brief. Whatever the moment, God gives us the privilege to speak for him into the hearts of hearers around our Army. From a different angle, the context of sacred communication is often in those moments when the chaplain becomes the courier of a divine message from God to the pressing needs of a Soldier’s soul. Given the plethora of spiritual needs in the souls of our Soldiers during this era of enduring conflict, it is imperative that we maintain awareness of the power of our words in sacred communications and of the impact they have, positively or negatively, in the lives of those Soldiers and on the character of our Army communities.

Check out this professional journal.  It is filled with great articles.  (Read it now)

  • What was you favorite article? Why?
  • What was most helpful to you?
  • Are there areas, topics  you would add to the discussion on Military Sacred Communications?

If you want more resources on preaching from the military, check out The Military Chaplains’ Review, Spring of 1992.

For older Chaplaincy publications browse,  The Chaplain.