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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Me and CMF

Me and CMF

CMF and Me


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret)
Chairman, CMF Board of Directors

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.
 

How often was God “setting something up”?  Probably far more often than I will ever know!  The times I can remember and realize it was God at work could fill a small book of their own.

What part did CMF play all those years?  Well, I already mentioned being plugged into a worldwide network of Christians in uniform, the monthly prayer “Battle Plan,” and the opportunities for service as part of the CMF ministry on the ground.  I didn’t however, mention the training and logistical support CMF provided.  They didn’t just have ministry positions that needed people in place; they also trained and equipped me for service in each position I filled.  Then, on virtually every shelf in my office there’s something I received, without cost, from CMF — books by theologians and giants of the faith, long gone to their eternal reward, books by living pastors and teachers, even good study Bibles.

The most cherished CMF-provided item resides inside a large 3-ring binder — a set of Christian growth lessons called Discipleship Training Objectives (DTOs) — that by themselves need only about a half-inch wide binder!  You see, I have been through those lessons several times now, first with just a Bible and a concordance and small Bible dictionary.  Each successive time through the lessons, as a set in a small group teaching role, or just in whatever has served as a place to study alone, I have added “stuff” I have learned/gleaned from a multitude of sources about each and every lesson.  So, now I have one 3-inch wide binder — that might end up as three binders, one for each major section of lessons.

Well, there you have the “big story” of an old retired soldier and CMF.  Why did I even tell it in the CMF Newsletter?  There’s only one reason — to encourage Christian men and women serving in our Military Forces to take up the challenge of being unashamed of the Gospel, being missionaries in uniform, lights in the darkness, salt of the earth, and taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to places no chaplain will ever be able to go!


Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

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