I recently concluded staffing another Phase 1. Praise God for the men that dug deep into their wounds and sought the healing power of Jesus Christ! BUT wait, let’s rewind a little bit and think about the preparation that is required to ensure that men are able to receive that healing from Jesus….
In the preparation for MMFC #195 the theme for the staff focused on the full Armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me,that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Its an amazing piece of Scripture. It speaks to my heart and mind as a servant of the Nation and God as an Army Soldier. As part of my curriculum at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (say that three times fast) and the Army War College I am required to write papers. The first is a strategy paper meant to describe a change to military strategy or something in my interest based on experience. I have chosen to write about the need to redefine Phase 0 operations. In the military, this refers to preparing for potential conflict through actions meant to influence a situation or adversary. It is also used to describe the “steady state” of operations or lack of war or conflict. With the number of challenges to our Nation and the nature of those challenges, its time for reexamining how we conduct operations.
As I think about how this affects our beloved country, it prompted me to think about the spiritual application of the same idea. A lot of the staff work in preparation for a Marked Men Phase 1 experience revolves around the preparation of my heart to serve other men. The battle is Phase 1. Men are being healed by God and through the work of the other men present. Its crucial, but the preparation for the weekend is equally important. Marked Men for Christ has Phase 0. Its the Ephesians 6 prep time. Its mental and spiritual preparation. God will show up if I invite His presence and am willing to be used by His Holy Spirit. What good is a warrior putting on armor, if he does not prepare to put on his armor? I don’t jump right into putting on the belt of truth. I have to get ready to get dressed for battle, right? The Phase 0 preparation is ongoing. It’s prayer. It’s inviting men. It’s connecting to the staff and doing my prep work.
As a Marked Man for Christ, I must prepare for Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. To not prepare is to not give God my very best. Isn’t that what makes MMFC effective? If I give God my very best, then the blessings from God are even more evident because I make myself available to be used by God. I invite God to use me to reach other men. I ask God to use me in Phase 0.
What’s your Phase 0 preparation look like?