Biblical Warrior Terminology

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From time to time I receive criticism for using ‘warrior’ terminology in Heart of a Warrior Ministries. I recently felt compelled to respond to a person’s concerns over my use of such terms. I thought it might be helpful to present my rationale.

The New Testament is full of metaphors and allegories associated with military and warfare symbolism. The Lord is referred to as a "warrior" by Moses in Exodus 15:1-3. Jeremiah also suggests the same in Jeremiah 20:11.

"I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name." Exodus 15:1-3

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.  They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.  Jeremiah 20:11

Revelation 19:11‐16 and Isaiah 42:13 certainly implies similar symbolism...

 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11‐16

The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. Isaiah 42:13

The New Testament speaks about spiritual warfare; that we must put on the 'armor' of God (Ephesians 6:10‐18). Preliminary to the verses on putting on the armor of God is the admonition to be strong in the Lord...put on the full armor of God so we can make a stand...that we are in a struggle.

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.

Paul himself says he has 'fought the good fight (2 Timothy 4:7).' Several places in the New Testament we are encouraged to 'fight the good fight (1 Timothy 1:18; 6:12).'

I am not advocating that men strap on a sword and press headlong into physical combat. Instead, I use the metaphor of a "warrior' to call men to the battle for the sake of their loved ones, the unloved, the marginalized, the defenseless, the downtrodden. I call men to take their assignment to be the spiritual leaders of their home. I use the 'sword' as a symbol for engagement because too many men have abdicated their responsibilities to their families, friends, associates, and those who don't know Christ.

I have often used the phrase, "a warrior after God's heart." I have clearly defined what I mean by being a warrior after God's heart...

  • A warrior after God’s heart is loyal to his Commander (Titus 2:11‐14).

  • A warrior after God’s heart is a citizen of God’s kingdom (Philippians 3:20‐21).

  • A warrior after God’s heart follows orders (Acts 13:22).

  • A warrior after God’s heart prepares for the battle (Ephesians 6:14‐17).

  • A Warrior after God’s heart guards his heart (Proverbs 4:23).

  • A warrior after God’s heart is a man of integrity (Psalm 15:1‐5).

  • A warrior after God’s heart is a man of authenticity (1 Peter 2:8‐9).

  • A warrior after God’s heart lays his life on the line (Ephesians 2:10).

  • A warrior after God’s heart rises to the challenge (2 Timothy 4:2‐5).

  • A warrior after God’s heart makes a stand (Ephesians 6:10‐13).

  • A warrior after God’s heart provides for his loved ones (1 Timothy 5:8).

  • A warrior after God’s heart finishes well (2 Timothy 4:1‐8).

Other passages underscore Paul’s repeated use of ‘soldier’ when referring to his trusted coworkers. He calls Epaphroditus and Archippus a ‘fellow soldier.’ He exhorts Timothy to ‘endure hardship…like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’

Philippians 2:25‐26 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.

2 Timothy 2:3‐7 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Philemon 1‐3 To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 TERMINOLOGY ‐ BIBLE

In summary, I do not apologize for my use of these symbols and images designed to compel men to action and help them live a life committed to God's redemptive purposes. I will continue to call men to the battle, to take a stand against the evil one, to embrace their obligations and responsibilities to be spiritual leaders, to lean into their fear and stand in bold relief ready to give a defense for the hope that is in them. I will continue to urge men to prepare for the skirmishes they will undoubtedly encounter, to put on the full armor of God, to fight he good fight, to acquit themselves with integrity and honor on the battlefield of life. If the sensibilities of some are put off by such exhortations and they are uncomfortable with such terminology, then they will have to remove large sections from the Bible to assuage their concerns.

As for me and my house, we will not retreat from rallying men to stand and deliver!

Biblical Battle Metaphors

  • War

  • Battles

  • Training

  • Sword

  • Soldier

  • Armor

Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:26‐27)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith (1 Timothy 1:18-20).

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:11-12).

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day‐and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:4-14).

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh, he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16).

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:6-8).

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God‐breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:12-17).

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:1-14).

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs, he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this (2 Timothy 2:1-7).

But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs (Philippians 2:25).

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Philemon 1-3).

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter‐in‐law against her mother‐in‐law‐ a man's enemies will be the members of his own household (Matthew 10:34-36).'

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. 1Stand 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 saints (Ephesians 6:10-18).

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double‐edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

The Compass - Heart Calibration Calvary Church, White Bear Campus

An orientation for The Compass - Heart Calibration will be held September 22nd, 8:00 AM at Calvary Church, White Bear Campus (4604 Greenhaven Dr, White Bear Township, MN 55127). 

There is no obligation to join a group when you attend the orientation.  This event is meant to give you information about the journey due to begin October 13th.  Once you attend the orientation you will be given an opportunity to join the group.  The first meeting of the group will be October 13th.  The group will again meet on October 20th and every week thereafter until May 2019. 

Go to the "Journey's' page of this website to learn more about The Compass - Heart Calibration.

New Book - Leadership Beef Jerky

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I am pleased to announce the publishing of my latest book, Leadership Beef Jerky: Principles and Practices You Can Chew On. This book is the culmination of decades of leadership practice. The principles and practices contained within represent what i have learned about the practice of leadership in the Navy, defense industry, commercial business, and ministry. I have identified and succinctly described what i have personally applied or observed in terms of what works regardless of the work setting.

The book is divided into three parts; the Head (8 chapters), the Heart (8 chapters), and the Hand (16 chapters). The compendium presents principles and practices that help organize how you think about leadership and what will and should inform your understanding and practice. When the head and heart align--the beingness of your leadership--than the hand--the doingness of your leadership--produces God-honoring results. I believe the principles and practices described in this guide will help you become a leader after God's heart.

The book can be purchased on Amazon.com or iUniverse. I hope you will be enriched as you put into practice what is contained within its pages.

That Others Might Live

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Dr. Erik Hess is a close friend and Heart of a Warrior Alum.  He is an accomplished emergency medical doctor, a clinical researcher, a professor and sought after speaker.  I have had the privilege of personally observing his growth in the Lord.  In the near future, he will be establishing a beachhead for Heart of a Warrior Ministries in Birmingham Alabama.  The article that follows was writen by Dr. Hess and is 'must' reading.  It shows how he has integrated his faith in his chosen vocation.

When I was visiting the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO with my family in the summer of 2017, I came across this memorial.  To give some context, it is located in a large courtyard, flanked by the Air Force Chapel (on the right; not seen) and the Center for Character and Leadership Development (pyramid-shaped structure in the background of the picture).  As I read the inscription, I felt intense emotions of devotion, sacrifice and purpose well up within me and began to weep.  The following words are etched in the stone.

“Detachments were deployed worldwide at US Airforce Bases with call signs such as “Firebird,” “Rescue 1” and “PEDRO.” The HH-43 helicopter and its air and ground crew maintained an alert status to aid aircrews who were downed, some in burning aircraft.  At the sound of an alarm the aircrew would be airborne within 2 minutes, hook up a special fire suppression kit (FSK), which could produce 690 gallons of foam.  This would allow the fire fighters to remove the aircrews from a burning aircraft.  For a downed air crew, the HH-43 alert crew would coordinate with headquarters or King Bird, then would depart on a set heading to make a pickup or recovery.

The motto of the aerospace rescue and recovery service is,

“THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE.”

Although I have never had the honor of serving in the armed forces, my heart resonates with this call in several ways.  There are layers of meaning of this phrase has for me, much like peeling back layers of an onion until one reaches the core.   

As an emergency physician, the care we provide patients each day requires a rapid, efficient, coordinated team effort to meet patients where they are, often at a point of great need.  Training for and providing this care day in and day out often comes at great personal cost, but is a cause worth the sacrifice. 

As a clinical researcher, I aim to collaboratively discover how best to treat each patient with dignity and respect, seeking to both cure disease and care for the person, so that, somehow, together, we discover how to lift up the human condition.

As a husband and father, I aim to live in such a way that my wife and family flourish, that they feel appreciated for their uniqueness and encouraged and challenged to grow, and that, with ever increasing intimacy, they walk with their Creator, obediently follow His lead, and discover and live out the purpose for which they were created.

As a friend, I aim to come along side, serve, and experience the joy that comes from sharing life together and growing closer to one another on our life journey.

As a loyal follower and devoted servant, I seek to obey and please the one who sacrificed His life for mine, so that others may experience forgiveness and the new life I have received.

The core of my satisfaction, purpose, and joy comes from daily, authentic communion with Jesus, and, with complete devotion and all out abandon, seeking to please Him as the “audience of one,” the one who will take me to vistas I have never seen, to mountains I have never climbed, and provide meaningful work to do to advance His kingdom.  Why?  For what purpose?

“THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE”

Erik P. Hess MD MSc

Professor and Vice Chair for Research

Department of Emergency Medicine

UAB Medicine | The University of Alabama at Birmingham

OHB 251 | 619 South 19th Street | Birmingham Alabama 35249

205-975-7866 | ehess@uabmc.edu

New Resource

Chuck Stecker's latest book, If You Passed Your Baton...Take It Back, captures the insights of senior leaders as they seek to pour into younger leaders what they have learned about life and wisdom.

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Take It Back

Recently, Dr. Chuck Stecker, executive director and founder of A Chosen Generation, published a great book I recommend to you.  I contributed a chapter entitled Filling the Legacy Void.  

Speaking Events

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As we approach 2018 I would like to alert you to the following events where I will be speaking...

  • January 27th - Res Gen Men's Summit at Central Church in Sioux Falls South Dakota.  At least 300 men are expected.  You can register for the event at RGMensSummit2018.eventbrite.com.
  • May 17th - 20th - Men's Base-camp Weekend sponsored by Grace Fellowship at Trout Lake Camp in Pine River Minnesota.  Over 200 men are expected.

HOAW Phase I: The Compass (Heart Calibration)

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Why do we do what we do? Why do we do the very things we hate to do? Why is our behavior inconsistent or even opposed to what we say we believe? This series will help us become men of honor and integrity by aligning our hearts with God's heart. Our behavior, good or bad, is reflective of what's in our hearts. Let's let the scalpel of God's word perform surgery on our hearts so that our lives bring glory instead of shame to the Father. These lessons will help you become a man after God's heart.

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." Our hearts are comprised of central beliefs, core values, worldview, and motives. Our central beliefs establish our values, our values inform our worldview, our worldview conditions our motives, and our motives energize our behavior. If we want our behavior to bring glory and honor to the Father, then our beliefs must be biblically centered, our values biblically informed, our worldview reflective of God's perspective, and our motives biblically focused.

HOAW Phase I – The Compass; this series will help you calibrate your heart (beliefs, values, attitudes, and motives) to the heart of God so you will be able to navigate the journey we call life.  Living a life of integrity, authenticity, courage, and honor under the authority of God will result in a godly legacy.  You will not be the same man when you complete the journey.  You will be pleased with the result.

At the end of the journey you will develop a Personal Battle Plan and a 6-month Implementation Strategy.  No one really cares what you have to say until they observe how you live.  If you live a life of integrity and honor under God’s authority people will ultimately want to hear what you have to say, even if they disagree with you.  Why?  Because they can’t get past a life well lived.  They may attempt to deconstruct your faith proclamation or refute what you say you believe.  But they cannot deconstruct a life well lived.

SESSIONS

  • Lesson 1: Introduction: The Heart of a Warrior

  • Lesson 2: Situational Lifestyle Strategies

  • Lesson 3: God's Preferred Lifestyle Strategy

  • Lesson 4: The Bible and the Heart

  • Lesson 5: Open Heart Surgery

  • Lesson 6: Our Central Beliefs Explained

  • Lesson 7: Our Central Beliefs Applied

  • Lesson 8: Our Core Values

  • Lesson 9: Our Perceptual Attitudes

  • Lesson 10: Our Real Motives

  • Lesson 11: Getting Our Act Together

  • Lesson 12: Developing a Plan

If you or your ministry organization is interested in in discussing the specifics of this phase or want to launch a group using this material please contact me directly.

Dr. Greg Bourgond - Greg@heartofawarrior.org or call me directly at 651-308-1530.