SEALs Mean Business for Jesus

by | Apr 30, 2001 | Charisma Archive

Some of the U.S. Navy’s toughest tough guys are turning to Jesus thanks to a tenacious San Diego pastor



Danger loomed as Lt. John MacDonald parachuted into San Francisco’s 3Com Park last fall as part of the entertainment before a 49ers football game. As he and his partner flew their steerable chutes, they got entangled at 4,000 feet.


The lower jumper cut away, deployed his reserve and landed safely. Meanwhile, MacDonald tried steering free, then cutting the other chute away. The interference was speeding his descent.


Though neither maneuver worked, a strange calm filled him. He shrugged, “You know what? If this is it, then OK. I’m saved.”


After a quick prayer, he suddenly had an idea. Peeling off a shoe, he kicked at a bracket on his ankle. Breaking a buckle, he released it–and the other chute. He landed safely.


Still, that brush with calamity isn’t the most important thing God has done in his life the last year. The Navy officer calls his acceptance of Christ astonishing.


“I’m 31 years old, and I was pretty set in my ways,” said MacDonald, who became convinced of Christ’s reality after hearing pro football lineman Tony Boselli share his testimony in San Diego. “I used to say: ‘I don’t need church. That’s for people who are weak.'”


Now stationed near Virginia Beach, Va., the Naval Academy graduate is just one of several dozen highly trained warriors who have joined the church in the last two years.


That is just a fraction of the 800 SEALs on duty at Coronado Island, Calif. But the charismatic pastor who has played a key role in this spiritual awakening calls it amazing because of their rugged training and self-reliance.


SEAL–Sea, Air, Land–teams perform risky aquatic missions, including hostage and prisoner rescue. New trainees must endure a six-month underwater demolition course, known as BUD/S, that weeds out three-quarters of the applicants.


Greg Wark, founding pastor of Morningstar Church in LaJolla, Calif., sees this regimen as perfect preparation for Christianity. A born-again SEALs’ concept of commitment, Wark said, is better than the average believer’s.


“They say, ‘I’m going all the way with Christ,'” Wark said. “They almost have the mentality of Old Testament martyrs. In terms of discipleship they view a relationship with God as vitally important.”


Ironically, when Wark helped start the church, his mind wasn’t on Navy enlistees. Meeting near the University of California at San Diego, the Morningstar church’s initial goal was reaching college students.


But soon after coming to the area, a friend invited him to a SEAL-related filming session. Riding in a pickup truck, Wark asked a SEAL how he shed the memories of grueling field encounters after coming home.


Shooting him a condescending smirk, the soldier grunted, “All I need is a beer and a buddy.”


“I said, ‘Lord, give me these men,'” the pastor recalled. “I went along with my business and soon began seeing BUD/S students in church.”


He encountered others on the outside. When he met Jeff Bramstedt at a local gym, he shared a supernatural insight: God was going to place him in front of many people who would revere his words.


“Cool,” he replied as he turned back to the weights. “Anything else?”


That touched off several months of weekly phone calls. Bramstedt resisted the overtures, but after setbacks in his personal life he summoned the pastor. Soon after, the sky diver accepted Christ at a coffee shop.


Wark’s word of knowledge came true last December at a juvenile-detention facility. After the SEAL spoke, 17 inmates raised their hands to signal a desire to accept Christ.


Steve Decker, a 14-year veteran who received the gift of tongues a month after getting baptized in a swimming pool, has been overcome several times by the awesome nature of Christ’s sacrifice for his sins. Decker felt bad about his disobedience but could sense the Lord saying, “I forgive you and still love you.”


“It was like the Lord was saying, ‘This is intimacy with Me, and it’s just beginning,'” he said. “I’ve felt a closeness with God. That’s the most amazing thing He’s done.”


These reborn soldiers are preparing to share their faith publicly. While the starting date isn’t set, Wark and several men are planning outreaches soon to public schools.


A three-man team will parachute onto school property, talk about making positive choices and invite students to an evening meeting where they will give their testimonies.


“Because of their stature, kids want to hear what they have to say,” Wark said. “I’ve asked God to raise these men up as leaders.”

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Prophetic Words: End of Year Prophecies to Guide You into 2023

Prophetic Words: End of Year Prophecies to Guide You into 2023

Chris Reed's Prophetic Word Over China: Unprecedented mass protests are unfolding right now across China. The country is seeing the largest pushback in decades, following their "zero COVID strategy" still in place today. China's Communist Party has continued to...

Declaring a Great Awakening Among Prodigals

Declaring a Great Awakening Among Prodigals

Read Time: 1 Minute 23 Seconds It’s a shocking statistic! More than 80 and up to 90% of children who grow up in church are leaving the church once they reach 18. Sadly, only 40% return, according to Focus on the Family. I believe, with prayer, we can defy those...

Bible Verse of the Day, Dec. 8th: Advent Season, Isaiah 11:1-10

Bible Verse of the Day, Dec. 8th: Advent Season, Isaiah 11:1-10

Isaiah 11:1-10 And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the...

Marilyn Hickey: God Can Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Marilyn Hickey: God Can Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Read Time: 2 Minutes 2 Seconds Have you ever broken a bone? If so, you know what it’s like to go through a painful healing process. Consider what that might feel like in the spiritual realm. Sometimes we can get broken in various ways in life, but God wants to “set”...

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

Read Time: 1 Minute 59 Seconds Bishop J. Drew Sheard and the General Board of the Eastern Florida Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ announced Tuesday the death of one of its most beloved leaders, Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Hutchins was 65....

RECENT ARTICLES

Don’t Criticize Charismatics

They are saying the charismatic movement is divisive. Whenever people get involved in the "new emphasis," there are disruptions in the status quo. Red flags go up. Lines are drawn. I would ask: What...
Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Read Time: 6 Minutes, 42 Seconds Is it possible that ancient entities known as "the gods" have returned to our world? Could these gods actually be the unseen movers and catalysts of what's happening in America and the world today? Could they lie behind the current...

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Read Time: 3 Minutes 37 Seconds Most made-for-TV Christmas movies are like eggnog and sugar cookies—way too sweet, yet extremely addictive for a lot of viewers. But these Hallmark-style movies—the ones with predictable love stories that always end with jingling bells...

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 1 Minute 51 Seconds At a recent gathering where a member was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you, TURN and see; embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Read Time: 2 Minutes 25 Seconds If you search the phrase, “where does life come from?” the first explanation reads: “The origin of life is a result of a supernatural event—and readily arises from nonliving matter in short periods of time, today as in the past.” The...

Raise Your Praise!

Raise Your Praise!

These are the days that may leave you feeling defeated. You may be wondering when these present trials will end or how can you strengthen your faith for the battle as you wrestle against powers and principalities that come against you, in addition to the challenges...

Pin It on Pinterest