Saturday, May 7, 2016

Listening to God

Listening to God
                     How do we effectively communicate with God in a busy Fire Service?

Author – Craig Duck President/Missionary FCFInternational

 Effective communication on the fireground is essential for success. With all of the noise that is associated with the emergency scenes we are dispatched to, it is amazing that anything at all is understood. Yet somehow, firefighters are able to take messages from the incident commander and without hesitation carry out those orders in order to stop the chaos from continuing. 

Can you imagine if every firefighter were to listen to God when He speaks to us and then just as quickly obey His voice? Sadly, many firefighters do not even understand how to effectively communicate with God and listen to His response.

In order to have a vibrant relationship with God we need to thoroughly understand the following:

  • How does God communicate?

  • In the past

God freely spoke with Adam and Eve in the garden using an audible voice (Genesis 1:28-30). He also spoke with Noah before the flood and Moses in a burning bush as well as others in the Old Testament era. This does not mean that firefighters today will hear an audible voice from God.

Make no mistake about it; God can do anything He desires and if He wanted to He could still talk directly to us. Since the completion of the Bible, however, God has chosen not to use an audible voice when speaking directly to His people. In fact, believers should take notice and avoid people who say that they have directly spoken with God and He has told them what to do.

God uses the Bible as the primary means to communicate with His people.

  • In the present

God has created each one of us in a unique way. Look at your own local fire department. There are many different types of people who serve there, each with various types of gifts and talents that they bring to the company. Fast ones and slow ones, caring ones and tough ones come to the station with the same purpose and desire of serving their community.

How do firefighters communicate with God?

Firefighters communicate with God through prayer. Because of the completed work of Jesus Christ we have direct access to the Father.

  • “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Since God has created each firefighter in a special way, how we listen to His still small voice can very. 

How does God communicate with firefighters today?

  • Through the Bible – The Bible is the inspired word of God, written by men as they led by the Spirit. Every word and every concept was directed by God and is profitable for today’s firefighters. II Timothy 3:16
  • Through nature and creation – Romans 1:20
  • Through a Still Small Voice – John 16:12-14 (Note – When we rely on our inner promptings, we have to acknowledge that it may be self-led and not Spirit-led. Firefighters need to ensure that the still small voice is what God is trying to tell us and not what we want to hear.)
  • Through Other Believers – James 3:17 (Note – other believers may have the best intentions but their wisdom is not infallible.)

Christian firefighters today can still listen to God and choose to obediently serve Him. While we may not hear an audible voice from God we can be assured that He still desires to hear from us and speak to us. God wants to have a vibrant intimate relationship with His people.

Today God speaks to us through the written word (the Bible), His Son Jesus Christ, through His Spirit, through nature and creation and through Godly friends and firefighters.

We can’t say enough about the Bible and how God uses it in order to communicate to His people. If you are not actively reading and studying the Bible you will not accurately hear from God. Enough said!!

  • In the future

Believers in Jesus Christ look forward to a day when we see God face to face and worship Him in a place called heaven. The book of Revelation shows us a glimpse of what heaven will be like and how we will eternally show our gratitude to a loving God who has provided eternal life through the completed work of Jesus Christ.

Fellowship will once again be restored between God’s people and God, similar to that in the Garden of Eden.

Now that we know how to communicate with God, is there anything that can hinder our communication with God?

Most departments across the United States provide a portable radio in order to communicate with the group/division leader or the incident commander. There are times during the incident when a firefighter or officer attempts to transmit a message and the message is not heard. This can happen when the portable radio is out of range, some other person is transmitting a message which results in a honking noise or the radios battery is dead. 

Fortunately, God can handle more than one message at the same time and His system will never become defective or out of range.

So why does it seem like there are times when our prayers do not get answered and our communication with God feels like it is ineffective? The reasons can be as varied as the way in which individual departments extinguish fires. Simply stated the reason lies not with God but with our own individual lives and the choices we make. 

Reasons why our prayers are hindered:

  • Selfish motives – James 4:3 “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires (HCS).”
  • Turning away from scripture – Proverbs 28:9 “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable (NIV).
  • Family discord – I Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered (NKJV).”
  • Unconfessed sin – Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear (NKJV).
  • Doubt – James 1:5-7

When you feel like God is not answering your prayers, check to see if one of these reasons might apply to you. Then quickly confess those sins to God and develop a plan of attack on how to change your life.

God desires to hear from His children. Make no mistake about it; the problem is not typically on God’s end but ours. We find all sorts of excuses for not regularly communicating with the creator of the universe and the rescuer of our souls.

If you want to glorify God in the fire service you have to communicate with God!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Report from the Field 2-16-2016

From the Field
Our week concluded with a Firefighters Married Couples Conference which was held in Clarksville, Virginia. The number of couples was small but the fellowship and encouragement was huge. Holly and I enjoyed preparing for the weekend event and delighted in the look on all of the couples faces as they participated in the annual event. What a blessing to be able to hold an event like this at such an affordable price. We all agreed to hold the event next year and plans are already underway to improve on our success. We learned how to treat our spouses like a CHIEF. Looking at what the Bible has to say about firefighter marriages we discussed ways to improve our marriages, no matter how many years we have been married.

The backbone of our ministry continues to be the Bible. As we strive hard to put more Bible studies together for firefighters we continue to discover that our resources are not utilized in proportion to the mission field of 1.2 million firefighters in America alone. We need to figure out how to put these resources in the hands of firefighters who need them. If you have any ideas please give me a call at 443-336-9859 or email me at

The process of getting folks to submit articles for the Interactive Encourager page on the website is slow. Thank God we have had a couple of submissions. We still need folks to leave comments on what they are reading and Lord willing begin to study their Bibles more as they discuss each topic. My prayer is that God would use our website to put Biblical resources in the hands of firefighters.

The rest of this week will consist of office work. We will be getting ready for the FDIC show in April and the mens Ignite conference in March. We will be having a table at this years conference and hope to connect with many firefighters.

Holly and I are beginning to look for sponsors to help with the ministry. We are beginning by sending letters to churches, businesses and members who would be willing to help. We are praying for 100 sponsors who are willing to send $100.00 a month to further the Kingdom in the fire service.

Prayer Requests

  • Support for the ministry
  • More faithful leaders to help spread the word about our ministry
  • The International Board members
  • Open doors for us to share our faith with other firefighters

Monday, February 8, 2016

Report from the Field 2-08-2016

From the Field
As your President/Missionary I continue to be blessed with this ministry to firefighters and first responders. It is easy to get discouraged by the lack of perceived interest, but I am thankful to God for the doors He continues to open. We continue to work hard at providing resources for firefighters who are serious in their walk with Christ. Bible studies, articles and videos are being placed on the website in hopes that firefighters will download them and study the Word of God. The sad truth is most firefighters never step foot in a local church, let alone study their Bibles on a regular basis. If you have a passion for Bible study and have never looked at our website I challenge you to look us over and see if these resources, which are specifically designed for firefighters, don't bless your life. The Interactive Encourager Magazine page is adding articles almost daily. Feel free to email the author or leave a comment for others to hear your point of view. Better yet, why don't you submit an article and have a chance to win $500.00. Our real prayer is that firefighters and first responders would be drawn to this new tool to help them grow in their faith.

Work is still going on for the new Outreach Bibles. Our prayer is to have them complete prior to the FDIC show in Indianapolis, Indiana. Please pray that God would use these Bibles to glorify His name in the fire service.

The couples conference is going to be held this coining weekend. Please pray that God would use this time to encourage couples in the fire service within their marriage. The turnout is very small, but we are confident that God will use this time in a mighty way. If you have any ideas on how to get more first responders involved in our ministry please share them with us. With a mission field of 1.2 million in the US alone it feels like we are barely even scratching the surface. I have been to several fires over the years where we did not have enough GPM's to extinguish the flames. The streams looked good but were not effective. Pray that we would have effective streams as Christian firefighters.

FCFInternational is also looking for more support. Our ministry relies on support in order to provide the resources needed for firefighters to walk with God. All of our donations go directly into the ministry as I do not draw a salary for the work I do (hence the missionary usage in my title). Would you prayerfully consider sharing our ministry with your local church. Our prayer is to locate 100 churches who would be willing to partner with us by praying and financially supporting our work with $100.00 a month. Thank you in advance for helping us help firefighters and first responders.

Prayer Requests

  • That God would be glorified in the fire service.
  • We would meet our goal of 100 supporting churches.
  • The Outreach Bibles would be complete by FDIC.
  • God would provide more co-laborers who would be willing to minister full time to firefighters.
  • God would continue to open doors for us to minister to firefighters and first responders.
  • A radio station would air our daily devotions.
  • We would see a revival in the fire service.

Craig W. Duck

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why Local Chapters Matter

Why Local Chapters Matter
by Craig W. Duck President/Missionary FCFInternational – Lieutenant DCFD (Retired)

 Traveling around the country I am often asked why local chapters matter. Our ministry began in 1977 with a handful of firefighters from the Denver, Colorado area and the local chapters were a big part of their ministry. Since that time chapters in various parts of the world have come and gone.

Local chapters do not seem to matter as much to the younger generation of firefighters as they did to the past generation.

Newer firefighters are less likely to be committed to an organization that involves their time and effort with no financial reward. According to “Millennials, have become more detached from major institutions like political parties, religion, the military and marriage.” They go on to write that the millennials “are the least overtly religious American generation in modern times.”

This young generation of firefighters, however, is more confident, connected and open to change than generations of the past.

Where are these young and energetic firefighters going to find hope and healing in difficult days within the fire service? Who is able to give credible information to firefighters in a world that seems to be spiraling out of control? Where can they go to find truth?

The obvious answer is the Bible. Since this new generation is open to change, and most have little or no idea what the Bible says, we have an opportunity to connect them with God.

FCFInternational is available to firefighters worldwide in order to provide encouragement to those who are hurting by teaching Biblical principles that have helped every generation.
The Need

Firefighters today are exposed to many stressors that can easily discourage the most seasoned veteran. Terrorist activities, large difficult fires, multiple trauma related EMS runs and daily exposure to death and dying all add stress to a firefighters life until he/she reaches a breaking point.

Many churches are ill prepared or trained to handle congregants who are regularly exposed to these traumatic events. The average pastor has never personally experienced these types of emergency responses and has virtually no idea on how to resolve these potentially destructive situations.

In an article for Sara Jahnke writes; “Of the firefighters surveyed, 85 percent of career and 71 percent of volunteer firefighters reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Approximately half of career and volunteer firefighters reported binge drinking in the past month.”

Many firefighters attempt to hide their stress related issues through the use of alcohol. I have witnessed many firefighters whose alcohol use resulted in department discipline or loss of their career.

“Firefighter suicide is on the increase.” 

Mark Lamplugh reports that firefighter suicide rates are “beginning to catch up with the rates of law enforcement officers.” We are losing too many firefighters that could have been helped if someone had only reached out.

Local chapters are needed in order show firefighters where to find answers to their questions about life.

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

Local Chapters Matter – because firefighters matter to God

God loves firefighters. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 NIV

God desires every firefighter to have an abundant life relationship with Him. Because of our sin, we have become alienated from God (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)

Local chapters can share the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

  • John 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ESV
  • I John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ESV
  • Acts 4:12 – “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ESV

Local Chapters Matter – because they provide hope

God wants us to regularly get together. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

FCFInternational continues to believe that local chapters matter to the life and vitality of not only Christian firefighters, but of all firefighters. Local chapters matter because firefighters matter to God, they provide hope during difficult days and they encourage firefighters to draw closer to God.

Keith Helms, retired Battalion Chief from the Charlotte Fire Department and International Board member, writes; “Local chapters provide an opportunity for Christian firefighters to engage with other believers. While we need to be clear that the chapters do not replace a believer’s need to be involved with a local church, the chapter can serve as an extension of the church. When we see all of the “one another’s” in the Bible (see note below), the local chapter enables firefighters to actively accomplish them. Social media is good for communication, however, it does not provide the closeness and depth that face-to-face interaction provides. Without local chapters, it is very difficult for us to fulfill Hebrews 10:24-25.”

Local chapters can be a safe haven for firefighters to meet together in order to sort out all of the negativity that they face day in and day out. Men and women can truly learn what the Bible has to say about the subjects that most interest them and read real life examples of how God works through the very same circumstances in the lives of His people.

Local Chapters Matter – because they cause growth

God wants a thriving personal relationship with firefighters. This can only take place when the Bible is taught to local chapter members. 

FCFInternational encourages chapters to study their Bibles. A lot of time and effort has gone into providing high quality Bible studies that speak directly to firefighters. Check out the website to find all sorts of resources that will help your local group to learn more about the Bible and be able to share that knowledge with others in your station.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15 Holman Christian Standard.

The Question

The question then becomes, are you willing to put in the time and effort needed for a local group to exist? The sad truth is local chapters are rapidly dwindling in numbers. If we truly want to make good on our vision statement then we need people like you who are willing to step out of the boat and start or maintain a local group.

Who knows you just may change a life for eternity.

This young generation of firefighters wants you to show them how to live Godly in and ungodly world. They don’t want you to “tell them” the way, “yell at them” the way or let them figure it out on their own. I had great success as a lieutenant showing and living out how to be a great firefighter to the new generation firefighter.

I am convinced that doing the same for our faith will yield just as much success!!

Vision Statement – To glorify God in the fire service by building relationships that turn first responders hearts and minds toward Christ (Philippians 2:11), equipping them to serve Him (Ephesians 4:12).

Keith’s Notes
Encourage one another: Hebrews 3:13, 10:24
Love one another: John 15:17
Forgive one another: Ephesians 4:32
Be devoted to one another: Romans 12:10
Submit to one another: Ephesians 5:21
Build up one another: Romans 14:19

Serve one another: Galatians 5:13

Friday, January 15, 2016

Greetings From The Mission Field - 1-15-2016

From the field
Things are finally coming along in the International Office. It seems like everything takes forever down here, but praise God we are working in the office. The heat was installed a couple of days ago and we praise God that the installer found two gas leaks that we have had since we moved in that we had not discovered. Now I can continue working in the office and providing resources for firefighters.

I have been working hard on the website. We continue to try and update the web in order to provide resources to firefighters. Please pray with us as we are trying to let the firefighters know we exist and we have many resources available to them. I am excited about the new interactive Encourager Magazine page and hope firefighters will frequently view and add to this page. Firefighters can view articles, submit their own articles, email the authors and leave comments. So far we have had little traffic, be we are praying that this page enables firefighters to study their Bibles more as they go through the articles.

In the next few weeks you will also find a Table Top Discussion page. These short Bible studies will be perfect for small groups to start studying the Bible and veterans to brush up on their Bible knowledge. Almost like a refresher course these quick studies will help firefighters to grow in their faith.

I will be traveling to Daytona Beach Florida for the fire conference there. Pray that God would open doors for the ministry and I can build relationships with firefighters.

Accomplishments for the week

  • Memberships were mailed out to those who have renewed their membership. Memberships help to print the Encourager Magazine as well as cover office expenses and supplying Bibles to firefighters. Our membership is down in recent years, pray that God would build up an army of Christian firefighters who will work together to glorify God in the fire service. Please let me know if you have any ideas on how to increase our membership.
  • Mailing for the Encourager was completed and awaiting the copies from the printer.
  • Heat installed in the office.
  • Website updated.
Prayer Requests
  • Pray for a new Prayer Director. Our previous director resigned and we are in need of someone to coordinate prayer requests.
  • New members from our younger generation.
  • The Couples Conference to have at least 20 couples.
  • Leadership of the Fellowship.
  • More chapters.
  • Our ministry is in need of fin aces in order to provide more resources to firefighters. If you would like to join our team by becoming a supporter please contact the International Office to find out how you can help.
Thank you for all you do to contribute to FCFInternational. It takes many individuals who are committed to the ministry in order to make it work. With your help we can truly make good on our promise to glorify God in the fire service. If you have a need in your life please do not hesitate to contact me.

Craig W. Duck

Monday, January 11, 2016

The One Thing

The One Thing

by Chaplain Dan CleggInternational Board MemberFCFInternational

What is the one thing that FCFI needs more than anything?

Whenever you have a question come up, the best place to get the correct answer is the Word of God! As I look into and study the Bible there is one thing I see Jesus doing that I need to do in my life as well. Praying! That is what John 17 is all about, a prayer of Jesus. In the eleventh verse Jesus prayed that we would become one, just as He and the Father are one. Knowing this makes me ask, is Unity that one thing that FCFI needs?

So I ask, are we unified in purpose? We know that the bible says; “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (II Corinthians 5:20 NIV).” The second part of that verse is just as important as the first as we engage men in the marketplace or fire station. “We implore you on Christ’s behalf. Be reconciled to God.”what a privilege to know Jesus Christ speaks through us today. We must embrace this idea of being ambassadors in the fire service.

In times like these, more people are asking questions. Some are firefighters, and we have an opportunity to provide them with the answers we find in the Lord’s Scriptures.

1 Peter 3:15 reminds us that we are to “be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

So I say to you do not be discouraged by the darkening culture. The darkness serves to make the light we have in Christ to shine even brighter.

Firefighter Marriages

Firefighter Marriages
by Craig Duck – President/Missionary FCFInternational

We have seen when fires spiral out of control. Typically, not just one thing goes wrong on the fireground, but several events happen which cause the incident to get out of hand. Read any line of duty death report and you will find that several key problems occurred which led to the death of the firefighters. If any one of those issues was quickly addressed, the loss of the firefighters or the structure would not have occurred.

No firefighters that I know of sets out to intentionally burn down a building or hurt other firefighters. In fact, many train hard on how to prevent these tragedies from happening. 

Some firefighter marriages can be viewed similarly to those fires. None of us starts out in our marriage intending to have a divorce or an unhappy life. Yet many folks have become discouraged with their home life situation.

So how does this happen? How can we as firefighters be better prepared for the difficulties that we will encounter throughout our service as firefighters? What must we do to prevent a tragedy in our marriage?

In the Beginning

First, let’s begin with a look at how God views marriages. He is, after all, the designer and creator behind firefighter marriages.

Way back in the book of Genesis – remember it’s the first book of the Bible – God designed marriage as we know it today. Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” ESV

In fact, the Bible reminds us that; “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22 ESV). 

God also intended for our marriages to last for a lifetime. Don’t you remember standing before the pastor and saying something like – “till death do us part”? Matthew 19:6 – “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." NIV 

God not only desires for us to be married, but wants our marriage to thrive.

Thriving Marriages

Thriving marriages don’t just happen by accident. We all know the time and effort it takes to become a great firefighter. Similarly, great marriages take time and effort. 

The less time you put into your marriage the less likely it will succeed when difficulties arise, and they will. 

Many firefighters today are self-centered. Don’t worry, so too is the vast majority of people today. Our generation has quickly become the “me” generation. If there is nothing in it for me, I will not get involved.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) This verse applies to our spouses as well. 

If we want our marriage to thrive – and who doesn’t? – we need to learn what our spouses needs are. First, we need to be a good student of our spouse. Then we need to follow through and actually fulfill his/her needs. Can you imagine learning everything there is to know about firefighting and never applying it to an actual fire? No, that is a ridiculous thought. 

When was the last time you did something nice for your spouse for no apparent reason? You might be shocked at the response.

Firefighters can also have a thriving marriage when both of the spouses are working together in unity. You don’t freelance on the fireground without suffering consequences do you? So if you wouldn’t act on your own on the fireground why would you try and go it alone in your marriage? 

Philippians 2:2 – “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” ESV
Again, working together in unity takes time and effort. If you are not willing to put in the effort don’t expect you marriage to improve with age.

Here are some thoughts on how to improve your marriage:

  • Communicate regularly
  • Gentlemen – love your wife
  • Women – respect your husband
  • Be honest with each other
  • Go on regular dates
  • Share the load
  • Attend a marriage seminar every now and then (check out our website for details on FCFInternational’s next conference)
  • Read the Bible together
  • Laugh often

Marriage is tough, especially in the fire service. Stress, long work hours, traumatic events, and mood swings can easily make our marriages fall apart. Firefighters need to learn how take the same energy that we expend on the fire service and apply it to our marriages. Then we will not only have a marriage that works, but is more pleasing to God.