In 1985, an interviewer asked the question, “What makes the church different than the world?” you would hear a multitude of responses. Many of these responses talked about the care of the church, the compassions of the members, and the character of their lives. These are wonderful attributes that should be a ready and vibrant testimony to bring change into a world that needs hope. However in recent years, if you were to ask someone on the streets the same questions, the response is shockingly short. Multitudes has expressed, “There is nothing different. They live like we do.”
With every fractures family and marriage, every indictment and conviction, every explosion and split, the church of Jesus Christ continues to lose its saltiness of preservation while the world continue to spoil under the heat of adversary. What truly makes us different from the world? Is it our dress, our convictions, our buildings, our politics? Nope. There is only one thing that make us different from the world- CHRIST. This may seem like a simple answer yet when you begin to unpack it through the study of the love of Christ, the life of Christ, and the leading of Christ, the simple answer has grown into a lifelong endeavor. That is exactly how it is supposed to be- lifelong and not Sunday worship hour long.
Our current plight of repairing the testimony of Christianity is not only here in the present, it was also experienced in Nehemiah’s day. Through the month of May, we will begin to walk with this “Wall Building Project Officer” from God as he now turns his focus on the wrongs within the walls. In this great chapter of confrontation, he rebukes the nobles and leaders for their oppression against each other. Earlier, the tribes put their money together to buy their brothers and sisters out of the hands of the foreigners. They turned around, however, and sold each other into the hands of their countrymen to become slaves. The picture of hypocrisy was painted and Nehemiah called it what it was-UGLY! After being exposed, the children of Israel did not ignore the accusation but restored everything taken and required nothing in return. As Nehemiah help to defend the wall from the enemy on the outside in chapter 4, he defended the walls of the people of God in chapter 5 by dealing with the rust or ruin on the inside. Let me close with this illustration.
After F.E. Marsh preached on this subject, a young man came to him and said, “Pastor, you have put me in a bad fix. I’ve stolen from my employer, and I’m ashamed to tell him about it. You see, I’m a boat builder, and the man I work for is an unbeliever. I have often talked to him about Christ, but he only laughs at me. In my work, expensive copper nails are used because they won’t rust in water. I’ve been taking some of them home for a boat I am building in my backyard. I’m afraid if I tell my boss what I’ve done and offer to pay for them, he’ll think I’m a hypocrite, and I’ll never be able to reach him for Christ. Yet, my conscience is bothered.” Later when the man saw the preacher again, he exclaimed, “Pastor, I’ve settled that matter and I’m so relieved.” “What happened when you told your boss?” asked the minister. “Oh, he looked at me intently and said, ‘George, I’ve always thought you were a hypocrite, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe there’s something to your Christianity after all. Any religion that makes a man admit he’s been stealing a few copper nails and offer to settle for them must be worth having.'”
CHAPLAIN (MAJ-ret) DANIEL MIDDLEBROOKS
Chaplain (MAJ-ret) Daniel Middlebrooks was born in Plant City, Florida on 19 July, 1966. After receiving his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, he entered the Active Duty on 27 May, 1988 at FT. Jackson, SC and began his career as a 91J- Physical Therapy Technician for three years at Fox Army Hospital, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (1988-1991). In November 1988, Daniel surrendered to the call of the ministry and worked toward his BS degree at Athens State College, Athens, Alabama. He left the Active Duty, May 1991 and entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the National Guard Chaplain’s Candidate Program. He was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, commissioned as a 2nd LT in January 1992 and served with the HQ STARC until Jan 1994. He completed his MDIV in the summer of 1994 and was commissioned at a 1st LT, January 1994 and transferred to 769th Combat Engineers, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was later transferred to the 2-117 FA in Oneonta, Alabama.
Civilian Ministry Experience:
CH Middlebrooks served at Williams Blvd Baptist church from 1991-1995 as the Minister of Newlyweds, Minister of young Adults, Minister of Family Ministries and Interim Music Minister. He moved to Morgan City, AL and served as the Associate Pastor and New Building Construction Director from OCT 1995-June 1997. He served as the Senior Pastor for Hopewell Baptist Church, Plant City FL from Feb. 2013- March, 2017. He currently serves as the Command Chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chaplain for Plant City. His also volunteers as the chaplain of Plant City Fire Department and Hillsborough County School Board-Security Division. He is the President/CEO of R3 Care & Consulting, LLC and Chaplaincy Care, Inc.
Active Duty Chaplaincy/Military Experience:
He entered Active Duty again in June 1997 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served in the 626 FSB (97-98) and 1/502 IN BN(99-2000); Deputy 280th BSB CH (2000-02) and 1-26 IN , Schweinfurt, Germany (2002-03); 1st Recruiting Brigade as the OIC of the CH Recruiting team (2004-06);and 10th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Carson, CO (2007-10). He last served as the Chaplain’s Career Course Senior Course manager, instructor and developer/writer.
His military Schooling includes Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course (93), Chaplain Career Course (2003), USAREC Chaplain Recruiting Certification, CPE (2006), and ILE (2007), and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School Faculty Development Training/Instructor Certification. CH Middlebrooks has deployed to MFO/Egypt (1999-00), Kosovo (2002), and Iraq (2008-09).
Awards: Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, GWOT, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversee Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and MFO Medal. He earned his Air Assault Wings in 1997 and his Recruiter badge with three silver stars in 2006. He was awarded the distinguished Witherspoon Award from the OCCH and National Bible Association in 2010. He is married to the former Arienne Plyler of Brandon, Florida. They have two daughters, Erica (23) and Allison (18). Over the last 29 years of marriage, the Middlebrooks family has moved 19 times and understands what means to “Bloom where God plants you”.