Charlie Mike!

I scanned the open field that was barely illuminated by the moonlight. There they were in the trees opposite of my concealed position. Between those being held in captivity and the landing zone for the team that would attempt rescue, stood the enemy. Crouching in the brush just inside the tree line, I raised the handset to my mouth and keying the mic, I spoke softly, “Bakersfield is hot.” The ground unit commander’s voice came back in my earpiece, “Copy that, wait one.” I knew what I would hear next. There was no surprise when his voice returned with the order to move to the alternate landing zone. Before his radio transmission ended, I heard the words, “Charlie Mike!”

In military terms “Charlie Mike” signifies continuing the mission. It combines two characters from the phonetic alphabet to continue with an assigned objective. Most often it is after there has been a change in circumstances, a delay, or an unforeseen obstacle to the plans.

Before the Lord ascended to the heaven, the Lord spent forty days speaking to the Apostles about the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) His virgin birth, the works that the Father gave Him to do, His sacrifice on the cross, and having been resurrected from the grave, inaugurated His Kingdom. During His time with them before, He had taught them what the Kingdom would be like and how it would work. Now He tells them that the Kingdom would be in the hearts of all believers by the coming of the Holy Spirit. He then gave the eleven apostles, those with them, and all that would come in later, their marching orders.

Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this; I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Known and referred to as the great commission, this gave His Church authority, purpose, and responsibility. He has sent them, and all of us, in His name or under His authority. Have you ever been in a situation where you were being asked to do something, or go to someone in another’s name? At work, or in ministry. How did it make you feel? Did you consider it a privilege, did you understand the great responsibility that had been given to you? I always considered it an honor. I knew that I was being given trust by the one sending me.

Just as in my time in the military, upon hearing the order to “Charlie Mike” I knew that something had changed. For the Apostles, the last night before the crucifixion brought many changes to what they might have thought about their future ministry. (John 14,15,16) There were going to be changes in situations, with obstacles and persecution, and in denials and delays. Just looking at the experiences of the first missionaries of the gospel, we see them meeting situations that would cause some in today’s modern churches to shrink back from continuing the mission.

Philip had a successful ministry preaching to large crowds in Samaria but took off down a desert road so the gospel would be taken and preached in Ethiopia. Peter countered the Lord over what he thought was bad dietary advice, only to find himself in the home of a gentile preaching until the Holy Spirit interrupted him by filling all those that had been listening. And Paul, well he might have the most campaign ribbons and “Been there, done that” t-shirts. Having been an obstacle, having done the persecuting, he threw the ribbons, t-shirts, and all the suffering he would encounter for the Lord over on the dung pile. Through everything he continued the mission.

Therefore, Go!

The Lord’s great commission for His Church begins with Him delegating His authority and a purpose. He is sending us to do something with it. The gospel was not gonna be spread if the Apostles had slipped out of town and holed up in some rural village. They were to start in the city and end up going to the entire world. We may not be called to leave our countries, but we all have neighborhoods, office or workplaces, and cities that need to hear the good news of Jesus. Make more disciples. I see the original command given to Adam in the Lord’s words. “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28) The end game of the great commission, make more followers of Jesus, save them from perishing, to tell of the hope in Jesus that transfers them from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son. (Col. 1:13)

The Book of Acts tells us how the work was begun by the Apostles and others with them. What Jesus showed by example, what the early church started, we must continue. Until the Lord’s return, we the Church are being sent into the world. A world full of hostages that needed to be rescued. Being led and empowered by His Spirit in us just as it was with the first believers, no geographic boundary or political interest can stop us. Nothing will be able to restrict the penetrating spread of the good news of Jesus Christ.

There is another military term that comes by simply reversing these two words. That is “Mike Charlie.” This signals that the mission is complete. The objective has been carried out, and operations cease. Until the Lord calls us out of this world, as long as we are alive and in our earthly bodies we are to “Charlie Mike” with all diligence. Let us armor up and use the gifts and talents He has given to us until we here, “Mike Charlie!”

We will hear it as, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”