Green Aeroplane

Which wing is most important?

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Talking About Our Captain

It is the last day of the year and we are feeling a little blah after the excitement and rush of Christmas; we have had a surfeit of good food, chocolate and festivities. We have been enjoying family and relations and now we are peopled-out.

The Lord takes a look at us and suggests a quiet flight together to lift us above the mundane and enjoy the creation. Besides, it is New Year tomorow and we could discuss our plans for the next year with Him, so we agree and off we go to seat ourselves in the Green Aeroplane cockpit.

As our plane lifts off and soars into the calm air our spirits begin to quieten; it is wonderful to be in the presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ again. We smile at Him and He smiles at us.

'How was it with the family and friends?' He asks.

'Well, you know,' we reply,'The first day is fine catching up on the news and all but then old quarrels begin to surface and by the time Christmas dinner is eaten tensions begin to rise and differences to appear. Sometimes it ends in someone quarrelling with someone else. So much for peace and goodwill! Wish it could be different. We tried to keep the peace but they wouldn't listen.' We shoot a wry look at our Captain.' If only you had been there you could have changed the atmosphere in an instant.'

"Ah!'says our Lord.' But I was there. I live in you now. Remember that verse I wrote down for you in Colossians 1 verse 27 '..Christ in you, the hope of glory.' You could have called on me at any time and I would have helped you to keep the peace."

'Oh,' we say, blushing a little. 'We forgot that. Sorry'

We sit thoughtful for a moment looking out the window at the beautiful scene spread out below us. Slowly the quietness and the beauty calm us and we say, 'Lord, there is one thing I would like to discuss with you. In fact, it is part of my plans for the new year. I would love to be able to talk about you to others, but I seem to make a mess of it every time I try. I am not an evangelist, that's obvious!'

Again the Lord smiles. 'Many of my friends have that problem and you are right, I haven't given you the gift of evangelism but I have asked that you be a witness for me to the people you meet wherever you are in the world. Open you manual and look at Acts 1 verse 8."

We scramble for our manual which is tucked under our seat and turn to the book of Acts in the New Testament. " will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth'.

'What does it mean to be a witness, Lord?' we ask, to hide the fact that we have forgotten that verse.'

'It means,' says the Lord, 'that like a witness in court you tell people what you have seen and heard and know about me.' An eye-witness account. Your personal story of how you came to know me and what we have done together since. Also answers to requests you have made of me.'

'But, Lord' we say, 'we are afraid to do that. We don't know what words to use, and what if we get it wrong?'

The Lord understands us and looks kindly as he says, 'See the first part of verse 8? My Holy Spirit, who lives in you, will supply the power and the courage if you ask for it. He will even help you with the words to use. Another thing you can do is find another Christian to talk to and tell them your testimony (your eye witness account) of what you know of me and what I have done for you. Why don't you write it all down first and then tell it to someone else?

"The more you practice it the easier it will be to tell others. Do you think you could do that?'

He looks at us. We look away for a moment, terrified at the thought, then we remember His promise to be with us and give us words to say. It would mean a bit of preparation too to get our story straight, and to learn the message we have to tell. We look back. 'I will try, Lord, especially if you will help me.'

"Of course I will. I need every messenger I have to reach those who have never heard of me.' He glances down at the passing world below. He says,'There are so many in the fields ripe and ready to be harvested and so few willing to do the harvesting.'

We too look down and see the vast harvest waiting below and feel his longing for the lost people of the world. We turn back eagerly and say. "I'll go harvesting, Lord - send me!'

The task for the New Year ahead looks exciting and fulfilling. This will be my New Year Resolution.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Enjoying the Flight

Now safely in the air, our Captain has us flying straight and level and we are enjoying His company and looking out at the view unflolding below. Surely nothing could be as good as this.

We glance down at our Flight Manual, check the instrument panel and look over at our Captain. He is looking at us expectantly.

'What?.' we say, 'Am I doing something wrong? Is there something I should be doing?'

'No,' he says reassuringly. 'Everything is under control. I just wondered if you wanted to chat while we fly along. I thought you might like to know more about your new life with me.'

Yes, please,' we say.

He makes a small adjustment to the trim of our plane.

'Turn to page 1060 in the Manual and read me Hebrews Chapter 10 verses 24 and 25. Tell me what it says.'

We find the place in our easy-to-read-Bible and read the verses intently. Our Captain watches us.

'I think it means I should spur on, encourage and meet with other members of the Christian family,' we say. 'At least that is what the verses say,' we add, looking at the Author of the book.

'That's right,' He says encouragingly. 'It is called fellowship. Talking to other Christians, going to a Christian church, singing and talking, and listening to other Christians telling you about this book and what they know about me. That is fellowship. You can meet more of my friends in a small group who are studying the Manual (the Bible)and praying together.

He leans over and taps the Bible. 'The words in here tell about me, my Father and the Holy Spirit. Also our will for the world and its people, and God's dealings with men since He created them. It is really sixty-six books in one, and it takes time to read them all. It needs help from older Christians, teachers and my Holy Spirit (John 14:26) to understand them. 'Come with Me to where other children in my family are and we will all have fellowship together.'

We nod eagerely. Fellowship sounds great.

Our Captain continues:
'Another verse for you to look up is on page 847, Malachi, Chapter 3 verse 16. Every time you talk about Me with other Christians I not only listen, I write it all down to remember.'

We read the verse, and as we look at Him this time He seems to change before our eyes. His face glows and His expression is kingly; stern, majestic, yet merciful and just, not someone to take lightly. We seem to see Him standing in a royal court surrounded by thousands of angels, white light streaming from Him. His presence is overwhelming.(Rev 1:12-18) Someone worth talking about with respect and humility. We are overcome and fall at His feet. How can He be my friend and Saviour? The scene fades and we are back in the cockpit with our Captain

'Wow!' we think. I'd better be careful what I say about my Captain!'

He smiles. He knows our thoughts and says to us.

'If you were the only person in the world I would still have died to save you. You are my child now. Just talk with others about me. It will encourage you. While you think about that I will just fly us over this mountain and then I will take you to meet more of My family. When you have settled in with them I will tell you some more about your new life with me.'

We smile. This is getting better all the time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Talking to our Captain

We have begun to master our flight manual, the Bible, and we are back in the cockpit of our green aeroplane with our Captain. While we have been reading and studying His book He has been checking the controls and the fuel, setting the GPS, and checking other instruments that will maintain us in flight. We need power, fuel, and daily maintainence to keep us in the air. But our Captain does it all. When we ride with Him He supplies everything we need. Our part is to stay close to Him, keep our nose in His book, the flight manual, and talk to Him about everything and do what He says.

We have just read that He says, "Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you" (Mathew 7:7).

He looks at us with a smile and say, "Is there anything you want to ask me before we take off?"

Nervously we look up from the flight manual, there are so many things we don't understsand, but one thing we have learned is just how great He is. Our Captain has so many names that tell us of His power and majesty that we don't know how to speak to Him. How do you talk to someone so great?

"Lord, I don't know what to ask or how to speak to you," we squeeze out, looking down at he pages of the manual for inspiration.

Again He smiles kindly and says, "Just call me Father. Now that you are a child in my family you have a new and loving heavenly Father and you can speak to me at any time and in any place about anything great or small. In the pages of the manual you will see where I have written a model prayer for you to use (Mathew 6:9-10). It will help you learn aspects of talking to me that will give confidence and answers to your needs and the needs of others. As you grow up spiritually in my family you will be able to have deeper discussions with me. But in the meantime use prayers & Psalms already written down in the Bible. I love to hear them. They contain what I want to do on the earth and how I want to help, change and comfort my children."

We decide to try it. We search for Mathew 6:9-13, and find it. It is the first book in the New Testament of the Bible. We read it out to our Captain who listens intently as the engine of the plane warms up.

We read out timidly, 'Our Father in heaven hallowed (holy) be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts (sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who sin against us). And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

We look up hopefully and see a look of approval on our Captain's face, "I shall work on those requests immediately ," He says. "Any time you pray my will you can be sure the answer is on the way."

We beam and then we look anxiously out the window at our prayer wing. It now looks robust and capable of flight. We check the word wing; it too is strong and stable.

"Yes!" says our Captain. "It's time to fly. You keep the wings strong and I will do the rest. We will talk more as we fly."

Our green aeroplane taxis out onto the runway, lines up and surges forward as our Captain releases the brakes and pulls the throttle out. As our plane lifts into the air we feel a surge of excitement and joy. We are flying with our heavenly Father and there is more to come.

Quotes from the New International version of the Bible Zondervan 2002

Friday, July 14, 2006

Using the Flight Manual

Now we are in the plane with our Captain. He again checks the basics of the plane's structure. He places His special manual, the
Bible, in our lap. He looks out the cockpit window at our Bible wing. 'Looks a bit thin', He says. He looks kindly at us as we fumble with His book. 'Do you know how to read and use it?' He asks. 'Knowing and using your flight manual is essential for sustained flight, and everything I say to you - the words I speak to you in this Book, are spirit and life.' (John 6:63 2 Timothy 3:16.))

We sit and think about it. By now we have a user-friendly version of the Bible with print big enough to make reading easy.
Then we check what we know about reading and understanding the Bible for ourselves.(2 Timothy 2:15.) We could ask ourselves these questions:

How often have I opened my Bible today and read it?
What part of the Bible am I reading and why?
Am I reading a Gospel regularly so I can get to know the Lord Jesus better?
Or am I reading an Epistle so I can learn how to be a Christian; how to behave and grow in the fruit of the Spirit; how to witness and learn what the Gospel is 1 (Peter 2:2).

Or am I in the Old Testament, reading Genesis about Creation, or Isaiah about the coming Saviour? Or Psalms for encouragement and comfort?

Which books of the Bible have I never read?

Sidlow Baxter, a preacher and teacher of the 1950s, said 'to get to know the full person of Christ you need to read the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If you only read your favourite portions you only see the Lord's hands or feet, not his whole person or Godhead.'

Anywhere in the Bible is good to read, and even in some of the 'hard' books the Holy Spirit can help you get something out of it (Jn 14:26). The important thing is to read some of the Bible every day and ask it questions to help you understand what you read.

One way to get an understanding of the Bible is to ask it questions. Take the portion you are reading today and ask:

Where is this taking place?
Who is speaking in these verses?
Who else is there?
Is this message for me or for the people of the day, or for both of us?
Is there a sin to avoid?
Is there a promise to pray for my situation?
What can I learn about the character of God or my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?
Is there a verse to memorise and share with others or pray for others?
How does this apply to my life and situation?
Is there an example to follow?
Is there a command to obey?

Ask the portion you are reading any question you can think of - the answer will be in the Scripture - if not where you are reading it will be elsewhere. Get a concordance and look it up or ask another Christian to help you. If you have a cheap version of the Bible you won't mind marking verses that really stand out to you. Some folks use a paper-friendly marker pen for this, others make a mark by the verse. I get a pen and mark the verse number. I keep a better Bible free of marks for showing truths to others - less distracting. Our Bible is a work manual. It contains the words of life and much necessary life instruction,(Hebrews 4:12.)Use it as students use their text books. Read it, study it, memorise it,listen to it, and meditate on it. Meditation means think deeply about a verse or passage with a view to applying it to your life.

Another question to ask is, do I feel near to the Lord Jesus at the moment or far away? In Philippians 4:4 he says, 'Let your gentleness be evident to all the Lord is near'. If we feel distant from the Lord, guess who moved! Somehow. we have gone to the back of the plane and are not by Him in the cockpit. To get back up front and near the Captain keep your nose in His manual, the Bible, and talk to Him daily.

But what do you say to Him when you are in His company? More next time.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pre-flight checks

Before pilots get into their planes they walk round and check the fuselage, propeller--if there is one--wings, tail, rudder and wheels. They also get engineers' reports. And they go through an extensive pre-flight check list before they take off. Besides the lives of their passengers, their own lives are dependent on the state of the aeroplane.

We too must frequently check the state of our spiritual plane. So let's do a Spiritual Check List before flight.

Note: when we see a verse reference like John 3:16, that means look for the Gospel of John in the New Testament section of the Bible. Look for chapter 3 and verse 16. The index at the front of the Bible will tell us what page to go to to find the Gospel, and some Bibles show us what the standard abbreviations are. Like Jn for John.

Now our spiritual check list:

Is there any sin or disobedience blocking my relationship with God?If there is I need to deal with it. See Isa 59:1-2, 1John 1:9.

Are we in touch with the Lord Jesus (our Captain) on a daily basis? Allowing Him to lead and guide us as Lord of our life (Isa 48:17-18). The founder of the New Zealand Navigators, Joe Simmons, always told us, "If Christ is not Lord of all He is not Lord at all."

Do we have fellowship with God's family regularly? (Heb 10:25).

Is our daily prayer life strong and vigorous? Do we pray for others (1 Timothy 2:1-4)? Do we see God answer our prayers (Jn 15:7)? Ask yourself, "When did I last have an answer to prayer?"

Do we share our faith and the Good News of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, with others,or are we keeping it to ourselves (Acts 1:8)?

Is our faith increasing? How can we get faith (Romans 10:17)?

How is our intake of the Word of God, the Bible? Do we drink deeply of the Water of Life or just take a sip now and then? Or only once a week in church (John 6:63, Joshua 1:8). We need daily, personal nourishment from the Bible to grow in our Christian faith. In Asia we would say "Eat your own rice!" In the West, "Eat the food on your own plate!" Don't rely on other Christians to feed you (Jeremiah 15:16).

Is what we read and mediate on and pray over changing our behaviour and character so that we are becoming more like Christ (Rom 13:14)?

There are other checks we could do, but we have checked the wings, the wheels, the engine and our relationship with our Captain. Take a few days to think over the checks and if you think there is anything wrong with your aeroplane, ask the Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, to tell you. Fix it up and then we can get in the plane and do the pre-flight cockpit checks.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sticking on the wings

Which wing shall we stick on first, the Bible wing or the Prayer wing? Maybe a little of both. Two stubby wings are better than one and keep the plane balanced. Another thing we musn't overlook is the wheels. If they aren't pumped up and greased we can't take off . Let's check first to see if we are in the plane, and how we got there.

When we first heard of Christ, someone opened the Bible and told us what the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, sent from God His father, had done for us.

He died to pay the penalty, or sentence, on our sins. He was buried and rose again from the dead to offer us forgiveness and a new, full life. He said if we believe this we cross the bridge from spiritual death to spiritual life (John 5:24). Our part was to talk to God and say that we were truly sorry for all the wrong things we had done, called sin, (Romans 3:23), and to accept the Lord Jesus into our life as Lord and Saviour. We also thanked Him for what He did for us. Jesus came into our lives as he promised. (Revelation 3:20.)If we have done this then we can be sure we are on the plane. Now where to from here?

What we did that day was listen to or read the Bible, and talk, or pray, to God. That is the first step in becoming a Christian, and it is the pattern for continuing to grow in our new life as a Christian. The growth of our wings had started. Little stubs appeared on our green areoplane. To make them grow longer and stronger we need to read the Bible every day and pray every day

'But,'I hear you say, 'I dont know how to do that. 'The Bible is a hard book to read and I don't know what to say to God. And why do I need to?"

While I get the next blog ready, open your Bible and read 2 Timothy 3:16 and Daniel 6:10-11. If you don't have a Bible, borrow or buy one. Get a version that you can understand and with print that is easy to read. There are many to choose from. A paperback version will do. It is easy to carry and doesn't cost much. Then come back and we will talk some more.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

How many wings does an aeroplane need?

Of course it is obvious. Aeroplanes need two wings to fly; even the 'Flying Wing' plane has two sides to it. Two wings keep a plane flying. Gives it lift. Yes, the rudder and tail help too!

When I gave that seminar to a group of women, I used the green areoplane to illustrate two vital skills. Everyone who is a Christian learning to follow Christ needs them.

I asked the audience as I waved the green aeroplane aloft, "Which wing is the most important?"

"Easy", they said, "Both."

"Right. So why do we Christians often leave the wings off our spiritual plane? Or have one large wing and one small wing?" I touched the wings on the green areoplane."Can you guess what the two wings represent to a Christian?"

Silence. No-one was willing to stick their neck out. I held up a Bible and said, "The Word of God (the Bible) and, clasping my hands together, "Prayer." "Ahh!"they said.

Without reading the Bible for ourselves, and talking to God every day, we will remain wingless on our spiritual runway. Our aeroplane will go nowhere and we will wonder why our life as a Christian doesn't seem to work. Maybe together we can figure out how to stick the wings back on our planes so we can get off the runway and into the air.