Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Check List (Doug White)

Tonight's entry is again by Doug White, a college friend from Harding University and now a pharmacist in Louisiana. Doug is a Biblical scholar and edits a great bulletin for his congregation. Prayers for me in Vietnam
Anyone who has ever done any substantial amount of shopping knows that we are well served to bring a list with us, whether it's the grocery store, Lowe's or Sam's. No matter how well we think we know what we want, anything over a list of 3-4, we stand to forget one of them.
          We go through our list and, as in the above picture, we take care of item one and, check. Item two, check, and so on.
          I owned and flew a King Air 200 for some years. The Beechcraft King Air is a complex, pressurized, twin engine turbo prop airplane (jet engines with propellers on the front). The King Air flies high and it flies fast. And, if you are not careful, it is an airplane that can get ahead of you in a hurry.  The typical cock pit of a King Air looks like the picture below.

          You can't, and should not, consistently, climb into this aircraft, or any airplane for that matter, without going through a checklist. You are very likely to overlook one item and that particular item can cause you some serious grief later on. If you are at 28,000 feet and flying 300 mph in clouds, around thunderstorms and in heavy turbulence, you can not simply 'pull over' and see what's wrong if you have a problem.
          We had walk around checklists, to inspect the exterior before we even climbed inside. We had pre-start checklist, pre-taxi checklists, pre-take off checklists, climb checklists, descent checklists, etc. We may have even had a checklist to see if you went over your checklists.
          The wise pilots use the checklist every single time. And we focused on Every item, even though a lot of these were memorized. I would vocally say the item and then I would physically look at, and touch, the item.
          There are a lot of bold pilots. There are a lot of old pilots. But there are no old And bold pilots.
          Sadly, we have many today who treat their religion as what I call "checklist Christianity."
          They actually have a mental checklist that they mark each week. It goes like this:
          Went to church Sunday am............check.
          Went to Bible class...................double check
          Went to Sunday PM worship...................check
          Took communion....................................check
          Missed church Sunday AM but took 'make up' communion Sunday night back in a classroom.............................check
          And on and on it goes.
          Many of these folks have the attitude of, "I see you missed Wednesday night. Well, WE 'went to church' 3 1/2 times last week and you only went 2 times. So, I think you have some spiritual work to do. Especially to catch up with us."
          Are all of the above actions regarding church attendance considered 'good things'? Why yes, obviously.
          But, where the problem lies with this type of thinking is that many folks going through their 'religious experience' like this and their HEART is never involved in their actions.
          They couldn't begin to tell you what the preacher talked about or what was discussed in Bible study. Sang, sort of, a half a dozen songs and couldn't name one, an hour after the service.
          But.......................they 'went to church' as they say. And on the way out the door they handed the preacher their personal grade book and he pasted a gold star right beside their name to show them as 'present.'
          Jesus said in Matthew 15:8 "This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me."  
          The difference in attitude between those that 'worship' Jesus as He wants, and those that simply 'go to church,' is that the true worshipers WANT to be at church and the checklist Christian feels like he "HAS to be there."..................Big difference!
          The true worshipper WANTS to attend services
          "       "       "                 WANTS to help others
          "       "       "                 WANTS to try and do God's will
          "       "       "                 WANTS to study their Bible on their own
          For the true worshipper of God and Christ, Christianity is NOT a burden, it's a "way of life."
          The King Air checklist to me was not a burden. It was a necessity. It was important. It was a way of life.
          Too many people today are 'playing church.'
          I know, I was really good at it myself. I'd find a congregation, the bigger the better, slip in about 10 minutes after church started (forget Bible study-had to get up too early), slide in the back pew, sit through the process, and as soon as the final Amen sounded (or a little before), I was out the door.
          If we would have had cell phones then I would have been playing on my phone. (Nothing personal if you're doing that now during worship :))
          I could hide out real well in a large congregation. Don't know anybody, don't talk to anybody, nobody ask you your business. Just in and out, real quick and clean.
          What did I accomplish? Absolutely ZERO.!
          Mom would call me in a day or so and during the conversation it was always, "Did you go to church yesterday?"
          "Why, of course Mom, you know I did."
          Checklist Christianity. I practiced it as well as anyone.
          This didn't just start in Matthew by the way. God told His people in Isaiah 29:13 "Because this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me."
          Just because one shows up in a church building, even on a regular basis, that simple act no more makes him/her a Christian than putting a wheelbarrow in a garage makes it an automobile.
          Jesus tells us in the parable of the wheat and the tares found in Matthew 13 that church walls can not protect us by themselves. He is going to have His angels snatch people right out of the pews and send them to a place they will not like.
          41 The Son of Man shall send out His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
          So, before we climb in the cockpit of our plane and take off, use our checklist? Absolutely! But don't just 'go through the motions.'  Focus on every single item, even though you've done it a million times. Because, it Will save your life!

          Early on, as I was going through a checklist, my instructor would ask something like, "Did you mention the fuses?" And I said, "No, they're always OK."

          After the chewing out I got about overlooking that one item and my nonchalant attitude towards it, I Never made that mistake again! I could tell you where every single fuse was on that airplane and what it was used for.

          'Go to church' on a regular basis? Absolutely! Attend Bible class? Absolutely. Support your congregation? Absolutely! Support the spread of the Gospel around the world? Absolutely!

          But, do it with the attitude that Jesus wants. That you WANT to do it, not that you feel like you HAVE to do it.  Big difference!

          Don't 'play church.' Eternity is too important!
          I hope everyone has a blessed day and a better week.

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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