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Conversations in the Cockpit

The following conversation was "transcripted" from a recent discussion AJ and I had in the cockpit while flying missions between islands in The Bahamas. We were on our way to preach and shatter the Gospel on the island of Andros. There is a lot of downtime in the air and it often lends itself to stories that we share as missionary pilots. Although brief, this conversation gives you a glimpse of the life we have as pilots and devoted followers of Christ.

Damon Whitlow:

Hey, good morning church. This is Damon and AJ. We're currently up in the Twin Cessna, flying over to Andros Island this morning. We are scheduled to preach and share the gospel, but I wanted to take the time while we're up here to share a little bit about some of the ministry experiences that we have. I'll try to keep it brief. We're up here flying among the clouds and looking at God's creation from up above.

But yesterday we were reminded of just how important it is that we have a relationship with Jesus and not just know about who Jesus was. Last night we had a good dinner and decided to walk over to the ice cream shop, and we were asked by a man, a homeless man on the sidewalk if he could have a dollar or if we could buy him ice cream. As a general rule, I don't give out money to people who are homeless just because sometimes that's enabling an addiction. So I'd rather just share the gospel with them and pray for them. So I had told him, I said, "I don't have money to give, but I do have Jesus, if you're interested in that."

He immediately started quoting scripture to me and asking us questions about what he was reading in the book of Matthew. We went inside, got the ice cream because the line came down and AJ came out and gave him an ice cream. But before that, I had gone out and tried to engage him again. He told me he was too busy for me. But then when he got his ice cream, he suddenly wanted to start asking questions about the Bible.

He wanted to talk about specifically about some things that Jesus had said in regards to works and water by baptism. But it came quite evident as we spoke to him that all he was concerned about was the legal side of what he was reading in the Bible. So I asked him to hand me his copy of the Bible and he warned me that it might not be clean and none of those things matter. But I grabbed the Bible and I tried to explain to him that he could know every single thing in this book. That in fact Satan knows the word of God and acknowledges God as God, but yet he's going to spend eternity in hell and is in hell.

So it kind of took him back a little but he still wanted to know about what water baptism was. AJ took a moment to explain to him about a natural birth, but then baptism by the spirit, is the second birth. That's what Nicodemus was trying to get his mind wrapped around.

What was interesting about that, and maybe AJ could jump in too, just like Nicodemus, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that he could born a second time. AJ spent some time with him trying to explain that being born or reborn with the spirit means that you are being born again inside and did he understand how he could be saved. His immediate answer was, "Go to church, or read the Bible and, be a good man."

So we got the chance to explain to him that none of that would save him. Being a perfect church going person who knows every word in the Bible will never get you into heaven. That opened the door for us to share the gospel with him.

AJ, maybe you want to speak in a little bit about how you shared the gospel with him and the obstacles that we faced at the end.

AJ James:

With me it's always real simple. I believe that's the best way to do it.

Again, just trying to explain to him that works and baptism wouldn't get you into heaven and he was kind of tough to witness to. He kept going to go back, as Damon said, to the legal side of things.

Ultimately, unfortunately, he left without accepting Jesus as his savior. That's where I want to go today. I'm not even sure who this video is for, but it doesn't matter. I want to make sure that everybody we come in contact with knows Jesus as their personal savior and has a relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the head knowledge, but the heart knowledge. That's what's so important. I want to be sure that everybody we talk to understands that.

That the knowledge of God does not get you to heaven, but the relationship with Jesus does. No one comes to the Father except by the Son and we tried to explain that to this man. So pray for him. We don't know his name, but God does and we just want him to come to know Jesus.

Damon Whitlow:

We do know that there may have been a moment of conviction at the very end because when we got to the point where we could maybe even offer to him the chance to pray for salvation, he suddenly had to leave.

AJ James:

He was in a big hurry.

Damon Whitlow:

He was in a big hurry to leave and didn't want to hear that part of it. But we know he left with the truth and then as missionaries, that's really all that we can do. We can not save anybody. All we can do is give them the gospel. Just like we can do on this video. If you are in a position or in your mind think that you are going to heaven, think about the time that you accepted Christ. If you realize in your mind that you have never had that moment where you actually confess that Jesus Christ is your Lord and savior and accepted him into your heart after repenting for your sins, you might not be saved.

So just know that we love you and that's not condemning you. That's convicting you of maybe where you're at and just think about your eternity.

You can view the video in its entirety at:

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