“Souls On Board”

April 20, 2018

Mark 8:36 Kember print
I’ve had this Kember print since I began my ministry in the seventies.
What a solemn reminder from our Lord!

“Souls On Board

Message summary: Soul is used all through the Bible to describe the inner non-physical component of who we are.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:36,37).

I have been interested in aviation since I was a little boy living near an Air Force Base in the Kansas City area. My first plane ride was over the farm fields of southern Missouri in a private single engine plane.

IP-51n high school I had my most notable flight in a WW2 era P-51 Mustang fighter plane where I experienced as many G’s as I probably ever will unless we experience them at the rapture!

About 25 years ago I served as a Civil Air Patrol chaplain. My role was to provide moral and spiritual support to the members of the squadron and I was blessed to have a commander who valued that role. We were trained to assist in any type of air disaster although we never had one while I served.

This week many of us have followed the story of the Southwest flight that lost an engine and pressurization forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Listening to the communications between the air traffic control and pilot reveals incredible composure (a link to audio below). The pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, attended a Christian college in the Kansas City area and is certainly an asset to her profession.

But as I listened to the communication I was struck by a rather archaic expression still used in aviation that remains the official phraseology in very specific protocol during an emergency. The ATC will ask the pilot “How many souls are on board?” Although in a study I find there are various explanations for why this term “soul” is used it is a sobering reminder of the immortal value of each human; we are more than just flesh and bones.

The teaching site gotquestions.org has this definition of soul, “Simply stated, the human soul is the part of a person that is not physical. It is the part of every human being that lasts eternally after the body experiences death. The human soul is central to the personhood of a human being. As George MacDonald said, ‘You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.'”

Soul is used all through the Bible to describe the inner non-physical component of who we are. Deuteronomy 6:5 commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

In the daily text Jesus asks two sobering questions. He does not answer them for the answer is evident.

Question 1: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
Answer: It’s no good at all! You can gain all but it’s worth nothing if you lose your soul!

Question 2: “Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Answer: Nothing, there is no exchange value for the soul!

Charles Wesley in the hymn “A Charge To Keep Have I” wrote regarding our primary responsibility, “A never-dying soul to save, and fit it for the sky.” May God help each of us to give primary attention to our souls.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, there is no comparable value on earth like that of our eternal soul, worth more than anything in the world or the world itself. We will not forfeit our eternal soul, by disloyalty to Christ, to gain any earthbound fortune, fame or position. When our hope, ambition and focus is fixed on this life only we forfeit all that awaits us in heaven – that which lasts for all eternity. While we patiently wait for that glorious day, guard our souls from that which would sway us to forfeit the fortunes of heaven for the pittance of earth. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Love Lifted Me”  Video  Kim Hopper

Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves;
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

“Where the Soul Never Dies”  Video  Gaither homecoming singers

What is the human soul?  from gotquestions.org

Article about Southwest pilot in Kansas City newspaper

Southwest 1380 actual multi-sector ATC audio  It’s amazing how fast they talk and that they can still get it. Also the courtesy and seriousness demonstrated by all. With all the nutty stuff going on in the world this audio was encouraging for that reason alone.

A Texan friend sent this interesting perspective regarding yesterday’s message: “As one who was never blessed with musical talent, and even less so since my illness, but I still love to sing praises to God, I really related to your teaching. It also made me think of a woman in our church who for the twenty years we have gone there sings loudly and out of tune, but you can hear the joy and love of the Lord in her singing. I love it. She has always been an inspiration to me, even more so now than ever.”

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