April 2017 Conchshell Chronicles
What Really Matters
I was in a room with a crowd of people a few weeks ago on Maui, talking to a guy. As I answered his questions and told him a little bit about our mission, I overhead my dear friend Craig Englert say to Laura, “Wow! Michael lasted 19 minutes before telling that guy he was a Navy pilot.”
Those words sunk in.
An observation from a true friend.
One of Laura’s favorite jokes to the student pilots that come into the Rio Coco Café is:
“How can you tell if a pilot is in the room?
“Don’t worry, he will let you know.”
That usually gets a laugh from us all.
Today I had my monthly lunch with “The Old Tailhookers”, a group of Naval Aviators who live in Vero Beach and meet for random events, and a monthly lunch at the airport. While we ate, the Navy’s Blue Angels were practicing overhead for the upcoming Vero Beach Airshow this weekend. We all wore our blue, white and red (Marine Corps) shirts with the Gold Wings and Tailhook embroidered, sipped ice tea, and talked about past days of glory as the noise of those F-18’s rumbled the restaurant.
Interestingly, most didn’t even seem to notice, nor did many walk out the front to see those beautiful Blue Angels jets parked only a few yards away. Many of my fellow aviators are combat veterans from WWII, Korean, and Vietnam. I think something happens to you when people shoot real bullets and missiles at you.
I was sitting next to Jerry and Deke. I asked them what they did after the Navy. Both were airline pilots, and Jerry taught school after he retired from that. Now they are enjoying life living in Vero.
I think I’m the youngest guy in the group, and one of the few still working. I had a lot to think about as I sat there in a crowded room full of guys who wore the same uniforms, shared my carrier aviation experiences, and were trained to think in a certain manner.
I was also thinking about Craig’s comment.
Fortunately for me, my six years of Navy flying were a preparation for my 14 years of missionary flying in one of the most remote corners of the world.
That is where I really learned how to fly!
Whatever I accomplished serving the United States has been surpassed my service to the King- It has sent Echoes Into Eternity. I have concluded from my study of the Bible that:
- When our lives end here, we all will get a video replay of our lives, with our King standing by;
- The only things that will really count will be how we followed the King, and how we treated the people that He placed around us; and
- Whether we were successful businessmen, elected officials, champion athletes, accomplished artists, or waiters, landscapers, haircutters, plumbers, and carpenters, the only identity that will matter is “Are we a daughter or son of the King?”
The Blues are practicing overhead my house now. They just flew by in the diamond formation, and now again with the 6 plane tight formation. Very impressive wing-to-wing flying! These guys are good!
I spent time at our two cafés this morning working with Cameron, Mikaela, Lukas, Moselle, Arielle, Josiah, Morgan, Carolyn, Cyrus, and Laura. These guys are good at that they do too! Very Good!
In the Big Picture, I would honestly rather identify with the Seek The Lamb / Rio Coco Café Team and wear that shirt, rather than my “Old Tailhookers” shirt.
Many people walk into our cafes. I try to get to know as many as I can. Most are engaged in productive lives in our community.
Many of them also serve the King in some capacity through their church, or volunteer for a service ministry. Jesus is famous for saying “When you serve the least of these poor among you, you are serving me personally.”Yes, that is what really matters.
The Bible describes an event at the end of this age called “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb”. It’s the big celebration of all the King’s Family Members.
I will be surprised to see who is sitting at the head table with the King.
It will probably be those people who dedicated themselves to praying for the missionaries in far-away places, or the ones that made those visits to the hospital, or the ones who taught the children their Bible lessons; Probably school teaches who poured themselves into the next generation and employers who took personal care for their workers, modelling their faith and morality to those God had given them.
Undoubtedly there will be the janitors who cleaned the bathrooms and those that prepared meals at churches and ministry locations, and many who heard the call to foreign missions and responded with their prayers, time, or financial resources.
These are the things that really matter:
Service to the King; Walking through life with Him; accomplishing what He placed you on Planet Earth for; and loving the people around you. Michael
I am not a good rule follower.
I am acutely aware of my rule breaking ways especially when I am confronted by another person’s lack of being a good rule follower as well. Who am I to judge them when I am the chief rule breaking expert? Yet, I find my own evil in my heart when their rule breaking makes me want to literally shove them down to the ground, start cussing (like a juvenile high-schooler) and start pounding on their head.
It’s awful especially when someone is confronting one of my loved ones…there is this “thing” that rises up inside of me and causes me to go into this angry insanity that desires to break out of me and pounce and dominate. It looks a little like when our two cats, Peppi and Conner are play fighting …one of them jumps or thumps the other aggressively causing them to roll around and have it out.
I don’t like it when I feel this way in the middle of a fun loving reggae concert where this woman confronted us with her displeasure over Moselle bumping into her. My girls will say, “Mommy, its not worth it.” Something evil rises up in me that I have to work hard at keeping at bay lest I allow my rule breaking to be displayed outside of my body, heart and head.
I mostly choose to follow my rule of conduct outside of my body, but it bothers me that my internal being struggles so hard to keep my anger at bay…I remind myself, “the anger of a man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
What makes me even “go there” in the first place? I ask myself, ponder and seek Wisdom in the midst of my questioning. It is a good reminder of my hearts need of my Savior who I desire to take full control over these such areas of inner evil, offense and rage. I welcome this Hand of Discipline and reminder of my need. I am looking for inner peace, contentment and a freedom from the annoyances of life which we will constantly be confronted with. The world is run by Evil and the fight for Good will always be that- a Fight. My friends in Honduras and Nicaragua will always say to me when I ask them how things are going…they say,”Estamos Luchando”…Indicating…we are fighting….its a battle and its constant.
Our battles have to be won within. So my work of becoming a good rule follower continues in my efforts. I fill my life with many goals, dreams, visions, both externally and internally, I am constantly working on. God knows what I long way I have come and how much more I have to go. I am grateful for the gift of this life to be able to work it all out and find mostly joy along the way …until I myself stop, react, and wrestle with myself and rise above and beyond that momentary consuming of the evil in my heart. I have been reminding myself from one of my favorite readings,
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
Col 3:12-17 Laura
Please pray that God will:
1) Bring many people in to the Cafes this month;
2) Bring more ministers to our Rio Coco Café team. “The fields are white for harvest…”
We appreciate your prayers. They Change Everything!
How Can You Help?
1) Pray for us!
2) Purchase Rio Coco Bean Coffee.
3) Support one of our missionaries.
4) Donate to the school project.
You may donate online at
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