Summary: This is the first of 5 messages on flying; how to fly when your spiritual engine fails.

Dr. Tom Doubt, Senior Pastor

Four Mile Creek Baptist Church

Richmond, VA

1st of a series of 5 on flying



A. There is a great old favorite hymn of mine called "I’ll Fly Away."

1. I¡¦ll fly away O glory,I¡¦ll fly away, When I die hallelujah, fly away

2. Many associate the song with physical death & heavenly reward.

3. "When this life is o’er" suggests when we go belly up in fish tank life.

4. It can also evoke an image of when you find someone put a shark in your tank of life.

5. The shark in your aquarium makes you realize it wants to bite your tail off.

B. Pressure situations in life are the sharks after our tail.

1. They produce variable levels of anxiety, sometimes they cause us to snap.

2. Frequently we have thoughts of flying away from our trouble.

3. David, in the Old Testament, had plenty of opportunities to handle pressure situations.

4. Saul & his army were threatening David’s life.

5. David penned Psalm 55, in a musical format, while his spiritual engine was failing.

6. Though it does not have the lyrics of "I’ll Fly Away", it has similar theme.

Read PSALM 55:4-8


A. Many know that I been taking flying lessons

1. One of first lessons, instructor says "practice recovery from stalls."

a. Even as novice pilot, I knew that did not sound good.

b. A Cessna 172 weighs about 3,000 lbs, only stays in air when engine running.

c. So here I am at 3,500 ft, 140 mph, going to "stall." Airport TERMINAL procedures took on a new meaning. The fall from 3,500 ft would not hurt, it is sudden stop when you hit the ground that hurts.

2. Once on the ground my instructor asked what would I have done if the engine had failed. I thought he was trying to discourage me from taking other lessons. I replied that I would say a prayer that he knew Jesus. I knew where I was going, and prayed he would go there too!

3. The instructor explained once up in the air, you still had to fly airplane when the engine quit.

a. Not able to pull over to the side of the road & call AAA.

b. In spite of worries & fears, you still had to fly plane.

B. Engine failure in an airplane has some similarities to spiritual failure.

1. Our spirit may sputter & fail in a pressure situation.

2. We might be panicky & fearful, we might even fantasize about our options.

3. Ultimate recovery is dependent on how we react during the crisis.

4. In flying, there are 5 F procedures to follow when the engine fails.

a. FLY at the best glide speed, continue to fly the plane, is most important.

b. FIND a suitable place to land.

c. FIX the problem, if possible.

d. FREQUENCY selection to the emergency frequency.

e. FLEE the aircraft once on ground.

5. The same 5 F’s apply when our spiritual engine fails.

6. This morning, we look at the 1st F: FLY at the best glide speed.

a. Fly in best manner that increases chances to land safely

b. As we look at David’s psalm, we will see how that F applies to flying with Jesus.

THESIS: When our spiritual engine fails in crisis:

Our heart is troubled as we realize danger (v 4)

Fear sets in as we confront possibility death (v 5)

We imagine we can fly away & be at rest (v 6)

Imagination becomes reality when Jesus is the pilot (v 8)



1. Anguish in the heart equates to knowing we are in a pressure situation (v 4).

a. You don’t have to be an airline pilot to know engine failure means trouble.

b. Likewise, a crisis in our lives produces an awareness of deep trouble.

c. Often our spirit begins to fail within us.

d. Troubles without number surround us, our heart fails within us (Ps 40:12).

2. Terrors of death assail us.

a. In many pressure situations, we perceive we might die.

b. Plane crash, strife in family, medical report, cornered by a bully.

3. Jesus encouraged us: in this world have trouble, take heart (John 16:33).

4. Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me (John 14:1).

5. If our hearts are not comforted, the situation can get worse. In Hebrew "anguish" has a root that means "give rise to something else."


1. Horror of our predicament overwhelms us (v 5)

2. What I feared has come upon me, no peace, only turmoil (Job 3:25).

a. We become convinced that the worst scenario will occur.

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