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I read a lot. I thought I might include a couple of short reviews of excellent and God honoring books on here.

The Enemy Within – Kris Lundgaard (P&R Publishing)

An excellent work on the pursuit of personal holiness. Modern in language and clear in application, Kris Lundaard builds on the excellent foundation laid by John Owen’s Indwelling Sin in Believers and The Mortification of Sin. Recommended by J.I. Packer, Steve Lawson, Jerry Bridges, Chris Riser, and others. A hot item at the XL conference in 2008.


This has been a really awesome month. I had the opportunity to go to the XL Ministries conference in Glorietta, NM, which was an amazing blessing.  Thank God for a group of committed pastors and teachers, who will teach the Scripture plainly and clearly (and make my natural man writhe)!

I have also recently had the opportunity to write a defense of the principle of Sola Scriptura in response to a set of questions asked of me by a Roman Catholic.  Specifically, he asked whether the principle was an “invention” of the Reformation, or whether it was present immediately following Christ’s ascension.  Also, he asked how the church might have had access to the Scripture, how they might understand it, and several other related questions.  This is the first in a series of posts; don’t fear, the rest are already written. It’s going up on safeguard as I type.  I encourage you to look up each of the references, and savor how God has provided for his Church.  The sheer volume of internal evidence in the Bible is truly overwhelming.  I’m indebted to Steve Lawson’s excellent two-part message “Christ, the Reformers, and Sola Scriptura” for a clear, and recognizable, foundation.  It’s available from the Sola Scriptura conference audio at  All the references are ESV.  Look them all up!

It’s a huge blessing to be immersed in the Word as I was for two days, studying.  I am very thankful that, by God’s grace, I’ve learned so much of the value of private worship and study this year.  I am sure that the time I devote is still far to meager, but I cannot imagine how I tried to survive on the much smaller “meals” of last year.  I am finding that the more I work to teach or write, the more seriously I study, and so hopefully I can continue to do both as God gives for me to do.

Finally, a new friend from XL is teaching through the book of Daniel, and I’ve been listening to the series as I sit in hotels (which I do a LOT).  I’m very encouraged and convicted by it.  Here’s the link.

I’m also very grateful for two of my brothers and the rest of their family inviting me to share Thanksgiving dinner after I get off work.  What better way to praise the Lord for his great and gracious works than with His Church!

Happy Thanksgiving,


Howdy y’all

I took a break from the blogosphere for a while to move, finish macroeconomics, go back to recurrent training, and a couple other things that I’v already forgotten.  I’m determined to get back to writing, especially for safeguard, because nothing focuses my mind on important spiritual issues more than having to study for a good post.  I think I need to keep them a bit shorter, however, to avoid burnout on either end.

So, today I’m enjoying the second day of a two-day trip.  This is a vast improvement over four day trips!  I still work four days (I leave tomorrow for another “two-day”), but instead of a long layover in Podunk, Iowa, I get to spend that time at home and at church!  Right now however, strong winds have blown a bag cart into our airplane, and I’m killing time on the trusty old couchish bench in Springfield ops.

I ran across an interesting game due out on multiple platforms later this year.  The idea behind Spore ( is to set the evolution process in motion.  What a great idea for a game!  Honestly.  But I think a little deeper down it makes two ironic and serious statements.  First of all, it DEMANDS intelligent design.  Sure they may have written some code for your amoebas to “evolve” a bit randomly, but their code (and their gameplay) rely on you having a plan for your world!  Gamers want to be able to define things about their creatures, from color to aesthetics! In fact, the game website advertises your ability to choose between form and function!  And anyway, the game wouldn’t work without someone laying logical rules for the universe to run according to (Laws of Nature, anyone?).

Secondly, and maybe a bit darker, this game is a version of theistic evolution.  The difference being that YOU get to be god.  One marketing quip runs something like “Tired of your world? How would you do it better?”   No one minds a form of creation (and NO I do not believe in theistic evolution one tiny little bit), they just mind the implications of a Creator!  No Creator, no sovereign God.  No sovereign God, no sin.  No sin, no problem.  This reality (spelled out in Romans) is the real heart of the creation debate.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for calling us out of our self-deception!

I’m gonna springboard off of this into a funny thought that’s been running through my mind on another aspect of God’s awesome creative wisdom.  A friend of mine likes to say, “Never underestimate the importance of irreducible complexity.”  So look for “World 2.0” sometime soon, and probably on safeguard.


Just a quick post.  I’m in the midst of a sequence, but I finally finished updating my new logbook software.  It generated this google earth picture of all my 1256 hours of flying. Keep in mind most of those lines are turns (or out and backs) and so really represent 2 flights each.  Click for the larger and properly formatted pic.



Well, I’ve sorta been on an unwilling and somewhat planned sabbatical from the whole blogging thing since Christmas. First thing is I went on vacation…. this is good. And instead of pulling the greedy pilot trick of working my vacation and getting paid triple or whatever, I went skiing with my church ( at Winter Park. Not only was the skiing amazing (great powder: for you New Englanders, that’s why it’s called SNOW skiing….), but so was the fellowship and the teaching. The teaching was on Lazarus’ resurrection, and my friend jazz hands has the notes on his blog (beholdinghisglory, see the link).

For some odd reason when I got back I worked a lot of day trips… Being home at night was great, but driving back and forth got really old and I flew a LOT (and a lot of maintenance flights, which rarely go smooth).

This week, however, I was on for six days straight, and what a wild six days its been. The first night, I was reassigned four times, and finally got on a plane bound for Champaign, IL. Or sorta bound. Whilst waiting for the captain, yours truly, being the excellent First Officer he pretends to be, carefully reviewed our release (several dead trees containing vast amounts of information including the weather) and determined the winds were going to far exceed our crosswind limits for a snowy, slick runway. When el capitan arrived, this was pointed out and summarily dismissed. We were going somewhere, so it might as well be in that general direction. I agree with this reasoning, but still, I would have bugged dispatch then and there.

Long story shorter, we had an amazing quantity of extra gas, so we held over the Champaign airport for 35 minutes before diverting to a new alternate, St Louis. I say new because we were listed for Indy and Des Moines, one of which was too windy (it rhymes) and the other way too far for convenience. All this texting back and forth via the ACARS burned up all said machines paper, which was ironically comic. The last straw in our divert decision came when the station called to tell us the wind was to strong to park at the gate, and the power was out anyway!

The flight to St Louis was easy and short, the passenger’s were sent away (the company generously forces them to pay for their own hotel, albeit at reduced rate, for weather related delays), and we prepared to get some sleep. The quick thinking flight attendant called the hotel to see about the van, and found out that said hotel had been out of business for six months. Whoops. Scheduling took another hour and a half to find a hotel with rooms, and proceeded to make the captain pay for the 35 minute taxi ride (they say they’ll reimburse). We waited an additional thirty minutes for the last tidbit, because the person working our problem went home at 1am, and neglected to tell her replacement. In the end, we got our sleep in a nice hotel, and I got to see the Gateway Arch. (and it’s a great story).

The day after that I was scheduled for an unheard of six legs…but extremely high winds (pointed the wrong direction) and a massive (houston to kentucky somewhere) line of weather induced a gate delay, two reroutes and the associated paperwork, an enroute spacing delay, a ground stop to DFW, plenty of poking around weather once airborne, WAAAY to much gas to land with (gear came down way early), and some holding. Baton Rouge to DFW: 2 hours 15 minutes late. Perfect landing in heavy gusts: Priceless!

That evening we shot a GPS approach to minimums in blowing snow at Springfield Missouri. I’m in Houston right now, and I’ll be home Saturday afternoon. Just another week in the life.

I’m going to try and go meet a friend from Paris for dinner tonight, but not before I put in a plug for the Sola Christos Conference at countryside next week. Come listen to Al Mohler, John MacArthur, and our very own Tom Pennington talk about the supremacy and importance of Christ in the Christian life. I’m very grateful that the Lord arranged for some extra vacation days so I can attend all four days!!

safeguard should be updated with the next of my ambassador series sometime early next week…. I hope


As I write this, I’m sitting in Fort Walton Beach, fulfilling my job description of professional boredom! It’s a nice overnight, with a rather spectacular view of the beach (I’ve tried to attach the picture to this). The water is cold. VERY COLD.

Ft Walton Beach

Anyway, we knew we were in for it because Chicago was in our travel plans, and that’s rarely a good sign this time of year. When we got to the airport, though, we discovered that our aircraft had left the gate in Chicago 2 hours previously, but had not yet departed. Wheee! It’ll be here in an hour and a half or so; we’ll be ready to go in another 25 minutes after that. Will ATC be willing to let us depart when we’re ready? Not really sure. What will happen with our rather short overnight in CMH (Columbus, OH)? Definitely not sure.

My interest is almost purely academic, however, because this is only the second day of four, or perhaps six days of work. I’m not trying to get anywhere (although I would like that Chattanooga overnight tomorrow, it’s not tugging on my heartstrings very hard). The only concern I have with all of it is how much sleep I’ll get tonight. This is probably a good thing, because all of our passengers are quite a bit more worried about it. In general aviation (read: little airplanes) we would call this “get-there-itis”. Combine that nasty condition with flying the airplane, and you don’t have a very safe thing going. There are a lot of slightly (very slightly, depending on exactly how small the airplane was) shorter mountains because of this. So, the long and short of it is that I generally view the situation as almost funny, like one of those horribly slapstick comedies where they absolutely destroy a house in escalating laughter, than stressful.

Some friends recently got a game called quelf. From what I understand of it, you could play it and get a very good feel for what life flying the line is like!


ps I’m writing the next of my ambassador series, but I don’t want to post it until I have the time and space to open a couple dozen thesauri, dictionaries, commentaries, and concordances!!

Just a quick update to finish up what I started about the whole bid process….. I got my number 2 choice!!! It differs from my number one choice by only one day!! As one of my friends says: its a blessing, a blessing from the Lord!! I’m now going to see if swaps and drops will let me swap around the two days off that I have within the vacation period, contracts are a funny thing sometimes.

Anyway, I’m back to work for six days starting Saturday….


I just got the bid packet for next month, which is always exciting.  A quick tutorial on bidding:  Say there are 10 pilots assigned to a crew base.  The schedulers dream up 10 schedules, and then put them in the packet.  The number one pilot finds the schedule he likes the most, and enters it as his one and only selection, confident that the “ask and you shall receive” rule will work!  The number two finds his favorite schedule, plus one alternate, just in case he and the number one had similar tastes.  The number 1o pilot bids all 10, knowing he will get whichever wasn’t chosen by the nine above him.  I’m about midway on the DFW reserve list (I haven’t yet seen the actual list, but I would guess I’m a little south of the midpoint). However, there is a quirk.  There are actually more pilots then there are lines in the packet, to use our old example, there may actually be 11 pilots and only 10 lines.  This means that the reserve lines are dual awarded.  Back to the example, if all 10 lines were reserve, the number two will also get his first pick, even if it was the same first pick as the number one…the reserve line will be awarded twice.

This is the first month I’ve actually had to spend a lot of time looking over my choices. This is because I actually have enough seniority that what I ask for might actually happen, and because I have vacation.  Vacation time is like an eraser; whatever you are awarded on the monthly bid is then overruled by your vacation time.  So, I want to pick lines that have large numbers of work days within the vacation period, since they will be erased.  It would be very silly to have five days of vacation erasing three days off.   My shopping list for the ideal line this month was like this: days off (or consecutive days off) immediately before the vacation, large number of work days in the vacation period, day or days off immediately after the vacation, and then the quality of the remainder of the month.  My first pick has two days before and two days after the vacation off, five of the six vacation days are work days, and also has Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as the recurring sequence of days off  for the remainder of the month…

The legacies bit is ’cause I need to get my portrait taken for the first time since I was 15, I was going to do it today, but then realized that the preferred attire was at the dry cleaners!!

The lessons bit is partially ’cause I’m trying to accomplish school today, and because I’ve been trying to learn the significant but difficult lesson of being content to be alone with the King of the Universe!  More on that later.

Anyway, back to work I go…


p.s. Oh, yes, I also have a christmas party that I need to buy some cheese for.  Amazon beaver cheese, anyone?  No?  How ’bout some Dorset Blue Vinny!

I’m back from a four day!  I worked a Dallas trip (five legs the first day into Ft Smith) and then deadheaded (pilot talk for riding in the back on company business, in a funny and appreciated twist the Captain insisted the gate agent give me a first class seat) to LA and flew straight to San Diego.   The approach into San Diego is pretty cool, lets just say there’s this hill right off the end of the runway, and oh, they built downtown a bit close.   I had a long layover there, so I made my usual California pilgrimage to In-N-Out burger!!  I now have that all important sticker on my kit bag, so there’s another thing to check off the proverbial list.  I decided not to proffer or otherwise arrange my schedule, and just prayed that I might be able to go to church on Wednesday night.  The Lord is certainly good to his children, and a whole slew of crazy things happened so that I got done at the perfect time for church.  It reminds me of Psalm 16:1-3, one of my absolute favorites….


P.S. The next in the ambassador series will probably be up mid next week.

P.P.S I saw the trailer for Prince Caspian.  As those who know me will attest, I take The Chronicles of Narnia VERY seriously.  I’m not at all confident that I shall approve of this version, though I found “Wardrobe” acceptable, if not perfect.

Howdy all,

I’m finally back from a very long Chicago-based trip, which is very nice.  What’s better is that I am now based back in Dallas, so NO MORE COMMUTING!!!  I really enjoyed the actual flying in Chicago, O’Hare is one of the craziest and best run airports on the planet, but I’m sure I’ll be back often enough.

I’m hoping to post the first of several “shorts” on safeguard tomorrow, exploring what it really means to be an ambassador  here… I think it will surprise you.   Don’t ask about the end of the love series, it’s shaping up to be more like a book, and I still don’t really like any of it.

On the topic of thanksgiving, I was reminded this month why I’m so grateful for Countryside (my church).  Sure, the people are great (well, ok, they’re amazing!), the music’s awfully good (and no one gets a last word in like Mrs Hansen and her organ), and all the rest of those church things meet the high standards I’ve come to expect. But I get to see the people on more than just Sunday, and I’m surrounded by music (thank you iPhone), but I don’t get God’s word exposited and proclaimed with the grandeur and convicting weight that Tom delivers or the corporate worship anywhere else.  You go a month without it, and you realize how much it grounds you.  I’m not saying we should live from Sunday to Sunday, and the rest of the week is yours to do with as you please.  But God meant us to come together in solemn worship and study for a reason, and you have no idea how much like plunging into cold water on a hot summer day it was to be back for the evening service.

Also, my mother liked to go back through her planner and review the previous year around Thanksgiving.  She loved the story of Joshua’s hauling stones out of the Jordan to establish an altar to God’s provision and faithfulness; Thanksgiving was our time to look at those “pillars”.  I’ve talked about others elsewhere (you know who you are), but here’s one I thought of yesterday and is appropriate for this blog.

I was listening to Christmas music on my computer, and surfing through some old files.  I don’t know if I ever realized before how vast an amount of stuff I wrote for Civil Air Patrol.  I could easily assemble a book or two of collected writings and letters from just the good stuff!  Most of it is really pretty good, better than you’re reading here, and I owe all of that to my dreaded but excellent English lessons of ages past.  Thanks, Skipper!

Well, this has rambled on way to long, so I’ll sign off here….


About the author…

Nat Simmons is an airline pilot, writer, and pianist. He's looking forward to "a better country, that is, a heavenly one;" he's content, however, to sojourn in Texas....