Monday, November 24, 2008

Otter the blogger

Hi Everyone,

This is my debut blog on Streetfishing and I am looking forward to getting to know some of you out there who read this blog. Robert is a close friend of mine and he has asked me to share some thoughts about our encounters street witnessing together. But please allow me to introduce myself as I would like you to know a bit about my background in order to help in your understanding of where I am coming from when I write something.

I was reared in a home where we played Christian on Sundays but put God on a shelf the remainder of the week. During high school, I began going to a non-denominational church that preached "easy grace" and I caught on real quick. It wasn't long before I was using God to help me accomplish what I wanted in life. After striving to become a US Naval Officer and fighter pilot and then airline captain, I would like to say that God was my "Co-pilot" but He was actually only a passenger. Pride is what motivated me to accomplish things and obtain things in life.

To make a long and hypocritical life-story short, I will tell you that the Lord allowed me to nearly lose my marriage and kids. Through this trial, the Lord brought me back to Himself. No longer was He my passenger or co-pilot but He became my Captain. To put it more accurately, I finally recognized that He was the Captain all along and I was now going to submit my life to His authority. Only by His grace was I allowed to live long enough to truly make the God of the Universe my Savior AND Lord.

Today, my incredible marriage and family is testament to God's sovereignty and mercy on a man (that's me) who was full of pride, lust, and self-centeredness. Every day I must wake up and pray that the Lord will protect me from anything that would draw me away from Him again. Just as Paul wrote in Romans 7:24 & 25, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

So you ask, "What's with this Otter business?" Well, I am so glad you asked even if you didn't. The callsign, "Otter" was assigned to me when I became a fighter pilot in the Navy. This was one of my first humbling experiences because I had always dreamed that if I made it as a fighter pilot I would choose a callsign like "Maverick" or "Iceman." But a fighter pilot does not get to choose his callsign; it is chosen for him by his squadron mates. Yes, they get together and decide what you will be known as for the rest of your Naval career. Usually, the callsign is not a name the designated pilot would choose for himself. Believe me, "Otter" was not on my preferred list. The callsign is chosen based on any number of things: a personality characteristic, a physical trait, or an obnoxious behavior or mistake the designated pilot made. You can see the callsign is usually not flattering.

I have chosen to continue using this silly callsign for a couple of reasons. I am no longer working for the airlines but an advanced flight training company and they still call me "Otter" at work. But the main reason I would like to use it here on the blog is that it reminds me that God was the One who called me. He has chosen me. He is the One who set the world in motion and He is the One who allows me to write the very words I am writing now. As good a person as I think I may be, I still fall gravely short of God's inconceivable holiness. For forty years I thought I was a great success and a better-than-average person in the world's eyes but in God's economy, all my "good works were as filthy rags" -Isaiah 64:6. It is in spite of myself and because of His grace that I get to live and serve Him!

And so I am looking forward to sharing thoughts and witnessing adventures as my family and I strive to fulfill the Great Commission. I challenge anyone reading this and any following blogs to be as the Bereans. Search the scriptures to see if what I say is true. Please put me to the test. I want to be humble enough to admit mistakes yet bold enough to proclaim the truth in the midst of adversity.

Thanks for stopping by StreetFishing!

Serving our Lord with Robert,



john said...

great testimony!!!