This is why we do the CBFA
By Patrick G Howard
The July Focus of the Month is the seventh of the twelve-part series – Making 2019 Your Best Year Yet: Realizing God’s Plan for You.
We started this year by talking about doing big things but shifted our focus for the past two months on how God can use the small things. This month we are going to focus on why we joined The Christian Business Fellowship Association in the first place.
As you know, the mission of the CBFA is to empower and support our members to be Christians all day, every day, at home, at work and in the community. We believe that by doing so, we reduce stress and make better decisions.
Imagine if you will …
You have a big day ahead of you. You have an early afternoon business meeting where you will be giving the presentation of your lifetime. You have been working and preparing your entire life for this one meeting. This is a mission critical, make or break meeting.
This is once-in-a-lifetime, World Series Game 7, bottom-of-the-ninth, bases loaded with two outs, down by three runs situation. You’re in the batter’s box facing Nolan Ryan. If you knock it over the fence, your name will be forever etched in the annals of baseball history as the batter that hit the walk-off grand-slam homer against the strikeout king to win the series. If you strike out, your name will be forever etched in the annals of baseball history as the batter that scored the final out for Nolan Ryan’s victory.
No pressure, right?
Of course, as any great speaker will do, you decide to mentally prepare for your presentation. You are dressed in your best suit. You are sitting at the computer with a perfect cup of coffee, polishing up the PowerPoint presentation you are about to give. Everything is going well, until …
• Your PowerPoint program crashes and destroys your file …
• You receive an angry phone call from a customer with a problem that MUST be solved immediately …
• You get an urgent voicemail from your child’s school …
• You spill your perfect coffee on your perfect tie …
Despite all of this, you solve all of the problems on your plate and leave in plenty of time for your meeting. But on the way, your “Check Engine” light comes on as you notice an abnormally high coolant temperature reading. And to top it off, you put the wrong address in your Garmin and you went to the wrong building. You arrive just in time to give your presentation of a lifetime.
Do you feel prepared?
Our focus this month comes from John 15:5.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.John 15:5
Now, you’re probably wondering, “What does this verse have to do with being prepared for my meeting? I think that if you will stay with me while I channel the late Paul Harvey, it will all make sense as you hear …
The rest of the story.
The year was 1969. It was a beautiful July day. The skies were clear. The temperature was just right. By every account, it was a beautiful day. The air was filled with an electric excitement, and the anticipation was almost palpable.
And it was a pretty doggone good day here on Earth, too.
We have been talking about President Kennedy’s bold vision, to place a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the sixties. That day, July 20, 1969 was to be the day that for the first time in history, man would take his first steps on Terra Luna. But did you know that it almost didn’t happen.
Some say that the last mile is the hardest, and to say that it was challenging for the crew of the Eagle, and the engineers at NASA is a gross understatement. On that lunar approach …
• They lost their high gain signal multiple times, causing a loss of telemetry and voice communication to NASA.
• They experienced an AC voltage fluctuation, which could have crippled the onboard computer systems.
• At 50,000 feet (about 7 minutes before landing), the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) experienced a 1202 alarm. The onboard computer was handling so many instructions, that it caused a memory overflow and system reboot.
• At 3,000 feet (a little more than 3 minutes before landing), the LEM experienced a 1201 alarm. The onboard computer was processing so much data, that is caused a storage overflow and system reboot.
• At 75 feet, you can hear the callout, “60 SECONDS.” That meant that they had to land in 60 seconds, or risk not having enough fuel to return to the command module.
• At 30 feet, you can hear the callout, “30 SECONDS.”
• To make matters even more tense, there were large boulders in the primary landing site, and the LEM had to go long to find a suitable place to land.
Any one of these problems could have, and probably should have, triggered a mission abort. However, through all this adversity, the LEM pilot – Buzz Aldrin, and Commander Neil Armstrong, landed the Eagle safely on the moon. (And by the way, they landed about 41 seconds after the “30 SECOND” callout.) After conducting a few checklist items (they had to make sure they were safe to stay), Buzz Aldrin uttered the famous first words from the moon, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Man’s first steps
The first steps on the moon weren’t scheduled for a few hours, which gave these men a few moments to relax and prepare to execute their primary mission. (I doubt there was much relaxing going on, though.)
Before they began to prepare for their lunar excursion, Buzz Aldrin came on the radio and addressed the world.
I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.Buzz Aldrin
It wasn’t well known at the time what happened inside the LEM during this moment of silence. Buzz Aldrin had brought along communion that was prepared by the pastor of his church in Houston. In an interview years later, Buzz Aldrin explained,
I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture [John 15:5]. Eagle’s metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: The very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.Buzz Aldrin
Let that sink in for a moment.
Before Buzz began the task of accomplishing the mission, the culmination of President Kennedy’s bold vision, the aspirations of the United States and the world, he paused for a moment, read scripture, prayed and had communion. He invited God to join him there in the LEM and thanked Him for bringing them safely to this place and time.
Can you imagine how that one simple act removed the stress of the previous few hours, and allowed Buzz Aldrin to focus on the mission at hand?
Can you imagine how spending a few moments with God would allow you to focus on that presentation you’re about to give?
This is why we all joined the CBFA: to be Christians all day, every day, at home, at work and in the community. Even when your work takes you to the moon.
The next time you are having a particularly stressful day, or even before it becomes stressful, remember July 20, 1969 and focus on John 15:5 ~ I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.