Dave Sanderson

Special Guest Speaker

On January 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson was returning home from a business trip, he had switched his flight a day early so he could spend time with his family. He boarded Flight 1549 from LaGuardia, New York to Charlotte, North Carolina. Everything was going as planned, until a flock of birds caused both engines to fail and the plane began to crash. Pilots Captain Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles skillfully glided the plane into the Hudson River and Dave Sanderson along with 154 other passengers and crew members miraculously survived. Through this near death experience, Dave Sanderson had a moment of clarity that put his life in perspective and he emerged a changed man.

What was the thing that impacted you the most about Dave’s story?

Has anyone ever experienced what Dave was referring to as a “personal plane crash” or a traumatic experience that put everything in perspective for you? If so, how did your life change as a result?

  1. Hope

Romans 5:3-5 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

As Dave mentioned, the miracle on the Hudson was the first time in the history of aviation where everyone survived a water crash. The chances that a captain with that kind of skill set would be piloting a plane under those circumstances was nothing short of a miracle. How does this miracle give you hope?

  1. Defining Moments

After the plane crashed, Dave Sanderson was the last passenger off the plane because he was concerned for the well-being and safety of others. Despite the risk to his own life, Sanderson thought only of helping others.

Two weeks ago, Dale spoke about seizing your important moment and how some moments in our lives are especially significant, and our response can have a big impact on ourselves and on others. He preached from the story of Esther and how she stepped out and did the right thing in the midst of uncertain and life-threatening circumstances.

Esther 4:12-14

“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’”

How does Dave Sanderson’s story relate to the story of Esther?

How can we prepare ourselves for seizing an important moment?

  1. Clarity and Perspective

Dave Sanderson spoke about the moment of clarity he experienced and how that changed his perspective on life. He mentioned that he used to schedule family time around his work but now he prioritizes his family and schedules other things around the time he spends with them.

Although most of us have not experienced a near-death experience like Dave Sanderson, we do not have to wait for a traumatic experience to shift our perspective.

What area in your life is God giving you a new perspective about? What is God calling you to change?


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