Pilot to Share Spirit-Filled Encounter That Saved Hundreds With Megachurch


"No matter who you are and what your circumstances might be, God desires to transform your ordinary existence into an extraordinary life," says Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, in his bestselling book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God's 7 Secrets for Success and Significance. Jeffress sometimes encounters skepticism when he says this, but he is adamant, "Never underestimate the difference one person can make in the world. God is in the business of using the ordinary to do the extraordinary."

Proof positive is hero pilot Tammie Jo Shults, whom Jeffress will interview as part of First Baptist Dallas' Explore First event Sunday.

On April 17, 2018, the veteran commercial pilot with 25 years of experience began her day like any other day: reading the Bible and then texting a meaningful verse to her family. Then she went to work—flying an ordinary plane with 144 ordinary passengers along an ordinary route in ordinary weather. It was an ordinary day all the way around—for the first 20 minutes.

But in a moment, everything changed when one of the engines exploded, ripping a hole in the cabin, causing rapid depressurization and violent shaking, and killing one of the passengers. At that moment, God used an "ordinary" pilot to do the extraordinary.

Acclaimed for her "nerves of steel" (as ABC's 20/20 put it), calmness in communication and skill, captain Shults, one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy, was able to land the plane safely, which she likened to flying "a rock," and even personally attend to the well-being of the passengers once the plane was on the ground.

On Sunday, Jeffress will be interviewing her about that harrowing day, and how to develop the kind of faith that can handle instant and unexpected adversity.

Celebrating the church's 150th year, the 13,000 members of First Baptist Dallas meet in a $135 million campus in metropolitan Dallas that covers six square blocks. It is a thriving spiritual oasis in the heart of downtown Dallas with an unmatched offering of groups, activities, classes, leagues, services and opportunities to serve God and man.

When asked about the purpose of Explore First, Jeffress explained, "We pride ourselves in being a warm and welcoming place every day, but on Explore First Sunday, we throw a giant party, complete with free lunch on the grounds."

In addition, Dr. Jeffress will be preaching a provocative message entitled, "What Is the Most Important Verse in the Bible?"

First-time visitors will receive a completely free copy of Dr. Jeffress' brand-new, bestselling book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God's 7 Secrets for Success and Significance.

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