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Periodic Depot Maintenance

Have you ever heard the term Periodic Depot Maintenance? It's primarily a military term, usually signified by the acronym PDM. If you've never heard it, you don't know what it is, and, even if you have, you might not remember.

PDM is part of the maintenance and upkeep of equipment. In the Air Force, as well as for the airline industry (sometimes called a heavy or 'D' check), from time to time, you take an aircraft out of service, park it in a hangar, and start taking it apart. Those things that you cannot take apart, you X-ray or use other diagnostic tools on them. The theory behind this practice is that sometimes problems come that cannot be seen, simply through the buildup of time. Also, since most aircraft are constantly exposed to the weather, corrosion becomes a factor, and places you cannot see normally must be examined.

PDM is a costly process. It's costly in money, because you have to pay people to take the aircraft apart and then put it back together (I know, that's an oversimplification). It's costly in lost time, while the aircraft sits and is not used, not producing revenue or available for training or missions. It's costly in time, taking up to six months, depending on the complexity and size of the aircraft. There are lengthy debates about how often one should PDM an aircraft (I can email you the 30 page PDF about C-130H, and that's just 1 variant!). There are debates about who should do the work, whether it's better just to get new aircraft, and where the work should be done.

One thing there is not, however. I have not found any debate on whether or not, in some form, PDM is necessary. In fact, both in civilian and military discussion about frequency and method, the statement seems to always be "We know that this process, though difficult, is crucial."

With that being said, I propose that it is time for many of us to PDM our lives. We can't take several months out, in fact many of us can't even take more than 1 day, but we need to take that day. Stop, take apart all of the aspects of your life, and see where things have built up corrosion. See what things have begun to fall apart for lack of attention, and see where we need a tune up.

The first thing to do is to determine why you are here in the first place. I think the Westminster Confession has it right, that we are here 'to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.' Ecclesiastes puts it this way:

Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.

Eccl 12:13 (NLT)

So, it's time for us to put away all of our false gods, all of our distractions, and focus on what we are made to be. We must decide to quit making excuses, and start making efforts to obey God and His commands. Some of us must surrender our finances, and begin to tithe. Some of us must surrender our lives, and preach, teach, go as missionaries. Some of us must surrender our pride, and work with the youth and children of our churches. Some of us must surrender our hobbies, and spend time with our own families.

I think it is also high time we PDM'ed our churches. We have a long and glorious history as Christians in America, as Baptists, as part of the Reformation, as part of the Church as a whole. But we are not expanding the Kingdom of God much these days. We are still struggling along, trying to play at church, while the world moves around us, and we're hoping that someday, maybe, the world will play with us too.

They won't. And we have waited far too long to address it. What does that mean? That means, it's time to take it all apart, find the basic framework, and rebuild it. How? The framework is that the church exists to be the visible work of God on this earth. We are here to preach the Gospel, the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ. We aren't here just to politic or to be fought over by candidates. We aren't here to have pretty buildings or to have committee meetings or to provide 'something else' for kids to do because otherwise they might do bad things. We are here, as the church of the Living God, to be a place of His Worship, to be a place of His Truth, and to be the sending point out into the world.

How will we do that? That's what we need to discuss. and nothing needs to be off-limits.


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