Be a Hero

Personal Story:

This is really more of an anti-hero story. This is one of those times in my life that I wish I could have a “do-over.” I was in 9th grade. I was insecure and overly concerned about what my “friends” thought of me. There was a kid who started school in the middle of the year and he didn’t “fit” with the rest of the people in our school. He smelled funny and wore the same clothes to school almost every day. He sat alone at a lunch table near us every day and my friends made fun of him. I didn’t take part and say anything, but I laughed at the things they were saying and I didn’t have the courage to stand up against them. I was too scared that my “friends” would turn on me and make fun of me if I had tried taking up for him.

I don’t know what ever happened to that kid ’cause I moved away at the end of that year, but I do know that I wish I had done something to defend him. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I know now that if I had stood up for him, some of my friends probably would have turned on me and started making fun of me. I also know that in spite of the words they might say, each and every one of them would have thought about it the next time they had the chance to make fun of him. My courage would have created another hurdle that each one of them would have been forced to jump if they wanted to say something about him again. If I had stood up for him, each of my friends would have gained a little more respect for me too. They may not have ever said anything about it, but they would have seen me making the right choice and they would have probably in some small way wished that they themselves would have had that kind of courage.

As I look back, I have the knowledge of life experiences to help me see that if I had done the right thing, everything would have worked out even better for me. The problem is that in the moment, I didn’t know all that. I believed that my “friends” temporary approval of me was more important than the long lasting respect I could have gained. My prayer is that you’ll learn from my experiences and do the right thing in those moments. Be the hero. Do the right thing.

By the way, I can’t remember the last time I talked to any of those “friends.” I honestly can’t even remember most of their names. Although they were important to me at the time, I wouldn’t say that they are now. Friends come and go in life and that’s okay. Sometimes we need to let ’em go ’cause they’re keeping us from being who we’re called to be.

Dad’s Word:

A hero is someone who does the right thing. No matter what. He is courageous and self-sacrificing. If it costs him something, he still does the right thing. This is sacrifice. If it is scary, he faces the fear and still does the right thing. This is courage. Some people are called “heroes” because of one brave act that saved a life, but this is not a real hero. They did something heroic, but a true hero is consistent. A hero is who you are, not something you do just one time. I pray you will “become” heroes. I pray you will choose to do the right thing in every circumstance regardless of any fear or sacrifice you might have to make.

Another important distinction here is between an actual fear/sacrifice and a perceived fear/sacrifice. They all “feel” like real fears/sacrifices, but sometimes we let our imaginations get the best of us. We should try to concentrate and focus on what we “know,” rather than what we “feel.” It may be our perception that our friends would look down on us for sitting with that weird kid during lunch at school, but would it really happen? Probably not, but maybe so. That’s what makes it heroic. There is a possibility of sacrifice, but in the end it’s the right thing to do, so you just do it. You might even have friends who would make fun of you for making that decision, but inwardly, I believe you would actually gain their respect. Even if they never admit it, you have shown them the kind of person that you are – the kind of person who can be counted on to do the right thing. They will have seen a hero.

Oh…..by the way, just ’cause nobody ever calls you a hero or even notices your efforts, does not mean that you aren’t a hero. If you do the right thing consistently, even when it’s scary or it costs you something, you ARE a HERO!

God’s Word:

Galatians 6:9 – Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Colossians 3:17 – Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 – See that no one repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

Famous Words:

“I used to think courage was about not being afraid; but now I think it’s about being present even when we are.” – Bob Goff

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – Jim Rohn

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” – Mister Rogers

“The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.” #perserverance – Lucretius 95BC

“That’s how we’re gonna win – not fighting what we hate, [but] saving what we love.” – Rose in “The Last Jedi”

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon

“Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.” – Karle Wilson Baker

“My heroes are and were my parents. I can’t see having anyone else as my heroes.” – Michael Jordan

 

Be Optimistic

Personal Story: “Better” from Stevecorn.com

When I was in High School, I worked in the paint department at Sears. Mr Mahoney was an older man (maybe early 70s) who worked across the aisle from me in the sporting goods department. He was always smiling and would be the first employee to jump on the treadmill and start running to demonstrate the product to his customers. I was young, but remember thinking that I wanted to be active like him when I reached his age.

I didn’t work in his department so I had a pretty casual passing-in-the-stockroom-type relationship with him. When I’d see him, I almost always said, “How’s it going?” He always answered, “Better.” I never really gave it much thought, but one day Mr Mahoney didn’t come to work and the word around the store was that he had been admitted to the hospital for some sort of cardiac (heart) treatment. We wondered if he’d ever return, but after a month or so, he did.

He didn’t really run on the treadmill like he had done before, and we all wondered if he’d be able to keep up with the job. As I passed him in the stockroom later that week, I greeted him with my usual “How’s it going?” As soon as it came out, I felt guilty, but his response was still the same. “Better.”

That particular day, we had a little more time and so he went on to explain that every day was better than the one before. Even if things were looking down or not going so well, he knew that he was a stronger man and would grow through whatever circumstances he endured. He knew that each day prepared him for the next and that he was a better man each and every day in spite of his circumstances.

I think I became a better man that day too.

God’s Word:

Philippians 4:12b-13 – I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…… I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Romans 5:3b-4 – ….suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Dad’s Word:

Don’t allow garbage thinking to enter your mind. When you watch scary or dirty movies, you invite crazy images and ideas into your mind. When you focus or obsess over things that make you depressed or sad, you will struggle to find hope. Sadness invites “self-absorbed pity-me” thinking which in turn brings more sadness. It’s a vicious cycle that only Christ can break. Think on Him. ‘Cause the opposite is true as well. When we think on Him…when we focus on Him, we see hope in the midst of chaos. We recognize His presence in the craziest of circumstances and we find beauty everywhere we go. He is always working in our midst and when we look for Him, we will find Him. Think on Him. Praise Him when you find Him – cause you will – you will find him – you definitely will.

Famous Words:

Still he (God) seeks the fellowship of his people, and sends them both sorrows and joys in order to detach their love from other things and attach it to himself.” – J.I. Packer

“The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, I am. Losers on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.” – Dennis Waitley

“Optimism increases explorative behavior and innovation, which is why so many entrepreneurs are on the optimistic side.” – Tali Sharot

“There’s no such things as ‘idle thoughts;’ every thought reverberates in the body and constructs some reality, for good or ill.” – Leonard Sweet

“Mountaintops inspire leaders, but valleys mature them.” – Winston Churchill

“The shadow proves the sunshine.” – Switchfoot

Song:

Shadow Proves the Sunshine – Switchfoot

 

Faith – Be Adventurous

Dad’s Word:

The pieces will never line up perfectly. You won’t ever be “ready.” You may not have the financial ability to do something. It may never look like things are going to work out, but sometimes we’ve got to step out in faith anyway. According to Scripture, we are saved by “grace” (God’s gift) through “Faith” (our trust).

God’s Word:

Ephesians 2:8a – For by grace you have been saved through faith.

Dad’s Word:

There will always be a “faith” factor. God is gracious, but He doesn’t take all of the doubt away. The stars will never align perfectly for you to make the decision. Sometimes the “faith factor” will be large and other times it won’t be as big, but there is always an element of faith involved in every decision we make. Even choosing which cereal to put in your bowl requires faith that your choice hasn’t gone stale. Choosing your spouse is a bigger one. You will never know perfectly if he/she is the right choice ’cause there is always a “faith factor.” In those situations, we look at fruit in their lives; we look for evidence of Godly decision-making and a lifestyle that reflects the character of Christ. The evidence will never be enough, but it gives us a solid place to stand when we ultimately put our faith in Christ. (By the way, having a strong marraige is more about “being” the right person than about “finding” the right person. Check the “Marriage” section of this book.)

One classic example that illustrates faith is that of a car driving down a dark road. The headlights won’t show you the whole road, but they will show you enough to drive the next few feet. Faith works like that sometimes. When we have been faithful for the first few steps, God will reveal the next few steps to us. He has a good reason for doing it this way. You see, if He told us the end, we’d look for ways to get there on our own, but doing it this way, we become dependent upon Him; Our relationship with Him grows and we begin to trust Him even more through the process.

God’s Word:

Genesis 12:1 – Now the Lord said the Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Dad’s Word:

Abram left everything he knew without knowing where he was going to end up. He only knew that God would be with him because God has said that He would show him where his land would be. This is faith – traveling to a place you do not know simply ’cause you trust and love the One who travels with you.

God’s Word:

Luke 16:10 – One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

Matthew 25:23 – His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.

Famous Words:

“Faith is jumping off the cliff and trusting that God will build more cliff.” – Dustan Thrift (friend, ex-student – not “famous” words)

“The steps of faith fall on the seeming void, but find the rock beneath.” – John Greenleaf Whittier

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the staircase.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Faith is not something that goes against the evidence, it goes beyond it.” – Alister McGrath

“Reason can only get you to probability, but only commitment can get you to certainty.” – Tim Keller

“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog – the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.” – Corrie Ten Boom

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” – Oswald Chambers

(When he didn’t have a job.) I’m excited! God has us in His hands & I’m imagining what He’s planning on doing w/us…well, I’m a bit anxious too. Faith & Fear together. – Steve Corn (not-so famous words)

“Unbelief = putting circumstances between you and God. Faith = putting God between you and circumstances.” – Mark Batterson

“Where reason cannot wade, there faith may swim.” – Thomas Watson

“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” – Oswald Chambers

“We can pray for rain, but faith brings an umbrella.” – Unknown

Personal Story:

Before asking your mother to marry me (the greatest adventure of my life), I went to her parents to ask their permission; to get their blessing. I was working as a youth minister and didn’t have a college degree. I didn’t have much money and wasn’t sure how I would support her, but I knew that God was leading me to pursue her as my wife. Gigi and Papa were concerned about how I would support her. I remember telling them that I really didn’t know how it would all work out, but that I felt like if I listened to God as He led me to marry her, He would also lead us as we looked for a way to begin our family and relationship together. If I was faithful right now, I believed He’d be faithful to show us the future. If I was faithful in the first step, I knew I could trust Him with showing us the next step. Gigi and Papa gave me their blessing that night ’cause they recognized the very same thing – that God leads us one step at a time. We’ve got to have faith that He will lead us to the right place even though we may never know where that place actually is. Since that time God has taken us on an incredible journey with lots of ups and downs. We’ve had plenty of other opportunities to learn to trust Him. Each time, He has proven faithful.