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You Were Special
1 John 1:5-2:6
The tall order for living a Christian life is established in two short verses by Peter: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: íBe holy, because I am holyí (1 Peter 1:15-16).
We are called to be holy. We could call this being "victorious over temptation" or "conquering self-destructive habits" or even "living in righteousness." Iíll just call it "living as though you were special."
Some of you are probably asking how Godís call for us to be holy means we are special. I say that because that what holiness is. It is being special. Holiness in the Biblical sense means to be untouched by the normal, the routine, or the ordinary, which is marred by imperfection, corrosion and decay. Holiness means to be set aside for Godís special purposes. Weíre to be set apart and different, not blending in with the crowd, yet not being different for the sake of being different.
It is October 14th, and the sun is reflecting mirages of water on an Air Force base runway in southern Florida. The silence of the scene is interrupted as a long-winged plane touches down on the runway and taxies to the hanger. A thousand planes a day go through this same routine, but this one planeís payload is different from all the others. Its payload is just a few rolls of film, but the information on that film will shape the events of the world. It will shift the balance of power in the world. The film is transported to a top-secret laboratory and developed. It is sent to the Pentagon and then to the Oval Office in the White House.
The date is 1962, and a young president, John F. Kennedy, just 44 years old, sits at the desk. The decision he makes moves the armies of the most powerful nation in the world. The crisis he faces is one of immense proportions.
The photos taken were from a U2 reconnaissance aircraft. One picture in particular revealed that the Soviets had placed medium-range missile silos in Cuba. These missiles were capable of reaching strategic targets throughout the United States.
The risk of world conflict hadnít reached this level since WW2, and it involved the two greatest superpowers in the world. The president moved decisively, ordering Premier Khrushchev to halt all further deliveries of weapons and to immediately dismantle the missile sites.
A broadcast to the American people let us know the gravity of the situation. The president said, "This secret, swift, extraordinary buildup of communist weapons is a deliberate and unjustifiable challenge to our national security, and it will not be accepted.
America braced for what was to come. President Kennedy ordered an immediate naval and air blockade of Cuba.
Premier Khrushchev decided he would test this young presidentís fabric. He would challenge this nationís resolve. He would confront the standard of our convictions. The Soviet ships sailed on toward Cuba.
The world held its breath in nervous anticipation as hours crept by and ships grew closer and closer to one another.
As kids we played a little game. We called it íchickení. You want to see who is going to flinch when challenged. In national politics, you call it íbrinkmanship.í Brinkmanship is the willingness to expose oneself to risk, to press the limits of safety for a cause. It is the walking of the tightrope of disaster.
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