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THE LEGIONS OF THE UNJAZZED


In Dr. David Jeremiah's book "Life Wide Open" he writes about a young man who turned the surfing world upside down in the 1950's. Killer Dana was the most notorious wave in California. When it was really ripping and roaring, the best surfers in the world gave it plenty of distance. Putting Dana Point on the map, these surfers knew that these waves were beyond their expertise, until a teenager named Phil Edwards came on the scene. I watched Phil Edwards growing up, and he was one of my heroes.


In 1953 Phil Edwards paddled out toward Killer Dana beside the best surfers in the business, and people gasped. Was this kid crazy? He wouldn't last three minutes against the toughest wave the west coast had to offer.


But Phil Edwards came right at Killer Dana and shocked the rest of the surfers as they were quickly paddling into shore. Edwards challenged the wave with a style and artistry that gave birth to a whole new sport: performance surfing. He quickly became the great superstar of the sport, just as surfing was coming into its own through movies, Beach Boys songs and California culture.


Edwards was unimpressed with the crowds. Even today, if you meet Phil, he would rather be in the background than the spotlight. Listen to what he says: "There are uncounted millions of people who now go through life without any sort of real, vibrant kick." He gave these people a name; "The legions of the unjazzed." He was talking about people who live their entire life without a passion for anything, who live their entire lives without taking risks.


A passionate life is giving all we have, even when it seems the odds are against us, even when we're weary, even when nobody else advises it. Passion pushes us forward. God has given us each unique abilities, and I believe He wants us to use them, no matter what our circumstances.


(From a sermon by Rich Anderson, Passionate for Holiness, 2/16/2011)

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