Summary: When Isaiah wandered into the Temple that night, he thought he was going in for some comfort. Instead he found a God so inspiring, he couldn’t help but volunteer to serve.
[This sermon is contributed by Hal Seed of New Song Church in Oceanside, California and of www.PastorMentor.com. Hal is the author of numerous books including The God Questions and The Bible Questions. If you are interested in The Bible Questions Church-wide Campaign, please visit and watch Hal’s video at www.PastorMentor.com.]
Good morning friends.
I think we’re all intuitively aware that the events that happened on Sept. 11 marked us for a lifetime. Every American alive that day will forever remember the sadness and suspense and fear that reigned. Every one of us will remember the sense of unity and solidarity we felt as a nation. And none of us will ever forget the lessons we saw so vividly played out on our television screens that day and in the days to follow.
The lessons? [The lessons of 911]
That major moments can bring out the best in people.
That heroes are born out of hardship.
And that heroism is a choice. A choice usually made by ordinary people who find themselves in unexpected situations.
Maybe the most famous of all the unexpected heroes of 911 was a 32 year old Oracle salesmen named Todd Beamer, the determined Christian on flight 93 who called up the GTE operator to find out what was happening, prayed the Lord’s Prayer with her over the phone, added, “Jesus, help me,” then said, “Let’s roll!” and led a half dozen other men to their deaths while stopping terrorists from harming our nation’s capital by downing their plane in a Pennsylvania cornfield.
Todd Beamer left behind two children, a pregnant wife, and a nation full of grateful admirers.
Miles away in another arena, scores of fire and policemen were becoming voluntary heroes in an effort to save people inside the World Trade Center buildings. Twelve firemen were lost from the Park Slope fire station in Brooklyn. One of them was named David Fontana, a 10 year veteran of the department. His 8th wedding anniversary fell on Sept. 11.
Dave had worked all night at the station and just phoned his wife to let her know he’d be home in a few minutes when the five alarm fire call came in. A colleague of his, Sean Cummins, dug at the Ground Zero site for three straight weeks, “hoping to find Dave’s body, or helmet or scrap of his uniform. Anything so Marian Fontana will have something to visit on Sunday afternoons.”
I think most of us would agree that Dave Fontana is a hero, and that Sean Cummins is a hero in his own right as well.
Since 911 I have found myself wondering from time to time, “What makes a hero? What makes someone become a hero?” And, “If I was put a similar situation, how would I respond?”
Have some of you asked those same questions?
As I thought about this for the last 8 months, it occurred to me that I am sitting on top of a treasure trove of hero stories every time I open the Bible. Recently, I’ve been reading the lives of men and women who have been universally declared heroes over the last 20 centuries and more. And I’ve come to some conclusions that I want to share with you over the next several weeks.
Maybe the starkest discovery I made early on was that not one of the people I read about in the Bible ever really expected to be a hero. None of them woke up one day and said, “I think I’ll do something amazing today.” As you’ll see in upcoming weeks, most heroes lacked faith in themselves and courage. They were just ordinary people facing the circumstances dealt to them.
From all of this study, I have concluded that God qualifies every person to be a hero at some time, and maybe several times in their lives. And not only does he qualify us, He calls us. And that the major difference between a hero and a nobody is the choice they make with the circumstances in front of them.
So friends, for the next 6 weeks, we are going on an adventure. For the next 6 weeks we are going to poke into the lives of 11 heroes in the Bible and we’re going to do a lot of learning from them. So that when our moment of call comes, we’ll be able to stand up and say, “Here I am, send me!”
Think this will be of some help to you?
Then I hope you will show up every weekend that you can, and buy the tapes when you can’t. Because if this all comes out right, one day we just could be a church full of heroes. Wouldn’t that be cool, to know that every time you sat in one of these seats, you were sitting next to a modern-day hero?