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Summary: In this message featuring "Courage the Cowardly Dog," learn a few things about how to conquer fear.

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Lessons from a Cowardly Dog

How To Get Courage

6/2/04

I. Introduction

Show “got fear?” video.

Black Bart was a professional thief whose very name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line. From San Francisco to New York, his name became synonymous with the danger of the frontier. Between 1875 and 1883 he robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, Black Bart did it all without firing a shot. Because he wore a hood, no victim ever saw his face. He never took a hostage and was never trailed by a sheriff. Instead, Black Bart later said from prison that he didn’t need to fire a shot; all he had to do was to use fear to paralyze his victims. “Fear, the face of the unknown, was my weapon of choice, my weapon of intimidation.” His sinister presence and his threat of words was enough to overwhelm the toughest stagecoach guard.

Tonight, we’re talking about “Lessons From a Cowardly Dog: How to Get Courage” and we’ll learn how to stand up to some of our fears.

Have you ever been afraid? I have. I remember when I was younger I was afraid of the dark and I would have trouble sleeping unless someone was with me. Even though my brother and I had our own rooms, my parents would make him sleep in the same bed with me because I was so scared. When I was in third grade, the book Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark was really popular, so my teacher would read some of the stories to us. Well, one particular story scared me so bad that I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I would close my eyes and images of that story would creep in my head and I’d pull the covers over my head so nobody would get me and I’d shake and tremble in fear. It was awful.

I remember going to my grandma’s house and watching TV and coming across the Discovery channel or something and there’d be snakes on the screen and my grandma would freak out. “Turn the channel, boys, I can’t stand those snakes.” She’d immediately close her eyes or get up and walk out of the room until the channel was changed. She was so scared of snakes that she couldn’t even see one on TV without it affecting her.

Well, what are you scared of? Is it rejection? When I was in high school, during my freshman and sophomore years, I hated being rejected, whether it was by a girl or a group of the “cool” people, I hated getting shot down. But by the time I was a junior, I had completely conquered that fear as I was searching for a prom date. I asked almost 50 girls to go to prom with me that year before I found a date. It was pathetic, but I wasn’t scared of rejection.

Well, what are some of your fears? I know you have some, but no matter what they are, by the end of the message tonight, you’ll learn some lessons about how to face your fears and get some courage. Well, what is courage?

II. Courage is the Thing

Courage – that quality of mind that enables people to encounter danger or difficulty firmly

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” - Mark Twain

Courage is the thing that helps us stand up and overcome fear. You see, fear is an unpleasant, often strong emotion that all of us have felt at some point in our lives. But the question is, how did we react to this fear? Did we pull the covers over our heads and hope it would go away or did we stand up to it? How you answer that question determines whether or not you had courage. Courage is the thing that everyone needs no matter what they’re doing. No matter what course you take in life, no matter what you end up doing, there’ll always be a need for courage.


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