Summary: During this series we honoreded people in the world who make a difference: This sermon was to honor those who serve in the news media.

Paul Revere (slide)Of the Man who carried the torch for the first Olympic Games

What Makes A Messenger Great?

1. When They Know Their Message Is Something Special.

A. Their Message Is Exciting

Why is front page news on the front page?

Why are the tops stories, the top stories?

Why isn’t, “Five Year old spends afternoon with his Grandfather fishing”, on the 11 o’clock news (or any Fox channel), or the front page of the Erie Times? It’s not exciting.

The War Is Over! Now that’s exciting. I’d love to be the guy that brings that news! New Cancer treatment highly effective! Nuclear weapons found in Iraq. (exciting not just good news)

Exciting news elicits an emotional response! Interested emotionally as well as intellectually.

B. Their Message Is Relevant

It’s hard for me to get excited about anything that doesn’t apply to me.

If scientists created a new breed of flower by crossing a rose and a petunia I would not be excited. I smell flowers. I notice them sometimes. And once a year I buy some for my wife.

And I already have a fine assortment to choose from. The creation of a new flower does not rock my world. It may yours. To you, for you that news might be relevant.

Great news is news that is relevant to everyone!

• World wars are relevant world-wide.

• The outbreak of disease can eventually be world-threatening.

• When fellow humans are subject to inhumane treatment at the hands of an evil dictator it is relevant, whatever the geographic location.

• A new energy source is discovered.

C. Their Message Is True

“Elvis is alive and working for the New Jersey DMV” I think I saw that on the cover of the National Enquirer recently. Why isn’t this a great story? Because although it may be exciting’s not true!

How about this story? (Slide) (“Dewey Wins”)

Illus. On the evening of October 30th, 1938, a News Story was told that excited a nation. In fact, the United States experienced mass hysteria, in response to this radio broadcast put on by Orson Wells and the Mercury Theater. (here’s a piece of what they heard: sound clip)

“War of the worlds” began as the greatest news story ever, but stands today as one of the greatest misunderstandings of all time.

Because it wasn’t true. Although many believed it to be a broadcast of true events, it was a piece of fiction. I spoke last week with a member of our congregation, who remembers the night the show was broadcast. He and his family were sitting around the table when the radio show they were listening to was interrupted. They kept thinking, “Could this be true?”

Many were upset with the Messenger; Orson Welles for the broadcast.

Illus. On the night of November 7, 2000 one Network declared Bush the presidential winner. They projected that George W. won Florida gave him the necessary electoral votes. Because of the announcement, Al Gore phoned Bush to concede the race. Then the news came that Florida had not been decided. This led to another phone call from Gore to Bush. “You mean to tell me you’re calling to say you’ve changed your mind? That you’re taking back your concession?”

Both men criticized the network for declaring a winner before the results were actually in. Once again, people were upset with the messenger because the message was untrue.

2. When They Know That The Telling of This Special Message Is Their Destiny!

Martin Luther King believed that blacks and whites were equal. And that they should be treated as equal. His message was that He had a vision, a dream where blacks and whites were equals. We probably don’t remember much of what he said verbatim, but we do remember these powerful words, spoken that burned within the heart of the messenger, “I have a dream…”

Dr. King knew, that this was the message he was born to speak. And He understood the impact of his moment in time. In a speech he made in Montgomery Alabama in 1955, King said, “When the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, “There lived a great people, who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.”


“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind…”

3. When The Messenger Is Willing To Sacrifice Anything To Deliver The Message.

CNN journalists in Afghanistan… Men and women who go to war torn countries and place themselves in harm’s way… Many of photos we looked at this morning were taken by someone who put themselves at risk.…I ask myself why? Why would they do that?

Because they know the story, the message must be heard or seen.

The atrocities cannot remain a secret. The emotions of that moment must be shared by others. And those who know must be moved by the impact of the pictures or the words!

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