Monday, August 21, 2006

Where You Can Find Courage / Movie: Glory Road from "Truth In The Movies" Series

(Intro to this talk...)

Today I want to start by telling you a story about a lawyer for the mafia who made a choice that changed his life and his son’s forever!

In the 1930’s in Chicago there was a wealthy and successful lawyer they nicknamed “Easy Eddie”. At that time, Al Capone pretty much owned the city. Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason. He was really good!

In fact, his skill kept Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him really well.

Not only was the money big; Eddie got special benefits. For example, he and his family lived in a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little thought to all the horrible things that went on around him. But Eddy had one soft spot. He had a son that he loved more than anything.

Eddy made sure his young son had the best of everything; clothes, cars, and a good education. He held nothing back. Price didn’t matter to him. Even though Eddie was involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong.

Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own bad life choices. He wanted him to be a better man than he was. But, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he couldn’t pass on to his son: a good name and a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie made a really hard decision. He decided offering his son a good name was way more important than all the riches he could pour on him.

He decided he had to make right all the wrong that he had done. He went to the authorities and tell the truth about Scar-face Al Capone. He tried to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity.

But to do this he had to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be huge. But more than anything, he wanted to be an example to his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and hopefully have a good name to leave his son. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.

He showed him a living example of courage. And what did that do for his son “Butch”?

Butch became a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy During World War 2.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He wouldn’t have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. While he was returning to the mothership, he saw something that made him sick to his stomach….

A squadron of Japanese bombers were speeding toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone and the fleet was basically defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet.

He couldn’t warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He had to somehow divert them from the fleet. It would take courage.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, he attacked one surprised enemy plane and then another.

Butch weaved in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent. But he still wouldn’t stop! He kept up the attack!

He dove at the planes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, hoping to damage as many enemy planes as possible and make them so they couldn’t fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships.

Finally, the Japanese squadron took off in another direction. After breathing a sigh of relief, Butch and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

When he landed he reported in and told everyone what happened. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the whole story. It showed the full extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had destroyed five enemy bombers!

That was on February 20, 1942, and for that action he became the Navy's first Ace of WWII and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later he was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.

His home town wouldn’t let the memory of that heroic action die. Today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in honor to the courage of this great man.

Easy Eddy’s sacrifice paid off. The name O’Hare was now something to be proud of!

Butch O’Hare took a huge risk that saved many people lives and he became a hero. He needed one thing that day that he saw his Dad live out in front of him. It’s the same thing we need to see breakthroughs in our lives: courage!

Today is the 3rd Sunday in our “Truth In The Movies” series. So far we’ve seen that risk isn’t something we can run from if we want to grow and achieve in life.

When you take risks you come up against walls and resistance. But that’s a good thing!

Resistance is what causes us to grow just like resistance causes our muscles to grow.

And there can’t be any achievement without a struggle.

But, Risk leads us to reward. Every great person had to take a risk to reach greatness. ***What God created you to be and do is on the other side of risk! That means we need to be willing to take careful risks. We have to run toward risk instead of from it. We saw this in the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played”.

But when we begin living riskier lives we open ourselves up to the one thing we all fear: failure! Last week I reminded you that Failure is guaranteed to happen in life. It’s not an “if”, but a “when”!

How you see failure and how you handle it will decide if you grow and reach your potential or not. Our God is a God of second chances. God loves to take failures and make them stepping stones. He takes our biggest failures - our sins - and wipes them away.

In Psalm 103:11-12 we saw that it says… NLT

11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.

Last week, I gave you 3 new ways to see failure:

1. Practice: You can’t become the best without practice. I believe that God allows us to fail so that we can become better – become our best. It prepares us for the real thing when it matters!

2. Learning: Failing teaches you about yourself, about others, about life and about God. These are the things you need to know to face the bigger things in life. Failure gets you ready for bigger successes!

3. Experiment: Scientists come up with a theory and they use experiments to test and prove that theory. When we fail we need think of it as an experiment and try again with some changes.

Success and failure is different in God’s eyes. What we think of as a failure God could see as a success and what we think is a success God could think of as a failure.

When you come to the end of life you're going to wish you tried more things and were less afraid of failure. The real failure is to live life being too afraid to try – cause you were afraid you'd fail.

The only time when it can be decided whether you were a failure or not is at the end of your life. Anytime before then is too soon to decide! The only person who will decide whether you're a failure or a success is God. So we need to let him decide and quit judging yourself.

We need to quit focusing on failure and focus on the things that matter to God: obedience and relationship. Remember this… Fear of failure has the chance to keep us from our greatest success! You can read the rest of this message online.

But I wanted to go over that stuff again because I want you to really see the danger in living safe lives. I hope you can see how bad God wants you to begin taking more, careful risks!

Francois Fenelon, French Archbishop said this about the dangers of safe living

"There is nothing that is more dangerous to your own salvation, more unworthy of God and more harmful to your own happiness, than that you should be content to remain as you are."

We’ve gotta take more risks! That’s easy to say, but to begin living the riskier lives that God wants us to is gonna take more than just seeing and handling failure differently.

We need what Butch O’Hare had: courage! That’s what I want to talk about today.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Truth In The Movies" Series - TOPIC: Rewards Require Risk - MOVIE: "The Greatest Game Ever Played"

God created us to grow and achieve. Without growth and achievement, life would be boring. It’d be without meaning.

Listen to what my favorite secular author, business philosopher Jim Rohn, says about achievement…

“How incredibly unique that a God who would create the complex and immense universe would create the human race and give to those humans the free choice that would permit them to select their own achievement or their own destruction.”

Then Jim says this…

“This strange but all-knowing God gave to us a delicately balanced sphere called earth, and on it, he placed the intelligent human who would either develop it or destroy it.

“How terribly fascinating that God would leave both projects – earth as well as humans – unfinished! Across the rivers and streams he built no bridges; he left the pictures unpainted, the song unsung, the book unwritten, and space unexplored.

“For the accomplishment of those things God created the unfinished human who, within his heart and mind, had the capacity to do all these things and more, depending upon his own choice.”

We were created to grow and achieve! God has things that his created you to do. He has an idea in his mind of the person he wants you to become.

He put the potential in you, but you have to do things to see your full potential. And you know what? There will be barriers in your way of becoming and doing all that God created you for.

But that’s good! Why?

If you want to become stronger - grow your muscles - what does it take? It’s takes resistance. Your muscles can’t grow without resistance.

It takes the same thing to grow personally in life! Resistance causes us to grow. Think about it… There isn’t achievement if there isn’t resistant or barriers to breakthrough!.

The things that you were created to become and achieve won’t come easy. In order to really grow and achieve in life you’ll have to bump up against resistance.

And guess what that means?

*It means that to become who are meant to be and do what you were created to do will take risk!

To push through the resistance, to bust through the barriers will take risk! Growth and Achievement are on the other side of risk!

Without risk there’s no reward!

Because of that, we need to have a new view of risk.

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