Heroes


Today I will let Rudyard Kipling speak a word of honor for me:

The American Spirit speaks:

To the Judge of Right and Wrong
With Whom fulfilment lies
Our purpose and our power belong,
Our faith and sacrifice.

Let Freedom’s land rejoice!
Our ancient bonds are riven;
Once more to use the eternal choice
Of Good or
Ill is given.

Not at a little cost,
Hardly by prayer or tears,
Shall we recover the road we lost
In the drugged and doubting years.

But, after the fires and the wrath,
But, after searching and pain,
His Mercy opens us a path
To live with ourselves again.

In the Gates of Death rejoice!
We see and hold the good—
Bear witness, Earth, we have made our choice
For Freedom’s brotherhood!

Then praise the Lord Most High
Whose Strength hath saved us whole,
Who bade us choose that the Flesh should die
And not the living Soul!

To the God in Man displayed—
Where’er we see that Birth,
Be love and understanding paid
As never yet on earth!

To the Spirit that moves in Man,
On Whom all worlds depend,
Be Glory since our world began
And service to the end!

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You Are Cyclops

Dedicated and responsible, you will always remain loyal to your cause.
You are a commanding leader – after all, you can kill someone just by looking at them.Power: force beams from your eyes

Which of the X-Men Are You?

As I introduced this series last week, I introduced my ultimate hero—Jesus Christ. As I prepare to close this Passion Week study of heroes, I’d like to introduce you to two gentlemen, two mentors, two friends, who were examples, colleagues, and friends all rolled into one.

 

C. T. Perkins was a retired preacher when I met him. He came to

Mount Pleasant
Baptist
Church as Interim Pastor shortly after I became the music director there. C.T. was one of those old-time preachers who believed that the Bible was the place to find the answers to all our questions. He believed in education—as evident in the fact that he met his wife, Mary, when they were both students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He loved the church—evident in his active participation in his own local church whenever he was not serving as a supply preacher, revivalist, or interim pastor during his 30-something years of retirement (following a lengthy career as a local church pastor). He loved people—exemplified in his down-home humor that found its way into sermons and conversations alike. He loved Jesus. I recall the last visit I had with C.T. before he died. He wore a belt around his chest keeping one arm tied to his side. He told me that it helped keep him from raising that arm and causing problems with the pacemaker that kept his heart going. Then he said, “You know, I did something the other day that I’ve never done before.” In answer when I asked what that was, C.T. replied, “I preached on my 84th birthday!”

 

W.A. “Bill” Solesbee was the pastor with whom I worked during my seminary days. I have often lamented that Bill was not the finest of orators. His sermon delivery style was more of a stroll down the garden path with many stops and side trips along the way. At the same time, he was one of the most Christian believer I think I have ever had the privilege of encountering—and I got to work closely with him for two years. Bill loved people, he loved the Bible, he loved the Lord, and he loved being the pastor of

Edgemont
Park
Baptist
Church. Bro. Bill (as he was affectionately known) had spent many years on the mission field in the Philippines, and then returned to the
USA where he spent 20 years in the pulpit of EPBC. Of all the witnesses I know, none has been so natural at sharing Jesus and the Gospel message in a simple conversation as Bill. He saw the world through the eyes of Jesus. He constantly, genuinely opened his faith to a world that needed Jesus in a way that could never be described as pushy or preachy, but presented in sincere love.

 

These are heroes that I would love to emulate. Who are yours? Share your story.

Today, I would like to honor actually two groups—the temporal and the spiritual.

 

A heartfelt salute goes out to those men and women who have dedicated their lives to the cause of patriotism. We have military stationed at home and abroad that work daily to protect those “certain unalienable Rights” which were endowed by our Creator. We gladly live in a nation that bases its freedoms on the ideology that men can disagree with governmental decisions and make that disagreement known—broadcasting it venomously to all who will listen. I believe, however, that we ought to offer our heartfelt support to our military personnel wherever they may serve.  They are heroes with a capital HEART. We should be thankful to God and to these people that they are on the job protecting our American ideals whenever they serve.

 

On the other side of the coin, serving around the world are people who take their relationship with Christ so seriously, that they have surrendered their lives, their careers, even their families, to the spread of the gospel. These people are known as missionaries. They carry the message of Jesus Christ to the world around them, whether it is at the corner store in Backwater,
North Carolina, or at an outpost in the Zambizi desert. We as a church have romanticized missionary work to the point of placing missionary personnel on a pedestal picturing them as demigods. The reality is that missionaries are simply heroes—ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The difference between missionaries and ordinary believers is that they live to advance the

Kingdom of
God.

 

One group protects our Constitutional freedom.

 

The other advances our freedom in Christ.

When emergencies happen there are those who rise to the occasion. Many are from the medical profession—doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians. A recent incident at our church pointed to another group that often goes unnoticed, unrewarded for professionalism and efficiency. These are the members of the volunteer fire departments that service many of the smaller and more rural communities in our country. Among these brave members of the community are the first responders. Those trained in emergency first aid and beyond to lower the event of death at accidents, fires, and medical emergencies. I salute those who volunteer their time and obtain the training to bridge the gap between 9-1-1 call and ambulance arrival.

 

Have you been on the receiving end of the expertise and professionalism of one of these stand-out groups? Say thanks here with a comment.

Years ago, when little boys were asked who their heroes were, at the top of their list was the name of a president. Interestingly enough, many of the men who have occupied the oval office have been prime candidates for heroship—Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Others, who shall remain nameless here, brought more shame than honor to the office.

 

What makes a president worthy of the honor of hero consideration? I believe it has to do with character traits that are worthy of emulation—traits such as honesty, integrity, and statesmanship. With this in mind, I reach back to our country’s origins for a hero. George Washington, also known as the Father of our Country, is one I esteem as a hero. His leadership ability, his idealism, his strength of character, all contribute to this selection. I especially like some of the legend that follows his memory. Honesty even in the face of punishment is something that I try to lead my children to. The ability to coax from desperate men their best in dire circumstances is something that I try to apply in my own life.

 

As a hero,
Washington commanded the loyalty of a nation, at her birth and her early growth. He is a hero in my book.

 

Do you have a presidential hero? Who is it? Why do you choose them?

Note: This week is known as Passion Week. It is the week we pause to focus specifically on the last days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. It culminates in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It seems appropriate that we should look at heroes this week. I introduced the topic in my last post, and hope that you will be able to find some heroes of your own or think of those who have inspired you in the past. Христос воскрес! Воистино воскрес!

 

With the ever-growing number of comic book heroes around us, and the modern practice of turning them into more human than hero, it is difficult to find a good comic book hero to fill the shoes of “my hero.” At one point I go back to the definition of a hero – someone who goes beyond the ordinary. In that case you can’t choose Superman who is in reality an alien, nor Spider-man or the Hulk who received their powers as the result of a radioactive accident. The only hero who fills the bill is the Batman. Turning to vigilante justice to clean up the crime in

Gotham
City, the Batman gets his superpowers as a result of the estate to which he is heir. He develops himself and takes advantage of gizmos and technology, all carried around on his trusty utility belt. If I return to my childhood, I find there men like Aquaman and Green Lantern. I think I enjoyed Green Lantern most because he had the cool ring which held his power.

 

So many heroes, no way to choose. So I decided to speak about what makes comic book heroes really heroes. With the help of Stan Lee, I learned that a hero is a hero because of their desire to save lives, right wrongs, and live uprightly. A true superhero is honest, trustworthy, determined, and caring. He looks for ways to right wrongs without even harming the enemy (the super villain) if it can be helped. As the old Superman television program put it, he stands for “truth, justice, and the American way!” What do we learn from comic book heroes?

 

  • To stand up for what is right—no matter what.

  • To always take the best road.

  • To use our strengths for the betterment of our world.

  • To always leave the world a better place than we found it.

 

I like to think that the heroes of my childhood don’t belong in the darkside comic books that have developed since the 1980s. Instead, the search for truth and goodness wins out always—and so I give you Green Lantern.

 

Now, whose your comic book hero? And why?

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