16 June 2012


Dear Brothers
You may not marry me. You may not even marry any of my friends, or my sisters, or my cousins or even any of the girls you know now. This isn’t important. What is important is the kind of man you will be when you do marry your beauty, your treasure, your heart’s love. This is about the man you will be even before you know her, and yes, even after her days on earth are ended. I dare you to be a hero.

I know something about superheroes. I’ve met 6 personally. I hope one day to meet one more. For example I know how to identify them. For instance, I met one in a pew at an Easter Play in the spring of 1991 (see Mark 15:39), and later in the school year when my teacher asked everyone who their heroes were, many of the students said Batman, Superman, Firemen, their parents, their dog etc. I said Jesus. Jesus was my hero because he was the perfect One who took my punishment for the bad things I had done. Not only that, but he was my always-there friend, who looked out for my best interests. This is a hero. Batman didn’t die for me. Superman didn’t take a nail to the fist for me. A fireman didn’t walk take conquer hell for me. Jesus did.

You will not be a superhero. There is truly only one Superhero, and his name is Jesus. You will however have the opportunity throughout your life to be a hero. With the Holy Spirit as your guide you can become this. The question is, will you? I have known six heroes in my life, and I have known three villains. The line between villain and hero is called “free will,” and whether you are a hero or a villain depends on what side of the line you fall on. Allow me to show you some examples of my heroes. Maybe they'll become yours too.

There once was a man who was well educated, but he has spent more than 40 years rising before dawn to provide for his family. He raised his sons to be one-woman men, who love Jesus and provide for their families. His sons, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, pastors, evangelists, and friends can come to him for advice. He offered his advice and then always prays for these people. Always. Sometimes he catches them off-guard, when he places a firm hand on their shoulder, but he prays for them. This man has always said to me, “Look only to Jesus, not to pastors, or preachers or men. Look only to Jesus, He is the only man who has ever died for your soul. “ This is my maternal grandfather. He is a hero.

There once was a man who got up at dawn to pray every day. He sought to please the Lord in everything he did. He married the woman God had given him, and loved only her for his whole life. He worked for the Lord in the badlands, in the country, and in the tropics. It did not matter if the Lord gave or took away; this man knelt humbly before his God every day of my life. He learned through many trials and frustrations that God has made the man for Himself and that nothing else would satisfy. He taught his daughters that “All men are pigs, and their only redeeming quality is Jesus.” This man was my father. He is a hero.

There once was a man who was proud of his heritage. He faced a lot of trials because of his appearance and because of his disposition. Still, he was for his family. When his oldest nieces got their own apartment on the edges of a city two states away, he drove more than five hours to a party that the young ladies had invited him and his family to. He only stayed for a couple of hours, and he went home the same day, but his presence, and the distance he crossed to spend an evening with the young ladies and their friends, spoke of devotion to family that few could rival. This man was also one of my uncles. He is a hero.

There once was a man gifted with praises. He could sing any note on any instrument created under heaven. He led music at family gatherings and led his church in music. He was not proud, and did not demand his own way. He began a tradition of serenading the neighbors every Christmas, blessing them with the joy of the Lord. He knew how to tell a joke, how to laugh, but most importantly, when devastation visited his niece’s household two years ago, he was among those that prayed. He was among those that cried. And his tears, as much as his songs, were a kind of comfort. This man also was one of my uncles. He is a hero.

There once was a man who was healed. He could always be found in church, and soon no one expected to find him anywhere else. His niece would visit him and his wife every winter break for years. One year after his niece’s first failed romance, he gave these words of advice, “You don’t need to date everyone you’re attracted to. Put another way there will be people you are attracted to who will only be your friends, learn how to deal with this. Seek the Lord in your single years, and trust him to be faithful with your future husband.” This advice saved his niece from much heartbreak. This man was also one of my uncles, he is a hero.

There once was a man who worked in The City. He knew famous bands before they became famous bands, famous athletes before they became famous athletes and famous actors before they became famous actors. He was well read, and well spoken. One day his niece was locked out of the house. He left The City and drove and unlocked the house. Not only this, but he came in, ate a meal and asked his niece about her spiritual life. “Look for a leader,” he said. “There are a lot of scripture on leaders, look for a leader as you study the Bible.” This is my youngest uncle. He is a hero.

What do you notice about these heroes of mine? Perhaps you noticed that they were all disciples of my Superhero. Or perhaps you noticed something more fundamental, they were all actively PRESENT. The first step in becoming a hero is to be present. The second step is to direct your audience’s eyes to God. If you are doing this you are a hero. Will you do this? Will you pray for those who seek your council? Will you start your every day in communion with your Savior? Will you cross distances to be with those who need you, even if it seems futile? Will you sing with those who sing and mourn with those who mourn? Will you make time for those who need a friend, and will you encourage the discouraged around you? Will you leave your prestige to spend a meal with someone who needs you, discussing the things that matter?

If you are truly a follower of Jesus, you have hero potential. You have that one redeeming quality, and I will always encourage that. I will always root for you, and believe the best in you.

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