“Hero” (def) – A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed their life for a cause.


We live in a world of terror. Religious extremists are willing to murder people they don’t even know because of a mistaken idea they have about them. Others are so overwhelmed by the satanic influences they face in their own lives (lust, greed, deceit, etc.) that they nearly kill themselves (or sometimes do) as they try to find ways to run and hide. The resulting pain and destruction is frightening. As we remember the heroes of 9/11, we must remember that world also needs SPIRITUAL heroes. We need disciples of Jesus who are willing to run to those who are in eternal danger and “snatch others from the fire and save them”!(Jude vs. 23)

God sent us a Hero when he sent Jesus. In Jesus anyone and everyone can find freedom from the terrors of life and of this world. But in order to find Jesus, many people today need heroes who are willing make the sacrifice, to rush into the “crumbling” lives of others and do whatever it takes to bring people to the healing love of God.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of one person’s influence. We think, What can I do? I am only one person. The truth is that each of us wields far more power than we could possibly imagine. However, most of us have never discovered this—or we have forgotten it.

A few years ago, my wife Patrique and I saw a powerful movie called Freedom Writers, starring Hillary Swank. It is based on the true story of Erin Gruwell, a rookie school teacher assigned to a tough, newly-integrated school in Long Beach, California. The students were mostly Black, Latino, and Asian gangbangers who hated her even more than they hated each other.

Everyone had given up on these kids—even the school. The teacher who hired her exhorts her to forget about educating these “hoodlums”. The most she can hope for is to teach them something about obedience and not get too involved. Even her Dad, who had been a liberal activist, pleads with her to find a new job. Fortunately for her students, Erin doesn’t have enough “experience” to listen to “reason” or be so cynical.

Instead, she begins to listen to the students in a way that no one has ever listened to them before. She takes on a second job—and eventually, a third—so that she can buy them books, take them on field trips, and introduce them to Holocaust survivors. She doesn’t let a lack of resources keep her from doing the right thing.

She also teaches them about the power of writing. She introduces them to The Diary of Anne Frank and requires them to journal about their experiences. Through this simple exercise, their lives are radically changed.


This experience was another reminder that each of us has the power to change our world. We may think we are powerless, but we are not. Power is simply the courage to confront evil, take a stand for what is right, and then act to make things different.

Erin’s example had a ripple effect in the lives of her students and other teachers to the point that she inspired a book and a movie! The movie really impacted me. Through the power of God I have more power than I sometimes give myself credit for…and so do you.

Here are four ways you can exercise the power of God in our lives:

H – Heart of Compassion. We need to stop ignoring the evil we encounter. The older I get, the easier it is to close my eyes to poverty, pain, injustice, and evil. I can order my life, so that I am never put in a position of seeing anything unpleasant. I can lookwithout seeing. As Matthew 13:15 states, “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” Our challenge is to pray for God to give us “eyes to see and ears to hear”! You can’t make a difference if you don’t perceive the needs around you. We must be willing to have the concern for others that inspires them to know the grace of God!

E – Eager Faith. We must stop over-thinking our response to the needs of others. When we share our faith with others about the truth of the Bible and their responsibility for the cross we can be tempted to go through all kinds of mental gyrations: “If I share my faith with this person, will they be open or just blow me off? Should I take up their time or my own? Maybe it would be better if I stayed quiet…” We need to heed the warning of James 4:17, and remember that “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” I can come up with a thousand-and-one excuses why I shouldn’t get involved in the lives of others. I can over-think my response. While I may not be able to do guarantee a positive response, I can take away their excuse of ignorance before God! God’s word never comes back empty! (Isaiah 55:11)

R – Radical Action. Very often people don’t make efforts to make an impact because they don’t believe they have the tools or resources to succeed. Instead of taking action, they complain that their lack of resources or talent will result in eventual failure. InFreedom Writers, Erin couldn’t get the school to give books to her students. So, she got a second job and bought the books herself. The students wanted to bring Miep Gies, the Dutch woman whose family hid Anne Frank and her family, to the school to lecture. The school didn’t have the budget, so the students held a series of fund-raisers to come up with the money.

What’s our excuse? No matter what my station in life is, it’s easy to think I don’t have enough resources/talent/ faith, etc… My guess is that even Bill Gates feels inadequate in the face of the needs he encounters. Resources are never—and I mean never—the problem. The biggest challenge is simply my will to act. We must be willing to “shine like stars” even as we are being “poured out…on the sacrifice and service coming from (others) faith” (Philippians 2:15,17)


O – Organize others for service. Like the heroes of 9/11 who inspired others to help save lives, we also must inspire others to act. It starts with helping others to understand what is right. The world needs more heroes. It needs many people who will be courageous and act on principle. We must persuade others to serve and make a difference. Like Mordecai inspired his niece, the young Jewish queen Esther in the Bible to save the Jewish exiles, we must inspire others who have the opportunity to act. Despite the fact that Esther had everything to lose in a pagan land whose contempt for Jews would endanger her own life, her uncle reminded her saying, “you have come to a royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

Are you ready to be a hero? You can’t afford to wait for your circumstances to be perfect. You will never have enough experience. You will never have the resources you need. You need to stop whining and just do it! Someone else is waiting for a hero. You may be the best opportunity they have. You may be their answer to prayer! You may not be able to help everyone. But you can help someone. You have more power than you can imagine. As I was inspired by Erin’s story in Freedom Writers,the saying is true: “One person can change the world!” Let’s beg God for the faith and courage to be spiritual heroes for the 20 million souls of New York City and all over the world! And to God be all the glory!

In His Service,
Andrew Smellie
Founding Evangelist of the Washington DC International Christian Church

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