“So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Acts 15:25-26

What do these three men have in common:  the auto racer who set the world speed record at Daytona in 1914, the pilot who recorded the highest number of victories in aerial combat against the Germans in World War II, and the secretary of war’s special adviser who survived a plane crash and twenty-two days on a raft in the Pacific during World War II?  They all lived through dangerous circumstances.  They all displayed courage and steely nerves under duress. And they all happen to be the same person — Eddie Rickenbacker.

Rickenbacker’s prowess in the air caused the press to dub him the “American Ace of Aces.”  When asked about his courage in combat, he admitted that he had been afraid.  “Courage,” he said, “is doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”  When Rickenbacker died his son, William, wrote, “If he had a motto, it must have been the phrase I’ve heard a thousand times:  ‘I’ll fight like a wildcat!'”

When we look at the life of someone like Eddie Rickenbacker, you can see great courage.  It’s easy to see in war heroes, but it must be present in every great leader in business, government, and the church.

Larry Osborne offers this observation:  “The most striking thing about highly effective leaders is how little they have in common.  What one swears by, another warns against.  But one trait stands out:  the willingness to risk.”  As a pastor, I sense that churches will never see what God can do until they are more willing to take biblical risks!  We must all remember that we serve an awesome God who requires and honors faith.

As followers of Jesus, we CANNOT simply keep doing what we have always done.  Not only will we not maintain our current level of effectiveness, we will decline and die on the vine!  We MUST venture out and try new things.  Sometimes you have to go out on a limb because that’s where the fruit is.

Question:  What are you willing to risk for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?

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