DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Men of Courage
 

As men what are we looking for? We all want to be successful, right. We all want to be an achiever. We all wanted to do something incredible in our lifetime. If you are a student you want to do well in your studies, and then you want to find a great job. We all dream of a happy family. We all dream of parents who love us and treat us with respect. We all dream of a day when we feel close to our dads. We all dream about of a day when we see and want to see our mothers are truly happy.

We all want to be close to our wives. We all want to have kids that love us and obey us and make us feel proud. We all want this. But we don't go to the right place to get this. We all go everywhere to find happiness and joy and meaning in life.

But it is very rare that we go to God to find meaning in life. The world is hurting without God. As you saw in South Africa one in out of every five people living there have aids. In some countries in the next 30 years the oldest man living in the country will be just around 30 years old. And the reason of this disease is sexual perversion, prostitution, drugs and homosexuality.

We saw every seven minutes somebody in India commit suicide. In Kerala it is every three minutes that somebody commits suicide. The most literate State in India has the maximum number of suicides. We live in the age were war is glorified. But nobody publishes the dark facts of war.

In the World War II 21 million soldiers died in the battle. It is the whole of Nepal killed that's what it means 21 million soldiers. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews. The communist leader Stalin in his regime killed over 25 million people in USSR. In the last century the 20th we saw over 100 million people died because of war. Our nation, our men, our children are hurting without God.

We say we believe in God. But your lives do not show that you believe in God. People think believing in God means following some rituals. They are still the same, they going to churches; they are going to different places but they still the same there is no change. Because they don't find God wherever they going.

It is easy to beat up somebody. It is easy to walk around like a gunda. It is easy to go out at whistle at women on the streets. It is easy to clap high hands when dirty scene is going on the T.V screen or on the Movie screen. It is easy to make fun of your friends. We have two challenges today.

1. Take of the mask

See we all have a mask. This is a happy looking mask right. Lot of us are like that to all the people we know we look like this. We know how to look good. We know how to cover up and guess where we learned that from.

From our own parents because they teach you to lie. Small little lies, where the deceit starts from home. Somebody calls home hello, tring, tring, tring, "Is Mr. Thambi there", so the son goes to say, Daddy somebody is calling you. Go and find out who it is. The son goes out and says hello, "who is this", this is Annadurai. Oh! The father comes to know it is Annadurai he needs to pay some money back to him. Tell Annadurai, that Daddy is not at home.

So you are taught right from childhood to lie and put on a mask. We put on a mask and smile but we are deeply hurting. This is how we really feel deep inside. Right we have mask of confidence, but deep inside we really feel insecure, wondering what people really thinking about me. Some of us have the mask of religiosity. We carry a cross, we put on some signs on your body but deep inside you know you are so messed up.

Some of us walk around with the mask of independence. I don't need God, I don't need my parents, and I don't need anybody, but deep inside you are so lonely. You really longing for intimate close relationships. Lot of us we carry the mask of the strong. But deep inside we feel so weak. We are fragile emotionally. Some of us we put of a mask of a great family.

When somebody comes home all of you look good, smile good, and all behave yourself. But deep inside you know you and your wife are not feeling so close. You are always shouting and yelling and screaming and beating. There is so much of shouting and anger with along you children wants to leave you. The word divorce is most often said in families and marriages now than ever before.

So the question comes how are you? How are you Mr. so and so? I am so happy. I have a very happy life. I work for so and so Software Company. I earn Rs.40,000. See my family they look so happy. Look at my wife; see she is really happy. She is trying to so happy. Look at her she is really happy. Look at my children. You know how to look good. But you know who the real you are. In the Bible there is a man he had a mask on his face, he was a very famous man.

Luke 19:1-10
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.
2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.
3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.
4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."
6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'"
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."


The chief tax collector was willing to run to Jesus for help. He didn't care what people thought about him. The Chief tax collector ran and climbed a tree, because he felt the need. Many criticisms followed. This man was sinner. Why is Jesus interested in him?

But Zacchaeus was wanting for help. Jesus did not condemn him. He accepted him and loved him in the arms of Jesus Zacchaeus received salvation, forgiveness of his sin. Zacchaeus exposed his true self. He took responsibility for his wrongs. He is willing to go back and write all the wrongs he did. He is willing to face the consequence for all the wrong he had done. He is willing to pay the price to change his life. And Jesus offered him a life to the full of guilt free happy content life.

You can look at your life today. What are your darkest moments in your life? What are you hiding? What are you trying to put on? Who are you really? Are you showing your credentials or you are really being open about your life. Today God wants to give you a meaningful life a guilt free life. A no-shame life. You know that's what we all looking for.

Today I believe it is your chance. To come out of your immoral life. To come out of your dark life that nobody else knows but you and God. For some of you this may be your last chance to change. The first decision is to take off of your mask. You can change. But you got to be willing. Willing to take the help like Zacchaeus was willing. If you sit there, feeling sorry for yourself you will never change. If you sit on thinking Oh! Today not today tomorrow when I get older I will take help. But today I believe is your chance. The second decision I want us to make today.

2. I am not for sale

This is challenging. This is the world where their lot of sales going on right. Age of marketing everyday somebody knocks at your door saying excuse me do you want to but this. I got the best product. Best vacuum cleaner. It will clean up everything in your house. It will clean up your money also. It is very good, number one, imported machine. Buy our computer best computer.

Internet connection, ours is the best. You know T.V AIWA is best. Oh! no, no it is Onida neighbors' envy. That is what the world is all about, all about sales. In china they built the Great Wall of China. Do you know why they built the Great Wall of China? They build it so big that no invader can actually invade China. They say, the only thing we can see on earth from moon is the Great Wall of China. Even after building this huge structure China was invaded many times. And the invaders did not invade China by climbing over the wall. They invaded China by bribing the gatekeeper at the gate of Great Wall of China. The gatekeepers were for sale.

The question I have for you. Are you for sale today? What is your price? What is the price tag you carry around your neck? Look at this world. Men are for sale. To get a job. They will lie. They lie about their degree. They lie about their work experience. The lie about the address. They lie about all the connections. That's your price.

To get a girl friend. You lie. You won't tell the truth about your life. Because you are so afraid when you reveal the truth the people will reject me. There is so much of dowry. Men are for sale. Engineer; 5 lakh rupees. Any women can pay the money and buy you. And if you are a Doctor; 10 lakh rupees. If you are software engineer and you are working for one of these big multinational software firms. 20 lakh rupees.

Is that your price tag? Is that what you are willing to sell yourself for? Is that what I am talking about? My question is what the price of your compromise is? And see this world wants us to sell ourselves. You can buy sex on the streets. You pay money you get what you want. You pay money you can see pornography. You can buy whatever you want. Can you be bought? What is your price? At what cost can your soul be sold out to the Devil? It is so hard to say no isn't it?

Titus 2:11-12
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,


The Bible talks about that we got to learn to say no to ungodliness. The biggest challenge men face is to say "No". When somebody offers you drugs it is so hard for you to say no. If somebody offers you a peg or a beer or a glass of wine it is so hard for you to say no. You don't realize what you are having is little poison that will kill you one day. You know you have salesmen now a days who makes you feel guilty if you don't but their product.

It is so hard to say "No". We are afraid of being rejected. We are afraid of losing friendship. We are afraid of losing our job. And so we always say "yes" and then we are in for sale. You see the Bible. The first salesman in the Bible was the serpent. You know he was able to deceive Adam and Eve to buy his product. He was so convincing Adam and Eve could not say no and they compromised and sinned against God.

Judas betrayed his friend Jesus for only 30 piece of silver. That was his price and see what is your price. We are willing to commit adultery for cheap sex. We are willing to get into any mess just for some smile, some friendship.

We need to be men who really willing to dare to be open about our lives. Who are willing to dare to lay open their hearts and lay bare their secrets of their lives. Calling men to really share their lives with other men. Calling men to really care for other men around us. Calling men who can really stand up and pray to God. Calling men to be real men of God. First of all you got to decide that "I am going to take of my mask" and secondly you got to decide "I will not be for sale not compromise. Time to rise and change.