It happened at the battle of Mill Springs in South Central Kentucky. It seems
the battle was raging in early morning on a fog-shrouded ridge. The two armies
were involved in hand-to-hand combat and the battle lines had broken in several

Two generals met each other on the fog-shrouded hill. They talked for several
minutes, talking about the danger of shooting their own men. The problem was
that one general was from the Southern army and the other from the Northern
army, and they didn’t recognize each other. The Southern general, General
Zollencoffer, was shot and laid next to a tree until he died. Some say it was
the confusion. Others said it was the fog, and still others claimed it was
Zollencoffer’s poor eyesight. Whatever the cause, a man was dead because he
failed to recognize the enemy.

Such is the case when we don’t recognize the enemy. He is often hidden, and we
don’t recognize his presence. It is important for the Church to stand up and be
the conscience of the community. We are to be a force for all that is good and

Illustration by J. Michael Shannon, Professor of Preaching, Cincinnati Bible
College & Seminary, Cincinnati, OH.

View more sermon illustrations for inspiration for your next message.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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