Jan 10, 2005

Having a Positive Attitude for 2005

Message preached on January 9, 2005

Philippians 3:12-14
Realize that Paul is in prison, chained to a Roman guard, under horrible conditions. Yet despite that, he writes these wonderfully positive words,
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind & straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

A religious man once said,
“I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the energy to change the world.’
As I approached middle age and realized that my life was half-gone and I didn’t even change a single person. So I changed my prayer to: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come into contact with me, just my family and friends and I shall be satisfied.’
Now that I am an old man and my days are coming to an end, I have begun to see how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’
If I had prayed for this right from the start, I would not have wasted my life.”

Note: You want to impact others, you must impact yourselves.

- To be a dynamic fellowship – we must first be victorious ourselves – here in our life.
- Our relationship with God is not static – but dynamic – always exciting, new, refreshing, changing in depth and zeal.

Let’s promise ourselves & God that we will make a change for the better.
This year, as God’s people, as His church, let’s decide - we’re going to make a change for the better.PROP. To do that we need to:

If you do not have a positive attitude towards the life (that God gives us) – you are under emotional suicide.
How do you feel about your life? Is it worthwhile?
What would it take for you to feel that your life is worthwhile?
What would have to happen to make you feel really positive about your life?If you win the lottery, would it change your attitude towards life? No. – just the opposite.
If you are waiting for your wife/husband/children to change, then you are wrong.
If you are waiting for your promotion, then you change – you are wrong.
If you are waiting for something to happen, then only you change – you are wrong.

How to have a Positive Attitude towards Life?
- Only when you live for God.
- Then whatever the storms, we will not give up – we will not surrender.

Phil 3:14 – I press on towards the calling of God.

What is he reaching for? What is his goal? Paul’s goal is to fulfill the calling of God and to claim the Prize because he obeyed his calling.
There will be disappointments in life.

Pro 24:16
“The steps of a good man are directed and established by the Lord when he delights in his way and he busies himself with his every step. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.”

Many people in the world have poor self-image – because they are taught that they come into this world by chance, and many things happen in their life by chance.

- The Bible tells us nothing happens by chance.
- We should feel good about ourselves because God loves us.
- I am a loved person in God’s sight. I am wanted. I am cared by God. He gave Jesus for me and that makes me valuable, & I can feel good about myself. Realized that life is a very precious gift God has given us.
It makes God sad that oftentimes we take this gift of life He has given to us for granted & don’t treasure it.

Secondly, we need to have a positive attitude toward the church.
The church exist with the desire to lift up Jesus, to reach out to a lost & dying world with the message of salvation.
Yet, sometimes we hear people criticizing the church.
But Jesus said in
Matthew 16:18
And now I'm going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.

Ephesians 5:25
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.

1 Corinthians 14:12
Even so you, since you are zealots of spiritual things, seek to build up the church, in order that you may abound

Eph 5:27 that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus wants to build the church and to make it glorious and strong. Jesus is very positive towards the church. Even though, Jesus knows there are still many weaknesses.

So we likewise must be positive towards the church.

ILL. A true story. John Wesley was a great English preacher of the 1700’s. He was considered a rather well dressed person. One Sunday morning he wore a bow tie that had long ribbons that hung downward. After the sermon was over a lady walked up to him & said, "Brother Wesley, are you open to some criticism?"He said, "I guess so. What would you like to criticize?" She said, "The ribbons on your tie are entirely too long & unsuitable for a man of God." And she took out her scissors & cut them off. A hush fell over the people standing there as Wesley calmly asked, "Now may I borrow the scissors for a moment?" As she handed them to him, he said, "Ma’am, are you open to some criticism?" She answered, "Well, Yes I suppose I am." He said, "All right then, please stick out your tongue."
So we need to develop a positive attitude towards the church.

Thirdly, we need to develop a positive attitude toward other people.

ILL. Robert Schuller wrote, “If we treat people nicely and positively we could influence many for Christ” I think he is right.

This is a hard world. A world that doesn’t know courtesy and honesty.
Sometimes it’s a dog-eat-dog world. People are fighting for positions on the roads & in their companies, & they’re filled with all kinds of stress & anxiety.
But the church must be a place where we all can come & be accepted & loved & encouraged & built up - a place where all kinds of people can be treated with a positive attitude.

The 5 circles of commitment – where we move people to be built up.

Steps of Success – where we use the Word of God to Build you up.

This Year, let us make a decision to Develop a Positive Attitude.

A change for the better. "I’m going to be positive as I look at my life. I’m going to be positive as I look at the church. And I’m going to be positive as I look at other people."

A poem:
“We cannot choose how many years we will live,

but we can choose how much life those years will have.
We cannot control the beauty of our face,

but we can control the expression on it.
We cannot control life’s difficult moments,

but we can choose to make life less difficult.
We cannot control the negative atmosphere of the world,

but we can control the atmosphere of our minds.
Too often, we try to choose and control things we cannot,
Too seldom, we choose to control what we can … our ATTITUDE.”

Steven Wong

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