Attitude Adjustments

With this title you’re probably ready to or not to read or perhaps just gloss over this article. Why, your attitude most likely stinks; or you’re trying to figure out why someone else’s attitude is the way it is.

Many of us are employees or employers and all at one time or the other have possessed bad or poor attitudes, and we’d like to be enabled to change, one way or the other, attitudes.

So…let’s take a deeper look.

2 Corinthians 22:21-27; “I’m ashamed to say that we’ve been too “weak” to do that! But whatever they dare to boast about—I’m talking like a fool again—I dare to boast about it, too. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”

If anyone has a “right” to have negative attitudes the Apostle Paul does!

Now let’s move this conversation to our lives, culture, using Paul’s life to compare our situations to Paul’s situations.

This makes us, if we are one of those who constantly complain about small annoyances look really bad. I know the mirror of God’s Word sometimes is very uncomfortable. That will explain why we are so hesitant many times to engulf ourselves in the Word.

If it’s possible to fix those little inconveniences, then fix them. But if the little things like the temperature of the air can’t be adjusted to your liking or if you can’t have an office with a window, it’s time for you to put a smile on your face and do a good job for your employer with a happy attitude. He didn’t hire you to grumble and complain. He hired you to be a blessing!

The fact is, sometimes we don’t get to have everything just the way we’d like to have it. Yet even in those moments, you and I should serve with all our might. If we are being paid to do a good job and to be cooperative with our employer and fellow employees, then we need to do what we are being paid to do! The day we give up that servant’s attitude to become a source of constant complaining is the day we cease to be a blessing and become instead a hindrance that is no longer needed on the team.

You can do your job with joy, no matter what circumstances surround you! You can be victorious in any environment, even in working conditions that aren’t exactly what you wish they could be. Besides, if you can’t handle tiny inconveniences such as the ones we talked about earlier, how in the world do you ever think you’ll be able to stand against the devil and the strategies he will try to use to assault you when you step out in faith?

As the apostle Paul continues telling us about his experiences in Second Corinthians 11, he lets us know that he has faced all kinds of inconveniences in order to obey the will of God. I’m sure he didn’t enjoy those inconveniences, but he didn’t allow them to affect his attitude or to keep him from fulfilling the task God had given him to do.

Let’s look at a few of the inconveniences Paul endured as he marched forward to obey God.

In Hunger and Thirst

In Second Corinthians 11:27, he tells us that he endured “hunger” and “thirst.” The word “hunger” is the Greek word limos. The word “thirst” is the Greek word dipsos. These words refer to being hungry from a lack of food or thirsty from a lack of drink.

Paul is recalling times of inconvenience when food simply may not have been available to him and his fellow travelers. This lack of food and drink didn’t affect Paul’s desire to go onward to the next town. Hunger and thirst was only an inconvenience – certainly not enough to hinder him from pressing on ahead.

Complaining won’t change the situation, Paul and his people had to learn to work and function in times of hunger. How different it is today. If you don’t have a lunch provided for workers you will only get a few to participate. There is a saying among leaders in the church and that is; “You can always get volunteers if you feed them.” “Feed them and they will come.”

OK, enough of the soap box.

Sometimes that is the way it is with life. We don’t always get what we want or live in the style we prefer. But if we’re not getting exactly what we want and we can’t do anything to change the situation, we have a choice: 1) We can constantly complain and make it worse on ourselves and everyone else; or 2) we can make a mental adjustment and decide that we’re tough enough to handle the situation until things change. The second choice is the one God wants us to make, for this is the one that demonstrates the attitude of Jesus Christ in our lives!

So if you’ve been grumbling or complaining about a situation that just can’t be fixed to your liking, it’s time for you to quit grumbling and to start rejoicing. Put praise in your mouth, and choose to be positive. As you do, you will find the strength to endure any hardship you are facing with joy!

 

Ordinariness and God’s faithfulness

Ordinary church life, prayer, Bible reading, preaching, teaching, singing, the Lord’s table, baptism and fellowship;  activities that don’t normally lend themselves to off-the-chart experiences. But theses are the necessary ingredients that when are consistent exercised they compound and shape your life as a believer. Over time, one can look back with some surprise and say, “God has been so gracious, he has changed my life” as a result of both the ordinariness and of God’s faithfulness.

The Red Sea Redemption The Exodus, God’s Model of Redemption. Part 2

It’s all about an inner change, a character change that only comes about by a transformation of our minds, hearts which first takes place by…and here it is…the center post of all change…the conversion of your soul.

No longer given to the things of the flesh but of the Spirit. You can modify our fleshly behavior all you want, but you’ll not change the core of who and what you are until God converts the soul.

Dress it up like you want…change locations…find new friends…go to rehab…try all of man’s solutions and you’ll find yourself in perhaps with a new set of objectives, a new set of behaviors…but no power to find the kind of change that’s eternal…one that changes the soul…that only comes through Christ.

That is a description of the sanctification process, where throughout the rest of our lives, we who have been made holy by the sacrifice of Christ, progress in the outworking of that holiness as we grow and mature (1 Corinthians 6:11). As we fall more deeply in love with our Savior in the course of an ongoing pursuit of Him (Philippians 3:8-16), we are transformed into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18) and we are conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).

Biblically, change is no less an expectation for the homosexual than it is for the porn addict, the liar, the murderer, jealously, (Galatians 5: 19-21) or anyone else who has been under the power of sin.

Galatians 5:1; “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

The core of the Gospel message is this: you are God’s image bearer. Sin has shattered that image and no amount of effort without the aid and empowerment for the Holy Spirit will change you. When you utter these words; “I’ll and change” you have just re-shackled yourself into another cycle of defeat and disappointment.

God’s redemption is to restore this image…and this is only possible through what Jesus has done for us.

We are not talking about rehabilitation…we are talking conversion of the soul…a new creation spoken of in 1 Corinthians 5:17. The old passes away—all things have become new!

Without this new birth we don’t recover from our sins…or sinful nature. Why, because it doesn’t change from the outside. It takes a miracle from God to change our hearts, our character, and our motives that which drives us to do what we do.

We need a new nature and that what Jesus brings us. This image which was lost and shattered in the Garden of Eden.

The Red Sea Redemption The Exodus, God’s Model of Redemption.

Galatians 5:1; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”   NKJV

The following is a reflection of all the sermons we have preached over the last year.

If we question whether change was possible for everyone whom has given his or her life to Jesus Christ; the Father’s reply would be: “I have only one plan, that my children are conform to the image of my Son Jesus.

And so the question is asked; is change possible? Folks…that’s what it’s all about! That’s what Christianity is – it’s the process of becoming somebody God has made us to be…in His image. We’re children of God, now we are becoming like Christ.

You see it’s not just about getting “reformed,” going through “recovery,” 12 steps…etc. which I personally have seen in the lives of the people I serve as pastor, a reality of a difference in their lives. No we don’t deny the good these types of therapy’s can do.

I personally have seen those who try to change the inward man from the outside fail time and time again because the actuality they are trying to achieve can never be found outside of the One who designed them.

It’s all about an inner change, a character change that only comes about by a transformation of our minds, hearts which first takes place by…and here it is…the center post of all change…the conversion of your soul.

No longer given to the things of the flesh but of the Spirit. You can modify our fleshly behavior all you want, but you’ll not change the core of who and what you are until God converts the soul.

Dress it up like you want…change locations…find new friends…go to rehab…try all of man’s solutions and you’ll find yourself in perhaps with a new set of objectives, a new set of behaviors…but no power to find the kind of change that’s eternal…one that changes the soul…that only comes through Christ.

That is a description of the sanctification process, where throughout the rest of our lives, we who have been made holy by the sacrifice of Christ, progress in the outworking of that holiness as we grow and mature (1 Corinthians 6:11). As we fall more deeply in love with our Savior in the course of an ongoing pursuit of Him (Philippians 3:8-16), we are transformed into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18) and we are conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).

Biblically, change is no less an expectation for the homosexual than it is for the porn addict, the liar, the murderer, jealously, (Galatians 5: 19-21) or anyone else who has been under the power of sin.

Galatians 5:1; “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

25 Ways to Teach Your Child to Have an Attitude of Entitlement.

This is how a sense of entitlement which is the answer to why we have such narcissistic behavior, idol worship–worship of self in our culture. We see this in the church…and it’s probably one of the biggest obstacles to spiritual growth.

1. Give him his own present whenever anyone else gets one.
Brother’s birthday? He gets a present too. Best friend’s baby shower? He gets a present too. No one is ever more special than Li’l Junior!

2. Fix him a special meal when he doesn’t like what you prepared for the family.
You prepared spaghetti for dinner, but it makes him whine? Make him his own plate of food. Be sure to ask what he would like instead.

3. Encourage false talent.
Your kid can’t carry a tune (see American Idol tryouts)in a bucket? Disregard that and demand that he is the lead in the Christmas musical.

4. Buy him a small gift or token whenever you go to the store.
He must feel that he is always deserving of gifts.

5. Allow him to attend the birthday party that the older sibling was invited to.
Be sure to ask for a party favor for him too.

6. When throwing a tantrum, the best way to stop it is giving him the candy he wanted but you originally denied.
Curtail this behavior by not denying his requests. Ever.

7. Blame everyone and everything else for a fault or failure.
Didn’t finish homework? The teacher gave too much and brother was too loud so she couldn’t focus. Lost a friend? Wasn’t worth having if they couldn’t see past the rude/arrogant/unfair behavior to the wonderful person she REALLY is.

8. Always do for him what he can do for himself.
If he asks for a drink while you are cooking dinner, stop what you are doing to get it for him, even though he is perfectly capable of getting it himself.

9. Never make her clean up her own messes.
She tires easily, you know.

10. Don’t follow through on consequences, and often make idle threats.

11. Force other children to give over their toys to him.
Whether they were playing with it at the time is irrelevant.

12. Acknowledge him when he interrupts a conversation to show him that what he says is more important than what you were listening to.

13. Always take his side when any other adult calls him out for a disciplinary issue.
Alternately, hand him excuse after excuse as to why he “can’t help” his behavior.

14. Don’t allow him to face disappointment.
He missed the deadline for turning in the extra credit that qualifies him for a special prize? Put the finishing touches on it, and drive it up to the school yourself.

15. Make sure everyone on his team gets a trophy the same size as the team who won first place.

16. Don’t ever make him wait to be served.
You don’t want him to become hungry. That makes him cranky.

17. Don’t make him serve others.
This will only make him feel that others could possibly be more deserving than he is.

18. Always say “please” in a begging tone when requesting anything of him.
If he refuses, let it go immediately.

19. Whenever a classmate or friend gets a new toy, run right out and get your child one too.
Make sure it is the newest model.

20. Never, ever criticize his efforts or let him know you expect him to try harder at something.
Pretending not to notice half-hearted attempts is best.

21. Overpraise everything she does, whether it is excellent or not.
You can barely read the essay she wrote for English class? Tell her how creative she is at spelling!

22. Always stop what you are doing whenever she addresses you.
Never make her wait until you are through with a task.

23. Always excuse bad behavior.
“He was probably hungry. The low blood sugar makes him cranky,” is a good standby.

24. Never make him answer for his own poor choices.
Step in to explain for him.

25. Go into debt buying a new car when he turns 16.
Make sure it is the model with the usb port for charging his iPhone.

By following these simple steps consistently you will soon have a child who believes his needs and wishes are superior to the needs and wishes of those around him!
Now, go give your little narcissist a hug. And a prize. Preferably a toy.

Conflict Versus Complaints

A lot of us have disagreements and conversations bringing discomfort, and anxiety about legitimate issues which sometimes divide us. We call that conflict, not complaint.

Conflict can be healthy, as long as we have resolution and reconciliation as the final goal of conflict. With conflict, as long as we have resolution/reconciliation in mind, can flush out hidden agendas, motives, demonstrating healthy honest differences of opinion.

When we look at these issues from an unbiased perspective, as hard as that is; it’s healthy, dealing with the realities of life, the situations we go through, and personal goals we have. These issues of conflict are now visible causes us to walk in integrity and honesty.

But what about complaints; are they the same as conflict? What happen when someone is dissatisfied and causes conflict…isn’t this the same thing?

I’m Confused

NO, not at all! Many times when we complain, we do so because we are not getting what we feel we are entitled to. We walk in an illusion of our own grandeur, believing our rights are more important than others.
We confuse these two based on our identification of and/or priority of our perceived needs and the obstacle that others place in front of us to have their wants/needs met by conflicting behavior.

Everybody experiences these types of situation. It’s a part of our culture which is obsessed with self.  It’s easy to fall into to this mindset because our economy is built around us as consumers. We deserve to be right and those whom want our business/money will do everything within their power to accommodate us. It’s easy to put pressure on the person behind the counter in order to get what we want. It’s easy to complain on “Yelp” because we waited too long for our Big-Mac. If your bold enough, you’ll talk to the manager because of their staffs boo-boo’s. We are the customer, and we’re always right.

The question must now be asked; is your Christianity about making sure you are delivered what you’re entitled to have? WELL…isn’t that the essence of grace? Nope! It’s not…the grace of God is to be emulated by us to those whom we meet and extend to them the grace of God. God’s grace isn’t about entitlement, our rights, and our privilege.

So What Is Our Privilege

It seems to me that we might be hoarders of God’s grace refusing to dispense it to those whom God has orchestrated to come into your life. Now you have the great privilege of extending grace to them. This extension of the grace of God witnesses to them the greatness of forgiveness within your life…not complaining, but forgoing your rights understanding that in the great scheme of things…you’re forgiven, and your forgiveness goes in front of you…not as an afterthought, but a forethought.

Some of the inspiration of these thoughts came from other authors, and things I’ve been considering for a long time. One writer puts it this way.

“From what I’ve seen, getting what you’re entitled to in this life fights against finding what has the most value in the next. A flood of complaints at the register rarely fights for the soul of the person behind it. In winning the battle for entitlement we may very well lose the battle for eternity. Consider the battle today. Consider it when you step up to order. Consider it when things aren’t up to what you feel you deserve. Consider it when you begin your complaint. Then find a better way.”

Living Churches

The necessity of regeneration and sanctification by a constant dependence on the Holy Spirit, for the assistance and strength in living the Christian life results in living churches. While dying churches, somewhere along the way, began to subtly and perhaps imperceptibly, barely noticing, they quench, grieved or usurped the Holy Spirit of God when they took matters into their own hands.