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Sermon of the Week 
Wednesday, November 25 2015

“Celebrating Thanksgiving in a Brave New World”

We’re not going to spend our time talking about the first Thanksgiving, but I want to deal with the “Can Do” attitude that caused them to overcome all of the unsurmountable odds, endure unbelievable hardships, and thrive in a time of desperation and depravation. Somehow even with all the Thanksgiving festivities around the big Gobble, gobble, the turkey has survived as a breed….

Let me begin this “Can Do” theme, with a story about Jerry. Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the door unlocked one morning as he was getting his restaurant ready for business, and he was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. When he told them his wife took care of all the money, and she would not be in for 2 hours. The robbers panicked and shot him. Fortunately a regular customer found him and called an ambulance. They rushed him to the local trauma center and after 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. About six months after the accident, he was asked what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. He said that "The first thing that went through his mind was that he should have locked the back door, then, as he lay on the floor, knowing he was in critical condition, he realized that he had two choices: he could choose to live, or he could choose to die.

He said “I chose to live." He said, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I could read, 'He's a dead man,' and I knew I needed to take action. There was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me, she asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied.

And the doctors and nurses stopped everything as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'I’m allergic to Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live, so operate on me as if I’m alive, not dead." Jerry lived thanks to the skill of paramedics, doctors and nurses, but also because of his amazing attitude. We can all learn from Jerry, that every day we have the choice to live fully, or we can become the living dead, in a coffin of fears, intimidation, emotional wounds, rejection, and failures. I choose to live….how about you!!!

Here’s some notable Quotes, I want to share with you

"Our attitude chooses our joys and sorrows long before they ever get to us."

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it should annoy enough people to make it well worth the effort."

The wells of possibility every day of your life are deep, be sure to bring your biggest bucket with you.

You will always show by your attitude... where you have placed your values.

The glass of gratitude is not just half full or half empty, it's usually just too small

A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Start your own epidemic.

You are where you are... because of the way you reacted to what happened to you where you were.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything like it was a nail.

Trying to change your outer world without adjusting your inner beliefs and attitude, is like believing that a merry go round is actually going somewhere.

Airplane pilots often use “attitude” to describe their horizontal relationship with the runway when they land. If the plane's attitude is not properly aligned it will make contact with the ground at the wrong angle and it will cause the plane to crash.

Our attitude, and our alignment with things around us ultimately determines the final outcome of our relationship with those things and people who are involved in how we are feeling, perceiving and experiencing our situations and circumstances.

John C. Maxwell says “We all must be willing to constantly reinvent ourselves through our attitude and our outlook. Our attitudes and alignments are the advance team and the way markers of our true selves. Their roots go downward but their fruit grows outward; They are our best friend or our worst enemy; They are more honest and more consistent indicators, than the words that we speak. They are the external expression of the sum of our past experiences; They are the thing which draws people to us or repels them. They are never content until they are expressed; They are the librarians of our past, the speakers of our present and the prophets of our future.“

One of the major enemies of a great attitude are our comfort zones....

What Is a Comfort Zone? A comfort zone is a ceiling on our performance or health, or finances, or job, which are our emotional “No Trespassing Zones.” These “zones” are invisible to us, except when we look at the results of our efforts in key areas of our lives.

Our results are reflected in the comfort zones under which we currently operate. We are compelled to stay within these boundaries for their ease and familiarity, and we will seek ways to balance our lives so we can remain within these safe zones. Comfort zones will say things like….

If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees…

Why do I need to run if no one is chasing me?

If I’m not supposed to eat at night, why is there a light bulb in the refrigerator?

I don't regret doing things, I just regret getting caught..

or…I'm having a pity party and you're not invited.

Comfort Zones say.. "who's going to help me" instead of "who can I help or where can I help"? They defy us to think of life without limits.

How Do I Know If I have a safe zone? Just look at your life --- your health, finances, relationships, and general sense of well-being. If your health is always compromised, or you make a certain salary every year and never go above that dollar amount, or if *…..your relationships follow all the same predictable patterns, it is highly likely you have a comfort zone in which you are operating (or hiding) to stay safe.

Staying emotionally safe is the real reason we live within these comfort zones. Feeling out of place, or that you don’t belong in a new “zone” will immediately signal you to sabotage yourself so that you come back “home where it’s safe again.” A key to identifying whether you have comfort zones and where they are, is whether your efforts to change emotionally, financially or physically have been temporary or permanent or not at all.

When you have successfully worked on expanding your comfort zones, changes come automatically and remain permanent. When you have only applied a band-aid approach to your problems (a diet, a better job, a new circle of friends, even trying a new hairdo) you are likely to return to your original markers, and you will continue to be disappointed with only temporary results. Are you disappointed by some changes that were only temporary and left you back where you started? Are you frustrated because you thought you had “worked on” an issue only to find it has resurfaced?

Maybe you thought with your new job, it would be “different” this time, but it turned out to be the same if not worse than the previous one. Perhaps you thought you had finally found the diet that was “the One”, only to find that you quickly regained the weight you had lost with your new eating plan. Or maybe you thought you had found “The One” that you could spend the rest of your life with, but it lasted about as long as the warrantee on your toaster….It could be a coincidence or maybe your fears are sabotaging you.

A delivery truck was taking a special shipment to the San Mateo County Convention and Visitors Bureau in California… and it got lost. This was before they had GPS. The delivery truck driver saw someone and stopped to ask for directions. Now ordinarily this wouldn't have been unusual. People get lost all the time, I'm sure you get lost every once in a while. And even delivery truck drivers will get lost occasionally.

What made this incident so odd was that - in the back of the truck were 50,000 glorious new maps of the area from a map company. The truck driver got lost - even though his truck had 50,000 maps INSIDE of it… maps that could have easily helped him find his way to his destination had he only had access to them. Today we have smart phones, with access to all the information that is on the world-wide web, but if we haven’t learned how to use it, with all that information available, we will only use our phone to receive and send calls….

The same is true of God’s word, and the access we have through the Holy Spirit. If we don’t become acquainted with what has been made available to us, we will live our lives far below our capacity. The good news is that we can change those patterns on a permanent basis. Getting to the root cause of the “relapses” we may have in any area of our lives is a sure way to expand these zones which will enable us to move further and advance more than we ever dreamed..

How do we expand these “safe zones” in our lives? How do we minimize the revolving door effect that keeps bringing us back to where we started from? Well, it’s like blowing up a balloon, you do it little by little….

It can be obvious that we are limited, since there has been no growth or development in some areas, because we have become too comfortable at that level! We may not understand why we are blocked, but once we began to allow God’s spirit to shine light on it, and we determine that we will not be locked into the past, or the old patterns and ways of thinking, we can blow past it very quickly.

Some folks will want name rank and serial number, to pinpoint that their problem came from something their father or family members said, a comment their coach or sibling said, or their friend who abandoned them, that made them decide to stick within a comfortable “No Trespassing” zone.

In other cases, you don’t need to know the specifics because you can tell you’ve hit a comfort zone nerve, by the anxiety level that surfaces when you consider stretching past your current limits . You know immediately, that you have encountered a barrier which must come down so that you can excel and achieve greater heights.

So, How Do I Expand Beyond those pesky, frightening comfort zones? This is the fun part! Once you have identified some of your comfort zones (and everyone will) and you decide that you are willing to break through them…..

Give yourself the permission to break through these “ceilings” or “lids” that limit you. Remember, that permission is power to act! Our limiting beliefs are the convictions and fears which we have, that support our comfort zones.

There are three laws that always work to destroy limiting beliefs….

(1) We must operate in The Law of subliminal Thought…..Our emotions, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, words, and actions, begin as thoughts

Proverbs 23:7 "as a man thinks in his heart, (or at his center) so is he" That’s where what you really, really believe about yourself is, where your true values are, and where everything that motivates you in your behavior and actions is located.....

(2) We must operate in The Law of Permission -- We have now become that which we have permitted ourselves to be. I cannot become anything I have become, without my own permission... I may not believe anyone else, but I believe what I am constantly telling myself about myself. So, let go and check out what God is saying about you….He believed in you before you even knew yourself….He doesn’t make junk!

Isaiah 50:8 “Who will dare to give me a chance, says the Lord. Come, let us confer with one another. v9 Behold, the Lord will help me; who is he that can condemn me”?

A young girl brought her test paper home. She had gotten all the answers on the science test correct but one. It said, describe an impossible thing. So she wrote, “all things are possible with God” It was marked wrong, because it was not scientific enough. But she had given herself permission to do the impossible.

(3) We must operate in The Law of Co-creation -- We can participate in Co-creating ourselves to be, to do, to have, to express, and to experience, whatever we choose in life.

In Genesis 1:28 God said “Have dominion, be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth, I have given unto you every living thing".... It is God who created and commissioned Adam and Eve to abound with incredible potential, the sky was the limit, but they chose instead, the forbidden fruit, they chose limits. Satan wanted to keep them from becoming what they were designed and created to become.

Someone said, “As you begin each day, if you can believe the ocean of opportunity God has available for you, then you will carry the biggest bucket you can find”!

God gave us Dominion (inner authority) over our own mind, body, emotions, Spirit, and our stuff. Outward dominion comes from inner authority.

When many farms were going bankrupt because of financial setbacks, a company called “Upward Bound” bought 16 farms and converted them. They transformed the Silos into indoor climbing walls. They filled the barns with trampolines and became a huge hit with young and old. Now they’re buying more farms, to keep up with the demand.

Many others converted their farms into raising buffalo, lamas, ostriches and some, even flooded low areas and raised catfish. By removing “limiting Beliefs”, they transformed failure to success. There was a way they simply hadn’t thought of yet!

If we look at Luke's words in Acts 10:1-35, it is a proto-type for some serious stretching of our comfort zones. The beautiful city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great, was the center of the Roman government in Palestine. In this city lived a centurion named Cornelius. A centurion was a Roman army officer in charge of 100 soldiers and Luke tells us that this man and his entire family were devout and God-fearing and he gave generously to the poor and was a man of prayer. Cornelius must have come to appreciate the only true God.

As he was praying in Palestine one day, at three o'clock in the afternoon, Cornelius had a vision of an angel of God which came to him and called him by name. The angel informed Cornelius that God had taken notice of him and told him to send some men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon, who was also called Peter. Cornelius would have observed that Simon was a Jewish name.

A Jew coming to a Gentile home was unthinkable, entirely illegal for the Jews, but Cornelius, demonstrating both faith and a willingness to move out beyond his comfort zone, sent two of his servants and an aide to the address in Joppa. As the scene shifts to Joppa the next day, we see Peter on the roof praying. It's noon, and Peter's prayers have been distracted because he's hungry. While the meal is being prepared, Peter has a vision. Three times he sees a large sheet descending from the sky with all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds on it. A voice tells Peter to get up and help himself to this non-kosher smorgasbord.

There's a problem, however: Peter is a good Jew, he knows the dietary regulations found in Leviticus 11. He knows that Jews are only allowed to eat kosher or clean food, that is, meat from animals that both chew their cud and have cloven hooves. In our day, he would not be able to eat any pork chops, lobster, or turtle soup, but three times the Lord tells Peter not to call anything un-kosher that God has declared kosher. Aren't you lobster lovers glad God cancelled the dietary code?

You've probably heard the rest of the story as Peter was thinking about the vision, the three men from Caesarea arrived downstairs and asked for him. The Spirit told Peter to go meet with them, and not to hesitate in going home with them. The men informed Peter that Cornelius was waiting to hear him preach. Peter invited the men to stay with him there in Joppa that night, since Caesarea was about 30 miles away. (It was one thing for a Jew to offer hospitality to Gentiles; it was another thing to accept hospitality from a gentile (un-kosher).

But Peter's vision was part of the process in preparing him to stretch outside of his comfort zone. Peter and his entourage (we are told later that six of his brothers went with him) arrived at Cornelius' house to find him eagerly waiting for this preacher. As he walked into the house, Peter found he had a congregation eagerly waiting for a sermon. He reminded his hearers that what he was doing by being there, was unthinkable and unlawful but he also told them he had just concluded that what God has called clean he should not call unclean. Then Cornelius told Peter about the vision he had, and Peter gave his message. Peter was learning as well as teaching he discovered that God does not show favoritism, but accepts people from all backgrounds.

What a change in thinking for Peter! He proclaimed the story of Jesus to them, telling them how Jesus went about doing good. But Jesus was more than a political benefactor, he healed the sick and those who were under the authority of the devil. Then Peter told Cornelius' household that God had raised Jesus from the dead. He said that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through His name.

While he was speaking, the Holy Spirit came upon the congregation, reminiscent of that Pentecost Sunday in Jerusalem and like those believers in Jerusalem, the accompanying sign of speaking in unknown tongues, came upon these new Gentile believers. Peter and his associates were astonished, if God had accepted these people, what was to prevent the church from accepting them into its fellowship? So, they were baptized, (an outward act that demonstrates the reception of people into the family of God). Peter stayed with this new church for a few days and continued to teach them from the word of God. As they gave thanks to God!

Their values changed their attitudes, which changed Their actions….

Have you ever looked with envy at people who always seem happy and enjoying life and wish you could be more like them? Have you ever said to yourself "Why is it that they are always so popular and seem to attract everyone to them like a magnet?" Did you ever stop to think that it might just be their positive attitude and the way they look at - and react to - the world around them?

Thinking and acting with a positive attitude can do more than anything else towards getting you whatever you want out of life, because those who are in positions to make things happen for you will want to be around you, and want to work with you to help make your dreams a reality. Having a positive attitude in whatever you do will make things easier, and even more enjoyable and while you’re at it, you might want to notify your face! Here are seven simple but powerful tips to having a more positive attitude - and thus becoming a more powerful person.

We Can all Have A Positive Attitude In just 7 Simple Steps….

#1. I will Take passionate action towards living my life fully each day. Don't just make it through the day, really live it. Sink your teeth into it and live it like it was your last day on earth. Wring every moment out of it and live each day with passion. Passion and a positive attitude are contagious. You will find others attracted to you who are just as passionate about life and living.

#2. I will Act instead of reacting. Don't wait until something bad happens then try to deal with it. Be proactive and make something good happen. You are responsible for what you make of the life you have, and you only have one, so don't waste it. Create the best life you possibly can, one day at a time.

#3. I will Believe that each moment is perfect regardless of its outcome. Bad things happen. That is a fact of life, but that doesn't mean you have to allow it to drag you down. Good can come from everything, no matter how bad it may be at the time. If we really believe God’s word and the teaching of Christ, then surely we believe this. Learn to open yourself up to learn from, and gain strength from, the bad things that happen in your life. Learning to have a positive attitude even when bad things are happening will help you to get through the bad times even stronger and more determined to succeed.

#4. I will Learn to always be grateful for what I have. It's a well-known fact among successful people that having gratitude will get you more than living like no matter what, you’re never satisfied. There's nothing wrong with having dreams and goals and desiring more out of life, but don't forget to be grateful for what you have already. Those who are never satisfied or grateful with what they have get into a "needy”, "poverty" mindset, where they think they never have had anything, and they’re doomed to never have anything.

A positive attitude attracts positive actions. Gratitude attracts positive, creative energy.

#5. I will Seize the moment with wisdom, integrity, and honesty and I will not live with regret.. However, don't spend money that’s not yours, and put yourself in the poorhouse or take food out of your childrens' mouths, and clothes off of their back, chasing every get-rich-quick scheme that comes around the corner.

If you haven’t paid your bills, you’re stealing, because you’re using money that belongs to someone else. You don’t have any money to spend, until after the bills are paid. A bill is a contract, and it is a reflection of your character. You are a thief and a contract breaker if you spend money and neglect your bills. But if you have honored those you promised to pay, then don't be afraid to take opportunities that feel right.

#6. I will always keep my sense of humor. I will laugh more than I do. I will protect my joy for it renews, replenishes, and refreshes me and makes me more pleasant and attractive to others. People like to be around those who find humor in even the most awkward moments. Learn to Laugh, and your days will become more positive, especially if you can learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take yourself, or life, too seriously. Life is much too short to waste it moping around in self-pity. A sense of humor can be the result of self-confidence and being secure with who you are.

People have mistakenly pictured Jesus as some hard nosed, long faced, stern, never smiling being. But scripture tells us that children were drawn to him everywhere He went, and children don’t like a sour-puss!!!!

#7. I will accept the power God has given me to take charge of my destiny. No one can take your dreams from you except for you. As long as there's still breath in your body, there is no limit to how much you can accomplish. Life is not something that is going on around you, separate and removed from you. It is what you make of it. And even by doing nothing you are still creating, shaping and molding your life, so why not get involved and create a life you want and can enjoy? Create the life you, yourself dream of.

Start a R.A.K. revolution… that stands for Random Acts of Kindness revolution..... What if we were to go beyond what is required, and do more than is expected… it would make a much greater impact upon the lost, than arguing scripture with them, or trying to convince them of something we have not been living out before them, by *…..example!.. Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast your bread (seed) upon the water and in not many days it shall come unto you again....What if we had "Random Acts of Kindness Day' for 365 days a year on our calendars? A day when you are free to be the friend you want others to be. Free Of Limiting Beliefs…

Galations 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”.

Stop hoping and wishing, and decide to make a great life! You plus God are a majority!

As we break free of our limiting comfort zones, we can truly have Thanksgiving, as we make our declaration today…

I am free, I am happy; I am abundant in mind body and spirit, I am loved, and I am loving, Life is such a beautiful thing…I am surrounded daily with the beauty of life, I am one with God the Creator, I am fully present and in agreement as His Creation, through His grace and mercy, I am guilt free, and I am shame free. Everything is working for my good, I trust in God's greater purposes in all things, I now choose to expand myself and my life, I now choose to be successful and happy, I now choose to be unafraid, as I move forward, I now choose to know myself fully and discover New dimensions of God's plan for and through me, I now choose wholeness and acceptance.I now choose to be part of unconditional love, love, without limits.

Posted by: AT 12:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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