Sunday, March 2, 2014

21 Days to A Positive Attitude - Day 1

Today at Church, Sr. Pastor Fred Masse's sermon, a part of his "Year of Change" series, was about the inconsistency in Christian's attitude. We were made for freedom, and gained it in Grace through Jesus, but we spend our days in fear and anger. He has been asking us to CHANGE, to be the new creation we were meant to be via the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Grace we gained at the foot of the cross.

Pastor Fred is not one to list bible verses so we can feel encouraged at their hearing, but later be confused in carrying out the implied message. No, he is direct both in the meaning of the scripture and in its application. Today, he was preaching about getting an attitude that reflected the gifts we were given by Jesus at this death and later at Pentecost. For a quick note on the content of this sermon click here.

The how of "Getting the Better Attitude Change" is a 21 day challenge.  You are challenged to:

1) Every day write down 3 good things that happened that day for which you are grateful. The biblical support for being grateful can be found almost anywhere in the Bible, but one verse, Isaiah 63:7, was cited. Isaiah 63:7 (ESV) - The Lord's Mercy Remembered: "I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love."  Count your  blessings. 

2) Journal about one positive blessing. One of the three, and explain why that good thing is better than the bad things that happened. The Biblical support is Isaiah 30:8 (ESV): "And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever."

3) Meditate and detach from multi-tasking, buy focusing on scripture~ read it, research it, think about how it might impact your life, your day, maybe even right now. 5 to 15 minutes is all it takes. Focus. This is turning down the noise, the frontal lobe, And your brain produces dopamine when you do this, and focus actually increases. The Biblical support sighted was Psalm 119:148 (ESV): "My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise."

4) One random act of kindness a week. You can do more. (Try one a day) Acts 20:35 (ESV): "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Sowing and reaping have always gone hand in hand.  Sow some Kindness.

5) Pray. Lay down hurtful things and gather strength. Philippians 4:6 recount the goodness if they Lord in your life. Pray with thanksgiving. Find a way to pray with added gratitude Deuteronomy 4:29-31 (ESV): "But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them."

Day 1
Three Blessings:
1) Second Church service since I got fired from teaching Sunday School because I support LGBT and disagree with the 47% of Christians that assert that the Bible says that modern day LGBT is a sin.  I don't think it is, though I am not sure.  I am sure that all things are lawful, though perhaps not beneficial, and that all things, except denying the Holy Spirit are covered by Grace.  Be that as it may, no one asked me why I was not teaching, so I did not have to create some half truth. Someone did tell my wife that I was not teaching because I have surgery tomorrow.  That was funny.  Blessing 1 was I did not get in a position where I had to decide between lying and harming the peace at my Church.
2) My wife and daughter are still teaching and helping in Sunday School and were not effected by my biblical interpretation.
3) Friend from my wife's and daughter's karate school, and fellow Christians from one of my favorite Churches in Worcester MA, came to our home and repaired our long broken water heater.  
4) (Extra innings on the blessings) My Sr. Pastor prayed over me for healing and safety during my surgery tomorrow morning - knee replacement.  No mention of heretic faith.

Journal about One Blessing:
Today friends from Worcester, 45 minutes from where Anne and I live, came to our house and replaced our gas water heater for us.  For over a month it has been broken or in some state of breaking.  It is only 1.5 years old and under a 6 year warranty, so when it broke, we had a plumber come in, replace some parts, clean it, and turn it back on.  It lasted 5 days.  Then it stopped again.  

We had a factory rep come in a week later, and he too replaced a warranty part, cleaned it, found some other issues in the internal draft, and turned it back on.  It lasted 5 days.  The factory rep company said they would repair it for free, since it should not have broken.  We scheduled the appointment, 8am to 5pm, and I stayed home so he could come.  At 5pm, they called and apologised saying he was not coming.  Seems they scheduled an electric hot water heater guy, and we have gas.  They only have 1 gas guy.  That was a Wednesday. 

They could not schedule the gas guy until Monday, because he was out from the office until the next week. They promised to call us Monday to schedule.  They did, in fact, call us at 5pm on Monday.  Seems they scheduled it for Monday, didn't tell us, and they guy showed up at our house, and were were no there.  Small wonder.  So they rescheduled it for Thursday 8am to 5pm. 

I stayed home again so he could fix it.  I was scheduled to have surgery for total knee replacement the next Monday, and not having a shower would be an issue, plus my wife was already stressed enough. So, at 5pm, they called and said they were not coming because when the driver called to find out if we were there, since "we blew them off on Monday," and we did not answer, he went home. I asked what number they called, and why they called, since we had already confirmed it that morning at 10am.  They said he called our contact number, which happens to be a cell phone, which happens to store all missed calls.  He lied.  No call.  And as I said, we confirmed it anyway. 

So, we rescheduled it for Friday.  Guess what.  They gave us an early time, 8am to noon.  No one showed up at noon, so we called, and they said no one had promised by noon. Anytime before 5pm was possible.  4pm I get the call.  Guess what?  Yep, not coming.  They scheduled an electric guy again.  Now I am 3 days from Surgery, on a week end, and totally lost on how to save my knee and my wife.

In comes some friends who came from Worcester after Church, helped us take the old one out and put a new one in.  The company paid for the new one, since the finally admitted it was broken when I flipped out on them Friday.  It was a larger blessing because not only is it an issue because of my surgery tomorrow, but also because I could not help.  My medication for knee pain had to be stopped 5 days ago for the surgery.  They had to do it all.

One and a half hours later, this friend, two of his sons, and a girl friend and fellow martial artist, had it done.  It works.

God Rocks.

His people Rock.

Meditate and detach from multi-tasking, buy focusing on scripture: Approx 30 min

Matthew 19, 20 & 21 - Matthew 19:24 "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” - I have read about the Needle's eye being the gate going into any middle eastern cities, and have seen paintings of this needle eye, but there is little else to suggest such a thing is anything but myth.  It can not mean that is is impossible for a rich man to be saved, so it must be allegory.  Jesus is drawing a picture for us to see that without God's help, some things are very hard to do. This is an example, perhaps, where literal interpretation of the bible lets you down.  No one is sure of what this means, other than you need God's help to get into heaven and that money can make it hard.  

This weeks Random Act of Kindness:  

Sending Birthday cards that we made on photoshop to everyone whose birthday is this week - online access.

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