Summary: In this sermon we learn the importance of attitude, and we learn how to have a positive, joyful and hopeful attitude.
A. Does this bumper sticker describe you: Warning – I have an attitude and I know how to use it!
1. Today I want to talk about the fact that attitude makes a difference.
2. I preached on a similar topic last Tuesday night out at Camp Hunt’s Work and Worship Week, and some of you were in attendance.
3. I hope you won’t mind hearing the lesson again, although I have modified it a little bit.
4. Next week, Lord willing, we will return to our series on Joseph.
B. Back in the 1970s, during a rash of airplane hijackings in our country, one plane was hijacked after it left Miami on its way to New York.
1. The hijacker ordered the pilot to take the plane to Havana, “or else!”
2. The pilot could tell that the hijacker was desperate, so he did what the hijacker said.
3. However, when the gunman tried to intimidate the passengers, they started roaring with laughter.
a. No matter what the hijacker did, the passengers laughed.
b. They laughed all the way to Havana.
c. They laughed while the plane was on the ground during tense negotiations.
d. They laughed when the plane was on its way to New York.
4. The passengers turned the whole experience into a big party.
5. Besides the hijacker and the pilot, there was only one other person on the plane who was not laughing.
a. This man was worried that the hijacker would react violently to their laughter.
b. Who was this passenger who didn’t find any of this to be funny?
6. His name was Allen Funt from the television show Candid Camera.
a. When the other passengers saw that Allen Funt was on board, they assumed that this was all a prank.
b. They were waiting for someone to jump out of their hiding place and say, “Surprise! You’re on Candid Camera.”
7. None of this, however, was a prank – it was a real, dangerous hijacking.
8. But, because no one else on the plane thought it was, they were relaxed and came through the crisis in great form.
I. The Difference Attitude Makes
A. This is one of the great keys to successful living – what we think, our attitude, makes such a difference.
1. The most critical thing is not what is happening to us, or what we are going through, it is what we think about it that matters.
2. When Paul and Silas were thrown in jail for preaching Christ, they sang hymns and gave thanks to God.
3. Wait a minute – they had been severely beaten and thrown in prison and they were doing what?
4. Most people would have been crying in pain, or crying for their rights, or complaining about their situation – but not Paul and Silas.
5. What was the difference? It was their attitude – their faith and their purpose, and their commitment.
B. In many respects the only real prison in life is the prison of our own minds.
1. Regardless of our circumstances, God can help us have the right attitude, and that makes all the difference.
2. Charles Swindoll wrote, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day of our lives regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.”
3. Would you agree with Swindoll that attitude is that important? I agree with him.
C. I’m impressed with the philosophy of the following statement: “God chooses what we go through. We choose how we go through it.”
1. That statement describes Viktor Frankl’s attitude as he was terribly mistreated in a Nazi concentration camp.
2. His words to his persecutors have been an inspiration to millions of people.
3. He said, “The one thing you cannot take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
D. That same understanding is clearly communicated in this anonymous piece:
1. “We cannot choose how many years we live, but we can choose how much life those years will have.
2. We cannot control the beauty of our face, but we can control the expression on it.
3. We cannot control life’s difficult moments, but we can choose to make life less difficult.
4. We cannot control the negative atmosphere of the world, but we can control the atmosphere of our minds.
5. Too often, we choose to try to control the things we cannot.