Summary: A sermon on how to maintain a positive outlook on life (outline and material adapted from Marvin Phillips from a workshop at North American Christian Convention)

Sermon for 8/22/2010


One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. So I asked, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!” This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piled up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.


A. How can we have a positive outlook? It is a choice. God a lot of this material from Marvin Phillips- “How to Take a Licking and Keep on Ticking.”

B. (Phil 4:8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

C. Paul was in prison and while in prison he made two lists: On one side was all the bad things, on the other side were all the good things. He cut the bad list and threw it away.

Thesis: Beyond this, what can we do to maintain a positive outlook? We have to be a believer in 5 things.

For instances:

1. Be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

A. Not the person that came forward, was baptized and now just sits in a pew on Sunday mornings. They rarely open the Bible during the week and they will never get involved in activities at the church. They have there ticket stamped and going to heaven.

B. For many of us, when bad times came upon us, we either ran to Jesus Christ or we ran away from him. Are we going to believe in the promises of God when things get tough?

D. (1 Pet 1:7 NIV) These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

2. Be a believer in our country

A. I avoid a lot of the political TV shows. Always focus on the negative.

B. On CBS News “The American Spirit” had a story about Lalita Booth. Raised in Asheville, NC, Lalita’s problems began when her parents divorced and she was sexually abused by a family acquaintance. “That led to substance abuse, staying out all night long, and running away,” Booth said. By the time she was 18, she’d been legally emancipated from her parents, married and had a baby. “When my ex joined the army, I was responsible for taking care of myself with only a GED and no relevant job skills,” Booth said. Penniless and living out of a car, she gave up her son to some family members. “I would cry myself to sleep because I missed him so much,” Booth said. That’s when she grew up. She enrolled in a community college, and then transferred to a 4 year university. She graduated as an honors student. After this, she learned to really dream big and another door opened. Booth was accepted to Harvard University. The 29 year old Booth is earning a Master’s Degree in business and public policy. “It’s an amazing feeling,” Booth said. She financed her education through 20 scholarships totaling more than half a million dollars. Now she spends her time on Capitol Hill, where she lobbies for single mothers. Lalita is remarried and has her son back. Only in America is this possible.

C. We are still the most blessed nation in the world. Paul Harvey reported seeing a bumper sticker in the Philippines that said, “Go home Yankee! (and take me with you)”

D. There have been studies done with computers to discover the best place to live, the best housing, the best personal freedoms, the best jobs with the most benefits, the best place to raise our children, the best place to live a long and healthy life, and we are living right in the middle of it, it’s called the United States of America.

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