Summary: Attitude, Prayer, Joy, Commitment
I WILL – Moving from “I Am” to “I Will”
Philippians 2:5-8 (pg. 819) October 4, 2015
It was October 18, 1980...35 years ago, almost exactly when I went into a seafood restaurant named Peter’s Pier 4 with Kari Pascal...we’d met in a church in Stuart Florida...2 years earlier. The first time we ever laid eyes on each other was in a Sunday School class. I still remember the lesson...it was about Jacob and his flock...how God worked to bless him. After Church when my brother in law tried to introduce us she was so embarrassed she ran across the parking lot and just waved at me. She was wearing a peach sundress.
2 years later as we walked into that restaurant I could hardly breathe. I had given one of the waiters a diamond ring to bring out with the key lime pie, her favorite (probably not the smartest thing I’d ever done). That ring had cost me my class ring, a summer of work and 25 more payments at Leroy’s Jewelry Store.
When he finally brought out the pie...with the ring...I got down on one knee and asked “Kari, will you be the grandmother of my grandchildren...will you marry me?”
And to my utter amazement she said “Yes.”
It’s been 35 years and I am still amazed that she said yes...I can be stubborn, impetuous, and silly at times. I can get so busy with ministry stuff that I miss family things...but through it all Kari has been my constant companion...my best friend...my biggest cheerleader.
She has become the grandmother “Nana” to my grandchildren...She has been faithful to me in richer or poorer, better and worse, sickness and health.
She is the most loyal person I’ve ever met...She is a “Till death do us part woman.” That has been her attitude since Day 1.
She said “yes” and I’m still amazed at her love...She made a decision about her attitude and that attitude has made all the difference in our marriage.
So let me ask you a question about another union...It involves a groom and his bride as well:
I. WHAT IS OUR ATTITUDE ABOUT THE CHURCH?
From Thom Rainer’s “I Will”
[Have you ever met a GCM...A grumpy church member? They are the church member most likely to complain. They are the constant and persistent critics of the pastor, the staff, leadership, and any other things they don’t like. Almost every conversation is started with “why aren’t you doing this...or I want to tell you something that bothers me. They are the members who view the Church as an organization where they pay their dues to get their perks and privileges. And they are grumpy and divisive when they don’t.]
This series of messages is about what we should “do” in our Church...but if you are not doing the right things with the right attitude you will become legalistic, judgmental, frustrated and critical and burn out.
But if we have the right attitude, the right “heart,” doing becomes natural. It becomes joyous. If you have the right biblically directed attitude you will experience joy in Church membership.
I will openly acknowledge that I have many shortcomings, our staff and leadership are not perfect...but we serve and do anyway...we are so grateful for what God has done for us through Jesus.
So what exactly does the right attitude look like?
1. The Right Attitude: “I AM A UNIFYING CHURCH MEMBER.”
SHOW “BAND OF BROTHERS” PIC
[My favorite thing that’s ever been on television was a miniseries about the 101st Airborne Div. called “Band of Brothers.” It traces this division from when they were called up...to the end of the war...but it’s the love, the unity...the bond that captivates me...The title comes from this statement by a German General while addressing his defeated troops...it’s a quote from Henry the 5th while addressing his troops...“From this day until the ending of the world we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For today he who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”]
Unity is the band that holds any group together...whether it’s the University of Kentucky Wildcats, the 101st Airborne, or a family. And it’s the band that holds churches together too.
But here’s the essential truth...you have to choose to be a part of that band if unity is to exist. Every part of the group has to choose to put the group before his or her own needs. It only works for individuals who have the right attitude.
Paul emphasized this when he wrote to the churches. In Ephesians 4:1-3 he says:
EPHESIANS 4:1-3 (p. 815)
Unity doesn’t just happen accidentally, it requires humility...“This means we view others of more importance than ourselves,” Gentleness...which means we control our anger and show kindness to others...even when they are mean-spirited. Unity requires patience...This means we put up with a lot! Even in our frustration when someone has the wrong attitude and behavior...unity requires “acceptance of one another in love.” We don’t condone sinful attitudes and behavior...but we show a lot of grace.