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Summary: Based loosely on the book "The Travelers Gift"

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The Apprentice

May 30, 2004 AM

2 cor 4:8-9

[s1]

Let me quickly review our previous 6 secrets of the apprenticeship;

[s2]

1) the buck stops here

Stop playing the blame game -- you control your life

You are where you are right now because of choices you have made,

And your reactions to situations that come against you

2) we must seek wisdom

Wisdom is the most important thing Solomon said

3) we must be people of action

Life will pass you by if you just sit and let it.

I heard a good advertisement this week in Dallas --

Two guys talking about doing something with our lives

And one said "you know, if you’re 20 and you lay in bed a sleep for a year, you’ll be 21 ...

But if your 70 and lay in bed for a year, you’re dead.

We must keep moving --

We have to be people of action.

4) We must decide our hearts

That is one step beyond just making up our minds --

5) I will choose to be happy

Looking miserable does not qualify you for special blessings.

Pouting does not move the hand of God quicker.

God hangs out with happy people,

God dwells with thankful, happy, praising people.

6) Secret # 6 was "I will forgive"

Forgiveness not given becomes a seed within you that produces a very bitter fruit.

You are the only one that can decide to live in bitterness or forgiveness.

This morning we will look at the last success secret --

[s3]

7) I will not give up

[s4]

If there is any indictment against my generation and all the generations under us -- it’s the inability to make complete commitments.

It shows up in lack of commitment to marriages,

It shows up in dead beat dads, runaway moms,

It shows up in lack of committment to churches,

It shows up in politics, in education, in just about every walk of life.

Nobody sticks to anything.

It’s as if people use this as their motto:

[s5]

"I’m with you as long as it is easy, but if times get difficult, or I find something better, I’m outta here"

If the classes get to hard -- we change majors.

If the job gets difficult -- we change jobs,

If the marriage gets rocky -- we change partners.

[s6]

The term "till death do us part" no longer has meaning.

I hear people all the time -- "I know I said I would never leave, but things changed,

[s7]

Or this is my personal favorite -- "I fell out of love", "I just don’t love them any more"

I’ve even heard this "it’s just not what I thought it would be"

And because we are quiters -- we have left generations of children out in the cold.

But we can carry it one step further --

Because people also give up spiritually.

My Grandpa used to tell me stories of when he got saved --

And the one thing that stuck with me was he said once that when he made up his mind to serve God --

[s8]

He never even considered turning back --

He said he never even once considered giving up on God.

I remember as a young kid that I thought to myself --

There aren’t many people like that.

I mean today -- we can make up our mind we’re going to sell out to God,

[s9]

And then two Sunday’s later there’s a flower show in pocassett that we want to go see,

So we skip out on church,

[s10]

And then the next Sunday there’s a dog parade in pickens,

And so we skip church again,

[s11]

And the next week, well we just felt like sleeping in.

And we go from being sold out to God, to skipping church,

to giving up on God in a matter of weeks.

This whole series on the Apprentice has been based on one important premise --

[s12]

The power of choice.

And the fact that where we are, and what is happening in our life is a result of choices.

And choices, whether good or bad, bring consequences.

And those consequences are the circumstances we are in right now.

And our way out of those circumstances is again going to be determined by more choices.

I mean think about it --

[s13]

#1 was - the buck stops here -- that is a choice

#2 was -- seek wisdom -- that’s a choice

#3 was -- be a person of action -- that’s a choice

[s14]

#4 was -- we must have decided hearts -- another choice

#5 was -- we must choose to be happy - we have to choose,

#6 was we must forgive -- again, a choice.

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