Summary: When a facing a new task the most important indicator of eventual success or failure is the outlook of the person headed into that task.
Dakota Community Church
September 24, 2006
The Importance of Outlook
You arrive at work to discover they are retooling the computer system which will result in much more efficient operation; but, first you will have to learn an entire new program.
How do you typically respond?
It’s Sun. morning and the Pastor excitedly shares a new direction or a new strategy, maybe like “Just Walk across the Room” or Reading through the Bible chronologically in the coming year.
What is your reaction?
In my experience the outlook or attitude of the person facing a new challenge has more to do than anything else with its eventual success or failure.
Two summers ago we took the boys to Halifax to move their Grandma out here after her operation. On the way through Ottawa we decided they should see the parliament buildings in order to gain a better understanding of Canadian government. They did not feel a “lesson” should be a part of their holidays. One of them wondered out loud about what would happen if they "accidentally learned something" when they were supposed to be resting their brains. It was a long day and teenage attitudes heading into the experience definitely influenced the outcome.
What is the attitude heading in, to the marriage, to the family reunion, to the job? Our outlook at the start is crucial.
Now then, shifting gears just a little:
What would you say the Church has adopted as the central theme of the Christian faith?
I suggest that it is individual forgiveness of sins in order to gain entrance to heaven when death comes. That is a very important part of our message; however, is that the central message Jesus really came to deliver to planet earth? If it is then the most important aspect of the Christian faith is to preach forgiveness – just get them saved! But if the central message is something else then our whole outlook must change.
What was Jesus’ central message?
- He was calling God’s people to their divine destiny.
- He was challenging them to live in such a way as to bring heaven into the here and now.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
1. The problem is not the problem.
What is the biggest problem you face right now?
What I am saying is that your outlook or attitude toward the problem is a bigger problem than the actual issue you face.
I talked recently with someone who has always struggled financially. Through prayer they had recently discovered that on a deep level they have always believed that it was all up to them. That God would bless others but that He would not let it work for them.
The problem (money struggles) was not the problem!
I am 42 years old and have struggled with being overweight most of those 42 years. Through healing prayer I have started to feel comfortable with myself for the first time in my life. I am no longer secretly angry at God for making me the way he did. Since July I have lost 30 lbs. and it is the first time in my life that I have lost weight without being on some ridiculous starvation diet. I still have a long way to go but I really don’t care how long it takes – my outlook has completely changed!
- The problem was not the problem!
And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
They saw the huge warriors in the Promised Land as the problem. They saw themselves as puny and assumed the enemy saw them the same way. The problem was not the problem. In truth the enemy was terrified of them and their God. The problem was their outlook on the situation.