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Hear No Evil

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Hear No Evil

 

Growing up I was exposed to

            And had to listen to

                        Most times not by my choice

                                    A wide range of musical genres

            My mom was into rock and roll

                        My dad was a little more easy listening

                                    My one set of grandparents

                                                Were into country

                        And my other set of grandparents

                                    Were into classical music and opera

                        In fact one of there sons

                                    My uncle

                                                Was basically running the St. Louis opera company

                                                            At one point

            Of course one of the singers

                        They liked and admired

                                    Was Beverly Sills

                                                Who just recently passed away

            Now while I’m not a huge fan of her music

                        Her story certainly is inspirational

                                    Although she was very talented

                                                She was rejected for many parts

                                                            Because she was not Italian

                                                                        Yet she never became bitter

            Now not only was her career a challenge

                        But her personal life

                                    Had some pretty rough moments as well

                                                Both of her children were born handicapped

                                                            And one was severely retarded

                        There was also the time that

                                    She bought a house in MA

                                                Only to have it burn to the ground

                                                            2 days after moving in

So between rejection

            And personal setback

                        She had every right to be bitter

                                    But yet the nickname her friends gave her

                                                Was bubbles

She once said this

            I choose to be cheerful.  Years ago I knew I had little or no choice about success, but I knew I
            could choose to be cheerful regardless.

What an incredible attitude

            You see as humans

                        We can’t change our past

                                    How other people treat us

                                                We can’t change that

                                                            People will try to

                                                                        Tear us down

                                                                                    And hold us back

                                                            But we can choose

                                                                        Our attitude

Now I know right now

            Some of you are going through

                        Some rough times

                                    Job       finances           conflict in family            illness

                                                And you’re getting this wide range

                                                            Of advice and opinions

                                                                        From other people

                                                                                    Of what to do

                                                                                                And how to react

            But I want you to remember

                        You choose your attitude

            Who you are

                        And what you become

                                    Will largely be impacted by

                                                The thoughts you allow to dominate your mind

                                                            So you’ve got to be careful

                                                                        About what you’re allowing

                                                                                    To feed into you

Today is part two of our

            3 Wise Monkeys series

                        Which as I told you last week

                                    Is the English translation of the Japanese

                                                Word sanzaru

                                                            Or what we more commonly say as

                                                                        See no evil

                                                                                    Hear no evil

                                                                                                Speak no evil

            Today will look at how to

                        Make sure that

                                    What we hear is not having an

                                                Adverse effect on our attitudes

Now as we start

            Let me say that

                        I’m not talking today about

just merely positive thinking

                        You know like the

                                    Little train that could

                                                I think I can

                                                            I think I can

No when you’ve got big problems occurring

            In your life

                        You need more than fluff

                                    You need God-sized reasons

                                                To be positive

                                                            So that’s what I want to look at

Let me begin though by

            Talking about circumstance

                        And I don’t want to be too overly obvious but

1.  Negative circumstances will always be a part of my life.

Because we live in a sinful

            Fallen world

                        Pain and difficulty will always be

                                    A part of our existence

                                                While here on the earth

                        Life is not fair

                                    People are not always nice

                                                Or follow through with

what they say they’re going to do

                                    Things don’t always go

                                                According to plan

                                    Until the day you die

                                                You’re going to get the

                                                            Short end of the stick

                                                                        From time to time

                        Which leaves you with

                                    2 choices

                                                Either you can whine about it

                                                            Or you can learn to deal with it

2.  Even when I have good circumstances, that does not guarantee happiness.

            We’ve all had times when

                        We said

                                    If I just had

                                                A different job

                                                            A bigger house

                                                                        A sexier wife

                                                                                    A more sensitive husband

                                                                                                More money in the bank

                                                                                                            Nicer clothes

                                                                                                                        Then I’d be happy

                                    But then we get those things

                                                Only to discover

                                                            That while we were happy for a short time

                                                                        It wore off

                                                                                    And now were looking

                                                                                                For the next thing

                        In other words

                                    Our society teaches us that

                                                The grass is always greener

                                                            On the other side

                        But that’s just not true

                                    Look at the lives of

                                                Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears

                                                            Here are two girls

                                                                        That had it all

                                                                                    But yet there lives are miserable

                                    Why

                                                Because good circumstances

                                                            Don’t guarantee happiness

                                                                        And what you’re hearing from others

                                                                                    Does affect your life

Now I’m not saying

            It’s wrong to try to change your circumstance

                        To have more or be more

                                    But what I’m saying is

                                                We need to put as much effort

                                                            Into changing our attitude

                                                                        What’s going on

                                                                                    On the inside

                                                                                                As we do the outside

And again we’ve got to be real careful

            Not to let negative people drag us down

So I want to take a look today

            At a story found in

                        The OT book of numbers

                                    About 2 men

                                                Who had to deal with

                                                            Difficult circumstances

                                                                        And 1000’s of negative people

                                                                                    There names were

                                                                                                Joshua and Caleb

Now let me start by giving you some context

            Behind the story we’re about to look at

                        The nation of Israel

                                    Had been in slavery to the Egyptians

                                                But then they escaped

                                                            Most of us have heard the story of God

                                                                        Parting the Red Sea

                                                                                    And now they are out in the desert

                                                                                                Where they’ve spent 2 years

                                                                                                            Preparing to enter into

the land which they

were promised

When it comes time

            Moses sends 12 spies out

                        On a 40 mission into the enemy territory

                                    To spy out the land

When they return

            He asks for a report

The first spy says

            It is indeed a magnificent land

                        The soil is rich and fertile

                                    You should see the fruit that grows there

                                                But…

            And as he pauses

                        A second spy jumps in

                                    But…the people living there

                                                Are very powerful

                                                                        There not going to leave without a fight

            Another spy interrupts and says

                        And there cities…

                                    Oh my goodness…

                                                They are fortified

                                                            And guarded like a maximum security prison

            A 4th spy then says

                        Uhh yeah and the guards

                                    Well Moses

                                                Have you been watching American Gladiators

                                                            I mean they’re bigger

                                                                        Than Titan and Justice and Wolf

                                                                                    As a matter of fact

                                                                                                As compared to them

                                                                                                            Were just like tiny insects

            Another spy jumps in and says

                        And that’s not the worst of it

                                    There is a lot more of them

                                                Than there are of us

Now as you might imagine

            This is not the report that Moses

                        Nor the people

                                    Were hoping to hear

            Someone shouts

                        So this is the promised land huh

                                    Another one adds

                                                Yeah sounds like a promise to die

                                                            To me

                                    And before you know it

                                                The whole crowd is

                                                            Grumbling and complaining

But then Caleb stands up and says

            Hey I think we can do this

                        God’s brought us this far

                                    Why would he let us down now

But the rest of the spies say

            You’re crazy

                        You saw what we saw

                                    There’s no way we can take them on

                                                We’ll get our butts kicked

And the bible says

            The majority were negative

                        And began weeping and

carrying on all night long

Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?”

Numbers 14:2-3

Now the question is

            Why was Caleb

                        And as we’ll see in a second Joshua

                                    So positive

                                                While everyone else was negative

                                    What was going on

                                                Inside them

                                                            That made them respond differently

                                                                        Than everyone else

Joshua and Caleb, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Numbers 14:6-9

The difference is obvious

            The whiners said

                        God will kill us

                                    Joshua and Caleb said

                                                No the Lord loves us

And that’s the first key to a positive attitude

            1.  I must never forget that God loves me.

                        A huge part of you attitude hinges on

                                    What you believe about God

                        If you believe that

                                    God is against you

                                                Then every difficult circumstance or person

                                                            Will cause you to whine

                                                                        But if you believe that

                                                                                    God is for you

                                                                                                Then all of the sudden

                                                                                                            You’re attitude will change

            Now I know some of you are saying

                        Yeah but Gilbert if God

                                    Were really for me

                                                Wouldn’t my life go a lot smoother

That’s a great question

            And Paul answers it

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture.  Even though we are in danger of death at all times and our enemy considers us nothing more than sheep to be slaughtered, none of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Romans 8:35-39

Paul is saying

            No matter what is happening in your life

                        If you forget that God loves you

                                    stop for a moment and think

                                                About the cross

                        That’s the ultimate proof that

                                    God loves you

The bible says

God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:8

That verse has always amazed me

            Jesus didn’t’ wait until

                        We had cleaned up our acts

                                    To die for us

                        In other words

                                    You do something for me

                                                And I’ll do something for you

                        No he died for us

                                    Not knowing whether or not

                                                We’d return the love

                        So don’t ever forget

                                    No matter what you’re going through

                                                Or what others are saying

                                                            That God loves you

                                                                        And he wants to help you

That’s one of differences between

            Joshua and Caleb

                        And the whiners

                                    Here in our story

2.  I must keep a proper perspective of what God says about me not others.

            In other words

                        You are who God declares you to be

                                    Not who others say you are

VIDEO- This is the Truth

Isn’t that awesome

            It’s all about perspective

Many of you were told

            Or are still being told

                        You’re not good enough

                                    Smart enough

                                                Rich enough

                                                            Talented enough

            And so you settle for

                        Too small of a vision

                                    For your life

            But that just perpetuates people saying

                        See you’re no good

                                    You can’t do it

                                                Which in turn

                                                            Makes you settle for even smaller things

                                                                        In your life

                                                                                    And the cycle then continues

So what I’m saying is

            In the midst of

                        Bad circumstances

                                    Or negative talk

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

When you’re following God’s purpose

            For your life

                        And you have the confidence that

                                    He’s going to work everything out

                                                It will help you to maintain a positive attitude

                                                            No matter what others

                                                                        Are saying

So what is it

            That you are living for

                        Have you settled for a small vision

                                    Of I just want to be happy

                                                I just want to make a lot of money

                                                            I want everyone to like me

                                                Or are you committed to

                                                            Doing something great for God

                                                                        In this short life

                                                                                    That you have to live

That’s where Joshua and Caleb were

            They were like

                        Hey if God is for us

                                    Who can be against us

            If God is telling us to do something

                        Let’s march ahead

                                    Knowing full well

                                                He’s got our backs

            But the whiners said

                        Let’s go back to Egypt

                                    Lets do our own thing

                                                Go our own way

Which leads to the third key

            To a positive attitude in the face of naysayers

                        And that is

3.  I must obey God not listen to the negative talk of others.

            When the circumstances or people of life

                        Have got you down

                                    It’s not enough

                                                Just to know that God loves you

                                                            Or to have a proper perspective…

                                                                        You’ve got to live it out

I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.

Psalm 119:25

When you’re down

            And people are kicking dirt on you

                        You’ve got to rely on God’s word

If you’re struggling with you finances

            Find out what the Bible says

                        Apply its teachings

                                    And watch as your attitude changes

            The same could be said about

                        Marriage          parenting         how to deal with your boss

                                    How to deal with your

                                                Anger              fears                doubts

                        No matter what you’re going through

                                    God’s word has something to say about it

                                                And if you’ll discover what it is

                                                            And then apply it to your life

                                                                        You’ll be blessed

                                                                                    Because God will reward you

            Now let me share with you

                        Right now

                                    That Joshua and Caleb

                                                Didn’t convince the people to

                                                            Go into the promised land

                                                                        At that time

                                                            But because they held firm

                                                                        To the word of God

                                                                                    They were the only 2

                                                                                                From their generation

                                                                                                            Who ultimately made it in

                                                                                                                        Many years later

            And you know

                        That’s a great lesson for us

                                    Because we live in such a fast paced

                                                Microwave

                                                            Gotta have it now society

            Obeying God’s Word

                        Doesn’t always give us

                                    Immediate satisfaction

                                                But in the end

                                                            It’s the only way

                                                                        We’ll truly be blessed

4.  I must remember that even when others say I can’t God; has the power to help me do the impossible.

            Joshua and Caleb weren’t

                        Closing their eyes to the

                                    Reality of the situation

                                                They knew the people were

                                                            Big and bad

                                    They were just convinced that

                                                Their God was

                                                            Bigger and badder

            That’s been the story of my life

                        I’ve always been told

                                    You can’t do it

            No one thought I’d be able to

make a living as a professional magician

            in fact my mom used to say

                        when are you going to get a real job

                                    but yet I did that for many years

                        and then when I started a more traditional business

                                    the guy who was

supposed to be helping me

                                                            said you’re too young

                                                                        I don’t help anyone under 30

                                                                                    Because you 20 something’s are too undisciplined

                                    Now I was 22 at the time

                                                And I said oh yeah

                                                            Just watch

                                                                        And before it was all said and done

                                                                                    My distributorship for the company

                                                                                                Was in the top 1% world-wide

                        And then when God called me into

                                    The ministry and I was

                                                Dreaming about one day being on staff

                                                            At one of the big mega churches

                                                                        People said

                                                                                    You live in the middle of

                                                                                                Nowhere MD

                                                                                                            As the Assoc. Pastor

of little country church

                                                                        There’s no way

                                                                                    That will ever happen

                                                But yet I knew that God had big plans

                                                            And sure enough

                                                                        Rick Warren and Purpose Driven Ministries

                                                                                    One of the biggest and most influential ministries

Called and asked me to be on their staff

                                                                                    What you’ve got to realize is

                                                                                                I never applied for a job with them

                                                                                                            They called me

                                                                        Which just goes to show you

                                                                                    If you’ll keep a proper attitude

                                                                                                No matter what other people are saying

                                                                                                            Or the circumstances that

                                                                                                                        Come your way

                                                                                    God can find you

                                                                                                And help you

                                                                                                            No matter where you are at

            Here’s the exciting part

                        God has always taken me from one thing

                                    To an even bigger and better thing

                                                And so here I am with you

                                                            And so when I share with you

                                                                        That I believe God’s vision for us

                                                                                    Is to make a huge eternal impact

                                                                                                On Chambersburg I really believe it

                        When I’ve shared with you in the past

                                    I believe God’s vision for us is to

                                                Be averaging 5000 in attendance

within the next 5 years

                                    people have said

                                                it can’t be done

                                                            but I say

                                                                        oh yeah

                                                                                    just watch us

                        Because I believe that

                                    When God is on my side

                                                And I’m within his will

                                                            He can help me defeat

                                                                        Hell with a water gun

And it’s the same for you

            Your ability to remain positive

                        Is directly related to your conviction

                                    Of how much you believe that

                                                God can help you to do

                                                            What you can’t

I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13

Now I know some of you are saying

            Well Gilbert that sounds really nice

                        In a church

                                    But that won’t work

                                                In the real world

Which is funny because

            That’s the same conclusion that the

                        Whiners had to

                                    Joshua and Caleb

Then all the people talked about killing them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the Meeting Tent to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people ignore me? How long will they not believe me in spite of the miracles I have done among them?

Numbers 14:10-11

That question is still something

            That God asks to this day

                        How long are you going to ignore him

                                    How long will you

                                                Not believe in his power

            And I’m not just talking about

                        A fuzzy mental assent

                                    That yeah there’s a God out there

            But I’m talking about a certainty

                        That God loves you

                                    That he has a plan for you

                                                And that he can do

                                                            What you can’t

            Because it’s then and only then

                        That no matter what people say

                                    Or the circumstances that come your way

                                                Where you’ll be able to rise above

                                                            And hear no evil

Now this week instead of asking you

            To respond to the message by raising your hand

                        I have a homework assignment for you

I want you to notice on your outline

            That in the area

                        Where I normally have small group questions for you

                                    To discuss

                                                I’ve replaced it with a prayer

            I want you to tape it up

                        To your bathroom mirror

                                    And everyday this week

                                                I want you to pray it

God, I’m in a tough situation right now, but…

  1. I am certain of your love for me because Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.
  2. And God, I know you have a vision for my life that’s much bigger than my circumstances and so although I don’t know all the details to it yet, I say “yes” to it.
  3. Jesus, I am committed to obeying you, especially in the areas in which I am struggling right now.  Show me from the Bible what I am supposed to do.
  4. And finally Lord, even though I’m not sure I can handle everything that’s coming at me or being said about me, I know you can, so I give you permission to carry the load.

                                                                                               

                                                                                   

 

                       

           

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