090104 Better This Year Lesson 01 A Matter Of Perspective (Upload)


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Sermon 1 of 3 in the series "Better This Year" presented by Dale Wells at Palm Desert Church of Christ on January 4, 2009.

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090104 Better This Year Lesson 01 A Matter Of Perspective (Upload)

  1. 1. Better This Year! Perspective Perseverance Providence
  2. 2. It’s a Matter of Perspective If you really want to create lasting change in your life, you must take steps to optimize yourself and your circumstances
  3. 3. Three Questions: <ul><li>How many made New Year’s resolutions? </li></ul><ul><li>How many have resolutions you haven’t broken? </li></ul><ul><li>You who admitted get bonus points for honesty </li></ul>
  4. 4. Every year people make New Year’s resolutions <ul><li>Easy to make; hard to keep </li></ul><ul><li>70% broken by January 7 </li></ul><ul><li>The blues – 3 rd week of January </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bleak weather </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bills coming in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broken resolutions </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. We make resolutions on January 1, but don’t keep them
  6. 6. Wife: “On New Year’s Day, we did what we always do … <ul><li>I made a pot of coffee </li></ul><ul><li>Buddy got the paper </li></ul><ul><li>We sat down to have a cigarette together </li></ul><ul><li>Buddy, “Hey! I forgot! This is January 1; we were supposed to quit smoking today.” </li></ul><ul><li>I said, “We’ll have to try again next year.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Half-hearted recognition of things we need to improve <ul><li>No determination </li></ul><ul><li>No commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Relief when broken </li></ul><ul><li>Stop worrying about them </li></ul><ul><li>Put them off another year </li></ul>
  8. 8. The idea of New Year’s resolutions is a good one <ul><li>We should </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be aware of areas needing improvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make an effort to improve </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not as simple as acknowledging need </li></ul><ul><li>Real change requires determination & persistence </li></ul>
  9. 9. Today we begin a series called “Better This Year” <ul><li>For those who want long-term change </li></ul><ul><li>Three essentials for self-improvement </li></ul><ul><li>If applied, on December 31, you’ll look back and see that 2009 was your best year yet </li></ul>
  10. 10. What holds us back most is the way we think <ul><li>Our attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Our perspective </li></ul>
  11. 11. Norman Vincent Peale said, <ul><li>“ Change your thoughts, and you change your world.” </li></ul><ul><li>Not original – he got the idea from Paul </li></ul>
  12. 12. Romans 12:2 NIV <ul><li>Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The first step to changing your life is changing your thinking <ul><li>The first step – not the only step </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t “positive think” your way to success </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive thinking is not wishful thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive thinking is opposite foolish denial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I don’t even like the term “positive thinking” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We should become optimizers – not just positive thinkers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about things we can do to improve ourselves and our circumstances </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. 8 oz. glass with 4 oz. of water <ul><li>Pessimist: Half-empty </li></ul><ul><li>Optimist: Half-full </li></ul><ul><li>Optimizer: “I need to get more water” </li></ul><ul><li>You never think your way to a full glass </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You have to take the glass to the faucet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimizers take steps to make things better </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Paul: the great optimizer <ul><li>Man of faith & positive thinker </li></ul><ul><li>Also a man of action – an optimizer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Didn’t just talk about the way things ought to be, he took action </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reason he experienced dramatic change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Violent, intolerant, self-righteous Pharisee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Became humble, holy, committed disciple </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Philippians 3 shows his mental process – three adjustments of focus </li></ul>
  16. 16. 1. Focus on long-term goals, not just short-term resolutions If you really want to create lasting change, you have to see your life in terms of goals, not resolutions
  17. 17. Resolution: quit smoking to improve health <ul><li>Quits smoking </li></ul><ul><li>Compensates for craving by overeating </li></ul><ul><li>Becomes overweight non-smoker </li></ul><ul><li>Exchanged one health risk for another </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’d rather smoke than be overweight” </li></ul><ul><li>Resumes habit </li></ul>
  18. 18. Optimizer’s real objective is to improve health <ul><li>Work out more often </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy food choices </li></ul><ul><li>Sees resolution to quit smoking in terms of the big picture </li></ul><ul><li>What are you really trying to accomplish? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you want to make this change? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Look at your New Year’s resolutions and ask yourself: <ul><li>What is the goal behind this resolution? </li></ul><ul><li>Let that goal become your focus </li></ul>
  20. 20. Many say they want to get rid of a certain sin in their life <ul><li>They need to ask themselves: Why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because it’s embarrassing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because it’s inconvenient? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because it’s expensive? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because my spouse nags me about it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I want to please God and be like Jesus? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Our goals answer the question “Why?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep us focused on the reasons for improving </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Paul’s long term goal was simple: <ul><li>Philippians 3:10-11 NIV I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (11) and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. </li></ul>
  22. 22. That was the focus of his efforts <ul><li>Philippians 3:14 NIV I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>Paul struggled toward holiness in his life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not so he could impress others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not so he could feel good about himself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He did it so that he could be like Jesus </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Some are good and ethical, but not interested in spiritual things <ul><li>They’re missing the point of being good </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s not about being able to pat ourselves on the back </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s not about being able to look at ourselves in the mirror </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s about living a life that is pleasing to God. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When you make a resolution, ask “Why is this important to me?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the goal behind the resolution </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. 2. Focus on progress, not just perfection If you really want to create lasting change, you have to learn to recognize improvement
  25. 25. Perfection is the objective in any New Year’s resolution <ul><li>You want to stop yelling at the kids </li></ul><ul><ul><li>100% of the time, not just 50% of the time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You want to start walking a-mile-a-day </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EVERY DAY, not just once or twice a month </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Perfection is the goal, but recognize progress </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating lasting change takes time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You cannot expect perfection immediately </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Paul knew changes don’t take place overnight </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But that’s no reason to give up </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Philippians 3:12-13 NIV <ul><li>Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (13) Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, </li></ul>
  27. 27. A basketball player’s goal is to hit every shot that he puts up <ul><li>Never : “Maybe I should miss this shot” </li></ul><ul><li>The goal is to score every time you shoot </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No basketball player has achieved that </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They measure success by their progress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they scoring more points per game? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they hitting a higher percentage of shots than before? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their focus is on progress, not perfection </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Optimizers think the same way <ul><li>They focus on progress, not perfection </li></ul><ul><li>Perfectionism doesn’t lead to action </li></ul><ul><li>It is more likely to prevent us from acting </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s “perfection or nothing”, most think, “Why bother? Why set myself up to fail?” </li></ul>
  29. 29. We have to learn to think differently about perfection <ul><li>We don’t have to lower our standards </li></ul><ul><li>We do have to learn to chart our progress </li></ul><ul><li>Success doesn’t happen instantaneously </li></ul><ul><li>It requires day-in, day-out tenacity </li></ul><ul><li>You’ve got to keep pressing on </li></ul>
  30. 30. 3. Focus on “how” not just “what” If you really want to create lasting change, you have to have a plan
  31. 31. The “what” part is easy <ul><li>Know what we want, not how to get there </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to say, “I want to be a great parent” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowing how to pull it off isn’t always easy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Easy to say, “I want a happy marriage” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowing how to have one isn’t always easy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The “how to” part requires some thought </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting a goal won’t change your life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You have to have a map for getting there </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Paul gives a strategy for reaching the goal of godliness <ul><li>Philippians 3:16-17 NIV Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (17) Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ If you want to be like Jesus: Live the truth you know and follow the example set by me and other spiritual leaders.” </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Until you develop the “how,” the “what” will be unattainable <ul><li>Rick Warren </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As teen, took notes of sermons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrote “YBH,” (“Yes, but how?”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s not enough to know what you need to do; you need to know how </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Optimizers focus on the how, not just the what <ul><li>This is why we depend on the Bible for guidance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Bible doesn’t leave us hanging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaches how to do what God wants us to do </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To change your life, change your thinking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not about positive or negative thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s about thinking in terms of action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s not half-empty or half-full, but “I need more water. How do I get it?” </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. God will guide you through the process <ul><li>He’ll help you establish goals that glorify him </li></ul><ul><li>He’ll give you the wisdom to know what you need to do, and how you need to do it </li></ul><ul><li>He’ll give you strength to make progress along the way </li></ul>
  36. 36. Our God is a God of action <ul><li>We, too, need to become people of action </li></ul><ul><li>It’s the only way to create lasting change in our lives </li></ul><ul><li>If you want this year to be different for you, make the commitment today </li></ul>