Here’s a true story that has great insight into full living: Jerry is a restaurant manager, an incredibly positive person. His friend tells the story “…one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices… every situation is a choice. You choose how you react... You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."
[Eventually] we lost touch...Several years later, I heard Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open … and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Jerry was found quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident…."The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry told me. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breathe and yelled, '[I am allergic to] Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them. 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
You have a choice today. How are you going to live? Live as if you are fully alive, not dead. God believes in you, do you believe in him? Accept Jesus Christ and choose to live in the power of the resurrection. It’s time to do away with bitterness, pessimism, doubt, fear, anger... Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is alive and let it come out of your mouth that he is Lord.
I want to take a risk….I am going to narrow down who I am speaking to today. The rest of you can listen, and will probably learn something, but I want to talk to MEN! Everyone needs the Lord… I know that. I would be more than thrilled to see 50 women commit themselves to God today. But I want to speak to MEN. Men are different from women! Amen?
Men are not better than women. But men are different. Go ahead and disagree with me, but as a general rule men have a harder time with Jesus Christ. Most churches have more women than men. I believe our world will change dramatically as MEN receive Christ. Men can reach men in ways women cannot. Men will reach women and children. Maybe it’s the fault of the church and we haven’t done a good job of reaching men with Christ in ways that men can relate. Maybe it’s because we talk a lot about accepting Christ in term of a personal relationship. And men don’t always know what to do with a personal relationship. We are Klutzes… Here is the truth. I’ve never knocked on anyone’s door in the afternoon in Sumas and caught a man watching Jerry Springer… I’ve never heard of a man reading a Romance Novel... I’ve had my fair share of hearing young ladies try and figure out guys. Here’s the truth: Girls make guys out to be far more complex than they really are. Girls are complex. Guys are not. Guys are as simple as they seem. Here’s how to make a guy really happy: appreciate the things they do. It’s that easy. Whenever I mow the lawn, I just want to hear Sally say, “It looks good.” That’s it. I saw Shelly post a picture on Facebook of Morgan hanging up a stuffed bear head…. And what did Morgan post? “Nice quiet evening with the wife Shelly watching alien vs predator. Needless to say she's a little tensed out.” Shelly knows what simple Morgan needs….
Men are different from women. We need affirmation, purpose, a mission… (don’t read into it that women don’t need the same things, but I mean as a main identity…)
I want to take a look at Romans 10:9… for men that need God. Men: You have a choice in how you are going to live. You need the Lord Jesus Christ. You need to get what’s going on inside your heart and what comes out of your mouth into alignment so that there is a consistency, so you can find peace, get rid of the tension, get rid of the guilt, get rid of the feeling of failure, get rid of the feeling of weakness, get rid of the bitterness, overcoming the desire to throw in the towel. There is a lot of pressure on you in your life. You have a choice to make, so step up to the plate like a man and choose Christ.
Let’s start with your heart… feelings are not the exclusive domain of women. Where did men ever get the idea that they are supposed to hide their emotions and put on a strong front. The Bible says, “Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.” Start with the heart. The good news: all you need is a single fact: Jesus is risen from the dead! I think Paul wrote this verse so that even simple guys can get it. A simple fact: Jesus Christ is alive. When you believe in Jesus you are believing in a guy that has accomplished the most amazing mission in history. You know the feeling you get when you set out on a task and then finally accomplish it…. I once talked to a young man who set about moving the steering wheel of his car from the left side to the right side, “why” I asked? “Because I can” he said. Can you imagine the feeling of satisfaction driving the car the first time after it was completed. “If you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.” Simple. Completion of an incredible story. A truth that will change your life. A story that packs a punch.
And when you believe Jesus is alive, let it come out of your mouth, it is going to be seen… “Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.” A strong Christian man of faith is going to transform the world because of the strength of Jesus in him.
I will never forget the feeling when I used to climb Mt. Baker. The accomplishment of reaching the top. the satisfaction. I wanted the world to see what I had accomplished. So I did something tricky… on the slopes of Mt. Baker, hours and hours in the sun, everyone burns. Sunscreen is a necessity. What I did on one particular trip, when I put on the sunscreen, I spread my fingers apart over my cheeks… after we reached the top, came back down, went home, the next day, I had streaks of burned skin. It worked like a charm. Guess what people asked me…. “What happened to you….” And so I got to tell my story of climbing to the top of Mt. Baker. If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth… If you are excited about Christ, knowing he is alive, find a way to tell the world, show it with your life, like streaks of sunburn…
And what a powerful confession: “Jesus is Lord.” JESUS is referring to the one who was sent by God almighty, who lived a perfect life, who loves beyond measure, who healed the sick and raised the dead, who willingly went to the cross and died to take my place to pay for my sins, Jesus the one who was raised to new life and now is ascended into heaven and sits with the Father… that is the Jesus I am talking about.
IS… now, present, today…. IS everyday you have a choice in how to live, this is perfect for simple minded guys who get so easily confused, Jesus IS… that means the mistakes of yesterday can be forgotten because Jesus IS here today… Jesus IS… He is present, he is now, he is here, Jesus IS…
LORD… this may be a word we don’t use commonly in our world, but we know the idea, and it’s a perfect idea for guys. No power can overcome you the moment you accept Christ as LORD, the one who guides you, the boss, the one who leads you, gives you purpose, there are no missions of failure when Jesus is LORD. Like the guy that stood in the control room in Houston trying to guide Apollo 13 safely back to earth. As they were scrambling for solutions for the failing systems in the manned spacecraft, he thumps his fist on the control panel and declares in a loud voice for all to hear: “Failure is not an option.” When Jesus is Lord of your life, you cannot fail, the world may sometimes see a temporary setback, but stick with Jesus as Lord, and understand the mission of your life is not yet complete. Make Jesus the Lord of your life, and you WILL NOT FAIL.
You have a choice. Start with your heart: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Do you believe the greatest story ever told. Jesus Christ is alive. Live it. Let the world see it on your face, like streaks of sunburn, so you can tell the story, let them see it in your eyes, the satisfaction, let the world experience your Savior by the determination of accomplishing your purpose, there is no room for failure, because Jesus is LORD.
God believes in you… do you believe in Him? I want to have a different sort of invitation today because I know it’s hard for people to come forward. (I won’t read anything into anybody who chooses NOT to stand) ...If you are a committed Christian who is willing to have people come and talk to you, stand up. Not that you are a perfect Christian, but you have chosen to live your life, with God’s help, as a faithful servant and believer of Jesus Christ: stand as a person who is willing to be approached by people who want to know what being a Christian is all about, talk to you, pray with you. Stand if you are willing to be a go-to person today, tomorrow, next week….
Take a look. You have a choice to make… These are a few possible people, they will all be gentle and listen and do their best to tell their own story and help you in your walk with God….