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Jimmy Evans - The Power Of Attitude

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Jimmy Evans - The Power Of Attitude

I want to welcome all of you to the service. Thanks for joining us this weekend, and I have a very special message for you I'm gonna bring in just a minute, but let me begin by saying this is our 20th anniversary. Actually last Thursday, April 23rd was our 20th anniversary. But this weekend represents the 20th anniversary since we became a church back in the year 2000 and so Pastor Robert and I have been friends for about 30 years. And it was about maybe 22 years ago, Pastor Olen Griffing at that time was Pastor Robert's pastor, and he gave Pastor Robert his blessing for Pastor Robert to come and for us at Trinity Fellowship (that's where I was pastoring at the time), for us to plant Gateway Church.

Actually Pastor Robert worked for me for a while in our association of churches, but we had, Karen and I sat down with Pastor Robert and Debbie at David's steak house in Amarillo, Texas, and at that steak house we agreed that we were going to enter into a covenant relationship together as couples to begin Gateway Church. And we shook hands there, and we made an agreement before God that we were going to covenant together to build this church together regardless of what we had to do or how much we had to go through. And so just before Gateway started in April of 2000, we laid hands, the elders of Amarillo Church and Trinity Fellowship. We laid hands on Pastor Robert and Debbie and kind of a core group that came down here to start the church.

We gave them some money and you know, paid Pastor Robert's salary for a while. And you know, the beginnings of Gateway Church were very humble to say the least. There were 40 people on the first weekend that we met in Pastor Robert and Debbie's home. And then they went to the movie theater and all the different places that Gateway met, but it was just, Pastor Robert has been such a faithful pastor of this church for the last 20 years. Now, I've been a part since the very beginning, and I'm just saying, most of you don't know all that Pastor Robert and Debbie have had to go through to plant and to pastor Gateway Church, and they're happy to do it. They love this church. But I can just tell you there was a lot of sacrificing along the way, and a lot of you also sacrificed along the way, and you've served and you've given, been the phenomenal congregation that you are.

And so we're going to celebrate in a future date. We don't know exactly when because all the COVID-19 stuff, but we're celebrating today and just remembering the faithfulness of God to Gateway Church from the very beginning. I walked up to Pastor Robert on the first day that we ever met as Gateway Church, and I said to Pastor Robert, the Lord spoke to me and said, this is going to be one of the largest churches in America and one of the most influential churches in the world. That's when we had 40 people. And Pastor Robert, I wasn't telling him anything he didn't know. I was just confirming it to him. But in the very, very beginning of Gateway Church, we knew that this was a special church and a special place with a special group of people.

And so we celebrate God's faithfulness. We celebrate Pastor Robert and Debbie's faithfulness, and the faithfulness of our staff, our leaders, phenomenal leaders that we have, the congregation, precious congregation. I'll say it again, we love you so much and miss seeing you and hugging on you and all that kind of stuff. It's going to be so special when we're able to get back together. But we remember that we are 20 years old and we have many more years to go, if Jesus tarries. And we look forward to unbelievable things happening. If this could happen in the first 20 years, what can happen in the next 20 years? And so we look with anticipation, wait with anticipation to see what God is going to do.

And so before I preach, let me say this prayer. United714 is a group all over the world. We have millions and millions and millions of people praying the same prayer every day and every week believing for God to break this plague, this COVID-19 plague. So I'm going to read this prayer because that's what all of us are praying this week. Would you please join me if you're there, maybe with your family, you can hold hands, but just believe with me as we pray this prayer together.

Our Lord and our God, look in Your mercy upon the suffering that covers the earth. A force called COVID-19 is dominating governments, derailing economies, and destroying peace. It is an ever-present challenge, bringing pain and devastation upon Your Creation. Yet we declare—the name of JESUS is above all names, in heaven and on earth. We believe, as Your Holy Scriptures have taught us, every person, problem, pestilence, and power must bow before the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we ask that COVID-19 be halted and eradicated.

Lord Jesus, You created the world and everything in it. You healed the sick, walked on water, fed thousands, and raised the dead. You rule and reign. You said, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

In the name of Jesus, we boldly ask for our families, churches, cities, and nations to be protected from the effects of COVID-19.

We know the name of Jesus has great power when we speak it, for You are our Savior and our Lord. We know that even now, You are at the right hand of our Father, interceding for people as they battle COVID-19.

Lord Jesus, we are confident in the power of Your name, so we ask You to give scientists, researchers, and medical personnel the supernatural strength and wisdom needed in their battle against COVID-19. We ask for healing and restoration in the lives of all those affected by this disease.

We ask all these things in the name that is above every name, the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Well, thank you for praying that prayer with me, and we're believing every single word of that. We're praying it every day, 7:14 in the morning, 7:14 in the evening. And if you want more information, just go to and you can have all the information. The prayers are there that we're praying together all over the world. And so let me, let me bring this message. And really, when I'm putting messages together during this time, I'm thinking of what will encourage you. I'm thinking about what will equip you to get through this time. And so this message is called The Power of Attitude. I want to talk about our attitudes and how our attitudes determine our success and forge our futures more than any other factor in life. And I really believe that. I believe that attitude has more to do with success or failure than any other issue in life.

And some people would say, "well, how about Jesus Christ"? Well, even if you're a believer and you're on your way to heaven, if you have poor attitudes, life is going to be tough, and God's not going to bless it. And so having good attitudes is absolutely essential if we're going to achieve our destiny and God's going to bless us and we're going to be successful in life. So let me begin by defining the word attitude. These are the dictionary definitions. The first is, "a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something typically reflected in a person's behavior". It doesn't take very long to kind of see a person's attitude through their words and through their behavior. "A position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state".

I was preaching one time and I think I might've been preaching on giving, and there was a guy sitting right in front of me and he didn't like what I was saying about giving. And he sat like this through the entire message. Looking at me like this. And so, I can kind of tell sometimes, you got busted. Now as a preacher, I'm saying we can kind of tell the way you're thinking about what we're preaching sometimes. And, and by the way, you're the greatest congregation in the world to preach to. So there's very few people who ever have bad posture, but you can tell the, you know, a child in their attitudes. It comes through their, their posture.

The third definition, "the orientation of an aircraft relative to the direction of travel". And I'll talk about this more in the message you just a minute. But I'm a pilot, and when you're flying, on your instrument panel right in front of you, there's an attitude indicator. And the attitude indicator tells you if you have a nose up attitude, a level attitude, or a nose down attitude. And if you get a nose down attitude and you keep it for too long, you're going to crash. That's the same way it is in life. So that's what attitude is. You simply cannot overstate the importance of how important attitude is in our lives, in every single area of our lives. And attitudes run in groups. Churches have attitudes. Cities have attitudes. If you go to Dallas, if you go to Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Chicago, they have attitudes. Businesses have attitudes. Airlines have attitudes.

All the different places that you go, there are resident attitudes there that sometimes they're good and sometimes they're not so good. But different cities have different attitudes, businesses, churches, families, different families have different attitudes, some very good, some not so good. And so Romans chapter 12 says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God". And so here's the question. Do I have a godly attitude or do I have a worldly attitude? Have I been conformed to the world in my attitude, I have a worldly attitude, or have I been transformed and I have a good attitude, a godly attitude?

And so John Maxwell, my friend, wonderful man of God, he wrote a book called The Winning Attitude and in it, in this book he talks about attitude and what attitude is. And here's what he says, "Attitude is the advanced man of our true selves. It's roots are inward, but it's fruits are outward. It is our best friend and worst enemy. It is more honest and more consistent than our words. It is a thing that draws people to us or repels them. It is never content until it is expressed. It is the librarian of our past. It is the speaker of our present. It is the prophet of our future". That's profound. But it's really true. That's how important attitude is.

President Thomas Jefferson made this quote, which I completely agree with. Here's what he said, "Nothing can stop the man with a right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude". If you have the right attitude, you're just gonna win. Your whole life is just going to be win, win, win. If you don't have the right mental attitude, nothing can help you. And he was exactly right. And this was a very accomplished man, by the way. Our attitudes determine our success and happiness more than any other factor in life. And so let me talk about attitudes, some truths about our attitudes and how profound they are in determining the quality of our lives.

Number one, WE CHOOSE OUR ATTITUDES. Okay? No one chooses your attitude for you. We choose our own attitudes. Now, there was a man named Viktor Frankl, and he was a prisoner of war in Auschwitz, in Germany during World War II. His mother was killed by the Nazis and his wife and brother both died in the concentration camps. Only he and his sister got out of the concentration camps. The Nazis were extremely cruel to all the Germans and to him and to his family during that period of time. And during his time of starving and being tortured in Auschwitz, he made this statement, "I will be happy and I will not hate the Nazis. Nothing that they do can make me hate them".

Now think about that. Think about it. If that man could choose to be happy in Auschwitz and choose not to hate the Nazis, every single person can determine their attitude. We choose our attitudes. It's not forced upon us. We choose it. So he got out of Auschwitz. He survived it. He lived until 1997 as a motivational speaker, author, neurologist, and psychiatrist, and he was an inspiration, everyone who heard his story. And so think about your life right now and everything maybe that's going wrong. Obviously the challenge with COVID-19, would you rather be in Auschwitz? Would you rather have your family dying all around you? Would you rather be tortured by the Nazis? Of course not. It's not. We're not experiencing anything on that level. Well, if he could choose to be happy, and if he could choose to forgive them, then we can choose it every day of our lives. We choose our attitudes. No one chooses it for us.

Here's the second truth about attitudes. ATTITUDES ARE NOT CAUSED BY PEOPLE OR CIRCUMSTANCES. They're not. Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve had perfect bodies. They would have lived forever if they wouldn't have sinned. They were created in paradise. They never had a bad day. They never had, you know, a bad father or mother or or something like that. They had never had a hurt or a problem in their entire lives, but they were selfish brats and rebellious, in the midst of perfection, living in the presence of God. So what caused their bad attitudes? It certainly wasn't their circumstance, okay, anything like that.

King David. King David's an interesting person. His greatest attitudes were in the worst times of his life, and his worst attitudes were in the greatest times of his life. When he was little David fighting Goliath, phenomenal attitude. When Saul was trying to kill him, he was still respectful and submitted even during that time, phenomenal attitude. Many of the Psalms, the greatest Psalms that we read were written by David when he was going through all kinds of problems. They were trying to kill him, so on and so forth. But once he got the throne and he got settled, here comes Bathsheba. Here comes the census, some of the worst things that David did. So you can't say in King David's life that good circumstances created good attitudes or bad circumstances created bad attitudes. It was exactly the opposite, interesting thing.

The apostle Paul in Acts 16 was in prison in Philippi after being beaten with rods, and he was worshiping God at midnight, he was praising God at midnight. This man of God who had been persecuted, was sitting there, not licking his wounds, not complaining, not angry at God. He was praising God at midnight. Here's the deception. If my circumstances would be better, my attitudes would be better. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Here's the truth. I can overcome any situation with a good attitude. That is the truth. I'm not, I am not a victim of my circumstances. I choose my attitudes. It is not a condition. It is a choice that I make.

Here's the third truth about attitudes. HAPPINESS IS A CHOSEN ATTITUDE, NOT A STATE OF BEING. If I'm a happy person, it's not because I have a certain state of being that makes me happy. I'm rich, I'm successful, I'm pretty, or anything like that. It's because I chose it. I'm always going to have to choose it. And so some people are always happy and there are some people that are always unhappy. They choose it. That's just the way they choose to be. Many comedians come out of tragic circumstances. People who choose to make others happy, they themselves actually live sad lives.

Carol Burnett, many of you know, the comedian, Carol Burnett, brilliant comedian, and she, and some of the younger people might not know who she is, but she's very, very famous and just real funny lady. Both her parents were alcoholics. She was raised by her grandmother. She never had a bed. She slept on a couch her entire life. She had to study in a dim bathroom for school because she didn't have light, the light to study. And after that experience, she chose to make other people happy. And so some people choose to share their pain because they feel sorry for themselves and they have a bad attitude. Some people choose to share their happiness because they want to make other people happy.

Hugh Downs, this is a wonderful quote by Hugh Downs. "A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes". That's just true. You see happy people, it's because they chose to be happy. They always do, choose to be happy.

Denis Waitley, now this is my favorite quote outside the Bible, okay. I absolutely love this quote. "Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude". Let me read that one more time. This is a big one. "Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude". I absolutely believe that. You can't go to the store and purchase it. You can't travel to it. It's just a choice. It's a certain set of attitudes that we have. That's what makes us happy. Okay? Abraham Lincoln says, "We are as happy as we make up our minds to be". You talk about a guy with a great attitude. So in Amarillo, when I lived in Amarillo, before I came into the ministry, I worked with my mom and dad and we had an electronics and appliance business. And so I worked there, I sold, I delivered, I did all kinds of things before I came to the ministry. And so we had, you know, lots of customers. We had a very big business, we had lots of customers and so I went to many, many houses delivering stuff and selling stuff and things like that.

And we had one customer that I didn't like. I didn't like going to his house. He was mean. He was mean to his family. He was just a very, very, I mean very wealthy, okay. So when we went to his house, he had a very big house in a nice part of town, there was an oppression in his house. Literally when you walked into his house, there was oppression in his house. It was like a spiritual darkness. He had these cute little kids and they would kind of come around us when we were in the house and he would yell at them and scream and they'd run, run down the hall. And so I was in his house one day delivering something, and I just remember just the feeling. I just wanted to go home and take a shower when I left his house, I just felt dirty.

But I was in his house one morning, left, and so that afternoon I had a delivery with another delivery man. I had a delivery of a refrigerator to a very modest part of town. And there was a couple, it was a tiny little wood-frame house, and we pulled in front of it, and we had a new refrigerator that we were delivering there. So I went up to the door and I knocked on the door of this house and this little, literally a little old man opened the door. He was just a little guy and he said, "Hey, you're the refrigerator guy". And I said, "yes sir". And he said, "well, come on in here"! Just like that. So when you deliver a refrigerator, you know, before you bring the new one in, you have to get the old one out.

So we had the appliance dollies and we walked through the little tiny living room into the kitchen. His wife was there, she was real sweet. And we were getting the old refrigerator out. Well I noticed as I walked through the kitchen that there was a champagne bottle with two glasses sitting on the counter there. And I thought, well that's interesting, you know. So we got the refrigerator on the dollies, and as we were getting it on the dollies and getting it out of the kitchen, this man and woman poured themselves a glass of champagne and toasted their old refrigerator, and they said "Goodbye old refrigerator. You've been such a great part of this family. We're going to miss you. Thank you so much for all that you did". And I was just thinking, I've never seen that before. You know, you talk about a happy couple.

So we go, we take the old refrigerator out and we bring the new refrigerator in, and when we came in to the house, this couple was dancing cheek to cheek in the middle of the living room. It was like this. And they were just happy and laughing and singing and everything. We got a new refrigerator, like this. So we go into the kitchen and we put the new refrigerator in, they toast that refrigerator and they said, "Hello, new refrigerator. It's good to have you be a part of the family, been so excited to have you", all this kind of stuff.

We left that house and I sat in the truck in front of their house and I thought about the difference between that couple and that man that morning, the rich man and the big house that was unhappy and mean, and this little couple didn't have much. But I'll tell you one thing, I've never seen a happier couple. I've never, being in their home was an absolute joy. And I think about that. I think about, they chose. They didn't have money. They weren't powerful people. They simply chose to be happy with whatever they had. You choose your happiness. I choose my happiness, period. No one chooses it for me.

Number four, GOD REWARDS GOOD ATTITUDES AND DISCIPLINES BAD ATTITUDES. And by the way, so do parents, good parents. If you wait to discipline behavior, many times you're too late. Attitudes are the seedbed of behavior. If you'll discipline attitudes, you won't have to discipline a lot of behavior problems. Let me give you an example. So our son Brent, who's now 40, almost 43 years old, wonderful man of God, president of Marriage Today, when he was growing up and in school one day he came home and he'd gotten licks, he'd gotten swats because he rolled his eyes at the teacher. And he came home, and I mean he wanted us to go up and you know, sue the school or something.

And he said, "Dad, dad, I got a swats today". And I said, "Well how come"? He said, "All I did was roll my eyes at the teacher". And I said, "Do you control your eyes"? He said, "Well, there's nothing wrong with rolling your eyes at the teacher". I said, "There is something wrong, Brent, it's a bad attitude". And he said, "You can't spank people for their attitude". And I said, "Oh, you got to spanked for your attitude". And so when you have a bad attitude, God disciplines bad attitudes. Let me just prove it to you right here. This is James 4, "God resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up". God rewards good attitudes and he punishes bad attitudes. Pride is an attitude, right? Okay. Humility is attitude, right?

So it says, and by the way, when it says that God resists the proud there, that word in the Greek means to set yourself in battle formation against. This is a little bit of resistance. When we're walking in pride, God disciplines it. God hates pride because pride does not acknowledge God, and pride does not depend upon God, but he loves humility. When we have a humble spirit, God loves it because it acknowledges that we need God and it depends on God and God absolutely loves that. So God disciplines attitudes. Now, this is Hebrews 12 and this is a really important text of scripture related to the discipline of the Lord. Hebrews 12:7.

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

Okay, so let me explain that to you. When it says may the hands that hang down in the feeble knees and make straight paths for your feet, and all of the parents, now, you know what I'm about to say here, okay. So you tell your child something and you say, "young man, you go into that room right now and you clean your room". Hands that hang down, feeble knees, and they walk like this. That's what happens. So here's what it says. God is your Father and he loves you. And just as you had an earthly father that disciplined you, you have a heavenly Father that's disciplining you, listen, and he can either heal you or dislocate you. That's what it says here. If you want to be healed, get your attitude right and start this thing.

When God tells us to do something, the answer is "Yes, Lord", with a good attitude just like with a parent. And so listen to me. God disciplines us until our attitude is right. That's what he's after. This is what this is saying. If you'll stop walking around with all the self pity and all the bad attitude with your hands hanging down your feeble knees and you know going in a line like this. As soon as you say "Yes, Lord", Lord says this one's over. That's all I was looking for. I mean, let me say this, so I'm telling you about the importance of attitudes. If you have a child that you don't instill in them the importance of attitude, you're cursing that child. You know that. They'll never succeed, God will never be able to bless them the way he wants to bless them.

So we all know how important it is, and I hope in this message you'll hear again how important it is to have right attitudes and train our children to have overcomers' attitudes and attitudes of faith. Listen, God loves you too much to let you go through life with a bad attitude. And I'm saying to some of you right now who feel like maybe God is against you, No, no. God's never against you. He's for you. That doesn't mean he's not spanking you. What's he looking for? He's looking for a good attitude. He's looking for you to say "Yes, Lord". Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop acting like, you know, life is against you and everything's against you. It's not. God is for you, who can be against you? But God is your Father, and just like we have earthly fathers who corrected us for our good, God corrects us for our good.

And many of the times that God is correcting us, he's just correcting us for bad attitudes, worldly attitudes, selfish attitudes, prideful attitudes, unthankful attitudes, those kinds of attitudes. But when you've been trained by God, you become grateful and humble and joyful, and all of those kinds of things. That's the kind of people that we need to be. And that's what God is after. He's not against you, he's for you. But I'm telling you, God is a God of attitudes. It's a big, big deal to God.

Here's number five, importance of attitudes. GOOD ATTITUDES PRECEDE AND PREDICT SUCCESS, FAVOR AND PROMOTION, AND BAD ATTITUDES PROCEED AND PREDICT FAILURE, DISFAVOR, AND DEMOTION. And so the attitude indicator on an airplane is telling you, as a pilot, if you're up or if you're down or if you're level. Okay? So the attitude indicator on an airplane is not for good times. If you can see outside, if you have visual reference and the sky's clear, you just look out and say, yeah, I'm doing good. You know, you know your attitude. But when you have clouds and when you're in bad weather, you better pay attention to that attitude indicator 'cause that attitude indicator. See, so you go by feelings. You know you don't have an attitude indicator in your airplane. You go by feelings. If a pilot gets the leans, you think you're going straight, but you just, you're leaning just a little bit, you start flying in circles until you crash.

You can't trust your feelings. You have to trust your instruments when you're going through bad circumstances. This is the instrument panel of our lives, and especially when we're going through bad times, we don't let our feelings tell us what direction we're going to go. We have to let God's Word tell us what direction we're going to go. And by the way, the President mentioned this in a press briefing the other day and he said his concern as COVID-19 went on that there would be suicides. And there have been, okay. And it's a big deal. Why did people kill themselves? Well, I believe for the most part it's just simply because they're in a bad circumstance and in the moment it seems hopeless. Okay? And suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, okay? Can't be undone.

And so, I pray to God that none of you ever experience that in your family and that you would never contemplate that, okay? God is a God that will come and get us wherever we are, and there's always hope in God. There's always hope in God. And today you may be in the clouds, but tomorrow you're going to be in the sunshine. Today you may be under attack, but tomorrow you're going to be victorious, and you have to have faith in the Word of God that gets you through those difficult circumstances. This is your attitude indicator. And when you get into the word and when you have faith in the word, regardless of what you're going through, you keep your nose up.

As long as your nose up, it means you're going to succeed. You're going to reach your destiny in God. You're going to be everything that you want to be in this life and everything God wants you to be. Nothing, nothing can stop the man that has the right mental attitude. That's what Thomas Jefferson says. But if you get your nose down, and you let your feelings begin to dictate to you, you're going to crash. Your marriage is going to crash. Your life is going to crash. You're not going to fulfill the destiny that God has for your life. And it's all based on your attitude. It's all based on your attitude.

And so I want to talk for just a minute about Abraham Lincoln, one of the most incredible people in the history of our country. And I want to show you the example of his attitude and where it came from. He had a difficult childhood and less than one year of formal education. He failed in business in 1831. He was defeated for the legislature in 1832. He failed again in business in 1833. He was elected to the legislature in 1834. He was defeated for Speaker in 1838. He was defeated for Elector in 1840. He married a bad wife in 1842, she really was. Only one of his four sons lived past the age of 18, if that's not the most heartbreaking thing in the world. He was defeated for Congress in 1843. He was elected to Congress in 1846. He was defeated for Congress in 1848. He was defeated for the Senate in 1855. He was defeated for Vice President in 1856. He was defeated for the Senate in 1858, and he was elected President of the United States in 1860.

I mean, don't you think somewhere in there that you know, you just have loser tattooed on your forehead and die. I mean, don't you think that you would get it at some point that you just weren't going to succeed in life? He never gave up. And the intestinal fortitude, the character that he developed led us through one of the most difficult times in the history of the United States of America, the Civil War. This man was strong as steel. Remember his quote: We're as happy as we make up our minds to be. And he proved it in his life that he had the right mental attitude. Attitude is more important than aptitude in determining success. Attitude is more important than aptitude in determining success.

Let me say this, you give me a person with a good attitude any day over a gifted person with a bad attitude. I could care less how gifted you are. If you have a bad attitude, I can't use you. I don't want you around. But if you have a good attitude, even if you're not the most talented person, you're going to make it and you're going to win because you have a great attitude. Okay? I have a painting in my office at home behind the chair where I sit most of the time studying, and it's a painting of a big ship on a troubled sea. And I have that painting there because it reminds me of this saying, "A calm sea never produced a good sailor".

How would you like to go on the seas with a sailor who'd never been on troubled seas? If you're going to have a good life, it means you're going to go through stuff. But the purpose of that stuff isn't to harm you. God allows it or causes it to grow you up, to grow me up. And one of the most important things that happens when we're going through difficulty is that we keep our eyes on God and we keep our attitude positive. And we say to the Lord, "Lord, what are you teaching me in this"? What is the Lord teaching us through COVID-19? He's not against us. He doesn't want to kill us. He doesn't want to destroy us. But what are we learning through this? What are we learning as a family? What are we learning about our finances and depending on God? What could I learn through this? And you get on the other side of the storm and you're not just a better sailor you're a better person, and your character has been deepened and your attitudes have been improved.

I was in an art store in California and I saw these words on just like a poster on the wall. It says, "In this life we all have mountains to climb. We can sing as we climb or complain about our sore feet. Whichever we choose, we still have to hike. I decided to sing". I love that. I absolutely love that. You're going to have to hike through this life. You're not going to get out of this life without some, without some work, without a little pain, whatever. Are you going to sing or are you going to complain? And the person who wrote this says I decided to sing, I decided to sing. Nobody can decide that for me. I decided that on my journey, I'm going to get there happy with a good attitude.

Let me talk about four attitude killers, and I'm almost finished with this message. Just real quickly. The first is WRONG EXPECTATIONS. How do people get bad attitudes? Well, wrong expectations is one, and believing that life will be easier and everybody's gonna like you. Life is not easy and it not everybody's going to like you. I hate to give you the bad news, but life is difficult. We live in a fallen world. In a book called Good to Great, Jim Collins told the story of Admiral Jim Stockdale, and he was the highest ranking military officer in the Hanoi Hilton prisoner of war camp in Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. He was tortured over 20 times during those eight years. There were no prisoner rights and no release date. At one point he beat himself in the face to disfigure himself, because the North Vietnamese wanted to use him for a propaganda tape trying to get the Americans to believe they weren't abusing our prisoners of war, and he wouldn't do it.

His job was to keep all of his men alive. And some he kept alive and others he didn't keep alive, but he was interviewed by Jim Collins. And when he was asked how he survived, he said, "I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted that not only would I get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into a defining event in my life, which in retrospect, I would not trade". When asked who didn't make it out alive, he replied, the optimist, they were the ones who said, we're going to be out by Christmas, and Christmas would come and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, we're going to be out by Easter. And Easter would come and Easter would go, and then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again, and they died of a broken heart.

When he was asked for a summary of their faith versus his faith, he said this, "This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be". And so he was just saying, you're not going to get out. He would tell his men, we're not getting out by Easter. We're not getting out by Christmas, but we're going to get out. And so the two problems was either false optimism or hopeless pessimism, but what he had was triumphant realism. Okay. I'm not going to be pessimistic, but I'm not going to be too optimistic. I'll get my heart broken.

What am I going to be? I'm going to get through this thing. I don't know when we're going to get out of this thing. We're going to get out of this thing. This is going to be over. We're going to overcome it. God's gonna come through for us. We absolutely know that, but we have to be willing to confront our current reality. By the way, as a marriage counselor, the number one reason for divorce is disappointment. People get married with all the wrong ideas in their heads and they get their heart broken, and they end up divorcing because they just weren't dealing with reality. And that's why I teach and that's why I write books and all that kind of stuff to help people prepare for the realities of marriage. But unrealistic expectations cause bad attitudes.

Number two is COMPARING UP, always comparing yourself with someone better than you, someone who has more than you. I took my son Brent, who rolled his eyes, I took him to Mexico with me one time on a mission trip. And we were in Acuña, Mexico in cardboard city, where all these thousands of people live in cardboard boxes, and we were walking down the street. And Brent said to me, I think he was around 14 or so, and he said, "Dad, how many people live like this"? And I said, "About half the world's population, Brent". And you know, he was a typical 14-year-old kid at that time. He wanted $200 tennis shoes, Air Jordan tennis shoes and all that kind of stuff. And he, when we came home, he was different. He had seen something he had never seen before and it really changed him for three weeks. Then it went right back to where he was. But for those few weeks it was great.

Don't compare yourself with somebody better looking, richer, the someone who has more. Compare yourself to people who don't have the blessings that you have. It makes you more grateful. Comparing up always is just tormenting. Entitlement. People owe me. God owes me, people owe me. No, they don't. No, they don't. An entitlement mentality creates horrible attitudes. And the last is just negativity. Always seeing things in a negative way, rather than having faith in God and rather than believing God is in my circumstance and he can make anything happen, just always saying things negatively.

Let me end with this. These are the four attitude builders. If you want to have a good attitude, these four things. Number one is GRATITUDE, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for oxygen. Thank you for the blood of Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for every blessing that you give. When you start counting your blessings, it just makes you happier and with a better attitude. Gratitude, gratitude toward God, gratitude toward people. I'm just thankful. I'm just thankful.

Number two is FAITH. I have faith in God. I believe that all things are possible with God. I believe that God is for me, who can be against me. I have faith. Faith just creates this wonderful attitude, not humanistic happiness, but joy in the Lord. I believe that God is with me and it's going to be okay. Nehemiah told those that were building the wall when the enemies were coming against them, "The joy of the Lord is your strength". You cannot afford to lose that joy.

Number three is HUMILITY. 1 Peter 5:5 says, be clothed with humility. And when the Bible says be clothed with something, it means it's not natural for us. Pride is natural. Pride is a part of our fallen condition. And I've got to wake up every day. Karen tells me that I'm more handsome when I'm humble. So that's kind of hard to take sometimes, but she says, I like you better when you're humble. I like me better when I'm humble, you know? But I have to decide every day to put on humility because pride is what I naturally wake up with. Okay?

Number four is RESPECT. Pastor Robert is one of the most respectful people I've ever met. Honor. One of the core values that Pastor Robert has is honor. I don't know how many times he's honored me. It's my joy to get to honor him right now. But I'm saying Gateway Church is a culture of honor and respect. He respects Pastor Olen. He respects James Robison. He respects me. He respects Pastor Jack Hayford. And when I say he respects, I'm just saying, he goes out of his way. He is just a person of honor. But my choice is I'm going to be respectful of women. I'm going to be respectful of my wife. I'm going to be respectful. Women should be respectful of men. I'm going to be respectful of authority. I'm going to be respectful for my elders.

Now, there are fewer people all the time that qualify for being my elders, people older than me. So I'm saying, but I'm going to be respectful. I'm going to respect people that I preach to and minister to. I'm going to be respectful. I'm going to respect our government leaders. Okay? Respect and honor just create these wonderful attitudes. A lot of bad attitudes are rebellion, disrespect, dishonor, things like that. So here's what I'm saying to you, okay? You need to have a godly attitude, but believers should have the best attitudes of anyone on the planet. We are the light of the world. That's what Jesus said. That means we're the examples. Okay? And so I'm not the smartest guy. I'm not the most powerful. You just kind of put any category in there. I know I'm not at the top of any category, but I have a good attitude.

And I believe it's one of the reasons that I'm here right now and that God has blessed me. I have chosen to be happy. I wake up happy every day because I choose to wake up happy every day. I want you to have a good attitude. This is a message you might want your kids to listen to like once a day for three weeks or something. This is an important message. And I'm, I'm telling you, 'cause I love you very, very much. Your attitude will determine your success and happiness in life more than anything else, and you control your attitude. And you may have had a bad attitude up until now. You can change it just like that. It's a decision. You change it just like that. And I promise you, God will bless you if you have a good attitude. Pray with me.

Lord, I just pray for all my brothers and sisters watching and listening right now. Lord, we repent of bad attitudes. We've all had them, and we just repent, God, for self pity, for disrespect, for ungratefulness, for all the different things, for pride, all the different ways that we have demonstrated not just a bad attitude to you but people around us. We've been a bad example with that bad attitude. And Lord, some of us have our hands hanging down in our knees are feeble, and we're wobbling on the path that we're walking on 'cause we feel so frustrated, maybe even angry at you. And Lord, we stand up. We going to stop acting like little kids, and we stand up and we say, yes Lord. We want to serve you.

We want to be good sailors and we know that they're going to be some storms that are going to test us and train us and you're going to teach us in the midst of those storms. But Lord, I pray blessing. I pray blessing, the blessing of joy, humility, the blessing of faith, the blessing God of gratefulness. I pray your blessing upon every man, woman, and child, every family. Heal everyone sick. Protect us supernaturally from COVID-19. I pray for your supernatural financial provision for everyone right now in need of finances. Bless families. I pray that you'll heal all marriage problems and let marriages thrive and families thrive through this time. But I pray for our wonderful congregation and pray that you'll bless them and be with them in Jesus name, amen.

Now, if you made a decision for Jesus, if you want to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I want you to text DECISION to 71010, and someone from Gateway will contact you. They'll pray with you. We want to give you a new Bible, a Fresh Start Bible. If you want to connect. If you need help or if you want to connect to the church somehow, just text CONNECT to 71010, and someone from the church will contact you and we will help you in any way that we can help you. God bless you. I love you. I'll see you next time.
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