HOW TO EAT AN ELEPHANT WEEK 2
Chuck Allen // @achuckallen // firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week we opened a can of How to Eat an Elephant. The goal of this teaching series is to best prepare us to succeed wildly in 2016. If you weren’t here last week, I want to urge you to listen or watch last week’s teaching on the SHC App or online. The focus was on developing a foundational change that is rooted in THIS ONE THING!
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
The Scriptures remind us to do these 3 things:
1- Leave Your Past Behind You 2- Face the Future Boldly 3- Stay the Course
Today, in week 2, I invite you to join me in Ephesians 4 and 5 as we discover how to experience real and lasting life change. God has a plan to create a new you. And your part in His plan is to join Him in bringing change in your life. And it all starts with
A NEW MINDSET – A BETTER WAY OF THINKING
22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:22-24
What we think has an incredible influence on the condition our life is in.
We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny
If we want real life-change we need to start with our mind. God’s wisdom must fill and guide our thinking. Just like we do with food, we need to watch what we take into our mind. You might drink pure filtered water, eat low calorie food and exercise your body often – and that’s great. But why is it we often don’t take that much care of our mind? You’re cautious about what you take in through your mouth – but what about what comes in through your eyes and ears?
God has a plan to transform our lives into the one He intended for us from the start. Our part is to join Him in creating a new us in our thought life. He wants us to discover a new Mindset – One that puts Him at the top of our mind and seated preeminently on our hearts! He wants to give us a new way to think!
Our approach to a new way of thinking must involve three criteria. It must simultaneously be systematic (not piecemeal and divided into silos)\. In other words our faith life must influence our work life, family life, financial life, physical life and our management of time!
It must be participative (involving many people’s ideas, energy, talent, and expertise). God built us in need of one another – we need the unique oddities of our diverse faith family to help us in our journey of change – especially from those that we just don’t get!
And it must be emergent (able to move and adapt nimbly in a minefield of uncertainty). The real and present hope that is found in Jesus gives us courage to move into new and challenging growth – Our hope is found in Him! We can act with courage and creativity; the fear is that if we don’t, the world will face debilitating collapse on many fronts. God has wired right-brain and left=brain thinkers into a collective family of faith that we might be sharpened and changed day by day by day – from the inside out! A new Mindset and…
A NEW VOICE – A Better Way to Speak
Have you ever annihilated your Christian witness because of something you’ve said? Your words carry a tremendous weight don’t they? That’s why the Bible says
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. Ephesians 4:25
And then in verse 29 – Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And then in chapter 5, verse 4 – Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
Jesus makes a HUGE point that our mouths and our hearts are intimately connected. What comes in here (heart)…it’s coming out here (mouth).
… out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks Matthew 12:34
That’s why when the Lord changes our heart, we expect to see a change in our language. Now, most of us consider this passage to address foul language – and it does – but it also and equally addresses gossip, slander, mean-spirited, selfish language!
God has a plan for his world and your part in it is to speak the truth and to communicate encouragement and joy. You can start today by joining God in transforming each word you speak. A New Mindset, A New Voice, and…
A NEW ACTION & REACTION – A Better Way to Act
One thing that speaks louder than our words are our actions.
One environment where we can find it hard to match our actions with our beliefs is at work – where you spend most of your day. It’s such an issue that Paul singles it out here in Ephesians.
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Ephesians 4:28
The Scriptures lifts your work to a higher level. This is because the purpose of your work is not just to feed and clothe you and your family. The purpose of your work is “so that you may have something to share with those in need.” Even an honest day’s work can be done for selfish reasons – if all you’ve done is meet your own need. That is one purpose of work; but we also work so that we might be able to help others.
As I grow older, I pay less attention to what folks say. I just watch what they do.
Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them”.
If we are to succeed wildly in 2016…If we are to eat the elephant one bite at a time…then we must LEARN A NEW WAY TO THINK, A NEW WAY TO SPEAK AND A NEW WAY TO ACT.
God has a plan to create a new you from the inside out. Our part is to join Him in that process of change wherever we can. God doesn’t promise to change our circumstances – but He does promise to change you. Here is the catch – and there is a very real catch to this. You cannot think, communicate and act or react better until you know better and you cannot know better if you are not learning better.
That’s why we should march boldly into this new year with confidence that We Can Do All Things Through Jesus Who Gives Us Strength!
Dreaming, planning, creating goals and making resolutions are all elements of your vision for the new year. They are all part of EATING THE ELEPHANT And in order for that vision to be strong, your plan for change in this new year needs these three elements.
Hope is the anchor of a strong vision. Hope steadies a team. Hope redeems doubt. Andy Andrews says it this way in his book The Final Summit : “Hope is the captain of courage and the author of success. For the person whose hope remains unshaken has within them the power to do miracles. Hope sees what’s invisible, feels what is intangible, and achieves what most consider impossible.”
Hebrews 6:19 reminds us that we can be secure in God’s promise and that our hope in God’s fulfillment of that promise is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Conversely, Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
Do you really believe that God is bigger than you goals or dreams? Do you believe that He is bigger than your hopes and aspirations. Is He bigger than any challenge you face? Catch this – Scripture tells us that God will provide you with everything you need – And that all things are possible in Jesus – You get to determine the degree of possibility based on your view of God!
A strong goal or resolution can propel us into our potential. It should stretch us and pull us further than we’ve been before. Because we’ve anchored it in hope. Within you is ability to choose Jesus – to choose His direction for your life – Your potential is only limited by your choice to choose Jesus and choose His way. He had a plan for you before you were born, and His plan is to change you from the inside out – day by day, minute by minute until you arrive in Heaven to live with Him forever!
2016 has so much hope, possibility and potential.
YOU have so much hope, possibility and potential.
May you find in Jesus
A NEW WAY TO THINK
A NEW WAY TO SPEAK and,
A NEW WAY TO ACT
Choose His way today!