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Green Pastures and Still Waters

I have lived in the house I am currently in longer than I have lived in any one house.  I thank God for this because I really don’t like moving.  My oldest son and family are currently packing to move from Ohio to Michigan.  Tom and family moved three months ago.  Moving is a lot of work and can be stressful.  To move from one geographical location to another is not as dangerous (generally) as the kind of “moving” Paul was referring to in 1 Thessalonians 3:3. He wrote, “that no one be moved by these afflictions.”  As we’ll see on Sunday (Lord willing), Paul was afraid that the Thessalonians might defect from the faith because of the trouble they were experiencing.  That is a very dangerous move.  It requires no boxes or moving trucks but it requires a change of heart.  Abandoning our faith because of trouble is a little like jumping out of a boat because we are surrounded by water!  Sometimes we think that we’ll avoid trouble by joining God’s family.  If so, we haven’t listened very closely to Jesus.  He said that we would have trouble in this world.  He also said, “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world!”  In other words, the trouble is no reason to abandon ship.  Better to face the trouble with God than without Him.  I hope you haven’t been moved by whatever trouble you have been experiencing lately.  If you have, I hope you’ll move back to a place of faith as you join us on the Lord’s Day for “Hope, Joy and Trouble?”

Since I don’t hide my heart very well, I have been asked this question on more than one occasion.  We usually use the question above in reference to a “bad attitude.”  For example, maybe you have said to someone, “Please don’t give me that attitude.”  However, the word attitude doesn’t always refer to something bad, it simply refers to a mindset or the posture reflected by that mindset.  It is also possible to have a “good” attitude and it is possible to “fix” our attitude.  Truthfully, sometimes when we are mad or hurt, we don’t want to fix our attitude.  We just want to “stay mad for a while,” as the country song says.  But, part of maturing as an adult and as a disciple of Jesus is learning to adjust our attitude to His Kingdom.  Lord willing, this Sunday we’re going to study what it means to have “a gospel attitude.”  Just because we are Christians does not guarantee we’ll have a gospel attitude.  In fact, when we do not have a gospel attitude, it would probably be better if people didn’t know we were Christ-followers!  Remember, we are His ambassadors.  We represent Him and His Kingdom and the way we live reflects upon Him.  Living the right way will not convert the world but at least our message and manner will be consistent.  As disciples we are to be gospel proclaimers; we are witnesses of His goodness and grace BUT, we are also models of what the gospel can accomplish.  Let’s be people with an attitude infected with gospel power.