Sermon: Our Turn Around God Summary: God is powerful and active in the world and in our lives. If things seem bad, it does not mean God is not working, he can and does turn things around, often in a sudden way. Therefore we need to have positive forward looking attitudes and not negative, pessimistic and fatalistic ones. Know: God takes bad and turns them around Feel: A positive attitude about the possibilities in our lives, and in the life of our congregation Do: Have an infectious, positive attitude Scripture Reading: Lk 1:50-55 Intro: 1. What do you think about God? Good God? a. Created good world, redeemed enslaved people, brought Messiah b. Savior died for sins, provided the way, sent people, will return c. Yes, he is good 2. Another question: How do you "feel" about God? Your attitude toward God? a. Does he strengthen and make you able? b. Or is he distant and leave us to our own devices? c. Things strictly in our hands, or do we need his help,guidance, strength? 3. Lot of talk in this country about how bad things have gotten a. Can easily make a list - Immorality, No sense of responsibility, No respect, God out of public life, Abortion, Murder, Robbery, Abuse, Divorce b. Antagonistic public attitude toward Christianity c. "Country going to Hell in a Hand Basket" d. Some predict Christianity will disappear from USA 4. HOW DO YOU KNOW? a. Can't God turn things around??? b. Does the Bible teach us this? c. Where can we go look? I. I thought about where to go look A. Can look at Israel in Slavery 1. In Egypt, things got bad from Pharaoh who didn't know about Joseph 2. Enslaved, oppressed, and tried to wipe out Israel 3. God raised up Moses, defeated Egyptians and turned this group of slaves into his treasured people 4. God turned things around. But I don't want to focus on that B. Can look at Gideon and his 300 men 1. Midian devastate crops and livestock 2. God raised up Gideon, a nobody, to deliver Israel a. Started with over 30,000 people b. Dismiss all who afraid, then had 10,000 c. Dismissed all who didn't lap the water, then had 300 3. A man had a dream that a barley loaf tumbled into the Midian encampment and toppled a tent a. Would have been the size of a large muffin b. A sign God would defeat Midian with tiny army 4. God turned things around with 300, but I don't want to focus on that C. Can look at David and Goliath 1. Philistine army sophisticated, had a giant champion, Goliath a. Every day, a stand off with Goliath mocked b. No sound of fighting, just the jeers of Goliath c. Were dismayed and greatly afraid - 1 Sam 17:11 2. David faced him with only a sling and his faith in God, killed him 3. This turned the tide of the war, Israel pursued Philistines and defeated them 4. But I don't want to focus on that D. Jump ahead to the New Testament II. A Look at the early church A. Backdrop (Acts 9:1-2) 1. Imagine what it would be like 2. After awhile, you begin to wonder, "Where is God???" 3. In the middle of all the persecution is this Zealous Saul B. What happens next (9:3-6) - Jesus apprehend him 1. Some might say, "Kill him! - That would remove the problem 2. (9:17-18) - He was….. baptized! 3. (9:20, 23) - Began to proclaim Christ, they plotted to kill him a. Saul had to sneak out of the city b. He went to Jerusalem, then back to Tarsus 4. (9:31) - Church enjoyed peace as was built up! - Life changed, persecution was over, for now C. God turns it around 1. He doesn't do it gradually, it happened suddenly 2. Didn't kill Saul, he converted him! 3. He removes a key player by converting him a. The persecutor become the persecuted b. The hunter becomes the hunted c. The enemy become an advocate d. The killer will become the killed D. Remember this the next time you make a pessimistic prediction and think things are never going to get better 1. God can turn things around OVERNIGHT! 2. "I am looking at all of the factors, and I predict things will go from bad to worse, it will not change!" a. Most deadly attitudes are Pessimism and Fatalism - Pessimism - Focus on the bad, the negativt - Fatalism - Thinking things will never change b. These attitudes are not from God! c. These attitudes are SATANIC - It is Deism (almost Atheistic) 3. Life is not a machine, but a drama, and Jesus is the director and can change the script 4. God Turns things around a. Who would have ever thought that Christianity would overwhelm a Roman empire what was antagonistic towards Christianity? God turns this around. b. Who would have ever thought that Christianity would have survived and be healthy in Communist China when they sent all the missionaries away? God turns things around c. Who would ever thought that Christianity would take hold in Russia? - God turns things around d. God turns things around! Concl: 1. Isn't that great? Wonderful? Encouraging? 2. Do you believe that God turns things around? a. We can see how he turns things around for other people b. Do you believe God can turn things around in your life? c. Can he turn things around with US? Of course! 3. I hate it when Satan tries to pull the wool over your eyes a. Tries to drive our attitudes into the ground b. Tries to get us to complain, be pessimistic, negative, and fatalistic c. But Paul says to let our mind dwell on the things above d. Don’t let Satan pull you down! 4. Ladies - Appreciate your bracelet, we could all use one a. We need to be reminded b. Things are not going down, they are going UP c. What to do? Change our attitude, will change speech, will change actions, will change the congregation, will change the neighborhood, will change the town, will change the world! - Attitude is infectious, that is why enjoyed Larry and Bill last week - Begins with attitude - Struggling? Ask God to change your heart ===================================== Suggested Questions for Personal Reflection, with a Christian Brother or Sister, or a Group: Summary: God is powerful and active in the world and in our lives. If things seem bad, it does not mean God is not working, he can and does turn things around, often in a sudden way. Therefore we need to have positive forward looking attitudes and not negative, pessimistic and fatalistic ones. 1. In considering the deliverance from bondage in Egypt (Ex 1ff); Gideon's 300 men (Jud 6f), David and Goliath (1 Sam 17f), and the early church (Acts 9:1-31), what is God demonstrating about himself? 2. Is the overall character of the Biblical message positive or negative? What is the final picture in scripture? How does this affect you? 3. (Phil 4:4-9) - What is God communicating to you in these verses? What effect would it have on you when doing what God instructs? 4. Are pessimistic, negative, fatalistic attitudes godly, or satanic? How does Satan work through them? 5. (Col 3:1-17) - When you were raised with Christ, what changes in attitude should come in your life? 6. How would a more personal relationship with God grounded in scripture and prayer affect your attitude? 7. What stands in the way of you improving your own attitude? 8. What are some possible ways you can improve your own attitude and make it more godly?