8 Slightly Unusual Attitudes That Are Indispensable to World Changers.


 

I love the song by John Mayer: Waiting for the World to Change. Listen to it here. Whilst I love the song I fundamentally want to live my life in completely the opposite way. I don’t want to wait for the world to change, I want to change it. I want to encourage others to change. In fact the Great Commission tells us to “Go into all the world and change it” (My Paraphrase of Matthew 28:19)

So maybe we need to stop waiting on the world to change and maybe even stop complaining about all the bad news in the world, and actually be intentional about changing it.

So if you want to be a world changer. Change you first. Become an inspiring positive person filled with faith and optimism – who seizes life and lives it to the full.

If we are into changing the world – then let’s change the world.

So anyway: Here are 8 Slightly Unusual Attitudes that are Indispensable to World Changers.(These are my sermon notes from a sermon I preached on the Topic).

1. A lively intellectual curiosity, an interest in everything – because everything really is related to everything else and therefore to what we are trying to do, whatever it is.

‘Intellectually curious” means you want to know more than the basics or the common knowledge; It means you live with one foot in the Word of God and one foot in the World of God.

If we are going to change the world it is very important to know the Word of God, but it is also very important that we understand the World which God has created and the people who live in the world.

Go into all the world and make disciples means that we need to engage with the world around us.

Act 17:16-17

16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. 17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.

Have a read of this commentary explanation of the above verses. (This is not my explanation and I would post the source but I can’t remember where I got it from so the best I can do is to say its not mine.)

By this time, the city of Athens was about 600 years old. The birthplace of democracy, Athens was named after Athena, the virgin goddess who was enshrined in the beautiful Parthenon of the Acropolis. Athens was a university city, where in former years students from all over the known world sat at the feet of the great philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Three ideals, “Honor your god,” “Help your friends,” and “Adorn your city,” were held in high esteem by the Athenians. But in 86 B.C., Athens was sacked by the Romans. Most of the beautiful buildings for which Athens was famous were destroyed. By the time of Paul’s visit, the city was vainly trying to regain its former glory. But philosophy and the arts were in decline. Athenians were trying to live in the glories of the past, as many of the formerly great countries of the world are doing today.

As he toured this city of the living dead, Paul’s spirit was “provoked” when he observed the thousands of idols. Historians tell us that there were over 30,000 statues within the city proper. Paul knew that behind the art, the beauty the gold, the silver and the marble was something much more deadl

As he toured the city of Athens, Paul had a choice to make. He could sit around and remain provoked, or he could move out in the Spirit and trust God to change the people of this city from worshiping demons to worshiping the Living God. The apostle went into action right away and started dialoging and reasoning in three different locations. First, he went to the synagogue, which was his custom, and shared from the Scriptures about Jesus the Messiah. When Paul shared about the fact that Jesus died for the sins of mankind, rose again from the dead, and was now available to live in the hearts of all who repented of their sins and believed on him, and then asked, “What do you think of that?” the Jews would kick him out of the synagogue; for them, there wasn’t a lot of excitement about that message.

So then Paul began to hit the market places every day and reason with whoever he found there. One of the things I love most about Europe is the fact that there are everywhere these wonderful market places, where strangers can meet to talk and reason together. If you join in, you are regarded as just one more person; you can jump right into whatever topic is being discussed. It’s just a shame we don’t have market places over here. If you talk to somebody in one of our shopping centers they think you’re an undercover cop. We’re so suspicious nobody wants to talk to anybody. You will see hordes of people in these shopping centers but you will never see anybody strike up a conversation with someone and begin to reason with him. If you talk to someone it really throws him. But not in Europe. In one such market place in Greece one evening I heard a lot of shouting and arguing going on among a group of people. I went over to a police officer and asked, “What’s going on? Are they having a riot?” “No,” he said, “they’re talking about football!” They’re not afraid to dispute and discuss anything over there. So that’s where Paul went, to the market place. There people could haggle and talk. There they could buy slave girls or water clocks, witnesses for a trial or for lawsuits against their best friends. Paul went down to the cafes and reasoned with people about the Lord.

Then third, Paul went into the porches and the gardens of Athens and picked up on the philosophers, the Epicureans and the Stoics. The Epicureans are the spiritual fathers of all our modern self-help, self-realization groups. The Epicurean philosophy was to avoid pain at all costs. They didn’t even want to think about a God who would judge them for their evil ways, so they crossed all thought of that out of their minds. For them, truth came through experience. Today’s Epicureans agree with that. “If it feels good, do it,” they say “All truth is within me.” That philosophy insinuates itself into the church, too. “I know what the Scripture says, but I’ve had this experience. . .” “Don’t confuse me with the Word. Let’s talk about our experiences.”

The Stoics were pantheists; they covered every base. They were proud, arrogant, independent, and very selfish. They taught that all truth was objective. They observed from a distance everything that happened, refusing to get involved. If they determined objectively, without participating, that something was truth, then it was so. That too has crept into the church: “Yes, that was a good sermon.” “What did it do for you?” “Nothing. I think it was a good sermon, that’s all. Why was it supposed to relate to me. Am I to do something?” These people think if they have to get involved, then it is not a good experiment. To watch it happen is fine, but don’t get involved. All philosophy has been stuck at this point ever since.

But the apostle Paul now cruises in and faces these Epicureans and Stoics

So here is my recommendations on how you cultivate a lively intellectual curiosity.

  • Become a scholar of life. Ask why a lot.
  • Become a person that’s interesting. An outstanding conversationalist. And then look for other outstanding conversationalists and dialogue with them.
  • Be someone with an informed opinion. This takes work.
  • Read widely and read authors that you disagree with.
  • Develop the ability to think.
  • Intellectual curiosity should lead to having the attitude that life is a great adventure to be lived.

2. A genuine interest in what other people think and why they think that way- which means you have to be at peace with yourself for a start.

There is tendency to dismiss and set aside anyone who disagrees with our belief system or opinion. I believe we have lost the art of dialoguing. Not sure if this is because we are now trained to communicate in 160 character text messages or 6 second Vines, but whatever it is, we certainly don’t dialogue anymore. I blog my opinion and of course people will disagree with that opinion and that is ok, but I lament the fact that instead of robust dialogue where the opposing side puts forth their opinion or deconstructs my opinion, the conversation generally starts with derogatory and offensive name calling and descends from there. I genuinely do not understand this. If you want to see evidence of this just look at some of the comments that are made on my blog posts.

But I have a genuine interest in debate, discussion and conversation. In High School for four years, I was part of the Regional Debate Team and this passion to throw things around still exists within me, but I just don’t get why so many people who disagree with me have to be so vicious in their personal attacks.

I actually think if you have to attack the person then you actually don’t have a valid argument.

3. A hunch that most risks are there not to be avoided but to be taken.

I take much inspiration from the story of Peter walking on water.

Matt 14:22-29

22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[a] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[
b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and[c] worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Sure Peter sunk and got wet, but I would rather be someone like him who takes risks and get out of the boat and steps into a storm and for the record walks on water, having the occasional moment of sinking, than be like the 11 other disciples who were dry boat worshippers. In verse 32 they were so passionate to worship Jesus, but wouldn’t get out of the boat to go and worship him. Safety is over rated. I have found that the best things that have happened in my life have been when I have taken the risk and got out of the comfort zone. The problem is that everything in our life screams “MAKE ME COMFORTABLE” and if we succumb to that and bow at the altar of mediocrity, our life becomes beige and we end up worshipping Jesus from the apparent safety of a dry boat….which several verses before was about to sink…..so safety is an illusion. Take the risk.

4. A mindset that crises are normal, tensions can be promising and complexity is fun.

When we go through hard times – we act like it’s the first time we have ever gone through a hard time and we act like we are the only person that it has ever happened to.

Jesus promises – as he spoke about hard times: that they are going to happen…

John 16:33 AMP

33I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

What if we got really comfortable in the storms of life, because we knew that Jesus has deprived them of their power to harm us. There is a danger with storms that they take us off track. An example of this is the story found in Luke 8:22-24

22 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.

Notice that the disciples cry out “We are perishing” – but they weren’t, however they thought they were:- And they acted like they were: But they weren’t. They were heading to the other side to deliver the Gadarene Demoniac: a man who desperately needed Jesus, but now the disciples, due to the storm had become self absorbed…..Its all about us Jesus.

I take inspiration from Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

As you look in the Bible, the term “valley” also refers to all kinds of rough times in life.

  • Joshua talks about the Valley of Calamity
  • Psalm 84 talks about the Valley of Weeping
  • Hosea talks about the Valley of Trouble
  • This verse in Hebrew actually means The Valley of Deep Darkness

But notice Ps 23:4 says though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….in other words storms pass and Jesus promises to walk with us.

Let me state the starting verse for this attitude

John 16:33

33I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Don’t let the storms and pressures of life stop you or distract you from being a world changer.

5. A realization that paranoia and self-pity are reserved for people who don’t want to be leaders.

Elijah had a season of self pity that actually took him out of leadership and out of changing the world.

1 Kings 19:14-16

14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 15 Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.

I preached a few years back on the incredibly damaging emotion of self pity: Here are some of my notes on what self pity will do:-

What will self pity do

  • Get you to compare your self to others – and there will always be someone better looking, richer, smarter and with more friends
  • You feel great sorrow for your self and your situation
  • Self Pity Traffics in Shame, guilt and regret
  • Self pity will get you to think that the world is here to serve you
  • It will get you to think that the world is unfair
  • Get you to withdraw from your friends – tell you that your friends are better off without
  • Self Pity and happiness cannot co-exist together, Either can self pity and health relationships, Self Pity and Success.
  • Self pity puts you on the pathway to disaster
  • Self pity is worship of yourself – it is a totally self indulgent emotion.
  • Self Pity is addictive – Hi My name is Peter Pilt and I am a pity addict
  • Self Pity parazlyses your thoughts and feelings.
  • Self Pity causes a paralysis of your actions. Self Pity and forward momentum in life do not co-exist.
  • Self Pity is used by the devil to stop effectiveness in the Kingdom of God
  • Self Pity is an enemy of choice – and when you do choose those choice lack any kind of strength
  • Self Pity Makes you unattractive
  • Self Pity Turns you into a complainer
  • Self pity is like quicksand – the more you wallow in it the more you sink
  • Self Pity is a a means of punishing one’s self out of shame or guilt (example: I’m so stupid, ugly, etc.; I’ll never be…)
  • Self Pity is a misguided attempt to seek emotional intimacy with others by evoking their feelings of compassion
  • Self Pity will diminish your understanding of how God sees you – even to the point where you will openly scoff at the idea that you are loved and valued by GoD
  • Self Pity will cause you to become incredibly self centred
  • Self Pity is an all consuming monster that will destroy everything in your life except itself.

And in fact it feeds on the destruction that it causes and get stronger each time until only itself is left.

The ultimate expression of self pity is suicide

6. Live with a quality I call “unwarranted optimism: – No Christian can be a pessimist, for Christianity is a system of radical optimism.

Optimism is an underrated and underused characteristic that you can build into your life as a statement that Christ has made a difference in your life. You have much to be optimistic about.

Optimism is like a stimulus package for the soul.

Phil 4:8

Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

8-9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Here are a couple of quotes on being optimistic:-

  • “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Anon
  • “If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” Anon
  • If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.Chinese Proverb: Optimism Quote
  • Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A “you can do it” when things are tough.
    Richard M. DeVos
  • I don’t think you lead by pessimism and cynicism. I think you lead by optimism and enthusiasm and energy.
    Patricia Ireland
  • The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Characteristics of Biblical Optimism

1) Biblical Optimism knows God’s attitude towards His people

Jerm. 29:11 is my favorite Bible verse. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope

Rom 8:31-39 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

2) Biblical Optimism expects God’s help in the present

Paul is in a shipwreck and its all looking bad – but Paul – has a word from the Lord that all will work out ok. We need to have that level of trust in the goodness of God.

3) Biblical Optimism is unmoved by the externals

In 2 Corinthians Paul talked about some of the hardships he had experienced.

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor 4:16-18

7) A sense of personal responsibility for the general outcome of your efforts.

You are responsible

Stop Waiting

Stop Coming up with excuses

Lose the victim Mentality

Make it happen.

When you see yourself as a victim you feel that life hasn’t treated you fairly. Victim mentality is a tendency to blame external or uncontrollable factors, instead of focusing on internal or controllable factors for things that go wrong. A victim mentality is the one where you blame everyone else for what happens in your life. When you blame external or uncontrollable factors, you put yourself in a mindset that there is nothing you can do to eliminate or solve theproblem.  A person with a victim mentality thinks that the future only holds bad things for him or her, which stops him from finding solution to his problems

Are you taking responsibility for your life and circumstances or are you playing the role of a victim? The motto of the victim-mentality mindset? It’s not my fault! Nothing positive or productive comes out of that attitude. World Changers take responsibility.

8) A feeling of special responsibility for envisioning a future that’s different from a straight-line projection of the present. Trends are not destiny.

8.1 In other words – have the attitude that you can change the future of the world.

Acts 17:1-6

6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.

Love that….those who have turned the world upside down…..let’s have the attitude that we can turn the world upside down.

8.2 Have the attitude that the past does not determine the future.

If we don’t this attitude then we are saying we are just victims and our future is already written.

 

 

I hope this has inspired you. Go and change your world.

Peter Pilt.



Categories: Sermon Notes, Theology, Wisdom for life

Tags: , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Hi from Hierapolis…just saw the burial place of St Philip, said to have been crucified upside down. Glad you wish to take action to change the world….you may be interested in this video http://www.mrctv.org/sites/default/files/embedcache/127748.html

    ruth x

  2. Great stuff Peter. In there with it all.

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