POSITIVE WRITTEN SERMON – Your Life Could Be A Lasting Gift to Our World

POSITIVE WRITTEN SERMON - Your Life Could Be A Lasting Gift to Our World

Your Life Could Be A Lasting Gift to Our World

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This entire life experience is about influence. It is about what we can do with the power that has been given to us. This lesson shares in a positive way what God is doing in your lives. It is about motivating you to share the specialness that you are when you form a partnership with God and the power of your influence. It is about circles of influence and how we can change ourselves, each other, and in turn, change the world.

Anita Baker once said, “I say if it’s going to be done, let’s do it. Let’s not put it into the hands of fate. Let’s not put it into the hands of someone who doesn’t know me. I know me best. Then I take a breath and go ahead.”

Katherine Dunham said, “I used to want the words ‘She tried’ on my tombstone. Now I want ‘She did it.'”

I read a comic of “Cathy.” Cathy says, “It takes 21 days to embrace a new habit.” Then she thinks. Next, she says, “That is not very much at all! Just 21 days.” In the next frame, she says, “Just 21 days! In the grand scheme of life, what’s 21 days?” In the next frame she says, “It’s 20 days 23 hours, and 59 minutes longer than it takes to get comfortable with a bad habit.”

Perhaps, we do need to form some new habits.

Life is change BUT growth is optional.

We are here, this morning, because some do not want life the way it has been. We want life in higher, richer, and better ways for ourselves and those around us. That is why we are here. We choose growth. We choose to have the best life that we could ever possibly have. We know that, with God, we can do this. We are saying that, with God, we are not afraid of storms, because we are learning to sail our ships. We are saying that we are willing to go out of the harbor and do things that, of ourselves, we did not think we could do.

With God’s help, this morning, we are going to influence ourselves in positive ways, being proactive, and with God’s help, aspiring to leadership – not for power, but so we can spread the essence of God, wherever we go. We are going to talk about doing the extraordinary, which you know an ordinary person can do, working with God. We are going to talk about remembering those people who have been tremendous influences in our lives. That will help us and empower us to do things we did not think we could do.

I say a personal prayer, today, that these words I will say to you begin to make a real difference in your life. I pray that these words are like seeds that are implanted in your mind and begin to grow. I pray that they will have greater power a week from today than it does right now.

There is a rhythm of life. Each one of us has a rhythm inside us. It is a heartbeat, but it is also more. There is a flow of God-life happening, in and through each of you. There is a possibility in you. One life, your one life, has the potential to touch another life, and potentially, both lives are changed. One life touches another life, and potentially, the whole world is changed.

King Duncan, the professional speaker tells a story of an Englishman, John Howard. John Howard was born in 1899 and he was living in South Africa during the Boer wars.

At that time, in 1899, in South Africa, there was an English journalist who had escaped from a Boer POW camp. He had made his way to many houses and no one would let him in. They said, “Go back. We don’t want to get into any trouble. Go back to the POW camp. Even though you may not survive, go back, because we don’t want to get involved.” The exception to these people was John Howard. John Howard took in this English journalist and nursed him back to health. When the journalist was in the POW camp, rats had gnawed on his arms and his legs. John Howard nursed the journalist back to health, and it was not easy.

For two weeks, he protected the journalist and hid him in the basement of his home. Then, when the journalist had his health back, he was able to escape back to England. He wrote a news story that was so gripping, so captivating, that newspapers around the world carried the story. His newfound fame propelled the journalist to the center stage of world politics. His name was Winston Churchill.

Imagine, for a moment, that John Howard had not been there to rescue Winston Churchill. Imagine, for a moment, that Churchill had not been there to rally the British people during the Second World War. Imagine that Hitler had not been defeated. Imagine, therefore, that you and I are speaking German here, today. The point is this: One man changed the world. Yes, Winston Churchill – but really, John Howard, because without his acts of courage, the world would never have heard of Winston Churchill.

There was a letter in “Psychology Today” magazine by Dr. Robert Healy. Dr. Healy was writing about one of his patients that had come in for therapy after deciding not to commit suicide. It seems the man was driving, one day, to a bridge in his home town. He had the ultimate aim of committing suicide and ending his life. He stopped for a moment at a traffic light.

He glanced over to the sidewalk, and an elderly lady looked him, right in the eye and smiled at him. He found himself smiling back. He was driving along, after that, and he thought maybe the world was not such a bad place, after all. He thought maybe it was in him – maybe he needed to change. He decided to seek help and to seek life, because of that one elderly woman’s smile.

An old woman smiles at a passerby. She doesn’t even know the man, but the implications of that act are enormous. A man has decided to live, and he will go on to touch other people’s lives. Notice that the therapist wrote a letter to a national magazine, and now, you and I know it. I bet the letter and the woman’s actions changes the ways we will treat a passerby, sometime in our lifetime.

If the young man had passed me, would the outcome have been different? Would I have smiled? Would you have smiled? Would the young man be alive?

Perhaps this young man will choose to have a family now. One of his children, his grandchildren, or his great-grandchildren will perform some significant act that we do not even know about. Maybe there will be another Winston Churchill. How do we know? We do not know, but in this rhythm of life, one life touches another life, and the potential is there for both lives to change. One life touches another life, and the potential is there to change the world.

Thank God, we are not in the Cold War, anymore. I want to tell you a story that took place during the Cold War. This story shows the power of influence. During this time of the Cold War, Soviet agents wanted to track the American embassy personnel, so they invented a substance called NPPD.

It was an invisible powder, and the Soviets would spread it on items they were sure the Americans would touch, such as steering wheels and doorknobs. When the Americans touched these things, the NPPD was transferred to their hands. They, in turn, transmitted this NPPD to anything and everybody with whom they came in contact. The Soviets thought that if they found traces of NPPD in the apartments of their own agents, it would be good evidence that the agents had had contact with the Americans and that they might be double agents. NPPD was invisible to the naked eye, but it could be seen under ultraviolet light. NPPD will not come off with washing. Nobody knew how well NPPD would work.

Supposed one of our embassy personnel touched a doorknob or a steering wheel that had NPPD on it and then went to a reception that night. He or she shook hands with several hundred people. The Soviets would end up following all of them. What about the people they touched? The line of NPPD could go on, forever. This is what they discovered. Within a week or so, everybody in the town had NPPD on them and the experiment was not successful.

I want to share with you the law of 250. The average person in a week contacts 250 other people, mostly casual contact and some very intense contact.

Every one of those contacts is fraught with the possibility of a life-changing touch. That is just level one. What about the people they have contact with?

A few years ago, a minister gave a lesson that was similar to this one. There was a mathematics professor, in the audience, who challenged the minister, saying, “It was a good sermon, but there is no way I have contact with 250 people in one week. Of course, I see my students, every day.”

The minister said: “You are a mathematics professor. I am going to give you a counter that the ushers use at the door. For one week, I want you to put it into your pocket, and every time you come in contact with somebody, just push the counter. Don’t count your students or those people you see every day.”

The professor came back, astonished that he had not only 250 contacts, but 518 contacts in a normal week; 518 possibilities to smile at passersby and to make their lives better.

Some of you have seen the motion picture of a few years back, “Six Degrees of Separation.” It is based on the concept that we are separated from any other human being on earth by only five or six degrees of separation or circles of influence.

Stanley A. Milgram wrote an article in the magazine, He did a study called, “The Small World.” He studied networking. He studied all the networks of family, friends, and business associates that we have. He wanted to see, in an experiment, if he could get a letter passed from one randomly selected person in Nebraska to another randomly selected person in Boston. The letter would not be mailed. It would simply be passed from friend to friend. Milgram wanted to see if these kinds of contacts would allow the letter to get through.

He found that it is not only possible, but probable, every time. Usually, it has to go only five or six levels of friendship to get to its destination. Every time, it worked that way. As a matter of fact, it was 5.5 levels of communication.

Here is the bottom line of what this means in our lives. I hope, this morning, in this room, we will decide that we are going to change and to increase the positive influence in the world by one percent. Each of you has 50 friends. Each of those friends has 50 friends. That means, of the original group, you alone have 2500 contacts. They have 50 friends and that means you now have 125,000 contacts. In level four, each of them has 50 friends, and you now have over six million contacts. When you go to level five or six, you are touching every single person on the planet.

What a difference you can make by simply agreeing to allow God to come through you. You say there is going to be some overlap there. Remember, I am just starting with 50 people. Chances are that you are going to know a whole lot more. You can make a bigger difference in the beginning. Then with radio, TV, and the Internet, it would go a lot faster, today, with the technological revolution that we have. I’m mentioning just one generation. What about your children and other people’s children?

There is one place where we can track the influence of generations. That is with religion. Back in 1848, there was a man by the name of Kimball who took an interest in a shoe clerk. Every night, they met and prayed. The shoe clerk was having tremendous problems within his life. But Kimball did not just walk the other way and say, “Oh no, it is not my responsibility. I don’t have time for this. You go somewhere else.” Kimball decided to make a difference. He prayed with the shoe clerk, and the shoe clerk decided, over time, to become a minister.

His name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the biggest evangelist of the day.

Moody held big rallies in cities around the country.

There was a man who came forward and said he wanted to become a minister and to give his life to God. That was Fredrick Meyer. Fredrick Meyer was holding a rally, one day, in a city, and J. Wilber Chatman came to the rally. Chatman went across the country holding rallies, and one day, he held a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. The entire town was on fire with the Spirit of God. Every single citizen was touched. They had weekly meetings in all the churches after that to keep the spirit of the rally alive. They decided to invite another evangelist to the town to hold another big meeting, and his name was Mordecai Ham. When he held the meeting, there was a young man who came forward and said, “In all sincerity inside my heart, I want to give my life to God.” That was Billy Graham.

Billy Graham talked to a worldwide audience, but he is simply the transmitter of the NPPD of the influence of Kimball, who, in 1848, had concern for a shoe clerk.

One life – and what a difference that one life can make. I am very aware that what Jesus said is true.

The real difference I will make in this world is through you and through your children. This will be where the magic comes. It probably is not going to be by a minister who stands up here behind this lectern. It is going to be by one of you. You are going to be the person who changes the world. Maybe it will be just helping a shoe clerk and the shoe clerk changes the world; but one of you is going to do something so big; and some of you will do something so big, you will have no idea. Kimball never knew. But who cares, as long as you can be a part of it; a part of something bigger than yourself.

First, with God’s help, I pray that you are a major influence upon yourself. We want to influence others, but first we have to influence ourselves. That is a big responsibility, and there are many choices to make in a given day. Casey Stengel once was helping Billy Martin, giving advice on managing a team. “On any team, there are 15 players who will run through a wall for you. But five will hate your guts. Five will be undecided, and five will love you. The secret is, when you are on the road, never room a good guy with a loser. The loser will blame the manager for everything, but it won’t spread if you keep them isolated.”

I ask you, are you isolating yourself from thoughts that are not true about your potential? Are you isolating yourself from people who are telling you things that are not true about your potential? What kinds of thoughts and people are you around? Are you around people who motivate you and get you excited about life? Or, are you around people who say, “Don’t work that hard. You won’t amount to anything, anyway. After all, you are just getting paid by the hour.” Or, are you around people who tell you that, with God, you can go all the way to provide humanity with lasting success?”

Second, with God’s help, be proactive. Decide to make a deliberate change in this world. It is as simple as deciding to make the change to be a positive influence every moment of every day. It begins with the smile of the old woman on the bridge, or your smile at the next person with whom you make eye contact.

Third, with God’s courage, aspire to leadership. Leaders can touch more people and have more influence, but do not do it for the power trip. We are talking about a God trip, here – what God can do through you. You are not doing it for you. You are doing it for God. You can do things you thought you could never do, if you think it is for God and it is God’s dream.

Fourth, as you work with God, know the truth about what the Bible tells about you. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Fifth, celebrate the people in your life who have influenced you. This will give you great courage and a foundation for all your actions. When you remember, you are more inclined to go the extra mile to influence others, and thank God for the lights of the past now lighting your path to the future.

Alex Haley once thought back on the influences in his life. He had an uncle who gave him a slice of a tree when he was 12 years old. The tree had been cut down, sliced, and varnished. That brought out all of the rings in the tree’s growth. But Alex Haley’s uncle put more than just varnish on it. He labeled the ring that happened in 1863, “The Emancipation Proclamation.” He put a mark by the ring when his grandmother was born, and then marks for all the rest of the family’s births. All of his life, Alex looked at this, above his desk. It motivated him to write the book, “Roots.” This book motivated many others to look at their own family histories. I hope it motivates you, today, to look back on those positive influences.

I have a question for you. Did one small black woman in the South bring down international communism? I say yes. Here is the proof. Boris Yeltsin was once asked what gave him the courage to stand on top of a tank in Red Square and overthrow Gorbachev. What was it, they asked, that gave you such tremendous willpower to do this when an ordinary human being could not do it? Yeltsin said it was reading about Lech Walesa, the ordinary electrician in Poland, who helped overthrow communism in that country.

Someone went to Lech Walesa and said, “What, exactly, was the pivotal event that caused you to do what you did?” He said it was reading about what Martin Luther King did in this country. Someone, years ago, went to Martin Luther King and asked him what gave him such courage to stand up against the entire world. Dr. King said that every time he gets afraid, he thinks about the one small black woman in the South by the name of Rosa Parks – the small black woman who refused to go to the back of the bus. Perhaps, by that action, this one woman changed the world.

Follow Jesus Christ by making a positive difference in this world, one person at a time.

I pray, this morning, that you do the same whether you realize it or not.

I pray you become a positive influence in your world.

Let us pray.

I, now, in this sanctuary, open my human mind to the perfection and goodness of God. I open my awareness to the riches of the kingdom within me, right now. May I feel the full impact of God’s ever-loving presence and power. May I become aware of what has already been prepared for me. I now view my innate potential and unlimited possibility in a new way. The kingdom of God is awaiting my recognition. I agree, this morning, to recognize it. I am ready to accept it.

I change my inner perception and the outer reveals a beauty that has so long been obstructed by my own attitude. I concentrate on my inner vision, and I find my outer view transformed. My outer actions are transmuted. I find myself attuned to the grandeur of life, and I inject myself into it.

I am determined to be a positive influence in my world. I work in unison with God. I recognize my oneness with God, and all things in the outer are suddenly made new. I am a positive God-filled influence, wherever I go, beginning right now.

This covenant, between you and God, and between me and God, is made this day. There will not be one person who passes by me that I do not at least think a good thought about and send that blessing forth, mind-to-mind.

Whenever possible, I will shine forth the reflection in my face. Whenever possible, I will touch with the touch of God. Whenever possible, I will take the extra time to devote my energy, which is God’s energy coming through me, to give it to another person who may change the world. Thank you, God, for the privilege and opportunity for doing this.

In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.

God bless you!

PRAYER / MEDITATION____________________

Listen to the sound of your breath. You hear the breath of life, and you feel the breath of God’s Spirit. Sense the presence of God with you. The energy of God’s Spirit now nurtures and strengthens you.

Listen in the silence of prayer …

Feel the love of your heart, and know that you are in the heart of God and loved. Experience centeredness, and feel immersed in the activity and life of God. You live in the midst of God, and good appears in every desirable form.

You acknowledge the importance of God in your life. You acknowledge the importance of others in your life. You honor the truth that we have a spiritual heritage and a brotherhood and sisterhood with all people.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

We are spirits of integrity, expressing through form and action. We are learning to know ourselves and others. We are growing in wisdom and honor.

Dear God, now that I am in touch with everything good within myself, I am able to honor it in others. I rejoice in the unity of our common family of humankind. We are enriched by each other. Life experiences are small parts of a larger pattern. Like petals on a flower, they contribute to a greater design. Life is a many-petaled flower.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

God’s energy and God’s power nurture life. It moves beyond any barriers. It rises to new heights as it opens to the warmth of God’s sunlight. You declare that your life is now a partnership with God. I am a positive influence, a God-filled influence to everyone in my world.

As a flower draws upon the energy and light of God, you draw on the energy and light of God to do what is needful for you to do. A flower and your life have a common purpose. Your life is a many-petaled flower of experiences. Your life is a partnership with God. Your life is the way you worship. You reflect upon its unity, and you praise the empowerment to do what is needful for you to do.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

I decree, in Jesus Christ’s name, that you are a positive, God-filled influence in your world. I pray that everywhere you go, you go with the power of God. Every word you speak is the word of God, and every thought you have in your mind is the Divine idea of God’s action and movement within your human mind. You are a God-filled influence in your world, empowered by God to make a difference.

In this awareness, we say, “Thank You, God.”

Positive affirmation for today: Today I know that I am special and important to God. I am needed by God, and I walk forward with my spirit held high. God ministers through me, and all that I touch are touched by God.

In Jesus Christ’s name … Amen.

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