There has to be a mindset present in each one of us that says that we believe what we are doing. We believe who we are and we believe in what God is doing.
This week in the United States they played the 44th Super Bowl. How many of you know what the Super Bowl is? You know what it is? Yes, you know what it is. Let me ask you this now: How many watched it? Okay, you don't have to stand up and say, my team won, or anything like that. A few did. Now it comes on Monday morning here if you watch it live. It is all on Sunday in the United States of course and it is the most watched event on television. Did you know that? I thought I would tell you that. It is one of those things you need to walk away from when you leave today. Now as I said, most of us who aren't sports enthusiasts probably won't care. It is American football but there is a story in this that I really need to tell you about.
Now the New Orleans Saints was the team that won the Super Bowl. As I said, this is a big thing in the US and you can learn a lot by studying a sports team because they try to achieve in a season what some people try to achieve in a life time. So it is all rather quite compact, is it not, so you can see or analyze a little better what they did during, let's say, one year. It is rather easy to do that and people have written quite a bit about these sort of things.
So, what they did to win this season is worth looking at. Now I want to do that but there is a little bit more to the story than this. I have said this: My wife can verify this. I have said for years that any team coming from New Orleans will be a losing team. They will never be a winner. Now I should know. I came from there. I am not going to make anything out of that part of it. The reason is that there is a mindset that prevails the whole area. They are big on sports but when it comes to having a winning attitude it is simply not there.
As I said, I came from there and when I left I said I will never go back, that is to live. I do go back to visit, of course. I simply couldn't handle the attitude, the talk, the frame of mind, especially about sports for instance and knowing that the people themselves could not sustain a positive or a believing attitude in the whole area. It was a self satisfied; it was a complacent approach. As a matter of fact they even called the city: The big easy. That's the name they gave it. They are in to their music; they are in to their drink; they are in to their good times; they are in to their parties; the French Quarter in Bourbon street. They just have a good time, you know. They don't care and anything goes.
I believe there was an attitude there that would not let them go beyond a certain point and I saw this for year after year, decade after decade – the loosing teams. They were not going to get themselves together and I think the area influenced the team. Now as I said, I came from there and I said I would not go back and for decades I predicted the city of New Orleans would never have a winning team and for years, decades, I was right.
Now I don't know if Hurricane Katrina had anything to do with it but after that disaster a lot of people simply didn't go back. They knew that there was nothing there for them and when they were moved out and the aid agencies found them other homes in other places of the county, they stayed there. I know people who actually did this. They moved out; they said: I am never going back. Never to return so they made their home somewhere else. There seemed to be no desire in the part of the people to go, who were left, to go back. Now the city was rebuilt where it could be. Lots of it wasn't. Still to this day it is still desolate. Parcels of land, lots, homes, (if their homes are still there) – they don't even know whom it belonged too. They got killed or they are gone and they say: We don't care. I simply wanted to describe to you a little bit of the kind of a frame of mind that is in the area.
Now that very year something happened: The owner of the team of the New Orleans Saints found a coach who understood the concept of mindset. That is the title of the sermon today: Mindset. He understood something and he found the quarterback - that is the coach did, after he was hired – a quarterback who would be a team leader and the person who is generally the captain on the field. This particular one that he got was rejected by other teams because of an injury. I heard the interview after the game and he was rehearsing some of the history – that is the quarterback was – and he said: Four years ago coach Payton (that is the guys name) not to be confused to be the quarterback of the opposing team whose first name is Payton, he said coach Payton called him and offered him a job and said to him: If you come and work with me here in New Orleans, we can build the mindset we want together. Now he started out with that. That is what he said.
When I heard they were having such great success during the past season I did some research. I said: I've got to look into this. I can't believe this team has such a good record this year. I did some research and found out that the coach's philosophy in addition to building a mindset, was also to develop an aggressive offense where as other teams would emphasize say both sometimes, or only defence. Some did - noted for their defence. This coach did not and so he knew his quarterback would be critical to the success of the team.
Now it took them three years but they did it. They built the team and there doesn't seem to be a lot of showmanship or hoopla or loudness or hype that tends to go with American sports. As you know they tend to include that sort of thing. These people just get the job done. The key was the mindset and I was certain that it couldn't be done in that town. Well, to my delight I was proved wrong. There is nothing better to see a people who were once so down on themselves and just not believing that they could ever have a winning team, so accepting of their fate as they were, somehow rise above it and not just have the talk, not just have the hype, not just have the clichés that go with it all, but they backed it up with hard work for four years and they developed their game. But behind it all was a mindset.
Now, if you are going to be a part of a team or if you had to be a part of that team, you had to know that you would be a winner and that the team itself would be a winner. You would have to have confidence in the plan; you would have to have confidence in the game plan formulated by the coaches along with some of the players and that had to sustain you over four years until it paid off. If you couldn't have that attitude you could not be on the team.
A mindset is something that is so important. I was impressed with how they started and what they did and how they started from the beginning with the mindset. Now when I say mindset, what do we mean? Now whether you know it or not, I have not used this term, but personally I have spoken on the idea of mindset for years. It's been kind of a part of every message almost. Some almost exclusively but I have never used that particular term and I want to revisit this today in a different way than I have ever done before.
A mindset is a general, well, how can I put it: It refers to a set of assumptions or a set of methods that goes along with the assumptions or notations held by one or more people, or groups of people, which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or except prior behaviours, choices, methods or tools. What he is really saying is: A mindset is something that a person is in that will not let them go beyond where they are today. They are in a certain mindset.
Now it's often difficult to counteract the effects of, let's say, mental inertia or mindset that people have, groups of people, entire organisations for that matter, in the decision making processes. It is quite extraordinary what really happens and there have studies that have been done on this and of course it doesn't – there is no way that I can do it today. I simply today, however, want to show you this in the Bible. Mindset will keep you exactly where you are because your mindset got you exactly where you are now and it is something that is generally not recognized by most people but you live, everyone of us, live with certain assumptions, certain beliefs and it is very difficult for us to move beyond because we are so sure of those beliefs since they have been with us all our lives, and are the ones by which we should live and operate by.
If you are going to come in contact with God, if you are going to ever be a part of what God is doing, if you are going to be a part of God's Church, and there is such a thing, then you cannot stay in the same mindset that you were in before. People will say, Yes, I can. I say, No, you can't. It is impossible. It all began with this particular team, the New Orleans Saints. My wife insists that there is something significant about the term "Saints". She says: I am sure it has something to do with that name. That is important for us to consider. I say, okay, it all sort of ties in.
I simply want to say this: It did begin with one man. It began with the coach. He had to have this; he had to be clear in his mind; he had to see the distinction; he had to see how it differed from what other teams had. That's the only way you are going to win the Super Bowl. That is the only way you are going to win a long season of playing game after game after game. You have to have a mindset. It is got to be different from whatanybody had before and it has to be able to sustain you through a very, very difficult and hard fought season. But it began with one man and then it had to spread to others.
So what has that got to do with us? There has to be a mindset present in each one of us that says that we believe what we are doing. We believe who we are and we believe in what the great Coach is doing. Anything less than that, you might find yourself not being on the team one day. Has that happened? Sure has. How long have some of you been around? Some of you have been for quite a long time and you've seen people come and go. As a matter of fact when people begin to doubt and lose confidence and faith in the great Coach who made certain statements about what He was doing and what He said He was going to do and then you, you begin to doubt that or you begin to criticize it or you begin to find fault with it in some way or whatever it is that causes you to lose heart, you find those people were not a part of the team any longer. I am being frank about this. This is basically what it is.
Now if I was a coach of a sports team and I said: Here's who we are; here is what we believe; here is our standard; here is how we should see and understand things. If you don't have this you may as well find another team to play for. Now, that's all done in a period of one season, maybe two seasons. It becomes apparent that a particular player is not that interested and he shows it in his attitude; he shows it in his mindset. It doesn't change. It doesn't conform to the one that is being introduced to the team that the coach is asking the team to adopt. So then they are traded, that is it. They are gone. They find another team or maybe they are out of the game all together.
Now if you are going to be a winner, let me just say you are also going to have an aggressive offense just like this coach developed. If you believe that it will work you have to believe in the plan and you are not going to play defence and win, not in the game that we are in, and still survive and still be here and still be around. Let's see if we can find this from the Bible.
Matthew 4:13 Matthew 4:13And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelled in Capernaum, which is on the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
American King James Version×The more I began to think about this subject, the more I understood it as I have striven to understand this to start with because I believe that persons frame of mind is everything. Don't walk away from me on this deal. It is everything and I think I can demonstrate this to you after a while especially from those people who studied into the subject. There has been quite a bit that has been written about the subject if you ever want to do some research on it.
Matthew 4:13 Matthew 4:13And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelled in Capernaum, which is on the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
American King James Version×And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,
V14 – that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
V.15 – "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:
V.16 – The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned."
This is, I think, this is fascinating here. Jesus decided to live in Capernaum. He was from Nazareth, just not too far down the road as we would say, and He makes His home in Capernaum. Now things changed. Jesus Christ, Jesus the Messiah, moved into Capernaum, bought a house and dwelt there. Things began to change in the region and this is a prophecy of what happened in that area of Galilee and what would happen. Oh, He was to go to Jerusalem on a couple of occasions, several occasions, but we find that most of what happened - the disciples who were called as we are going to see in a moment, came from where? They came from right out of Galilee and the people who followed Him were right out of Galilee. This is where a lot of it took place.
V.17 – From that time – that is the time that He had left Nazareth; He moved to Capernaum – From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Let's notice what else took place.
V.18 – And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
V.19 – Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
V.20 – They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
V.21 – Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,
V.22 – and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
V.23 – And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, - just as we read a moment ago – and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
V.24 – Then His fame went throughout all Syria; - that is the Syria as we understand it more today not as it was back then in ancient Israel prior to this – and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
V.25 – Great multitudes followed Him – from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan..
Now when Jesus landed in the area He set up His home; He began to preach. He wasn't a carpenter anymore when He left Nazareth. He began to preach the good news about the kingdom of God and when He did it was electrifying. He showed the people who lived in darkness that they didn't have to live in darkness. There is something more. He gave them something to hope for and something to believe in. They had heard about the kingdom of God and no matter that they didn't understand everything about it, in fact, they had some misconceptions about it. They thought it was going to be a physical kingdom that would rule over other nations.
They could see that this person is in fact, or could be, could very well be the Messiah. He would be the One who would establish God's rule starting in Jerusalem and just like they had always believed from their own prophecies, because they grew up with these prophecies, they were looking for someone to come along in the midst of their subjection to the Romans, in the midst of their captivity as it were even in their own land, who would come to the very place where God said He would always come, to Zion, to Jerusalem and there He would then establish His rule and His kingdom and His people would eventually be rescued. The prophecies talked about this: that the people who are in captivity, the people, are going to be rescued. The people are going to come in under the kingdom of their Messiah. Their Messiah would then come to them. That is a part of their prophecies.
A bit of a problem here - It wasn't quite going to be in exactly that way. Oh, it is going to happen alright but that is still yet in to the future when Jesus Christ will return. This is how they understood it to start with and it was all going, from what they understood and from what they saw, it was all going to start in Galilee where they were and where Jesus of Nazareth was, where He lived. Here is where it was going to be and so His fame - about what? Well, who He could be, who He could possibly be, the One we are looking for, is actually here now - The Messiah. And it did start there.
Things began to change and people began to have hope and they began to see a light whereas they were in darkness before and they were held in that. They couldn't break out of that. They couldn't see beyond where they were. Nobody had come; nobody had shown them. They may have talked about it; they've had discussions about it around their studies, their tables, their homes, their Synagogues. Oh yes, the Messiah was going to come. Some where, some how, perhaps it would be soon. Even according to the prophecies of Daniel, if you do the numbers, it could be any time. They were looking for something. As a matter of fact, according to the count, Daniel chapter 9 for instance, as they even understood it then, it should have happened about thirty years ago. Hmmm. I wonder what happened.
All of a sudden there Jesus of Nazareth shows us and there He is. He is on the scene. It is very interesting what happened here. The people there were not very remarkable. They were not even very talented. As a matter of fact they were looked down upon by the educated of Jerusalem. This wasn't Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the capital. This is where it should be happening but here it was in Galilee where He has now His greatest following. It was Galilee that produced His disciples, ordinary people who lived ordinary lives but something happened. They did believe and that is what it takes.
See, they knew Jesus. They had to understand Him to some extent. They had heard Him. There were probably private conversations. There is even a certain relation, I am talking about blood relation, between Jesus' family and some of the other ones that were there and they knew each other. It wasn't that He just sort of walks up and didn't know them at all, and calls them off the boats and says: Come, follow Me. That's not what was happening. What was happening was the fact that there had already been discussions taking place and He was doing things and there came a time, He says, let's go. You want to be on the team or not? You want to be there? You can be on the team and if you are then now, now is the time, and they walked away. Leave the boats; leave their fathers; leave the servants in there. They said: Hey, where are you guys going? They say: Well, this is it, Dad. This is what we had been talking about all along. It is now happening. They had to have a certain belief. A mindset had to come about; they had to change things in their lives.
Now, these were ordinary people who lived ordinary lives but they believed and in everything He did, Jesus was creating a mindset. There had to be a mindset in His disciples at least, the minimal, the beginning of a mindset for them to join Him and that mindset had to be something they had if they were going to continue. Here was a person who it seems, had a game plan. That game plan developed in their minds as they went along but it all began with their Coach: Their Leader, their Mentor, Jesus the Messiah.
Now a lot of the people who followed Him didn't stay with Him but the original twelve did and they were eventually weaned off the idea of a kingdom being established now and were able to accept the reality of the kingdom, that is a kingdom that would come later; a kingdom that they had to do something to become a part of; a kingdom that they would have to yet enter into at some point in the future. They began to understand this. It didn't come all at once because they had certain expectations of the way things would be. They knew somehow they had to enter the kingdom of God as Jesus kept talking about that but they had to begin to so order their life by the reality of the kingdom of God. A message that was now being preached in such a way that here were people who were ready to walk away from everything and follow that.
I want to go over to Matthew 16:13 Matthew 16:13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
American King James Version×where He begins to reveal another part of the game plan.
Matthew 16:13 Matthew 16:13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
American King James Version×When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
V.14 – So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
V.15 – He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
V.16 – Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Now people may not know that. Well see, they are not on the team. He asked the question of those members of His team, He says: Who do you say I am? You need to know and you can never doubt this. You got to have that firmly in your mind and you can never forget this. So He is asking them this. He said "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." He wanted them to establish that; He wanted to establish that first in their thinking – not that it wasn't already there, it was there. Peter had said on another occasion, I don't know if it was before this or after this in John 6 when they wanted to make Him a king and of course He refused that and they, a lot of people left at that time - John 6. And He looked at His disciples: You want to go away too? And Peter again was forthright in coming forth with the answer and said: Where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. He knew that. That was something he knew.
There was something special going on here and these people began to see that and things began to change in their lives. They began to see life in a different way; they began to see their future in a different way; they began to see themselves in a different way; they began to see others in a different way. That is all part of mindset as to what you do. They began to see what the possibilities were; they began to see the future; they began to have some comprehension of this and it began to grow and develop, perhaps from the vaguest seed and idea and perhaps even some wrong ideas. They began to grow and develop anyway. Now He is about to tell them something else.
Matthew 16:17 Matthew 16:17And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×– Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
He said: Do you realize how special you are to know this, to have this very firm belief? You understand it; you comprehend where this actually came from; you grasp this. Then He went on to say:
V.18 - "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
What is He telling him? He says, you know, you, you are very special because of what you know because now you begin to see that. Things would never be the same for these people because they were breaking out of an established mindset that had so dictated their life, so held them to a place of darkness as the Bible said, and they were there.
Now He comes along and says, do you really understand what is happening here? He really wanted them to get the point and He started telling them about the kingdom of God and then He brings up this thing about: I will build My Church. So now is the time He's got to tell them this. What is going through their minds? Now He has to add very quickly that the gates of Hades or hell or death will not prevail against it. So He's got to say there is something else that is really happening here fellows, and I really want you to understand this: The kingdom is not going to be established on this earth right now.
Now the Catholic Church says the church is the kingdom. Forget about that. That's their view of it. This is not what He is saying. He is saying the kingdom is going to come later. He gave a number of parables talking about the kingdom is going to come later. Now He says this: I am going to build My Church and this is where we are going but I want you to understand something. The gates of Hell will not prevail against it.
So they had to change something. They had to have enough belief to know that something was going to happen here and that is a church was going to be established. He goes on to say this:
V.19 – "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
What He simply means by that is: I know you expected a certain authority to come about as a result of the kingdom of God, I simply want to tell you: In the Church there is going to be a certain authority and I am going to give you that authority, and that is the authority to carry out the work, to even make some decisions that you might have to make because you have to live here on this earth and you can be a part of that as you are a part of now. I really want you to grasp this and this was very important to Him but they had to believe in that. He goes on to say:
V.21 – From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, - I don't know that He thought they can handle that – and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
V.22 – Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"
V.23 – But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
He says: I've got a plan.
He says: Here is the way it is going to go.
He says: Something is going to happen to Me. Something really bad, something you don't even expect but it doesn't change anything. I want you to grasp this, fellows. It doesn't change anything. It is still going to go on. The plan is still in place. I am the Coach.
Later on He told them several times this was going to happen. He really wanted them to
understand this point. Right toward the end He said: Look, I'll still be with you and there will be something that you'll have to do and the game goes on. This is not even a whole season yet. He said: Didn't you even understand the times of the seasons? It is not for you to know the times and the seasons. Guys, we've got more than one season but we are going to win the Super Bowl every year. If you don't believe that it is going to be kind of hard for you to stay on the team. So He laid out a plan for them that would last for 2,000 years.
We like to play on a winning team or do we think the Church is a loser? This is an important question. Some of us, the way we live our lives, act like the Church is a loser. I am just playing out my time. Maybe I will get traded to another team and some do. Keep the attitude. The coach knows the attitude and they watch them; they watch them all the time. They watch them when they show up in practice. They watch people; how they do; how they participate; are they in it? What's their view of the Church? What's their view of the plan that Christ laid out for them? He is laying out a plan. He laid out a plan for 2,000 years; one that would sustain them for 2,000 years. We are part of the winning team. Anything less than that mindset – you are not worthy of the team. I am glad you are going silent on me on this one because you really need to think about this. If you don't have that belief it is just a matter of time. I am serious when I say that. It really is, because things come and go and things happen. So what do we do? We have a game plan that Jesus laid out. He said: I will build My Church. Yes or no. It happened, right? Okay.
Matthew 28:17-20 Matthew 28:17-20  And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.  Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×Here is what He said: He is not changing the game plan; He says this is what is going to happen.
Matthew 28:17 Matthew 28:17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
American King James Version×When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
V.18 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
V.19 – "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
V.20 – teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; - not some things; and don't change it – and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
And folks it is time to stop the book right there, that's why it says: Amen.
What else are you going to say? Were they winners? I want to tell something: These guys were winners and they were on a team.
Mark 16:15 Mark 16:15And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
American King James Version×Let's notice what He said to them here.
V.15 – And He said to them. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every
V.16 – "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will
V.17 – "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
V.18 – "they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
V.19 – So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
I think that is a good place for the Coach to be. I am really happy about that. He is there, okay.
V.20 – And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs, Amen. Good place to stop in Mark, isn't it?
That's the deal. I would say they had, from the time that they were called from the boats, the fishing boats – He said, I will make you fishers of men and the more they were with Him, and it took them three years, three-and-a-half years, their mindset had changed. Oh, they saw a lot; they experienced a lot; they saw their Coach; they listened to Him again and again; it all came to bear during the Super Bowl, folks. Let's get the point here. It all came to bear during this one time - everything He was trying to tell them. And then they went out and they did exactly what He said.
Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
American King James Version×Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
V.7 – And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
V.8 – "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Sounds like a game plan to me. That is what He is going to do. The coach calls the plays; you have to execute them. They got the point. I'll call the play, guys, not you, but you have to execute them. I would like ask, and I ask myself this, what kind of a team player am I? If I come to church and don't give 100% then, am I on the team? Should I really be here? If I only come part of the time or when I feel like it; sort of when I don't have something better to do, am I on the team? You answer the question yourself.
I know some of you follow rugby-league, or cricket. You don't show up for practice and you don't have a good reason for it, what happens? You are suspended. They are pretty tough, aren't they? That is a season, one season. That is important, important to show up. For what? Practice. What are you doing here? You are practicing, that's it. Sure you are. I don't have to show up for practice. Why? I know as much as the coach or anybody; I know as much as the quarter back; as a matter of fact I ought to be the one to run the team. Come on, take over. Alright, it is up to you folks. I am laying it out. I am asking myself the same questions. I am serious when I say this. If that's the way you are going to do it, Christ is going to have to question your commitment to the team. You might say, Well, I think we have some choices. Start making them if that is the way you feel. Either you are in it or you are not.
I come here and I say to myself, well, I guess I have go see what the team is doing today, and you criticize and you judge other players. If we hold back our talents and efforts; if we show up part of the time; as I said: Players are sacked for that. If you don't show up for practice, you are off the team. If you don't show up for practice because you have something else to do or you partied too much the night before, we tell the story we don't have the mindset to be a part of a successful team. Remember the coach said you must have a mindset here. The mindset is going to expect 100% from each player. If we don't get it we are not going to win the Super Bowl, fellows. That is it. You are not going to win the Super Bowl. If you are not doing what he says you can't do what He says.
Now we have to ask the question: When did we decide the Church was not going to make it? When did you decide that? How long ago? Tell me. That is a very interesting question. When did we decide the Church isn't going to be a winner? Tell me the time when you decided Christ really makes the mistakes in His play book. I think we have to look at a picture here where Christ knows what He is doing. He is the Coach. He calls the plays and you are going to have a tough time building to the winning season but in that time a few players come and go until you get to the Super Bowl. He is going to have His team. It's there.
Matthew 25:24 Matthew 25:24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are an hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strewed:
American King James Version×We've covered this a few weeks ago. This is very interesting. Jesus is explaining how the kingdom of God is.
V.24 – "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
V.25 – 'And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
V.26 – "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant – you arenot on the team anymore. That is basically what he said to him here. 'You wicked and lazy servant – I am not going to ask somebody to be playing for me that way. You knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
V.27 – 'So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
When did we decide it wasn't worth all the trouble? When did we decide that? When did this person decide that he just couldn't do it, it was all too much, when did he decide that? Sometimes the mindset is not revealed until the end as in the case of the servant. I am so inspired, I hope you are too, by what we read – where can we go. It is either Matthew 1 or ……Let's go to Luke 1. It is about when the angel came and appeared to Mary. Matthew 1 is where he appeared to Joseph.
Luke 1:26 Luke 1:26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
American King James Version×I want to read part of this to you. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth.
V.27 – to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
V.28 – And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
V.29 – But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
V.30 – Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.
V.31 – "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
V.32 – "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
V.33 – "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
Sound like a game plan to you? Sounds like a plan. You want to be in it or not? Here is Mary; she just has a question:
V.34 – Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
V.35 – And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. He told her that.
V.36 – "Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age;
and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
Gabriel did the first ultrasound. (Laughter) I thought you would enjoy that one! He knew it was a boy.
V.37 – "For with God nothing will be impossible."
Now you know what he is asking her? He is asking her to believe this. So Mary, you are on the team. You are an integral part of it. You are going to bear a Son and it's going be the Son of God and here is the frame of mind here, here is the mindset: Nothing is impossible with God. Are you in or out on this deal? What is it?
V.38 – Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
That was it. She is in. He goes back to heaven; goes up to the throne; bows down before the throne to the Father and says: She's in. Good. Now you've got a team member.
Let's go back:
V.5 – There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
V.6 – And they were both righteous before God, - good folks – walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
V.7 – But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
V.8 – So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
V.9 – according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
V.10 – And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
V.11 – Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar
V.12 – And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
V.13 – But the angel said to him "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard;
and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
V.14 – "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
V.15 – "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
V.16 – "And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
V.17 – "He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, - right out ofthe book of Malachi – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Fantastic! What a play! Comes straight in from the Coach; brings the play in and says: Here is what is going to happen.
V.18 – And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? - As we are going to see, that isnot the right question to ask – For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." Now he's got to bring his wife into it (laughs) You've figured it out.
V.19 – And the angel answered and said to him, - notice what he said – "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
He says: I am the guy who brings in the plays from the Coach and this is what the Coach said. You don't think I came from there? Okay.
V.20 – "But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."
V.21 – And the people waited for Zacharias, and …. Well, you know the rest of the story.
I thought that was a very interesting thing. Here is the situation here and I want to finish up with Philippians 2 here because there is a mind. There is a mind in Jesus Christ; one might say a mindset, that keeps coming through; that keeps screaming at us from everything you read in the Bible. There is a mindset that says: If you change, if you change your mindset the way you are now, He says things are going to change for you. He said this:
Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
Now, he says "mind" here. It means: This should be your whole thinking; this should be your mindset now and this is what you should change too, to conform to:
V.6 – who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
V.7 – but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
In other words: When Jesus Christ was prepared, when they considered it, whenever that was, and there was never a time that they decided this couldn't be done. Now please think about that. There was never a time in all of pre-history, all of eternity to the past, where they somehow decided this couldn't happen. It was not a part of their mindset. Now God doesn't change. He doesn't have to because He's got the right mindset all along. He is trying to get us to understand what that mindset is and He says, I want you to have the same mindset because you are on a winning team. And that is where He wants you to be.
V.5 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. He said: He is going to give up what He was. It says:
V.8 – And being found …. He became a person, a man. He gave up His privileges. Holding on to what He was, was not something that He was grasping for or He had. He was prepared to go through this. He was prepared, He, as He and the Father had developed this game; this is what they were going to do.
Here is what we will do: He will become a man. He will become him. He will live His life as a human. He will teach and He will set the right example and then He will die for the people there and He will then bring them to Him and He will form them into a team and they will carry out His will. For 2,000 years they will do this. What a wonderful plan. When did we decide this wasn't going to work? They never decided this. They always knew it would.
V.8 – And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
V.9 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
V.10 – that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
V.11 – and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
He knew that when He did this, this would bring everybody to the point where they could then make the choice to come out of darkness and say: This is where I want to be. This is the team I want to be on. Here is where I want to end up and I will change, I will do whatever I have to and everything else will be second, third and fourth place in my life and this will be first. I will put everything that I've got into it. He said: We can create a mindset in the entire team.
Do you know how hard it is to get an organization to change and to change it to a different mind? It is so hard. It really is one of the hardest things you will ever do. It is hard enough for us but to get a whole organization, a whole group of people - So whenever you are looking into what a mindset is, you will find it has to do with group-think.
Now let me just finish up with one thing here. When He called people like Peter, James, John, Andrew His brother, it wasn't talent that He considered. It wasn't intelligence that He considered. He was looking for somebody He could create a mindset in. Now that is another part of the story that I think I will explain to you one day.
Sometimes our childrearing practices are all fouled up and what we are trying to create in our children to try to get them to believe in things, to believe in how smart they are, intelligent they are, and everything else, and talented they are, and that is not what He did. You won't find it in the Bible anywhere. And so we take an I.Q. test – what is your I.Q.? Well, to a person an I.Q. is – that is where I am at. That is where I am at – you can't change I.Q. You know the person who devised the I.Q. test never understood it that way. He was a French man by the name of Alfred Binet, the inventor of the I.Q. test. It wasn't ever meant to summarize a child's unchangeable intelligence.
Intelligence can grow; Smartness can grow; Talents can grow; But do all of this so-called pop-psychology kind of nurturing that comes along now where we just keep on telling them how great they are, how wonderful they are; do you realize what kind of harm you have done to your child? I want you think about that one. It takes some analysis.
God didn't call the smartest, the most educated people. He took the people and He says: We've got a mindset here. When that coach of the New Orleans Saints got a quarterback, he got an injured quarterback that nobody wanted, and he says there is a mindset and he knew this guy was tuned in to that kind of an idea and that is who he got. There is the mindset and it is the whole team then that begins to have the mindset and that was the winner, right there. That was the winner.
There are some things here that are so important to grasp and to understand and I don't have time to do that today but I will tell you this that your view of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. Some people are stuck. When Jesus Christ came and began to preach something else He got them out of that rut and began to show them a whole different way. He showed them that brains and talent won't bring success. He shows how a person that thinks he has brains and talent actually stands in the way of success and how praising a child's brains and talent doesn't foster self-esteem and accomplishment but it jeopardizes it.
Now we have our mindsets. Sometimes they are so fixed that it is hard for us to move beyond that. So the point is and the question is: When He chooses people, does He choose talent; does He choose intelligence? I say, no. He chooses the mindset and that is why I said to you earlier on: It is not only part of it, it is everything. It is everything.
Now we'll continue to talk about some of these things as we go along. I simply wanted to introduce this idea to you today. I hope it is encouraging. To me it is. The more I study the more I look into it, the more I try to understand what God is doing. As I've said I believe I can turn to any part of the Bible I can say: Mindset. It is there. I've got to change my mind. I've got to change the way I think. I've got to change the way I view things. I can't stay where I am at.
Well, it is a starting place. Thanks very much for coming today. We will see you next week.