Joy Celebrates (22/12/01)
By Robert Anthony
I am proud of so many
things in this ministry, not the least my family. All five of
my children are in a ministry of this church, one way or another.
It's fantastic. None of them have been rebellious. And they're
all testimonies to a Christian family and a Christian church.
My only son, Robert, has completed all of his college work with
his undergraduate degree, his theological credentials and has
been honored in the honorary doctorate. And so the Rev. Dr. Robert
Schuller the 2nd and I are doing a series of four sermons this
Christmas season. He's doing the first 2. I'll do the last 2.
So last week he gave us a great message on "Hope Illuminates."
Today, "Joy Celebrates." Next week I'll speak on "Love Radiates."
And the following week, "Faith Penetrates." Now welcome, now welcome
the Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller the 2nd. Here he is. Thank you, Robert.
Thank you, dad.
I have four children
and I continually learn new things from them. One of the things
that I learned from them recently was a word. The word was want
to be. A want to be. I said, well what's a want to be? Well, the
word comes up every once in awhile, different ways. Like I said,
well how did you like that music? He said, O that's a Whintley
Phipps want to be. And they use it for people who don't want to
really be themselves. Recently my daughter used the word in an
interesting way. We came, we just celebrated Thanksgiving and
we left the house of my parents, and she sat in the back seat
and said, you know, Thanksgiving is a want to be Christmas. And
she wasn't putting Thanksgiving down, what she was doing is putting
Christmas up. Because there isn't a holiday on planet earth that
compares with Christmas. Christmas is the holidays of all holidays.
It is the incarnation of God Himself into human flesh. It is the
beginning of the most glorious news that the world has ever heard.
And this morning we're going to talk about joy celebrates. Giving
a gift worth giving. Give the gift of joy. And when you experience
the joy of celebrating and giving joy, I think we see it given
so well by the angels in Luke 2. The angel came to the shepherd's
and they said to the shepherds, I bring you good news of great
joy, which will be to all people. For today in the city of David
is born to you, Jesus, the Messiah. The greatest joy that you
can give, and one of the greatest gifts you can give is joy, is
by giving good news. And yet there isn't enough of it going around
today. It's hard to find good news, isn't it? It's hard to hear
good news. But the truth of the matter is there is good news in
Yesterday my son and
I missed a flight in an airplane. Ever done that? That is really
a pain in the neck. Well, the next flight out was going to leave
in 4 hours. Thank you very much. That's a lot of fun. Sitting
in an airport for 4 hours. So we decided that what we would do,
instead of sitting in the airport we'd go out and find something
fun to do. So we went out and we took a little walk. We found
a nice restaurant and we had a great lunch. We had a great time.
And afterwards we came back and we hopped on the plane and we
took the negative and we turned it into a positive. And there
is no such thing as bad news unless you make it bad news. And
what we have to do is see the good news in everything. But it
only happens when you look for it. Look for good news and you
will find it.
My father and I have
a pastime that we have participated in for many years. He started
fishing as a young boy in the Floyd River and they would catch
blue, not blue gills, they would catch bullheads. Now bullheads
is a little tiny catfish that are about a quarter pound. And occasionally
they'd get really lucky and they'd catch a card that would be
two or three pounds. And that was the extent of his fishing in
the Floyd River. When he moved out to California he found out
there was a bigger river than the Floyd River. It was called the
Pacific Ocean. Now that's a big river. And that has some big fish
in it. And so he started fishing there and he taught me how to
fish and we have enjoyed fishing together ever since. I've taught
my son how to fish and so fishing has become a part of our life.
We love it very much. Well one of the things we do when we go
fishing, is we go out in the ocean and I don't know if you realize
this but there's a lot of water out there. That ocean is big.
So when we go fishing, we spend most of our time looking for fish.
And that's what we do. We go out there and we start looking.
You know the Bible
tells us that the shepherds were a watch. They were watching their
sheep. I don't think they were looking, to be quite honest, I
don't think they were looking for the pronouncement of the angels.
I have good news for you today! They weren't expecting that. Well
when the angel appeared they were full of fear. And the angels
said do not be afraid for I bring you good news! Well that's the
good news of Christmas. That we can see the good news in every
situation. That if we quit living in fear and start living with
the good news that God is blessing us, we will start to experience
and find what we're looking for. In order for us to give good
news first you have to look for it. Secondly you have to listen
to good news.
That's why this Hour
of Power is so important to people. It changes people's lives.
Over and over again we get letters from people. I got this letter
recently. It was someone wrote our ministry. It said: Thank you
for all your prayers in behalf of my family. Your love for others
has, with God's help, given me a new lease on life. I was someone
who thought he had it altogether. I prayed and I watched you on
television. But I was lost. God spoke to me in a way that I cannot
explain. He showed me that just hearing and being an armchair
Christian isn't the same as getting up and getting into the game,
so to speak. Now I go to church every week and tape your program
to watch. Since I went from being a possibility watcher to a possibility
commuter, things have come together for me. Thank you, Jesus.
And thank you Dr. Schuller.
This ministry, this
Hour of Power is here to encourage people and to share the good
news and to let people know that there is something positive in
every situation. But we have to listen to good news. When I fish,
we're looking for these fish, we're motoring through the waters,
we travel at about 10 to 12 miles an hour. And we troll fishing
lines. We have 4 rods holding in the back of the boat by rod holders.
And we drag these jigs that are about this long behind the boat,
in hopes that a fish might come along and grab one. And there
is a clicker on the fishing reel and you'll hear this clicker
go... And depending upon how big the fish is will determine how
long you listen to that thing click. And the faster the fish is,
the louder the click is and the faster it is and so you are...so,
while we were looking for fish, we are keeping our ears open.
And we are listening for good news. Good news. We're listening.
Now those clickers can be turned off. And you want to turn them
off when you're reeling the fish in because they become very annoying.
But the problem with turning them off, is that once in a while
you forget to turn them on, and that's a problem. I've had it
happen before. Well, we've been motoring all over the place looking
for fish and all of a sudden we go down to the stern where all
of our fishing rods are set up only to find a fishing rod with
no line on it. Nothing. A big fish came along, ate the jig, swam
away, took all of the line off the reel, busted the line and everything
is gone. Why? I never heard the good news. I never heard the clicker.
No one realized there was a fish on, and we lost the opportunity.
How many times do we hear good news and we don't even realize
it's good news? How many times do we hear the message and we just
don't hear it? When we listen to the words, the words that the
angels came bringing good news. Our souls are nourished. Our hearts
are strengthened. Our minds are illuminated and joy is celebrated.
How do we share good news? How do we allow the joy that celebrates,
to ring true in our lives? First we have to look for the good
news. Second of all we have to listen to good news. Thirdly we
have to follow the good news. Think about what would have happened
if the shepherds, hearing the angles, seen the proclamation, given
the declaration to go out and to go see this Christ child. What
would happen if they had never gone if they'd simply stayed behind?
Once in a while when we fish we catch a big one. And when we catch
a big fish we have to follow the fish. The boat literally has
to follow the fish with the fishermen holding onto the line, fighting
the fish. Because the fish are so big that if the boat just stands
still he will just swim away pulling 50 pounds worth of line,
400 yards worth of line, he'll pull it all off and everything
will be gone. So what happens is we have to literally follow the
fish until it gets tired and it finally comes up to the surface.
And only then can we let him, just what we usually do. When you
hear the good news, when you find the good news, you have to follow
the good news. You have to allow it to take place and to take
shape and to mold you and you have to do what it tells you to
A husband was talking
to his wife, because she was complaining about his behavior. And
he said, you know, why do you keep talking about my past mistakes?
After all you told me that you've forgotten and forgiven my past
mistakes. And she turned to him, well, I have forgiven and I have
forgotten, but I want to make sure that you don't forget that
I have forgiven and forgotten. When we say something, when we
hear the good news, we have to follow it up. We have to make sure
that it's...that the instructions are followed, that like the
shepherds who came to see the baby Jesus, that we too follow the
instructions of good news.
And finally if we want
to celebrate the joy of living and give a gift worth giving, we
have to declare the good news. How did Whintley Phipps say it?
Go tell...I can't get that low. Sorry. Go tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is Lord. When we fish tournaments, which is
very common. What happens in a tournament is when you catch a
fish you have to get on the radio, there is a VHF radio so all
the boats can hear each other and communicate. And when you catch
a fish you have to get on the radio and say we have a fish and
we're fighting this fish and then give the lats and longs, the
latitudinal and longitudinal lines of where you're located and
what time the fish was caught and who the angler is. And then
once the fish is tagged and released then you have to get back
on the radio and make the declaration that you caught the fish.
Well, what we used
to do is, the name of our boat was "Be Happy." So when we would
catch a fish the first thing we'd do is turn the tape player on
and then we'd stick the microphone in the tape player and over
the microphone and over the radio so all the other boats in the
tournament could hear, would be the song, "Don't worry. Be happy."
Da da da da. It was great. And then after the song did the couple
of jingles. We'd go this is Be Happy, we're reporting a tag and
release on 20 pound test for blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And
we would declare to everybody, that we tagged and released a fish.
Joy celebrates when we share the good news by looking for the
good news, listening to the good news, following the good news
and declaring the good news. The shepherds declared what they
had seen. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds
said to them. And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising
God for all the things which they had heard and seen which were
just as it had been told them. They declared that good news. Get
out on the mountaintops and even if you can't sing like Whintley
Phipps, you can still share the message. Go tell it on the mountains.
What? That Jesus Christ is born. That's the Christmas message.
That's joy that celebrates. That's a gift worth giving. Go tell
it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.
Dear Heavenly Father,
we thank you. That today we are celebrating the joy of the proclamation
of angels. That today is born in the city of David a Savior, who
is Christ the Lord. And we thank You Lord for this most precious
gift of all, a joy that celebrates that good news. Now help us
Lord to look, to listen, to follow and to declare that wonderful,
precious gift today. We love You, Lord, and we praise Your name.
And now may the Lord
bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon
you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord grant you His peace.
In your lying down and in your rising up, in your labor and in
your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears until you come
to stand before Jesus in that day in which there is no sunset
and no dawning. Amen.