#13 Strength, Security and Serenity for YOU in 2002! Part III (23/02/02)

The Message

By Dr. Robert A. Schuller

My father this morning was addressing the troops in Germany and earlier in the week, he addressed the troops in Spain. And before the week is over, he will be with the Pontiff and he'll be praying with him and then he'll be here Saturday night, he'll be flying in and he'll be here next Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, we are continuing our series of messages and we're preaching through the Psalms. And this morning I'm going to share with you a message on Psalm 18, it's one of my favorite Psalms and you'll see why very soon when I share with you the first three words. They're words we all need to hear. They're words we all need to say. They're words we all need to express. Psalm 18, it begins, "I love you!" Those are the first three words of Psalm 18. "I love you oh Lord, my strength. The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer. My God is my Rock in whom I take refuge. He is my Shield and the home of my salvation. My stronghold. I call to the Lord who is worthy of praise."

I love you are the three most powerful words we can ever say. They're the words we need to share, the words we need to hear. And this morning, we need to say that because we realize that God is our rock. Twice in those few words David the Psalmist refers to my Lord is my Rock, my God is my Rock. So I think it's very safe to say, "the Lord, my God, is my Rock" are the exact words of the Psalmist. And they're words we need to hear. Because a rock is something that is seen and heard throughout the Bible. In the very beginning when God starts to make Himself known to Abraham, He tells him to use a rock, an unhewn rock, one that is not cut. And that rock then becomes the altar where you will make the sacrifices.

And from there we come to the, to David and we see David, the Lord is my rock, the one I love. And Jesus comes and Jesus says, "I am the Rock." And He tells the parable of the wise men who built his house on the sand and the winds came and the storms blew the house down. And then there was the wise man who built his house on a rock. And the winds came and the storms blew and that house did not move. A rock. It is there that we find our security, our serenity. It is there that we find the peace, the love and the joy of God, in the rock. It is translated in Greek, as petros. That is the Greek word for rock. And Jesus, when Peter recognized who He was, because Jesus addressed Peter and said, "Peter, who do men say that I am?" And the apostle said, "Oh, some think You're Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets." And Jesus looked at the apostles again and He said, "But who do you say that I am?" And with that Peter stood up and he proclaimed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And hearing that, Jesus changed his name from Simon bear Jonah to Peter, "you are Petros," He said. "You are Peter. You are rock and upon this rock I will build my church."

So we see the rock, as a theme which starts in the very beginning of God, with Abraham, to the very present corner today as the foundation of His church, you and I, anyone who calls upon and recognizes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, becomes the rock upon which He builds His church. So this morning my message is an outline, spelled R-O-C-K. Begins with the reality of God. He is real. You know it's very difficult for some people to believe it. It continues from the reality, to the openness, He is open. Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. It is open. It is a choice. He doesn't force anyone. It is a choice and we have the option today to make the choices for good or for ill. It is our choice. And finally it's a knowledge. That we know, we know that we know that we know, that the promises of God are as solid as the rock upon which they are built. It is real.

At the Institute for Successful Church Leadership, Lee Strobel will be here. He's going to be speaking for us. Now Lee Strobel wrote a book entitled, "A Case for Christianity." In his book, he depicts and outlines and asks the question, he was an attorney at the time he started his evaluations. He was an atheist and he decided that he would actually investigate this person named Jesus Christ and decide whether or not He is real. Is it possible? What are the odds? For and against the reality of Jesus Christ and being the person He said He was. And in that book he outlines his case for Christianity and by the conclusion of his investigation, he realized that God is real.

If you want to take more of a scientific viewpoint, looking at mathematics today and understanding the equations and the possibility of an existence of God you can pick up the book by Hugh Ross entitled, "Beyond the Cosmos." There he outlines how quantum mechanics shows that there are more than the 3 or 4 dimensions that we're aware of in life. According of the quantum mechanics there are now 11 different dimensions. Far beyond our wildest comprehension to realize how God works and how He has impact in our lives. So we discover that the Rock is real. That the Rock begins in its reality in a head knowledge. But from a head knowledge it has to move from the head to the heart. It has to move from faith to belief.

Because you know, the people in Congo who are suffering today from these horrible earthquake that's take, or the volcano that's taking place there. They knew that volcano was there the entire time, didn't they? It had erupted numerous times. They were told and they knew, but they didn't believe it. What happens when our faith becomes a belief? We start to take action. We start to realize that it's time to move. It's time to start doing something.

As Earl Woods said, start something, you can make a difference. The Lord my God is my Rock. He is real. He is solid. He is firm. The Lord my God, He is open. He is open for you and for I and anybody who hears His message and His words to come to Him and He will accept them. And he will protect them and give them the security and the love and the promises that they desire and want and need.

Today you're invited to look at the wonder of God. To open up to His reality and His goodness. To see that is possible for us to be accepted into his beautiful love and His beautiful plan. It's kind of like the story that Robert Folgram tells in his book, "Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." In there he tells the story about Hide-and-Seek. How many have ever played Hide-and-Seek? I think just about everybody as a child played Hide-and-Seek. How many played Sardines? I've never heard of Sardines until I read his book. But this is a great game. The next time I'm playing games with kids I think I'm going to play Sardines, it's kind of just the opposite of Hide-and-Seek. Hide-and-Seek one person is it. They go and they count and everybody else hides, right?

Well, in Sardines, the person who's it goes and hides. And everybody else counts. And then everyone goes and looks for this one person and if you're the first one to find him, you know what you do? You don't tag him, you climb in the closet with him, and you sit there and you wait, and then everyone else is looking, pretty soon they find them. And the third person climbs in the closet with them. And the forth person and the fifth person, the sixth person until you've got your can of sardines. Thus the name Sardines. Finally everybody's laughing and giggling and the gig is up. And that's the way it is. That's the way the game is played.

And that's the way God's game is played. Everybody's invited in. It's a game of Sardines, kind of like Hide-and-Seek. Only thing is, "Come on in enjoy the party. Let's have some fun."

The Rock is real. It's open to everybody, because nobody is ever too bad to come in. And nobody is ever too good to stay away. It's open for everybody. Come in. Join the party. Enjoy the fun, the laughter, the joy, the excitement.

Now I read an e-mail recently that my brother-in-law sent me. It's called about Noah's Ark. "Everything I need to know I learned from Noah's Ark."
Number 1: Don't miss the boat.
Number 2: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Number 3: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
Number 4: Stay fit. When you're sixty years old someone may ask you to do something really big.
Number 5: Don't listen to critics. Just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Number 6: Build your future on high ground.
Number 7: For safety sakes travel in pairs.
Number 8: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board the same time as the cheetahs. When you're stressed float awhile.

Remember the ark was built by amateurs. The Titanic by professionals. And ---

Number 11: No matter the storm, when you are with God there's always a rainbow waiting.

Why does God allow all the tragedies in life? Why does God allow people to suffer? Why does He allow hatred? Why does He allow evil? The Psalmist started out with the answer right in the beginning. What did he say? What were the first 3 words of the Psalm? I love You! And that's the answer to the whole thing. I love You!

Because the only way God could eliminate all of the evil and all of the tragedies and all the suffering, was to also eliminate all of the love. Because love is a choice. It's a freedom. And as long as we have the freedom and the choice to love we also have the freedom and choice not to love. And therefore there will be people who from time to time, for reasons unbeknown to us, will choose not to love.

The Lord my God is my Rock, because He is real. Because He is open. Because He gives me a choice. I get to choose, I get to choose this day who am I going to serve? We get to make that choice.

There were 2 older people who'd...one was a widow and the other was a widower and they had known each other for quite some time actually. They dated a little bit here and there. One day they had a social function at the Senior Citizens Center and they were seated at the same table and the man finally got up the nerve and he went over to this beautiful, beautiful lady and he said, will you marry me?

She said, yes, I'll marry you.

And after the event they went home and the next day he forgot. Did she say yes, or did she say no? He couldn't remember. He didn't know what to do. Finally got up the never, he says, I guess I'll have to call her and ask her, what did you say? Did you say, yes or no. So he calls her up and says, honey, I know this sounds funny, but you know, my memory is a little off these days. I just can't remember did you say yes, or did you say no? Will you marry me? She said, oh, I said yes. I absolutely said yes. And I'm so glad you called cause I was wondering who asked me?

You know it is truly a choice that God gives us to say yes, or to say no. And so we respond in like. I love You! My Lord! My God! My Rock! Because He's real. Because He's open. Because He gives me a choice and He gives me the knowledge.

People perish from lack of knowledge but more than that, lack of belief. There have been many times I haven't believed, but I've always known that God is there. There's been times where my belief has been lacking, but my faith has always been firm. There's a difference you know.

Dr. Blair Justice, who wrote "A Different Kind of Health," put it this way. He was, I interviewed him recently. In fact, if you want to hear the entire interview you can listen to it on the website, possibility living dot org. You can get to that website through our hour of power dot org website as well. But in that interview he expressed how faith is a heart thing and belief is a head thing. And everybody has periods of doubt in the head. But we're not absolutely sure we believe it you know. But in the heart we know it. And we know that we know that we know and how do we know it because God gave us that innate instinct to understand, to believe, to experience and to have faith. He's called us. And from the heart we've been called. So that the rock is a cycle. The cycle that goes all the way around, back to the beginning of the Psalm. What is it? Do you remember? What are the first three words of the Psalm? I love you. It's a heart thing. It's a heart thing. That's what God is, He's an incredible emotion that motivates and inspires. He is love. He is a power and a force that transcends anything we can ever comprehend, anything we can ever fathom, anything we can ever put on paper in ink, with mathematics or anything else, and He is a rock. And it is there that I find my strength, my security, and my serenity.

I'm going to conclude with a little poem. The poem is written by an Afghan. He was born in the year 1207, his name is Jaliladen Rumey. He says this: "What is praised is won. So the praise is won, too. Many jugs being poured into a huge basin. All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusions and vanity. Sunlight looks slightly different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one. But, it is still one light. We have borrowed these clothes; these time and space personalities from a light. And when we praise, we pour them back in."

God, there is but one God. He is real. He is open. He gives us choices, and He tugs at our hearts. You know it. And believe it. And accept it. Dear Heavenly Father, we love You. And through that love, through that emotion, we experience the power, the power of Your Savior Jesus Christ. The power of being built on the rock. So in this moment, we feel You. It is a touch of security. A touch of serenity. It is a touch of strength. So put the strength where we need it the most O Lord today. We thank You God, we praise Your name, we love You, Amen.

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.

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