Security and Serenity for YOU in 2002! Part IV (09/03/02)
By Robert H. Schuller
When my plane landed
in Madrid three weeks ago, I was welcomed to the American Embassy
by the new Ambassador, our friend and neighbor, George Argyros,
from Orange County, California. I spent two nights at our American
Embassy and there I met some very distinguished guests at a special
dinner. Included in that guest list was the head of our military
forces in Rota, Spain. Now Rota, Spain was unfamiliar to me, but
it is the power base that guards the entrance into the Mediterranean
Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. All of the great ships and military
personnel go through that narrow passage so it's a very critical
and important port guarding the Mediterranean. And that was my
first port of call to minister to the military.
I was told that I would
be greeted at the airport at Rota by a Colonel from the base.
When our plane landed in Rota I looked for a Colonel but didn't
see one. Then I saw an attractive woman holding up a sign saying,
"Schuller," so I walked up to her and she said, "I'm
here to welcome you and escort you to the base."
I said, "Thank
you." But I was perplexed because she was dressed in casual
clothes, obviously not military. But she escorted us to the car
and as she drove us to the base, I asked, "My itinerary stated
that military personnel from the Naval base would be meeting us,
I believe it was to be a colonel?"
said, "You are. I'm Colonel ...." And she gave
me her last name.
"Oh, I said,"
I've traveled around the world to the Orient and Europe to minister
to our military bases before, but I've always been met by someone
in uniform and I would recognize them by their star or if they
had a double eagle or whatever."
She said, "You know, Sir, it's a rule now, since 9-11, that
we do not wear uniforms off the base. It makes us an easy target
so we dress like regular civilians."
I don't think that rule has ever been enforced until now. I noticed
that throughout this trip to the military bases as I traveled
from the Navy base in Rota, Spain to our Army bases in Frankfurt
and Stuttgart, Germany. Off base they're also dressed very casually.
And our military men and women were wondering what we think of
them back home in America now that we are at war. And I said to
them, "When you come back home to the United States, if you
haven't been back since 9-11, you can wear your uniform with pride
and everybody will be so proud to see you that they'll salute
As I visited the troops
this time, I gave many messages but the one they really appreciated
hearing was that we remember them in our prayers. And not only
the soldiers and sailors, but also their spouses. Many of them
are married and their spouses and little children are with them.
After a great church service on a Sunday, there was a reception
for me in a large hall and hundreds and hundreds stood in line
to receive my personal attention and to receive a special blessing.
One young mother who
stood in line was probably 25 years old and she was carrying a
little child on her arm. She said, "Dr. Schuller, you know
in many of our military bases, we spouses and families are looked
upon as extra work and somewhat of an intrusion, and when our
husbands are gone it gets very lonely for us to be here without
being surrounded by the special love and care we need." She
continued, "My husband is in the danger zone right now,"
(she was not allowed to say where that was) "and I'm alone
with my little one and to think that you would come all the way
from America just to encourage all of us is something I want to
thank you for." She added, "And your congregation for
letting you come." At that point she was crying silent tears.
It was a very precious experience.
But today, I have arrived
home in America, and I'm continuing the messages that my son and
I are sharing. The title of this series is Strength,
Security and Serenity for YOU in 2002!
Now, as I look back
on my life, I've had strength,
I've had security, and I've
had serenity. Where did I
get that and how can I give that to you, because many people do
not have it? My son and I believe that the Psalms give us the
answer. This morning I turn your attention to Psalm 37, because
as you read through this Psalm you will find all of the elements
that will lead you to a successful life. Yes, I am
an incurable optimist because I have strength,
security and serenity.
I claim this truth. I believe in success,
Why am I an incurable
optimist? Psalm 37 makes it very clear.
shall give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm
But what are your heart's
desires? Well, it may be a business accomplishment. It often is.
It may be an academic achievement. It may be the building of a
church structure like we've had to build here and are still building.
But the desires of my heart,
more than anything else, is a desire
not to have something more, but to do and be somebody good!
To Do and Be Somebody Good...
As a young pastor just
beginning to build this church, I was ushered into the forefront
of the success movement in America by Norman Vincent Peale and
W. Clement Stone. Stone, now almost 100 years old, wrote two of
the premier books that are still being read today on success with
P.M.A. (positive mental attitude).
As I joined these two great motivators, I also wrote books on
how to succeed, how not to fail and how to make your dreams come
true. These success principles became public domain. And then
there were those who listened to us and wrote their own books,
but they cut God and Jesus out. They cut the Ten Commandments
out, and they didn't deal in ethics. As a result, they had a far
bigger market than our limited market because we refused to cut
Jesus out. They do not have, I do believe, the deepest desire
and that is to do and to be a beautiful follower of Jesus Christ.
That's where we want the success road to lead.
Yesterday, I was very honored to be invited to a memorial service
for a celebrity singer, Peggy Lee. As friends, we had exchanged
correspondence through the years. There were probably two or three
hundred friends, colleagues and family in attendance by invitation.
We all had to be checked at the door so that her memorial service
would not be a media event. It was one of the most delightful
and inspiring hours - no speeches, only the sharing of those nearest
to her about personal experiences with Peggy Lee. The one I liked
the most was when Peggy Lee was performing in a concert arena
connected to a major hotel in New York. Right next to the stage
was her dressing room, and her dressing room led to a hallway,
then to an elevator which would take her up to her master suite
in the hotel. And Peggy Lee would dress casually in her suite,
and then about an hour before curtain call, she would go down
to her dressing room to put on her make up and dress in an exquisite
gown. So this day she left her suite with her hair still in curlers,
no make up on, and wearing a sloppy top and jeans. She did not
look very elegant. So she put on her dark sunglasses and threw
a scarf around her neck, covering her chin, thinking no one could
recognize her. When she reached the elevator it was empty, but
before she reached her floor, it stopped and on stepped a woman
who never looked at her until .
. . the elevator stopped at the floor where Peggy Lee had to get
off. As Peggy Lee started to move from the corner of the elevator
to the door, the women suddenly recognized something about her
and she said, "Excuse me, are you Peggy Lee?" And Peggy
Lee turned around and said, "Not
yet." When Peggy Lee took the curlers out of her
hair, put on her makeup and dressed in her beautiful gown
then she was Peggy Lee as she moved on stage to the
applause of her audience,
Yes, Peggy Lee was
an optimist and you can be an optimist too, when
the desire of your heart is to do something beautiful and to be
somebody wonderful, all of us can be a success in that.
In all of the success
principles delivered by Norman Peale, W. Clement Stone or in any
books written since about success, you will find nothing new has
been added. You can find all of these success principles in the
Bible in Psalm 37.
Read Psalm 37 and underline
the verbs. Verbs put action and energy into living. Concentrate
on the verbs in Psalm 37 and underline them.
These verbs will give
... "Trust" ... "Rest" ...
"Fret not" ... "Commit" ... "Do
"And God shall give you the desires of your heart."
Live a successful life!
Be an incurable optimist! Be confident that you'll succeed and
not fail! How? Build your life with these verbs in your backbone.
yourself in the Lord." Start there! You need to
have the faith. How do you get it? Delight
yourself in nature. Look
around at the trees ... at the flowers ... listen
to the birds ... look at
the sky ... see the stars.
I was born and raised in the open air of nature on an Iowa farm.
I think that's why faith was so easy for me to embrace as a child,
because when we planted the seeds, the crops grew. When we prayed
for the rain ... the rain came. And we heard and loved the
birds. We loved the trees, the flowers, and the green grass. So
when I signed the contract 47 years ago for my denomination to
come to Garden Grove, California to build a church, they said,
"You choose the property, the architect and design the kind
of church you need. That's your responsibility. You must raise
the money, do the job and don't leave until you are finished."
Yourself in Nature ...
That's the beginning.
Then when you are in harmony with nature you will have the tranquility
to begin to dream beautiful dreams. And if your dreams come from
God, they will come from your prayer life.
Yourself in Prayer ...
I've never been to
a prayer meeting like the one I attended a couple of weeks ago
in Assisi, Italy with Pope John Paul II. I've had three private
audiences with him, but have never been invited to one of his
private meetings on prayer. This was a special day of prayer where
the Pontiff invited spiritual leaders of all faiths in the world
and I was honored to be included, and I accepted. But we also
had a private prayer time with the Christian leaders only.
This happened in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Here was
this beautiful cathedral on these rolling hills. The environment
was so peaceful. Here was where St. Francis of Assisi lived, ministered,
and where he wrote his beautiful poetry and his prayers. You know
the one we pray so often, "Lord, make me an instrument of
Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love." And ending
with the words, "It is in dying that we are born to eternal
St. Francis of Assisi
was one of the greatest Christians ever to live on planet earth
and it was in his Basilica where the Pope led our prayer meeting.
We were a small group,
sixty Cardinals and probably another one hundred people, which
included me. It was a simple prayer meeting. The Pope sat in a
chair right in front of the altar, and I never saw him like I
saw him there. The press has never been able to show Pope John
Paul II in the solemn intimate prayer time like I saw him praying
at that prayer meeting. He, the sixty Cardinals and the power
people of the largest Christian movement in the world, in history,
all praying so fervently. I never felt so much humility in any
environment as I did there. All of the Cardinals, their body posture,
the dropping of their heads were so very humble. And then the
prayers had such honesty, "Lord, we have failed to bring
peace to the world." Wow.
Why am I an incurable
optimist? Because ... I "delight"
in the lord ... I "delight" in nature ...
I "delight" in prayer.
Now look at the other
verbs and write your own message. "Trust"
... in the Lord. "Wait"
... patiently for Him. "Do
not fret" ... You will have problems ...
you'll have frustrations and challenges ... pain ...
tough times ... I've had that. Everybody does. But rest
... and "wait patiently
for the Lord and He will give you your hearts desire."
Your Way ...
Of all the verbs I've
underlined in Psalm 37, this is the most important one. "Commit."
A dream starts in delighting,
you trust, you fret
not, you rest,
and you wait patiently and commit. Inch
by inch - anything's a cinch. When the timing is right,
the door will open - if you do not walk away. "Commit"
means to drive a stake. My grandpa was one of the pioneers who
came to America from the Netherlands, Germany or Norway to establish
farms in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. In Iowa, my grandpa showed
me how he outlined a farm. He said, "For the entire rectangle
of the farm to blend together beautifully, the most important
thing is that the rows in the fields must be straight. So make
sure the first row is straight. That's a universal principal."
He said, "How do we do that when there is no guideline?"
He said, "We take our horse and plow to the bottom of the
hill, then we walk to the top of the hill and set a stake. Then
we tie a red flag (usually a red handkerchief) on it and we walk
back down the hill ready to begin. We keep our eye on that red
flag never looking to the right or the left nor yielding to the
temptation to turn around and see how straight that first row
looks. No, not until we get to the flag. Then we turn around and
we'll always see a straight row."
So how do you solve
your problem? That's simple. I've said many times ...
aren't problems unless they cause you to take your eye off your
are never obstacles, unless you're tempted to quit.
your eye on the goal - that's called commitment!
Read through Psalm
37 and you'll get all of the principles you need to be a super
success. And in the process, you will have your heart's desires
. . . to do something good in the one life you have to live and
to be a beautiful person.
Where are you at today?
Are you like Peggy Lee? Not yet.
Are you what you want to be? Not yet.
Am I what I want to be? Have I done what I want to do in my lifetime?
Not yet. But we're on the success path where we keep our eyes
on the right goal. And what is that flag on the stake at the top
of the hill that keeps me believing? It is Jesus
Christ. He is my Lord.
He is my Savior. He is my
Best Friend. He lived all of the promises found in
Follow these universal
principles and you will be an optimist.
You know you will succeed. You know God will not quit on you until
He gives the last command: "trust
not ..." "commit
..." and live with these verbs in your spiritual
backbone and you will come to the end of your life with pride
behind you, love around you and eternal life ahead of you. Amen.