Mountain Moving Faith - Part 5 (09/11/03)
By: Robert A. Schuller
Well, my father and
I are talking about mountain moving faith. And what I love about
mountain moving faith is that it is basically possibility thinking
which is put into action. Which is actually what I call possibility
living. Now possibility living begins, or mountain moving faith
begins, with positive thoughts.
And I can't even mention
the world positive in almost any circumstance without thinking
about the late great Norman Vincent Peale. How many people think
about Norman Vincent Peale when they hear the world positive?
He is just Mr. Positive, isn't he? You know I had some wonderful
experiences with him. Shortly before he died I flew out to New
York and spent a week with him at a conference, which he had in
New York. Do you know what? He's a positive thinker. And it's
amazing what positive thinking does. And what he was sharing in
this little book which he has titled, "Shoot for the Stars,"
he was talking about the law of attraction. The law of attraction.
In the law of attraction when you think positive thoughts you
start attracting positive thoughts. And when you start thinking
negative thoughts you start attracting negative thoughts. He says
it's like a flock of birds: they just kind of flock together.
And when you see a flock of birds, if it's crows, it's all crows.
And if it's seagulls, it's all seagulls. And if it's blackbirds,
it's all blackbirds. Birds of a feather fly together.
And when you start
thinking negative thoughts more negative thoughts are attracted
to you and negative things start to happen to you. On the other
hand, when you start thinking positive thoughts positive things
start to happen and positive thinkers are attracted to you. It
is the law of attraction.
Marcus Aurelius, the
Roman Emperor and the philosopher said it this way: "We become
what our thoughts indicate day by day." This whole idea is
not a new thought process. It's been going on for thousands of
years. And that's why we find in the Bible the foundation of positive
thinking; the foundation of mountain moving faith. St. Paul said
it this way: "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever
is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things,"
It is so easy for us
to be attracted to the negative because the negative screams so
much louder. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, only a very
small portion of your body hurts, but boy! Does it scream! Ouch,
ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch! The negative thoughts will penetrate every
fiber of our being and all we can think about is the negative.
The positive, on the other hand, requires attention, it requires
strength and ability, it acquires the perception to make a conscious
effort to look at all of the beauty and the positive that is all
around us every day.
People always say,
why don't the newspapers report all the positive things going
on? How many people think that? Oh you open the newspaper all
you read is all the negative all the time. That's because the
positive is so abundant that it's not newsworthy. The only thing
that is newsworthy is something that is completely out of the
ordinary and that's all the negative that's going on. So there's
nothing else to report. The newspapers would be, oh my goodness,
this thick to report all the good news that takes place every
day. Positive thoughts, the law of attraction, mountain moving
faith begins by thinking positive thoughts. But the interesting
thing about thinking positive thoughts and positive thinking is
that it's really rather passive in many ways.
A much more pro-active
process, which actually takes us to the 2nd step of mountain moving
faith, is to graduate from positive thinking to possibility thinking.
Whenever I hear those 2 words together I think of the nicest,
sweetest, gray-haired man in the world. His name is Dr. Robert
Harold Schuller. Possibility thinking is the next step, which
takes positive thinking and creates a pro-active approach to moving
positive thoughts in a positive direction. That's what possibility
thinking is - it is mountain moving faith and taking these thoughts
and being pro-active with the thoughts.
For instance, when
he came to California to start this church in 1955 he was told
it is quote "impossible" to find a place to hold services.
Isn't that an amazing thought? Impossible, every possible place
to hold services in Southern California was occupied. That was
the word in the note he'd got, he had received. With that he went
about making a list of 10 different places he thought he might
be able to hold services. And guess what? All but one of those
10 places were occupied. And so he settled for the only one and
the only option he had - a drive-in theater. And only somebody
as crazy as my father would start in a drive-in theater. And he
He has since told me that the word impossible is not in the dictionary.
But do you know what? I took that as a challenge because I realized
nothing is impossible including impossibilities. And so I went
about to discover that there is something in the Bible that talks
about impossibilities and I found it. I found it in Hebrews 6:18,
and here's what it says, "It is impossible for God to lie."
Isn't that neat? Do you know what that means? That means that
every single word from God is the truth. If it is impossible for
God to lie that means that we can count on every single one of
His promises within these words. And Jesus Himself said, "Ask
and you'll receive. Seek and you'll find. Knock and the doors
will be opened to you."
And that's what possibility
thinking is all about. Or you suddenly start to knock and you
ask and you and the promises of God are revealed. And when somebody
says it's impossible. You say, yeah, it's impossible for God to
lie. Which means that all God's promises are true, which means
you're the one who's lying right now when you tell me it's impossible.
It may take longer, it may take more money, it may be impractical,
it may be unrealistic at this time and place in life, but I stand
on the promises of God. That is mountain moving faith.
It's positive thinking
graduating to possibility thinking and then finally, moving to
what I call possibility living. Possibility living is putting
the 3rd generation to this spin on positive words. Because we
read in James 2 that "faith without
works is dead." And then in Galatians 3 we read, "the
just shall live by faith." And it's taking positive
thinking and possibility thinking and integrating it into the
very core of your being so that you live it, you act it, and you
allow it to impact every single part of your being. It's possibility
living. This past week my father and I were in Michigan, a great
state of this union. And both of us are actually graduates of
Hope College in Holland, Michigan. And while we were there we
spoke to many of our supporters in Detroit and then we went to
Grand Rapids and spoke to many of them there. We had dinner with
them and just shook their hands and prayed with them. Had a wonderful,
And while I was there
I was reminded of some of my times in Holland, Michigan. I enjoyed
Michigan very much. I fell in love with the outdoors and I remember
going into the local sporting goods store, which is not uncommon
to see. I saw a large fish that was mounted and hanging on one
of the walls. I said, what kind of fish is that? Looked like a
giant rainbow trout. And he said it's a steelhead. A steelhead
is a rainbow trout which migrates into the seas and then they
come back up the streams and they're caught in the streams. I
said, well, tell me, where was this fish caught? And they said,
it was caught in a river just down the road here about 10 miles.
And this was a big fish. I said, you got to be kidding me? He
says, no. I said do they still catch them there. He goes, certain
times of the year. Well, what time of the year? I'll tell you
I was fascinated.
And I started making a list of all the details about where this
fish was caught and how these fish were caught and what it took
to catch them. I started thinking positive thoughts. And I started
playing the Possibility Thinkers Game of making lists and finding
out how to make it possible and how you could possibly do it.
And finally the time came, in the spring when these fish come
up river and they spawn. And I practiced possibility living. And
I went down to the river and I'll never forget climbing into that
river with water up to my chest, chest high waders, and casting
this special iron that they'd sold me at the tackle store along
with all the other stuff. They were very good at selling me all
that stuff at the tackle store. And I bought it hook, line and
sinker. But then I also caught the fish hook, line and sinker.
A beautiful 10 pound, steelhead rainbow trout.
It's amazing, absolutely amazing what you can do if you begin
to think it's possible. If you start asking the questions, getting
the tools, playing the game, and believing that you can do the
impossible. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What would you do?
There was a businessman
here in Orange County some time ago was thought that what he would
do is he would actually love to start a TV station of all Christian
programming. His name was Paul Crouch. And he had this idea and
he found out a little tiny station that he could buy and he went
to buy this station; the only thing is they said if he starts
this station it will not work. He said, you've got to be kidding
me? Said, no, it will not work. He says, why not? He said, well
there's actually a mountain in the way and as a result of it the
broadcast will not go out and the station will not work.
And so he decided to
practice mountain moving faith and he prayed. And he prayed, "God,
if You want this thing to happen, I've got too much invested in
this at this point to turn around and if You want it to happen
You've got to move mountains, cause that's the only way it's going
to happen. All the scientists, all the technicians, everybody
has told me the only way it's going to happen is if You move the
mountain." And so he prayed. He doesn't know why but, to
this day, he says God moved the mountain. They flipped the switch,
TBN was born, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and today many of
you are watching this on this same network, Trinity Broadcasting
Network. He's going to be here talking at our Institute for Successful
Church Leadership in January and if you want to hear this incredible
testimony of how this man used his faith, just a simple little
businessman make an incredible impact in this world, you can come
to our institute in January. You can exercise your positive thinking,
your possibility thinking and move into the realm of possibility
There was a young boy
who went to apply for a job. He wanted this job in the most way.
So he decided he'd get there early so that he'd be at the front
of the line and he'd have the best chance of getting the job.
And so he shows up 15 minutes early only to find he's number 9
in line. Oh my goodness! He's devastated. All these negative thoughts
start to flow in his mind, being a positive thinker he says, no,
no. I'm not going to allow this pain to take control. I'm going
to practice what Dr. Norman Vincent Peale teaches. I'm going to
be a positive thinker. He said, this is going to work out okay.
But then he had also listened to this wonderful man named Robert
Schuller in the Crystal Cathedral, possibility thinking. And he
says, maybe this is some new possibilities that could happen because
I'm number 9 in line. And he started thinking of possibility thoughts.
But then he also heard a young man who talked about possibility
living and he says, okay, maybe I have to put these thoughts into
action. Suddenly pulled out a pen out of his pocket and he wrote
down a little note, hit the guy in front of him and says, "hey,
would you save my place in line I got to do something?" Sure,
sure, okay. So he folds up his note and he runs to the front of
the line where a lady had been making sure all the kids stayed
in line, handed her a note and all of a sudden she opened it up
and read it and everyone saw a smile for the first time. And she
goes into the office and comes back a little bit later and with
that one of the boys nudging he said, "what did your note
say?" He said, "whatever you do, sir, don't make a decision
until you've talked to the 9th boy. I am the 9th boy." I
don't know if he got the job or not but I'll bet he did.
And what happens when
we face problems, we face pain, and we face circumstances in life
which give us a left hook, and an upper cut, maybe a jab to the
I look at the tragedies
that people face today. It's incredible the struggles and tribulations
that people face. Divorce is rampant in our society. Drug addiction
is everywhere. Alcoholism, abuse of all sorts and kinds and fashion.
Incredible tragedies that just happen in people's lives and people
get challenged and they say, where is God? If there's such thing
as mountain moving faith, where is God today? I see that through
the toughest of times, God is
Sitting in the front
row is Mark Thallander. Mark is one of the greatest organists
you could hear. He made this organ sing like you can't believe.
And not once but regularly. He'd practice on this thing for hours.
Not once in awhile but daily. Not long ago he was in automobile
accident. And during the accident his arm got twisted and mangled
by the seat belt. And the doctors couldn't save his arm. And he
lost his arm. And we say where is God? Where is the justice? How
could He do this to this man? The positive thoughts produce positive
reactions. Possibility thinkers find the possibilities in the
most unlikely circumstances. And now today, if I believe this
is still true, Mark is planning on a tour, an organ tour, am I
right? And you're going to be traveling around the nation doing
concerts. And people are writing special music and God has turned
this negative into an incredible positive. It's hard to fathom
the magnitude and the power of God.
But God takes the tragedies in life, He takes the divorce, He
takes the drug addiction, He takes the abuse and we see it over
and over and over again. Yancey is an author today, describing
and the Christian beauty of the gospel like we haven't heard before.
Why? Because he was abused with it. And God took it and turned
it around, and as a result has opened his heart and his mind to
enlighten us as like we'd never heard before.
And that's the way
God works. He takes the negative, and through positive thinking,
possibility thinking and through possibility living, God moves
the biggest mountains of all; our negative thoughts. He moves
them. And we start living possibility lives all wrapped into one
tiny word spelled f-a-i-t-h. You've
got it today, use it.
Dear heavenly Father,
we thank You that You are alive, that You are real, that You are
here, that You're our God. And so as we continue to think positive
thoughts and attract positive reactions, may we continue to use
the incredible gift that You have given to us of taking those
thoughts and thinking of possibilities that can be used to glorify
You and Your kingdom. And as those thoughts come give us the will
and the drive to move forward to live out those thoughts, and
to be the people that You have called us to be. And so we thank
You, Lord, for this beautiful, beautiful word called faith. We
love You, Lord. Amen.