Christmas Joy for You! (25/12/06)

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

" O Come, All Ye Faithful "
" Good Christians All Rejoice "
" Silent Night "

CCA CHORUS – “Born, Born in Bethlehem”
“Carol of the Bells”
“Joy to the World”
“Adeste Fideles”

RYAN LISACK – “Once in Royal David’s City”
KEN MEDEMA – “A Little Child”
‘NITA WHITAKER – “O Holy Night”
ROGER WILLIAMS – “The Music of Christmas”

The Message

I have a story for you about two little boys and they were being baby seated by their grandpa and grandma because their parents went up north to ski for Christmas. And grandma said, “Now go to bed early, boys, right now because tomorrow is Christmas. We got to get to church.” So the boys went to bed and the youngest began his prayers first but he yelled them out. He said, “God, tomorrow I want a Nintendo, and I want a new bike, and I want a cell phone.” But he yelled them out so loud his brother said, “Why are you yelling? God isn’t deaf.” And he said, “No but grandma is.”

I’m going to give you a gift in the next nine minutes that I have for you and the gift is something I don’t believe you will ever forget. For some of you, it’s new but for many of us we learned it in Sunday school as little children. At Christmas time, we were reminded that the first promise made by heaven through the angels to the human family was the gift of good tidings of great joy. And that’s quite phenomenal because you see this was 2000 years before there were professionals called psychologists who psychoanalyzed the Freudian slips that probably came out of us.

Joy, the first promise made by heaven through the angels to the human family. Later, would come the words peace and love. But the first word was joy. The bottom line that God promises to you this Christmas Eve is joy. Now, here is how to remember joy. J-O-Y. And some of you learned it in Sunday school and I did. J – Jesus first. O – Others come second. Y – Yourself comes last. You see JOY is really an amazing collection of priorities. Get your priorities straight and you’ll live an amazingly tranquil life. Oh, there will be the downtimes, they don’t last that long. Or if they last long, there will come spiritual strength to carry you through from sources you never knew before but the secret of joy is really very simply, get your priorities straight and if you’re only in the business, if that’s your world, this applies in your business. If you’re in relationships, it applies there. It applies to children, young people, adults, the married, the newly married. Get your spiritual life straighten first. J – Jesus. Because every human being whether you’re an atheist or a spiritual person, you have a spiritual nature and you cannot eradicate our limit it, just get it straight. And I can’t believe that anyone can find a better way of putting his spiritual life in good order, short of getting acquainted with Jesus Christ, whom we believe was the Son of God. Get your spiritual life in order. That means you’ll, that means you’ll have your ethics in good line. That means your honesty and integrity will come forth. But if you don’t start there, you’re going to run into trouble, that’s for sure: in your business, in your marriage, or in your spiritual life. J – Jesus first.

Once you have a spiritual foundation, then you’re ready for the O. The second priority in basic living that will produce joy and that’s others second. Yes, if your spiritual life is straight, you’ll have a concern for others and you’ll think of others before you’ll think of yourself because that’s the secret of every good business: find the need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it, find a problem and solve it. Be attentive to the customer. There are lots of retailing establishments today that have forgotten that principle: customers come first. They’re forgetting it. And they will pay for it. For people want to be respected as persons. Others come second.

Y – yourself comes last. Guess what: it’s okay sometimes to be what some people would call selfish. Shocking, isn’t it. It’s not a sin to be concerned and to take good care of yourself. It’s just a sin when you are first and others are second and God never comes in or if He does, it’s at the last place. The basic priorities have to be straight. God first, others second, yourself last.
You know, I have a dear friend Ken Leestma, and those of you who come to this church remember him because he’s one of our pastors. Many of you remember that he was one of the men 50 years ago that attended a church meeting where he recommended that they call a young Robert Schuller to come from Chicago to start a new church here in California. He was one of the persons who brought me here. He’s one of my dearest friends, but today he has Alzheimer’s. He doesn’t know his wife, he’s out of it. And it’s very sad, especially to me because he was so important. Without him, we wouldn’t be here today as a church. He never knew how important his motion would turn out to be.

So we had dinner the other night with his wife, I almost want to call her a widow. And what are you doing this week, Betty? Oh, she said, I’m going Christmas shopping. I said, oh? Yep. She said, and guess what: I can’t get anything for Ken, and my friends aren’t here and the others have moved, some have died, I’m really quite alone. So she said you know what I’ve decided to do? I’m going to go Christmas shopping for me. I got a list of all the nice things I’d like to get. And I’m going to go out and I’m going to have fun shopping. I’m going to wrap them all up, I’m going to put them all under the tree, and I’m going to wait until Christmas morning and then I’m going to open the gifts. And I wouldn’t doubt but Betty, if she’s not at this service, will be at one of the other seven church services here tonight. Congratulations, Betty. It’s a good example for lots of people.

There are some people that are unselfish to a fault. You have to be last but don’t cut yourself out of your own generosity. Be good to yourself. You’re a wonderful person, you deserve a good Christmas. And at that point, let me suggest that I appear tonight an offering to all of you the greatest gift you can give to yourself, and that’s the gift of planting the seed of ultimate joy in your life.

Remember joy is not pleasure. Pleasure comes through material needs. It’s a joy that comes from the inner spiritual feeling of your relationship with God so I invite you tonight, wherever you’re at: if you’re an atheist or an agnostic, or if you’re just a secularist or if you’re a pure humanist or if you’re just a materialistic land driven human personality, I invite you tonight to start at the beginning: Jesus first. Get your spiritual life on a solid basis. And you cannot do better than turning to Jesus Christ. Never another person who came on planet earth with the announcement He’s come to bring joy because He’s to be your Savior and your Lord. We all need salvation. Even Barbara Walters had a one hour special on how do you get salvation and is there really a heaven and how do you get there. We know the answer, not because we’re smarter or brighter, but we just read the right book and in the gospel of St. John is the verse, “God so loved this world, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but should have everlasting life.” Now that’s in the Bible! I believe it.

I have joy because the deepest level I know that there’s a heaven and I don’t know what it is or where it is, but I know how to get there. If you know the right person, and love Him, you’ll get there. And His name is Jesus. Whatever heaven is, wherever it is, you can be sure He’s there. So become a friend of Jesus. Become a follower of Jesus. It’s quite simple. And then come to church every Sunday and keep your priorities straight and get closer to Jesus Christ and let the biggest part of your growing future be in your religious life. Come to Jesus. You know, I want to say what’s the most expensive gift in the world and it’s free to anybody who wants it. The most expensive gift is salvation. Christ died on the cross for you. And it’s free to anybody who wants it. “Come unto me, He said, you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Come to Me.” This Christmas gift to you tonight. Follow Him. Find faith. And you will find joy forevermore. Amen.

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