of The Message
people ask, "What is this ministry all about?"
I answer that we teach people how to live
life at its best. The focus is on finding the
purpose that God has for your life. He wants you to be happy,
healthy and prosperous, living in the joy of salvation.
"Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They
shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and
not be weary. They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah
Renew Your Strength
I want to focus on three words from that verse, renew your strength,
that you can carry with you. What was Isaiah thinking
about when he said "strength"?
What did he mean? If you had seen him in person, and
he lifted the sleeves of his robe, what would you see? The
kind of a muscle they can give you in the gym? What was
his waist? What power did he have in his thighs and legs?
How much weight could he lift just from his toes? What does
Isaiah mean when he talks about strength? He is not talking
about physical strength. This is not gym language. He is
talking about spiritual and emotional strength. This ministry,
since it began almost 50 years ago, started with an intentional
focus to strengthen people emotionally.
who have studied our work and read our materials have said
that historically we are not like other churches. Denominations
and religions started with teaching a theology about God.
Whenever there was disagreement with each other about a
certain detail, the result was to establish a new religion
or branch thereof, so today there are many different denominations
and lots of different religions. When I started this ministry,
I chose to focus on human need and said, "Let's ask
what a human being really is? What does he need?" And
is there a God who can provide for those needs and what
kind of God does he need? So we started talking about the
needs in humanity and we defined the single deepest need
of the human being. We came to the conclusion that the deepest
need is not intellectual knowledge. We need all the knowledge
we can get, that's for sure. But ultimately it is not knowledge,
but the single deepest need is found in the spirit. It is
the heart. So how can you get heart? How can you strengthen
the inner spirit? It is here in the words of Isaiah ...
"Renew your strength."
I suggest that Isaiah’s strength was a strength of heart.
He had a sense of mission ... a passion. That’s
what each of us need. I believe that all of us want to be
and do something
Two Kinds of People:
Mirror People and Window People
know really I think there are two kinds of people: those who are mirror people and those who are window people. We
have many mirror
people in America today. I live in Southern California,
known worldwide as the home of Hollywood. You cannot find
more narcissistic people in any part of the world than you
can find in Southern California. Narcissistic people are
mirror people; they always look in a mirror.
And if Botox can improve the appearance, they'll take an
injection shot of Botox. Narcissism and self centeredness
focus on the strength of the physical shape, muscle and
there are the window
people. Window people are quite different. They are looking
out into the world around them. Window
people see the hurting. Kim Phuc from Vietnam suffered the most
horrible effects of the war. Kim Phuc, a nine year old Vietnamese
child, was the subject of the most famous war photograph
ever taken. This Pulitzer Prize winning picture showed this
young girl naked and screaming, running up a country road.
Her arms outstretched in terror and pain. Her village had
just been bombed by Napalm in an aerial attack by American
bombers. She is terribly burned. Kim has survived seventeen
operations and years of pain and rehabilitation. She has
a powerful testament to her spirit and her amazing courage.
Kim not only had to deal with all the pain, but also the
scars, trauma and nightmares. She hated the people who caused
her suffering. Her family lost everything. They survived
day by day for ten years.
had a dream that she wanted to become a doctor because she
had stayed in the hospital so long. In 1982, at the age
of 19, she entered medical school, happy because her dream
was coming true. But unfortunately at the same time the
Vietnamese government found her as the little girl in the
famous picture. So they started to use her for their propaganda.
They cut short her study. She could no longer go to school
and was suddenly not a free person to do what she wanted
to do. She was now under the control of the communist government
who watched her every move. She was so bitter and angry
that she wanted to die. Nobody could help her ... no family,
no friends. And then even though she could not go to school,
she was allowed to spend her time in the library to read.
She began to read religious books and among them she picked
up the New Testament and began reading it. She found something
new in there, but of course, she couldn’t understand.
day she just faced the sky and asked, "God are you
real? Do you exist somewhere? Please help me." And
she asked God for just one girlfriend to whom she could
talk, to share her suffering. God answered her prayer. And
this friend helped Kim to attend a church, to hear more
about the Bible. At Christmas time, 1982, Kim opened her
heart to receive Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.
her own words, Kim said, "I was raised with a religion
where I was taught to pray to thousands of gods, but nobody
answered my prayer. Now the more I prayed to God, the more
God gave me peace inside. But I still had to deal with forgiveness
because I was really bitter, angry and filled with hate.
But I knew I had to forgive when I read Luke 6:27: ‘Love your enemies. Do good to them. Bless those
that curse you and pray for them who use you.’ How could I do that when I had so much
pain? One day God’s love set me free
1986 the Vietnamese government sent Kim to Cuba for six
years. While there, Kim was praying that God would open
the door of freedom for her. Then she married a Vietnamese
student and the government sent them to Moscow for their
honeymoon. They had no choice, but on the way back from
Moscow to Cuba the plane was scheduled to stop for one hour
in Newfoundland for refueling. Kim knew that Canada was
a free country, so she prayed, "God, help me, open
this door for me." And in that one hour, Kim and her
husband defected with just their camera, purse and each
other, trusting that God would provide. They were free!
Since then, happily married, they live in Canada with their
two children. Then Kim was invited to Washington, D.C. to
address the Veterans of the Vietnam war. There she encountered,
by a strange providence, the Vietnam veteran who was in
charge of that bombing mission. And now a believer, she
said, "Because of Jesus Christ in my life I was able
to forgive him. He didn’t mean to hurt me."
40 years later, Kim Phuc has established a foundation that
raises money to help those who are orphans of war. So Kim
Phuc is a window person.
Become a Window Person
you become a window person you look out and see the hungry,
the starving, and the dying. My son traveled to Africa in
the summer of 2003 with the Wheelchair Foundation to deliver
the gifts of wheelchairs to the poor and disabled. They
are among those who I call window
Renew your strength by helping people who hurt.
is the strength Isaiah is talking about. He is talking abut
the strength to help people who are hurting and God knows
the world is hurting today more than it has ever hurt. Our
world needs faith. Some people never even had the strength
of heart. Where do you get it? You get it by asking God
this question: "What do You want me to do in the one
life I have to live? God, what kind of talents do I have
that You can use? What kind of gifts do I have? What can
you do with me?"
of my dearest friends was named Bob Pierce. He is no longer
living, but his legacy lives on. Bob Pierce heard a message
in his church and he made a commitment to give his life
to Christ and serve God in any way God wanted him to. Then
Bob got a dream that he had to go to China and be a missionary.
Why China? He didn’t know why, but he
got on a boat and he traveled to China. He got off that
boat and he was walking on the sidewalk in Hong Kong and
then he saw the only other white person, an American, stand
out among all the Chinese. She was coming toward him holding
hands with a little Chinese boy. Then she stopped to look
at him and said, "Who are you? Where are you from?"
What are you doing here?"
said, "My name is Bob Pierce." He was talking
to a woman who was very well known in our denomination,
the Reformed Church in America. Her name was Tina Holkeboer,
from Dutch descent. She had never married and as a single
woman was one of the greatest missionaries for Christ the
world has ever seen.
Holkeboer was a window woman
... not a mirror woman.
And Bob Pierce answered her question, "What are you
said, "I came here to be a missionary."
said, "What church are you with."
said, "Nobody. I am here alone looking for my mission."
Tina looked at Bob, "So you're looking for a mission?
Here is your mission. Take him." And she gave the little
Chinese orphan boy to Bob Pierce. She said, "I mean
it. Take care of him." And she walked away.
was the beginning of World Vision.
Today, World Vision is still a powerful mission for Jesus
Christ caring for thousands upon thousands of children around
the world. Renew your strength
to help the hurting.
about yourself. That takes the strength
out of you. When you begin to look too much in
the mirror and stop looking out
the window, then you begin to think more and
more of yourself and less of others. Soon that kind of fixation
will leave you emotionally hungry, and you will become more
and more depressed and lonely.
do you get your strength renewed? How do you come back?
Some of you once loved God and Jesus Christ. Maybe it was
in Sunday School. But you lost your faith and your devotion
to God. How do you renew your strength? Come back to church.
Do as Kim Phuc did. She read the New Testament, and then
found somebody who was a Christian and talked to her.
you meet Jesus Christ, He will turn your life upside down.
I have studied psychology in my undergraduate work and theology
in my graduate studies and I want to say very boldly there
has never in the history of humanity been another human
being that came out with truths that will so radically turn
a life upside down as Jesus Christ does. He turns people
from mirror people to window
people. He turns people from self centeredness and self
admiration to giving of yourself to encourage people who
Carl Jung, the great psychologist who happened to belong
to the Reformed Church in Switzerland, wrote a book called,
"Modern Man in Search of a Soul." He writes, "About
a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable
neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their
lives. It seems to me I can just describe this as the general
neurosis of our time."
your strength. Look for a Lord, Jesus Christ. Of the 35 years we have been on television we have received more than
a couple of billion letters over a third of a century. The
letters come in many languages, from many countries and
these words appear again and again, "You saved my life." The positive emotional
needs of hope, patience, courage, confidence and kindness
are not given to us by any other institution. No matter
what university you graduated from, what advanced degrees
you may have, what honors or peace prizes you may have won,
there is no other institution on planet earth like the church
of Jesus Christ to turn people’s lives upside down
by giving them a new heart, a new spirit.
I was reading
in John S. Whale’s book, "Facing the Facts,"
this true story: "I once was in the room of a geologist
who had been to the Arctic Circle with a research party.
I saw on the wall of his room a large colored picture of
an iceberg, but it was a mountain of green, surrounded all
around with little white icebergs. I said to the geologist,
‘Tell me about this picture. How can an iceberg be
green?’ ‘Oh,’ he replied, ‘It was
a natural phenomenon. I happened to be just one mile away
from this iceberg when we heard the cracking of ice and
it seemed to come from that one iceberg alone. Then its
sharp peaks rising white in the sky, looked like it was
starting to lean over. We all went to the rail of our ship
and watched as it leaned a little more, then a little more,
until it tipped completely upside down, and there was the
bottom of the iceberg, all green! It was transformed in
shape and color!’"
kind of life are you living today? Make a decision to forget
about the debates, forget about the questions, forget about
the disagreements, just make a decision to meet Jesus Christ.
Nobody can top Him. Accept Him and your life will turn upside
down. Jesus Christ will transform you and you will be living
life at its best. You will sparkle because Christ lives in your life.
praying this prayer today and life will change for you:
"God, You're getting through to me. I realize there
is a God who cares about me. There is a person called Jesus
Christ, very much alive, living in people whose faces twinkle,
sparkle and generate enormous energy. O God, I need my strength
renewed so I come to You. Transform me from a mirror person
to a window person. I want to do something for the hurting
in the world. Amen.