#151 (17/10/04)
Faith Rewards

The Message

By: Robert A.Schuller

Special Guest

Stephen Baldwin as messenger for Christ. Just a few years ago after spending years as a successful actor in Hollywood, Stephen knew he was missing something in his life. And he found that missing piece in a personal relationship with Jesus. After realizing how powerful this new found relationship was, Stephen wanted to share the message of faith to teens and adults around the world. It was at this point that Stephen took to the streets to create a DVD documentary entitled, “Livin’ It.” It is a cutting edge documentary on the world of Christian Extreme Sports Athletes.

Special Music

“Joyful, Joyful...”
" Now is the Time for Faith "
" Great is Your Faithfulness "

“Psalm 150”

PIANO SOLO – JOHN TESH – “Barcelona”
JOHN TESH – “Lord Have Mercy”

Acticle of The Message

Today I am going to talk about faith and the rewards that we receive from faith. One of the greatest illustrations I have seen of faith is the story of Jesus walking on the water. I don't know how many of you realize this but our ministry has been built on faith, we started with faith 50 years ago when my father came to California with $500, and began the ministry we have here today.

Today it is truly an international ministry with offices around the world. One of the places we have an office is in New Zealand, and New Zealand is probably one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The nickname for New Zealand is the land of the long white cloud. Interesting nickname for a country isn't it? That name came from the Polynesians who settled that island. The Polynesians were simply observers of nature. They understood if a cloud would hang in a certain area over the ocean, it would indicate there was land under that clouded area. So, the Polynesians decided they would climb into their boats and sail a thousand miles into the Pacific Ocean. Without any navigational tools, and any understanding beyond what they could read from the stars and the sky they continued to sail until they found this body of land, that was under the long white cloud. I don’t know what the risks were but I am sure they were enormous. I don't know what the rewards were, but proof is that New Zealand became the land of the long white cloud.

What faith did it take for the Polynesians to get in that boat and to set sail not knowing where they were going and whether there would actually be any land underneath that long white cloud? When I look at the faith that was required of Peter in the Gospel of Matthew, the faith of those Polynesians wasn’t that much. When I think of the most impossible thoughts that enter my mind and compare it with the quest of Peter, given to him by Jesus, it pales in comparison.
The account is found in Matthew 14. Jesus is going to go to the mountains and pray. He sends the apostles in a boat across the lake to the other side. So the apostles leave and by three o'clock in the morning the wind is howling and they are having difficulties getting to the other side of the lake, because the storm is so severe. They are frightened and terrified. Suddenly they see what appears to be a ghost. The figure is walking on the water, and suddenly Peter is the first one to realize that it is not a ghost, that it might be Jesus. Peter says "Jesus is that You, and if it is You tell me to come." Jesus says "Come" and Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water to Jesus. Why did Peter do that? He did it because Jesus said, "Come."
When Peter stepped out of the boat the storm did not subside. The waves were crashing about and the rain was hitting him in the face and the wind was blowing. Suddenly, Peter realizes what he has done. He notices the waves of the storm which takes his focus off of Jesus, and he starts to sink, and then he says a prayer. A prayer we’ve all prayed which is a three word prayer. It is a prayer that I don’t even have to teach you because you automatically recite it every time something goes wrong. It goes like this, "Lord, save me." It is that simple and that is what Peter said. I think it is the shortest prayer Peter ever prayed. "Lord save me," and of course, Jesus stretched out His hand and saved him. After they climbed back into the boat, the winds ceased.

There are three things I want you to take home with you from this incredible event that took place in the life of Jesus.

First, when God calls you to do something, even if it seems impossible, step out in faith.
The second thing I want you to remember is to focus on the goal and not the storm.
The third thing I want you to take with you is to remember the prayer of Peter. When you get into trouble pray the prayer of Peter, "Lord save me".

Recently, my mother was planning to go to Germany with my father, and I heard that she was planning on doing this and I became very concerned. The last time she traveled overseas, she broke her back. She didn’t fall, she didn’t get hit, she wasn’t in an accident or anything, it was simply a stress fracture. That means that it wasn’t one specific event that broke her back. She has osteoporosis and with the long plane ride over there, and the packing, unpacking, in and out of taxis, sleeping in a bed that was not as comfortable as she was accustomed to, the stress became too much for her back, and so she experienced a stress fracture. I was concerned when I heard she was considering going overseas again. I phoned her and said, "Mom, this is your son talking to you. Do you remember what happened to you last time you went overseas? Here is what I want you to do. Before you make a commitment to go to Germany with Dad, I would like you to think about this.First measure the risks against the rewards; remember what happened the last time you went overseas and realize there is a risk factor. You have to measure that against the rewards, and determine whether or not risk management tells you to go.

Secondly, on the other side of the equation, are you doing this because you believe God wants you to do it, or are you doing it because Arvella Schuller wants to do it? If you are going to go because God wants you to, then you have to go, and I believe that no matter what takes place God will put His protective shield around you, and you will come back in good shape. Only you can answer this question, measure risk and reward and ask the question, ‘Is this a God thing or is this an Arvella Schuller thing.’ Make your decision accordingly."

This is good advice for all of us. Before you step out of the boat in faith, make sure it is in faith and not in self that you are stepping out of the boat. We have to step out in faith knowing that this is what God wants me to do, this is my purpose for living, this is why God created me, I have been created for a purpose and for a reason and I know I must do this thing. It may not make any sense, it may be impossible, but if God is in it, I cannot fail. If you can say that, then you can walk on water.

Step out in faith. When God calls say "Yes Lord, I'm coming." Once you get out of the boat keep your focus on the goal, because you have to realize the storms are not going to go away. When you step out of the boat it is scary. There are big waves, and there is rain, wind, and there might be thunder and lightning. God only knows what can happen once you get out of the safety zone, out of the comfort that you are in as you start to move toward the goals you have set, with Gods help, to succeed. It is imperative that you focus on the goals because when you take your focus off the goal you will see all the turbulence and storms that surround you. You will easily become imprisoned with negativity.

Five hundred years ago Michelangelo completed the statue of David. It is probably one of the most magnificent pieces of sculpturing in the history of mankind. It is absolutely spectacular. I have seen it and if you ever have an opportunity to see this incredible work of art don't miss it. In the hallway leading up to "David" are the "Unfinished Slaves." These figures look like they are locked in a block of marble, and some art critics think he did it on purpose. Michelangelo was one of the original modern artists, and it looks like these figures are trying to crawl out of this rock of marble, it looks as though they are frozen in the marble and cannot move.

Maybe you feel like that today. Maybe you feel as though you are in a storm, you have already jumped overboard and you are facing the challenges of health, and finances, and struggling with relationship problems with a spouse, or a child or a parent. Maybe you are struggling with addictions, and alcohol or drugs. The list goes on and on of the way the storm is capable of manipulating the circumstances and the events to confuse and alter our attention and take our focus off of the goal which Christ has given to us.

Today I want to encourage you to follow the call of God, and to step out in faith. When you step out in faith, keep your eyes focused on Jesus and believe with God all things are possible. There will come times when you realize you need help, and it is time to pray - remember that prayer? "Lord, save me." That's what Peter did. If Peter could pray it, you can pray it. Jesus saved him, and of course Jesus will save you. That is what He is here for, that is what He does, that is why He is God.

God gives us what we need. He knows what our hearts really desire. We have the opportunity to seek God’s will for our lives, and to move from victory to victory. I want to encourage you to step out in faith, focus on your goals and pray the prayer, "Lord save me."

Pray with me, "we thank You Lord for Your saving power, and Your grace, Your love, Your transcending, unbelievable love for us. And so touch us Lord; heal us, redeem us, save us we pray, Amen."

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