of The Message
messages these weeks are focused on the future because we
are setting the stage for January 2005, when I will be launching
my latest, newest and best book ever written called,
Don't Throw Away Tomorrow. My son,
Robert, had three great sermons the past three weeks on
Crafting Your Future.
And today, my message is picking up that mood. My title
is, Face Your Future With Hope, and my Bible text
is from Psalm 32:8, God is speaking,
will instruct you in the way you will go. I will counsel
you with my eye upon you."
fifty years ago in this month of October, my only son was
born. And it is also fifty years ago this month, that I
got a call from Norman Vincent Peale saying, "We want
a church on the West Coast. We think you can start it and,
we will give you $500." That is the greatest thing
that happened. So this coming January 2005, we will launch
the fiftieth anniversary year of the beginning of this ministry,
which began with two people and $500. But we couldn't lose! This ministry could
only have a fabulous future because we had a message that
the world needed fifty years ago … and the world needs
it today more than ever.
ask what will the next fifty years be like. I tell you,
they will be sensational. This church service
today is being aired this very morning in the Russian language,
the Arabic language, the Chinese language, and, yes, the
what is the message that we bring to our country, to the
world? With God's guidance,
you can face your future with Hope.
is summed up in this Bible verse, "I will instruct you in the way you will go. I will
counsel you with my eye upon you." (Psalm
good news because you see, without God's guidance, we become stoics. Stoicism is, "I'm worried about what is going
to happen, but I'll see it through." Stoicism is very
non-positive, non-creative, non-enthusiastic, non-energy
and non-goal setting.
God's guidance, there is fatalism. That is the only way to live life and face the future if you have
no Divine guidance. The world without the God that
we know in the Bible … the world without the
kind of a God that we see in the life of Jesus … the world without positive thinking is a world that goes into denial,
escapism, sensuality or pure secularism without any spirituality.
Then you face the future with fear and that is where many
people are today who listen to us in the many different
countries and languages.
secularism is the basic philosophy of your life, you are
headed for confusion, that's for sure. To whom do you listen?
In whom do you believe? What values do these people throw
away? Confusion of priorities, the confusion of goals, all
add up to a lack of definitive direction.
years ago, I began this ministry with a direction and a
destiny, so there was no confusion. As a child, we sang
a hymn in the country church in Iowa,
"Precious promise God has
given to the weary passerby.
All the way from earth to heaven
I will guide you with my eye." *
see, life really comes down to a choice. Either you choose
to be guided and led by a wisdom that is more than you are,
or you choose a life where you guide yourself, make
your own decisions without consulting others, without changing
your mind, because your ego can't handle that.
who never change their minds are either perfect or stubborn.
Are you confused? Then you know that confusion
brings conflict, and conflict consumes creative energy and
wastes it. Yes, you need guidance to choose what
way to go, what values to live by
was in high school when I had to memorize these words from
Shakespeare in English literature.
"You shall seek all day ere
you find it, and when
you have found it, it is
not worth the search."
guidance from God, what are your values?
my new book, "Don't Throw Away Tomorrow," I use
new material, except a few of my favorite stories that have
influenced me so much in my life. One story, which I told
thirty years ago, is about the little boy who was so good
and did extra things for his mom. She decided to reward
him and she gave him a quarter (which then was a lot of
money). She told him that he could go to the store and buy
anything he wanted. So he went to the little toy store and
he looked at balloons. Oh, he liked balloons, but he looked
at a coloring book. No, maybe a toy car… no … finally, he saw the
bright colored whistles. Yes, he would buy a whistle. He
loved whistles. That's just what he wanted. Excitedly, he
gave his twenty-five cents to the clerk, left the store
and blew his whistle. Oh, he was having fun. He blew it
all the way home, but before he got to his house, already
bored with his whistle, he stopped blowing it. With a tear
in his eye, he threw the whistle away as he said, "I
didn't want a whistle after all!" Is that where you
lived a wonderful life with God's guidance and direction.
I have never looked back at the decision I made for Jesus
Christ in my calling to be a pastor. I have never had to
say, "Why did I buy that whistle?" When God guides,
He satisfies. My wife, my son, my children, all recognize
God's guidance in their lives. So today, I sound a solid
trumpet call to the world that you can have a direction
in life, but you need Divine guidance and God is there to
a world so confusing in its culture and lifestyles, it is
so easy to get lost. My daughter, Carol, her husband, Tim,
and their family were traveling here this summer and they
were just entering the Mojave Desert when they got lost.
But it started so innocently. They were traveling on the
major highway and they stopped at a rest stop. They probably
should have filled up on gas, but decided they had enough
to get to their next scheduled stop. But an old duffer in
charge of the rest place said, "Where are you going?"
They mentioned where.
you taking the main road?"
you will miss really seeing the desert. Everybody takes
the main road. You should take the side roads, then you'll
really see the beauty that is here. It's gorgeous. Be a
little adventurous!" He said, "I've lived here
all my life. I wish more people would take the side roads."
Then, pointing his finger, he said, "Just take that
Carol and Tim did, without a
map! Yes, the desert was beautiful. It was fun.
Then they came to a fork in the road. They didn't know which
one to take, but one road looked like it had a little heavier
car track; it wasn't big, but it looked safer, so they took
it. Some time later, there was another fork and then they
realized they were really lost. They looked at the gas tank.
You don't want to run out of gas in the desert. That's a
universal principle. They began to be very concerned, yes,
scared. And the children all added to the rising tension
in the car. Not one guidepost, not one marker! In each direction
there were miles and miles of desert. It looked all the
same. It was time to say a prayer, "God, You lead."
Then they chose a turn and it was the right turn and they
found the main highway.
that where you are today? Are you lost in a desert? How
do you get out of it? Read the Bible verse of the morning.
Turn to God. He says, "I
will instruct you in the way you will go." You
need that. I need it.
is that simple. God has designed us as faith creatures.
He has designed us to believe. So I trust God. I believe
in Him. At today's age, I believe in God more strongly than
I ever have in my earthly life.
How does God guide?
In the Bible, God guided His people through angels. I have
never had an experience with an angel. I have people who
have been angels to me, but I've never seen an angel. I'm
not going to deny angels exist just because I didn't see
them. That would be quite non-humble. The Bible says God
guides people … through angels, then also, (2) through prophets. People
who have a vision and they begin to tell you what you can
do, what you can be, where you can go, how you can do it.
You may think that person is only a nice encouraging person,
but he might be a prophet.
God guides through dreams. A dream that becomes a passion you would die for.
Your dream is the reason for living. It is your purpose
for being alive on planet earth. That is how God has especially
guided me. It has been one dream after another.
God guides through … (4) a sense of duty. This is
my testimony. I've always done what I've done because I
had to do it and I knew in my heart it had to be
done and it had to be done this way and in this time. When
there is a sense of duty, then it is God guiding you. Wow.
Finally, God guides through circumstances
that happen, unplanned, unpremeditated. People call that
an accident, but it changes your whole life.
have interviewed many people these past thirty-five years
on the Hour of Power. Hundreds and hundreds of them went
through accidents. Everybody would say they had bad luck,
but for them it turned out to be good luck. Almost everyone,
without exception, said that they wouldn't have wanted to
miss their so-called hardship for anything. I wrote a line
this morning, "We are guided by the set-ups in life."
We get set up for this and set up for that. But here's the
line. God sets up the set ups
in our life! That is how God guides. God guides through circumstances.
wonderful thing about our faith is that God guides us. He
doesn't coerce us. He lets us reject His guidance if we
want to. Yes. If God forced us to follow His guidance, then
we would be puppets or fearful believers, not enthusiastic
followers. God says, "I will guide you" … not, "I will force you."
"I will guide you … not, "I will
manipulate you." Yes, "All
the way from earth to heaven, I will guide you with my eye."
ask you today to have faith in God. It is a choice. It is
a decision, not a debate. Choose what kind of a person
you want to become. When your life ends, will
you face your future with fear? I invite you today to face
your future with hope!
very dear friend, Ruben Amerkhanian, died yesterday. Ruben
joined this church over thirty years ago. The day before
yesterday a telephone call came that he was dying from cancer.
Arvella and I went to be at his bedside at our last time
with him. Twenty-four hours later he was gone. I said to
Ruben, "Ruben are you ready to go?" He nodded
his head, "Yes!" He couldn’t talk. He gripped
my hand so hard. If he could have spoken, I know what he
would have said. He would have said, "I'm marvelous."
The family members were all present and one of his daughters
shared a story, "About twelve years ago when you met
Ruben at church and you asked him, 'How are you doing, Ruben?'
He said, 'Okay.'" And you said, "Okay? That's
not good enough. You have a wife and children and faith.
You should say something better than 'okay.'" Ruben
asked, "Well what should I say?" You said, "I
think you'll be led by God." He looked at you and said,
"Well, I'm marvelous!"
You responded, "Now that is good. That gives
me energy, too."
since that day, his kids told me when anybody asks him,
"How are you, Ruben?" His answer is, "I'm
Even when he was undergoing his chemo treatments he would
whisper, "I'm marvelous." It never failed, all
his life, even at the end. "I'm
"I will instruct you in the way you will go. I will counsel
you with my eye upon you."
promise God has
given to the weary passerby,
"All the way from earth
I will guide you with My eye." *
pray now for all people who are tuning in who have never
been Christians. You need Jesus Christ. All you have to
do is make a decision. Make this decision, "I am going
to become a believer, not a prover, but a believer … I'm going to believe
all the way from earth to heaven. And God, I know You will
guide me. Thank you, Lord. Amen"