#176 (10/04/05)
Don’t Throw Away Tomorrow Part X

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Four time Olympic gold medalist and national champion swimmer, Janet Evans. Well Janet is currently the spokesperson for McDonald’s and Speedo. She is also a board member of Special Olympics Southern California and the Amateur Athletic Foundation. Janet continues to use her passion for sports and Jesus Christ to minister a powerful and positive message to millions around the world.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Rise Up, O Church of God "
" We Build a New Tomorrow "
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”


ANDY CHRISMAN – “Complete”

The Message

My father and I are continuing through a series of message from his new book entitled "Don't Throw Away Tomorrow, Living God's Dream for Your Life." Today I will be taking a look at the chapter which is entitled "Stay Focused on your Goal." This is a very important message that we need to hear. Stay focused on your goal. Our Bible text comes from

Philippians 3:13-14, which says:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize

for which God has called me.

Powerful passage isn't it? Forgetting what is behind. Straining towards what is ahead, pressing on towards the goal which God has called me. Those are our four points, just as plain and simple and clear as can be. To help you remember them, I've put them all in a sequential series of words that all begin with the letter P.

1.       Passion, forgetting what is behind.

2.       Patience, straining towards what is ahead.

3.       Persistence, pressing on towards that goal.

4.       Providence, the prize for which God has called me.

Passion, you know one of the missions of this church is to strengthen marriages, to bind friendships and to equip families to be all that they can be. That is one of the main missions and goals of this ministry.

I have a good friend of mine, who is a tremendous man of God. He shared with me that his men's Bible study, his House of Power, challenged him to take a look at his own life. The group knew that he hadn't seen his brother for four years. Yet, his brother only lived four miles away. There was absolutely no excuse for not seeing his brother. He had excuses, but the group challenged him to once again call his brother. He called his brother and a time was arranged for them to meet and have lunch.

On his way there he got a call from a good friend. His friend said to him, "if you go and have lunch with your brother, chances are you will talk about superficial things for about an hour. At the end of the hour, you will part ways and nothing is going to change. If that happens, I want you to stop him and say, what must I do to get my brother back?" My friend said it was prophetic. After an hour of chit chat, my friend's brother got up to leave; so, my friend stopped his brother and said, "what must I do to get my brother back?" My friend said everything changed. His brother's entire countenance on his face changed. A tear came out of his eye. He said "maybe we could have lunch again next week." The ice was broken and the passion was ignited. Today they are brothers again, not just brothers on a family chart, but brothers in spirit.

Today there are marriages which are not marriages in spirit. They are just marriages on paper. Today God wants you to put the passion back in your marriage. He wants you to put the passion back into your family. He wants you to put the passion back into the dreams and the goals that you have so you can experience the joy that He wants you to have as a person today. Stay focused on your goal.

After my friend had challenged his brother to tell him what he had to do to be a brother again, he received an email from his brother. The email went through a whole list of you shouldn't have done this and you did that, etc.  My friend said to me, "I had an excuse for it all and I wrote this huge incredible email in response; but, I did not send it, instead I hit the delete button. Suddenly I realized, this is wrong. I just needed to forgive him and ask him to forgive me." Forget the past and strive for what is ahead. The passion comes when we forget what is behind and we start straining for what is ahead. That requires a lot of patience because we expect immediate results in our society today.

We expect our marriages to immediately get better. We expect our family problems to immediately go away and we expect our bank accounts and our job status to immediately climb to the highest points of success. It just doesn't happen quite that way. The Bible says wait on the Lord. To wait means we have to be very, very patient.

I am a fisherman by hobby. Over the years, having caught a lot of fish, I have learned something very important. The first thing is that big fish are harder to bring in. When you catch a big fish, they don't swim to the boat. They swim the other way. It takes a lot of patience to bring in a big fish. Once in a while you catch a small fish who thinks he is a big fish. He still doesn't swim to the boat. He's tough. You fight a small tough fish like a big one and then you realize he isn't a big fish at all. He's just one of those tough fish. Once in a while you catch a keeper. A keeper is a big tough fish. That means they are strong. When you catch them, you know you have definitely caught a fish. It takes incredible patience to bring in those big strong fish. I have fought fish for nearly three hours to bring them in. They have dragged my boat over ten miles. It takes patience and if you try to horse them, you will never bring them in. You'll never succeed if you try and horse them in.

What do we do in our life, when we get a great big tough fish on the line? We say, "I'm going to tackle this thing. I'm going to bring him in right now. I'm going to show him who is boss. I'm stronger than him." We try to muscle him in and he just breaks the line and he is gone. It's over. Life doesn't work that way.

I look at one of the biggest problems that America has today, obesity. Do you realize the implications that obesity has on our society today? It's the number one growing problem in health today. To conquer the obesity problem, we have to experience a lifestyle change. Lifestyle change means that we change the way we eat. We either give up all of our sweets and our desserts; or, we start exercising regularly or do both. If you don't do those things for the rest of your life, you are going to continue on the path to becoming more and more obese, and have more and more health problems. It is just a national epidemic. I am not telling you anything you don't already know. I am just reminding you. I am reminding you to have the patience that it takes to make it happen and change your lifestyle.

Then there is persistence. We need to stay focused on our goals. What does that mean? We're forgetting what is behind. We reignite the passion in our life, to become the person that God wants us to be. We do it patiently, straining toward what's ahead, realizing that day by day God is going to equip us and give us the ability it takes to accomplish what he has called us to do. With persistence, pressing on towards the goal, we succeed. Have you ever noticed that if you know something is possible, you are much more persistent? If I gave you a puzzle and said, "I guarantee there is a solution to this puzzle." You would spend ten times more time than if I handed you the same puzzle and said, "it's impossible. No one has ever solved it."

In the Bible God says, "all things are possible." All things are possible, because if God has given you a vision, an understanding, and a goal for your life, he gave it to you because it is possible, not because it's impossible. To accomplish our goals it requires us to hold on to the passion, with patience, and persistence.

Finally we conclude with providence. The prize for which God has called is providence. The prize is from God and is something that God has decided to give to us. You work as hard as you possibly can, you do everything you possibly can, but when the rubber meets the road, whatever the result happens because God wants it to happen.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize

for which God has called me.

(Philippians 3:13-14)

It is Passion. It is Patience. It is Persistence and Providence, all working together like one beautiful family. My father has written a creed he entitled The Possibility Thinker's Creed. Do you know it?

The Possibility Thinkerˇ¦s Creed

When faced with a mountain, I will not quit.

I will keep on striving until I climb over,

find a pass through, tunnel underneath,

or simply stay and turn the mountain

into a gold mine with God's help.


Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are here, that you are alive, that you are filling us with your spirit and your power to accomplish that which you have for our lives. Now strengthen us, and give us the vision to move forward with you. Amen.

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