since this ministry began 48 years ago we have been trying
to motivate people to believe that they can be more than
they ever expected they could be. We call that possibility thinking where we challenge you to open
up your mind to unbelievable possibilities. And that's what
I want to do today, so I ask you the question ... Did you
make New Year's resolutions? I asked that question of someone
recently and he said to me, "No, I don't make resolutions.
I used to, but I break them all the time anyway, so why
make them?" That's a very depressing, pessimistic,
and negative comment. If I were your teacher and you were
my student, I'd give you an "F" for that remark
... You would fail! Sorry about that, but you will need
to take your Possibility Thinking course over, and I'll
give you another test tomorrow. Hopefully, then your answer
will be, "Yes, I made resolutions!"
are very important to those of us who are believers because
a resolution is a commitment to do something and to be somebody
that God wants you to be. Then you will set goals. You become
goal managed. It is very simple ... when you pray to God,
you ask Him, "What do You want me to do with the one
life I have to live? What do You want me to accomplish?
How can I make a difference?" When these are the kind
of prayers you pray, then God will answer your prayers and
give you the grand ideas. Probably that will happen by looking
in the mirror. That's what happened to me in this New Year.
You see, I made a resolution only a couple of weeks ago
to lose 15 pounds between now and Easter ... and I'm sure
I will ... because we are into the bran diet at our house.
sent me a funny story about this man and woman who were
married for 60 years. They were a fabulous couple. She made
sure they ate right and that's why they lived so long. They
probably wouldn't have died as soon as they did, but there
was a plane crash and they went straight to heaven. St.
Peter welcomed them and said, "Well, let me show you
your place." It was a mansion and the maid was hanging
their favorite clothes in the closets.
was ultimate luxury, and the man said to St. Peter, "I
don't know if I can afford this."
St. Peter answered, "This is heaven, this is your reward.
It's free!" (This story has lousy theology, and it's
not biblically correct at all, but it has a fun ending.)
husband saw the most beautiful golf course and he asked,
"What are the fees?"
again, St. Peter replied, "This is heaven, it's free.
But wait 'til you see the brunch."
they came to the brunch and it was beyond imagination ...
the hot foods, cold foods, and fattening desserts ... all
free! The couple had been very careful about what they ate,
no fats, no sugars, no sweets, no frostings, and very low
carbohydrates. The healthiest eating ... and
it was boring! But they lived long. Now, the husband
said, "What's with all the fattening food? We don't
eat these desserts. Where is the low fat stuff? Where is
the healthy food?"
St. Peter replied, "Don't you get it? You are in heaven.
You can eat anything here and it won't hurt you. You won't
get fat. This is heaven, and it's all free."
this time the husband became very angry at his wife and
said, "If you'd cut out those bran muffins we'd of
come here 10 years ago!"
with my resolution to lose 15 pounds I might not get to
heaven soon, but I'm serious about my resolution ... and
I'm affirming that "I Will!"
I Am! I Can! I Will!
a great believer in dreaming dreams, setting goals, and
then making them happen. And through this series of messages
I just want to help you. I want to motivate you. That's
what this ministry does week after week, all over the world;
we motivate people because that's what real religion should
religion should turn people into the kind of persons who
glorify God in their living, in their generosity and in
their intelligence. The purpose of religion is to turn out
persons who will glorify God and enjoy Him forever. How
do you do that? You glorify God when you let God tell you
what He thinks you should do with the gifts that you have
and the talents that He created in you. Then you look at
these possibilities and you say, "Wow, God, I don't
know if I can do that!"
that is where this ministry comes in. Hopefully we will
help you to make your God-given dreams come true. Then you
will experience joy and meaning in every day as you live
a life that will glorify God.
"If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It!"
I Am! I Can! I Will! I Believe!
wrote those affirmations nearly 50 years ago and they have
been quoted and used by many, and I'm grateful and I have
just written a little book with that title. It has only
four short chapters:
Am A Person! God can do something through me because I
am a human being. I am a person. I am a person created in
the image of God.
can make decisions.
can set my goal.
can do more than I am.
I can be more than I've ever imagined.
can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13)
have shared these first chapters the last two weeks and
today we will look at the third chapter ... and this is
the scary chapter.
preaching from experience, I know what I'm saying. It is
pretty safe to dream your dreams to say, "I am," and then to fanaticize what you can do ...
"I can" ... but
it is in this third chapter where the pressure comes. When
you say "I Will!" you put your name on the box. You sign
the agreement. You go public. This is scary because when
you tell others about the dream that God gave you, you have
no guarantee that it will succeed. It's God's way of keeping
you humble. And God does that very well. I know from experience.
the first years of this ministry, I was preaching on the
rooftop of the snack bar of the Orange Drive-In Theater
week after week, month after month, year after year. Then
I was invited to preach the morning sermon in the most prestigious
church in the world, the Marble Collegiate Church in New
York City where Norman Vincent Peale was the pastor. Wow,
was I honored! It was then I began to think ... maybe I
can build a church that would be as great as that one. But
it would be very different ... maybe it was possible to
build it with all glass ... after all, I lived in California.
Maybe I could build a church where the doors would open
and people would sit outside in the garden and in their
cars. I was already very interested in art and architecture,
so my imagination went wild, and it scared me stiff! I was
up to the "I will"
part of my ministry. I didn't want to tell anybody about
was scared. Once I went public, I'd either have to succeed
and pull it off or be called a windbag, a phony and a promotional
con-man. Then in Dr. Peale's study dressing in the pulpit
robe for the service, I saw a calendar on the wall ... on
the calendar was a line and I've used it ever since. I didn't
put the words together, I don't know who did, but this is
rather attempt to do something great and fail, than attempt
to do nothing and succeed."
took the fear of failure out of my heart. That embedded
in me a concept that the only failure I should ever be ashamed
of is that people would said, "Oh, he had great ideas,
but he never dared to try. He was so afraid of failure."
think one of the most difficult things in life is to overcome
the fear of failure. I asked somebody, "Why are you
afraid of failure? Failure is not going to give you cancer."
"Oh," he said, "I'll probably lose a lot
of money. I said, "So what? Money can be earned again.
You don't worship money, so why are you so afraid of failure?"
I challenged him. I think it's because you don't want to
be embarrassed and ashamed. If your friends knew that you
blew it and didn't make it, your ego would suffer too big
a blow. Your self esteem would be in the pits.
fear of failure based on embarrassment is a very real fear!
cannot control you. It cannot make your decisions. Fear
must not manage you. You have to overcome it. It cannot
control your future. You cannot let the fear of failure
control you. You must not surrender leadership to fear!
I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail, than
attempt to do nothing and succeed. Let God use that affirmation to cure your
fear of failure as He did for me. The
only embarrassment that you should be embarrassed about
is if you never had the courage to try. Affirm:
I will ... I will begin to take action ... to do
something. I will solve what is probably my biggest problem
and that is inertia. (Inertia
is when you sit back and you make no public commitment.)
I will break loose from my inertia.
will make a commitment and run the risk of failing! What
is a commitment? I define commitments this way:
A commitment is taking action without an exit strategy!
means I will never walk away from my dream. I
will never walk away from my marriage.
I will never walk from my commitment to this ministry,
I have no exit strategy ... I
leave that up to God! He can come up with a lot of
exit strategies. That's commitment.
will dedicate everything I achieve through
my goals and decisions and give it all to God Almighty.
It was His idea to begin with.
start applying these principles to your life. I have a different
life than you do, but all of us have the same kind of a
challenge ... a challenge to become
the kind of a person that can change the world.
I Am! I Can! I Will!
do you make your dreams come true? Obviously it is a given
when you are in touch with God. In Deuteronomy 31 read how
Joshua is called to lead the Israelites into the Promised
Land. Joshua is called to replace Moses. How does anyone
replace such a great leader? How does a Joshua replace a
Moses? That's scary!
God gave Joshua this message through Moses.
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid;
for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you.
He will not leave you nor forsake you."
with those words of courage and you will never surrender
leadership of your life to fear!
close this message with ten possibility thinking affirmations
to motivate you to do and be in the one life you have to
Affirm I Am! I Can! I Will!
I am God's idea. God planned me to be born ... I
didn't. He picked my parents ... I didn't. He picked the
time of life when I would be born. He picked this place
I am somebody that God can give dreams to!
I have a dream! It comes from prayer. It comes from God.
I will make a commitment and run
the risk of failure!
I will make the big decision that
God wants me to make!
I'm in charge of my dreams. I will not
surrendered leadership to my critics, to the doubters, or
to all those who see something wrong with my dream and nothing
good about it.
I will decide today to move ahead
or to back up; to quit or to succeed.
I will dedicate my success
to God and to Jesus Christ. That includes my life.
I will believe in my tomorrow.
I will become the kind of a person who can change the world!
a Christian if you are not. What the church needs more than
anything else in the world are followers of Jesus Christ.
We need that more than we need money ... or things ... or
more stuff! The church needs more saints ... we need simple
people who look at someone in need of help and say, "Can
I help you?"
church of Jesus Christ needs your support. It really needs
help all over the world. I pray that God will give you a
challenge. Make the right decision. Set a goal. Let's pray:
God, thank you. I am alive for some good reason that You
know better than I do. And I thank You that You give me
challenges and that as I rise to them I come alive and I
become the hands, the feet, the mouth, the voice, the arms,
the body of Jesus Christ in the world giving hope under
the cross. Amen.