My message for you today is a message of where we find power, you know power for life. And for me, I’ve always found my power and my power in living; I found it in the bible. And that’s why we have our new bible called the Power for Life bible because that’s where we find our life and that’s where we find our power. And I received my first bible; in fact this is my very first bible. It is an old revised red-letter edition of the holy bible and it has a little zipper that goes around it. Does anyone recognize these old bibles? I’ll tell you, this was my very first bible and inside it says, “presented to Robert Anthony Schuller by mom and dad October 7th, 1963, his 9th birthday.” Isn’t that nice? And that’s my very first bible. And I took this bible and I actually had different people sign it, I have Catherine Marshall’s signature in here, and Billy Graham’s, and a few other people that you might recognize and this is my original bible that I had as a young man and by the time I got into high school, I was in high school in the late 60’s and early 70’s, so I had what I called my hippy bible. And my hippy bible was actually the living bible, it had just come out, and I made a leather case for it, a homemade leather case and I glued that to the outside of the bible and it had a snap on it, and that’s the bible I used all through high school. And I was sitting in my study today and I was counting how many bibles I have in there, and I counted over 20 bibles in my study alone. That doesn’t include the bibles I have in my home and in the office that I have here in the Cathedral and other places.
And why do I have so many bibles? Its not that I go around collecting bibles. It’s because I find that I have a need for the bible. And that as I find a need, I always want to find a new translation. I always want to find something new and that’s why I have so many bibles. And I do that because that’s where I find my power for life, without question, that’s where I find it.
My son Anthony was probably seven years old, because he could barely read, and we had both, my wife and I had given our children the children’s bible, which is a bible which has a picture and then underneath that picture it has a little story, a bible story, and its probably two, three hundred pages long with maybe 50 stories in it. Well this was the bible he had when he was in second grade, and one day he came running into the house, he was very upset, he went running upstairs to his bedroom and he grabbed his bible and he started heading downstairs and I said Anthony, what’s going on? He goes he’s got to learn. He’s got to learn. I go what’s the matter? He goes my friend doesn’t believe that Jesus exists. He thinks Jesus is fake. I’ve got to show him, I’ve got to show him what the truth is. And he went running outside with his bible, and I looked outside and a couple moments later, here was Anthony and his friend sitting on the steps up to the front door of our house, reading his bible. Today he and his friend are still good friends, in fact his friend, when he became a freshman in high school became a Christian. He then led his whole entire family to Christ, and here is another family who’s committed to Jesus Christ because of the power in the bible. I am convinced that we find our power for life here within these words. That these words speak to us. They penetrate to the very core of who we are and they give us hope when there’s hopelessness, they give us direction when we’re lost, they give us inspiration when we’re down trodden.
So this morning I just want to give you a few words. Words from Jesus which are contained within our bible, and I’m going to read from John chapter 14 and if you have a Power for Life bible, it would be on page 1125 and I’m reading verse 12, that says “Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater works than these because I am going to the father. I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My name and I will do it.” How powerful is that?
Jesus Himself tells us directly, promises to us that if we ask anything in His name, He will do it. When you think there is no hope, there is. You must realize when you feel like you’ve come to the end of your ropes and there absolutely is no hope, that there is hope! The promises are true, the promises are real. As you come before Jesus Christ and you ask Him in His name, you can do all things. You can move mountains, says Jesus. You can change the world. You can do anything that Jesus did in His name.
I have tremendous hope for the future of the church. When my son graduated from seminary on June 14th, 2008, he did not graduate alone. He was not the only person in that class, in fact the president, Richard Mouw, made an announcement. He said we have over 800 students who are graduating today. Did you hear me? 800 students! He says I know for a fact this is the largest graduating class in the history of Fuller Seminary. I am quite confident that this is the largest graduating class in any seminary in history. What does the future hold for the kingdom of God today? And people who claim there is no hope, that the future generations are falling and that they’re just nothing but sex, drugs and alcohol, I want to take you to Fuller Seminary and see what God is doing in the body of Christ today. The future of America, of the world has never been brighter, has never been stronger, and God is doing something in the hearts and the minds of people across this nation and around the world and you can applaud that because God is real.
God is doing a miraculous work in the lives of His church that we’ve never seen before and we are just beginning to see what’s happening in our world.
My son, my other son, Anthony on Tuesday will be leaving for Nepal and Thailand and he’s going to go on a mission’s trip. He’s not going alone he’s going with many, many other young people. My daughter is, her hearts breaking because she wanted to go with them but she was unable to go because she is going to be studying in Oxford this summer. And he’s going to be going over first to Nepal and then to Thailand. In Nepal they’re going to be giving eyeglasses to people who can’t read. They can’t read because they can’t see, they can’t see because they don’t have glasses. They don’t have glasses because they don’t have the means to go and get their eyes examined and they can’t afford to have glasses. So they’re going there with thousands of pairs of glasses, giving them eye exams and allowing them to read for the first time. They’re going to be able to read again. That’s what he’s doing in Nepal and then from there he’s going to Thailand and in Thailand he’s working with a group of people who are helping young girls and young people who are stuck in human trafficking. It’s not uncommon in other parts of the world where families will sell their children when they’re 12 or 13 years old to pimps, who will use these children until they’re of no use anymore and then just toss them away like a piece of garbage. And there are people in the world today who care about this, who are doing something about it and Anthony’s connected with them. And my son Anthony is going to go there and see what he can do to make a difference in the world. I’m telling you we have a generation of young people who are coming up and growing up and going to take a hold of this world and make a difference in the world. If you think there is no hope there is.
First time I went to Thailand was probably twenty years ago. And when I went there I saw this massive elephant who was being used like we would use tractors and like we’d use bulldozers. He was moving logs and he was pulling these huge wagons and he was being used like a tractor. And after he got done doing that his owner took him, put a chain around his back leg, drove a stake in the ground with a hammer and put this chain, one of the links of the chain over the stake in the ground. So this elephant is being contained by one tiny little stake that is driven into the ground. And then the chain goes and goes around his leg. I saw that and I went up to the guy and I said now let me get this straight: you’re going to control this elephant whose been pulling these huge wagons and moving these huge logs and you’re going to keep him right there with this one little stake that you’ve driven into the ground. He says oh yeah, no problem. Why wouldn’t this elephant walk away? And he explained. He said when the elephant is small, we get them when they are small and we train them. Well how do you train them? He says well we put the chain around their leg and then we tie the chain around a banyan tree and for the next couple of years the elephant will pull against this chain that is tied to the banyan tree and after two years he realizes that all he’s going to do is cause pain to his leg by trying to pull the banyan tree. And after a year or so he quits pulling and as soon as he feels any pressure on his leg whatsoever he doesn’t pull. And so at that point all you need to do is replace the banyan tree with a stake and he doesn’t move.
How many of us today are living hopeless lives, living it over and over again because we have been told certain things and believe certain things that hold us back. And yet the promises of Jesus Christ are true and are real. I read them to you today. “You may ask Me for anything in My name and I will do it.” And yet we hold onto the fact that we have no hope. Why? Because a doctor tells us there’s no hope. And I can tell you hundreds of stories of people who’ve been told by doctors there’s nothing we can do and have gone home and have survived.
In fact this week, I met a woman. Had dinner, my wife and I had dinner with this couple, and they shared with us their miracle. The miracle was his wife had lung cancer. And she went and she had the tumor removed, she had chemotherapy and she was clean of the cancer for approximately a year, and only a few months ago, she went back to the doctor because she had some pain and they examined her and she didn’t another tumor in her lung, she had four tumors, two in each: One in the bottom, one in the top, one in the bottom, one in the top. There was nothing the doctors could do. They said there is no hope. She didn’t accept that. And she found a doctor in Korea and he went and he used genetic engineering to change the cancer cells in her body and within a few weeks, the masses were gone and he said you will never get lung cancer again, and she came home and she is well and she is live and she is breathing and that was only 6 months ago. When you think there is no hope, there is! There is always hope as we hold onto the promises and the truth of God’s reality and goodness for us.
But let me conclude by sharing with you a poem. It was written by R.L. Sharp and it says this: “Isn’t it strange that princes and kings and clowns that caper and sawdust rings and common people like you and me are builders for eternity? Each of us is given a bag of tools, a shapeless mass, a book of rules. And each must make your life as flown a stumbling block or a stepping-stone.” As we struggle with challenges in life hold on to hope and take that challenge and turn it into a stepping-stone that leads to the glory of God. For God is at work today tomorrow and always. And he’s using you and all of the struggles you’re having to make a difference.