Well last week I was sharing a message with you on power for life and I had a three-point message and the sad thing is I only got through my first point. So I figured I’d just take off where I left off last week. Because my first point last week was really to answer a statement: when you think there is no hope there is. And we talked about hope.
Now point two of my message last week was to look at the next statement: when you think you have all the answers you don’t. And the fact is that nobody has all the answers. Life is complex, life is full of mysteries and as a result of that no one has all the answers. You know Jesus was very deliberate in His messages and in His statements.
And I’m going to read today from Matthew 7. It’s the words of Jesus Christ and in Matthew 7, in fact if you have a Power for Life bible it’s on page 989. If you have another bible then you have to look at Matthew 7. It says this: “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way that you judge others you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own? How can you say let me take the speck out of your eye when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” In ignorance we make statements and make projections that do not share the love of Jesus Christ. And the greatest commandment of all was summarized in these things, “Love one another as I have loved you,” said Jesus.
Last night I was having dinner with my wife and my daughter. And we were talking about different subjects and my daughter said something, I can’t remember what it was but I said oh I’m copasetic with that. And she hesitated; she goes what is copasetic? I said it means it’s cool, I’m in line with that, it works you know? She goes that’s a cool word. I’m going to remember that one. And with that we started talking about words. And the conversation turned to us talking about a couple words that sound similar and have similar situations. For instance she was describing her apartment and it’s décor as being eclectic, which makes sense for a college aged person. Isn’t it? Eclectic, it means everything you can collect out of anything that will fit in your apartment. That’s the definition of eclectic you know? So she said you know there are words that sound the same and the meanings are somewhat the same. Like eclectic and eccentric. I go oh that’s fascinating! And then she said, and this is the one I want you to hear, like arrogance and ignorance. And I stopped and I thought for a minute, wow! That is really profound.
And it dawned on me that most arrogance is based in ignorance. And that most judgment, when we judge others is based on ignorance. Not having all the facts, not having the knowledge, not having the background, not understanding. In psychology when criticism is understood it’s known as projection. So that we as individuals when we criticize and are negative towards others we’re really projecting our own emotional garbage and backgrounds and we criticize others. It’s that old statement where one finger pointing at somebody else has three fingers pointing back at you. It is very true. It’s been proven psychologically, it’s known as projection and we do this. Arrogance and ignorance; they’re two words that sound similar and have similar meanings.
Proverbs 16:9 says this, “In their hearts human beings plan their course but the Lord establishes their steps.” We make plans, we make ideas, we have hopes, we have dreams, we’re working towards our destination and all of the sudden we get news. Tragic news. Bad news. News of a crisis. Cancer, foreclosure, death of a family member, a son, a child, all of a sudden the steps, the plans, the thoughts, the directions that we had always created for ourselves take an immediate right hand turn or a left hand turn and life is changed in the blink of an eye.
I had a dear friend of mine, Rusty Turner. He was about my age when he contracted cancer. It was oral cancer and he put up a good fight against that disease. And he fought it for several years and it kept coming back and I watched him just slowly melt away. He was down to about a hundred pounds and a meager existence and the end was pretty close and I went and counseled him and I said ‘Rusty are you ready to die?’ And he said ‘yeah, I’m very ready to die.’ And then he said something that I wrote down and I’ll keep with me the rest of my life. He says, ‘I don’t know the hand of God, but I know that He has His hand on me.’ And that is the understanding and the realization that we need to come to as people of faith to embrace the mysteries of God. That we do not have all the answers and when you think you do, you don’t. That there are answers in life that continue to twist and turn so that we can live the Christian life that God has called us to live, not one of criticism but one of love. Not one of pointing fingers at other people but one of an open hand inviting people in. Not coming to conclusions about a certain individual that happens to walk into a room.
When Brian and I walked in this room I saw everybody looking at Brian. I don’t think there was a single eye looking at anything but Brian. Brian walks in with not one big ponytail in the back, not two pig tails but eight long braids. And I looked very carefully, they’re real, they’re his hair. He didn’t just stick them on. It’s not a wig he’s wearing. He’s real. If I see somebody on the street like that, I’ve got to be honest with you certain characteristics and emotions come across that are critical and they’re not necessarily ones of oh there goes a wonderful Christian man. And yet God loves everybody and He doesn’t make His judgments upon how we look. Where we have the hair a certain way and we don’t have any tattoos on us and we’re wearing the right clothes, we’re wearing a suit and tie therefore oh he’s good, he’s not. God doesn’t judge us on what we wear. He doesn’t judge us by the way we do our hair. But the fact is that God judges us by what’s in our hearts and in our souls and in our minds.
You know the Christian faith has many mysteries. And many of these mysteries will never be answered and that’s why the Christian faith is called the Christian faith because it requires us to take an actual step in faith and to believe because the answers that we need are found within the bible. Not every answer to every question in the entire world is found within the bible but every answer that we need in life is found within the bible. And that’s why it’s spelled b-i-b-l-e: Basic information before leaving earth. Okay? So you have everything you need. You have the power that you need for life within these pages. And as we put our faith within this and even though there are so many mysteries. For instance, how many days do we have before we come face to face with Jesus Christ? Only God knows. Only God knows. And so there are mysteries. And when I experience bad news and crisis I rely upon my faith. My faith upon these words that we have within the bible and so when I experience bad news and crisis does it rock my faith? No. My faith has been and is rocking me. And that’s the difference. Faith means we just jump in with both feet. There comes a point where you have to put your whole self in. And you put your whole self in and you jump in with both feet. And when you do that you are grounded in a faith that has the ability to change your life forever.
Perfect example: Brian Welch what a changed life! He jumped in with both feet and then he was baptized and it changed his life forever. Did he have all his questions answered? No way! There are mysteries that will always be out there, questions that cannot be answered. But the ones that are important are here. And the truth is the sooner you jump in, the sooner you’re going to find relief and opportunities and healing and hope and faith. And when we do we can exemplify that faith.
My son Robert Vernon Schuller was the honored speaker at his commencement last week when he graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary and in his address he shared his testimony. I’d never heard this testimony of his before. He said he was talking with a gentleman and this guy was a piano player. My son is a piano player, in fact he loves jazz; he’s a tremendous jazz player. If you ever have a chance to hear him play the piano he’ll probably play some jazz for you and he’s written some music. Anyway he was talking to this guy about playing the piano. He says well if you want to hear me play I have a meeting tonight and in fact if you’ll come to my meeting tonight I’ll not only play, I’ll dedicate a song to you. And I don’t think Bobby believed it. He was in high school and he was going through some tough times, but he went to the meeting anyway. And the guy went to the piano; he says do you know what? I was talking with a young man today and I said I was going to dedicate this song to him and I don’t know whether he’s here or not, but this song’s for this young man I was talking to today. Bobby knew it was him and he knew he was talking about him. And he said I saw faith exemplified and that made all the difference. He saw faith in action and that’s what worked.
This morning we’re going to have an opportunity; you’re going to have an opportunity to be baptized. And if you’ve never been baptized I invite you to come today after the music is played, after the benediction is given and as everybody is leaving the church today, I know some of you who have never been baptized want to be baptized. And you can be baptized today. I’m going to come to the front of the church and if you want to be baptized, I’ll baptize you. And so I invite you to do that today. So when everybody else is leaving the church, come to the front and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit of God given to us and commanded by Christ to do, to repent and be baptized. And so it is that we don’t have all the answers. In fact when you think you have all the answers you don’t. And so take a leap of faith and jump in today with both feet. God’s calling.
And today he and my other son are in Nepal. Now they’re in Nepal and what they’re doing is they’re giving eye exams to men and to women who live there and don’t have glasses. They can’t afford them, they don’t have the examinations. And they’re giving glasses to people who otherwise would not be able to read. And we got a report this morning; in fact my youngest son Anthony called my wife and I today and said it’s been the most amazing experience. He said twenty-five people yesterday committed themselves to Jesus Christ. And today another fifteen people committed themselves to Jesus Christ. And he said God’s doing some amazing things here in Nepal. And God is alive and He’s real and He’s calling people around the world to come and to experience faith and hope through Jesus Christ and that’s what’s happening in our world today. Faith is faith exemplified. It means doing what we can do when we can and how we can.
Helen Keller who was blind, def and mute said these words: She said, “I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” And so I encourage you today to do the things you can do. To express the love of Jesus Christ by reaching out with an open hand, embracing and loving all people regardless of what they look like, regardless of what they smell like, regardless of what perceptions you might have upon what they should be. Allow the love of Jesus Christ to flow through you and love everybody.