You can become a possibility thinker now if you will only believe in yourself. In the book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7, is a favorite Bible verse of mine: “As a person thinks in his heart, so is he.” I’ve tried to summarize that simple Bible verse in a little slogan that I think you can remember: The me I see is the me I will be. The me I see is the me I’ll be.
How do you see yourself today? How do you rate your self confidence? How do you see yourself; as valuable or worthless? I saw a cartoon a while back of two bums sitting on a bench. Their toes were coming out of their shoes. Their clothes were tattered and their hats were disheveled. One bum said to the other bum, “No man is completely worthless; he can always serve as a lousy example!”
How do you see yourself? Well, there are three major emotional demons that I believe block the burst of faith in life that could cause us to become possibilities, possibility thinkers. The three emotional demons are inferiority, inadequacy, and incompetence. In all of these three negative emotions you can find release and with the release you’ll begin to think it’s possible. There is so much negativity in our country today. It’s incredible.
I’ve been traveling a bit the past summer and I know, I’ve been in touch. I mean people look at the unemployment situation they’re concerned. They have a right to be. There’s a wide spread negativity in our country. What’s the solution? The solution is not to look at the problem, but to look at the possibilities. Absolutely. And it all starts when you begin to believe that you can do more than you ever imagined yourself doing.
I spoke at a convention not long ago where there were 2,000 salespersons. Super successful direct sales operation and the leader of it is a woman who dropped out of school. And her father was a university graduate and very successful, a top corporate chief and when his daughter dropped out of high school, he knew this was terrible. So she went through life with a negative self image. I’m nobody, I can’t do anything, I don’t have a high school diploma, etc., etc. She thank God got tuned into our possibility thinking and she made a trip to California and she worshipped in this church.
And then she was introduced to a product, a very good product, a product that people need and a product that has integrity and she heard people say you could become a salesperson. She said, “I can’t be a salesperson. I’m no salesman, never have been. Besides I’m not very smart, I guess.” Then she thought but Schuller says think this possible and you can. So she signed up, she got involved and I spoke to 2,000 of her employees only a few days ago. Super successful!
But it all starts right here in your head and there isn’t a person listening to me who doesn’t have the freedom to choose. You say, “But these are tough times.” I want to tell you something. I mentioned it last week, and I want to mention it again today, in fact what I have done, here is my morning message if you write in, you can get a copy and on the back side I’ve taken this sentence, here it is: “Tough times never last but tough people do.”
If I had the money, I would buy billboards along all of the roads in the United States, all 50 states. If I had the money I would buy billboards in the unemployed cities of America and I’d plaster only one sentence: “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Write in for a copy. Tear off the back page, stick it up in your company bulletin board, put it up in the bookstore or put it in school. Wherever you are, put it up in your home. Tough times never last, tough people do! Wow.
I have made, I think, six trips in the last 20 years to Korea, South Korea. I remember my first trip to Korea, it was right after the war. I have never in my life been in such a bleak, barren, desolate, defeated country. There wasn’t a single green living tree in South Korea. You know why? During the war, times were so tough they cut the trees down. They ate the leaves. Then they peeled the bark and they boiled the bark in water and they kept boiling it until the bark was all boiled and they had a thick, black soup and they lived on the soup, bark soup. And in the sub zero winters, they consumed the wood for fuel until every tree was dead. Tough times, you bet. Calcutta isn’t as bad today as South Korea was 20 years ago. They’re moved into that whole crowd of poor people. Christians. And a Christian thinks in his heart that he’s somebody and he can overcome is a tough person! Tough times never last, but tough people do.
From Korea not many years ago, came a poor little Methodist preacher. Through scholarships he was able to come to the United States to study for a few months. Then he attended our Institute for Successful Church Leadership and he walked on this campus just before the Cathedral was built and he looked at this huge Tower of Hope and the magnificent sanctuary. Do you know what he did? He had a camera and he took pictures of the Tower of Hope and he took a picture of our sanctuary and just before he left, he heard we were going to build a larger building to seat 4,000.
Three years ago, I was in Korea. On Saturday night, I promised that I would speak in his church. All he had was a tent, just a tent but he’d been a graduate of our Institute, he was inspired and he had dreams. Believe anything was possible. So I said I’d preach for him in his ten on Saturday night. But Saturday morning, we got the telephone call of Carol’s accident. We got on the first plane, so I wasn’t able to keep my commitment. And he had about a thousand people in the tent that night waiting to hear this Dr. Schuller from California and he had to tell them that I had to leave because my daughter was in a terrible accident. So I had to break the promise.
Well a couple of weeks ago, I went back to Seoul, Korea, to receive an honorary degree from Hanyang University, and he heard I was coming to town, that I would be there for 48 hours and he told the host at the university that I had to stop and see his church, because, he said, Dr. Schuller promised three years ago he was going to come and then he broke the promise for a good reason. He’s got to stop at my church. Well the only time was in mid day, so I couldn’t believe Korea. Three years time: trees, boulevards, eight lanes of traffic, glorious hotels, and we were driving down the freeway, heading for this place where this little Methodist minister three years before had his congregation in a tent. Guess what I saw rising from along the freeway, the Tower of Hope. No kidding. That building there, duplicated in the skyline of Seoul Korea. Fourteen stories, a cross on the top and next to it, a magnificent Cathedral that seats 4,000 people. Spectacular architecture as beautiful as what we have here and filled with people three times every Sunday. It has become the world’s largest United Methodist church.
Listen: This works! “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Believe it and you can achieve it. Nothing is impossible unless you’re dominated by negative thoughts.
I remember when we started this church twenty-seven years ago. The street in front was two lanes. And you could see smoke curling up north. I wondered if there was a fire and I drove out to look and there were huge mountains of orange trees bulldozed on top of each other. They were being burned and I said, “Why?” and they said, “Oh, somebody’s building a park here.” I said, “Who?” and he said, “Walt Disney.” Disneyland opened and the rest is history.
You know Walt Disney when he was 21 years of age experienced his first total failure. That’s right. Talk about being poor; he lived on sofa, an old sofa. Took the cushions from an old castaway sofa and slept on them. His food? Beans out of a tin can. Beans out of a tin can. Soup made out of bark. Tough times never last but tough people do!
How tough are you? I’ll tell you something: you are tougher than you think you are. You are tremendous. Here’s why: You have the freedom today to set any goal you want to set. Period. You have the freedom this morning to pick any dream you want to pick. And I’ll never get finished telling people. I know great people, personal friends of many of them. I could be a name dropper but once you’re a friend of Jesus Christ, any other name dropping is peanuts. But I’ve learned there are no great people. That’s an illusion. It’s an error of perception. There are no great people. They’re just ordinary people, only some have made bigger decisions, picked bigger dream. You choose the dream and from that point on, the dream will choose your future. And if you’re unemployed today, you’re lucky. I mean you’re free to start something new. Absolutely. It takes guts to leave the ruts. You would never have had the nerve to quit, to go into business for yourself.
The me I see is the me I’ll be. Now, of course, there are always those who will carry it a bit too far. I remember the story of the.. funny, the guy was leading the parade down the street, he had the band and the trombonist became ill at the last minute. And so he put out a call for a trombonist and one young man stepped forward, was suited up and they were marching down the street, they got into their number and the trombonist was horrible. When it was all finished, the band leader said, “Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t play the trombone?” The kid said, “How did I know – I never tried it before!”
You know Walt Disney said something. When they asked him how did you get from a can of beans and a failure and living on sofa cushions outdoors? How did you get from there to where you are? He said, “I never knew what I couldn’t do.” I never knew what I couldn’t do. So I was willing to try anything. That’s possibility thinking.
What are you going to try to do? What are your goals? What are your dreams? How do you see yourself? The me I see is the me I’ll be. Today, I want you to draw a picture in your mind by asking this question: “What new goals would I set for myself if I could be sure that I would succeed?” Think about it. Pray about it. And get ready to act on it.
You know what? Paul said it: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Where do I get my dreams? Where do I hope you’ll get yours? Why, from Jesus Christ. God put you in this world. He has a dream. Open up. “As a man thinks in his heart, as a woman thinks in her heart, as a young child thinks in his heart, so is he.”
I remember this past year going to a conference introduced to one of the top salespersons a young man 22 years of age. The young man was diagnosed a few years ago with cystic fibrosis. At the sales conference, he was honored, honored because he was the leading salesperson. He went into sales. After he found out he had cystic fibrosis because when he had this fatal disease, nobody would hire him. He was told, “You won’t live long. It’s fatal.”So he sat at home waiting to die. His father and mother were poor. They could hardly pay the medical bills. But then he thought, “Well just because I’m going to die young, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t live it up; do something great with what I’ve got left.” And then he thought well I could, I guess, become a salesperson. He became a salesman and when I saw him, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. He said, “Do you know why I’m wearing this Hawaiian shirt? Because,” he said “after I made enough money to buy a house for my father and mother, and after I made enough money to put a savings account aside so that all of my funeral expenses were taken care of, I decided what will I do with the rest of the money. I gave some to the Lord, a lot of it. I still had some left and I decided to take my mother and my father to Hawaii and we just got back and we had a wonderful time!” He was just skin and bones under the Hawaiian tee-shirt with a tan. I think he’s died since then. But boy he’s alive for he knew his Lord. And he’s discovered something that I’ve shared with you this morning, and that is: Tough times never last, tough people do!