All of us should position ourselves to see the future with optimism and with hope. And that will only happen as we exercise faith, because optimism and enthusiasm just doesn't drop out of the sky. It's not something you can eat or drink. It's something that bubbles up from the depth of your own heart and soul. And it comes when you exercise leadership over your own life, and your destiny.
If you've just joined us this morning, for the first time, will those who have been here every week please allow me to re-cap for the benefit of those who haven't been here every Sunday. We began by taking a look at the book of Genesis in the Holy Bible and we looked at a man called Adam. And we saw how clearly it's written that he was created in the image of God. And God said to him, “I have created this beautiful world and I'm putting you in charge of it. I'm giving you authority and dominion. Take good care of it! Take good care of this planet and all of the life that's on it and in it, Adam.” Adam: the human being and you were the first. You are born to be a leader. You will have to make many decisions.
You know, we hear a lot about power and control today and I’m often listening to people saying in criticism of others that they all want power and control. Well we don’t have time to turn this into a power and control lecture, but where does the need for power and control come from? Basically, it is a very normal, natural, healthy root in the human being because we are decedents of Adam who was told by God that we would have dominion! We were created to be power and control persons because we are told that we have to make our own decisions and we all make our own decisions or we surrender leadership to forces that are totally manipulated in their use of humans. Leadership is absolutely important. We all need some power and control over temptations, to take the lesser road instead of the higher road.
We looked at Moses. And we, if you remember, we remember watching Moses growing up in the palace of Egypt. No wonder he was called Prince of Egypt for 40 years until he left and then lived for 40 years with Midianites in the desert. And at the age of 80 was called by God to lead the people Israel out of Egypt, where they virtually lived as slaves, and bring them to a promised land.
And you remember how Moses took a classic negative thinking attitude toward his call. Just like some of you are doing listening to me right now. And I'm going to change you. No, I'm not, God will.
Here Moses is called by God to a leader. What a great opportunity. What an awesome challenge. He says, “Look God, I can't even talk. I ss...I ss...I-I stutter. And look God, the people won't listen to me. They won't believe me.” Finally, Moses says, “find somebody else.”
And God says, “What is in your hand, Moses? What gifts have I given you? What talents? What's in your hand? What opportunities do you face? What's in your hand, Moses!? Make the most of it!”
Leadership: It starts with a principle that we must choose to be persons and that's exercising power and control over decisions that we have to make, or we'll surrender ourselves to the mercy of forces that are not designing our benefit in their planning and in their programming. And then, we have to look at what we have in our hand. Then it's time to dare to say yes. Never say no. Say yes, if. Yes, when. Yes, but. Yes, after. Yes, even before I have all the answers. But don't say no.
And today is the last word in achieving leadership success in your private, or your public life. It's very simple. Success, the last word, the word is begin. I mean begin. Stop dreaming. Stop thinking. Move from daydreaming to live action. Success: start small but think tall.
One of the things I'm running into in my years of dealing with people on this subject is that too many young people want to start big on top quick. And it doesn't work that way. If it does work it's an exception. And it creates a bigger problem to the successful person who starts too big, too fast, than it does to the person, who grows slowly, solidly, surely, steadfastly with a sustaining inner spiritual strength.
I happen to be on the board of Horatio Alger. In fact this weekend, Thursday and Friday, we'll have our board meeting. Now that's an awesome collection of friends. But now let me tell you something about them. Every year we have to look at about 2000 nominations for new members that can receive the Horatio Alger Award. Of the 2000, 10 will be selected. They will come from science. They will come from industry. They will come from the humanities. They will come from the arts. They will come from athletics. It's a tough decision to choose the ten that will join this year. But here's the thing: Everyone nominated and accepted must give evidence that they started at the bottom! And everyone sitting around that table, no matter how rich or famous they may be, they all had to give evidence that they started with virtually nothing! And look around that table and oh, the first office was the back seat of his car. And his first warehouse was the trunk of his car! And he expanded from the trunk of a car into the garage! And from there he went on. Or she went on. Start at the bottom. Start small but think tall!
Infinite possibilities in little beginnings if God is in it. That's the theme that sums up leadership today. And if you have a dream and you have an opportunity, you'll look at what you have in your hand. What do you have in your hand? A chance to go to school. Wow. What do you have in your hand? An opportunity to expand your education. Wow. What do you have in your hand? Oh, you live in a country where you're free to set up your own business. Wow.
What do you have in your hand? A promise of God that recovery is possible. That if you will exercise the therapy and take care of your body you can recover. Some of you are listening to me from a hospital where you had your first chemotherapy treatment the past few days, and I have no idea where you are, but there are surely many people like that listening.
What's in your hand? Why, care. Medical treatment. New drugs. New possibilities for healing and living longer than you ever expected. Now what? There are infinite possibilities in little beginnings if God is in it. Start small. Think tall.
You've all heard me tell how I wrote my first book. Maybe you didn't. When I came here to begin this church, Mrs. Schuller and I had only $500 and there were no members. And the only place to start a church we found was in a drive-in theater.
We started small. But there were infinite possibilities in these little beginnings. I was sure of it. And I made a promise with my wife and the two of us made a promise on our knees to God Almighty. And we said, “The rest of our life we will devote to You, Lord, in building a church that can do something beautiful in the world.” And we have dedicated our whole life here.
Now, we belonged to a denomination and the salary that I am paid was set by my denomination. It's very small. And my concern was I got five kids and I want them to be able to go to college. Now I'll never earn enough money as a minister to do that. So I prayed. And I was motivated in prayer to write a book. And write a book and tell people through books what God is doing.
I don't know how to write a book. But I'll never forget the time I took out the typewriter and I put a piece of paper through it. I was motivated by a line I learned in college from my history professor, who said one time, “beginning is half done.” I thought if that's the truth I'll start.
I put the paper in the typewriter and I can still remember I'm not a typist; I'm a one, two finger typist like this. And I wrote on that paper the title: "Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking," by, at the bottom, Robert Schuller. And I pulled it out. Oh, I'm an author.
Beginning is half done! Start small. Think tall. There are infinite possibilities in little beginnings if God is in it. I kept that piece of paper. Sometime along the way I threw it away. I wish I had it. I'd frame it today. It didn't take much to become an author. A piece of paper in a typewriter.
What am I saying? There are infinite possibilities in little beginnings! If God is in it! And God is into you! Whoever you are! Wherever you are! Young or old! Tiny or small! I don't care. Every human being is a person! And God has a plan for every person. He has a dream. What is in your hand? Oh, dare to say yes. But, right now, be prepared.
Infinite possibilities in little beginnings, if God is in it. What is in your hand? Reach for the clay. Look for the book. Pick up some exercise equipment. Or pause alone to pray and then ring for the nurse and say I'm ready for my chemotherapy shot. Be a leader! Tomorrow has never happened before. Tomorrow will be here in less than 24 hours. Tomorrow is coming like it or not and guess what: it’s the greatest gift you can get because tomorrow for you is free. There’s no admission price. Tomorrow with that little bit of faith in God, you'll find something and begin to go at it.
Dear Lord, this is a great day. This is a great church. This is a great world; it’s a great human race. Dear Lord, this is a great faith. Jesus Christ thank You. You are our Lord, You are our Savior, You are our big possibility thinker and You’re saying to us again this morning, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can say to your mountain MOVE, and it will move and nothing, nothing will be impossible.” We've got the faith. You've got the power. Let's make it a great week together You, Jesus Christ and me, Amen