morning I want to share with you some thoughts on joy. "Rejoice
and be exceedingly glad," Jesus said.
astounded. Here He is, barely past 30 years of age and He
has given us 8 fundamental principles on joyful living.
And stop and think. He didn't have the kind of an education
many of us have had today. He didn't have the understanding
of the dynamics that affect human personality, but He taught
them, so He was gifted. He was, I truly believe, the divine
Son of God. How else could He know that positive things
can come out of decedent situations.
and be exceedingly glad."
I want to give you a reality religion thought this morning.
There are fantasy religions and then there is a reality
religion. I embrace a reality religion. It is a reality,
not a fantasy, that there was a person Who lived, and His
name was Jesus Christ. And very interestingly only recently
did they find an ossuary with His name engraved on it, and
the student of that subject was a guest here only a few
weeks ago. There is no doubt there lived a Man named Jesus
of Nazareth. That's reality. It's not fantasy.
if you don't want to believe in Christianity, if you don't
want to believe in God, for goodness sakes don't deprive
yourself of the privilege of believing in this human being
named Jesus Christ. He lived. That
is a reality! Not a fantasy!
number 2: It is also a reality that He was a believer. He
believed in a sovereign God. A God who is eternal.
A God who is sovereign. A God who is intelligent. A God
who's affectionate. A God who is not just a cosmic force
of energy working through stones and humans and creatures,
and plants and flowers. But He believed that God was an
intelligent, creative force in the universe, and claimed
in fact to be a part of that God as the Son of God. Now
that's a reality.
if any of you are dubious about God, then stop and say,
who should I trust? My doubts, or Jesus faith. And that's
why I could never be an atheist, I could never be an unbeliever.
It would be the height of arrogance, egotism to trust my
doubts more than the faith of Jesus. That doesn't make sense.
So, Jesus was a believer. Now that's why I'm a believer.
I am a success because I have learned to believe in people
who are smarter than I am on specialized subjects. And Jesus'
special subject was God.
reality religion. He lived. He was a believer. Reality religion!
Jesus was a teacher of profound
insights into psychological behavior. I am so happy that
God guided me to come into theology from the psychology
world, because it gives me a tremendous appreciation for
the insightful wisdom of this Young Man from Nazareth.
Well Jesus did that 2,000 years ago with these 'Beatitudes."
starts off with the Beatitude, "Blessed
are the poor in spirit," which means happy is
the guy who will admit that he doesn't have all the answers,
and that some of his answers might be wrong, and then he
still has a lot to learn. That's what it means to be poor
in spirit. Wow.
lived. A fact.
He was a believer. It's
He was a profound Teacher of psychological
insights. That's a fact.
It is also a fact that He died.
far, follow me, this is reality religion! And it becomes
reality therapy turning despair to joy. Disappointment to
optimism. Wow. It's reality. He lived. He believed in God.
He was a Teacher, and He died young.
years old when He died, and He wasn't tricked. He wasn't
trapped. He sacrificed His life. It was a decision He made
to prove to the world that any minus can be turned into
a plus. And that's what the cross is the world's biggest
plus sign. You can turn your obstacles into opportunities.
You can turn your problems into possibilities. You can draw
dividends from your difficulties. You can gain from your
pain. That's reality therapy. Get it. Grasp it.
I don't know how to get it and how to grasp it without getting
Jesus Christ into your life, which leads me to the fifth
principle of reality religion and that is: it is a reality
that Jesus lives today. Now, I don't know how but I do believe
the Bible is the truth when it says that He was resurrected.
I cannot explain that from a scientific perspective but
I can tell you what matters. The faith that He believed
in, the faith that He held, the faith that He taught, the
faith that rips me, that I'd die for. That faith is more
alive today in the world than it's ever been, and that's
the truth. And we see it if we look for it in unexpected
times and places. It's amazing how His faith lives through
the faith lives because
it's positive not negative.
There's joy, of the most beautiful type of joy. The joy
that puts tears in your eyes and you cry. Not out of despair,
not out of cynicism, not out of wickedness, but out of love.
That's the kind of faith I have. I can cry easy, because
there's a Spirit in my heart, I call that Spirit the presence
of my savior Jesus Christ. And that gives me happiness.
Courage to hang on in the face of struggle, happiness, the
faith that God will have the last
word and it'll be good. You know I see it happening
all the time and I remembered many years ago a wonderful
family in this church. They're not with us anymore. There're
gone. But they called me and said, "Dr. Schuller, you
know our daughter, we'll call her Mary, went to Berkley.
She's there now, and she's gotten into drugs. She's coming
home for Easter, but she said to us, 'I'm coming home, but
I'm not going to church with you.'" Well, she always
came to church. They said, "Mary what's up?" She
said, "You may just as well know, I found something
did you find?" She said, "Its called LSD."
"So Dr. Schuller we just think that maybe God could
use you to help straighten her out. Would you see her if
we can get her to come in?" I said, "of course.
Of course I will." So in the Holy Week they made an
appointment. They came. Father, mother, very familiar friends
in this church. And they almost pushed this blond hair,
college age, pretty girl into my study. You could just see
her whole body was resisting the move.
sat down without invitation. She just plumped herself in
a chair and dropped her chin. And her eyes were round, solid.
I said, "Mary, how are you doing?" She didn't
answer. I said to her mom and dad, "why don't you leave
us alone?" So they left us alone.
your folks tell me you're into drugs." "Yeah."
"LSD?" "Yeah." "Why Mary? Why?
That doesn't bring you happiness." "Oh it does
too. I like it. It's a trip. Gives me a high. A lot better
than just being board."
said, "Mary, but it's a dangerous high." She just
stared at me with eyes that looked like they had no soul.
As if she was in that moment spaced out. I don't think she
was. I said "Mary, let me tell you about a high I had
the other day." I said, "I'll tell you my high.
It's true." This morning I would use the word reality
religion, not fantasy faith.
told her, I said, "you know I was praying and I was
thinking that I was dreaming beautiful dreams, great visions
of what this ministry could be and how we can change lives.
And I felt the presence of Jesus, Mary. Let me tell you
what happened. I started to cry. My eyes filled with tears
and they rolled down my cheeks. Wow. I had an emotional
high! I'll bet you couldn't match that with any drug, or
any chemical. And it was healthy, human, out of the organism.
It was reality religion. It was fantastic."
then I noticed her eyes were getting round and they were
coming alive, and there was a mist. I said, "Mary,
you're getting it. I can see it in your eyes. Your eyes
are misty. Now they're warm. They're alive. There's an emotion
coming through. It's a very healthy spirit. Mary, let it
flow. Let it come. Don't hold it back! Don't be embarrassed!"
And then she started weeping, and I moved toward her and
took my finger and picked up the tears. And she reached
out and hugged me and sobbed, and sobbed, and said, "I
love You, Jesus. I do love You."
then she met and married a Christian. Since then she gave
birth to 3 beautiful children. Since then it's a wonderful
Christian young family.
lived! Reality. He died! Reality. He rose again, He is alive. Don't ask me to explain it. It's not a decision, I
mean it's not an argument. It's a decision. Joy. Joy. Joy.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Let's pray.
God, we thank You that we're dealing this morning with a
reality. The story of a Man who lived and died and whose
Spirit rules the world of religion today. Respected. And
now I thank You Jesus that You have touched so many lives.
There's somebody right here now this very moment who is
beginning to think about accepting You. They're going with
it. They're going on with it. They're embracing You as their
Lord and Savior. You're changing their life Jesus. Amen.
Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom
come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as
we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom and the
power and the glory, forever. Amen.
now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make
His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. And
may God give you His peace in your going out and in your
coming in, in your lying down and in your rising up, in
your labor and in your leisure, in your laughter and in
your tears until you come to stand before Jesus in that
day in which there is no sunset and no dawning,