#202 (09/10/05)
The Be Happy Attitudes – Rejoice and Be Exceedingly

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

Mark & Diane Button
After years of wanting a family, Mark and his wife Ronnie were overjoyed to learn that they were expecting triplets. But all their hopes were abruptly dashed when Ronnie died suddenly along with their unborn triplets. Mark was faced with the overwhelming void of a now empty future. But God had a future planned for Mark that he was not aware of. Into his life came Diane and they began a new life and family together. Mark and Diane wanted to tell their children of the seasons of life to come, of their love, their memories, their prayers, and their faith.

Tricia Bader-Binford
Tricia Bader-Binford is a dynamic woman who through her faith in Christ has overcome a lot of obstacles, first to get into the WNBA and then to excel with the Cleveland Rockers. When she's not on the courts she's sharing her faith with others through public speaking, enjoying life with a wonderful Christian husband.

Special Music

Hymn
"Joyful, Joyful.."
"Crown Him with Many Crowns"
"The Lord's Prayer"

Anthem:
CLEAR CREEK H.S. SYMPHONIC CHORALE - "Sing a Mighty Song"

Solo:
RANDY STONEHILL - "That's the Way it Goes"
SARAH MARTEL - "He Cares for You"
ANDY CHRISMAN – “Believe”

The Message

This morning I want to share with you some thoughts on joy. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad," Jesus said.

I'm 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.

"Rejoice and be exceedingly glad."

So 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.

And 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!

Point 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.

And 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.

It's 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.

Amazing. Well Jesus did that 2,000 years ago with these 'Beatitudes."

It 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.

Jesus lived. A fact.
He was a believer. It's a fact.
He was a profound Teacher of psychological insights. That's a fact.
It is also a fact that He died.

So 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.

Thirty-three 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.

And 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 people.

And 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 better."

"What 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.

She 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.

"Mary, 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."

I 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.

I 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."

And 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."

Since 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.

Jesus 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.

Dear 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.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give 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.

So 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,


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