Hear the word of God from Psalm 18. "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me up on high places."
Well, I'm a believer in God. I can't prove it. Someone said to me, "You might be wrong." And I said, "Maybe I am, but if I am wrong, I'm sure glad I followed this way." Because things have happened in my life that I can't explain if I deny the presence and the power and the peace of God. I'm a believer. I'm a believer today, more than ever before in my life.
Now, live the life committed to faith and you'll live a WOW life.
I've chosen to give these few words a little title. The title is, "How to put a WOW in your tomorrows!" I have a WOW in my tomorrows. I have never in my life been more excited, more enthused, more optimistic, more turned on with an inner spiritual energy than I am today. My tomorrow has a WOW in it and I want to tell you how I got it, where it comes from because I think you can use the principles. There are four principles that I've lived with and still do. How do you put a WOW in your tomorrows? I mean, let me take a moment to tell you, it's so important.
I only read recently the article by an op-ed piece in Time Magazine, The Paradox of Prosperity, written by Nancy Gibbs. It's a profound article. Really, what she's saying is we live more prosperous today than we've ever lived before in the United States of America and yet there is an anxiety level that is profoundly disturbing. How do you explain it?
A psychiatrist said, in an another article, Burned Out But Bored, Dr. Dahl, Ronald Dahl, whom I do not know, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Dahl writes, "We are burned out and bored." He took his kids on a day out, took them on big thrilling rides in one of the amusement parks. And when it was all finished they were kind of bored. They really didn't get the kick out of it that he thought they would. A very profound insight by this psychiatrist who says that we are offered so much stimulation that today what should excite us doesn't excite us. What should turn us on doesn't turn us on. What happened to the WOW?
If you watch television, and some kids still watch far too much television, and they see the chase and the shooting and the killing, pretty soon it's boring. Over stimulation leads you quickly to a dull life because what can turn you on after you've tested almost everything. Have you noticed a phrase that's come into vogue lately? It's not a new phrase. I heard it when I was a kid, but it's being used a lot today. The phrase is, "I've been there, I've done it, I've seen it."
So, if you've been there and you've done it and you've seen it, out goes the WOW. How can you put a WOW back into your life? Some people are telling me they're so overwhelmed with paper and with junk mail, they call it, and with telephone calls and now E-mail is coming in heavier than ever. They are so overloaded with input into their communication channel that they feel overwhelmed and they don't have time to follow up all of the ideas and the stimulations that come to them. So, they feel life's passing them by. They're not with it anymore. Once they were at the point position, not today. Today they're not in, they're out. Life's passing them by. The WOW is gone.
I want to put the WOW back into your life. It's been in my life all my life and I've taken time recently to analyze what put the WOW in Schuller's life and I want to share it with you. I've condensed it to four thoughts. The first is: you have to have a purpose to live for. Second: you have to be a self that you can live with. And three: you have to have a faith that you can live by. And four: you need a leader you can trust. Now that's my testimony. I'm standing in front of you to tell you that I've lived a life, it's an open book. I'm no longer a private person. Almost anything that can be written about Schuller has been written by people. True, false, maybe a mixture. Here's my testimony. I'm excited about life today and tomorrow. There's a WOW in it. Why? Because I have a passion that's fed by my purpose in living. What are you living for? I don't live for the chase. I don't live for the kick. I don't live for stimulation that'll excite me. I don't look for it. I look for great causes that I'd be willing to die for. Find a cause that you'd die for and give it all you've got. Then, guess what? You will be impassioned with a purpose, a reason for living.
One of the great influences of my life, as many of you know, was Dr. Viktor Frankl. In my mind probably the premier psychiatrist of this 20th century, died at the age of 92. And he's taught me a lot and I've learned much from him, from his books, from his lectures, and from his friendship. I'll never forget how he said once, "The is must never catch up with the ought." If you've had goals and they've been realized what you have to do, you need a new goal. As Dr. Frankl put it so wisely and well in the Old Testament the Israelites were led to the Promised Land. How? By a pillar of fire at night and by a cloud by day. "Never catch up with your goals," Dr. Frankl said. The is must never catch up with the ought. Purpose must be continually within your life to impassion you. What is my purpose? It's a Person. His name is Jesus Christ. In my life all I want to do is give people the joy of living that is my life and the life of my wife and the life of my five kids, a purpose to live for.
Then, the second thing, you need a self that you can be proud to live with. Self-esteem Theology. I wrote it a quarter of a century ago. I preached it every week, and still do, to an audience that is of a size I cannot number. But let me tell you, I'm proud of who I am. I've never gone to bed a night in my life ashamed of what I did or who I was. Now that's remarkable. I have many a night, probably every night, had to ask forgiveness for sins. Oh yes! But sins are no excuse for inflicting shame on your soul. When you know the Friend that I have and His name is Jesus Christ, you know that He loves you even though you're not perfect.
I'm doing a lot of writing on a theme, simple theme, called friendship. I wrote a line, "A friend is somebody who loves you after they've seen you at your worst." Jesus loves us anyway. A self you can live with, a purpose that can impassion you, and three, you need a faith that you can live by and of course, you can't have a faith in God or in Jesus Christ if you don't even trust and believe in yourself.
I'm reading in this wonderful book. The foreword is written by a dear friend of mine and this church, who has stood in this pulpit more than once, many times and that's Tommy Lasorda. And reading Tommy's wonderful foreword to the book reminded me of a story he told me once. He said...well, it was many, many years ago. Before he was the manager of the Dodgers, he was the manager of a little farm team and the farm team wasn't doing too well. They lost 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 games in a row and they were all demoralized and they were getting ready for their next game and Tommy thought, "Boy, it better not be a seventh loss in a row. I don't think they can handle it and I don't know if I can handle it."
When the paper came out with a big story and the story was that all of the sportswriters of America had been asked to vote on the number one team in the history of American League Baseball, and the story broke the morning that Tommy's team would play their seventh game. The story was that the greatest baseball team in American League history, overwhelmingly the sportswriters said it's the 1927 Yankee team. Well, they went to their seventh game that evening and they lost the game. They went in the locker room and Tommy said he never in his life looked at a team more depressed than the team he was looking at.
He said, "I walked in there and I said, 'Hey, what's the matter with you guys? Get your heads up. You're terrific.'" "So," he said, "did you read the paper this morning? Did you read the sports page? What was the greatest baseball team in the history of the American League? The greatest baseball team in the history of American baseball, it's the 1927 Yankees."
"Did anybody ever tell you that that team lost nine games in a row before they turned around and went on to become champions, and today they're voted the best baseball team in history. Did anybody ever tell you that? And the guys said, 'no' and their heads went up and their eyes got big and their mouths dropped open." As Tommy says, "Well, they were turned around. They went out the next game, they won. They won the next one. They had a winning streak and they ended up champions of the year. And Jo," that's Mrs. Lasorda. Tommy said, "Jo said to me, near the end of the year, she said, 'Tommy, are you sure the Yankees had nine straight losses in a row?'" He said, "I don't know."
He said, "I didn't say they did. I just asked them, 'did anybody ever tell you.' I don't know. I was only one year old in 1927. I have no idea. But," he said, "I had to make a point. They had to believe in themselves and boy it worked, Jo. And I made a point and they became believers in themselves again and they went and became the great team."
How do you put a WOW in life? You need a purpose that will impassion you. You need a self that will give you pride. You need to give a ... you need to have a faith that'll keep you going through the losses and through the defeats and through the tough times. A purpose that will give you passion. A self that'll give you pride. A faith that'll give you perseverance that you'll never, never quit. And the fourth thing you need--and you won't have number one, or two, or three without number four--you need a leader that you can trust. For me, that’s Jesus Christ. He gives me a purpose that I’d die for. Yeah! He gives me a self that I'm proud of. He gives me a faith that keeps me going through thick and thin. A leader I can trust. Who can you trust? You can trust Jesus, absolutely.
Let me tell you, in the history of religion, no religion has ever been positioned as we are. Why? We have a purpose we'd die for. We have a self that we're not ashamed of. We have a faith that solves the problems. All because we're following a Leader that we can trust. His name is Jesus Christ.
Now you want to put a WOW in your tomorrow, let me tell you how you can do that. Make a decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ, the Lord, my Savior. He'll be yours, too. Then I ask you to become a part of this movement; A movement that, for want of a better name, is called the Crystal Cathedral Ministries. It's reaching into houses and homes of millions and millions of people every week and it's not going to die. It will not depend upon the life of this body and this face that's talking to you now. It's because the book out lasts and out lives, it's because the Leader is eternal and His name is Jesus Christ.
Let's pray: O God, we are Yours. You are our leader. We follow You and boy, what a WOW in our tomorrows. And I pray if anybody's listening to me that isn't enthused or excited about their future, that they may join our movement, make a commitment where they are, privately and quietly, and say, "I'm going to be a part of that movement. I'm going to pray for them. I'm going to pray for Dr. Schuller. I'm going to support that work. I'm going to become a part of a movement that is positioned to impact the world like no faith ever has in the history of humanity on planet Earth." And O God, we're making a difference and that's exciting. Amen.