speaking this morning on Living in the W.O.W. Zone. People live in different
levels you know. But for fifty years this church is made
up of a group of people who live in the W.O.W. Zone. That's
half a century! Think of that!
this church has never been dull ... It's not been boring
... It's not been tension free ... It's not been free of
conflict. It's been adventurous, risky, daring, costly ...
and it's been fruitful and fulfilling. Wow!
I wrote my first book, "Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking,"
the first note I got back from the editor was, "Schuller,
you have too many exclamation marks in your writings. It's
over done. Every other sentence should end with a period."
Then he added, "Don・t worry about that, I'll take
the exclamation marks out!" And he did.
when the television production company saw our first televised
program, "Oh ... you say WOW too much and that's not
a very religious word." Wow ... here I go again. I
have become addicted to that expression. It comes out of
me all the time.
I use the superlatives! I make no apologies for that. For
years in this church I would send a memo to all the staff
people saying, "I'll listen to all of your ideas if
it's got a superlative in it. We want to be a WOW movement.
Why? Because there is always so much potential that is left
undone, undiscovered, undeveloped or unappreciated!"
a few years ago I taught you to respond to our messages,
not with the common response of "Amen," but instead,
"And all God・ people said, 'W.O.W.'!；
Wow is a praise word. It is a thanksgiving word."Wow"
is a God honored word.
It's a celebratory word! "And all
God's people said ．WOW・!；
know the WOW comes because in summarizing my fifty years
as your pastor, I grabbed hold of one Bible verse, John
10:10. Jesus said, "I have
come that you might have life and have it abundantly."
WOW! What a promise. Take a look at the WOW life of Jesus.
What a story! It is a true WOW story through the ups and
downs, from His birth, through his ministry in the meadows
in Galilee, to the crucifixion and finally it ends with
the biggest WOW ... Easter... Jesus is alive!
We are a WOW blessed ministry
have in my hands a very important church bulletin. It is
the bulletin of the official charter meeting of this church,
fifty years ago. It opens with this blessing:
your blessing rest upon this church, oh Lord.
were only a drive-in church then.)
from the by-roads, out of our care-filled days,
come, an earnest throng, to hear Your word.
offer You our sincere heart-felt praise.
come to seek Your steadfast guiding power.；
God gave us that blessing for fifty years! Living
in the WOW Zone is never dull. It・s got to have an exclamation
mark at the end of it. It's got to be spoken energetically
with a lot of volume. What a W.O.W. blessed ministry!
were one hundred fifty charter members that were the first
signers of this ministry・s charter fifty years ago.
Many have died. Others moved out of state, but two of the
very first charter members to sign still are active today,
fifty years later. Doris Kostal, now Doris Carlson, and
Opal Weaver. These were the WOW people who committed to
building this church and I celebrate you! You made it happen!
Just think ... a twenty-eight year old unknown preacher
standing in a drive-in theater asks people to help him build
one of the greatest churches ever built in the world. That's
what these people did!
look at what you have done during these fifty years. You
started America's first twenty-four hour live suicide telephone
counseling service. Thousands of lives have been saved and
we need more new members to come forward and commit to this
created America's first nationally televised church service.
That's a WOW and it still goes on. You are seen every Sunday
in China, Russia, and Europe, in the Arab world and on and
on! This is a W.O.W. ministry. And all because fifty years
ago, one hundred fifty people whose names are unknown, responded
enthusiastically when I asked them for their commitment
to start a new church. They believed. WOW!
now after fifty years we still have a WOW ministry. Just
look at this, our fiftieth anniversary year. Look at what
you have done. You, the believers, the congregation. You
are WOW people!
When a big WOW is knocked out of you, get ready for God to move
January how you, our members in this church, and many, many
more who watch our television program, responded to the
tsunami. We estimate that our church, including the members
across the country, gave two million dollars to the tsunami
cause. And we noticed also that our offerings in the first
part of this year dropped by that amount.
now we are responding to the devastation of the hurricanes
in our country. I relate to the hurricane victims because
exactly 105 years ago something happened that determined
I would be a poor kid and not a member of one of America・s
wealthy families. My great grandfather was a wealthy baron
in a village in the Netherlands and sold everything to create
a new American colony for Dutch people. He bought eight
thousand acres in a little town which he said would be the
only Dutch town where you can see palm trees. That town
was Galveston, Texas. Everything he had was invested into
Galveston. Then the 1900 hurricane wiped out Galveston killing
thousands of people. His life was spared, but he lost everything.
So, as a displaced person, he and his family traveled to
a little town called Orange City, Iowa, a Dutch colony.
He took their charity. He needed it. Wow! Yes, even that
is a wow because when something terrible knocks the big
wow out of you, get ready for God to move in and
to do something else even bigger and better. I look at it
as a wow because my great grandfather survived and if he
hadn・t lived, I wouldn・t be here. I think that
is a WOW!
at what you, my beloved church, has done through this anniversary
year. In January a thousand pastors came to our Institute
for Pastors. For thirty-five years we taught this Institute
and some smart and good young students went through it more
than once to be inspired and stretched. One was Bill Hybels,
another was Rick Warren. There were others who went on to
build bigger and better churches than what we・ve done
here. Because God called us to put our church on television,
and we said ：yes； and started the world・s
first televised church service complete with music, organs,
instruments and choirs.
this year you launched the summer production of Creation,
a twenty year dream. This ministry was designed to reach
many young people who came had never come into a church
before. (70,000 people came into this Cathedral).Thank you
to over the two hundred volunteers who and worked 30, 40,
50, yes, even 70 nights this summer to make this happen.
You・re a WOW people!
August of this anniversary year, over three hundred of you
went to Africa to plant gardens with Bruce Wilkinson. You
planted 67,889 gardens which will feed almost 300,000 people.
You are a WOW
people! I・m proud of you! My eyes fill with
tears when I see what you have given of yourself, how you
answered the call to feed so many hungry and starving people,
half a world away.
this month of September, we responded to the Katrina Hurricane
victims when John Debney offered to perform his music which
he wrote for Mel Gibson・s The
Passion. John presented the premier of the Passion
concert in this Cathedra! You all backed and supported him.
There has never, in the history of this church, been a night
of music and sound like that night as 250 musicians, including
the most talented and, yes, expensive soloists, cellists,
violinists, harpists, and percussionists donated their services
... and every dollar received from this concert went to
the Katrina victims!
now, today, you are bringing a very special offering on
this 50th anniversary Sunday to say thank you
to God for this ministry. Yes, we・re still a WOW congregation.
We are Living in the W.O.W. Zone.
of the greatest ministries we have in this church is the
family ministry. And it has new programming this fall designed
for today・s families.
When God Calls you ... that・s a WOW!
it just a habit that I say WOW? I know at a deep subconscious
level God lives in me through His Holy Spirit and His Holy
Spirit makes me say WOW
because God has big plans even when I can・t always
this isn・t a message about Schuller. I just responded
to God's call at the beginning of this ministry and I・m
still here ... alive ... today and hope to be with you longer
than some people would expect or hope.
message is about you. And I want you to live in the WOW
zone. Some of you are living
in the ：blah； zone.
You have the blahs when you get up in the morning, what
are you excited about? ：Umm... what・s for breakfast,
dear?； Jesus came. He said, ：I・ve
come so you might have life and have it abundantly.；
Are you living in the ：blah； zone?
Decide to live in the WOW zone!
is the unique message of this church. It is the message
that you can succeed!
You can achieve!
You can make your impossible dreams come true! This
church has lived it. We・ve practiced it!
on this anniversary Sunday I・m asking you to help build
this church as the new church for the next fifty years.
First of all, make a decision to follow Jesus Christ who
gives you life abundantly. He will prosper you. I can promise
that your life will be exciting as you invest your life,
invest your time, invest your talent in the work of Jesus
Christ. Yes, our message focuses on life! Not on death!
On life abundant here and now! Not just eternity with Jesus.
He wants to use you. That・s why you were born. And
He wants to turn us all into the greatest possibility thinkers
that ever lived.
I・m asking you today if you have never joined a church,
join this church. This church is changing the face of religion;
even people of non-Christian faiths are being taught to
smile like Robert Schuller does on television. Think of
that. If we could put a happy smile on the faces of people
who worship God and Jesus, we・ve made a difference.
We need to continue to do that. With your help this church
will positively shape the future of religion.
going to ask if you will be charter members of this church
for the next fifty years. I want some of you who haven・t
belonged to this church or who have never made a commitment
to Jesus Christ to make a commitment. I had to stand up
fifty years ago, and I did, and many of you came along and
lifted my hands and my heart through many crisis times and
I thank you. Today I・m looking for more people. Are
there people here today who don・t belong to this church
who will accept and agree to be members, you don・t
have to live here. I need you to say, ：Yes, I・ll
become a member of this church. I will follow Christ and
I will help make this church the greatest church in the
world in the next few years.； Will you stand up? I
need to know you are responding. Thank you, thank you, thank
O God, thank you for these new members who are standing.
They have the faith to make the same commitment that I and
150 people did fifty years ago. This church is all Your
idea, and look what You did with what we gave to You. We
thank you. And all God's people said WOW!