#214 (1/01/06)
Choose God and His Ways and Prosper

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

MIKE BREEN
My guest is a dear friend to our church, he is a pastor; his name is Mike Breen. And Mike comes from the Community Church of Joy in Phoenix Arizona where he and our long term friend Walt Kallestad bring weekly messages of hope and faith to encourage people in their everyday lives.
Mike and Walt have co-written a series of books entitled “The Passionate Church” and “The Passionate Life,” using what they call Life Shapes. Mike and Walt show us how to incorporate principles that will help us live the Passionate Life that Jesus intended.

Special Music

Hymn
" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Standing on the Promises of God "
" We Build a New Tomorrow "

Anthem
” Ich Weiss Einen Strom ”

Solo
DANIEL RODRIGUEZ - "Nearer My God to Thee”
INSTRUMENTAL/ALP HORNS – GILBERT KOLLY & ANTON HENGARTNER – “Yodeling Worshiper”
HAYLEY WESTENRA – “I Say Grace”
INSTRUMENTAL/ALP HORNS – GILBERT KOLLY & ANTON HENGARTNER – “Trianculum”
ORGAN SOLO – MATTHIAS BLUMER – “Festal Sounds of Schanfigg Valley”

The Message

Last Sunday I challenged many of you to prepare to shout this morning. Do you remember? I promised you that we would shout in church today. The reason we are going to shout in church is because last week we talked about Joshua walking around the walls of Jericho. Day one, he walked around the walls and they blew their horns. Day two they did the same thing. Day three, day four, day five, six, and day seven they walked around seven times, blew the horns and they shouted and the walls came down. We didn't shout last week and the reason is this week I challenged you instead to tackle the walls in your life that you want to come down and apply the principles every day for the next seven days and then today we would shout and tear down these walls and receive the nourishment and the direction of God.

So, right now I am going to ask you to stand up and we are going to shout. This is a shout that means we are dedicated to God. We believe in His power and we know He is going to knock down the walls that keep us from being everything He's called us to be. Now the other thing I know is that people love to shout. The reason I know that is I went to a USC game a couple weeks ago. They happened to win that game and people shouted anyway. They have won a lot of games. The point is that we are winners, too. So, are you ready to shout and declare your faithfulness and your goodness to God? Let's just shout! One, two, three, shout! One, two, three, shout! There we go and the walls came tumbling down!

So it begins. It's not the end in and of itself, it is the beginning. The beginning of us continuing to live our lives in such a way that God can direct and move and have influence in our lives. Now how do we move in the way that God wants us to move? We can start with either one: follow His ways or choose Him.  We read in the book of Joshua, "Obey all of the laws, my servant Moses gave you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go." Do you like that idea? Being successful wherever you go? "Do not let the book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." I like that idea. Do you ever wonder why you don't feel prosperous and successful?

Then if we turn to the end of Joshua and we read these words:

"Now respect the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the river and in Egypt and serve the Lord. Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:14-15)

We serve the Lord and we follow His laws. In that process, what happens? We find that God directs and guides, it's not always easy but He does. As we allow His presence to direct and guide we find success and we find our prosperity.

I received a letter this past week from a very wonderful young lady. I want to share it with you because she understands the laws of God. One of the laws she understands and follows is the law of tithing. God tells us throughout the Bible, "to bring your tithes to the storehouse and put me to the test and see. See if I will not bring out such a blessing upon you that your storehouses won't be able to contain it." Here is her letter. She's from the Netherlands. She says, "I've been ill for more than seven years now and since I was seventeen, I'm 25 right now, I couldn't go to school, couldn't work anymore, for I had to fight against the illness which caused me almost to die. I hadn't been able to work or save money, for I was and still am completely dependent upon the good will of my parents. So I have no income at all. Although sometimes I get small amounts of money from people, and I wasn't able to go to church, and I wasn't able to get involved, so I decided to save my tithing. I've done this for years and I always said and prayed to God that He would tell me when and where to give my gift of my saving 10%. I made a special place where I kept my money for God and when I got money for my birthday that was my income. I gave my 10% to God and set it aside knowing that God would make it clear to me when and to whom I had to donate it. Sitting in the Crystal Cathedral last Sunday, in the front row, you spoke about the walls to tear down and I had to tear down so many walls during my time of illness and still have to." She continues, "I know I can never out give God for what He did, for me and for what He will do but hearing you speak about the financial challenges on that Sunday, God reminded me of my 10% saving box which nobody knows about; just God and me. And I knew this was the time to give my gift to God where it was needed." She handed it to me this week. Two hundred and fifty dollars. Thank you Paula.

You know, when God calls, we listen. When God calls, we go. For faith is not believing in spite of evidence, it's obeying in spite of the consequences. We know the laws of God. We instinctively know what is good and what is wrong. That is what the Bible tells us. St. Peter in his letter to the Galatians tells us the sinful nature is obvious; everyone knows what it is.

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control and against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)  So we don't live under the law but we live under the spirit of the law. Let me explain it another way. Many of you know that we talk about living a positive life. We talk about being positive and not negative. We talk about believing in what you can be instead of looking at what you can't be.

Now, if we apply this to the negative areas in our life and we want to create life changing things in our life, we have to apply this in a positive way. For instance, an alcoholic who wakes up in the morning and says I'm going to quit drinking and I'm not going to drink today, and throughout the day, he says I'm not going to drink, I'm not going to drink, consistently gives himself a negative message. The negative message is the word not. Through psychology we understand that our brain cannot decipher between the negative and a positive. It does not hear a negative. As a result of that, what his brain actually hears and he tells himself what not to do, is do this, do this, do this, do this, and do this. The common analogy is the pitcher who faces a slugger who loves them high and outside so the coach comes out and says don't throw it high and outside. Guess where the ball goes. High and outside. Take another situation. We have eating disorders and we want to lose weight, so what do we do? We say, "I'm not going to eat this and I'm not going to eat that." What happens the first time you see the candy bowl? Your brain says, "Enjoy." Those are the negative messages we put in our mind. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, we have to think positive thoughts.

How do we think positive thoughts? Don't tell yourself what you're not going to do, tell yourself what you are going to do. Say, "I'm going to do this; I'm going to do that." If you look at the scriptures what are we told to do? We are told to live by the spirit and the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. These are the things we focus on, these are the things we live by and therefore we spend our time praying, doing good, loving others and trusting God.

Follow God's laws, follow God's ways, and you will be prosperous, you will succeed and from time to time you will still fail. It is impossible to go through life without making mistakes. When you do make mistakes, what do you do? You get up, you brush yourself off and you just start again and you re-do it. The best story I know for getting up and re-doing it, is the farmer who paints his barn. The farmer goes and gets his paint and comes home and he starts painting the barn. He's painting it bright red. He gets about halfway done and he realizes he is going to run out of paint so what does he do? He thinks it's too far to go back into town to get more paint, so he thins the paint a little bit and he thinks he will have enough to get by. So he thins the paint down and he keeps painting. He realizes he still does not have enough paint to finish, so he thins it some more. The farmer continues to thin the paint several more times. Finally he is finished and stands back and looks at what he has done, saying, "Now what am I going to do?" The barn was red on one side and pink on the other! Suddenly, a cloud appeared over his head and it got thicker and darker and black and a lightening bolt cracked out of that cloud and the voice of God was heard saying, "Repaint and thin no more!"

When we fail and we know we will, the voice of God comes forth and simply says repaint and thin no more. He tells us to try it again, keep going. Make a decision, a positive decision. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, said Joshua. Things don't always go as we plan them. They don't always go the way we want them to go but somehow, someway God is in the process of taking things and molding them and shaping them into ways to be able to give us the ability to see His hand in our lives. He tears down the walls, He looks at our faithfulness in our heart and He continues to move in dramatic and powerful ways.

Today, I want you to realize that God is in the process of calling His people. He is calling you to come to Him. He is calling you to take the steps today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life because success is not a destination, it's a journey. Being prosperous doesn't mean having a certain amount of money in the bank. It means being successful in following the walk of God. It doesn't mean we do it for a week or a day or a year. Life is not a sprint; it's a marathon! We start today, and live to the best of our ability following God's guidance, today, tomorrow and forever. That means until we come face to face with Jesus Christ when we look into His eyes and He embraces us and He welcomes us into His eternal glory.

So today and tomorrow and forever, just remember that God is with us, God is before us and God is our destination.

Dear Heavenly Father we thank You for Your son Jesus Christ who came to abolish the law that we might live through Him, that He might fulfill the law through us. So we thank You Lord for fulfilling that law in our lives through Your grace, by dying on the cross and saving our lives. So we thank You this very moment for eternal life with You. We love You Lord, Amen.


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