#223 (05/03/06)
Together We Soar

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

ASHLEY SMITH
My guest this morning is a remarkable woman who turned to her faith in Christ in truly a time of tremendous need. She was only 27 years old; Ashley Smith made headlines for surviving a harrowing ordeal. Over a period of seven hours, she was held hostage by Brian Nichols, the alleged Atlanta courthouse killer who escaped after murdering three courthouse employees and a federal agent. Ashley managed to get Nichols to surrender by reading to him from Rick Warren’s best selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life” and the Bible. Today, Ashley has documented this experience in her new book entitled, “Unlikely Angels.”

Special Music

Hymn
" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Awake, My Soul "
" Challenge Us, Oh God our Father ”

Anthem
" See What Love "
" Love Divine, All Loves Excelling "

Solo
JOSH TURNER – “Me and God”

The Message

Today is the first day I am able to address a message to you as the new Senior Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. It is humbling and rewarding to have this opportunity and I want to share with you the vision I have for this ministry.  The vision I have for this ministry has been developing over years and years and years. However, it is interesting that Saturday night, on the 21st of January, the night before I was installed; God gave me a very fascinating vision.  The vision was a beautiful plant in a pot and the plant was no longer growing; it needed to be transplanted. In the vision, all of a sudden this plant was transplanted into another pot and all of a sudden it continued to grow and just grow and grow.  And that was the vision that I had on Saturday night.

In my prayers I said, "Lord, that's very comforting." He told me, "All you need to do is water this plant and feed this plant and it will grow." I believe God was referring to this congregation.  When I look at the things that are happening in this congregation and where we are going in the next 50 years, I have never been more positive and excited about the kingdom of God in my entire life.  A year ago I said that I wanted to create a thousand Houses of Power here in the Crystal Cathedral and around the world. We have a wonderful dynamic woman who spearheads our Houses of Power.  Her name is Beverly Muffin and she has reported to me that today, on my first Sunday as senior pastor, we have a thousand Houses of Power gathered and scattered all around the world! If someone would like to participate in a House of Power, you may go to the website: http://www.hourofpower.org/

God is at work in this ministry. He is touching lives.  He is touching people.  He is doing it for a purpose and for a reason.  The reason is there are hundreds and thousands of people in your community right now, who need to feel the touch of God, who need to get connected with His Holy Spirit and His undying love. There are people like you and me who are fighting their battles. Many people feel like they are losing the battle.  My vision is to give people the tools they need to succeed and overcome the spiritual battles in life so they might come to the fullness of God. 

When I was thinking about this message, the vision that came to me was Moses holding up his arms.  That was the vision that came to me.  The Israelites were in the wilderness and Moses was leading the way and they came to a point where another group of people came and attacked them. Moses had Joshua put together a group of people to defend them and they went into battle and as long as Moses was able to hold up his arms, they would win. But his arms soon became tired, he couldn't hold them up and his arms would sag and as soon as his arms went down, they started losing the battle.  So he put his arms back up again and the only way he could keep his arms up was to have other people holding up his arms.  And that was the vision. 

How do we reach God's people?  How do we ingest them with the Holy Spirit of God?  Oh, I can't do it alone.  You can't do it alone.  But together, God's people working together can do it.  One of the ways we can do it is to bring the Hour of Power to every single screen in the world.  It is possible today to do that. I say screen because it's not just a television tube, it's a television screen.  But in addition to that, we have ipods and we have computer screens and we have Blackberry's and of course, cell phones. There are many, many different ways today that people can watch the Hour of Power.  We want to bring the Hour of Power to the globe to every single screen. I look at different places on our globe, such as South America and Central America and the Hour of Power is not there.  I look at India and parts of other continents on this globe today and the Hour of Power is not there.  But I know that it is possible for us today to bring the Hour of Power to every screen, including television screens around this world. 

We want to bring the Hour of Power to every single screen in the United States and to your community and to your homes.  We have discovered that many people see the Hour of Power as their primary church.  About half of our Eagles members have told us that they consider the Hour of Power their primary church.  Isn't that amazing?  They consider the Hour of Power their church; yet they live all over the globe.  They may live in Europe, they may live in New York, they may live in Florida, they may live in Oregon, they may live in Los Angeles; but you ask them, "Where is your church" and the response will be, "It's the Crystal Cathedral."  My vision over the next 10 to 20  years is to break down the geographical boundaries that prevent people from joining the Crystal Cathedral so that we can fulfill the responsibility that God has given to us as a church, not to make members, but rather, fulfill the great commission that Christ gave us: "to make disciples."  It's a huge difference between getting members and making disciples. I want to make disciples and disciples are people who have made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. That is a disciple. Disciples follow Jesus Christ.  We want people to be dedicated to Jesus Christ, following Jesus Christ and growing spiritually. 

So, in the next 10 to 20 years, I envision a million members from every corner of the globe who are members of the Crystal Cathedral.  They will get together in Houses of Power and connect with one another because the church is people. We have to connect people. They will grow spiritually through interactive information that they will have available to them through online training.  They will experience how Jesus comes and heals, and creates wholeness and happiness and joy. 

The gentleman who is spearheading this whole project is a member of our team and our staff, Terry Nyhuis.  If somebody wants to join the church and they live in New York or Florida or Oregon or Chicago, how do they do that?  Call the church, write to us or visit http://www.hourofpower.org/ and at that website there is a link to Membership, and from there you can learn how to become a member. If you become a member of this church, it is the beginning of a partnership between you and between us and the partnership has one goal and that is to build the kingdom of God, here and around the world and fulfill the great commission to make disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. That is what this ministry is all about.  We've been doing it for a long time. With your help we will continue to do it. I know there are battles waging in people's hearts and minds.  There are people going through divorce, there are people having challenges with their children, there are people fighting health problems, there are many problems in our world today. Through the grace of Jesus Christ we can overcome these problems and we can make a difference.  The Hour of Power, reaching the homes of America today, has never been more important than it is right now.

I received a letter this past week and it arrived in a rather thick envelope. Inside was a handwritten note all folded up very small with five one dollar bills enclosed. The letter said: "Dear Mr. Schuller, my name is Madison and I am a five year old boy.  I watch the Hour of Power every Sunday."  Did you hear that?  A five year old boy and what does he do on Sundays?  He watches the Hour of Power! The letter continued, "Here is five dollars from my wallet. I hope this helps you.  Love, Madison" And he drew me a little picture on the letter.

How important is the Hour of Power today?  How important is the church of Jesus Christ, reaching into hearts and lives and the homes of people across America?  How important is this church to be able to continue this worship time and to be able to proclaim it, not only here, but around the world?  How many Madisons today are listening to us?  How many Madisons need to hear that Jesus Christ is alive? 

With you holding up my arms, I'll keep my arms held high.  With us working together as a team, we will overcome any battles that come our way.  From the deepest and darkest valleys, we shall ascend to the highest heights and with the power of God raising our arms together, we will not fail. We will prevail because God is real, He is alive, He is here today and He is here because He wants you to succeed and He loves you. This is our message.  It is the positive living message of Jesus Christ that the world needs to hear every day. God isn't there to sit there and punish you if you get out of line.  He's there to bless you when you follow His way.

So we want to be here, today, tomorrow and every Sunday, week after week, year after year, saying, "This is the day that God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Let us pray,

God, we thank You that You continue to fill lives with Your Holy Spirit, bringing joy and hope and goodness.  So allow that Spirit to overflow into the lives of people we touch today and tomorrow and always, Amen.


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