was over 50 years ago that Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote
the best selling book, "The Power of Positive Thinking."
By the time my father started the Crystal Cathedral, or
at that time it was the Garden Grove Community Church, he
needed somebody who could held give him a boost and he wrote
Dr. Norman Peale a letter and invited him to come and to
preach in a "church without walls." It was a church
that had the ability to seat thousands. Only as my father
could do, he convinced Dr. Peale to come out to this young
Garden Grove congregation and preach. The Peale's have been
dear friends of ours ever since. Ruth, Dr. Peale's widow
celebrated her 100th birthday on September 23.
Isn't that tremendous news? Happy Birthday, Ruth. Happy
20 years ago my wife and I went to Pawling, New York and
participated in a minister to minister's conference that
was hosted by the Peales. We checked into our room and in
our room there was a placard that was sitting on our dresser,
which said these great words:
"Prayer doesn't always change things for you;
but it does change you for things." (Oswald Chambers)
that good? I am convinced that when we incorporate prayer
into our lives, it will make a positive powerful impact.
Prayer will impact who we are, what we become, and our relationship
scripture that I want to share with you starts with the
life of Jesus Christ from the first chapter in the gospel
of Mark. It says this: "Very early in the morning,
while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house of
Simon Peter and went off to a solitary place where He prayed.
Simon and his companions went to look for Him and when they
found Him they explained ．everyone's looking for you,
Jesus!' And Jesus replied, ．Let's go somewhere else.
Let's go to the nearby villages so I can preach there also.
This is why I have come.' So He traveled throughout Galilee,
preaching in the synagogues and driving out demons."
(Mark 1: 35-39) That's what Jesus did. That is what His
ministry was about. His ministry was about sharing the good
news of God and how our lives can be impacted in a powerful
and positive way.
did Jesus preach? He went around Galilee sharing with the
villages and in the synagogues and what did He say? Last
week we talked about who Jesus is and our relationship to
Him. We basically asked the question, who is Jesus to me?
Who is Jesus to us? Our answer was pretty profound and concise.
"You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
Today I want to take the next step where we go from who
Jesus is to the next question of who are we to Jesus Christ?
What does Jesus Christ see when He sees you and He sees
me? What's going through His mind, through His heart, what
is the heart of God? What is the heart of Jesus Christ?
I have some homework for you today. I would like you to
read these three chapters in the Bible: Matthew, Chapters
5, 6 and 7. It is called the Sermon on the Mount. And here's
what Jesus says about us:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit."
"Blessed are those who mourn."
"Blessed are the meek."
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst."
"Blessed are the merciful."
"Blessed are the pure in heart."
"Blessed are the peacemakers."
"Blessed are the persecuted." (Matthew 5:3-9)
does Jesus see when He sees us? He sees the potential for
us to be blessed beyond our wildest comprehension. He sees
God's love being shared. He sees hearts being touched. He
says, "You are the salt of the earth. You are the light
of the world."(Matthew 5:13-14) As you continue on
through the Sermon on the Mount, you will discover what
Christ sees when He looks into your eyes and He sees you.
John chapter 11, we read another story that I would like
to share with you. It begins, "Now a man named Lazarus
was sick. So the sister sent word to Jesus, ．Lord, the
one You love is sick.' So Jesus came and found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days. And Jesus said
to Martha, ．I am the resurrection and the life. He who
believes in Me will live, even though he dies and whoever
lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe
this Martha?' She said, ．Yes, Lord. I believe that You
are the Christ, the Son of God.' ．Where have you laid
him? He asked. ．Come and see, Lord.' Jesus wept. And
people said, ．See how He loved him.' Jesus came to the
tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
．Take away the stone!' Jesus said. ．But Lord,' Martha
said, ．He's been dead for four days! He will smell.'
Jesus said, ．Did I not tell you that if you believed,
you would see the glory of God?' So they took away the stone
and Jesus looked up and said, ．Father, thank You that
You have heard me. I know that You always hear me but I
said this for the benefit of the people standing here that
they may believe.' And then Jesus called with a loud voice,
．Lazarus! Lazarus come out!' The dead man came out.
His hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth
around his face.
happens when we recognize who Jesus is? "You are the
Christ, the Son of God." That is what Martha said.
"Jesus, I know you are the Christ, the Son of God."
With that bit of faith, God, through Jesus Christ, raised
the dead. Christ came to give us life and give it abundantly.
carry a money clip and in that money clip I have some cash,
a credit card, my driver's license and the most valuable
card I have is my Ticket to Heaven. The card says, "Anyone
who comes to Me I will in no way cast out." Those are
the words of Jesus Christ. I signed it. I carry it with
me. It's my ticket to heaven. And if you want one of these,
I'll give you one. You can go online and you can request
one there. You can write to me and I'll send you as many
as you want. We give these away by the thousands because
the good news of Jesus Christ is free. It's life. That's
what Jesus does. He raises people from the dead.
are people listening to me today who feel like they are
dead. Maybe they are spiritually dead. Maybe they feel emotionally
dead. They may be facing imminent physical death. The good
news I have for you today is that the promises of Jesus
Christ are very true. "Whoever lives and believes in
Me will never die." Do you believe this? He said, yes
Lord. She said to Him, "I believe that You are the
Christ, the Son of God." And with that, the dead man
Lazarus came out of the tomb.
Christ is calling your name! Joe, come forth! Mary, come
forth! John, come forth! He's calling your name. He's calling
you, come forth. Come out of the grave of emotional distress.
Come out of the grave that keeps you back from holding on
to Me. Come out of the grave today and experience life.
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.
there, Christ's ministry continues. He asks us to follow
His example. What is His example? Very early in the morning
in the dark He got up and He prayed. (John 1:35) Do you
ever wonder why would Jesus even pray? After all, who does
He pray to? Does He pray to Himself? He prays from His humanity
because He was truly human. As the bridge between humanity
and divinity, Christ prays bringing us into the presence
of God Almighty, giving us life eternal. Giving us hope,
giving us a future, giving us the reality of everything
we can be through Him.
we pray, we can find a freedom from our demons, because
Jesus went around preaching the good news and casting out
demons. Demons come to us in many ways, such as alcoholism,
drug addiction, sex addictions, gambling addictions, just
to name a few. There is the demon of fear, the demon of
low self-esteem, or the demon of inadequacies. We think,
"If only I were like him then I could be of great worth
or value." The list of demons we fight is usually pretty
is your demon? What are you fighting today? What's holding
you back from being all that God has called you to be? Christ
is here today and He came to help you through all of your
struggles. We have His word, it's printed in the Bible.
As we study His word, we find the solutions to our problems.
I had a gentleman come up to me who said, you know, I've
heard there is an answer to every problem in the Bible,
but I don't believe it. So, I asked him about his problem.
He said, "My wife wants me to make coffee in the morning.
But we have an agreement; I get up early and since I get
up early, she wants me to make the coffee. But the deal
is I'll bring home the bacon and she'll cook it. She's in
charge of all the cooking. I don't mind waiting until she
gets up to brew the coffee." So, I said to the gentleman,
"Let's look in the Bible." I started thumbing
through and all of a sudden the answer was right there in
front of us, in bold letters black and white. Hebrews. Top
of the page. Bold letters. He-brews.
can find the solution to your problems within the word of
God. God's word is true, God's word is sincere. God's word
is real. The scripture says, "In the beginning was
the Word and Word was with God and the Word was God. (John
1:1) When we see the power of His hand in people's lives,
we can make the same declaration of faith that Peter did
years ago. We can say, "Truly You are the Christ, the
Son of the Living God." With that, Jesus Christ sees
us and says to us, "You are blessed; you are the salt
of the earth; you are the light of the world; you are the
rock upon which I will build My church." Jesus sees
us in that beautiful powerful completed whole and blessed
way. Ask, seek and knock. He will cast out those demons,
and you will truly see the presence and the miracles of
us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are
a God of power and might. You are a God who comes into our
hearts and our souls and our lives to bring healing, hope,
health and goodness, joy and understanding. Touch us where
we need Your touch the most, and set us free like You did
Lazarus. We love You Lord, Amen.