#257 (29/10/06)
The Prayers Jesus Prayed Part I

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Having sold nearly 80 million albums world wide with 12 US top 40’s hits, he reached the highest heights of fame as a member of the Backstreet Boys. Brian achieved the success despite being born with a hole in his heart that nearly took his life numerous times. Last year, Brian surprised many of his fans when he released his first Christian recording, “In Christ Alone,” which quickly became a number one hit single and now in his debut Christian album, “Welcome Home,” Brian shares his faith in Jesus Christ while encouraging others to do the same. Brian is not only letting his faith shine through his music, but also through his life. He is the founder of the non-profit organization, the Brian Littrell Healthy Heart Club for Kids.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Open Now the Doors to Beauty "
" Thou Art Holy "
" I to the Hills will Lift my Eyes "

RONAN TYNAN - "23 (The Lord is My Shepherd)"
BRIAN LITTRELL - “My Answer is You”

The Message

It 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 birthday!

About 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)

Isn't 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 with God.

The 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.

What 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)

What 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.

In 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.

(John 11: 1-44)

What 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.

I 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.

There 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.

Today, 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.

From 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.

As 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 long.

What 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.

You 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 God.

Let 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.

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