This is an exciting
month. It’s November. Always in our history it’s
been focusing on Thanksgiving. You know, I’ve traveled
around the world quite a bit and I only speak one language
fluently and that’s English. I speak another language
falteringly and that’s Holland Dutch, which was spoken
in my home. And so what I’ve done is at least try
to translate a couple of important words. And whatever country
I go to I’ve learned the word “thanks.”
I’ve learned the word thanks in I think all the languages
of the countries where I go. (SPEAKS FRENCH) (SPEAKS GERMAN)
(SPEAKS DUTCH) Dutch. (SPEAKS RUSSIAN) Russian. (SPEAKS
JAPANESE) Japanese. (SPEAKS KOREAN) Very good. Well let’s
get into the sermon.
You can live
a happy life if you’ll learn to practice thanksgiving
and thanks-living all the time. And it’s been in something
I’ve been addicted to starting out as a child, a happy
family. So a great father and a great mother. Brothers and
sisters. The great church, country church I went to every
Sunday. Boy, I’ve come from a wonderful family, from
a wonderful faith. And I got a calling to a great profession.
I called by God to be one of His. Boy I’ve had a lot
of reasons to be thanks, thankful.
It’s fantastic! Get into the habit of thanks-living
and you will do wonders to your own health of body. Blood
pressure, emotional system, mental system, the psychological
life that you live. This sermon today could transform people,
believe me. I have received a couple of billion letters
the last 35 years on global television and I keep hearing
“you saved my life.” Why? We put joy back into
the human being. And you put joy into it by counting your
blessings and living thanks-living all the time.
You know, I was
reading about Rudyard Kipling, who was one of the most successful
writers in England, and it’s amazing how very successful
people often are victims of criticism from jealous people.
At any rate an article was written about him at the peak
of his power and said, “Rudyard Kipling today is purely
a mercenary creature. It’s all money. It’s been
calculated that one word written by Kipling is worth a hundred
And there was
a party not long after that and one of the cynical reporters
said, “I hear you’re worth a hundred dollars
a word.” Handed him a piece of paper and a pen and
said “give me one of your words. Here’s a hundred
dollars.” Kipling took the money, put it in his pocket
and wrote “thanks.” It’s a great word.
I wrote a line
that I don’t really have time to elaborate on, but
there are people that live in a high latitude. They really
live high lives. I do. It’s because they’re
emotionally healthy and happy. And I wrote a line, “Gratitude
is the attitude that elevates the latitude.” Really
true. It’s really quite a profound. Gratitude is the
attitude that elevates the latitude. Oh, so if you ever
go through down times and some of you listening today aren’t
laughing too much because you’re in a pit.
There was funeral last week and some of you are still grieving
too long for a funeral that was held a year ago, or 3 years,
or five years ago. And some of you are down because of financial
reverses. How do you keep up in down times? Get into the
habit of living, thanks-living every day. Start the morning
by saying thank you. And if you don’t want to get
up in the morning and you hate the thought of going to work,
let me give you some advice.
look at the sky and say, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Keep saying it out loud, not in a whisper. Thank you! The
neighbors will think you flipped, but anyway it really works.
You have to give it to yourself to make yourself realize
that you have so many reasons for being thankful.
I remember my
secretary I had longest probably was Lois Wendell way back
in the early days of this church. And she served me so faithfully.
And I’ll never forget the night she called and she’d
gone to work, left, I was at work. I left. She stopped at
her doctor on the way home. Then she called me from the
house. She said, “Bob” and I could hear she
was crying, “I’ve got cancer.” Oh, I was
be right over Lois.” I got in my car and drove. She
was alone with her Kleenex, crying. Her two little boys
were playing in the back yard. Her husband was still at
work. And I came into the house and I said, “let’s
pray.” Blurted it right out. No niceties. Just let’s
pray. And I didn’t plan this. It happened. I think
it was a gift of God’s Holy Spirit.
me later that every sentence I prayed started with thank
You. “Thank You, God that they’ve discovered
it and we can work on it. Thank You, God, for a doctor that
we can trust. Thank You, God, that we’re living in
America where they’re therapies available. And thank
You, God, that she’s got a husband who can encourage
her. And thank You, God that she’s got a faith and
goes to church. Thank You, God that You’re listening.
Thank You that You will plan her tomorrow and all of her
tomorrows. Thank You, God. Thank You. Thank you. Thank you.”
In tough times
the way to pray is to start every sentence with a thank
you. And you do this by looking at what you have. You don’t
look at what you’ve lost. Thank you. Thank you. Thank
you. But you say how can you be thankful all the time?
Years ago, let
me share something with you. Years ago I wrote “The
10 Commandments of Thankful Living.” The first commandment:
Be thankful for prayers answered, known and unknown. Every
single moment you are living in an answered prayer. You
are alive. People have prayed for you. And these prayers
didn’t start today or yesterday. They started when
you were born. And they’re being answered yet today,
known and unknown. We don’t know everybody that’s
prayed for us. I look around my life and my world and my
work and my witness as prayers. I am what I am a good man,
because people have prayed for me. Whew. Be thank.
Be thankful for habits, good ones that you have and bad
ones that you’ve broken, or been protected from. An
awful lot of people here this morning go to AA. Boy you
could be thankful. Oh.
Be thankful for sins forgiven, secret and public. Oh, we’ve
all committed a sin that we’ve prayed for privately
and knew that Jesus was hearing us. By grace are we saved
through faith that not of yourself. I’m so thankful
that I do embrace personally the Christian faith. Because
our faith has something; every faith has some things different
from other faiths, but what we have is grace. Christianity
focuses on grace. By grace are you saved, through faith
that not of yourself, it is a gift of God.
Be thankful for
healings. Commandment 4. Seen and unseen. Even those that
are forgotten. And look at your body. Is there a scar here
or a scar there? Wow. My wife and I, she’s celebrating
over 20 years of healing from her cancer and her mastectomy.
Scars should remind you. Wow! You’re alive. Be thankful
for healings seen and unseen.
Be thankful for the storms that you’ve gone through.
They blown out and blown over. Passed you by, or never even
touched you. You have no idea; thank God for all of the
accidents that didn’t happen to me today. How close
were you on the freeway to what could have been an accident
blowing you both away? Amazing.
Number 6: Be
thankful for friends. Old ones and new ones. You know a
test was made some years ago of the favorite hymn of all
people and the favorite hymn was “What a Friend We
Have in Jesus.” All our sins and grief’s to
bear. What a privilege to carry everything to Him in prayer.
Be thankful for friends.
Number 7: 10
commandments for thankful living, number 7: Be thankful
for impossibilities that turned into possibilities. In business.
You know you forgot this. In education was it in junior
high? Was it in high school? Was it in the university, postgraduate
work? You had such a tough time, but you got through, and
you had teachers that supported you and encouraged you.
Everybody listening to the sound of my voice has been blessed
by God Almighty! Everybody here, I don’t care whether
you’re listening in the Arabic language, or the Russian
language, or the Chinese language, or the English language,
everybody listening to the sound of this voice has been
blessed. You are alive! Wow.
Jerry Lewis once
said after his terrible heart problems, “Every time
I wake up in the morning a feel like I’m a success.”
You’re alive. Be thankful.
8: Be thankful for gifts given and received. Be thankful
for the gifts you gave as much as the gifts you received.
Be thankful for the gifts you’re going to be giving
to friends, relatives, loved ones, or charitable things
like this ministry at the end of the year. Be thankful for
gifts given. Be thankful that you’ve got something
to give! What you’ve got to give is, if you don’t
have money, or things, you’ve got a face. You can
give a smile! You can give a laugh! Oh yeah. Be thankful
that God created us to be giving creatures. Generous creatures.
That’s the secret of joy.
Be thankful for the possibilities God put inside of you
that you haven’t discovered yet. And boy they’re
Number 10: Be
thankful for hope that springs eternal in the human being.
Now I want to tell you, everybody listening to me is going
to be getting a gift. Everybody listening to me is going
to be blessed. I don’t know when. I don’t know
with what. I don’t know how. Maybe with tremendous
courage and comfort when you go to the funeral. I don’t
know. Maybe with a miracle of healing when you see your
doctor, or in the hospital. I don’t know. But let
me tell you something, many gifts are coming your way, but
the time isn’t right for you to receive them.
There are some
unusual trees on this property. About 17 years ago, I was
talking to the Keenagers. Those are senior citizens. There’s
a group of them in this church. There is a beautiful pine
tree that was planted by Keenagers in 1987. It’s a
Norfolk Pine and it’s the tallest of the few. And
at that pine tree there is a granite plaque, which nobody
reads, but it said “A gift from the Keenagers of 1987.”
In 1987 the Keenagers
saw that every year at Christmas time we bring in these
beautiful trees. And they’re not cheap. Well the Keenagers
decided let’s us give the tree. Let’s plant
one. How long will it take Dr. Schuller? They know I think
in terms of 10, 20, 50, 100 years. I do. I can always be
optimistic because I know there are lots of seeds that are
sprouted. There are relationships that are being formed.
And I’m going to enjoy the gifts maybe 5, 10, 15,
20, 30, 40, 50 years. Many of you, probably most of you
have remembered this church in your will. Gifts that’ll
come. Spread this faith around the world after I’m
gone. It’s amazing. It’s true. It’s not
a fantasy. It’s reality.
that tree about 150 feet from where I’m standing.
The granite plaque says “A gift to the Crystal Cathedral
Congregation.” Golly in only 3 years it’ll be
20 years old. Isn’t that exciting? And it’ll
be brought in here on Christmas Eve. And we’re going
to take the granite plaque and we’re going to put
it in a special place. And we’ll have other trees
planted by other classes. In 20 years the plaque will say,
from the Homebuilders of 2005. And in the year 2025 it’ll
be filled with lights in this place.
See what this
possibility thinking does? It gives you vision It gives
you a future. It gives you hope. This is not fantasy, its
reality! Oh, don’t throw away tomorrow. Oh. Plant
seeds that will grow tomorrow! And you can always be thankful.
Always. Hey, seeds have no known lifespan. Neither do prayers.
I remember the
first time I was at the Cairo Museum and because I was interested
in history and when they uncovered Tut’s, King Tut’s
tomb, among all of the pieces of gold they found they found
a packet of seeds. Now King Tut was buried about 500 years
before Jesus was born. Think of that. Two thousand five
hundred years ago and the archeologists took some of these
seeds and checked them out. They looked healthy. They planted
them, and they sprouted! And they grew!
How many prayers
were prayed for you when you were born? You don’t
know. How many prayers were prayed for you by a schoolteacher
when you’re in the first grade? I don’t know!
Neither do you! But everybody listening to the sound of
my voice has been prayed for more times than you know. And
those prayers aren’t gathering dust on the self. They’re
waiting the time when God calls them to come out and give
you an unexpected surprise of joy. Thank You, Lord. And
everybody said, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you. Hallelujah. Amen.