#272 (11/02/07)
Called to Soar in 2007!

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

My guest today is college football coaching legend, two-time bestselling author, frequent ESPN studio analyst, Lou Holtz! After 26 seasons as the collegiate head coach, Lou Holtz has established himself as one of the most successful college football coaches of all time. He is third in victories among active coaches, eighth on the all-time winning list, and his 12 career bowl victories rank him fifth of the "all-time" list.
He is also the only coach in NCAA history to take six different teams to a bowl by the second year at the latest, the only coach in NCAA history to win five bowl games with different teams, and the only coach in NCAA history to take four teams to top-twenty final rankings. Coach Holtz attributes his success to his hard work and determination, to his faith in Jesus Christ, and to his family. He has touched many lives and today he is here to touch our lives.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name "
" Take My Life and Make it New "
" Come, O Long Expected Jesus "

" And the Glory of the Lord "
" With Wings as Eagles "


The Message

Today, I want to go to the New Testament and look at the calling of St. Peter. It’s fascinating to realize how many people in the Bible have the same reaction that we have when we are called. God goes and He calls people and almost unanimously they have the same reaction. It just is astonishing to me. I’m going to read from Luke 5 and this is the calling of St. Peter.
One day as Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee, when the people crowded around Him and listened to the word of God, He saw the waters edge, two boats left there by the fishermen who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, also known as Peter, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking He said to Simon, put out into deep water and let the nets out for a catch. Simon answered, Master we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I’ll let down the nets. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish, that their nets began to break so they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them and they came and they filled both boats so full that they began to sink. And Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and guess what he said: go away from me Lord. I am a sinful man. For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken and so were James and John the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon Peter, do not be afraid. From now on, you will catch men. So they pulled their boats up on the shore, left everything and followed Jesus. Follow Me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.

Well a fisher of men and fishermen have a lot in common. When I look at the life of Peter and I look at what he had done and where he had come from and all that he had done, I can equate with Peter. He’s kind of a man’s man, if you know what I mean. Everything has to be in black and white for Peter, you know, and you can’t tiptoe around the subjects. Just tell it like it is. He’s got calluses on his hands. If he sees something going on, he’s going to jump right in, he’s going to do something about it. He’s a man’s man.

When Jesus was arrested, what did He do? He pulls out His sword and he’s ready to take on the entire Roman army. And when Jesus called him, it began with a very simple thing, follow Me and I’ll make you fishers of men. And when he hears this, he has the same reaction that most people have when they are called by God to do something, to use their gifts, their talents and their abilities to make a difference in society, to become a street saint. What we do is we just automatically revert to our negative sides. We say oh no Lord, not me. With St. Peter, what was it? Not me Lord, I am a sinner! And Jesus responds and says fear not, fear not. Trust Me, believe Me, allow Me to do good things in your lives.

I remember as a young man, going to China for the very first time. And a few moments ago I signed a Bible for a young lady from China, Naomi. I was asked to sign her book, a little, it was a little Bible, it was a pocket Bible and it reminded me of the Bible that I gave to someone the very first time I went to China. It was the first year it had been opened to the West. Prior to that time, no one had ever seen an American walking in the streets of China. Only the dignitaries were allowed in. They weren’t allowed to walk on the streets. There was no communication with the outside world, there was no television, there was no radio, there was no publications. And so when I went to China it had just been opened up a few months and there wasn’t a single colored piece of clothes in the entire country. Not a one. Every single human being I saw other than the people who were in our group, wore black and white. They wore white shirts and black pants. They were all Chinese. They were all about a head shorter than I was. So suddenly I go walking down the street, I’m wearing a pink polo shirt. I have a cross that’s hanging. This is in the ‘80’s so it’s really cool to wear your necklaces, you know. So I’ve got my cross that’s very visible. It’s hanging on my neck. I have a pair of jeans on, Adidas tennis shoes and I’m walking down the streets of Shanghai and you would have thought I was the pied piper. People would follow me down the street and with their mouths hanging open and their eyes this big. You would have thought I came from another planet. And if I stopped, it took about five minutes and I would have two hundred people standing around me in the street. There was no cars in the street, only bicycles and so there would be two hundred people standing around me, and all I could see was this sea of black hair. Beautiful black hair and I would say hello and I’d stick out my hand to shake their hand and they’d start laughing. So I’d say hello and out from this crowd I could hear somebody say hello. I say do you speak English? I study in the university and then you would see this ripple come through this sea of black and they would walk up to the front, cause I’d say I’d like to talk to you. And they’d come up and we would start conversing and talking.

And inevitably the conversation went to my cross. What is that? And what do you do? And so the conversation was well I am a teacher. What do you teach about? I teach about God. You teach about God? Yes, I teach about God. Well teach us about God. And so we’d share with them the four spiritual laws of how God loves you and cares for you and how He wants you to call and how He wants you to follow them. And the results were the same every time. I’d give them a copy of a little track called the four spiritual laws which was published by Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ and I landed up giving my New Testament away. And that’s what I was reminded of today when I saw this little Bible that I signed. I was reminded of the New Testament that I gave away 25 years ago. A seed planted in China, when these young men came and we prayed together in the streets, we held hands and I said, they said can we pray this prayer? And I said yes, we can pray this prayer and we started praying together. And they accepted Christ and became followers of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Simon, follow Me. Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men. And here He is talking to a fisherman who had just unloaded his nets and there is this giant pile of fish. And I know why he followed Jesus without hesitation. Few people know but I do. I am a fisherman. I’ve had the experience of catching lots of fish. I remember one time, I was fishing with my son and we stopped at this one kelp patty and he brought in a little fish and I said oh that’s a cute thing and his friend brought in another one, I said oh that’s a cute thing and we’d throw them back. And all of a sudden he’s bringing another one in; I says come on Robbie, bring that in. We got to get this thing in and let’s go find some real fish. But he wouldn’t bring it in. I said come on get that thing in. All of a sudden up comes about a twenty-pound Albacore. And this was a big fish and so we put him in the bucket and his friend all of a sudden he brings one in. Well we spent the whole day there, catching fish, filling up the boat. And after we’d caught about 30 of these things, I said okay who wants to catch another one, remembering that we have to clean all these fish. All of a sudden everybody was very tired.

Now here’s the insight for you: Peter looks at that huge pile of fish, and Jesus says follow Me and I’ll make you fishers of men, and he says you know, I like the idea of being a fisher of men a little bit better. And he decides to follow Jesus. And what he realizes that when people become followers of Jesus Christ, that they too need to be cleaned. But what was his first response? His first response was Lord I can’t follow You, I am a sinner. I am a sinner. And what we don’t hear is how Christ came and cleansed his soul. And cleansed his spirit and took all the negative thoughts out of his mind. I can’t follow You Christ, I am not worthy, I cannot do what You want me to do, I can’t be the person You want me to be, and Christ went through the process of cleaning his mind of the negative thoughts and filling his mind with the positive reality that through Christ we can do all things. We can be all things through Christ who loved us. You can say to that mountain move and nothing will be impossible to you. And for three years Jesus continued to fill Peter’s mind with these positive thoughts of the reality of the truth of the gospel. And the truth and the reality of God’s relationship with us. And after three years, what did Peter do? He denied Christ three times. And of all the characters in the Bible, I can’t think of another one who was actually called twice, not once but twice. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He appeared before the apostles, it was after the resurrection, He was on the seashore and He yelled out to the boat; cast your nets on the other side. Peter had gone back to his family. He’d gone back to fishing. Christ had been crucified, He was dead. So he went back to doing what he always did. There’s a message there, isn’t there. And he went back to doing what he always did and Jesus yelled from the shore, cast your nets on the other side. And having not caught anything all night, they said what the heck, you know, let’s cast them on the other side. There’s nothing to lose. It can’t be any worse there than it is over here. You will always find a fisherman who’s willing to try something new when everything else is never worked. Truth. They cast them on the other side. They filled the nets. They have to call everybody in another huge pile of fish. And after they’d enjoyed some of the fish, Jesus says Peter, do you love Me? He says of course I do Lord. Then feed My sheep. Peter do you love Me? Of course I do, Lord. Then feed My sheep. Peter do you love Me? Of course I do Lord. Then feed My sheep. And Peter continued to feed God’s sheep and to continue to be an instrumental leader in establishing the church of Jesus Christ to his dying day. And according to tradition, St. Peter died in 69 A.D. in Rome, crucified upside down because he didn’t want to die the exact same way Christ did. I look at people who have accepted the call of Christ and this weekend we can’t help but look at the man of Martin Luther King. He heard the call: The call of a lady who had been kicked off of the bus because of the color of her skin. And so Rosa Parks wasn’t allowed to sit on the bus. And Martin Luther King went and supported her and a little over a year later, the Supreme Court passed down the ruling that black and whites would be able to sit on the buses together and equally.

What happens when people don’t look at the negative and say what’s going to happen to me? Oh, I don’t think I can do that. I’m too sinful. But allow the Holy Spirit to come and cleanse them of their sins, take away all the negative thoughts and ingest them with the positive reality of His goodness and His care. We’re filled with a lot of street saints is what happens. And the street saints come in small packages and big packages and if you’re doing what God has called you to do and you’re not simply going to work and doing a job, then do it with all your might and be the person that God has called you to be and continue to support the street saints who need your funds, support them with your time and your energy, support them with your prayers, continue to be the person that God has called you to be, and just say a prayer every day for all who are at work diligently doing what God has called us to do. And in so doing, you follow your calling. Fear not, follow Jesus, and He’ll make us fishers of men.

Dear Heavenly Father we thank You that You are truly a God who empowers and strengthens us. You’re a loving God. You’re a God who cares for the sparrows and if You care for the sparrows in the field, how much more won’t You care for me? And so take away the negative thoughts, which hold me back. Give me the positive thoughts that You will always be there, that You will always care, that if we listen to You and we cast our nets, it’ll be far more than we can ever possibly imagine. And so we thank You Lord for everything. We praise Your name always, and we follow You to the ends of the world. Amen.

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