#273 (18/02/07)
Step up to a Better You

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

I was in college in 1947 when the news broke that the sound barrier had been broken. Wow. What a piece of history. Chuck Yeager has been my hero all my life since that day. Boy. You know he really became the person God wanted him to be and to do what God wanted done and he picked the right man.
He’s continued his work. He’s never retired really until I think his last flight in uniform in a military jet was the year he turned eighty. For 60 years he’s been sitting in the cockpits of military aircraft. If he’s not in the Guinness Book of Records, he could. But that would not be much of an honor compared to what he’s received. The greatest honors the country can give; the Medal of Freedom. It’s the greatest.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Standing on the Promises "
" We Build a New Tomorrow "

" How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings (Requiem) "
" The Heaven’s Are Telling "

MARY WELCH ROGERS – “Trust His Heart "
MARY WELCH ROGERS - "On Eagle’s Wings "

The Message

I would like to share a couple of stories with you today. One story I want to share with you is a good friend of mine named John. He goes by John C. John was eight years old when the earthquake hit Compton. It was the 1933 earthquake. When that earthquake hit, it was so big that it scared everyone so much that they wouldn't go back into their homes. He said, "That night we pitched a tent out in our backyard and we slept in the tent because we were afraid the house wouldn't stand up." He said, "That totally changed my worldview and my perception of life because up until that time, I had the impression or the thought that adults were in control and they had security and they gave me security. During the earthquake I saw people panic and the panic was such that people were clearly out of control. I discovered that I was insecure and out of control." He said, "It would be many years before those insecurities would be settled and resolved in my mind. He said, "As soon as I could, I went into the Navy very young with the hopes that the Navy would teach me how to be secure. I thought that if I could defend myself and I could have strength and I could have the abilities to be able to fight off the demons that I would find security." He continued, "But what I found instead was a bottle. In the Navy I had my first drink. For the next eight years I continued to find my security in a drink. It helped a little bit at first but as the years went on, it didn't have any impact anymore. My insecurities and my fears were only compounded when I drank. On August 16, 1950, at 7:00 p.m., I left the bar with my drink still half full and that was the last drink I ever had." He said, "I've been sober ever since." That's John C.

Let me tell you another story about a man by the name of Robert Harold Schuller. Robert Harold Schuller has to be one of the most courageous men I've ever met. Robert Harold Schuller happens to be my father. He is the man who founded this church. When he started this church, he started in a drive in theater. You don't know what a drive in theater is? If you are under the age of thirty, you probably don't even know what a drive in theater is. There was a time a long, long time ago, when we had these places called drive in theaters. You would take your car and you drive in and you park your car and there is a pole with the speaker on it and you stick the speaker in the window. Across the parking lot there would be a big screen and you watched the movie outdoors. Anyone remember that? There would be a snack bar in the middle of the parking lot where you could go and buy your popcorn and your sodas and anything else you want for snacks. Halfway through the movie there would always be an intermission and you could go to the snack bar and buy your snacks. That is the way the movies used to be.

My father came to California and he started this church on the roof of a snack bar. He took a ladder, put it against the snack bar, climbed to the roof and started preaching to the people in the cars that were there. That takes courage. Courage is something you take. It's not given to you, you realize that don't you? That's why they say "Take courage," you've heard that expression? That's because you have to take it. The fear doesn't go away; I learned that this past week because I took a ropes course. Have you ever heard of a ropes course? A ropes course is leadership training or team building exercises. We had 40-foot telephone poles, and we would walk and stand on the top of this telephone pole, out in the wind. It is really scary! They have you all harnessed in so there is absolutely no way you can get hurt and you break through your fear and you take courage. But, the most courageous man I know is my father. He took the courage and broke through the fear to be able to walk up and stand on top of that snack bar rooftop and tell everyone that some day this would be a spectacular church with thousands of people, reaching millions around the world. When he decided to build this Crystal Cathedral in 1975 the idea was born. At that time the price tag was out of this world. It started off with just a guesstimate. They didn't know how much it was going to cost. It was a guesstimate. A wild guesstimate! With that he went to see a gentleman that he had never met before. Tell me if this takes courage. He asked this gentleman for a million dollars. The gentleman's name was John C. John C. gave a million dollars and as a result of that, this church is here today and my father, receiving this incredible beautiful gift, went back and instead of having a guesstimate he got an estimate. Do you know the difference? An estimate is about half as close as a guesstimate. He gets the estimate and it was twice the guesstimate. With that he thought, "I can't afford to build this building. I'll never be able to."
He went back to John and he said, "I can't accept your million dollar gift. Here's your check back." It's a true story! John looked at my father and said, "I don't want the check back. That's a million dollars, Bob. Surely you can do something with a million dollars. I know it's not enough money to build the whole cathedral, but surely it can do something." My father said, "Well, I guess I could dig a hole." So he dug a hole and today we worship and hold services in this building, the Crystal Cathedral. We are here because a man named John had the courage to step out of that bar with his glass half full and say there's got to be another way for me to be able to find the security, to find the hope and eradicate this fear, rather than through alcohol. He discovered a thing called the 12 steps and it changed his life.

The 12 steps are:
1. I will admit that I am powerless over my situation and that my life is unmanageable.
2. I will acknowledge that God is greater than I and that He can bring restoration to my life.
3. I will turn my life over to God.
4. I will make searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
5. I will admit to God, to myself and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.
6. I will make myself entirely ready to have God remove any defects from my character, and make the necessary changes in my life.
7. I will humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings.
8. I will make a list of the people I have harmed by my past behavior and become willing to make amends.
9. Wherever it is possible, I will make direct amends to the people my behavior has harmed.
10. I will continue to take personal inventory of my life on a regular basis and promptly admit it when I do something wrong or lapse back into old behavior patterns.
11. I will seek to know more of God.
12. I will seek to carry to others the glorious message of the possibility of a spiritual awakening.

As a result of these steps he had the ability and was used by God to create this cathedral that we sit in today and it wouldn't be here if it wasn't for John C. How many want to be prosperous and want to succeed? The Bible talks about how to be prosperous and how to succeed. It says specifically in the Bible, in the book of Joshua 1:8, "For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success." That's what it says. Who wants to know what then is? "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you might be careful to do according to all that is written in it, but then you will be prosperous and you will have success."

Here's what I want you to do this week. I want you to meditate and open your heart to the realization that there are things in your life that need to be changed. There isn't a human being on planet earth who is perfect, we all know that. There isn't a single human being on planet earth who doesn't have some form of addiction or compulsive behavior that needs restoration. It's amazing how we move with our insecurities and use crutches like alcoholism or narcotics or sex or gambling or we become co-dependent helping others, or workaholics or we spend too much. It can start at a very young age. I have a friend of mine who has a 12-year-old daughter and she's addicted to text messaging. You want to know how bad the addiction is? He received the bill in the mail, over six hundred dollars in one month! We have addictions that grab our hearts and our souls and we don't understand why or how, but it does.
In the science section of the New York Times on January 2 of this year 2007, the article was "Free Will - Now you have it now you don't" by Dennis Overby. The article was basically summarized by a quotation he made of a German philosopher by the name of Arthur Schoperhauer and here's the quote: "A human can very well do what he wants but cannot will what he wants." The reasons are we want things and there are things that are not healthy for us and we know they are not healthy for us. Yet we do not have the ability to get rid of those wants, it is beyond our ability. In the twelve steps we discover something that I can't. I can't. But God can! That's the good news. He can, which is the second point in the 12 steps. The third point is very clear; but, extremely difficult. Let Him. Let Him.

So this week I ask you to meditate. Meditate upon that which you know God is revealing to you right now. You have something in your mind and as I go through this series of messages, the Holy Spirit will take and transform the will that is there and give you the ability and the means to be able to overcome the addictions and find the healing and the hope you need. Because meditation doesn't change me, it doesn't change you. But rather it is the means by which we internalize the positive truth that does transform us. So we will meditate and we will pray and allow the Holy Spirit to do what the Holy Spirit does.

Next week we will talk about the first three steps:
I can't, He can. Let Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are a God of tremendous power. We believe You want us to be prosperous and so as we meditate upon Your word for us and we discover Your love for us, we pray that You will reveal to us the joy and goodness of Your hope. We thank You for the people around us, for You have truly encouraged us with others. We thank You for the opportunity to serve. Now we love You Lord, and we praise Your name, Amen.

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