#289 (10/06/07)
Renew Your Strength

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

Turning pro at just 15 years of age, Michael Chang set numerous youngest player records. In 1987, he was the youngest player to win a main draw match at the US Open. And the youngest to reach a tour semi final. The youngest French Open grand slam champion in 1989. He then became the youngest to rank in the top five. Chang ended an American draught at the French Open when he became the first American male to win the tournament since 1955. In addition to being a tennis champion, Michael Chang is a committed Christian who cares that families know about Jesus Christ. Michael started the Chang Family Foundation in 1999 to focus on sporting events in the local communities that would spread the gospel.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.."
" I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord Forever "
“ I Would be True ”

" A Mighty Fortress is Our God ”
NOORTJE VAN MIDDELKOOP – “Now Thank we All our God”
RALPH VAN MANEN - "We Lift Your Name on High"

The Message

When people ask, "What is this ministry all about?" I answer that we teach people how to live life at its best. The focus is on finding the purpose that God has for your life. He wants you to be happy, healthy and prosperous, living in the joy of salvation. We have printed a Bible verse on the cover of our new Eagles Club edition of the Possibility Thinkers Bible. If people never open the bible (tragically some people don・t ever read the Bible), at least they will see this one verse, Isaiah 40:31. What power these words give to each of us.

"Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint."

Renew Your Strength

Today, I want to focus on three words from that verse, renew your strength, that you can carry with you. What was Isaiah thinking about when he said "strength"? What did he mean? If you had seen him in person, and he lifted the sleeves of his robe, what would you see? The kind of a muscle they can give you in the gym? What was his waist? What power did he have in his thighs and legs? How much weight could he lift just from his toes? What does Isaiah mean when he talks about strength? He is not talking about physical strength. This is not gym language. He is talking about spiritual and emotional strength. This ministry, since it began almost 50 years ago, started with an intentional focus to strengthen people emotionally.

People who have studied our work and read our materials have said that historically we are not like other churches. Denominations and religions started with teaching a theology about God. Whenever there was disagreement with each other about a certain detail, the result was to establish a new religion or branch thereof, so today there are many different denominations and lots of different religions. When I started this ministry, I chose to focus on human need and said, "Let's ask what a human being really is? What does he need?" And is there a God who can provide for those needs and what kind of God does he need? So we started talking about the needs in humanity and we defined the single deepest need of the human being. We came to the conclusion that the deepest need is not intellectual knowledge. We need all the knowledge we can get, that's for sure. But ultimately it is not knowledge, but the single deepest need is found in the spirit. It is the heart. So how can you get heart? How can you strengthen the inner spirit? It is here in the words of Isaiah ... "Renew your strength." I suggest that Isaiah・s strength was a strength of heart. He had a sense of mission ... a passion. That・s what each of us need. I believe that all of us want to be and do something

Two Kinds of People:

Mirror People and Window People

You know really I think there are two kinds of people: those who are mirror people and those who are window people. We have many mirror people in America today. I live in Southern California, known worldwide as the home of Hollywood. You cannot find more narcissistic people in any part of the world than you can find in Southern California. Narcissistic people are mirror people; they always look in a mirror. And if Botox can improve the appearance, they'll take an injection shot of Botox. Narcissism and self centeredness focus on the strength of the physical shape, muscle and figure.

Then there are the window people. Window people are quite different. They are looking out into the world around them. Window people see the hurting. Kim Phuc from Vietnam suffered the most horrible effects of the war. Kim Phuc, a nine year old Vietnamese child, was the subject of the most famous war photograph ever taken. This Pulitzer Prize winning picture showed this young girl naked and screaming, running up a country road. Her arms outstretched in terror and pain. Her village had just been bombed by Napalm in an aerial attack by American bombers. She is terribly burned. Kim has survived seventeen operations and years of pain and rehabilitation. She has a powerful testament to her spirit and her amazing courage. Kim not only had to deal with all the pain, but also the scars, trauma and nightmares. She hated the people who caused her suffering. Her family lost everything. They survived day by day for ten years.

Kim had a dream that she wanted to become a doctor because she had stayed in the hospital so long. In 1982, at the age of 19, she entered medical school, happy because her dream was coming true. But unfortunately at the same time the Vietnamese government found her as the little girl in the famous picture. So they started to use her for their propaganda. They cut short her study. She could no longer go to school and was suddenly not a free person to do what she wanted to do. She was now under the control of the communist government who watched her every move. She was so bitter and angry that she wanted to die. Nobody could help her ... no family, no friends. And then even though she could not go to school, she was allowed to spend her time in the library to read. She began to read religious books and among them she picked up the New Testament and began reading it. She found something new in there, but of course, she couldn・t understand.

One day she just faced the sky and asked, "God are you real? Do you exist somewhere? Please help me." And she asked God for just one girlfriend to whom she could talk, to share her suffering. God answered her prayer. And this friend helped Kim to attend a church, to hear more about the Bible. At Christmas time, 1982, Kim opened her heart to receive Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

In her own words, Kim said, "I was raised with a religion where I was taught to pray to thousands of gods, but nobody answered my prayer. Now the more I prayed to God, the more God gave me peace inside. But I still had to deal with forgiveness because I was really bitter, angry and filled with hate. But I knew I had to forgive when I read Luke 6:27: .Love your enemies. Do good to them. Bless those that curse you and pray for them who use you.・ How could I do that when I had so much pain? One day God・s love set me free from hatred."

In 1986 the Vietnamese government sent Kim to Cuba for six years. While there, Kim was praying that God would open the door of freedom for her. Then she married a Vietnamese student and the government sent them to Moscow for their honeymoon. They had no choice, but on the way back from Moscow to Cuba the plane was scheduled to stop for one hour in Newfoundland for refueling. Kim new that Canada was a free country, so she prayed, "God, help me, open this door for me." And in that one hour, Kim and her husband defected with just their camera, purse and each other, trusting that God would provide. They were free! Since then, happily married, they live in Canada with their two children. Then Kim was invited to Washington, D.C. to address the Veterans of the Vietnam war. There she encountered, by a strange providence, the Vietnam veteran who was in charge of that bombing mission. And now a believer, she said, "Because of Jesus Christ in my life I was able to forgive him. He didn・t mean to hurt me."

Today, 40 years later, Kim Phuc has established a foundation that raises money to help those who are orphans of war. So Kim Phuc is a window person.

Become a Window Person

When you become a window person you look out and see the hungry, the starving, and the dying. My son traveled to Africa this summer with the Wheelchair Foundation to deliver the gifts of wheelchairs to the poor and disabled. They are among those who I call window people.

Renew your strength by helping people who hurt.

This is the strength Isaiah is talking about. He is talking abut the strength to help people who are hurting and God knows the world is hurting today more than it has ever hurt. Our world needs faith. Some people never even had the strength of heart. Where do you get it? You get it by asking God this question: "What do You want me to do in the one life I have to live? God, what kind of talents do I have that You can use? What kind of gifts do I have? What can you do with me?"


One of my dearest friends was named Bob Pierce. He is no longer living, but his legacy lives on. Bob Pierce heard a message in his church and he made a commitment to give his life to Christ and serve God in any way God wanted him to. Then Bob got a dream that he had to go to China and be a missionary. Why China? He didn・t know why, but he got on a boat and he traveled to China. He got off that boat and he was walking on the sidewalk in Hong Kong and then he saw the only other white person, an American, stand out among all the Chinese. She was coming toward him holding hands with a little Chinese boy. Then she stopped to look at him and said, "Who are you? Where are you from?" What are you doing here?"

He said, "My name is Bob Pierce." He was talking to a woman who was very well known in our denomination, the Reformed Church in America. Her name was Tina Holkeboer, from Dutch descent. She had never married and as a single woman was one of the greatest missionaries for Christ the world has ever seen.


Tina Holkeboer was a window woman ... not a mirror woman. And Bob Pierce answered her question, "What are you doing here?"

He said, "I came here to be a missionary."

She said, "What church are you with."

He said, "Nobody. I am here alone looking for my mission."

And Tina looked at Bob, "So you're looking for a mission? Here is your mission. Take him." And she gave the little Chinese orphan boy to Bob Pierce. She said, "I mean it. Take care of him." And she walked away.


That was the beginning of World Vision. Today, World Vision is still a powerful mission for Jesus Christ caring for thousands upon thousands of children around the world. Renew your strength to help the hurting.


Forget about yourself. That takes the strength out of you. When you begin to look too much in the mirror and stop looking out the window, then you begin to think more and more of yourself and less of others. Soon that kind of fixation will leave you emotionally hungry, and you will become more and more depressed and lonely.


How do you get your strength renewed? How do you come back? Some of you once loved God and Jesus Christ. Maybe it was in Sunday School. But you lost your faith and your devotion to God. How do you renew your strength? Come back to church. Do as Kim Phuc did. She read the New Testament, and then found somebody who was a Christian and talked to her.


When you meet Jesus Christ, He will turn your life upside down. I have studied psychology in my undergraduate work and theology in my graduate studies and I want to say very boldly there has never in the history of humanity been another human being that came out with truths that will so radically turn a life upside down as Jesus Christ does. He turns people from mirror people to window people. He turns people from self centeredness and self admiration to giving of yourself to encourage people who are hurting.


Dr. Carl Jung, the great psychologist who happened to belong to the Reformed Church in Switzerland, wrote a book called, "Modern Man in Search of a Soul." He writes, "About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. It seems to me I can just describe this as the general neurosis of our time."


Renew your strength. Look for a Lord, Jesus Christ. Of the 35 years we have been on television we have received more than a couple of billion letters over a third of a century. The letters come in many languages, from many countries and these words appear again and again, "You saved my life." The positive emotional needs of hope, patience, courage, confidence and kindness are not given to us by any other institution. No matter what university you graduated from, what advanced degrees you may have, what honors or peace prizes you may have won, there is no other institution on planet earth like the church of Jesus Christ to turn people・s lives upside down by giving them a new heart, a new spirit.


I was reading in John S. Whale’s book, "Facing the Facts," this true story: "I once was in the room of a geologist who had been to the Arctic Circle with a research party. I saw on the wall of his room a large colored picture of an iceberg, but it was a mountain of green, surrounded all around with little white icebergs. I said to the geologist, ‘Tell me about this picture. How can an iceberg be green?’ ‘Oh,’ he replied, ‘It was a natural phenomenon. I happened to be just one mile away from this iceberg when we heard the cracking of ice and it seemed to come from that one iceberg alone. Then its sharp peaks rising white in the sky, looked like it was starting to lean over. We all went to the rail of our ship and watched as it leaned a little more, then a little more, until it tipped completely upside down, and there was the bottom of the iceberg, all green! It was transformed in shape and color!’"


What kind of life are you living today? Make a decision to forget about the debates, forget about the questions, forget about the disagreements, just make a decision to meet Jesus Christ. Nobody can top Him. Accept Him and your life will turn upside down. Jesus Christ will transform you and you will be living life at its best. You will sparkle because Christ lives in your life. That's real!


Try praying this prayer today and life will change for you: "God, You're getting through to me. I realize there is a God who cares about me. There is a person called Jesus Christ, very much alive, living in people whose faces twinkle, sparkle and generate enormous energy. O God, I need my strength renewed so I come to You. Transform me from a mirror person to a window person. I want to do something for the hurting in the world. Amen.

HOP Privacy Legal  
Designed by: Ultragraphics Ltd.