dedicating today's message to all of the graduates. To all of you, I wish you my heartiest congratulations. And I'm including my family in that category.
Three of my grandchildren graduate from middle school
this year and one grandson graduates from high school and
enters Hope College in Holland, Michigan next year, which
is my alma mater and my son's.
One of my
five children this Sunday will be hooded for her earned
doctorate from University of California at Irvine in education. And with that degree from that school, she could have a great
career anywhere but she's committing her life to bringing
more effective education to the children and young people
in this church through the Academy and Sunday school.
She is writing curriculum focused on the Positive
grandchildren are university students, so I'm looking forward
to more graduations in the future.
Because of our positive Christian messages they are
living out the faith. They are motivated to set goals and make
So now to
all of the graduates, you picked up some knowledge along
the way, but what is more important than knowledge?
You will need wisdom to face your future.
The educational system in the western world and in
the United States has been focused on knowledge, based on
facts. But, wisdom has been the focus in the educational systems more
in the Middle East and in the Far East, out of which Jesus
So I want
to focus on the wisdom of belief in God.
When I was in high school, people believed in God
more than they do today, and professors taught about their
belief in God more in the university than they do today.
So you may wonder if God is dying out in human history
and the answer is my sermon title of the morning: Our God
is still very much alive.
Faraday was a world renowned English chemist, physicist.*
You may have studied about him.
He spent his life theorizing and speculating, building
"thought structures" all his life.
Thought structures are, how to use logic, how to
use the mind. In
1867 as he was dying, a friend came to visit him and asked
Faraday, "What are your speculations now?" "Speculations?" Repeated Faraday. "Speculations?
I have none!
Thank God. I am not resting my dying head upon speculations.
I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that
He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him
against that day."
(Words of St. Paul, Second Timothy 1:12).
know whom I have believed."
Graduates, who are you going to believe in your life? You will hear a lot of ideas from negative
thinkers and positive thinkers.
From atheists and from theists, from unbelievers
and believers. Do you know whom to believe? Read again the conviction of that great
scientist, Faraday: "I know whom I have believed!" That will make all the difference in your
entire life. Who
are you going to believe?
You can't believe in yourself completely.
You can't begin to even touch some of the areas of
speculation, thinking or study.
I'm amazed at books being written by people who pride
themselves at being scientists but really have not studied
theology and the history of thought.
I want you
to make a commitment in this morning's message, "I
know whom I have believed."
Study your Bible so you can say, "I Know!"
making is easy if you know the options.
"Possibility thinking," (or "alternative
thinking,") is the freedom to choose the kind of person
you want to become. Make a decision based on what holds the
greatest possibilities of improving your life, the kind
of a person whose personality will bring joy to your world.
After 50 years of studying this, I can tell you negative
thinkers don't develop happy wrinkles in their faces.
Positive thinking generates a different kind of personality
that ultimately leads to happy living.
In my study
of psychology at Hope College I learned quickly that cynicism,
skepticism and negative thinking do not generate great dreams,
hopes, and happiness. You eventually become cynical.
know whom I have believed."
Make that your commitment today.
No human being who ever lived can hold greater hopes
for you than Jesus Christ.
That's something for you to know, not speculate about.
So choose to become a believer.
Our God is still very much alive.
Of all of
the reading I've done in my study this week, the physicists
more than any other science group believe in a Supreme Being.
great physicist, George Earl Davis said, "Since we
cannot prove the existence or non-existence of God, then
the best we can do is to make intelligent inferences from
what we know. Such
an inference, which cannot be logically attacked on the
basis of any knowledge available to us is this:
"No material thing can create itself."
make a note of it but one of the scientists said, "It
takes a little philosophy to say I believe in God.
But it takes an act of God to make it real." That's why we come to church week after
week, to make God real to us.
Yes, our God is very much alive.
God still guides.
you. You didn't
choose to be born.
He gave to you and to no other creature on planet
earth, a brain that can think, a heart that can have feelings,
a mind that can collect memories to give you the guidance
you need. God
guides us through good times and bad times, through hurts
and through hardships giving us hope for tomorrow.
Through tears and through pleasures He guides.
prayer, ideas come into your brain that you didn't ask God
to send there. He chooses to send you these ideas without
first asking you.
Now that's a fact.
Yes, God still guides.
Closed doors and open doors
through closed doors.
You think it's terrible when the door closes or what
you thought was the best idea you ever had but it just never
seemed to work out. Closed doors. But
God had another plan for you, He had a plan to bring you
to this point in your life. Now He has a diversionary strategy
for you where He'll open other doors and you'll find that
He has a better plan for your future. Our God is a positive God, an affirming
God. God opens
other doors to make your dreams come true.
Seek His guidance, whatever you do, whatever education
you pursue. Pray and you will be astonished at how
God will guide you today or tomorrow.
Yes, our God still guides.
Our God still provides.
When I graduated
from seminary in 1950, I was called to a little church in
Chicago, Illinois, and I would be there for four and a half
years before I was called to come to start a new church
in California and I came here. But one of the members in that little
Chicago church became a close friend, Asa Skinner. He's no longer living, but Asa had had a bad accident, and
needed risky brain surgery.
When he was well enough to come home from the hospital,
I visited him and I asked his wife, "How is Asa doing?"
she replied, "He's doing wonderful.
He's out in the garden, sitting in a chair. He asked for his binoculars."
"What is he doing with binoculars?" "I don't know," she said.
I went out
to the garden and said, "Hi Asa!"
"Shhh. Don't scare him away," Asa answered.
He continued, "I'm shocked at the life that's
out here. I've
seen bugs, and other living creatures. I don't know what to call them, bugs or insects or ¡Kit's
birds." He said, "I didn't know we had so many
birds around here. I thought they had all died out, but Bob,
when I see all the bugs, the birds and I don't know what
little creatures are all under the grass, but it tells me
something: God is still alive!"
said it with such emotion and such power of volume that
I've never forgotten it.
The longer you look at all the life around you, the
more you see God alive anywhere in the world.
Wow. God guides,
and He provides.
Our God still Abides.
in our kitchen a glass cornered wall where we look out into
our garden. Many years ago, my brother sent me a gift.
It was a little bird house. The country church where he and I grew
up had an old, old barn, over a hundred years old. And that
was where people tied up their horses when they came to
church. And then when cars replaced horses, the horse barn was torn
down and replaced with a parking lot.
brother, Henry asked for some of those 100 year old boards,
aged and beautiful.
He said, "I'll make something out of the old
boards." Then about four years ago, he telephoned and said, "I'm
sending you a birdhouse.
It is special."
So we got
the birdhouse... it is little, with one tiny hole, and a
little stick for the birds to sit on.
Where did we hang the birdhouse?
Well, right outside our kitchen window there's a
four by four foot wooden post that holds an old school bell.
So I said
to Arvella, "We'll hammer it on that post." So the birdhouse is only about three feet from the edge of
our kitchen table.
Maybe that's why birds have never used it year after
Then I said
to her, "If there's a bird that fits in that little
hole, how is he ever going to find it?"
month my wife excitedly said, "I saw a bird go in the
Wow! That's news! I don't know what the headline was that day. But the headline in our home was a little
bird went into the birdhouse!
He found it and he was able to get into that little
hole. And then another one joined him. And they have lived there for awhile serenading
us each day with their cheerful song. They fly out and get food somewhere. They are so busy. It is phenomenal.
we recently observed that there was sense of life inside
the birdhouse. Wow! We are going to have some babies. I can't tell you this past month how much this experience enriched
my life; watching these tiny birds find a home, build a
nest, lay their eggs and watch the eggs hatched into little
week when I came home, Mrs. Schuller said, "Oh, bad
news. One of the little baby birds climbed out
and fell down."
said, "I couldn't leave it out of the nest. So at the risk of not doing the right thing, I did pick it
up and slipped the baby bird back through the tiny hole
of the birdhouse."
days later, we saw it was still alive as the two baby birds
stuck their necks out of the hole at the same time, (tight
squeeze.) But they both wanted the food the mother
bird was providing.
There is more activity going on there than in our
Orange County traffic exchange.
I observe that God is in it all¡KGod in nature¡Kin
the birds, in the bugs. And most of all, in you! "You are even more important than the birds," (Matthew
6:26), Jesus said.
You are more important than the sparrow.
(By the way, we discovered the tiny little bird is
God is still very much alive.
God provides, and God always abides, even when you wonder
where He is, you are surrounded with Him right now.
Our God hides you.
you. He protects
you. More than you and I will ever know, we
are being protected from so much wrong living in our world
today. What kind of ideas come into our minds
through our eyes, through ears, through people using obscene
language? God hides us from a lot of bad experiences you
don't even know about. And most importantly, God hides our shame.
No shame! That's where the cross comes in. That's why the cross has been the symbol
for Christianity for over two thousand years on planet Earth.
one room on this property where I have been the only one
that will ever go in.
What is it? It's the cross that towers high above
the Tower of Hope.
When we planned our campus I announced a plan for
a 25-story tower 250 feet high." But when it came time to build it, the
city laws would not allow a building more than 160 feet
high. The newspaper had already reported that
I had announced the Tower of Hope was going to be 250 feet
high. I did not want to be criticized for being
untruthful, and not doing what I promised. So I said to the architect, "Make a cross ninety feet
high, then we will live up to our promises."
"it's impossible to make a ninety foot cross, it will
start trembling in a high wind, and crack the tower walls."
A few days
later, he called to say, "We could design the cross
with the last 12 feet of the cross four feet wide instead
of only three feet wide."
Make it," was my reply.
cross was finished, it was delivered and lifted by a large
crane to the top of the tower.
Then I went to the top of the tower and saw the cross
on its side waiting, ready to be lifted and secured in place.
When the workers took a break for lunch, I found
myself alone. I knelt on my hands and knees to look inside. I moved a little further inside to get
a better look and found myself inside the cross!
prayed, "Dear God, when this cross is lifted high by
the end of this day, may this cross be seen by millions
in the years to come. May the people who see this cross lighted
at night, from their hospital rooms and from their cars
out on the freeways, turn to You.
May the cross lead them to You, Jesus Christ!
from inside the cross still goes out to the world. And God keeps answering that prayer!
Many see the cross and they come here.
And it is the beginning of faith in Jesus Christ.
the cross and find Jesus with His arms out inviting you
to come and be a believer.
No more speculation!
"I know whom I believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that
which I have committed unto Him against that day!"
(2 Timothy 1:12)
(1) * The Evidence of God in an Expanding
Universe © 1958 by John Monsama, Putnam's Sons.
(2) ** IBID