#299 Live Life At Its Best, I - Love (19/08/07)

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest ( Hong Kong )

Miss Rachel Li
External Affairs Manager, Breakthrough

Miss Rachel Li is a renowned media person, with a wealth of experience with TV, radio and newspapers. From a frontline news reporter, Rachel worked her way up to the management team of a radio station. Eight years ago she gave up her esteemed status and went back to school, and acquired two master degrees straight!She is forever in touch with the youth. Lately she devoted full time in a youth ministry.

Special Music

"Standing on the Promises"
"We Build a New Tomorrow"

“Therefore Give us Love”

SOLO – LIZ BYLER – “Miracle of You”
PIANO SOLO – JAN MULDER – “Rondo Marcando”

The Message

The messages that Robert and I will be sharing with you for the next few weeks are based on the central theme from Galatians:

"The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." (Galatians 5:22, 23)

What a powerful Bible verse. No one sentence offers more complete emotional description of the followers of Jesus Christ than this verse from Galatians.

We all want to live life at its best. That is possible ... and that is what God wants from us. And I want to add another Bible verse, which is the key Bible verse that controls the spirit of this ministry,

"They 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." (Isaiah 40:37) That is a promise from God that the positive spirit of faith can give you energy for creativity and for overcoming.

Believe that God wants us all, yes, you and me, to have an exciting life. And that is what the Bible gives us. That is what Jesus Christ teaches. The Holy Scriptures has been around for over two thousand years in continents, cultures, crossing many creeds. The Bible has something that no book has quite like it. What we get from the Bible will give us life at its best ... 1) a purpose to live for ... 2) a self to live with ... 3) a faith to live by.

Live life at its best

1) A purpose to live by

No therapist of human emotions can say there is anything we need more than a purpose to live for. Without a purpose in life you will be bored ... and boredom leads to all kinds of addictions. Alcohol addiction ... sexual addictions ... the list is long. But if you have a passion and a purpose, then you have an inner emotional power that will drive you. 1) A purpose to live for ... find it in the Bible. 2) A self that you can live with ... that's when you put your head to the pillow at night and you are happy with the person you are. And 3) A faith to live by.

In seminary, the theological school where ministers go to be qualified for the work that we are called to do, there is the study called Homiletics. In Homiletics, professors teach you how to deliver what they call "sermons." And they teach that there are four kinds of sermons. There is the expository sermon, when a preacher just goes through the Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter. That is called "expository preaching." Some ministers specialize in this. I don't specialize in that.

There is another kind of sermon, called a "topical sermon." Topical sermons are where you focus on human need ... a hurt. You find a theme from the Bible and offer to people an inspirational message that is called "topical preaching," biblically based just as much as expository sermons. We are a topically preaching church.

There is a third type of sermon that is an "evangelistic sermon." In evangelism, you have a target and that is to lead people to Christ so that they will accept Him and Know His power and love. We often have an evangelistic sermon as well as topical. Then there is another kind of sermon called a "biographical sermon." That is where you tell the story of a human being who has lived out the faith. By the time you finish telling that story, people will learn from it and draw a legacy from it.

Today, I want to attempt a brief biographical sermon which I have never done in the 55 years that I have been ordained, partly because the people that I would want to talk about are still alive, and I don't want them to blow it before they die.

This is a biographical sermon about a woman whose funeral was yesterday. She was one of the greatest human beings I've known in my history as a pastor, and I've known many famous inspiring women like Mother Teresa, at whose beautification ceremony I attended at an invitation from Rome a few months ago.

But the woman I want to tell you about, I admire as much as I admired Mother Teresa. Her name is Adella Cooper. She is a friend and a member of this church for 42 years. When she came here I was young and just starting this church. Yesterday we held her funeral. It was wonderful. What a celebration. Everybody loved her. Adella Cooper showed us how to live life at its best. She had a purpose to live for, a self to live with, and the faith to live by. That's what made her so special ... she had enthusiasm. She was so enthusiastic when she attended a church dinner eight weeks ago. She went up and down the dinning room almost trotting over to her friends ... table to table. She and I laughed, wow, what energy! "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength..." That's the way we get enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is energy ... and energy can be enthusiastic!

Live life at its best

2) A self to live with

Where did she get her energy? She had it because she was never wrapped up in herself. She was always looking for other people who needed encouragement or hope. During World War II she was a surgical courier nurse on the Santa Fe Railroad from Chicago to Los Angeles. She took care of the sick people and children on the trains.

She met a man on one of her trains, a very successful and famous engineer named Fred Cooper. He was attracted to her. They had three dates and they got married. Last August they celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary! Phenomenal! She was born in a little farmhouse in Saskatchewan, Canada. There is where she learned how to cook chicken. Through the years, at all of the family's holiday celebrations Adella has cooked one of her recipes of chicken. They were fantastic. In her written recipe file she had as Cooper's first lesson on how to cook chicken:

1. Sharpen your axe.

2. Find a fat and healthy chicken.

When Adella and Fred were married only five days, Adella's sister died suddenly, leaving three little children. Adella said to Fred, "I need to take care of them." So she offered an annulment to her new husband because he didn't marry her only five days before to suddenly have a family of three kids. But Fred couldn't think of annulment. He loved her. He loved the children. So they adopted the three children. That is how they started their marriage. A year later their daughter, Glenellen, was born.

And when those four children became teenagers (Glenellen was Miss Junior Miss of California), the next door neighbor suddenly died. And his wife was also dying of a brain tumor, so Fred and Adella took them into their home ... four children and their dying mother. Two years later, the mother died and Fred and Adella adopted four more children. That means they raised seven children plus their own. This is compassion ... the Spirit of Jesus Christ!

Live life at its best!

3) A faith to live by!

Enthusiasm ... Compassion ... A purpose to live for! ... A self to live with! ... A faith to live by!

When Adella's husband was so sick her spirit of enthusiastic energy was exceptional. The Navy had assigned Fred to a very special and secret task of developing a weapon that could save a lot of lives. They tested it out in this little boat on the ocean. There was an explosion, Fred survived, but his lungs collapsed and he would spend four years in the hospital. Adella, now alone, taking care of all the children, was also his nurse, did research and discovered there was one experimental drug that might possibly help him. When Fred was told he had about five hours to live she experimented on him. The drug worked. and both lungs wererestored! That was a miracle. What a woman of faith!

Now Fred always liked airplanes, so when he recovered, he took up flying. In fact, 41 years ago, when Adella came to church with the children, Fred was too busy flying his airplane. He was more interested in flying his airplane than church ... until one day he had a forced landing. He survived and he said, "I'm going to church with my wife next week." And he came every Sunday after that experience.

When the children were grown, Adella decided she was going to learn to fly an airplane. She would learn to pilot their airplane, but she didn't have time to go to pilot school. So she taught herself, sitting beside Fred. In case something should happen to him, she wanted to be able to land the plane. And she became a very good pilot and got her license. That's adventuresome faith!

Live life at its best with adventuresome faith!

One night, she and Fred were flying in their twin engine Cessna Skymaster when the landing gear couldn't be lowered. Adella was not afraid to live ... she was not afraid to die. So she was in control over her emotions. When Fred said, "We have to belly land. Get ready." Adella took off her glasses; she unlocked the door latch, tightened up her shoulder harness and slid back her seat. Then she looked at Fred and said, "Okay, I'm ready!"

They belly landed. Whew. It was successful and it made the newspaper the next day. It was a big story of this engineer who had to belly land his plane. And it was reported that he was accompanied by an "unidentified female companion."

Live life at its best!

Not afraid to live ... not afraid to die.

What a life she lived. Adella was a pillar in this church. One of the first people to give her offering faithfully. She loved being a volunteer, teaching Sunday school, waiting on tables. She was a volunteer in many, many areas of the church. In the Hospitality Center she greeted tourists who visited from all over the world. This she was doing only a few weeks ago.

Live life at its best!

Turn tragedy into triumph!

Adella always seemed to turn tragedy into triumph. The oldest of her sister's three children that she and Fred adopted was a boy named Bob. At 15 years of age he was driving a car and he was killed in an accident. Adella said, "I don't think he had enough drivers' education. We didn't spend enough time teaching him how to drive a car." She said the high school should make driver's education a requirement for all 15 and 16 year old students to receive a license. So Adella rallied her neighbors together and took up donations to buy a car for the high school and for a teacher to be hired. A law in that high school was passed that every high school student needed a driver's education class. And they prepared a driver's education syllabus. Adella did it all! That caught the attention of the state and it became a state law in California. Driver's education in high school was started by Adella Cooper. How many lives did she save? She made a difference and we all thank God for her! Catch the spirit of Adella Cooper; it is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Live life at its best

Make a difference in your world

Young people, what kind of legacy will you get? I want to give you a legacy of faith, courage, enthusiasm, compassion ... and no fear of living ... no fear of dying. That was Adella Cooper. And many people who belong to this church and follow this faith of Jesus Christ have this same energy of life. Adella lived to be 90 years old and only a few months ago she mowed her lawn with her own lawn mower. And then, on her knees, did the edging of her flower beds.

A week ago she had a stroke. Her husband was at her side. She couldn't walk. She couldn't talk. But she could understand. When Fred, her husband, wrote to a few of his friends to tell them that Adella has passed away, he wrote that she refused life support or life extension systems. She wanted to let God take her the way God wanted to. So she was transferred to a nursing facility where she could do the things she desired.

Then Fred, her husband of 61 years, added, "I was holding Adella's hand when she looked directly into my eyes and blinked, then yawned. I blinked, but gave her an exaggerated yawn. She blinked again, made a bigger yawn. I thought she was playing our usual sleepy time game that we'd done through the years. Then her hand relaxed from mine, her eyes closed, and I noticed she was not breathing. She was gone. Adella Cooper, 90 years old, and we brought her remains to our Crystal Cathedral Memorial Gardens, as we thanked God for her."

Adella Cooper lived life at its best! This is not fiction. This is reality.

There are no other institutions on planet earth, not in the arts, not in the sciences, not in the humanities; other than the Church of Jesus Christ with the Bible that offers you life at its best!

Live life at its best

A purpose to live for .... A self to live with ... a faith to live by.

I want to give you a faith to live by, a Savior so you can have a self that you can life with. Let's pray.

Thank You, Lord, for the Bible, for its truth that gives us salvation, a purpose to live for, a self to live with and a faith to live by. Thank you Jesus. Thank You for people that are even now moving from doubt to faith. They are thinking differently. We've all had a sermon from Adella Cooper, a good sermon. Thank you, Adella. Amen.

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