#301 Message- Live Life At Its Best III- Peace (02/09/07)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Music

Hymn
" Yes, God is Good!"
"I Would be True"

Anthem
"The Lord is My Light"
“Because He Lives”

Solo
HANDBELL ENSEMBLE – RING OF FIRE – “Capriccio”
TRIO – PLUS ONE – “Be Love”

The Message

Message by Robert A . Schuller

My father and I are continuing our messages entitled, "Live Life at Its Best," using Galatians 5:22 as our guideline. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control." Today the message is Part V. My father introduced this theme of Living Life at Its Best, then we both have been sharing the first four messages, two on love, then number three was on joy. And last week my father got really impatient and skipped peace and spoke on patience. That'strue. From now on every time I speak I'm going to tell how impatient he was to speak about patience that he couldn't wait another week. So, this morning I'm going back to the correct order of St. Paul. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience ..." and hopefully I can share some thoughts on peace to help you.

Live Life at Its Best
To live life at its best is a life filled with peace.
(1) Experience peace with God.
(2) Experience peace with others.
(3) Experience peace with ourselves.


To live life at its best there must be peace with God and that begins with an understanding that God hates sin. This is one of the greatest challenges that we, as humans, have that keep us from finding peace with God. Because we have been taught that God hates sin, and at the same time we know that we have all sinned. None of us live a perfect life. As a result, we experience tremendous fear and anxiety and, yes, also fear, until we realize and understand the amazing grace of God, that even though God hates sin, God loves the sinner! God loves every human being He has created on planet earth, and God wants each of us to live the joyful life that He designed us to live.

One hundred-twenty-five years ago there lived a little girl named Hattie May Wiatt. Hattie May was a poor little girl who simply wanted to go to Sunday school. She tried to get into a Sunday school of a church hear her home, but she discovered that there wasn't enough room for her.
The Pastor, Russell H. Conwell happened to be walking through the church hall when he saw her standing outside the Sunday school room crying and he went to her and asked, "Are you Okay?" "I can't get in the Sunday school room, there's not enough room for me."

Touched by her forlorn look and her wet cheeks, he took her by the hand and opened the door to find her a seat, but the room was full of children. Finally, he found a chair and squeezed it into the crowded room. As he led Hattie to the chair, he told her, "Hattie, someday we'll build a larger Sunday school room so that you and any other little girls won't have to worry about finding a place to sit. There will be room for everyone to go to Sunday school every Sunday, and Hattie smiled a big smile. The pastor thought that was the end of the story, but shortly Hattie became very ill and died.

It was a heartbreaking tragedy. Russell Conwell comforted the family and friends at her funeral and after the funeral her parents handed the pastor 57 cents. They told the pastor how Hattie had been saving her money to help build a new church so there would be room for her and all the other children and no one would have to sit out in the hallway at Sunday school.

When the pastor shared the story of how this little child had saved every single penny to build a larger church, the congregation knew that they had to make it happen. They were going to build a larger church K and they turned Hattie's 57 cents into $250,000, bought a new piece of ground and built a larger church. And today, from that 57 cents, there is the Grace Baptist Church, Temple University and the Good Samaritan Hospital, all in Philadelphia. [1]
One little child asking, "What can I do with what God has given me?" K was allowed the privilege to be the founder of these three incredible institutions. This child found peace with God. Yes, when we find peace with God we break through the barriers of negativity. And through Jesus Christ, we experience spiritual peace in the fullness of God's love. Then we find the purpose that God has for living, and that generates hope, goodness, joy, and love. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy and peace." Yes, that's peace with God!

Live life at its best K
(2) Experience peace with others


St. Paul, in his many letters to the new churches he established, has more instructions about peace. To the church in Ephesus, St. Paul reminds the believers: "Jesus Christ came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who are near. For through Jesus Christ we have access to the Father. Consequently we are no longer foreigners, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household." (Ephesians 2:17-19)

We are no longer on the outskirts looking in, but we have been invited into the Sunday school room. We have been guided to people of God where we live in peace with other believers.
Jesus lived and preached peace and one of the tragedies in our society today is that there are still people who do not understand that God loves them. God loves you K God loves me K even though we are sinners. It reminds me of the old Japanese soldiers who were abandoned on the islands after World War II and for decades they never realized that the war was over. Peace had been declared. They just never knew it.You would expect that this wonderful Good News that we preach would have people excited to experience the incredible gift of peace that we have from God, because God loves us. He loves you and me just the way we are and He wants to create peace with you. Then God wants us to create peace with our brothers, our sisters, our co-workers and everybody we connect with.

An Australian bus driver was driving a busload of both white and Aboriginal kids. The white kids were fighting the Aboriginal kids and finally the driver had enough so he pulled the bus over to the side of the road and said, "Listen, kids, there are no black kids, there are no white kids, there are no Aboriginal kids, there are no descendents of England. We are all green. Did you hear me? We are all green. All one color. No other color on this bus is allowed!" He shouted again, "Did you hear me?" "Yes, sir, Mr. Bus Driver!" With that the driver thought he had created peace and he hopped back into his seat and as he started driving along, suddenly he heard from the back of the bus, "Dark green on the left and light green on the right."

Our sinful nature will constantly try to create schisms while God constantly tries to create unity and oneness in His Spirit of love and joy. That's why we have to constantly preach the message of brotherly love. Love one another. Live life at its best. Peace has been declared. We have to declare it to our children and to our children's children. We have to let the world know that when we put our faith in God and trust Jesus Christ, He will reach out to embrace us and bring us into His family.

Conflict is a constant struggle between the dark green and the light green K between the haves and the have-nots K between those who do and those who don't K between those who want to and those who don't want to. That's life. But God takes this tension and when we put this tension in God's hands, we create music. Remember that you can only create music when the strings are taunt. Until then all you have is noise. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy and peace ..."

Live Life at Its Best K
(1) Experience peace with God
(2) Experience peace with others
(3) Experience peace with ourselves

In another of St. Paul's letters to the churches, he shares with the church in Philippi these words of peace, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

Our hearts and minds experience peace when we are doing what God has called us to do.
Brenda was a rock climber. She was scaling this incredible rock when one of the safety lines snapped and hit her in the eye, knocking out her contact lens. All of a sudden everything was blurry. It was the only lens she had and she didn't know what she was going to do. She really needed that lens. So she started looking around hoping that maybe it might be around someplace on her clothes, her arms K anywhere.

She couldn't find it so she continued climbing to the top as best she could with the help of her team. There her climbing team searched again for the contact lens. Perhaps it stuck to her. They also examined her eye very closely, perhaps it had rolled back into the corner of her eye. They could find it nowhere on her. It was like looking for a contact lens in a forest, so they proceeded to make their way down the path and as they neared the bottom of the hill, there was another team of climbers preparing their clime. They stopped and said, "Did any of you lose a contact lens?" "Oh yes!" was Brenda's surprised response. And there it was.

"How did you find it?" One of the climbers replied, "There was an ant walking along and the ant was carrying your contact lens." She couldn't believe it. When she got home, Brenda told her father, a cartoonist, about the ant that was carrying her contact lens and he drew a cartoon of an ant carrying the lens with this caption underneath it: "Lord, I don't know why you want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it and it's awfully heavy, but if it's what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You." And that's the cartoon.

Sometimes I think life is one big cartoon. In life sometimes there are burdens to carry. We don't know why and they don't give us a whole lot of joy right now, but when we say, "Lord, I'm going to carry it. I may never understand why, but somehow, someway I pray that I am able to help someone. I want them to see that God loves me anyway. I want them to be able to see that I have peace with God. I want to share Your wonderful peace with my family, friends, and my neighbors. I want them to see in my heart that God is in control. As long as I trust God, I have nothing to fear."
Several years ago National Geographic displayed two dramatic pictures side by side. One picture was of a burned out forest with a bird underneath a burned out tree. The bird was a ghostly silhouette of ash at the base of the tree. The second picture showed a fireman kicking this ashen silhouette only to discover half dozen little chicks alive!
The mother bird had sacrificed herself by wrapping her wings around her chicks. She could have flown away and saved her own life, but chose to stay and protect her young. She died protecting her young.

The Psalmist wrote about this kind of trust in God's protection with these words, "He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings shall you trust." (Psalm 91:4) Yes, those are the promises that God gives to us! We can have peace today. Peace in knowing that God loves us. Peace in knowing that God will care for us. Peace in knowing that we can love our friends, neighbors and associates. We can handle the burdens that life gives to us because God gives us peace in knowing there must be a special purpose, even for the burdens. That's peace. And when you experience that kind of peace you truly experience life at its best.

So today I ask you to come with a heart open to saying "yes" to Jesus Christ. Come with a heart that is willing to say, "Jesus, forgive my sins." Come with a heart that says, "Lord, I want to receive and feel the peace that You are offering me right now, peace with You, peace with others, and peace with myself." Join me in prayer:

Dear God, Forgive my sins. You have promised that You love the sinner. Embrace me with Your love and help me to feel Your peace and experience the joy that comes when I am surrounded with Your protective arms of love. May I be a beautiful example of Your love and shout it from the mountaintops that You are alive today. And that You want to give this peace away. So I thank You, Lord, for forgiveness, for love and for peace. Thank You God. Amen.


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