by: Robert H. Schuller
today, which sets off the whole Christmas season from
this place, is entitled “The Beginning that Changed
the World.” There are infinite possibilities in
little beginnings if God is in it. And there are infinite
possibilities in the world when Jesus was born. That was
the beginning of a new religion that would change the
world forever. The world would call it Christianity. And
one of the most beautiful things is that it celebrates
the giving of gifts you know. It’s so much fun to
Well this church
is offering many gifts to the whole community and to the
world this Christmas season. First of all, we have the
Glory of Christmas and the attendance is running higher
than last year. It’s phenomenal and it’s getting
rave reviews around the world. Exchange student from Germany
watched the rehearsals this week and she couldn’t
say enough about it. She’d never seen anything like
it. So don’t miss it, even if you saw it before
and its become Southern California’s Christmas tradition
like the Rose Parade in Pasadena has become a New Year’s
tradition. Don’t miss it. Put it on your Christmas
Or, bring somebody
to the Christmas Eve church services. They’re totally
free. Seven of them. I will be speaking at all seven.
Phenomenal! And they will be on television live coming
from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove California.
We’re thrilled about Christmas Eve and you can come
here in person. That’s a gift. Take somebody with
you. You can bring these gifts. Make it a great Christmas.
I want to say that the birth of Jesus was the beginning
that changed the world. And I don’t think anybody
that looked down at that little baby in a manger, in a
cow stall, in Bethlehem, could ever have imagined what
would happen. But today, more people belong to faiths
that honor the name of Jesus than any other faith. What
really happened with the birth of Jesus? I would say look
at the Christmas tree. That’s a good illustration.
The Christmas tree. I remember a Christmas in my home
when all of our kids were little and we got the tree up
and they were all tiny. And they wanted to decorate the
tree so that we got out the box and they put the stuff
here, all the way along the bottom. And they finally said
they’re finished dad. Boy it’s beautiful.
And when I went to look at it, guess what: it was decorated
from the bottom up to about a little over half. They said
it was done. They couldn’t reach any higher. It
was a limit to their eyes.
to the world and one of the greatest religions in the
world at that time was Judaism. And one of the young Jews
was named Jesus. And He said we’re going to add
something because by the time you finish with Moses and
the prophets, we needed something more. We need a charity,
we needed grace, we needed love. So God sent His son into
the world to finish decorating the Christmas tree. It
was Jesus. And He put a star at the top. The Christian
religion has never changed. Look what Christianity brought
to the world. The hospitals, Christians invented the hospital
system. Literacy, country after country, Christianity
brought literacy and sent missionaries to take the spoken
language, put it in writing. Religion changed forever
when Jesus was born. A new religion and the Christmas
tree finally had lights all the way to the top. Wow. We
made a new God decision. That’s what happened.
thousand years later, more people respect the name of
Jesus than the name of anybody else. Wow. And we acquired
a leader. You can’t make a movement succeed without
a leader. We had.. a leader is the one who makes the final
interpretations and when it comes to religion, every movement
needs a leader and the leader is the one who has the last
word. And when it comes to interpretation of religious
life and principles, we have the greatest leader. His
name is Jesus.
was the beginning that changed the future of the whole
world. Without Christmas, we wouldn’t have a New
Testament. We needed a New Testament because the Old Testament
alone is law and not grace. Hear me clear: we need grace.
What is grace? Christian religion is the only religion
of ethical monotheism that teaches grace. The others,
its law. Judaism has its laws. The Muslim movement has
its laws. The Christian religion has laws. But the last
line is grace. And what is grace? Grace is the promise
that you can be forgiven because God loves you. Grace
is God’s love in action for people who haven’t
deserved it. That’s grace. A remarkable shocking
contribution to religious thinking happened when Jesus
was born and as He lived His life and finally died on
the cross. And we’re taught in Christianity that
we’re to exercise grace, not judgment.
My guest this morning from Germany said it all. Yeah.
Just before he went to meet me for the second time, something
had to happen. God told him to call up that man who bankrupted
your company, ran off with the money, took your telephone
call on his yacht, and you forgave him even before he
repented. Pretty shocking. That’s our religion,
the final word; the most honorable word is when you call
somebody a graceful person. Grace. Yeah.
And then, Christianity
was the beginning that changed the world because it gave
the world a new emotional support system. Think of this.
Think of this! Think of it. There never was a religion
that gave a full and adequate emotional support system
to the human being. I started preparing for the ministry,
not by taking Bible classes. I had a lot of that in catechism.
I started by psychology at Hope College. They had a good
psych department. The professor, Dr. Myers has written
a primary book on psychology that is read by more entry
students in the universities of America than any other
textbook. It’s a good college. And emotional support
is: where do you get the hope to hang on anyway? Where
do you get the strength not to hit a bridge? Where do
you get the courage to stay alive even after your spouse
left for someone else?
problems are only decisions you don’t want to make
or don’t dare to make. When you get the courage
and the strength and the wisdom to make them, that’s
what you call emotional support. And this is the only
religion on planet earth that has a full scale, fully
beautiful emotional support system through its prayers,
through its forgiveness. You heard our guest this morning
how he called and forgave an enemy. Show me another religion
outside of Jesus that teaches that. You can’t. That’s
why Christianity always survives.
I told you
last week I came back from China, wow. Nineteen years,
total atheism. Every church closed, well with a couple
exceptions. Theological schools that would teach people
to believe closed. Except for two. One in Nan King. I
went there and saw the name of my denomination that helped
build that almost a hundred years ago. It’s now
open and I’ll be going back next year at their invitation
to teach our theology. And seminary students are going
to go out over China, churches with standing room only.
No gray hairs. Preached to the church on Sunday morning.
They didn’t know me but there were a thousand people
plus every corner was filled to standing room and it was
only one of four morning church services. And they’re
young and now we are given the joy and the opportunity
to train in positive, possibility thinking theology, the
faith that you’ve heard us here preach for 50 years.
The world is changing. This church is a big part of it,
more than you’ll ever know. So emotional support
system. You come out of this kind of a faith with a book
called the Bible. A person called Jesus. A God that’s
intelligent, not just a vague cosmic force. I don’t
need that kind of a God. A God who is intelligent and
a God who’s affectionate. And a belief system that
has grace at its core. And a religion that is targeting
emotional support. You land up with the kind of a personality
and you begin to dream a dream! That’s what this
kind of religion does. You begin to believe in possibilities.
That’s what this religion teaches. Then you believe
in forgiveness. That’s what this religion teaches.
life. The beginning that changed the world. Finally, God
came in His Son Jesus Christ to live and to die on a cross
and to rise again and leave this as His last word. All
the things Jesus taught, everything that He left. It started
when He was born in Bethlehem and His last word was there
is life after death. The soul is the recording; the brain
is only the recorder. The recorder goes out of business
but the tape recording never does. Eternal life to you
who accept Jesus. God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten Son, about that long, little baby. Whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting
life. So Merry, Merry Christmas.
the Christian faith. You can’t match it or surpass
it and its simply coming to love Jesus. Amen.
it’s the Christmas season and when we remember what
changes came into the world, what changes come into human
life when they let Christmas be the rebirth of their eternal
soul. People here now and I want them to raise at least
the hand in their heart, when I ask them to accept Jesus
as their Savior when I ask them to step into the faith.
Stop waiting, stop wondering, stop waiting, stop putting
it off. Give yourself the best Christmas gift you can.
And that’s following Jesus Christ born 2000 years