Walking in Your Own Shoes – Part 3 (30 Dec 2007)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Lynda Randle

Special Music


Joyful, Joyful
Hand in Hand Now Walk with Jesus Medley
O Word of God Incarnate Medley

Solo/ Anthem
Azusa Pacific University Oratorio Choir - Grace
Azusa Pacific University Oratorio Choir - Offertory
Lynda Randle – I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
Azusa Pacific University Oratorio Choir - O Sing Unto the Lord

The Message

Message by: Robert A. Schuller

One of the things about coming to this incredible place is that God doesn’t always make it real easy to get here. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? Some of you may realize that it’s a long journey from the United States, from Los Angeles and I understand it’s a long journey from Australia to get here. And New Zealand, I was talking with some people from New Zealand, I said how did you get here, and they said well one person went east and another person went west. He says it really doesn’t matter which way you go, it takes the same amount of time, you know either way you go. I’m going okay, that’s an interesting thought.

So if you came from the United States think of this: it could be worse. You could have coming from Australia or New Zealand, you know? And if you’re from New Zealand, we’re really, really glad. Where’s our New Zealand contingency? They’re here someplace. Where are they? Oh over here, here’s our New Zealand contingency. And I think we got to see a couple of hands up in the back over here. So we have people from literally all over the world here, and I think we have about 530 people as I understand. So it’s quite a group and we’re in Jerusalem and the background couldn’t be better. It really is spectacular. We’re looking at the gold dome, the dome of the rock. And we’re looking at the old temple area, and it is really, really beautiful.

But one of the things I want to share with you today is that walking in your own shoes is really having the courage to do what God has called you to do. And the reason we’re all here is because we know that God wants us to be here. And that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easy to get there. For my wife and I it wasn’t easy for us to get here. We were supposed to leave Monday morning. The flight was scheduled for 12:30. And we came a day later than everyone else because I was busy on Sunday morning while you were at the airport getting ready to fly over here; I was busy on Sunday morning. I actually preach most Sunday mornings and last Sunday morning I was preaching so I couldn’t get on the airplane. And as a result of that, we planned on leaving then the following day.

So Sunday afternoon, shortly after I delivered my message, my wife got a call from my daughter’s roommate and then the message was simply call immediately. And that concerned us. And so obviously we called immediately and she said Christina had a fall, she’s in the ambulance. And we’re on our way to the hospital now. What happened is she just fainted. Her legs locked and they said she fell like a tree, straight back, hit a chair, and she has a gash in the back of her head that’s bleeding quite profusely. And so we hopped in the car and drove up to Los Angeles so we could see her and be with her and see if there’s something we could do to help, and for the entire Sunday afternoon when I had plans of going to the bank and getting some cash so I could have some money and just to prove that I didn’t get to the bank, that’s how much cash I have. Credit cards and so thank goodness for ATM machines. If I need it I’ll get there.

But we went and saw our daughter and there she was sitting in the hospital room with gauze all around her head and we thought okay we’ll get her sewed up and then we can go home and we’ll make our flight the next day. The only thing is when we were at the emergency room; they wanted to know why did she faint? Why did she fall over? Why did she get hurt? Good question isn’t it. It’s an important question. So they attached her to monitors, and they discovered that there was something wrong with her EKG’s, which means her heart. And she has kind of a good sense of humor and she goes well look at it this way, its not one of the major organs. And so they decided that she needed to spend the night in the hospital because they were afraid it might be something electrically wrong with her heart and she may not survive. And they didn’t want her to leave the hospital room because they said it could happen again, she could fall over again, she could have a heart attack, she could fall over dead.

So here it is, we’re still at the hospital room 10:30 that night, 11:00 that night and she’s plugged into everything and there’s no place for us to stay so they told us to go home and so we did, with every intention of postponing our trip by a day or two until our daughter’s well. No offense, but we’re not going to leave our daughter in a hospital room hooked up to monitors where she may have to have some heart surgery and I love all of you but I love my daughter as well. And I think my priority is there. I think I have my priority straight, would you agree? Yes.

So my family, my family of course is very important to us, so the next morning we woke up at 8:30 and in order for us to make our flight, we’d have to leave our house at 10:00, at the very latest cause our flight left at 12:30 that day. So we woke up at 8:30 that morning, called Christina, and she said you know my EKG’s have been great all night, they’re going to give me one last test and hopefully that test will be okay. We said so you’re okay with us going to Israel? She goes yes, that’ll be fine. Donna’s grandmother was going to go there and take care of her; Donna’s mother not her grandmother, her mother. Her mother’s an RN, she and Christina are really, really good friends, and so Christina felt really good about that. So we said well we’ll go to the airport, if any news comes out that we need to be aware of, call us. We won’t get on the plane. We’ll just come straight to the hospital.

So we’re there, we got the news that everything came out fine, her heart is in perfect shape, we got on the plane and we got here, we didn’t change our schedule one bit. Isn’t that great news? You know walking in our own shoes is really having the courage to do the right thing. And that’s what we have to realize. And when we look at the steps of Jesus Christ, what He walked all over these hills and through this city, and throughout this whole land. You know we spent a couple days up in Galilee where we saw where Jesus walked on the water. He did the right thing. Jesus always did the right thing. And that’s what we’re called to do, to have the courage to do the right thing.

My wife read a passage of scripture this morning, from Joshua and one of the interesting things about Joshua is that these words are being shared with Joshua not with Moses. Moses never made it to the Promised Land. Isn’t that a fascinating thing? Moses was told to lead the people out of Egypt and bring them to the Promised Land and he was faithful to God to go and to bring the people here. And after wandering the desert for 20 years, Moses comes to the edge of the Promised Land and he sends ten spies out to check out the area in order to see what they would be facing when they came into the Promised Land. And the spies came back and the spies did not have a very hopeful prognosis for coming into the land of the Promised Land. Only two of them, only two, Caleb and Joshua were the only two who had the confidence and the faith that they could come in and they could receive the gift that God had for them. They were the only two. Eight of the ten spies say hey do you know what? Those guys over there are big, they’re mean, that place is really nice but do you know what, we really don’t need to go there. We don’t think we could do it. And as a result of their lack of faith, and as a result of Moses believing in their lack of faith, Moses never came here to the Promised Land.

The question is, how many promised lands does God have for you? That you’ve never really had quite enough faith to move forward and to say do you know with God I can do all things. All things are possible if I only believe. Today I feel like I’m preaching to the choir because all of you are sitting here in the Holy Land. You’ve made it to the Promised Land. But I must be honest with you, not everyone has succeeded. I led tours to the Holy Land several times as a young man in my 20’s throughout my college and my seminary years, I would take probably two, maybe three trips here a year and there was a time when I flew through Amman Jordan. We had to take Jordanian airlines to Amman, and we’d go down and we’d see Petra, which is a spectacular place if you’ve seen Indiana Jones and you’ve seen the temple of doom, that’s Petra. And I know my son’s are laughing because they wanted to try and drive there from here, which is possible, you can do it, but you must realize that if you do you have to leave like 4:00 in the morning, and you’ll get back around 12:00 that night and you’ll have about a half an hour in Petra. So that’s a lot of driving for a little bit of reward. So there’s a much better way to do it.

But anyway, that’s what I did and so this one trip that I took was scheduled to leave New York, flying from New York to Amman Jordan, and there were about 25 to 30 people on that trip. And there was a Mr. Anderson who just no show. He wasn’t there; he wasn’t going to make the flight. We called, no answers, couldn’t reach him, and so we flew to Amman Jordan. Well I got everybody assigned to their different hotel rooms and after a long journey I couldn’t wait to get in bed. You know what I mean after those long journeys? There’s nothing better than climbing in that bed and you’re going oh it feels so good, I’m so tired, and you finally climb into bed and I did that, and I turned off the lights and as soon as I turned off the lights, my phone rang. And it was some officials from the airport in Amman Jordan. And they said Mr. Schuller. I said yes. He said you must come and pick up Mr. Anderson. I said what do you mean? They said you must come and pick up Mr. Anderson. He is here at the airport, you must pick him up. And I said no, no, no, no. No, just put him on a cab, tell him to come to the airport, the cab can take him to the hotel; he can check in, he can take care of himself. He’s a grown man; he’s Doctor Anderson, after all. They said no we cannot be responsible; you must come here and pick him up. And after their insistence, I got out of bed, got dressed, got in a cab, went to the airport and I saw Mr. Anderson sitting in a wheelchair and I realized why they wouldn’t release him. And he had to walk from the doors of the airport because they couldn’t wheel the wheelchair through the doors. He had to walk probably 15 yards to the cab. By the time he got in the cab, he was huffing and puffing like he had run a five minute mile. And we brought him to the hotel, and I got him checked into his room, went to bed. The next day we got up in the morning and he wasn’t feeling well. And to make a long story short, Mr. Anderson never made it to the Holy Land. Like Moses, he passed away before crossing the Jordan. He was a doctor. An MD. He knew exactly what was happening. He knew exactly why he was here. He wanted to die here in the Holy Land. He knew he was dying and he didn’t make it.

God has given all of us shoes to walk in. And what He does is He challenges us to have the courage and the faith to walk in the shoes that He has given to us. To Joshua He said this: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear, be strong and courageous. He says it a second time. And a third time he says it again. Be strong and courageous. What is fear? Have you ever thought about it? Fear is not a feeling. Many people believe that fear is a feeling. It is not. Fear is an inaction, that’s what fear is. Courage, what is courage? People think it’s a feeling. Courage is not a feeling. Courage is the ability to do what’s right in spite of the feelings. And God speaks to Joshua, and He says be strong and courageous. And Joshua was strong and Joshua was courageous. And Joshua did what Moses couldn’t do: put his faith and his trust in God, to move forward in faith, knowing that God would lead him and carry him and help him succeed. And he did. He did.

What does it mean for us to walk in our own shoes? What does it that God calls us to do? On our flight over from Los Angeles to here, we saw an interesting movie. Maybe some of you have seen it. Evan Almighty. Did they show it on your flight? Evan Almighty? How many people saw Evan Almighty? It’s a cute movie. It stars Steve Carrel from the TV show The Office, maybe you’ve seen that. He’s a comedian. And it also stars Morgan Freeman who plays the role of God. And it’s a very fun and funny movie. Morgan Freeman playing God appears to Evan, who’s a congressman and he tells him that he is to build an ark. Now he’s living in a nice community and he says you will build an ark. Can you imagine that? And Evan goes yeah, yeah, very funny. I’m not building no ark. And he goes on about his life but as the movie unfolds, he is forced to build this ark, and when I mean forced, he is literally forced to build it. And in the process of building this ark, he fills it with all of the animals of two of a kind, and he saves his entire community from a flood, and it’s a wonderful story. Now, at the end of the movie, God is talking with Evan who is played by Steve Carrel, and God has written in the dirt with a stick, three letters. A-R-K. Ark. And Evan asks God well what am I supposed to do now? He says build an ark. He says I did that already. He says no, build an ark. Acts of random kindness. Build an ark.

Now what are we called to do? We’re called by God to walk in our own shoes and what does that mean? It means for us to be courageous, to take the steps of action to move forward in faith, knowing that there’s going to be challenges that we come along. There’s going to be frustrations that we’re not.. it’s not going to be a perfect smooth road, it’s going to be challenging. But in the end, as we continue to do random acts of kindness, ark, that God’s blessings will be felt and we’ll realize that God’s hand has had a roll in leading and guiding us in certain ways. And so in faith, we move forward, one step at a time, one day at a time knowing that with God all things are possible.

You know if you’re questioning today what kind of random act of kindness can I do, one of the things we’re doing is we’re collecting shoes for children. Do you realize that if you have more than one set of clothes and more than one pair of shoes, you are part of a very select minority of wealthy people in the world. You make up less than three percent of the world population if you have more than one set of clothes and more than one set of shoes. You feel rich all of a sudden? There are children around the world who literally cannot go to school because they don’t have shoes; they’re not allowed to go to school without shoes. And there are other children who wear their parent’s shoes, they’re way too big for them, but they wear them anyway just so they can go to school. So what we’ve done is we have partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and we’re going to give shoes to children who need shoes. And last week, we collected another two thousand, two hundred pairs of shoes in the Crystal Cathedral. And the week before that, we collected two thousand two hundred pair of shoes, and we’re going to continue to collect shoes and give shoes away because we know that there are children in the world who need a pair of shoes. And if you want to give a pair of shoes for a child, we’ll make sure they get on a child’s feet. A random act of kindness.

Have the confidence, have the faith, realize that God will lead you, that as we move forward with faith, that all things are possible. Walking in your own shoes. Every single one of us has our own shoes. Every single one of us has our own steps we need to take. Every single one of us has the ability to face fear with courage and to move forward in faith.

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