by: Robert A. Schuller
through a series of messages entitled “Believe It!
See It!” And in fact I’m going to complete
the series today. And I’m going to complete it by
introducing you to a book that I wrote a long time ago,
probably, I think it was almost six years ago, entitled,
Possibility Living: Add years to your life and life
to your years with God’s health plan. And it
was very interesting, I was talking with somebody about
this book recently, and they said it’s all about
health. I said well of course it is. That’s what
the title is. And then what they didn’t realize
was that health is so inclusive. There’s only a
few chapters, two or three chapters which deals with health
from a physical aspect, because health is far more than
having a body that’s working. You can go to almost
any institution in the United States and find people who
have mentally sick but are physically well. Would you
call them healthy? I think not. Health is far more than
just having a healthy body. And that’s why so much
of this book deals with things besides having a healthy
body because in order for us to be well, it requires us
to have a healthy mind, a healthy body, a healthy spirit,
healthy relationships, etc., etc. And so that’s
what the book is really all about.
And why do I bring up the book? I bring up the book because
long before I wrote this book, somebody else knew how
important it is for us to realize that health has far
more to do than just having a good body. I think Jesus
was the one who really started this whole thing. Matthew
9 says that some men brought to Jesus a paralytic. He
was lying on a mat. And when Jesus saw their faith, he
said to the paralytic take heart, son, your sins are forgiven.
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves,
this fellow is blaspheming. And knowing their thoughts,
Jesus says why do you enter evil thoughts in your heart,
which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven or to say
get up and walk! But so that they may know that the Son
of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. And He
said to the paralytic, get up. Take up your mat and go
home. And the man got up and went home. And when the crowd
saw this, they were filled with awe and they praised God
who had given such authority to men.
Long before Jesus healed the mans body, He healed the
man’s spirit. And how many people today come to
the church, or they come to a place or they go to a hospital
looking for healing for one thing when what they really
need even more importantly than that is healing in another.
Today, I want
to share with you some realities about health. Remember
that when I talk about health, I’m not talking about
only our physical realities. We are in the season of lent.
The season of lent is a period of time before Easter,
it starts on Ash Wednesday and what most traditions do
during the season of lent is they give something up. And
I know many people who will give up smoking during this
period, and other people will give up a certain food or
sugar or something like that and I decided this lent to
just give up everything. Oh, it’s absolutely miserable.
It really is, but the good news about it is I decided
to give it up just for a month. And the truth is, my doctor
came to me and said Robert, you need to do a detox. I
said okay. So how long do I need to do the detox for?
He said a month. I said okay let me look at my calendar
and I saw that February was the shortest month. And then
guess what: I decided to do it this year and guess what
this year is? Leap year! Can you believe it? So I got
an extra day added on.
been going through this thing and not feeling very good
because all these toxins are being dumped in my body and
I’ve got this runny nose and its not a cold, its
not viral, its actually the toxins coming out in a liquid
form. It’s really terrible. But I did it because
of two things. I literally chose February because it would
be during the time of lent. Time for us to focus on Christ,
on His love and His forgiveness for us. And what He’s
going to do for us as we prepare for Easter, the resurrection
and the coming of Christ’ glory and manifested in
all of its splendor as He’s resurrected from the
dead. So that’s why I chose this month.
But what’s interesting is the body wants to choose
homeostasis. What is homeostasis? Homeostasis is a balance.
And there is numbers to all of this balance. If you go
to the doctor and you have a blood test taken, they’ll
give you.. your blood test will give them numbers, and
the homeostasis is central line, and you either have too
much sugar or not enough sugar, but you have to have the
right amount. And you either have too much cholesterol
or not enough cholesterol. Too much of the wrong cholesterol,
too much of the good cholesterol. You have to have a solid
balance. What we need to realize is that God has called
all of us to find this place of homeostasis. Our minds
want to find this state of homeostasis, and our spirits
want to find this state of homeostasis. It’s balanced.
That’s the definition of health.
The man who
was brought before Jesus could have very easily looked
at his life and seen himself as the cripple he was. In
the Bible, they refer to him as a child or Jesus refers
to him as son so I have the impression that he’s
probably somewhere in the ages of 12-14, a young man.
And instead of looking at everything he didn’t have,
he looked at what he did have. He had good friends. He
had people who cared about him. And under the circumstances,
that’s an incredible thing because you have to realize
anyone who is sick, anyone who is less than whole physically
is deemed to be someone who has sinned and therefore this
is the result of their sins. So illness was considered
a punishment for their sins. So in spite of this stigma
that he had, he still had these wonderful friends. They
came and they brought him to Jesus. And Jesus made those
words, “Your sins are forgiven.”
First and foremost your sins are forgiven. And only then,
after He had said that did He turn to him and says, “now
pick up your mat and walk.” By faith, he stood up
and picked up his mat and he went home. Now, when I look
at this story, I see three things that are very important
for us to realize. First and foremost is, that we have
to look at what we have and not what we don’t have.
Secondly, I realize that it is imperative that we do not
stop at the first time we face an obstacle. How many times
do we go and we start and find an obstacle and we just
say well forget this and we go home. And thirdly is that
we live by faith and not by sight.
Look at what you have and not what you don’t have.
If we go and we look at our society in which we live in,
it’s really easy for us to get in the understanding
that enough is never enough. And more is always better.
If you’ve ever been on the ocean you’ll discover
that no matter what size boat you’re in, it’s
too small. I promise you no matter what size boat, when
you’re on the ocean, it is too small. Therefore,
they call it in yacht world, two foot-itis. If only I
had two feet more on my boat because its never big enough.
And you can apply that to your life. There’s so
many times when we have to face the storms and the struggles
of life that we always can say if only I had two feet
more. If only I had just a little bit more of this and
a little bit more of that. We cannot look at what we don’t
have, we have to look at what we do have and take advantage
of our advantages.
I went to school in Michigan and this time of the year
it started getting really, really miserable. I mean I
would look outside and I would look at the forecasts and
it was hey we’re going to have a high of 26 today.
Whoop de doo, with wind chills down at 10 below zero.
And so I’m praying for all you folk in those cold
weather right now. The good news is just hold on for about
another month. Another month and all of a sudden you get
those spring days and those wonderful days and you can
go outside and you can get in the wilderness, you can
be part of the beauty of that country. I fell in love
with Michigan, I really did. I would go out and borrow
my neighbor’s canoe and I’d paddle up the
Kalamazoo River and I would do all kinds of things. I
became an outdoorsman. And I’d go out there and
I’d see these loons. You know what a loon is? It’s
a specific bird. They’re really a spectacular bird.
Well what’s funny is to see them walk on land. They
can barely walk. They kind of have to scoot and when you
approach them in a boat or in a canoe or something, they
can hardly get out your way. They’re so heavy it
takes them forever to take off. They take off kind of
like the spruce goose. Have you ever seen pictures of
the spruce goose taking off? It just goes and it goes
and it goes and you think its not going to take off. All
of a sudden it gets up off there and sure enough, you
know, it gets a little bit up. That’s kind of the
way they take off. And do you know why that’s the
case? Its because they have solid bones and they’re
one of the heaviest birds for its size. And the reason
it can barely walk is its legs are set too far back.
And if all
that bird did is look at its negatives, if all it ever
did is look at all the other birds that are just taking
off and flying around, if he tried to be those other birds,
he would live a miserable life. But they live a great
life! And how can such a miserable bird live such a great
life? He looks at what he has and not what he doesn’t
have. As a result of having those solid bones and those
legs set back in his body, he can dive deeper and faster
than any bird. Like that he can go down 20 or 30 feet
and he can get his prey. If there’s something that’s
coming after him, he doesn’t try to take off. He
doesn’t have a chance. What does he do? He just
dives. And they’re tremendous swimmers. And they
look at what they have and not what they don’t have.
And all of
us have to do the same thing. This young man looked at
what he had and he said to them, or somebody said to him,
we’re going to take you and we’re going to
take you to Jesus. We’ve heard about this man who
can heal people. We need to do the same thing. Where we
have spiritual weakness, where we have emotional weakness,
where we have physical weakness. We need to come to the
realization and surround ourselves with people who will
lead us to Jesus Christ and there in His midst we’ll
receive His words. And it’ll be the words we need.
It’ll be the words we seek. It’ll be the words
that are right for us.
2008, we lost a dear soul, a dear friend, actually. I
knew Ruth and Norman very well. My wife and I went to
Pawling New York and participated in a conference they
had there, just for pastors. We did that about oh just
a few years before Norman passed away. And at that event,
I’ll never forget the story that Norman shared.
The story is about a time he was walking through New York
City and he saw this tattoo shop. And he was just kind
of curious, he says I walked in there and I looked around
at the different tattoos and I saw a tattoo in there that
said “born to lose.” And he went to the man
who puts the tattoos on people’s bodies and I said
do people literally actually have that tattooed on their
body? He said oh yes sir, they do. Said why in the world
would anyone ever tattoo born to loose on their body?
And the man said before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind.
How often do
we have these tattoos that we have allowed society to
place in our minds that prevent us from being the people
that God has called us to be. And with that tattoo in
our mind, we suddenly face the smallest little obstacle.
And we turn and we go gee we couldn’t get there.
One of the things the story illustrates for us is the
fact that we don’t have to stop at the first obstacle.
We can keep on keeping on, we can keep on striving and
that if we have the endurance to keep on going, that somehow
we will succeed.
One of the
things this ministry has that I’m so proud of is
our longevity and our history. One thing that I have inherited
from my father is endurance. Tell me about it. Look at
the endurance that guy has. He’s been doing it now
since 1955. How many years is that? Fifty-three years.
Here in this place alone. Before that, he did it for several
years in Illinois. Endurance. I started in 1976. We just
keep on keeping on. Sharing the message, breaking through
the walls, letting people know you don’t have to
tattoo your mind with these negative thoughts. It’s
lent! So let’s eliminate negative thinking! Let’s
just wipe it from our minds. Let’s live by faith
and not by sight.
wrote shared a work entitled Christo Imperatu and in there
he tells a story of a woman who is in an institution for
nearly five weeks; five years, I’m sorry, with depression.
And after being completely destitute and not saying a
word to anyone for years she had a doctor come and visit
her. A new doctor came in. And he introduced himself to
her and he said hi I’m doctor Heven; H-e-v-e-n.
And she lifted her head and she said what’s your
name? The first words she said in years. And this was
his first day on the job so he didn’t know there
was anything special about this. He said oh, it’s
doctor Heven; H-e-v-e-n. And all she could hear in her
mind was h-e-a-v-e-n, heaven. And she went to bed that
night thinking heaven and thinking about a glorious wonderful
place and that she was in heaven. And wonderful thoughts
started coming into her head and she filled her mind with
positive thoughts. And the next morning she woke up and
was walking down the aisles of the hospital saying ‘this
is the day the Lord has made.’
later she was employed as a schoolteacher. When I heard
the story she had been employed for fourteen years. Isn’t
that amazing? I had no way to test the validity of the
story. I had to trust the work of Bruce Tillman who shared
And after the
first service my mother came into my office and she said
Robert where’d you get that story? I said, I told
you in church, I got it from his message Christo Imperatu.
She said do you know where that came from? I said no.
She goes that woman was a member of our church. And all
the facts weren’t exactly right because you have
to realize your father shared this message years ago.
And he must have heard it and incorporated it into his
message and now it’s coming full circle all the
way back. The real story is she felt like she was in hell.
She felt like that hospital was hell until she met her
doctor. He said I’m Dr. Heven. And she said to herself
if doctor Heven is here than I’m not in hell. And
that changed everything. Isn’t that amazing?
How many of
us suffer from negative thoughts? Thoughts of greed or
revenge, thoughts of hatred or lust, negative thoughts
of I can’t do this and I can’t do that. Thoughts
of I’m just born to lose, I’m not born to
succeed. Thoughts of does God care about me? Does Christ
care about me? We suffer from physical illness; we suffer
from mental illness and thinking negative thoughts, and
spiritual illness. How many of us need to find the grace
of Jesus Christ today? To feel His forgiveness.
And so today
I want to invite you to stand where you are if you want
to receive healing today. Physical healing: if there is
anyone here who needs physical healing stand wherever
you are. If you suffer from thinking negative thoughts
and you want to eradicate your mind of negative thoughts,
of hatred, of envy, of greed, of whatever it might be
I want to ask you to stand right now. And if you need
spiritual healing today you need to know that the grace
of God surrounds you and loves you and wants to embrace
you. It doesn’t matter where you are, in fact before
I do this let me say if you’re watching at home
on the television I invite you to stand right now. I want
to pray because I believe that God is alive and real and
is a God who wants to heal you.