Believe It! See It! – Part 6(30 Mar 2008)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Casey Treat

Special Music

Joyful, Joyful
Medley – Rejoice Believer/Great is Your Faithfulness
O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
O For a Faith that Will Not Shrink

Solo/ Anthem
We Walk by Faith
Ken Medema – Rise Up

The Message

Message by: Robert A. Schuller

I’m going 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.

I’ve 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.

February 6th 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.

Bruce Tillman 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.’

Five weeks 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 this story.

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.

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