Planting Seeds of Greatness (Part 2) (20 Apr 2008)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Jon Gordon

Special Music

Joyful, Joyful
Rejoice, the Lord is King
O Jesus, We Adore You/What a Friend

Solo/ Anthem
Surely He Has Borne our Grief
This Much

The Message

I want to do something really interesting. This is an experiment. I want to find out how many people can hear me without the microphone. So turn the mic off right now.. if you can hear me would you raise your hand? Okay. Quite a few, I’m impressed. If you can hear me, raise your hand! It’s pretty good. If you can hear me, raise your hand! Not bad. It is doable. Okay, would you turn the mic back on please? That is a very interesting thing.

Now there is a reason I did that and we’ll come back to that, but right now, I want to go a different direction and that is I want to talk a little bit about my dad. Some of you may know my father. Anyone here ever heard of my father? His name is Dr. Robert Harold Schuller? One of the things I learned from him, and I think he wrote this, you know I was raised under his teaching so I heard all kinds of statements and slogans which helped me through life and I have a hard time distinguishing what he wrote and what he didn’t write, so for me he wrote them all. And so one of the one’s that I think he wrote and I’m pretty sure he did is this: Anybody can count the seeds in an apple. Anyone can do it. I can take this apple apart and we can pull out all the seeds and we can count every single one in here. Anyone can count the seeds in an apple. But only God can count the apples in a seed.
What is the power of a seed? You ever stop to think about the power of a seed? It is a living thing. It’s literally a living thing with the capability and the opportunities to hibernate for centuries, and all of sudden in the right condition, it blossoms and it grows and to God only knows what unless you know what kind of a seed it is and then you can discover the power within a seed.

Seeds grow. They have life. It’s been said that if you take one of the seeds that were discovered in Tutankhamen’s grave, you know the Egyptian Pharaoh, you’ve probably seen some of his treasures. If you go to Egypt you will for sure, see Tutankhamen’s treasures, and you can see the seeds that they found there in his tomb. They claim that if you take one of those seeds and plant it to this day, they’ll grow. Did you know that the country of Norway has established a seed bank? And what they’ve done is they’ve established this seed bank in Antarctica and what they’re doing is they’re collecting seed from all around the world and they’re freezing it and they’re preserving seeds just in case some catastrophe comes along and plants that we want and seeds that we want to develop in the future if they’re suddenly lost in a catastrophe or some other manner could be regenerated. They’ll just simply take them out of the freezer and they’ll cultivate them and they’ll grow. It’s an amazing thing, absolutely an amazing thing. Jesus told a parable. He said the kingdom of God is like a farmer who took a mustard seed. And he planted it and it grew and it became the largest herb in the entire garden and the birds of the air came and they nested in it. And that’s the parable. What an amazing concept. Inside that little mustard seed, Jesus refers to the mustard seed a lot and the reason He refers to the mustard seed is that’s considered the smallest seed in the garden. If you take all the seeds that they would plant in the time of Christ the smallest one they would find is the mustard seed.

I have one of our old mustard seed necklaces. Some of you may have one. I know we sent this to people who wrote to us and we sent out several thousand of these to different individuals who requested one of our mustard seed necklaces. That’s what a mustard seed is. You can see it there. The mustard seed. It’s small. But contained within this seed in a concentrated form are all of the roots that will sink down deep into the soil and extract the nutrients from the earth, contained within the seed in a concentrated form are all of the branches of this mustard tree which will reach heights of up to fifteen feet. And contained within this mustard seed in a concentrated form, is all of the sap that will run through those branches and bring forth life to the leaves. And contained within this mustard seed are all of the blossoms that those branches and those leaves will produce. And contained within the seed is a number of seeds that only God can count. Only God can count them.

And the kingdom of God is like the farmer who went out and planted the seed. What I’m asking today is how many of us have planted the seed of faith of Jesus Christ into the hearts of our children and our grandchildren. And we look at what is concentrated in that tiny little seed and it is absolutely nothing compared to the spiritual value of the seed of the grace of Jesus Christ. And when we plant the gospel message of the grace of Jesus Christ into the hearts and the minds of our children, what comes out? What roots sink down into their heart and into their soul of their being? And what branches suddenly start to blossom? Only God can count the fruit that is born from one soul.
1850 – a young man at the age of 15 was walking through the streets of London and the snow started to come down and to get out of the snow because he couldn’t make it home he decided to jump into this little church on a Sunday morning. And the pastor wasn’t there that Sunday morning, he couldn’t get to church because of the snow, in fact there weren’t too many people in church that day because of the snow and one of the elders of the church stood up and gave a message and he didn’t know what to say, he wasn’t a preacher, he didn’t have anything prepared so he just opened the Bible and he started reading whatever opened it up to and he actually read Isaiah 45:22 which says, “Look into Me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else.”

And this young man heard those words and for some reason, I don’t know why but for some reason, those words penetrated his heart and it changed his life completely. He was totally smitten, completely, totally enveloped. And to tell you what took place in his life, four years later at the age of 19 he was called to the largest Baptist church in all of London England. And he accepted that call and he started preaching. And crowds came by the thousands to hear him preach.

On October 7th, 1857, he stood inside the Crystal Palace. It was a building that was built for the world’s fair in London. It was one of the first buildings constructed of iron and glass. It was all iron, it was all glass. And he spoke to over 23,000 people. Twenty three thousand!
Now to tell you and he spoke for an hour or so, to tell you the significance of that, there was no such thing as sound amplification in 1857. He did that without a microphone, without speakers, without the aid of anything whatsoever except his own voice and he spoke. They ultimately built a church, sat almost 6,000 people. Many of you know his name, his name was Charles Spurgeon. One of the greatest preachers the world has ever heard. Charles Spurgeon. And God used a layman, somebody who wasn’t skilled in preaching. God used somebody who just opened the Bible and read a word and the words to me don’t mean that much. But they meant something to him. It was the seed that was intended for him to receive the news he needed to hear. And that’s often the way seeds work. What happens when we plant a seed of faith into the hearts and minds of our children and our grandchildren?

Today my heart cries for the young people who have never heard what Jesus Christ is all about. I was raised; my earliest memories are sitting in the Orange Drive In theater around a picnic bench and what I would do is I would color different scenes of the Bible. That was my earliest memories and they’d tell us the stories of the Bible of Jesus caring for people. But I can’t begin to tell you how many people of my generation, boomers today who have said you know I just don’t think I should tell my children what to believe. I’m going to let them grow up and make their own decisions and discover, you know, the religion on their own. How many people have heard somebody say that? It is such a common practice today.
I have a vacant lot next to my house. Do you know what grows in that vacant lot? Weeds, nothing but weeds. Every year a crew comes, sent out by the owner and they.. he doesn’t personally do it, but they come out with a truck and they scrape all the weeds up and they throw it in the truck and they take them off to be burned or put in the landfill or something. And what happens the next day? The weeds start growing back. The next year he’s back there again cleaning his field out. Every single year it’s the same story.

We question why our young people today have weeds growing in their hearts and their minds and their souls. We wonder why kids are going and shooting kids in school. We wonder why kids are strung out on dope and drugs, why people become alcoholics, why they’re so obsessed with sex and with other malformations in our life. And yet we simply let this field, this spiritual field vacant for them to let whatever grows, grows. And what’s going to grow if we don’t plant the good news of Jesus Christ in the heart? It’s going to be a field full of weeds. That’s what’s going to happen. Just a field full of weeds. That’s what we’re left with.
Last night I was in Atlanta, Georgia and I was there for a conference and I was there with our executive pastor Jim Poit. We sat down to get a bite to eat in the airport and another family came and sat next to us. When I say next to us I mean they pack those tables really tight so there is like a foot and a half between our table and their table. So we’re basically at the same table, you know, we’re bumping elbows and it doesn’t take us long to find out the women turns over and she goes I know you. And I said hi, I’m Robert Schuller. She goes oh yeah, of course, you’re Robert Schuller, I know you. And she said, she pointed out that she and her brother and apparently her other sisters were on their way to their mother’s funeral. Their mother had passed away. And with that she said you know she’s in a better place and her brother jokingly says well, it’s better than us; we’re all going to hell. And she says, wait a minute speak for yourself. I’m not going to hell. And I said well you know what. He says, well I am. And I said do you know what, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I’ve got something for you. And I went to grab one of my tickets to heaven and I’d given them all away. The only one I have is the one with my signature on it and that one doesn’t do anybody any good except me! You have to have your own ticket to heaven.

I’m not talking about this little piece of plastic; this is just a tool. You know that’s all this is. But what the tool does it helps us plant the seed. And we give thousands and thousands and thousands of these things away every year. It’s my hope to give a billion of these things away. Every single one of them costs us at least fifty cents to mail, to send out. But we’re not going to charge for them ever. That’s the last thing I will ever charge for in my life because a ticket to heaven is free. It always has been, always will be.

And I want to encourage you to plant some seeds today. Today I beg you, fulfill your obligation to Jesus Christ and to share His good news with somebody! Doesn’t matter who. With somebody. Let them know that there is another answer, that there is another way. God is here today to change lives. Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “The humans can never rival the divine for it lacks the fire of life.” You can take a seed or you can take a little piece of wood or a piece of wax and you could make a fake seed and you could plant something that looks identical made out of plastic, wax, wood you name it but it looks identical to a real seed. And you plant it and absolutely nothing will happen. Isn’t that amazing? Nothing will happen. On the other hand you take the real seed and you plant it and all of a sudden the miracle of life explodes. That’s the difference between human teaching and divine reality.

How many people’s lives have ever been saved through the discovery of Socrates and Confucius and Chant? Think about it. How many people’s lives have ever been changed by that? On the other hand think about the lives that have been changed with the good news of Jesus Christ. How many alcoholics are dry today because of Jesus Christ? How many drug addicts are clean today because of Jesus Christ? How many marriages are saved because of Jesus Christ? How many families have been revived today because of Jesus Christ? The truth of the gospel is real. And it sends its roots deep within our souls and into our environment and in our culture. And it develops a living plant that becomes productive and it says in the parable, “the birds of the air come and they find their rest in its branches.”

I don’t know about you, but I have birds that visit my back yard. Lots of them. And the way I know I have lots of birds in my back yard is I hear them sing. Now when the birds come and you can hear the birds sing it is the good news of Jesus Christ that we hear proclaimed. “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a soul like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”

I want to ask you to help me to plant seed today. I want to ask you to plant a seed somewhere in the world today. I want to ask you to write in get tickets to heaven and give tickets to heaven away. Just give them away. I want to give a billion tickets of heaven away to share the good news of Jesus Christ that people will be able to sign these, hang on to them and know without question that they’re not going to hell, they’re going to heaven. Because Jesus died for you, He died for me and He died for every single human being on planet earth. He died that we can overcome our addictions. He died that we can overcome our failures. He died that we can overcome our lack of self-esteem. He died that we can experience life and experience to the max. That’s what the good news of Jesus Christ is all about.

If you want to help me spread the good news of Jesus Christ I want to ask you to stand and make a commitment right now. Will you please help me share the good news of Jesus Christ? Wherever you are if you want to help me will you please stand. Stand and say I want to help and share the good news of Jesus Christ and plant seed. Plant a seed somewhere. You can do it by just simply sharing a positive word. You can do it by handing out a ticket to heaven. You can do it by making a donation to this ministry because we’re going to use every single dollar we receive to spread the good news of Jesus Christ around the world. And I’m serious about that.

I’ll tell you how serious I am about that. Yesterday on the way home from our conference we were told that we could get a cab back to the airport for $45 from our hotel to the airport or we could take the free shuttle to the subway and it would cost us $5 to take the subway back to the airport. So I took the subway. Okay that’s another $40 we can use to buy airtime someplace in the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ. I’m serious about planting seed and I want you to know how serious I am. I will do everything in my power to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world. Dead serious. Because we have seeds to plant. There are young people who have grown up who have never heard who Jesus Christ is. That’s tragic. And you’re all standing so together we’re a team. We’re going to make a difference. We’re going to plant seed here, there, we’re going to plant seed in our communities. We’re going to plant seed where we work. We’re going to plant seed in Africa. We’re going to plant seed in China. We’re going to plant seed every corner of this globe. One way, shape or form or another we’re going to do it. And those seeds are going to come back to life someday, some way at the right time and at the right moment those seeds will explode into life because it is divine. It is divine. And you have participated in a divine action.

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