Confident Living = Creative Living: Part 2 (27 Apr 2008)

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

Anne Beiler

Special Music

Joyful, Joyful
O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing/I Love to Tell the Story
Open our Eyes
Surely He Has Borne our Grief

Solo/ Anthem
Travis Cottrell - Forevermore
Annie Moses Band – This is My Father’s World

The Message

I think I’ve been living on the edge all my life. You’re looking at some people and say boy they really live on the edge. What does that mean? It’s different for different people. I think I’ve lived there all my life. Living on the edge is when you do what God wants you to do and He doesn’t tell you how it’s going to happen. I’ve lived it, on the edge. So are you. You are alive. You have to make decisions. They’re in relationships, marriage and family, neighbors and co-workers. But all relationships are on the edge because you never know how it can be so easily turned to grief. Suddenly my guest this morning, suddenly her sister backs out of the driveway, not knowing that her little one and a half year old girl had run out of the house and was behind the car. And in a moment, would be gone forever.

Life is on the edge! And you’re alive.We’re all alive today! Hallelujah! How about tomorrow? Life is filled with uncertainties, un-predictables, assumptions. Then I must say to you. then why have I enjoyed my life so much? Why am I so happy today? Oh, we’re standing on the edge more than ever before because of what’s happening a million houses in foreclosure, it’s never happened in the history of the United States. Why am I enthused when the challenges we face are greater today than I’ve ever faced in my earthly life.

I’ll tell you it’s because the bible text preached the first Sunday I was here as a guest in California, Ray Lindquist. Philippians 1:6. Paul is speaking, not Billy Graham, not Norman Peale, not Robert Schuler, St. Paul: here it is, “Be confident in this one thing that God who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” If you’re alive He’s not finished with you yet. I have no idea why not, but He’s not finished with me yet. He’s not finished with anybody who still has a breath to breathe.

You say it’s not true if they’re in a death coma. Oh yes it’s true. He is creating a need for people to see themselves as servants and they’re caring till the last breath. Oh yeah. Confident living. Where do you get it? From Awards? I’ve had a lot more than I deserve and they’re a great kick but you forget about them very soon. Awards? Oscar Awards? You know its one disappointment I’ve never won an Oscar. Thank you for laughing I meant it as a joke. Where do you get them? Fame doesn’t give it, fortune doesn’t give it, money doesn’t give it, material things don’t give it. They give you a kick. They last for a while, they serve a purpose and they’re not to be down graded or dishonored and taken without gratitude. But that’s not where real confidence comes from.

St. Paul says, “God began the good work in you.” You are His idea. “God who began a good work in you will complete it.” Wow! God keeps the end in mind all the time and He improves us in the process. Well, can you really have it without a faith in God? Don’t ask me. I’ve never lived that kind of a life. All I can tell you is I’ve got it. I got it the way Tolstoy got it. This Great Russian, he got so depressed with all of his success and talent, he got so depressed he had someone come in his house, take the rope that he kept in his house and take it away hide it. I don’t dare to leave it here. I’m afraid I’m going to use it. Wow. Then suddenly out of nowhere the thought of God came into his brain and it was real and he could tell this is real. This is real. And he said I believe in You God and I love You. And the rest of his life was fantastic. There is no substitute for God.

Somebody said to me a while back, I think I shared this with, but some of you maybe were not there. They said Schuller, they were an atheist, what if you come to the end of your life and it can be proven to you beyond a shadow of a doubt before you die that there’s no God, there’s no Jesus, there’s no Spiritual truth. You’ve lived a lie all your life. They said what would you do if you could live your life over? I said if I knew it was a lie, there was no truth in it? I’ll tell you what I’d do; I’d believe the same thing because of what it’s done for me! What it does for me. And if it does something for me like it has, check me out! I believe in something if it works. This faith works.

Oh, there was a time when I was very close to Armand Hammer, till he died actually. He had wonderful friends. My work was introduced to Gorbachev. Hammer asked him to take a little religion in their world and they did. Well it was phenomenal experience. And then one day he said to me, you know there’s a great artist here in America, hasn’t been discovered yet, but a great artist. I just bought one of his most beautiful and potentially valuable oil paintings: A mother holding a baby, the hands of God underneath it. I bought it for you, it’s for you, for your church and it’s been hanging in the arboretum for many years. It’s extremely valuable.

Then one day he called, he said Eric Sloane the great artist and he said I want you to see his work. If you’re ever in New York visit the Hammer Galleries. I’ve filled my galleries with all of his work and it will be hanging for a while. So I happened to be going through New York and I went to the Hammer Galleries and I saw the prize of the collections of this great artist, Eric Sloane. Beautiful and the clerk came up to me and introduced herself; she knew who I was. And she said, oh it’s too bad you weren’t here last night, Eric Sloane was here in person. And he doesn’t go out that much. And then suddenly her mouth dropped open, looking at the front door she said, there he is! He’s coming in. And before she could move, his head lifted up, saw me the only customer, came walking fast straight to me, reached out his hands, embraced me. He said Dr. Schuller. Oh, Dr. Schuller. Thanked me for all that we’ve done for him, unknowingly through television.

Then he said, you know my story. I said no I don’t. He said well let me tell you my story. I was born into a very wealthy family. And in the early twenties my father died and left a million dollars in cash for me and a million dollars then is more like ten million today. And he said so I never had to work. I lived on it. Loved it. I had everything you could possibly imagine that I would want and I had the life.

One Saturday I went into the bank and I had this card and they would cash it in at any bank in America, I was told. And I never had it refused. But one Saturday I went into this bank, I think it was in Arkansas, a western state, and said I want to withdraw a hundred dollars. They left, came back, handed my card back and said Mr. Sloane I have bad news for you, you’ve spent it all. There is nothing left. And he said I went into a depression that I couldn’t handle. I had no career, I had no profession. Nobody knew me, well some girlfriends did and some people made a lot of money off of my money, they did.

I could hardly sleep Saturday night. Sunday morning, he said, I got up and I just walked the streets and I came back past a little church and it was open. People were singing. I walked in, sat in the back and the minister wrote his sermon title on the board. He said I’m writing it on the board because I don’t want any of you ever to forget it. It could be the most important sermon you’ve ever heard. The title was God’s Providence. Providence. God’s providence is your inheritance. Oh, there was another inheritance. I’d never heard about it. Didn’t know anything about it. But I became a believer that day in that church, Dr. Schuller. And I went home and I picked up my brush and colors, oils, I had a hobby of painting. And I painted a picture. And someone saw it accidentally and they said is it for sale? And I said yes. How much? And I dropped a number and they bought it. Oh, God’s providence is my inheritance. I wrote it at the bottom of my easel. When I went to my home, which I bought in earlier days in Santa Fe New Mexico, I wrote it on the mantle of the fireplace. God’s providence is my inheritance. And he said the rest is history. I’m old but I’m wealthy. God’s providence has been my inheritance.

Well, then he thanked me for all that we’ve done for him. You folks bringing the Hour of Power to him through those decades and then he thanked me for coming and he wanted me to have some of his signed works. And he sent us out a very limited edition I think fourteen or fifteen of his most famous oil paintings signed. They’re a gift to this church. They’re in our welcome center.

Tuesday, two days later, he was standing next to a light pole when his knees weakened, his breath grew short and he fell asleep, landed on the sidewalk and was dead on arrival. But the last thing he did he had his prized pictures published in a book in Italy and he said there are only six copies so far, the rest are on a boat. Before he died in that gallery he said Schuller I want you to have the first autographed copy. And he autographed it. I have it. It’s probably the only autographed copy because he died before other copies could come. God’s providence is my inheritance.

I don’t know how you’re going to find the kind of confidence I’ve had, but I’ve lived with it! Take a look! I’m living with it today and I need it today more than I have ever needed it in any one time in my eighty-one years. Where do I get it from? God? Yes! But where does God give it to me the confidence I need? Through you and you and you and you and you and you and you. Unbelievable, unbelievable. As I said I repeat it, if it was proved that I’ve been wrong all my life, that there is no God, Jesus was a fake and I could live my life over, what would I do? I’d do the same thing! Nothing can do for me what this faith has done for me. Accept Jesus Christ. Say it in your life, say it in your mind, close your eyes, accept Him. Live it! Do it today! Wow!

You know what? You’ll start quoting another bible verse: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that neither life nor death, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers or demons can ever separate me from the love of God in Jesus Christ.”

And I breathe my last and I’m there with Him, and my parents and two sisters and I won’t need confidence anymore! I’m living with certainty for sure. Hallelujah. Amen.

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