My text this morning is Joshua 14:12: "Give me a mountain." It's hard to believe that fifty years ago, when I was standing on a roof top of a drive-in theater for the beginning of this ministry, that we would be where we are today.
Everything you see around here was a gift of vision from God. And I have a give of vision that the next fifty years are going to be phenomenal. Christianity is going to spread in power and in attractiveness to the whole world and the persons are coming together to make that happen.
So this morning I'm preaching on the theme, Living in the WOW Zone. For the past fifty years this church has lived in the Wow Zone. The next fifty years are going to be in the double Wow Zone with three exclamation marks, because our text is, "Give me a mountain," the words of Caleb at the age of eighty-five.
Nothing great ever happens on the O.K. Level
There are people who live in the "blah" zones - never excited about anything. How are you today? Just o.k.? Nothing great ever happens on the o.k. level! There is no energy in the o.k. level. No enthusiasm is oozing out on the o.k. level. How are you today? O.K.? You are living in the "blah" zone. People often greet me with, "Have a great day." And I say, "No, no, no, no, no. MAKE it a great day." People aren't going to give it to you. You have to make it happen. You have to think positively and plan. If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail."
Too many people live in the "blah" zone. Then other people live in the "angst" zone. When anything happens they get some angst, some anxiety about it, unbelievable. Still other people live in the "fear" zone. No matter how good the news is, they're afraid that the good news isn't going to last. Other people live in the "suspicion" zone. Anytime they're given a great idea or a suggestion to think positively, they try to look for a reason why it won't work and why it can't be done. It's amazing the different zones people live in and they're as different as places on planet earth. But when you come here to church on Sunday morning, let me tell you that the Crystal Cathedral is a WOW place!
Today I want to try to help you who live in the blah zone, the suspicion zone, the angst zone, the fear zone, or the insecurity zone, to move up and to enter a totally new life. In these past fifty years four words appeared again and again in letters I receive from people: "You saved my life" If you move into the WOW zone you are going to start living. Now, how do you get the WOW in your life?
Start by remembering your first wows, the first events in your life. Guess what? When you took your first steps, your dad and mom said, "Look, she took her first step. Wow! You put a wow into your parents' lives. When you spoke that first word, Mama said, "He said 'Mama'. Wow!" You are born to be a WOW person, meaning you are born to develop your God intended gifts and abilities and talents and possibilities so that you excite people around you.
What is the purpose in life anyway? It is to encourage other human beings who need a wow in their life. How do you put the wow into life? First of all, remember you have a wow in your life. First day in school. Wow. Oh, when you had your first complement from somebody. What did you do? You ran a race or you made the team. Congratulations. How many times have people said to you, "congratulations"?
Think about all the wows you have experienced. Remember when you wore the hat and the gown and you graduated from 8th grade ¡K or high school ¡K or maybe the university? Wow! Or pick up out of your memory system a wedding you went to or a special party that celebrated a big event.
You know, to live a wow life you don't have to be the first or the biggest or the most or the richest, or even, surely not famous. The wow people are people who smile, who laugh and exude a generous personality. And that personality is driven by an inner spirit that comes from God Almighty, Jesus Christ. Put a little wow in your life. I'm going to help you put a wow into your life. If you will come to church every Sunday I guarantee you'll be a wow person like you've never been. Faith works miracles. You'll break records; you'll step out of the boundaries that have trapped you. You'll get out of the ruts that we all live in too easily. You'll become creative and then innovative. That's the wow path.
Stay in the WOW zone
It is the purpose of this ministry to help you to stay in the wow zone, because it's easy to fall out of it. It's easy because of the negative world we live in, the temptation to be lazy, take the easy way, or play it cheap and safe and not take any chances. That's a temptation we all face. But the penalty for that is boredom and ultimate insecurity.
How do you keep on keeping on in the wow zone, which is a zone of excitement, enthusiasm, energy, creativity, and success? Well, you've heard it from me before, dream an impossible dream. Dream an impossible dream, make a commitment to do the impossible dream when it is still impossible ¡K and you might fail. That's going to put you on a path that when it is accomplished and a miracle happens, that is a WOW! You have to dream an impossible dream. You have to make commitments when you can't be sure. You have to enter the contest, join the competition, enroll in the challenge, try to achieve what nobody ever expected would come from you.
"Give me a mountain."
Remember Caleb's words? Do you know the story? Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, into the wilderness, finally to the edge of the Promised Land. Then he sent out twelve spies to check out the land. The spies came back and ten of the twelve said, "Oooh, Moses, don't go there. Too many giants in the land. It is too dangerous." (That was true, years later David would kill one giant called Goliath.) There were giants there, but of the twelve spies, two came back and they didn't talk about the giants, they brought fruit. Fruit that they had never seen before. "Look at the size of these grapes, Moses." They saw great possibilities. Wow. Their names ¡K Joshua and Caleb. They lived in the wow zone and they said, "Go conquer the land, Moses."
And Moses listened to those two positive people instead of the ten negative, fearful, angst-driven persons. So before he died, Moses appointed them leaders. They took over the Promised Land. Forty-five years later the land was being divided up among the divisions in Israel, and Joshua was given the honor, the glory and the responsibility of dividing the land. The land was made up of great fertile valleys and then there was the land that was made up of mountains. Caleb, because of what he did, stood before Joshua to claim his inheritance. "The land you have walked on will be your inheritance," was Moses promise to Caleb at the entrance to the Promised Land. So Caleb now chose not the valleys, the fruit and the grapes. No, he looked at those rugged mountains. At the age of eighty-five he said, "Let them have the valleys, but GIVE ME A MOUNTAIN." That's what Caleb lived for. That's what drove him, the challenge, the possibility of failure. That's living in the wow zone!
Get in the WOW Zone
Before I finish my message, I'm going to ask you to pray, "Give me a mountain." Ask God for a mountain. Don't ask for the valleys. Yes, there is success, security and safety there, but you'll be in a rut and you'll get bored. There will be no challenges and that is not living. "Give me a mountain." That's what Caleb said when he was eighty-five years old! How old are you? What zone are you living in? What mental climate is around you? Angst? Fear? Insecurities? Suspicion? Doubt? Unbelief? Blah? Get in the wow zone.
1) Pick a purpose in life that is apparently impossible. It must have a challenge or forget it.
2) Set exciting goals. Do you have goals? Are they firm, inflexible? If not, you're on the wrong path. You're on the "blah" path and the "blah" path leads to boredom. And the person on the "blah" path doesn't attract the attention of great people. Attempt the impossible. Set exciting goals and you will make the unbelievable happen and they will say, "I never thought he had it in him."
3) Raise the bar ¡K challenge and confront shallow standards. Commit yourself to excellence, walk away from mediocrity, anybody can do that.
4) Don't blend in ¡K stand out. Set a new standard for the kids around you. Move from ordinary which is ho-hum, to the extraordinary, "Do you hear what he's going to do." "No kidding!" You'll get attention. Yes, and then ¡K
5) Practice bounce-backability. Time and again you won't make it and then what do you do? You practice bounce-backability. "Did you hear what he did? He's going out for baseball."
6) Raise your own expectations. What do you expect from yourself? You didn't get what you wanted? What did you expect you would have? That's up to you. Walk into the wow zone, break a record, solve a big problem, discover a new cure, and invent a new product. Wow.
Evelyn Freed, a dear friend and member of this church. Well, Evelyn Freed's father left her a great deal of money, even though he was born into poverty. As a young man, he couldn't get a job. Seventy years ago he was told he could always go to Alaska and pump water out of the mines. So he jumped on a freight train, like a hobo, to get all the way to Alaska. There he got a job pumping the water out of the mines, but it was hard work. The pumps kept breaking because of the stones that came through the lines. He became so frustrated and he said somebody ought to invent a pump that stones cannot get stuck in. That was a radical impossible idea. He wasn't an educated engineer. He just put his ideas together to figure out ways to make it work and he invented a pump that could pump the water out of the mines without a stone getting in the motors. It would be called the Wilden pump.
By the time Jim Wilden died a few years ago, he was very wealthy. Every person listening to the sound of my voice has been helped by a Wilden pump and you didn't even know that. When you take a pharmaceutical, the Wilden Pumps are used to purify the medicine. The most expensive ones are very, very tiny, stainless steel. They're used in all the pharmaceutical companies to make your medicines and mine, the IV's, the injections, etc. Well, Jim Wilden lived his life in the wow zone. He decided to get out of the rut, attempt the impossible, believed that he could do it. And he did!
It is out there and when you step into the wow zone that is a new life. There is a God and God wants you to pray the prayer, "Give me a mountain!" Do you dare to pray that kind of a prayer?
God, we are stepping into the wow circle. We are going to be living in the wow zone. This church is a cathedral to wow people and that is because we have Jesus as our friend. He is always telling us that we can be more, do more so that our lives glorify God on planet earth. Amen