“Living in the WOW Zone” and I think I’ve lived there all my life, unintentionally but providentially.
And let me tell you today what I think is the ultimate wow. The ultimate wow is when you look at something you’ve done and you see that it has been something beautiful for God. I was inspired decades ago by Mother Teresa who would become a friend; I would attend her funeral as the Presidents guest, I would attend her beatification, and early in my ministry she said something that impressed me, she said, “Do something beautiful for God.” A terrific line, I’ve try to live it. She gets the credit and I thank her.
But she did something beautiful for God and so did Rosa Parks; who’s also a friend. She did something beautiful for God, one person standing up or in another case one person remaining seated. Yes, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Sam Nordoff, whose name you may not know but everybody in Taiwan knows that name, its world famous in Taiwan. We were college friends. And he went on to become a doctor and then he became a surgeon of the little children whose faces were disfigured and he did something beautiful for God.
Now some of you are stopping and saying yes you’re talking about Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks and Sam Nordoff; they’re either rich or famous or very intelligent but I’m just a common person. What is a common person? Please define that for me. Describe my brother, yes, he’s a common person. My sisters, four of them common persons. I know a common person whom I’ve never met but I’ll never forget she did something beautiful for God. I was in a major city, and I was giving a major lecture there and my driver took me through the deepest slum section of the city and it was a super slum. The houses I think we’re all occupied even though many of them had cracked windows and others had sheets of plywood over a window. And they were all years lacking in paint, it was a very depressing scene. But there was someone who lived in one of those houses who was motivated to do something beautiful for God. You know what she did? She bought a geranium, put it in a little red pot and set it on the ledge on the porch of her home. And it stood out in that block fabulously one red geranium, one simple flower; she enjoyed it, she never knew that I rode by and I enjoyed it. How many other people did?
It isn’t impossible for you as a common person to do something beautiful for God.
I’m thinking of Psalm 27 verse 4, one thing, and let me say, I think this is my testimony. One thing I have desired of the Lord; that I might dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the Lord. I come here Sunday and Sunday after Sunday because it satisfies my hunger for beauty. And it’s not just the cathedral, it’s more than the gardens and the grounds and the flowers, and the statuary, it’s something more than that. It’s the faces of people I look here and how you’ve encouraged me, prayed for me, supported me and how you do something beautiful for God by keeping this church alive and strong.
This week I got a card sent to all the PBS public broadcasting service people around America, advertising a special program they’ve had made, it will air in December. And the front says “Americas Houses of Worship” and there’s one, two, three, four, five pictured but the largest is the building you’re sitting in right here, it’s the Crystal Cathedral. And on the back side it says, “America’s Houses of Worship.” Features some of the nation’s earliest sacred spaces and grand churches such as Washington National Cathedral and Crystal Cathedral. You have built a place that’s beautiful for God, thank you, thank you, thank you, an applaud yourself for that.
One thing I’ve desired of the Lord, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and behold the beauty of the Lord. Wow. But what do I mean by beauty? I do not mean art. All art is not attractive. Some is absolutely not beautiful; I’ve discovered that art is an expression of the human heart. And you see some thing’s that are paged office art and paraded in museums of the world and are acclaimed as art; that in my humble judgment is not a thing of beauty.
I remember one of my friends, I cannot name his name, too many would know it. But one time he decided to take me to see a famous, world famous museum of modern art. My wife was with me so we went and I said ‘you have to explain modern art, I don’t really understand it.’ But he said to me, ‘art is what comes out of the heart.’ I can see that. Then he said ‘let me show you a piece of modern art that I donated to this place.’ I have no idea where he bought it, I have no idea how much it cost but he led me to a door and in there I could see in one square room which is probably 30 feet by 30 feet, nothing on the walls and in the middle on the floor was a pile of junk. I mean junk. Empty beer cans, cracked bottles, a broken mirror, some springs; God knows where they came from, broken pieces of wood. A big pile, maybe 18 by 18 feet rising like a pyramid to a height of three feet above the floors all shook. And then I put two things together: art is a profound illustration of the heart and then I thought of this man’s life. It was privately a mess. Confusion of values, a confusion and contradiction of impulses. His heart was demonstrated in that work of art which was a pile of junk. That’s why some art is so beautiful because it’s a demonstration of a heart that is beautiful, of a heart that sees beauty.
I am talking about the ultimate reality in a life and that’s your heart and soul and spirit.
The ultimate emotion that’s within you like a soul and it creates appetites and desires and that’s why when people accept Jesus Christ they say, boy you changed my life, yeah they’re reading different books, they’re watching different movies, they’re listening to different kinds of music, they’re going to different places for entertainment. Their life has changed, their appetite has changed and they’re attracted to the blooming flower or to the fountain or to the face that is humble and gentle and kind and affirming.
Personalities change when the ultimate emotion has a desire for beauty. And when Christ becomes your Lord you’re attracted to kindness, goodness, nobleness and honesty and desire to the Lord that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the Lord and I declare that the ultimate wow is when you see a tear coming out of somebody’s eyes and it’s a tear of joy. The ultimate wow is when you see two people and they embrace and they’re getting married and the father and mother cannot keep the silent tears from dropping; the ultimate wow. When you see something beautiful for God. Wow.
Jesus makes a difference. I received a letter not long along, it’s from a girl in Iowa and she said to me, ‘you may use my picture if you want to, you may use my name’ and a little brochure where we showed these beautiful buildings, I tell people the best picture is of the last one. The best thing we’re most proud of more than the Cathedral or the gardens is shown in the last picture, it’s a wow. It’s an ultimate wow. A 16-year-old girl, she says writing from Iowa. “I’m 16 years old and currently at a behavioral treatment center. Every Sunday we gather around in the living room of the cottage we live in to watch the Hour of Power. With the help of your powerful program I was able to make the decision to invite God into my life and accept Jesus as my Savior. I want to thank you how much your program has helped me.” Temeshia Bomato, Esherville, Iowa. Temeshia we love you. That’s what we’re all about; Turning human beings into beautiful persons.
Because when the spirit of Jesus comes in your life, you’ll never be the same. You will want to do something beautiful for God and it will come probably in times and places where you least expect it.
It was so with a man I met the other day coming out of a restaurant a mile from my house here on Chapman Ave.Moreno’s, greatest restaurant of its kind, except for yours. But anyway, coming out of there, tables filled with people in the courtyard and sitting on the bench was a kind of a young man I’d say and I won’t define the word young, but he had tattoos all the way down on this, all the way down here, holding a little baby and I thought look at those tattoos. Wow. He stopped and said, ‘hey Dr. Schuller I haven’t seen you in a long time.’ I said, here did you get those tattoos,’ oh he said, I got them in jail.’ Really? The big, yeah he said, ‘I was in for 10 years.’ ‘Did you serve all 10?’ ‘Yep, I’m out, but he said, my life was changed there thanks to you.’ I said ‘what do you mean thanks to me?’ He said, ‘One Christmas we all got a box, nice stuff in that Christmas box including a book from you, Possibility Thinking.’ He said, ‘you’ve got time in prison. I read that book and I bought it hook line and sinker. I got out after I served my 10 years, started a business of my own, right here in Orange, I’m doing very, very well, happily married, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, boy does that make me feel good.’ Feel good means you feel beautiful.
Get rid of the guilt, that’s an ugly feeling; accept forgiveness, that’s a beautiful feeling. Wow. And God will lead you to do things you never know once you become a real follower. Oh last week in the local paper, many of you may have read the story about Milton Tobar. Milton Tobar came from El Salvador, couldn’t get a job unless he would take a job nobody else wanted. Took a job in the sewer; the dirtiest and lowest paying job. And about a year ago he’s cleaning junk with his hands, he felt something; felt it again, felt like a ring and so he stuck it in his pocket. When he got home he washed it off. It was a diamond ring. One large stone in the center and 10 other smaller diamonds; he said this has got to be valuable. So the next day he turned it into the company, the water district. Because it’s the law that once it’s found in the sewers it belongs to the district and it’s their job to try to find the owners and boy did they try to find it. Tobar himself helped try to help find it. But after a year, it’s not found finally they decided to put it up for auction. It’s up for auction until November 19 and you can bid on it if you want but he figured it out that the law is its property and the money will be property of the water district, not the finder. But the finder gets a special commission, of 15% for being such a good worker. And Tobar is all excited about that, if it sells for $12,000 he said, you know how much I’ll get? I’ll get $1,800 dollars and you know what, for the first time in 10 years I’ll have money to buy an airplane ticket to go back to El Salvador and see my father whom I haven’t seen in 10 years.
As my father taught me, always do right, never do wrong and when I found that ring and saw it was a diamond I decided to turn it in I hadn’t a second to think anything else, it was the right thing to do, it wasn’t a temptation to keep it, I just did it. And I owe it to my father, who taught me, always do the right thing. That’s character. That’s a beautiful heart. That’s doing something for God. Why did he give it back? Quote: To be proud of what you do. To be proud of who you are. To be proud of how you feel about yourself. Wow, applaud him, he’s listening.
I ask you, do you have Jesus in your heart? Take Him into your heart. Let Him become your Lord and your Savior. And the Lord will give you new appetites for what is truly beautiful at any rate. Believe me, you can, you must do something beautiful for God. Hallelujah, Amen.
God here we are. Again we’re in taste and touch with beauty of song, of spirit, of sight. Dear God, thank You for bringing the noblest person, Your Son Jesus Christ into the world and for establishing places like this church and this television church to bring that Christ beautifully into the hearts and minds of people who know they’re missing something and its missing the ultimate wow. Thank You Lord, Amen