Our messages are focused on the future. My title is ‘Face Your Future with Hope.’ And my Bible text is from Psalm 32, verse 8. God is speaking, “I will instruct you in the way you will go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
Fifty years ago this month that I got a call from Norman Vincent Peale saying we want a church on the west coast. We think you can start it and we did. And being Dutch they gave me $500.00, which is the greatest thing that happened. the beginning of a ministry, two people, $500.00, but I’ll tell you what we had that couldn’t lose. It could only have a fabulous future. We had a message. We had a message that the world needed 50 years ago and my God knows the world needs it today more than ever. And people say what’s the next 50 years like? I’ll tell you, they will be sensational. To the whole world today this church service is being aired this very morning in the Russian language, in the Arabic language, in the Chinese language, in the, yes, English language too.
Now what is the message that we came to bring to this country, to this world? Wow! Summed up in this Bible verse, “I will instruct you in the way you will go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Whoa! That’s good news because you see, without God we become stoics. Stoicism is, I don’t know what’s going to happen but I’ll see it through. It’s very stoical, very non-positive, very non-creative, non-enthusiastic, non-energy, non-goal setting, stoicism. Fatalism, that’s the only way to live life and face the future if you have no guidance, no divine guidance. The world without a God that we know in the Bible, the world without the kind of a God that we see in the life of Jesus, the world without a positive thinking faith, and we specialize in, that kind of a world goes into denial or escapism, or sensuality, or pure secularism without any spirituality.
And then, living there, you face the future with fear and that’s where a lot of people are at today listening to me whatever country or part of the world or language you hear me speak. With secularism as the basic philosophy of your life you’re headed for confusion, that’s for sure. Who do you listen to? Who do you believe? What values do people throw away? The confusion of priorities, the confusion of goals, that adds up to a lack of definitive direction.
I have something that I can teach you by my life. I came here 50 years ago with a direction, a destiny, no confusion. My young days we sang a hymn in the country church in Iowa: “Precious promise God has given to the weary passerby. All the way from earth to heaven I will guide you with My eye.”
I was in high school when I had to memorize these words from Shakespeare in English Literature. Shakespeare said “you shall seek all day er you find it and when you have found it, it is not worth the search.” Values. Without guidance from God, where are our values?
My new book, it’s all new material but I used a few of my favorite stories that have influenced me so much in my life and one story which I told about thirty years ago is about the little boy who was so nice and did such extra things for his mom that she decided to reward him and she gave him a quarter, which then was a lot of money. And he could go to the store and buy anything he wanted. He went to the little dime store, it was called, and he looked at balloons. Oh he liked balloons. And then he looked at a coloring book. No, and then he looked at toys. Finally he looked at whistles and he bought a whistle. Put the twenty five cents on the counter, left the store and he blew the whistle. Oh he was having fun. He blew it all the way home, but before he got to the house, he stopped blowing it. He was bored with his whistle. And he got a tear in his eye. He threw the whistle away and said I didn’t want a whistle after all.
Hey, you need guidance.See, really life comes down to a choice, either you choose to be guided and led by a Wisdom that’s more than you are or you choose a life to guide yourself, make your own decisions without consulting others, without changing your mind, because your ego can’t handle the changing of your mind. You’d be embarrassed. Hey, people who never change their minds are either perfect or stupidly stubborn. Choose what way to go, what values to live by.
Many of you listening to me in America and in other parts of the world, and sitting even in this church this morning, you are confused and confusion brings conflict and conflict consumes creative energy and wastes it. Oh, you need guidance. Without it you’re lost, morally you’re lost, relationally with your best friends you’re lost. Just stop and remember what you heard in this church service up until I started talking. Listen to the testimony of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis and look at 35 years they’re married. They’ve held to the values, the Judaic Christian values and their marriage is strong and their life is blessed and they’re prosperous. I’ve lived that kind of a life with my wife and it’s wonderful. It’s a solid trumpet call to the world that you can get a direction in life but you need divine guidance and God is there to guide you. It’s so easy to get lost.
Tim and Carol, my daughter Carol, her husband Tim, they were heading out here some time ago and they were just getting into the Mojave Desert and they got lost. It started innocently. They were on this major highway and they stopped for a rest stop. They should have filled up on gas because it was running lower and they’d be afraid they’d run out. But anyway the old duffer who ran the rest place said, where you going? They mentioned where. Are you taking the main road? Yeah. Boy you’ll miss it. Everybody takes the main road. You took a couple of these side roads and you’ll see; you’ll really see the desert. It’s gorgeous. You got to be a little adventurous but that’s wonderful. He said I’ve lived here all my life. I wish more people would take the side road.
So they did, without a map. He said, just take the road and then they came to a fork in the road. They didn’t know which one to take. It looked like that one had a little heavier car track; it wasn’t big, so they took it. Some time later there was another fork and then they realized they were lost. They were lost. They looked at the gas tank. You don’t want to run out of gas if you’re lost in a desert.
That’s where a lot of you are at today, lost in the desert. How do you get out of it? Back to the Bible verse of the morning, turn to God. He says, “I will instruct you in the way you will go.” You need that. You need it. I need it. How does God guide? Well, in the Bible, He guided through angels. Always, I find very mysterious because I cannot claim that I’ve ever had an experience with an angel. I have angels that use people. But I’ve never seen angel. But I’m not going to deny them just because I didn’t see them. That would be pretty arrogant. Pretty non-humble. And the Bible says He guides people through angels, through prophets. People that come and they have a vision and they begin to tell you what you can do, what you can be, where you can go, how you can do it. You think it’s just a nice encouraging person but it’s a prophet.
God guides by angels, prophets, through dreams. Dreams that become a passion, that you’d die for it, it’s the reason for living. It is your purpose for being alive on planet earth. That’s how God has guided me especially. One dream after another and how does God guide you?
I wrote a line this morning. We’re guided by the set ups in life. We get set up for this and set up for that. But here’s the line. God sets up the set ups in our life. That’s how He’s guided. Circumstances and the nice thing is He guides us, He doesn’t coerce us. He doesn’t force us. He doesn’t manipulate us. He doesn’t threaten us. He lets us reject His guidance if we want to. Yes. He can force you to take it, but then what do we.. He’d have a puppet or a fearful believer, not an enthusiastic follower. I will guide you. Not I will force you. I will guide you. Not I will manipulate you. Oh Wow. All the way from earth to heaven I will guide you with My eye.
It’s that simple. He has designed us as faith creatures, so I trust Him, I believe in Him. At today’s age I believe in Him more strongly than I ever had in my earthly life. Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming upstream. I don’t have all the answers but I’m holing onto my dreams cause You’re still God. Doesn’t matter where I stand between the ocean and the stars, I never go too far ‘cause You’re everywhere. Every breath, every turn I take, it’s no mistake. I see you there, everywhere, every day, every road, every mountain I climb, You’re by my side. I laugh, I cry, You’re there, ‘cause You’re everywhere.
I ask you today to have faith in God. It’s a choice. It’s a decision, not a debate. t’s a choice because what kind of a person do you want to become? When your life ends, what will they say about you? I lost a very dear friend. It’s tough to talk about him but Ruben Amerkhanian's, anybody here that knew Ruben besides me or Trudi? Wow! He’s been in this church 30, 40 years ,we knew he was dying from cancer. We went and had our last time with him and then 24 hours later he was gone. But I said, Ruben, you ready to go? He couldn’t talk. Gripped his hand and he gripped it so hard. If he could have talked and I said, how do you feel now? I know what he would have said. No kidding, he would have said, marvelous. Because about 12 years ago I met him once out here and said, how are you doing, Ruben? He said, okay. And I said, Okay? That’s not good enough. You got a wife and children and faith. You should say you’re better than okay. He said, well what should I say? I said, I think you’ll be led. God will tell you. He looked at me and said, well, I’m marvelous. And now that’s good. That gives me a little energy too. And ever since that day his kids told me yesterday at his death bed, ever since then, anybody ask him, how are you, Ruben? I’m marvelous. Never failed, all his life, until his end, I’m marvelous. “I will instruct you in the way you will go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Precious promise God has given to the weary passerby. Hey, all the way from earth to heaven, I will guide you with My eye. Let’s pray.
I pray now for people who are listening, who’ve never been Christians and they need Jesus Christ. All they have to do is make a decision; I’m going to become a believer, not a prover but a believer. I’m going to believe all the way from earth to heaven and You’ll guide me. Thank You, Lord. Make that decision now sitting in this audience, make a decision, raise a hand, finger in your heart, make it a decision. Amen.