Say grace. Have you heard of the acronym for grace? I heard this about a year ago: G-R-A-C-E God’s Riches at Christ’ Expense.
I want to talk about the grace of God this morning and for those of you who do not know me, my name is Nick Vujicic, I’m the president of a non profit ministry called Life Without Limbs based in Southern California, right here in Los Angeles and its fantastic just to be able to be used by God, even in my circumstance, showing the strength of God, showing that we can have joy, happiness and a fulfilling limitless life because we serve a limitless God.
And I’m 26 years old and its quite funny when people see me for the first time, I have to tell you a new quick funny story. I was in an elevator one day and for those of you who don’t know what happened to me, I was actually born this way, and I was in an elevator in New York City one night and you know how it is when you’re talking to whoever you’re with and then everybody gets quiet in an elevator. You just stop whatever you’re talking and you know you’re going to just pick up the conversation when you get on your floor. Well it was quite funny, we went in and I was on a manual wheelchair that night and they pushed me in, my cousins and we just sat there and everybody’s looking at me. You know, everybody just looking at me and you could hear a pin drop and my cousin goes “yep, crocodile attack.”
And so we have a lot of fun with people and you know I have a lot of funny stories, but I know I didn’t share that one with you so there’s another one, but you know we have to understand that when people, you know, you admire whether it’s a preacher or a pastor or a founder of someone or a music artist or something, someone you look up to. You know people come up to me and say Nick thank you for saying what you’ve said. You came to my school, or you know I saw your DVD or I saw your black marketed DVD, and you know it changed my life. And you know what I say? Praise God. You know we say yeah thank the Lord, you know how sometimes we just use words and we don’t really put into action like you know can you pray for; I’m praying for you. Are you really praying for them when you say I’m praying for you? I’ll keep you in prayer. Did you pray for them? You know well praise God. Well did you praise God? Why do we praise God?
You know there are people who say well Nick you know you’re given the grace of God and you do the best of what you’ve got. Well by the grace of God, I wouldn’t even be here today if it wasn’t for Him. By the grace of God, I wouldn’t have the parents that I have but I thank my mom and dad all the time and you know what they say? Well thank God. We couldn’t do it without Jesus Christ by our side one day at a time.
You know as I get older, its interesting as my parents, my dad especially is opening up to me about details, specific details of even that moment when I was born. There was no medical reason, no warning at all, and I found out that my dad took a lead in holding me. Not at first, but he was the first to hold me. My mom, it took her four months to come to terms with it. She didn’t breast feed me. She found it very, very difficult to hold me for four months. She held me, but for very short periods. I don’t know if I would even go that far if I was my mother, if I was my father, would I be able to hold my son in that shock, in that insufficiency. My mom and dad were leaders of a church and my dad’s been a lay pastor for 26 years, and even the most faithful servants of God, and even the most greatest faithful men and women of God that we read in the bible, there are many times where we have a sobering thought of our insufficiency.
My father, I have many great memories of him and he’s still alive today and I thank God that he’s alive. But at age 8, I went up to my mom and dad, and my mom actually told me, I’d forgot this, my mom actually told me at age 8, that Nick you came crying to me one day and you were saying you were going to kill yourself. And she asked me why, why do you say that? And I said well who’s going to look after me after you and dad are gone? And she said God. And you know at 10 years old, I tried to give up in life. I didn’t see that hope; I didn’t understand the grace of God. For if God has wonderful grace and power, then why does He let me have pain in my life? And you know what happened? One night I was really upset and my dad came up to me and he said Nick, I love you and God loves you, and long after I’m gone, God is going to be your father. I have a wonderful Heavenly Father who loves me so much and I want to share with you that grace of God.
You know I was speaking at a conference in 2002, one of my first speaking engagements, I was very nervous, my palms were sweaty, my knees were shaking and I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t have my palm cards, I couldn’t even find my palms, but this wheelchair here, this is my wheelchair to my left. This is my BMW7 series. And after preaching, this lady came up and she said you know Nick, some people say ‘I see the love of God in the sky and in creation and mountains.’ She said I don’t understand that. But I looked at your wheelchair and I understood the grace of God. What a beautiful time for me to be born. I mean I have wheelchair, I have an I-phone. Man you know I’ve got hands free phones, you know what I’m saying. We’ve got the website and face book and twitter and all these things. You know I love it how we got to not take things for granted, the grace of God every day. I can’t even breathe my next breath without Him. I have life, the greatest gift of all. I have an opportunity to extend the kingdom of God.
And I’m not sure if I shared this last time when I was talking about faith, a couple of months ago, but I was talking to some friends in Texas Dallas, his name is William Nobel and he said “Nick, there’s only going to be two questions when we go to heaven,” in his opinion. I said what’s that? He said “God’s going to ask me Nick do you know Me? and second who’d you bring?” And I’m thinking wow, you know we have a 96 year old father here, my grandfather’s 93 years old and both of my grandfather’s were preachers, and he’s still preaching to his wife.
And it’s amazing that you know life is always an uphill climb. But the higher you climb the more you see and when you feel like falling, guess who’s standing right by me. That’s Jesus Christ to fulfill the purposes of God. And I want to read from Romans 5, first 8 verses. It says therefore having been justified by faith; we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Last time I talked about faith. This is what I want to talk about, verse two it says through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance, character and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely, for a righteous man will one day yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
We got to understand the grace of God. Why does God love me? Because He’s love. He doesn’t even love me as an evangelist because of what I do. He doesn’t love me, I can’t save anybody; I can’t even save my own soul. But I am seeking God’s face. You know when some people talk about you know wanting things from God, seek His face, seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added. Hope does not disappoint. True hope, false hope is anything but in Jesus Christ.
You know for me in my life, grace is to be thankful. Grace is to be able to even read the word of God. My flesh, Dr. Schuller here will tell you how many times preachers around the world will get up on Sunday morning and maybe feel there is a concern or there is an emptiness and we’re ‘God help us to preach.’ Not even in our own strength can we preach. Not even in our own strength can we read and pray. My flesh doesn’t want me to open the word of God and say you need to change yourself. You have sin in your life. I don’t want to hear that. I don’t want to.. you know we want to be comfortable in our life. I like this, I like that. But grace is that we even see who Jesus Christ is.
You know Martha and Mary, who was the one in the kitchen? Who was it? Martha. She was busy doing.. and where was Mary? At the feet of Jesus. Wasn’t it only that Mary got to see later on at the tomb? It’s amazing. I love Jesus. I love God because His grace is sufficient. And I want to thank God that He even said no to my prayer. You know what a sad day it would have been in heaven if I had enough time to ask God, God out of all the mistakes I did wrong when I was 8 years old, I prayed for arms and legs. Is it wrong for me to ask for arms and legs? Can you imagine if God gave me arms and legs at age 8 and that was not what God had intended to do for my life? He wanted me to be the miracle He made me to be? Can you imagine if I said God, out of all the things I’ve done wrong, what was the biggest one that stood out and He said Nick, I made you without arms and legs. You were perfect just the way that you were. And you asked Me for arms and legs and because I love you, I gave you arms and legs. And He said Nick if only if you asked Me for My will and not your will 200,000 more souls would have come to the Lord Jesus Christ and would have been here in heaven. That’s grace.
It’s grace to live, its grace to die because I want to go to heaven. It’s grace to learn, its grace to re-learn. How many times have we relearned something? Well thank God He doesn’t give up on us. God will not give up on you. If you seek Him you will find Him. Maybe you were also caught up in a drug addiction and you came to the Lord Jesus Christ and you went to church but what different from this other powerful testimony was that you went maybe back to drugs. Well God still loves you. He’s still there. His promises are there. Keep on seeking and you will find Him. I couldn’t go through my depression on my own. I can’t forget the disappointments in my life that paralyzed me. We serve a limitless God. Not only will He give you grace to get through it but to achieve all that you can.
I want to share with you a story I’ve never shared before. It’s hard when you are based in a western society based country to go to Africa or go to Indonesia and see grace. You have pity; you have compassion for we see how much more we have out here. But I want to share with you an amazing grace story.
Indonesian people, I love them. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) means praise God and I’ve been to Indonesia three times and one of the things that happened in Indonesia is our DVD that is on our website lifewithoutlimbs.org, got into the hands of many and we thank God that these DVD’s have been used in prisons and orphanages and churches and so forth. But in Indonesia we found out that there were 150,000 black marketed copied DVD’s. And when the coordinator came up and he said “Nick I am so sorry; I’m so sorry about the Indonesia people.” I said what’s wrong? He said “they black market, they don’t understand copyright, copyright, copyright, right to copy, right to copy.” But we thank God! You want to know why? Because only if one soul hears the gospel message who am I to charge? Who am I to ask anything? Because the gospel was freely given and I freely give. The forgiveness of God was freely received and we freely forgive.
I said don’t worry pastor Han Han, it’s all good. I said pray and I didn’t just say praise God that night, I said thank You God! It’s not about always, you know, I get so excited when I preach; my hands fly everywhere, okay? Just got to make sure that I don’t go over time. I want you to understand something. One more thing with prayer you can have one hundred people praying for you but if your hearts not in your prayers, we can have a hundred people praying for your heart and your situation. And we pray, you know what the biggest prayer is? That you get on YOUR knees. That is where power is. That is where grace is that I as a brother in Christ would pray for you. And that you would find the grace of God to humble yourself and ask for forgiveness and renewing of mind.
Back to Indonesia, I was speaking one Sunday, seven times. Three services in the morning, four services at night. I was very tired. For lunch we went into a Chinese restaurant. And as we walked in, you know when my caregivers, they carry me in, we look like Siamese twins because we carry torso to torso so one head’s facing this way and another head’s facing that way. It was so funny. So every time someone carries me, I mean, you know we went into this restaurant, the restaurant stops, the people eating, the waitresses, they all stop, they’re looking at me because I’m so good looking. I’m joking.
They stop and we go to our VIP table and it’s a long conference table about 12 of us. And I wasn’t too sure, you know, who was who and we sat down and this lady came, maybe she was at that time 21 years old. She came up to the door and she’s crying, crying, crying, crying. And I’m like oh what’s wrong, what’s wrong and she’s speaking Indonesian and you know I want translation, you know, I don’t have the gift of interpretation, you know, I want to know what is she saying! And they don’t tell me because they’re all captured by what she’s saying. And they start crying. I said hello! Can someone just fill me in here!
So they tell me her story and she was living in a house with her parents, I don’t know how big.. I don’t have hands to show you but as big as little platform, it’s about I don’t know, 40 feet by 20 feet, okay? Living in a house with her family who go out to the rubbish dumps, the trash dumps to pick up plastic. That’s how they made their money to survive. A dollar a day this family survived. The greatest gift of God that she ever had that she felt was so dear to her was her family and her mother and father separated. She said God, I can’t do this. I think its worse being in a broken home than having no arms and legs.
She said God; You’ve taken away the most dear thing. I can’t do this. She said that’s it. This is my last time I’m going to church and next Tuesday, she planned on ahead, she’s going to give up. She’s going to run away and hide herself and give up. She went to church on Sunday, she said God, I give up on You. The pastor showed a black marketed DVD of Life Without Limbs all the way in Indonesia. She said if God had a plan for Nick, if Nick didn’t give up on God, then I’m not going to give up on God.
She started praying for a job. She fasted and prayed for six months on and off, fasting, praying every day for hours. Lord please give me a job, please give me a job. She felt in her heart all the time that she wanted to have a ministry with children, and she had no money, she had no job. Six months later, God gave her a job. Where? In the Chinese restaurant where I just happened to have lunch! And she said Nick I want to go to bible college but it’s so hard to go to bible college. She shared a little bit about herself. She said I live in this Chinese restaurant and I sleep on the concrete floor. I said you sleep on that floor? She said yes. I saw bugs and everything I thought oh I can’t imagine. She left the room and I said come back after we eat. And I’m so disturbed and like God how can I help this woman? Please help me to help her.
And I’m so disturbed about her sleeping on the concrete floor and she’s away from her family and this guy to my right, he says “Nick do you know how hard it is to go into a bible college?” I said no. He said “there’s only one bible college in the whole region and you have to pay this and this amount of money, and if you have the money, there’s a 12 month waiting list for an entrance exam and if you sit the entrance exam, only one percent of the people actually get in.” He started smiling, he said “Nick you’re very disturbed that she sleeps on the concrete floor.” I said yes. He starts smiling. I said what are you smiling at? He said “you don’t know who I am.” I said no I don’t know who you are. He said “I’m the pastor of the church that you just spoke at and we have on site accommodation and if you want to put up some money, we’ll give her her own condo, her own apartment.” I said oh, how much is it? He told me how much, I said boom, we’ll get it done. And I’m like oh, that is so cool. She’s going to have a home. I can’t wait for her to come back and I’m going to tell her you’re going to get out of this place. It’s going to be so cool.
And then this guy to my left, he starts crying and he starts smiling, I said what are you smiling at? He said “Nick I’m a businessman, I want to pay for the whole thing.” I said no, no I want to take her; I want to pay for it. I want to do the whole.. I want to even retire her. I got.. you know.. how much money does she make? And they said well probably a dollar a day. I said don’t worry about it. I’ll cover that, that’s okay. I want her to be free and to doing what Jesus wants to do.
And then the man from the other side of the table, I’m thinking man how is she still going to go to bible college, this man on the other side of the table, he’s smiling and I said what are you smiling at? He said “Nick I’m the president of the bible college.” Grace of God is never empty and if you have a cup and you want to fill the ocean in the cup, you cannot fill the cup with the ocean. But only if the cup is hollow can the ocean pass through the cup.
I am an empty vessel of God. Nothing more than dust and breath of God and dust so shall I be for a twinkling of an eye. And then you know that saying, if I died today.. what is it called? I’d be.. what’s that saying? About being happy alive, I’d be a.. geez, no, no not about twinkling of eye, if I died today I’d die a happy man. But if I died today, I know I’d be living a happy man.
May God bless you, may God surround you with His grace through your circumstances to accomplish all that He has to be thankful, to pray and to trust.
Father in the name of Jesus may You touch each and every one of us with Your grace and Your love and we thank You Lord that You are our Father. No matter what we do, You still love us because we are Your children. In the name of Jesus we ask for healing, chains to be broken, eyes to be opened in Your mighty name we pray, Amen. Thank you.