Well I want to thank you, my friends and fellow members because you made this past week one of the greatest weeks of my life. I celebrated my birthday and the cards and the telephone calls and the good wishes came from so many of you and I’m grateful for that. But I thought I’d show you one of the cards that dominated everything that came. It’s this card right here. “Happy birthday! Age is only a number.” This is from my grandson Scott. Thank you Scott. It’s been fun.
Well, I look back, I’m 83 years old now and I look back and I realize that I was born in a very historic transitional century. The 20th century is a century where thoughts like positive thinking and possibility thinking, positive mental attitude came into the forefront, became part of culture. It had never been done because in the history of western education at least, there was never a course in the difference between positive and negative thinking, whereas in Eastern culture in Asia, this was part of something that was noticed and popularized.
Well, I want to have one verse that I want you to remember today. It’s the verse that I’ve been living with the past week. It’s from the words of Jesus, John chapter 10, verse 10. He said, “I am come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” What does that mean? He came to teach us to think possibilities. I ran into this, I think, through Norman Vincent Peale 50 years ago. I told you last week, if you were here, that when I saw the numbers 1-9-2-6 behind my name that some publicist put there to mark my age, I wondered, I looked at it, 1926 my year of birth, looked like a bible verse so I wondered if there was a bible verse 1926. Remember? I looked it up. Matthew 19:26: “And Jesus said with men it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” Wow. That’s been my life. That’s been my ministry. I’m destined. I didn’t choose it. I was created, designed and put into planet earth in the 20th century by God. I’m destined. So are you. I don’t know your destiny but I can begin to see what mine is.
Because I was born in a century where impossible was a very strong word. And now at this time in human history, I’m telling people to cut the word out of your dictionary. When I was child, it was impossible for a man ever to walk on the moon, impossible ever to cut out a human heart and put it in another man’s chest. I was born at a time when there were strong impossibilities that have been proven through the passing of the decades. They’re not impossibilities. Cut the word impossible out of your life. That’s what life is all about, turning great impossibilities into possibilities in education, in science, in philosophy and in religion. It’s such an important part of this transition. Wow.
I was looking at all the experiences in my life this week and the one that keeps coming back to me is the little part you had to play in putting a man on the moon. Yes, the telephone rang one day and it was Walter Burke, a member of this church, head of McDonnell Douglas. Called and said Bob, you wrote this thing called possibility thinkers creed. I said yes. He said I got it in front of me. Says when faced with a mountain, I will not quit. I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine. He said that’s great. I said I think so, too. He said you had it in a big poster. Do you have any of those posters left? I said yes I do. He said I’m going to come over and I want one. I want to put it right behind my desk, so everybody that comes into my powerful office will have to see it and read it while they look at me. Because he said I just hung up the phone on President Kennedy. He called me and said Walter I made a decision to put a man on the moon. He said we all know that’s impossible. But I’m calling you to help make it possible. Walter, help us get rid of the pull of gravity so a vehicle can get out into outer space and bring a man to the moon. Walter, turn the impossibility into a possibility.
So he came over and I gave him the poster and he put it behind his desk and all of the powerful people in that whole race to the moon project saw it and read it. And for more than one person, it kept their faith alive and they didn’t quit. And they didn’t give up. I will not quit! Wow.
So when I was a child, impossible for the human heart to come out of this chest into somebody else’. I was growing up to the major disease that we feared as young people was polio. And the amazing thing is thank God there are people today, young who don’t even know what polio is. How many here remember what that disease was? Raise your hand. Wow, that’s very impressive. Well it was considered the incurable disease. But there was one man who was convinced that maybe there could be a cure and he worked and worked and worked and refused to be negative. Jonas Salk was his name.
I remember the time Mrs. Schuller and I were having lunch with him around the table and we talked about the fact that you succeeded when everybody said it was impossible. I said did they ever encourage you? Well what did they say when finally you had discovered the cure for polio? He said they didn’t say anything. I said didn’t they congratulate you? He said not one person. Didn’t they thank you? He said no. Well the press treated you well. Yes. But my profession didn’t. Gee. Wow! There’s a world we all live in this planet earth and there is a negative thinking that permeates the social climate, driven by factors like jealousy and fear and envy. In this universe, there are powerful people dreaming, planning, struggling, striving to make great achievements that are impossible and they’re going to win. It may take years, it may take decades, it may not even be in their lifetime but it may be in the next generation where they build on what was done by you in your lifetime. Wow.
I had a family that came to this church. They came out of the regular churches. They heard all of these lectures on self esteem, they heard all of the lectures on think positive about yourself, they heard all of the lectures that I said psychologically proves that if you declare something to be a reality you can make an impossible thing happen. Well sitting right down there were Floyd and Ray Baker. Floyd Baker was head of the physics department at one of our preeminent universities here in the south and he heard me say this stuff and he shook his head and he said I don’t buy it; If you think it and believe it and teach it and practice it that it can happen. Well that was in the summer when he heard that last sermon and he said I’ll try it in my physics class. And he laughed and so did Ray.
He wrote me a letter about it and he said I went to class, my introduction to physics and I practiced the Schuller thing. Every year more failures happen in the introduction to physics than in any other class at the university. And every year I said to the students, I have to warn you many of you are going to fail. This is class that most people fail. It’s the toughest in the school. He said I did a very brave thing. I applied the Schuller principle and the next September, in the opening class I said you are a remarkable class of people. I’ve checked you out. I’ve never had a class like you. He said the truth is every year I teach this course, I have so many failures. It always happens. I always warn them in advance. So he said but this year I’ve done a study and I’m making a prediction. This class is so bright, so intelligent, so capable that we will not have one person fail it. And he wrote in his letter and he said Dr. Schuller, I didn’t change my grading procedures one bit. And that year every student passed! Plant a positive idea into a mind and impossibilities suddenly become possibilities because it’s changing inside of you. And that’s where change always has to happen.
Become possibility thinkers. Wow. What happens is when you practice this positive thinking and teach it and preach it, before you know it can happen, that’s the key, it releases incredible creative powers in the subconscious and ideas are forthcoming that you never even thought of. And the result is this leads to what I call the really fulfilled life. Jesus said it, “I am come.” Listen: 33 year old man in Galilee 2000 years ago said “I have come; I have come that you might have life abundantly!” Wow.
Well I’ve lived Him all of my life. What a full life. You want to, you know you look around, there are people that live empty lives; really no purpose, no plans, no commitments, no sacrifices, empty. And then there are people like you, Christians, and you take Christ into your life and that motivates you and you begin to see needs and you set goals and you make plans. Wow. And you land up living a full life.
Let me illustrate. First, you begin to live a prayerful life. Oh you may not get on your knees and be in heavy prayer groups but in your head you would begin to pray. You begin to open up. You begin to live a prayerful life. Then you begin to live a hopeful life and instead of despair and depression and discouragement, you get ideas that give you optimism. Prayer full, hope full, meaning full. Now life has purpose. Purpose full. Faith full to ideas that come in. And then you begin to live fruit full life. You’re making a difference. And you’re getting along with people. You begin to live a mercy full life. Still conflicts, still frustrations, but mercy overrides judgment. Faith full, fruit full, mercy full, peace full. Deep down in your heart you see a meaning to life and you have peace. And then thank full. You are dominated by gratitude thoughts. Wow. And that all adds up to a wonder full life.
Take Christ as your Savior. If you’re not a Christian, become a Christian today and Christ in your life will change your thoughts. You’ll become prayer full, faith full, thank full, purpose full, mercy full, thought full, fruit full, peace full, wonder full, hope full. Yes. And at the end of your life, hope full! That’s a full life and I invite you now to accept Jesus and become a Christian. I’ve given my witness, check me out. What a full life. “I have come,” He said, “that you might have life abundantly.” Become a Christian today, it’s up to you, Amen.