#2101 –  The Time of the Singing of the Birds Has Come (20 Jun 2010)

The Message

Dr Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

John Crowley
John and his wife Aileen Crowley’s two youngest children were diagnosed with an incurable, life threatening disease, but that didn’t stop them from seeking a cure. Their story has been captured in the new movie “Extraordinary Measures”:

“It was, I think as much a race against time as it was a race against nature and science to try to find a treatment that could save our kids lives and hopefully, ultimately the lives of a number of other people.”

Special Music

Hymn / Anthem:
Joyful, Joyful
A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Choir / Solo
Vanguard University Concert Choir - Softly and Tenderly, Bonse Aba
Women of Faith Worship Team – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Indescribable, Healer

The Message

Hear these words from the bible: “The winter is passed, the rain is over and gone. The time of the singing of the birds has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” The time of the singing of the birds has come. To the writer of scripture, this was springtime and I want you to know that the time of the birds of the singing has come happens all the time. So many people say to me well I’ve never experienced God, I don’t believe in Him. And I have to tell them you believed in God. No. You’ve experienced Him and they say no I haven’t. I said God is with you all the time.

How many thoughts go through the average brain in a daytime? God only knows. Somebody said ten thousand. I think that’s a great underestimation. All the thoughts that come through your brain, your brain, yes your brain where do they come from? You have no idea nor do I. How many of those ideas God coming into your life. How you respond, that’s another thing. Whether you react negatively or positively, that I don’t know. But God is real and He’s real in your life so much of the time that you almost want to say.. the scriptures say God is with us always, always.

Yes, ideas that come into your brain that are positive, that are guiding, directing, uplifting, think of them as birds coming into your arena of life. “The time of the singing of the birds has come.” That refers to the time when uplifting thoughts, moods, emotions, insights, interpretations enter into your consciousness. You may not call it God but it is God Himself at work in you. Believe it, receive it. Wow. “Look the time of the singing of the birds has come.”
Surely for most of us that was when we were young and little children probably with their dreams of what we wanted to be and what we wanted to accomplish and the success we hoped we could live out. The time of those dreams, those moods, those hopes. “Time of the singing of the birds.” Hope: that’s it. And it happens not only in the morning of life but in the noontime of life when you probably have lived a few years. Fifty is a very dangerous age. Dangerous because you probably had your dreams but didn’t follow them. You got into other stuff. And now you’re fifty and you suddenly are aware of the fact that from this point on its half way down, not up. You don’t get at it now you’ll never make it, it’ll never happen. And that could be very good but it could also be dangerous. You need the guidance of the Almighty like never before. “The time of the singing of the birds is come.”

It may be later in life when you are nearing the end and you know it and there are things that you need to make right in your life. Apologies. You said I’ll never say I’m sorry but you were wrong and you know you have to say it. When you have to recommit your life to Jesus Christ. “The time of the singing of the birds has come.”

There are times when a conflict needs to be resolved and you’re conscious of the fact that you have to do something. You don’t want to but you have to. “The time of the singing of the birds has come. The winter has passed. The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The voice of the turtledove is heard in the land.” Yes the time of the singing of the birds has come.
What does that mean to you today? I have no idea. Because I don’t know where you’re at. I don’t know where you’re coming from. I don’t know what memories you have held on to or what doors you slam shut never intending to go down the hall again. I don’t know but you will know. You’re in church. God is here. He can work through your conscience. He can work through your memory system. He can work with strange moods that are moving into your life. Yes “the time of the singing of the birds has come.” Wow.

I was a young boy I won’t forget this. I lived in the country. We had what was called a party line. That’s the telephone service. One telephone line went through the area and people could connect to it and they would have their telephone. Not a private phone at all. Every phone connected to it. Could lift the receiver and listen to whoever was talking. And if the phone rang three times, hmm.. hmm.. hmm.. that meant our telephone was ringing and we had to pick it up. We didn’t hear the other telephone ringing for the other families.
And I remember the time mom picked up the phone. It rang three times and she was hurt, she was shocked. I saw tears roll down her face. She said “we have to go call on Liz. Johnny just died.” Liz was a mother and the wife of the family half a mile down the country road. Johnny was her sixteen-year-old boy. And we went there. We called. I don’t know what my mom said to her, but a year or two later, my mom said “Liz is bad. She’s not getting over it. Her husband says that all she does is sit there and think. We don’t know what she’s thinking about.” And then mom said, “I’ll call again” and mom called again and that lifted her out of her apathy. My mother calling on her - what do you call that? I call that the time of the singing of the birds has come. Yes, now you know what I’m talking about. When you were down and out and you were depressed, you were finished you thought, you didn’t want to go out. You’d be happy if you went to heaven that night. Something happened.

You’re here in church. You came alive. You came out of it. Somewhere in those past hours or days or weeks the birds came. In a thought, an idea, a friendship or a simple change of mood that you can only say was God working in you. “The time of the singing of the birds has come.” Wow.
 
Oh one of my dearest friends in life has been gone over 20 years now. Her name was Donna Stone and she’s been here in this church and some of you know her. Her father was W. Clement Stone. He was one of the great people in the United States. At one time, he was the wealthiest person in America. He was a dear friend. Well he had a daughter Donna and Donna was a chip off the old block, until she got those terrible headaches and it was discovered she had a tumor in the brain. And the tumor became malignant. And her life span was shortened. The phone rang and I picked it up, it was Donna. “Dr. Schuller, this is Donna Stone.” “Hi Donna.” “You know, my brain is being filled with something that’s going to take my life. I want to come to California. I’m a Christian, I’ve been baptized as a baby, but I want you to baptize me again before I die. You do that?”

I said “Sure Donna.” So an appointment was set and on that given day, these doors were locked. Signs, private ministry in session. And I remember when she came she was dressed elegantly because she could afford anything. Instead of a hat, or a wig, she had a turban. It was a beautiful scarf bound around her neck, I mean her head. She was unusually enthusiastic, smiling self, and she said “let’s do it.” Okay.
 
So we walked in the church, the doors were locked and she knelt at the first red step down there. I said “Donna you believe in God your heavenly Father?” “Oh yeah. Sure do.” “Believe in Jesus Christ, that He lived and died and rose again to be your Savior?” “Oh, oh yes, He’s my Savior. I don’t worry about tomorrow. I have Him.” I can still see it.

So I reached for the baptismal bowl, dipped my fingers in the water, touched her forehead; the skin was warm, tender, soft, she closed her eyes. “I baptize you, Donna Stone, in the name of the Father who created you, in the name of Jesus, who died on the cross and rose again to be your Savior, for heaven forever, Amen.” The tears rolled out of her eyes, she smiled and she laughed out loud. And we hugged. Wow.
 
I remember the time I had a near fatal accident, it was in Holland a head injury, a blood clot in the brain. Intensive surgery. I don’t really know much about it, but I do remember my wife coming, standing at the bedside and that drew me out of my semi-coma into an aliveness and I remember the two of us surprised. She said “Look, Bob, look at the window.” On the third floor of this hospital in Amsterdam there was suddenly one sparrow fluttering its wings up and down, staying in the same position, not flying away, just staying there, staying there, staying there. To my wife and to me it was a visit from God. “The time of the singing of the birds has come.” Wow.
 
Our daughter Carol was thirteen when she had her horrible accident and they amputated her leg. She came back, would spend seven months in the hospital in Orange. She nearly lost her life. At the time, there was a time when there was no pulse, no blood pressure. The motorcycle accident almost killed her instantly. The weeks and months of pain, many surgeries followed. That was a tough year for Arvella and I. The amputation of her left leg and she was our softball star.
 
I’ll never forget when she said to us, “they’re signing up for softball again this weekend. I’m going to sign up, dad.” And I said “Carol, you can’t sign up. You’ve only got one leg.” She said “I’ve been checking it out and the rules are that if you were an active player when the accident happened they have to keep you on the team.” Say it again? “They have to keep you on the team.” So I took her to sign up. She limped so badly. She got in the car, I put the keys in, looked at her and said, “Carol how do you expect to play ball when you can’t even run?” She snapped back at me, she said, “Dad I’ve got that all figured out. The first thing I thought of was what you taught me when you lose something never look at what you have lost. Look at what you have left. I’ve got both arms left. I’m going to build up my arms stronger than anybody else on the team. I’m going to become a home run hitter and dad when you hit home runs you don’t have to run.” That idea came into her brain not from me, but from God.
 
Yes, God is with you and He will be with you forevermore. Amen.

Now Lord, the time of the singing of the birds has come in the dark of the night, in the midst of a depression and going through the tunnel of discouragement. New thoughts come, new moods move into our life. We change, we think positively again. It’s the time of the coming of the birds. Thank You Lord, Amen.

 


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