My message title for today is “Indebted.” I thought it was appropriate. Indebted. Yes, Crystal Cathedral Ministries is indebted. That’s no secret. And yet, God has made it very clear that the way I’ve been raised, the way all of you have been taught by my father, is that every challenge, every problem is an opportunity; an opportunity. And in this case, I was like Lord, what is the opportunity in filing Chapter 11? What is the opportunity in all of the world looking at us and knowing that we don’t have enough money to pay all of our bills? What is the opportunity there? And God said, Sheila, the opportunity is to show the world that you practice what you preach. You have an opportunity to show the world that tough times never last, but tough ministries do. You have an opportunity to show the world that every storm comes to an end. And what do we learn about a storm? What do we learn about a storm? We learn that in every storm; where do you want to be if you’re in the middle of the sea and a hurricane comes out of no where? You want to be at the eye of the storm. The eye of the storm is where the peace is, the eye of the storm is where you’re sheltered from all that turbulence raging around you. And the bible says, God says, when you’re in a storm My eye is on you. I never take My eye off of you. I have you in My sights at all times. I never slumber, I never sleep, I never blink. My eyes are on you and I am the eye of the storm. God says I am the eye of the storm. What a promise, what an assurance and can we show the world, people? Can we show the world that God can see us through anything? Can we show the world that we can be joyful in anything? Can we show the world that we are here and God will never leave us, God will never forsake us. Can we show the world that? Yes we can.
But we are indebted. It’s an opportunity. God whispered in my ear and He said, ‘daughter don’t you get it? I’m giving you an opportunity to give My message of hope to all the people out there who so desperately, desperately, desperately need My message of hope so go give it to them.’ Well that’s what I did. I gave the world a message of hope because that’s what we do at Crystal Cathedral ministries. That’s who we are. That’s what God wants us to do. That’s our call in life to say to people that we are here for you always, we will help you, we will pray with you, we will walk with you because you are walking with us, you are praying for us. We’re in this together, are we not people? We’re all in this together.
And as I looked at the amount of debt that I faced as a leader of this ministry, I thought, Lord, what am I going to do? How are we going to tackle this? Where do I begin? Well I read my bible every day and one day I started to read about King Hezekiah and I was riveted. When was the last time you read about King Hezekiah and you were riveted? Well you know, when life’s circumstances, suddenly scripture takes on a whole new meaning. And as I was reading about King Hezekiah, this is what I learned. We all know about David, that second King of Israel, he was a godly king. Oh yes, he made mistakes. He made a lot of mistakes and I’ve talked about some of them here from this pulpit. But God loved him. The scriptures said that he was man after God’s own heart. Why? Because David worshiped God and worshiped God alone. That was it. That was the main thing that God loved about David.
And then David’s son Solomon took over. He took the throne after David died and Solomon was entrusted with building the temple, building God’s house. No expense was spared. It was beautiful, it was glorious, it was rich, it was wonderful. But Solomon had a weakness for women and Solomon started marrying pagan wives. He liked the women of Egypt and some of these other countries who did not worship God. They had other gods they worshiped. He married them, brought their gods with them not only into the country but also into the house of God. And that began this downward slide for years, hundreds of years. More and more God Yahweh was pushed to the periphery until He was pushed out of the temple all together by idols. And God’s house fell into ruin. God’s house was no longer God’s house.
And then came King Hezekiah. His name means strength, strengthened by God, King Hezekiah. King Hezekiah, he rent his robes when saw the state of God’s house. He said, ‘no this is God’s house. No we have to clean this up. We have to repair it; we have to make it new again. We have to rebuild God’s house.’ The first thing he did, and this is where I really got riveted, was he opened the doors. He fixed the doors again. Well I was reading this right about the time our doors were broken. So you can see where God, you know, he put that in God’s word just for me to say Sheila, see now you understand a little bit more about what your call is. So they opened the doors, they fixed the doors, they cleaned everything out and they celebrated Passover again, which they hadn’t done for hundreds and hundreds of years. And the people came and they worshipped and they brought offerings and they restored and they rebuilt the house of God under the leadership of King Hezekiah my hero, King Hezekiah.
And then he had to rebuild again. He had to rebuild his country this time and so God sent the prophet Isaiah. And He gave him this formula for rebuilding. Live off what grows by itself and after a time sow and reap. I thought wow, live off what grows by itself. Seeds that lie dormant that are in the ground for this agrarian society. But I immediately felt like God was saying to me, Sheila, this is how you’re supposed to lead your ministry fiscally now. I will send you, I will send you enough. I will provide enough. Don’t spend a penny more than what I send you. And we’ve been doing that since April. Whatever He sends us, we spend. If it’s not enough to buy extra envelopes, we don’t buy extra envelopes. If it’s not enough to pay for more orchestra members, we don’t hire more orchestra members. Week to week, whatever God provided, we lived off what God provided and nothing more. No more increased debt.
And so we know that following this formula, we already know, we see all kinds of signs that we will be able to pay our vendors back. We will be able to have a repayment plan for them and it will not be long, people of God.
So are we indebted? Yes, we are indebted but you know what? All of us, you and I, we’re all indebted to somebody, are we not? And I started thinking about the people that I’m personally indebted to. I’m indebted to my parents. I’m indebted to that faith. I’m indebted to that spiritual, positive, positive framing of God’s word. Could I have lead this ministry with strength and optimism without the lessons my parents instilled in me from a very, very young age? Absolutely not. I’m indebted to my parents. I’m indebted to their faith. I’m indebted to watching them practice what they preach year after year after year after year. And my parents, who are they indebted to? They’re indebted to their parents, too. You just heard dad give a wonderful story of my grandfather’s faith to rebuild, to never give up, to hang in there. My parents are indebted to their parents; I’m indebted to my parents and my parent’s grandparents. Who all are we not indebted to? We are indebted to you. We are indebted to our congregation. We have volunteers who have kept this campus beautiful. In fact, one reporter asked us, well you certainly have not cut your gardening budget at all by the looks of things around here. Well I beg to differ. We actually cut it a hundred percent and everything that looks so beautiful that you can’t even tell we’ve cut the budget is due to our gardening ministry volunteers. Do I have any of you here today? Are any of you here? Stand up. Stand up. Stand up.
We are indebted to our Hour of Power viewers for all of your support faithfully through the years. We know that you are doing everything you can and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. We are indebted to you not only for your financial support, but for the letters that you send us. This last week we received an out-pouring of love and affirmation. We’re with you. We love you. We’re praying for you. I heard that from everybody and we are indebted to that outpouring of gratitude from all of you to us. So I ask you we are indebted, we are indebted to all of you.
We are all indebted to somebody and is that really such a bad thing? Doesn’t that mean we need each other, that we’re all in this together and as we get through these tough times, if one thing that comes out of this recession is that we come together more, that we work together more, that we link arms together, that we pray for each other, that we support each other, that we encourage each other, is it not worth that alone? Yes, I believe it is. And most of all we are indebted to our Heavenly Father who sent His son Jesus Christ because that is whom we are most indebted to.
I was reading in Colossians and listen to these words: “You were dead because of your sins. But then God made you alive with Christ for He forgave all our sins. He cancelled the record of debt against us by nailing it to the cross,” Colossians 2:14. That record of debt in the scripture is chirographum, a legal written note of indebtedness nailed to the cross. Wow, what a wonderful, wonderful promise we are indebted. Yes, we are indebted. When Jesus died on that cross, the chirographum that was above Him, the legal record of debt that was nailed to His cross read, Jesus, the King of the Jews. But people, there was also according to St. Paul in Colossians, there was also an invisible legal record of debt, your debt that was nailed to that very cross. I’m indebted to Jesus and I’m proud of it. I am indebted to Jesus for my life and I am grateful for it.
We are all indebted to Jesus and today I want to invite you if you feel indebted to God, if you feel indebted to Jesus, if you feel that you are indebted, if you need prayer, if you need assurance that your debt, your legal record of debt has been nailed to the cross, then I want to invite you to come down and get a nail; take it as a reminder. Take it as reminder. Go home and any time you start feeling ashamed, any time you start hearing those lies that you’re not good enough. Any time you need to be reminded that your legal record of debt has been nailed to the cross and is cancelled, you have this nail to remind you. So I invite you now to come and receive a nail. Any of you, even if it’s just for fiscal, even if you need to be reminded God will help me with my financial record of debt. God will show me how. Come, come to the cross and get a nail.