#2139 –Think Big – Believe in God! (6 Mar 2011)

The Message

Dr. Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

June Scobee Rodgers
June Scobee Rodgers’s husband, Dick Scobee, was the commander of the ill fated NASA Challenger Mission. Twenty-five years later, June continues the mission through the Challenger Education Space Centers.

The Message

What kind of a thinker are you? I look over these heads and faces; you’re not all the same. You don’t all think the same way. Ideas will come into your minds and some will say that’s a great idea; let’s make it happen. Others will say fantastic idea, impossible. Big ideas promote many of you to possibility thinking and for others you are led into paralyzed thinking. Are you facing a big “can’t do” in your life today? Maybe it’s financial, maybe it’s physical, maybe it’s something in your marriage and family. Maybe it’s with a weakness or a sin that you seem to have to deal with again and again as life moves on. I want to challenge you sitting here today that you are sitting in a church that is known to be a “get out of the box” place. Anything is possible. Think big - big enough to believe in a God with whom nothing is impossible.

If you’re a visitor and don’t really know what kind of a church it is, Arthur Rubinstein would be happy here. He was the famous concert pianist, not a Christian by faith, but he was in New York when someone invited him to come along with me to church Sunday. His answer: “take me to a church that will challenge me to attempt the impossible.” Wow. Great believers and great achievers are attracted to great challenges.

Great ideas will either paralyze you or possibilitize you. You choose. And I have lived it and I came up with a new word that I think pretty much says who I am or who I’ve been, what I’ve done, where I’m going. The word is possibilitarian. I’m a possibilitarian and so are you when you leave this church this morning. That means you will instinctively, intuitively, impetuously look at ideas and you look for the positive and if you can find them, you want to turn the possibilities into opportunities and opportunities into achievements. That’s being a possibilitarian. Yes, that’s going to shape your whole life. And I just am shocked at how I see people achieve what they’ve achieved in life, so if you’re here today stay with me, walk with me, worship with me and we’ll be a bunch of possibility thinkers, possibilitarians. I like the sound of that word. Let’s all say it, possibilitarian. Try it again possibilitarian. Not too good. Once more possibilitarian. That’s great. Wow.

My father was a possibilitarian. He was just a poor farm boy and he grew up and he looked for land that nobody was using and decided to buy it even though it was seemingly worthless and he did. And he managed in his lifetime to get it paid for and to develop new hybrid seed corn that did very well. Yes, he was a possibilitarian. He saw the possibility where others only saw nothing.

My brother Henry was a possibilitarian. He was drafted in World War II and put into the medical division and then he became a litter bearer. If you don’t know what litter is, that’s the carry on thing where they carry bodies that are broken or dying. This job was on the front line and he’d be the first to pick up a body that had no leg or arm and he spent two years doing that. He never talked about it. I tried to draw it out of him but he didn’t want to. Possibilitarian. Wow. We have them in this church. Most of you, if not all of you are possibilitarians. You see something and you move in. Believe in a big God!

Many years ago, I remember the title of a book Your God is Too Small. Oh I bought it, I read it, it impacted me. I don’t know how often I’ve been shaped by it but that sentence impacted me throughout my ministry and my entire lifetime and still does. So I ask you today is your God too small? Is He big enough to see solutions to your troubles? Yes. Is He big enough to understand your talent and where it can go to work for Him? Yes. Is your God big enough to understand the treasure that your life is and how if you go to church every Sunday that’s important. You’ll get the ideas, the inspiration. Wow. How big is your God?

Ask another question, which is the same point. Is anything too hard for God? It’s the question God asks Sarah when she overheard God’s promise to Abraham. “Your descendants,” she heard God say to Abraham, her husband, “your descendants will be as the sand in the desert.” And Sarah said hearing this, “how can this be? I’m too old to bear a child. I’m part of the child bearing stage” and she laughed to herself. There were no children in their marriage. She’s too old. “Sarah,” she heard the voice of God, “Sarah is anything too hard for God?” The question is in Genesis chapter 18 verse 14, “Is anything too hard God?” No, look at the ocean, the sunrise, the sunset, day after day, year after year. I’ve lived to experience a little about life. I have lived through over thirty thousand, six hundred and sixty sunrises. How about you? And the longer we live, the more we see miracles. Yes, I believe in a big God.

A couple of nights ago, Mrs. Schuller and I were in bed and sleeping soundly in the middle of the night. It was midnight and we heard the rumbling of thunder when suddenly we heard a thunder crack louder than anything we’d ever heard in our life and we were born and raised in Northwest Iowa. The thunderclap just filled the whole bedroom, shook the walls and we grabbed each other thinking the house was coming down. Wow. Then it was like God saying to us ‘I’m still alive Bob, I’m big, I’m big, I’m big.’ Reminded me of what I’d learned years ago and I don’t know from whom: no problem is too big for God’s power; no person is too small for God’s love. So you don’t feel a thunderclap filling this Cathedral but there is a bigger idea and it’s filling this place. It is that no problem is too big for God’s power. That’s for some of you here and now. Grab hold of it. No person is too small for God’s love.

How do we draw more of that kind of God power into our life? How do we get to know God more and more? The answer is so simple I almost feel hesitant saying it but it’s so true: go to church every Sunday. There’s a reason why in the Old Testament the Lord said one in seven shall be My day. And the New Testament, Sunday replaced Saturday and this became the time when we would go to church every week to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the living power of a God who loves us. So God is bigger than your problem. God is bigger than your fear. God is bigger than your challenges. No problem is too big for God’s power. No person is too small for God’s love.

I was looking the other day through my notes that had accumulated through sixty years of ministry. Names popped up that I’d forgotten for a long time. I ran again through the name of Virginia Hader. She was a great positive thinking woman who had her real health problems. And then when she got into the worst of her sickness, she said “Dr. Schuller, I won’t be able to work any more. What am I going to do?” I said, “Let’s think and pray.” Out of it came a new idea. The idea was she could be a typist. She said, “I don’t know how to type.” So I helped her and she learned how to type. Earned a good revenue for a while and then her fingertips gave her a problem. It was sad. And the doctor said “We’re going to have to amputate fingers from both hands.” Wow. I’m her pastor. How do I handle that one?

I said, “God show her what she can do without fingers.” And the company she worked for, the head of it said to her, “Well we’ll change your job. We’ll make you an analyst, a cost analyst. You know the business, you know the company. You don’t need fingers to analyze the costs.” And she went at it and she was doing fantastic, but then her end time came and she said, “Well Robert, I’ve had a pretty good life.” I said, “Yes, Virginia, you have.” She said, “It’s time for me to go anyway.” I said, “Maybe so.” But we walked with her until her last breath. A woman, a member of this church. She sat where you sit. Look what she did with what life threw at her. Everybody was proud to know her. When she came to her last breath this church was honored with her life.

Where are you? What are your challenges? What are your problems? Think big. Think bigger. Your problems are small for the Almighty. He has plans for every person in this church and that starts right now, as far as you are concerned, with you and you and with you.

Let us pray: Oh God, no person is too small for Your problems to be solved by You and by Jesus Christ. Thank You for the noble and fresh and creative ideas that are coming into imaginations here and now. Bless every person with their special miracle. Amen.

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