#4 Joy Celebrates (22/12/01)

The Message

By Robert Anthony Schuller

I am proud of so many things in this ministry, not the least my family. All five of my children are in a ministry of this church, one way or another. It's fantastic. None of them have been rebellious. And they're all testimonies to a Christian family and a Christian church. My only son, Robert, has completed all of his college work with his undergraduate degree, his theological credentials and has been honored in the honorary doctorate. And so the Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller the 2nd and I are doing a series of four sermons this Christmas season. He's doing the first 2. I'll do the last 2. So last week he gave us a great message on "Hope Illuminates." Today, "Joy Celebrates." Next week I'll speak on "Love Radiates." And the following week, "Faith Penetrates." Now welcome, now welcome the Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller the 2nd. Here he is. Thank you, Robert. Thank you, dad.

I have four children and I continually learn new things from them. One of the things that I learned from them recently was a word. The word was want to be. A want to be. I said, well what's a want to be? Well, the word comes up every once in awhile, different ways. Like I said, well how did you like that music? He said, O that's a Whintley Phipps want to be. And they use it for people who don't want to really be themselves. Recently my daughter used the word in an interesting way. We came, we just celebrated Thanksgiving and we left the house of my parents, and she sat in the back seat and said, you know, Thanksgiving is a want to be Christmas. And she wasn't putting Thanksgiving down, what she was doing is putting Christmas up. Because there isn't a holiday on planet earth that compares with Christmas. Christmas is the holidays of all holidays. It is the incarnation of God Himself into human flesh. It is the beginning of the most glorious news that the world has ever heard. And this morning we're going to talk about joy celebrates. Giving a gift worth giving. Give the gift of joy. And when you experience the joy of celebrating and giving joy, I think we see it given so well by the angels in Luke 2. The angel came to the shepherd's and they said to the shepherds, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. For today in the city of David is born to you, Jesus, the Messiah. The greatest joy that you can give, and one of the greatest gifts you can give is joy, is by giving good news. And yet there isn't enough of it going around today. It's hard to find good news, isn't it? It's hard to hear good news. But the truth of the matter is there is good news in everything.

Yesterday my son and I missed a flight in an airplane. Ever done that? That is really a pain in the neck. Well, the next flight out was going to leave in 4 hours. Thank you very much. That's a lot of fun. Sitting in an airport for 4 hours. So we decided that what we would do, instead of sitting in the airport we'd go out and find something fun to do. So we went out and we took a little walk. We found a nice restaurant and we had a great lunch. We had a great time. And afterwards we came back and we hopped on the plane and we took the negative and we turned it into a positive. And there is no such thing as bad news unless you make it bad news. And what we have to do is see the good news in everything. But it only happens when you look for it. Look for good news and you will find it.

My father and I have a pastime that we have participated in for many years. He started fishing as a young boy in the Floyd River and they would catch blue, not blue gills, they would catch bullheads. Now bullheads is a little tiny catfish that are about a quarter pound. And occasionally they'd get really lucky and they'd catch a card that would be two or three pounds. And that was the extent of his fishing in the Floyd River. When he moved out to California he found out there was a bigger river than the Floyd River. It was called the Pacific Ocean. Now that's a big river. And that has some big fish in it. And so he started fishing there and he taught me how to fish and we have enjoyed fishing together ever since. I've taught my son how to fish and so fishing has become a part of our life. We love it very much. Well one of the things we do when we go fishing, is we go out in the ocean and I don't know if you realize this but there's a lot of water out there. That ocean is big. So when we go fishing, we spend most of our time looking for fish. And that's what we do. We go out there and we start looking.

You know the Bible tells us that the shepherds were a watch. They were watching their sheep. I don't think they were looking, to be quite honest, I don't think they were looking for the pronouncement of the angels. I have good news for you today! They weren't expecting that. Well when the angel appeared they were full of fear. And the angels said do not be afraid for I bring you good news! Well that's the good news of Christmas. That we can see the good news in every situation. That if we quit living in fear and start living with the good news that God is blessing us, we will start to experience and find what we're looking for. In order for us to give good news first you have to look for it. Secondly you have to listen to good news.

That's why this Hour of Power is so important to people. It changes people's lives. Over and over again we get letters from people. I got this letter recently. It was someone wrote our ministry. It said: Thank you for all your prayers in behalf of my family. Your love for others has, with God's help, given me a new lease on life. I was someone who thought he had it altogether. I prayed and I watched you on television. But I was lost. God spoke to me in a way that I cannot explain. He showed me that just hearing and being an armchair Christian isn't the same as getting up and getting into the game, so to speak. Now I go to church every week and tape your program to watch. Since I went from being a possibility watcher to a possibility commuter, things have come together for me. Thank you, Jesus. And thank you Dr. Schuller.

This ministry, this Hour of Power is here to encourage people and to share the good news and to let people know that there is something positive in every situation. But we have to listen to good news. When I fish, we're looking for these fish, we're motoring through the waters, we travel at about 10 to 12 miles an hour. And we troll fishing lines. We have 4 rods holding in the back of the boat by rod holders. And we drag these jigs that are about this long behind the boat, in hopes that a fish might come along and grab one. And there is a clicker on the fishing reel and you'll hear this clicker go... And depending upon how big the fish is will determine how long you listen to that thing click. And the faster the fish is, the louder the click is and the faster it is and so you are...so, while we were looking for fish, we are keeping our ears open. And we are listening for good news. Good news. We're listening. Now those clickers can be turned off. And you want to turn them off when you're reeling the fish in because they become very annoying. But the problem with turning them off, is that once in a while you forget to turn them on, and that's a problem. I've had it happen before. Well, we've been motoring all over the place looking for fish and all of a sudden we go down to the stern where all of our fishing rods are set up only to find a fishing rod with no line on it. Nothing. A big fish came along, ate the jig, swam away, took all of the line off the reel, busted the line and everything is gone. Why? I never heard the good news. I never heard the clicker. No one realized there was a fish on, and we lost the opportunity. How many times do we hear good news and we don't even realize it's good news? How many times do we hear the message and we just don't hear it? When we listen to the words, the words that the angels came bringing good news. Our souls are nourished. Our hearts are strengthened. Our minds are illuminated and joy is celebrated. How do we share good news? How do we allow the joy that celebrates, to ring true in our lives? First we have to look for the good news. Second of all we have to listen to good news. Thirdly we have to follow the good news. Think about what would have happened if the shepherds, hearing the angles, seen the proclamation, given the declaration to go out and to go see this Christ child. What would happen if they had never gone if they'd simply stayed behind? Once in a while when we fish we catch a big one. And when we catch a big fish we have to follow the fish. The boat literally has to follow the fish with the fishermen holding onto the line, fighting the fish. Because the fish are so big that if the boat just stands still he will just swim away pulling 50 pounds worth of line, 400 yards worth of line, he'll pull it all off and everything will be gone. So what happens is we have to literally follow the fish until it gets tired and it finally comes up to the surface. And only then can we let him, just what we usually do. When you hear the good news, when you find the good news, you have to follow the good news. You have to allow it to take place and to take shape and to mold you and you have to do what it tells you to do.

A husband was talking to his wife, because she was complaining about his behavior. And he said, you know, why do you keep talking about my past mistakes? After all you told me that you've forgotten and forgiven my past mistakes. And she turned to him, well, I have forgiven and I have forgotten, but I want to make sure that you don't forget that I have forgiven and forgotten. When we say something, when we hear the good news, we have to follow it up. We have to make sure that it's...that the instructions are followed, that like the shepherds who came to see the baby Jesus, that we too follow the instructions of good news.

And finally if we want to celebrate the joy of living and give a gift worth giving, we have to declare the good news. How did Whintley Phipps say it? Go tell...I can't get that low. Sorry. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is Lord. When we fish tournaments, which is very common. What happens in a tournament is when you catch a fish you have to get on the radio, there is a VHF radio so all the boats can hear each other and communicate. And when you catch a fish you have to get on the radio and say we have a fish and we're fighting this fish and then give the lats and longs, the latitudinal and longitudinal lines of where you're located and what time the fish was caught and who the angler is. And then once the fish is tagged and released then you have to get back on the radio and make the declaration that you caught the fish.

Well, what we used to do is, the name of our boat was "Be Happy." So when we would catch a fish the first thing we'd do is turn the tape player on and then we'd stick the microphone in the tape player and over the microphone and over the radio so all the other boats in the tournament could hear, would be the song, "Don't worry. Be happy." Da da da da. It was great. And then after the song did the couple of jingles. We'd go this is Be Happy, we're reporting a tag and release on 20 pound test for blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And we would declare to everybody, that we tagged and released a fish. Joy celebrates when we share the good news by looking for the good news, listening to the good news, following the good news and declaring the good news. The shepherds declared what they had seen. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things which they had heard and seen which were just as it had been told them. They declared that good news. Get out on the mountaintops and even if you can't sing like Whintley Phipps, you can still share the message. Go tell it on the mountains. What? That Jesus Christ is born. That's the Christmas message. That's joy that celebrates. That's a gift worth giving. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you. That today we are celebrating the joy of the proclamation of angels. That today is born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And we thank You Lord for this most precious gift of all, a joy that celebrates that good news. Now help us Lord to look, to listen, to follow and to declare that wonderful, precious gift today. We love You, Lord, and we praise Your name. Amen.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord grant you His peace. In your lying down and in your rising up, in your labor and in your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears until you come to stand before Jesus in that day in which there is no sunset and no dawning. Amen.

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