#6 Building Faith for Life's Journey II(05/01/02)

The Message

By Dr. Robert H. Schuller

Last week my wife and I did take the Sunday off and we had a fabulous time. I don't know if you know this or not, but there are some great travel deals right now. There really are. And so we took advantage of some of those great travel deals. And guess what we did. We went down to a little Baja village on the Sea of Cortez, called La Paz, Mexico and we just had the time of our life. We were walking along the streets and we saw a dive shop. I said, Donna, let's go take a look inside the dive shop, you know, where they do scuba diving excursions..

We started scuba diving on our honeymoon and since then when we go different places if we have an opportunity we check out what's available. When we go diving we said, we walked into this dive shop and we said, so do you have any dive excursions? And they said, why we do. We've got this place called the Bajo. Bajo, what is that? He goes it's a seamount. It's about 10 miles off the coast and there's a rock that comes out from the bottom of the ocean. It comes within 45 feet of the surface.

I said, what's out there? He says, oh, it amazing. You can go out there and you can see some really big fish. And there's lots and lots of fish. It's rocks down there. It's not a Coral Reef, it's rocks, but it's beautiful. And I said, so is there anything to be afraid of? And he says, no, some people are a little bit afraid of the hammerheads and with that he pulls out a picture. I said, you want us to dive with those? And he says, well most people really enjoy seeing the hammerheads. And it really is a spectacular dive. So I said, I'm in.

Donna looked at me and she says, what do you mean, you're in? Said I'm going. Well, this is a chance. She said, you're going diving with the hammerheads? Those are sharks you know. Go, I know. She goes, those are big sharks you know. I go, I know. I said, there's two of us and only one dive guide. What have we got to lose, but a dive guide.

So, we looked at all of the facts. We put together the realization that chances are it would be an incredible, life-changing experience, and not life ending. Life changing. Life experience, something that we'd remember for the rest of our lives. And the chances of us having any problems were very, very slim. So we did it. And guess what, it was just like the picture. It was absolutely phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.

But it made me stop and think how many times do we allow fabulous opportunities in life to pass us by why? Because we're afraid! The facts are you will never have a perfect situation that doesn't require some risk and with little risk there's opportunities of tremendous gain.

And today I'm afraid that there are people in our nation, who are not taking advantage of tremendous opportunities because of one tiny little four letter word called fear.

Here's what the Psalmist says: "God is our refuge and strength. An ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, we will not fear."

And today it is time for us to say those exact same words, we will not fear. Because we know the facts. I wrote an acronym for fact this morning: Fear not, act now, calm down, and trust God. And if we will live with the facts instead of living in fear, we will be able to move forward with the faith that God has given to us. So you realize what great news we have today?

How many women here love it when the stores have sales? How many men hate it when the stores have sales. The good news is, ladies and gentlemen, the stock market is on sale. They're having a great sale. Get this: there's a sale going on for real estate. Get this: there's a sale at the bank. Never before have I ever seen lower interest rates. You have to go to a much older man to find somebody who has seen lower interest rates. You have? Or haven't? He hasn't seen lower interest rates.. you have to go a much older man to find lower interest rates. There's never been a better time to buy a house. I bought my first house when I was 19 years old. I was a sophomore in college. I was going to rent a house with some of my buddies, and we went and we checked out the price of houses and they were renting them for $150 a month. I said, well how much do they cost? He said, well you could buy one for $12,000. I said, well let me see, what kind of loan, financing could I get? Well, it turns out you have put $1,000 down and $97.21 a month. So I bought one. I had $1,000 that I had collected since I was 5 years old from $50 worth of, for a birthday present and $50 for a Christmas present and after 19 years I'd collected a whopping $1,000 in my savings account. I cashed out my savings account, I went and I bought a house. The interest rates were about 9%. Since then I watched the interest rates go up to 16%. And ever since then I've been re-financing my house as they keep coming down and down and down and down. And now I'm going to re-finance again. I'm going to save lots of money every month. Because the banks are having a sale. But, oh listen to the doomsday prophets, and you will not dare do anything. The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky is falling they tell us

We find out that if we follow the facts instead of following fear, that God will bless you. He is waiting to bless you. He wants to bless you and all we have to do is put a little trust in Him. Hear the facts. It's an acrostic: Fear not. Act now. Calm down. Trust God.

I look at the journey that Moses took through the wilderness. He spent 20 years in the wilderness. And after wandering for 20 years he came to the promised land. God led him there and He said, here it is! So Moses went and he sent out his 10 spies to find out what it was like. The 10 spies came back and 8 of the 10 spies said, you know Moses, those guys over there are big. Their walls are thick. That place is scary.

Two of the ten, Joshua and Caleb said, you know what Moses, those guys are big. Those walls are thick, but with the power of God we can take them! And Moses says, okay we've got 8 spies over here says we don't stand a chance. We've got Joshua and Caleb who says we can take them. Eight to two. Sorry Joshua. Sorry Caleb. And instead of facing the walls of the Jericho, he spent another 20 years in the wilderness. Twenty years later God brings him back to the same place, and it is there at the gates that Moses dies and he never entered the promised land.

And Joshua and Caleb are the only two spies who are still living. What had they seen before? What had changed in the last 20 years? Nothing. They were the same big guys, the same big walls, the same impossibilities. But Joshua and Caleb knew that with God they could knock down the walls. And they received the promised land from God.

And God is waiting to bring you your promised land. When we accept the gifts of God, He will turn our shadows into light. He'll turn our wilderness into the promised land, He'll turn a poverty into prosperity. He'll turn a negativity into positivity. He'll turn our fear into faith.

Today I want you to act on the facts. The facts are fear not. The facts are act now. The facts are calm down. Okay?

When my wife and I went diving with the sharks, we're in the middle of the ocean. There is no land anywhere around. We go this is where we're diving. There's nothing here. And I said yes this is where you're diving. Who's going in first? And there was a couple of other professional divers on board with their cameras about this big, who are down there working for different dive magazines. And then, of course, there was my wife and I. And we said, we'll let them go first. Finally I get in there and I'm sitting there on top of the water waiting for the dive guide and some of the other people to come in, and I'm got this tank of air on my back and I'm ready to hyperventilate. I'm going.. and bubbles were blowing all over the place. Finally I go, you know what? You're going to run out of air before you get down at this rate.

Calm down. Take it easy. They're nice fish. And I slowed down. And we reached the bottom and we were surrounded by this beauty, and then we passed a corner in the rock and there they were. A huge school of them. And all of a sudden I started going.. and what do I do? Calm down. Nice fishy. And we stopped and we looked at their beautiful bodies as they just glided through the water and they could care less about us. They weren't interested in us. And we enjoyed the beauty and we enjoyed the fish and all the fear left and the second dive was twice as long as the first dive, because my air lasted 3 times as long. Don't allow the fear to get in your way, to follow the facts. The facts are fear not, the facts are act now, the facts are calm down, trust God. As we look at the situation our nation is in today, and we compare it with World War II, you can imagine what would happen if 55 years ago a US destroyer came face to face with a German destroyer. But only a few weeks ago a US destroyer came face to face with a German destroyer. But what is 50 years do to nations? As the US Winston Churchill was approached by the FGS Ludkin, they noticed that the crew was on the port side and they were saluting the Winston Churchill. And they were flying a US flag half mast and in their naval way they broadcast the sign, we stand with you. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Trust God.

Dear God we thank You, for the fact that You are alive today, that You are God, that You love us, that You care for us. That You lead us through the tough times, that You are there in the midst of it all. And so we thank You Lord, for giving us confidence this very moment to trust You. To move forward in faith. So we love You Lord, Amen.

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