#102 Mountain Moving Faith - Part 5 (09/11/03)

By: Robert A. Schuller

Well, my father and I are talking about mountain moving faith. And what I love about mountain moving faith is that it is basically possibility thinking which is put into action. Which is actually what I call possibility living. Now possibility living begins, or mountain moving faith begins, with positive thoughts.

And I can't even mention the world positive in almost any circumstance without thinking about the late great Norman Vincent Peale. How many people think about Norman Vincent Peale when they hear the world positive? He is just Mr. Positive, isn't he? You know I had some wonderful experiences with him. Shortly before he died I flew out to New York and spent a week with him at a conference, which he had in New York. Do you know what? He's a positive thinker. And it's amazing what positive thinking does. And what he was sharing in this little book which he has titled, "Shoot for the Stars," he was talking about the law of attraction. The law of attraction. In the law of attraction when you think positive thoughts you start attracting positive thoughts. And when you start thinking negative thoughts you start attracting negative thoughts. He says it's like a flock of birds: they just kind of flock together. And when you see a flock of birds, if it's crows, it's all crows. And if it's seagulls, it's all seagulls. And if it's blackbirds, it's all blackbirds. Birds of a feather fly together.

And when you start thinking negative thoughts more negative thoughts are attracted to you and negative things start to happen to you. On the other hand, when you start thinking positive thoughts positive things start to happen and positive thinkers are attracted to you. It is the law of attraction.

Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and the philosopher said it this way: "We become what our thoughts indicate day by day." This whole idea is not a new thought process. It's been going on for thousands of years. And that's why we find in the Bible the foundation of positive thinking; the foundation of mountain moving faith. St. Paul said it this way: "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things," he says.

It is so easy for us to be attracted to the negative because the negative screams so much louder. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, only a very small portion of your body hurts, but boy! Does it scream! Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch! The negative thoughts will penetrate every fiber of our being and all we can think about is the negative. The positive, on the other hand, requires attention, it requires strength and ability, it acquires the perception to make a conscious effort to look at all of the beauty and the positive that is all around us every day.

People always say, why don't the newspapers report all the positive things going on? How many people think that? Oh you open the newspaper all you read is all the negative all the time. That's because the positive is so abundant that it's not newsworthy. The only thing that is newsworthy is something that is completely out of the ordinary and that's all the negative that's going on. So there's nothing else to report. The newspapers would be, oh my goodness, this thick to report all the good news that takes place every day. Positive thoughts, the law of attraction, mountain moving faith begins by thinking positive thoughts. But the interesting thing about thinking positive thoughts and positive thinking is that it's really rather passive in many ways.

A much more pro-active process, which actually takes us to the 2nd step of mountain moving faith, is to graduate from positive thinking to possibility thinking. Whenever I hear those 2 words together I think of the nicest, sweetest, gray-haired man in the world. His name is Dr. Robert Harold Schuller. Possibility thinking is the next step, which takes positive thinking and creates a pro-active approach to moving positive thoughts in a positive direction. That's what possibility thinking is - it is mountain moving faith and taking these thoughts and being pro-active with the thoughts.

For instance, when he came to California to start this church in 1955 he was told it is quote "impossible" to find a place to hold services. Isn't that an amazing thought? Impossible, every possible place to hold services in Southern California was occupied. That was the word in the note he'd got, he had received. With that he went about making a list of 10 different places he thought he might be able to hold services. And guess what? All but one of those 10 places were occupied. And so he settled for the only one and the only option he had - a drive-in theater. And only somebody as crazy as my father would start in a drive-in theater. And he did.

He has since told me that the word impossible is not in the dictionary. But do you know what? I took that as a challenge because I realized nothing is impossible including impossibilities. And so I went about to discover that there is something in the Bible that talks about impossibilities and I found it. I found it in Hebrews 6:18, and here's what it says, "It is impossible for God to lie." Isn't that neat? Do you know what that means? That means that every single word from God is the truth. If it is impossible for God to lie that means that we can count on every single one of His promises within these words. And Jesus Himself said, "Ask and you'll receive. Seek and you'll find. Knock and the doors will be opened to you."

And that's what possibility thinking is all about. Or you suddenly start to knock and you ask and you and the promises of God are revealed. And when somebody says it's impossible. You say, yeah, it's impossible for God to lie. Which means that all God's promises are true, which means you're the one who's lying right now when you tell me it's impossible. It may take longer, it may take more money, it may be impractical, it may be unrealistic at this time and place in life, but I stand on the promises of God. That is mountain moving faith.

It's positive thinking graduating to possibility thinking and then finally, moving to what I call possibility living. Possibility living is putting the 3rd generation to this spin on positive words. Because we read in James 2 that "faith without works is dead." And then in Galatians 3 we read, "the just shall live by faith." And it's taking positive thinking and possibility thinking and integrating it into the very core of your being so that you live it, you act it, and you allow it to impact every single part of your being. It's possibility living. This past week my father and I were in Michigan, a great state of this union. And both of us are actually graduates of Hope College in Holland, Michigan. And while we were there we spoke to many of our supporters in Detroit and then we went to Grand Rapids and spoke to many of them there. We had dinner with them and just shook their hands and prayed with them. Had a wonderful, wonderful time.

And while I was there I was reminded of some of my times in Holland, Michigan. I enjoyed Michigan very much. I fell in love with the outdoors and I remember going into the local sporting goods store, which is not uncommon to see. I saw a large fish that was mounted and hanging on one of the walls. I said, what kind of fish is that? Looked like a giant rainbow trout. And he said it's a steelhead. A steelhead is a rainbow trout which migrates into the seas and then they come back up the streams and they're caught in the streams. I said, well, tell me, where was this fish caught? And they said, it was caught in a river just down the road here about 10 miles. And this was a big fish. I said, you got to be kidding me? He says, no. I said do they still catch them there. He goes, certain times of the year. Well, what time of the year? I'll tell you I was fascinated.
And I started making a list of all the details about where this fish was caught and how these fish were caught and what it took to catch them. I started thinking positive thoughts. And I started playing the Possibility Thinkers Game of making lists and finding out how to make it possible and how you could possibly do it. And finally the time came, in the spring when these fish come up river and they spawn. And I practiced possibility living. And I went down to the river and I'll never forget climbing into that river with water up to my chest, chest high waders, and casting this special iron that they'd sold me at the tackle store along with all the other stuff. They were very good at selling me all that stuff at the tackle store. And I bought it hook, line and sinker. But then I also caught the fish hook, line and sinker. A beautiful 10 pound, steelhead rainbow trout.
It's amazing, absolutely amazing what you can do if you begin to think it's possible. If you start asking the questions, getting the tools, playing the game, and believing that you can do the impossible. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What would you do?

There was a businessman here in Orange County some time ago was thought that what he would do is he would actually love to start a TV station of all Christian programming. His name was Paul Crouch. And he had this idea and he found out a little tiny station that he could buy and he went to buy this station; the only thing is they said if he starts this station it will not work. He said, you've got to be kidding me? Said, no, it will not work. He says, why not? He said, well there's actually a mountain in the way and as a result of it the broadcast will not go out and the station will not work.

And so he decided to practice mountain moving faith and he prayed. And he prayed, "God, if You want this thing to happen, I've got too much invested in this at this point to turn around and if You want it to happen You've got to move mountains, cause that's the only way it's going to happen. All the scientists, all the technicians, everybody has told me the only way it's going to happen is if You move the mountain." And so he prayed. He doesn't know why but, to this day, he says God moved the mountain. They flipped the switch, TBN was born, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and today many of you are watching this on this same network, Trinity Broadcasting Network. He's going to be here talking at our Institute for Successful Church Leadership in January and if you want to hear this incredible testimony of how this man used his faith, just a simple little businessman make an incredible impact in this world, you can come to our institute in January. You can exercise your positive thinking, your possibility thinking and move into the realm of possibility living.

There was a young boy who went to apply for a job. He wanted this job in the most way. So he decided he'd get there early so that he'd be at the front of the line and he'd have the best chance of getting the job. And so he shows up 15 minutes early only to find he's number 9 in line. Oh my goodness! He's devastated. All these negative thoughts start to flow in his mind, being a positive thinker he says, no, no. I'm not going to allow this pain to take control. I'm going to practice what Dr. Norman Vincent Peale teaches. I'm going to be a positive thinker. He said, this is going to work out okay. But then he had also listened to this wonderful man named Robert Schuller in the Crystal Cathedral, possibility thinking. And he says, maybe this is some new possibilities that could happen because I'm number 9 in line. And he started thinking of possibility thoughts. But then he also heard a young man who talked about possibility living and he says, okay, maybe I have to put these thoughts into action. Suddenly pulled out a pen out of his pocket and he wrote down a little note, hit the guy in front of him and says, "hey, would you save my place in line I got to do something?" Sure, sure, okay. So he folds up his note and he runs to the front of the line where a lady had been making sure all the kids stayed in line, handed her a note and all of a sudden she opened it up and read it and everyone saw a smile for the first time. And she goes into the office and comes back a little bit later and with that one of the boys nudging he said, "what did your note say?" He said, "whatever you do, sir, don't make a decision until you've talked to the 9th boy. I am the 9th boy." I don't know if he got the job or not but I'll bet he did.

And what happens when we face problems, we face pain, and we face circumstances in life which give us a left hook, and an upper cut, maybe a jab to the ribs?

I look at the tragedies that people face today. It's incredible the struggles and tribulations that people face. Divorce is rampant in our society. Drug addiction is everywhere. Alcoholism, abuse of all sorts and kinds and fashion. Incredible tragedies that just happen in people's lives and people get challenged and they say, where is God? If there's such thing as mountain moving faith, where is God today? I see that through the toughest of times, God is at work.

Sitting in the front row is Mark Thallander. Mark is one of the greatest organists you could hear. He made this organ sing like you can't believe. And not once but regularly. He'd practice on this thing for hours. Not once in awhile but daily. Not long ago he was in automobile accident. And during the accident his arm got twisted and mangled by the seat belt. And the doctors couldn't save his arm. And he lost his arm. And we say where is God? Where is the justice? How could He do this to this man? The positive thoughts produce positive reactions. Possibility thinkers find the possibilities in the most unlikely circumstances. And now today, if I believe this is still true, Mark is planning on a tour, an organ tour, am I right? And you're going to be traveling around the nation doing concerts. And people are writing special music and God has turned this negative into an incredible positive. It's hard to fathom the magnitude and the power of God.
But God takes the tragedies in life, He takes the divorce, He takes the drug addiction, He takes the abuse and we see it over and over and over again. Yancey is an author today, describing and the Christian beauty of the gospel like we haven't heard before. Why? Because he was abused with it. And God took it and turned it around, and as a result has opened his heart and his mind to enlighten us as like we'd never heard before.

And that's the way God works. He takes the negative, and through positive thinking, possibility thinking and through possibility living, God moves the biggest mountains of all; our negative thoughts. He moves them. And we start living possibility lives all wrapped into one tiny word spelled f-a-i-t-h. You've got it today, use it.

Dear heavenly Father, we thank You that You are alive, that You are real, that You are here, that You're our God. And so as we continue to think positive thoughts and attract positive reactions, may we continue to use the incredible gift that You have given to us of taking those thoughts and thinking of possibilities that can be used to glorify You and Your kingdom. And as those thoughts come give us the will and the drive to move forward to live out those thoughts, and to be the people that You have called us to be. And so we thank You, Lord, for this beautiful, beautiful word called faith. We love You, Lord. Amen.

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