#108 The Positive Power of One - Discovery! (21/12/03)

By: Robert A. Schuller

So, the positive power of one discovery. You know its amazing to think about 2000 years. The astronomers, these three astronomers traveled thousands of miles following what they thought was a star because Christ was born. They knew that the King of Kings was someplace, and in faith they followed this heavenly thing until it came and it stood over where the Christ child was. And there they went and they worshipped him.

I remember one Sunday years ago, I had a children's message and I invited all the children to come up in front of the, in front of the church, and I was going to tell them the story about the wise men. And so I began, I said, "well, how many people, how many of you know about the wise men?" And they all raised their hands. I said, "who knows what the wise men found in Bethlehem?" And one little girl jumped up, waving her arm. "I know, I know, I know." And so I pointed to her and she said, "Mary and Joseph lying in a manger." "Ah, almost. Anyone else like to try?"

Now its beautiful to see the joy of Christmas, and all the new discoveries that take place this time of the year. Think about it. What are some of the things we discover during Christmas as we especially on Christmas morning as we.. I wonder if they got me that same old shirt I didn't want or whether I got something I wanted this year for Christmas. And you unwrap the gifts and you see all the beautiful things that you discover that you want and never realized you wanted them.

Christmas is a time of discoveries and this year I want to share with you three vital discoveries that are laminated one upon another to create a foundation for you to experience the joy and the beauty and the wonder that Christmas is all about.

When we stop and we think about the great discoveries of the world, I can't help but stop and think about Christopher Columbus. Now 500 years ago, he was another ancient astronomer. And he used the stars, not to follow them but to get his global positioning. And from there he could sail the seas. And through a series of mathematical equations he came to the conclusion that the world wasn't the way so many people thought it was. It wasn't flat. It was a sphere. And that being the case that meant he could find a shortcut to India. And so he made the decision, and he overcame the impossible. And he set sail and failed. He never discovered India, did he? Instead he discovered the new land. And that became a basis upon which new and more discoveries were unfolded. And we've discovered more things and more things. And that lamination principle of one discovery upon another began.

Now the three things that I want to share with you, discoveries. And if you can discover any one of these for the first time, where a light goes on and you say, "Ah ha. I believe. I understand. I have a new reality. And this Christmas will be different than every other Christmas you've ever had.

The first discovery for some of you may be the fact, and I use the word fact, that God is real. The second discovery, if you've already discovered that, you can laminate this one. The fact that God is in control. And the third discovery, if you realize that, is the fact that God loves you.

Now we've been talking about astronomers today. We talk to them. The wise men who came to discover the baby Jesus. We talked about Christopher Columbus discovering new worlds. What's astronomy doing today? Well lets take, lets go back thirty years and see what happened to astronomy thirty years ago. Astronomy thirty years ago said that they proved that God is not real.

This month's issue, December 2002 of "Wired Magazine," which is a web magazine, they have a incredible article by Greg Easterbrook who is a contributing editor to the Atlantic Monthly and is an author of the book "The Here and Now." He has written an article on the new convergence of science and religion. It is probably one of the most fascinating articles on what's taking place in science today. This is some of the things he says. "In 1977 the Noble winning physicist Stephen Wineberg says, "Religion and science are separate and mutually exclusive realms of human thought." And he goes on later to say that "as recent as the 70's intellectuals assumed that hard science was on track to resolve the two really big questions: Why life exists and how the universe began. What's more, the really big answers were assumed to involve strictly deterministic forces. But things haven't worked out that way. Instead, the more scientists have learned the more mysterious the really big questions." That is the question of how life began, how the universe began, and why life exists, the really big questions have become more mysterious.

In the 70's it seems that it was the nails were driven into the casket of religion, that science was proving that God didn't exist, that the answers to the big bang question was right around the corner. Now, 30 years later, what is taking place? In recent years Allen Sandidge, one of the world's leading astronomers, has declared that the big bang can be understood only as, get this, quote: a miracle. A miracle. Charles Towns, a Nobel winning physicist and co-inventor of the laser, has said the discoveries of physics seem to reflect intelligence at work in natural law. The biologist Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, insists that quote: a lot of scientists really don't know what they are missing by not exploring their spiritual feelings. And today science is discovering the reality of God. It was Albert Einstein who gave us these words. He said, "Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind." God is real. He's real. There's no other way to explain how things happen.

Listen to this. In recent years researchers have calculated that if a value called Omega, the ratio between the average density of the universe and the density that would halt cosmic expansion had not been within about one quadrillionth of one percent; does anyone know hot to write that number? One quadrillionth of one percent. I can't even write the number to be quite honest. I wouldn't know how many zeroes to add. If it would not been about one quadrillionth of one percent of its actual value immediately after the big bang, the incipient universe would have collapsed back on itself and experienced runaway relativity effects that would render the fabric of time space weirdly distorted. Instead the firmament is geometrically smooth, rather than distorted. If gravity were only slightly stronger, researchers show stars would flame so fiercely that they would burn out in a single year. The universe would be a kingdom of cinders devoid of life. If gravity were only slightly weaker stars couldn't form and the cosmos would be a thin undifferentiated blur. Had the strong force that binds atomic nuclei been slightly weaker all atoms would disperse into vapor."

Science within its own words is now coming to believe that there has to be some form of intellectual reality. Maybe there's something more to this thing called Christmas. Maybe there's something more to this Baby in a manger more than 2000 years ago. Maybe there's some kind of a connection between me and this Creator. Why after all, why would He bother other wise? It's amazing how our perceptions of life are molded and shaped by our perception of its reality.
My son, when he was young, oh he was about 5, 6 years old, we were pulling out our nativity set. And we were setting up all of the different pieces and the first ones we find are the camels you know, cause they're the real big ones. We set those up first and then we find Mary and Joseph and then we get to the real one that we really want to find. And we had that wrapped up all by itself and we said, "Okay, Anthony, you going to do it?" He says, "Yeah, I'm going to do it." He unwraps it and he goes, "Here he is, Baby Jesus in his car seat."

Our perceptions of reality can be skewed so easily. They can be skewed by some perception or something that's taken place that takes us off track of the reality of God. We have a tragedy in our life and suddenly, oh God doesn't exist. I mean, if there was a God He wouldn't allow my mother to die. As if people should live forever and ever and ever and ever. God is real.
The second perception and once we can understand the reality of God is to take the next step that God is in control.

And once we come to the realization that God is real, we have to ask the next question. In this lamination principle of the reality of God, is God just something that has come and gone? Is He someone who set the world in motion and then just said, "okay, good luck guys, I'm out of here."
Astronomy is sharing with us the reality of God. Sociology is sharing with us the control of God. Sociology, one of its major contributions to society is behavior modification. And in the study of behavior modification we've come to the realization that behavior doesn't change very much. And it's very difficult to implement change. That people who are addicted to alcohol are addicted to alcohol. And those to drugs to drugs. And the continued negative behavior, we can go on down the list. But today we also know that if you're convicted of a DUI, driving under the influence, one of the things the judge may do, among other things, is require you to go to an AA meeting, Alcoholics Anonymous. And it's common practice, in society today not only in America but around the world. And they do that because they have proven it to be the most effective means of behavior modification there is.

How do we change the behavior of a person? And what AA does is they have twelve steps that they follow, and all the other recovery groups basically follow these same exact steps. And the first three are summarized in these three tiny phrases: I can't, He can (referring to the higher power), let Him. I can't, He can, let Him. And there has been more change of more human lives in that program and in similar programs that use those approaches, than any other system on planet earth.

Why? Because once we realize that God is in control, that we are not in control, that God is, and we allow Him to have His presence in our lives, things change because God is in control. But you know it's a lamination principle like I said. The principle begins with God is real. And once we realize that God is real then we can realize that God is in control. And if God is in control then we are not. We do not determine our life, how long we'll be here, and when God will call us home again. Only God knows. He is the giver of life. He is in control. I can't, He can, let Him.

Today I want to reveal some discoveries. God is real. God is in control. And God loves you. That's the uniqueness about Christmas. The uniqueness about Christmas is the love of God. And when we can discover that tremendous love, we discover what psychology has been trying to share with us for years. The edification of self-esteem, of self-love, and self-respect.
What Christmas does and the beauty of Christmas is to remind us, constantly, of the love of God. The love, God loves us, and cares about us. That's why He created us. That's why He chose to give us this life. Because He has a family, and we are His family. His sons and His daughters. It's not perfect. He knew we wouldn't be perfect and He created us anyway and I don't know about you but as surprising as this may sound, my family isn't perfect. It's true. I have two teenage kids. You know I'm telling the truth. And I have yet to see a family that's perfect. So do you think God expects to have a perfect family? Of course not. But knowing that my kids were not going to be perfect, guess what? I chose to have kids anyway and so did God. God doesn't expect you to be perfect. He just expects you to be His child. And wants you to call Him once in a while, you know? And when you call Him and you pray you realize that the tremendous power of God us there because He loves you. He's your father. And to prove that and to communicate with us He sent His only Son into this world.

And Christmas is where God becomes human flesh. To reveal to us His tremendous love and who He is and to communicate how He functions and how He works. And that's why, when we look in the cradle and we see the King of Kings, and we discover the Christ child, that we discover three incredible things: that God is real, that God is in control, and that God loves every single one of us. If you can discover just one of these today for the first time, you'll discover, you'll truly discover the positive power of one discovery.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You. That You're here, that You're in this place, that You're touching lives, that You're sharing Your reality with us. And so we thank You God that You're real, that You're in control, and that You love us. So continue to speak to us, enlighten us, and go with us, we pray, Amen.

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