#116 Renewed for a New You (15/02/04)

Message by Robert A. Schuller

Last week we talked about developing your goals and dreams and how to put together a plan for success ... Renewed for a New Year. If you haven't had the opportunity to read that message, simply click here to read Renewed for a New Year before moving on with the continuation ... Renewed for a New You!

Briefly, last week we talked about an acrostic for the word T-R-Y:
T - Trust God to give you positive ideas;
R - Reach out to Him and He'll help you accomplish your goals; and finally,
Y - Yield to His guidance.

Last week we focused on the 'T' which is to trust God to help us reach our goals. Today we continue this message with the second step, 'R', which is to reach out to God. As we go through life and strive to accomplish the goals that God has given to us, we will run into frustrations and challenges. Those are the times we need to reach out to Him. Now, when you reach out to God, it’s important to actually speak His language.

It's interesting when we look at how human beings communicate in different situations. I was in a Bible study recently and someone started to pray, and they used a language I've read before... but never heard used in daily conversation. The prayer was sprinkled with Elizabethan period vernacular "thee’s" and "thou's" and I found it very difficult to relate to the prayer. To me the language was foreign. For some, the King James vernacular is the language of prayer, but I don’t believe that's the only language you need to use to get God to listen to you. I believe that God knows every tongue on Planet Earth.

The kind of language I'm talking about this morning is the language that God listens to. Not understands, but listens to ... there is a difference.

I've been doing some research to illustrate just how confusing the language we use can be. For instance, there are many women who don't understand the language of men, so I came with a few translations for you ladies. For instance, it is often said, "It's a guy thing." For you ladies, that translates to mean, "There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and there is no chance at all of making it logical."

Next, when men say, "Can I help you with dinner?" that really means, "Why isn't it already on the table?"

Next, when men say, "Ah-ha, sure honey ... yes dear." That doesn’t mean anything at all ... ladies that is a conditional response.

Men also say, "Sweetheart, take a break, you're working way too hard." Translated, this statement really means, "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

Finally, men say, "I am not lost, I know exactly where we are." I don’t even have to translate that one, do I?

Fortunately, the language we use with God is not a language of words that need to be interpreted. The language we use with God is a heart language, not a head language. We are so used to head languages in our modern society that we simply don't understand what a heart language is. Think of the means of communication today. My kids are using the latest form of communication and I don't even understand how it works. It's called "instant messaging." They go to their room and they can be talking to 10 people all at the same time. Screens pop up one after another, and all of these students communicate through this technological wonder called "instant messaging." I thought I was high tech with e-mail, little did I know.

Then there is the type of communication we have with business associates or store clerks or attendants. Many times this type of communication is unemotional as we are there to do a job or simply to serve. For the most part, there is no "heart" communication whatsoever. In fact, the heart has to be out of it or we wouldn't be able to accomplish much in the work place.

If we sit back and really think about it, the language of the heart doesn't happen very often in our society. That's why last week, in one of the goals I asked you to consider, I suggested that you look into getting involved with a House of Power. There is a vital need in the human spirit to find a support group where you can communicate from the heart. Heart language happens when we open up and share our greatest dreams, or our greatest hurts and pain. Chances are I have more heart conversations than most because people see me as their pastor, so they open up and share from their heart with me. This past week I was speaking with a long time friend and asked the question, "How are things going in your life?" A long silence was followed by a very quiet response, "It's been tough."

"What’s going on?" I asked.

"I’ve been dealing with my son," he responded. "We’re having an escort pick him up today and he's going to be taken to a special clinic in Utah, where hopefully he is going to get some help. He's just 16 years old."

My friend went on to share the deep pain that he's been going through over the past months in dealing with this very tragic situation. He was pouring out his heart to me.

Communication from the heart is the language that God wants to hear. He wants to hear your heart. He wants you to express the dreams and goals that you would try to do if you know you could not fail. God listens to our hearts. In our fast-paced world, with all of the dreams and goals that we put down on paper, it is so hard to stop, be still, and allow God to listen to your heart.

How do we turn a TRY into an I WILL? I've often asked people to do things, and what I've found is that the most polite way for someone to give me a 'no' is for them to say, "I'll try."

"Do you think you could make it to the Bible study Wednesday night?"

"Okay, I'll try"

"I'll try" is a very polite way of saying "no." What we're doing with this message is turning a TRY into an I WILL. We're turning the dreams, the vision and the goals that we have into reality when we 'T' -trust God ... 'R' - reach out to Him; and then, 'Y' yield to His guidance.

I'm extremely proud of my four children. My oldest daughter will be graduating this spring with her masters in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma. My son has just graduated from that same University and will be moving out to California with his wife very shortly, and they will be joining the staff here at the Crystal Cathedral ... then there's going to be three Robert Schuller's running around here!

My youngest daughter, Kristina, will be graduating from high school this year. She has been a volleyball player since the 8th grade. She played volleyball consistently as an all-league middle blocker, a really tough position, for Laguna High School. In fact, her talent in volleyball prompted several universities to recruit her, offering her major scholarships to come and play for their school. Then, all of a sudden this year she comes and says, "I’m done playing volleyball."

Needless to say, my wife and I were rather surprised; after all we had visions of a rather small tuition bill for college as a result of volleyball scholarships. But her response was the same, "I don’t see volleyball in my future. I'm done playing; God has other plans for my life."

Other plans indeed. A week later she announces to my wife and I that she was going to try out for the school musical, which she did. School musical? She hadn't done anything musical since she was a child. She used to play piano and do some singing, but that was years ago. Now if you think we were shocked, you should have seen the looks on the students in her class at Laguna High. "What are you doing here?" They all said. "You’re an athlete." Against all obstacles, she pressed forward with her tryout. The next week she came home all excited as she had landed the lead as Miriam the Librarian in The Music Man.

How does God guide our lives?

We tell Him our dreams and our goals, and pursue those dreams and goals, when suddenly the course changes drastically. Sometimes the course changes drastically as we run right into a block wall that is just so thick there is no way we’re ever going to get around it.

I said that I have four children, and so far I've only told you about three. My youngest son is Anthony. Anthony is 15 years old and loves to snowboard. This past October he signed up for a snowboarding trip that was to take him and 400 other high schoolers on a bus trip from here to Salt Lake City for a three day snowboarding trip. Having traveled as a counselor on a few youth trips over the years, I can't imagine anything more miserable in all my life than to do it with 400 of them. But Anthony earned and paid good money for this trip and was very excited to go. Two weeks before he leaves on this trip he said to me, "Dad, I really need to get prepared for this trip. I haven't snowboarded all season. The local mountains are open. Can you take me up on Saturday morning and let me snowboard for the day before I go to Utah to snowboard on some real snow?" We thought about it and said, "Okay, we'll work it out."

So we went up to Big Bear, one of our local mountain resorts, and dropped him off to snowboard for the day. My wife and I, not being all that excited about snowboarding headed into the local town to have lunch and window shop. Then about 1:30 we decided to go to a movie we'd been wanting to see. Well, we went into the theater, and as any good movie patron knows, you turn your cell phone off when you go in so as not to add to the soundtrack by your cell phone ringing. About 3:30 that afternoon, we walked out of the movie and found that we had 10 messages on our phone. One number was a local mountain number, and another from our friends back home. Somebody was trying to reach us, and we knew something had happened. My son had fallen on the hill and was in the clinic. He had fallen, pulled his shoulder out, and was seriously injured. Immediately we went and picked him up, got him to the doctor and took care of the shoulder, but through it all, all that my son could think about was his trip to Utah. "Can I still go to Utah?" "We’ll see," was about all my wife and I could say to him. Another polite "no," you might say.

Well, two weeks later, a day or two before Christmas, Anthony comes to us and asked the question again, "I'm going to go on the trip? I promise I won't do any jumps, no hot dogging, I’m just going to cruise."

My son talks a pretty good game, so he wore us down enough to tell him that he needed to get permission from our doctor, which he did. After that, we ran out of excuses and said, "Okay Anthony, you can go on the trip. No jumping, no shenanigans, none of this hot dog stuff. You're just going to cruise."

"It’s a deal," he said.

The day before he was supposed to leave, Christmas night, he comes down with a 102-degree fever. He is sicker than a dog, absolutely miserable. Now this trip that he’s been waiting on, counting on, has been lost. Do you know what his response was?

"For some reason God doesn’t want me to go," he said. "He’s just protecting me from something. First it was the shoulder, and then when I said I’m going to go anyway I get sick. Enough is enough. I surrender."

There are times, as we go through life, we just have to realize that for some reason it’s just not meant to be. We also have to realize that this is the guidance of God, the direction of God. In times like these we have to 'Y' - yield to His guidance.

No, we may not be able to see the forest through the trees ... we may not be able to see the obvious, and in those times we need to listen to God, and yield to His guidance.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson went camping. All of a sudden Holmes says to Watson,

"Watson, look up, what do you see?"

"Oh, I see a billion stars," Watson responds.

"Watson, what does that mean?"

Watson, wanting to impress Mr. Holmes says, "Well, meteorologically, it means that there are no clouds in the sky and therefore it’s not going to rain. Cosmologically it means that we have an incredible, immense universe. Theologically it means that we worship an awesome God."
"No, Watson," Holmes says. "What it means is that someone has stolen our tent."
More times than not, when you're in the thick of things and you’re working, but you’re not getting what you're working for, and you're not getting the fruit from your labor, there is something obvious out there that we just can’t understand. Those are also the times when we need to try and try again. T-R-Y ...

Trust God for positive ideas,

Reach out to Him; and then,

Yield to His guidance.

Sometimes that means starting all over again and looking to God for the positive dream that He wants you to pursue. Go back to the drawing board and say, "Okay, Lord, these are my dreams, these are my goals, these are the guides." Then open up your mind to Him. Allow Him to guide your dreams and goals. Then reach out to Him for the strength and the support you’ll need to succeed.

Dear heavenly Father, we thank You that You are touching lives with Your goodness. Give us the faith and conviction to declare our goals. Give us the conviction to move forward in faith knowing that with You we cannot fail. Help us to turn our failures into success by knowing that You have our best at heart. We love You, Lord. Amen.

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