#154 (07/11/04)
Crafting Your Future: Part II -- Faithfulness

The Message

By: Robert A.Schuller

Special Guest

The news broke from Hawaii that this thirteen year old professional surfer had been bitten by a shark that took her arm off right under the shoulder along with a big bite out of her surfboard. It nearly half of the blood in her body was lost. And despite that horrible tragedy, her initial response in the water was one of an amazing calmness that everybody commented on. And they rushed her to the hospital. In the hospital there was a man ready to be operated on. It was his daughter. And she has it out in a book, “Soul Surfer,” beautiful picture.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful... "
" All Creatures of our God and King "

" KYIV SYMPHONY & CHOIR - The Lord’s Prayer "
" KYIV SYMPHONY & CHOIR - O be Joyful in the Lord "
" KYIV SYMPHONY - Coronation Scene from ‘Boris Godunov "
" KYIV SYMPHONY & CHOIR - "The Lord Bless You and Keep You "

" KYIV SYMPHONY - Russian Easter Overture "

Acticle of The Message

Last week we talked about crafting our future and I introduced the first part of a three part series. I used the word crafting because as we create our future, it is an art form. It is not something that is carved in stone. We do not know what our future holds. All we know is who holds our future. Therefore, this art form takes shape day by day. It is an oil painting. It begins by painting a picture in your mind of what God has called you to do, what God wants you to be, and what your future will look like. As you paint this picture in your mind make sure you use oils and not watercolors. Watercolors are permanent. You get one try at it and that's it. An oil painting can be shaped and it can be redone over and over again until it just continues to take shape and you see the hand of God at work helping you to create this incredible piece of art. So, as we craft our future, it begins with vision. It begins with dreaming and understanding the picture in our mind. From there we need to take the next step and we need to start taking action and doing something about the vision that God has given to each of us.

I recently saw the movie entitled Collateral. It is a rather violent movie; however, there is an interesting side bar within the movie. There is a cab driver and he is the best taxi cab driver in all of Los Angeles. He knows how to get from point A to B and he has it timed to the second. He makes every single person realize when they get into his cab that he is not really a cab driver. He says this is just a temporary job for him. His vision and his dream is to create the most incredible limousine service the world has ever seen. It is not long before you realize that he has been driving the cab for twenty years! His vision was to have a spectacular limousine service. He painted the picture in his mind and there it stayed for twenty years! Some of us have dreams that we have had and pictures that we have started and painted in our mind and twenty years later they are nothing more than a picture in the mind.

Today it is time to take our faith and to turn it into action because scripture says, "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:6) It's time for us to put our faith into action and do something about the pictures that we have in our brain. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." However, we need to realize faith without the works continues to be the unseen. God wants us to take the pictures and make them a reality. How do we do this? It begins by actually taking the picture that is in our mind and putting it on paper. Take your dream and your vision and the goal that God has for your life and write it down. Put it on a piece of paper. Make a blueprint. After you make a blueprint, it is time to do a feasibility study. Discover your obstacles. What are you up against? What kind of funds are you going to need? What kind of permits are going to be required? Finally, it is time to realize that you are going to have to tear down the walls and obstacles. Realize that you will have to modify the plan. Remember, you are creating your future with the ability to be able to shape and to mold as God directs, guides and delivers. It begins by creating a blueprint. Where do you want to go? Where do you want to be in fifty years from now, ten years from now, five years from now, six months from now?

I am excited about the future of this ministry. What I am most excited about is our Houses of Power. I believe that in the next five years, we are going to have over one thousand Houses of Power across America. That means that if you are a viewer of the Hour of Power, you can visit within a few miles of your home, with other possibility thinkers, who believe in the positive message of Jesus Christ and you can share with them the dream and the plan that God has for your life. You can receive support and start to grow spiritually. If you want to see how to do this, you may go online to http://www.hourofpower.org/ and click on the Houses of Power link. You can allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct and you can start or participate in your own House of Power and become part of this exciting development in spiritual growth.

If you continue to do the exact same things you are doing today, don't expect to have any different results than you have had for the last year or two with whatever steps you have been taking for spiritual development. If you expect different results, you have to do something different. The best way to learn something, the best way to grow in something, is to take a leadership role and start to take a leadership responsible position on something like our Houses of Power.

I believe that faith is action. It begins with prayer because prayer without faith is dead. It continues with action because faith without works is dead. You must realize that works without love is dead. As we talk about growing spiritually, we also have to talk about how we are going to take care of our neighbors and our friends. I am reminded of the events that have taken place in Florida. I have some dear friends from Florida and they were telling me how devastated the economy and the people are in Florida after the series of hurricanes they have experienced. Businesses have had to remain closed. Think about your own business. What would happen to you if you had no income for several months while the weather prevented you from being able to operate your business? It would be devastating. I believe there are ways for us to help. I know there are many people who are going to be taking a vacation in the next six months. I know we can go to Florida and spend our money in Florida and help the economy in Florida. Isn't that a great idea? Im going to be celebrating my wedding anniversary in November. So I am going to go to Florida. I am going to spend my dollars there. I am going to support the people in Florida. It is amazing how just a little bit can make a big difference.

If you have an idea, if you have a dream, if you have a goal for your life, it begins be getting the picture in your mind. Then you have to create a blueprint. Once you have the blueprint it is time to go and look at all of the different obstacles that are going to keep you from making it happen. What are the obstacles you face? Money? It's usually an obstacle. Most people don't have enough money. In fact I rarely have met an individual who says they have more money than they know what to do with. Permits and license? Is your idea or goal something that is desired? Is there a market? You need to look at the feasibility of your goal and then you simply start chipping away and knocking the walls down. Don't get stuck in the rut of saying everything has to be perfect before you can move forward, because perfection is never going to happen. That is the rut in which the cab driver found himself in the movie, Collateral. The situation had to be perfect. So for twenty years, he had this vision that was absolutely perfect and he couldn't start because he knew he couldn't obtain perfection and he became stuck in the desire for perfection.

We have some of the finest architecture in the world here on this campus. Richard Neutra developed the first phases of the buildings. One day my father walked around the garden with Richard and said, "Isn't it perfect?" Richard replied, "It's very beautiful, but it's not perfect." My father said, "What do you mean it's not perfect? What is the matter?" Richard said, "well I'm not going to tell you. I can see what is imperfect and if I tell you, whenever you look at it from now on, the imperfection will bother you." After some further discussion, Richard said, "Well, I will tell you one thing. You see this reflecting pool here? Look at the tiles." My father said, "Yes, aren't they beautiful?" Neutra said, "Sure they are beautiful but they are wrong. The tiles are supposed to go parallel with the lines of the pool. Instead they were installed at a diagonal so they are at the wrong angles. They are not parallel." My father looked at it and agreed... And it has been bothering him ever since!

You can never obtain perfection. You do as much as you can. You can get close and you reach a point where it is time to make a decision to do something. You are the person who is creating the picture, to whom God has entrusted this idea, and you are the one who has to make the decision when it is time.

There is a poem authored by Edger Guest that says,
You are the person who has to decide whether you
ll do it or toss it aside.
You are the person who makes up your mind whether you
ll lead or linger behind.
Whether you
ll strive for the goal thats afar,
Or just be contented to stay where you are.

This is the point where you make the final decision. You either say "I'm going to try something new because I'm not satisfied with my spiritual life and where I am today," or you don't. You either say, "Jesus youve been calling me for a long time and I'm going to say yes to you. I give my life to you," or you don't. There comes a time where you fish or you make bait. I like to fish. The first thing I have to do before I go fishing is to find bait. If you don't have bait, you are not going to catch fish. I may spend two or three hours until I have some bait and I never ever have enough. There comes a time when I know the day is going by so I have to decide if I am going to fish or am I going to make bait? There comes a time when I say, "it's time to go fishing" and I quit making bait and I go fishing. Nothing is perfect. You will never have enough. There will always be a need for more. There comes a time where the crafting plays an important role. That is where you make your decision and start tearing down the obstacles that keep you from being the person that God has called you to be and fulfilling the call that He has given to you. You have to start modifying the picture because it is never going to be exactly what you want. It is not going to happen.

Things take place in our lives where suddenly you realize that you are not in control. The blueprint that you have does not work exactly right. You dont throw the whole thing away. You just modify it.

We have to remember that success is not getting to the end with the most toys. Success isnt getting everything we want. Success is the journey, having the faith to take the steps to move in the way that God has called us and to say thank you to God for the blessings that He has given us. Thank God for His direction. Thank God for everything because everything you have is a blessing from Him.

Pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father we thank you that you are alive, that you are real, that you are here today and so continue to paint within our minds the visions, the hopes, the aspirations, the dreams, the goals, the purpose that you have for our lives. So equip us, strengthen us and enable us to have the faith to move forward with you today, tomorrow, and always. Amen.

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