#181 (15/05/05)
The Heart of a Champion

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, few would have thought that his widow would devote her life to his work. Now, 37 years later, my guest Mrs. Coretta Scott King is one of the prominent leaders behind the Civil Rights Movement. Mrs. King continues to devote her time to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. As a living memorial to her husband’s life and dream, there have been many movements legitimate protesting social injustice since Martin Luther King Jr. has been assassinated. But many of them have failed to pick up the spirit that he had; a true non violent spirit.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Heav’n is Here "
" Take My Life and Make it New "

WINTLEY PHIPPS – “Healing Love”

The Message

In 1984 a man named Juan Melendez was arrested and imprisoned. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murder. His alibi wasn't believed. He professed his innocence and yet he went to death row. In 2002, Juan Melendez was released from prison. A man who went by the name of Puerto Rico Johnnie, his real name is Vernon James, confessed to the crime and DNA evidence proved that he in fact did commit the crime. Juan Melendez served 18 years in prison as an innocent man. He was asked, "what are you going to do now that you are leaving prison." He replied, "I am going to look for the first time in 18 years at the stars and the moon. I am going to hold a baby in my arms again. I am going to feel green grass."

There are people today who have been imprisoned with feelings of inadequacy and self doubt. Today, I have a message that I hope will turn your feelings into facts and create for you a base upon which you can build an understanding and a realization of who you are as a child of God. It begins with the promises. The promises that we have in the Bible are true and are real and you can hold on to them. They tell us who we are as children of God, created in His image. And so the scripture we have is the following: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author, the perfector of our faith, before the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorned into shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1-3)

I can't think of a better list of instructions on how to live a positive, happy life than to follow the instructions that are listed in scripture as clear and as concise as you can possibly imagine.

1. Throwing off everything that hinders you.

2. Run the race with perseverance.

3. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

4. Never lose heart.

It begins very simply and clearly by "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that entangles." We hear the word sin and we immediately think of all the bad things we have done. We have this perception of sin as the bad things we do, but the reality is the sin that comes and penetrates our hearts and our minds isn't the sins that we do. That is a reaction. Sin is a break in our relationship with God. We need to understand who we are in relationship to God, so that we can put off the sin, the misconceptions and misunderstandings of who we are, and be the person that God created us to be.

What are the sins that continue to try and invade our minds? They are the sins of worthlessness, the sins of I am of no value, the sins of you are a failure, the sins you shouldn't have done this and that, and could have done this and that, and the should have's, would have's, could have's.

We look at the father of positive thinking, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. He talks about how he had to constantly struggle with his self doubts. It reminds me of the illustration where a little girl hears the garbage man coming so she runs into the house saying "Mommy, Mommy, the garbage man is here." The little girl's mother responds saying, "oh, just tell him we don't want any, thanks." When negative thoughts come into our minds, this sinful nature which does not belong to us, we need to say, "thanks but no thanks, we don't want any garbage today." We need to take the garbage and put it in the dump where it belongs and get it out of our lives and start living with the mindset that God created us to have. The scripture tells us to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." The scripture continues by telling us to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Did you hear that? There is a race specifically designed just for you to run. Every single human being on planet earth has been created with gifts and skills that are unique to that individual. It is no secret that every single one of us has a unique fingerprint. We can distinguish every single human being by their fingerprints. The same is true with the hairs on your head, the structure of your face, the shape of your feet, you are totally and completely unique. There is not another human being on planet earth who is exactly like you. God, in His miraculous ability, can do that a hundred billion times. God will continue to create uniqueness and every single one of us has been given a race to run. It is up to us to run that race. Ephesians 4:1 puts it this way. "As a prisoner for the Lord then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."

God has given you a special calling. He has made you with special unique talents. Some people call them quirks. The negative garbage comes in and you think, "oh, I have quirks." But the Bible refers to them as a special calling. Ephesians 4:2 says, "Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love." As you notice these quirks in other people, recognize them for what they are. Recognize them as unique gifts that God has given to them to run special races. Special talents. It was Christ who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, only to list a few. The list goes on and on and on.

We have spiritual gifts tests that are available. You can take these spiritual gifts tests and you can discover what God has gifted you with spiritually. There are ways to discover what God has done for you, what God is doing for you, and what God will do for you. So we begin by:

1) throwing off everything that hinders,

2) continue by running the race marked out for you;

3) fixing your eyes on Jesus the author and the perfector of our faith.

4) never lose heart

We are raised as children and the natural instinct of a child is to be self centered. One of the first things a toddler learns and one of the first words they understand is "mine, me, mine, me." Unfortunately, there are some people who continue throughout life still living as a child. The Bible tells us we have to put away childish things and I think this is what it means. We still want to be childlike but not childish. The way we grow up out of our child nature, is to realize that we are not the center of the universe. It has been a plague of society since the beginning of creation. In fact, only a few hundred years ago did we discover that the earth is not the center of the world and the sun does not rotate around the earth. I still have a difficult time comprehending the fact that the sun doesn't go around the earth! I see that sun go up and down and around every day and it looks to me like it is going around my earth. Yet, science tells me otherwise. I believe the science, I believe the mathematics, and I know my human nature wants the sun to go around me even though that is not how it works. The divine nature is that I must go around the sun.

Jesus is the center. Not until we realize that we have to get off the throne of our lives and put Jesus on the throne, will our life begin to become manageable and understandable and real. Jesus wants to be the center of your life so that you can grow up and become the mature human being that He has called you to be. Allow Him to be the center. Get off the throne and establish a relationship with other people who indeed look at the center of Jesus Christ as who He is and understand that we can fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and the perfector of our faith. Having fixed our eyes on Jesus, we run the race. The scripture passage ends with these wonderful words:

"Consider Him, Jesus Christ, who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:3)

We must never lose heart but we must keep on keeping on, keep on striving, keep on realizing that the temptations will come. Temptations will try and tear down our self esteem and our self respect and our self dignity and try and tell us things that we are not. The facts are that you are a unique person created in the image of God. The facts are that you are one of God's chosen people. The facts are that you are loved by God. The facts are that Jesus saved you from evil. The facts are that you will live forever with Jesus in the center of your life. The facts are you have nothing to fear. The facts are that you can have confidence with Jesus. These facts are pillars in our lives that do not change like our feelings. When those feelings come that say, "you do not have any value," we can refer back to these tremendous facts and as we continue to repeat these facts, then the feelings will follow.

1) Throw off everything that hinders;

2) Run with perseverance the race marked out for you.

3) Fix your eyes on Jesus.

4) Never lose heart

Jesus wants to be the center of your life and wants to allow you to mature and become the person he has called you to be; and, then simply never lose heart. Run the race that God has called you to run no matter what happens. There are going to be problems. It is a guarantee. You are going to run into struggles, I promise. Despite the struggles you must run the race to the best of you ability never losing heart!

In 1924, Erick Little went to the Olympics. He was a runner, one of the greatest runners that ever lived. He ran the 100 yard dash, the 220, and the 440. He never heard of steroids. He was without question a man of unbelievable strength and speed. He was running the 440 and as everyone took off some other runners were jockeying for the inside track for their favorite position. Their feet became entangled with some runners falling and Eric Little found himself on the ground behind the pack. Eric pulled himself up and he kept running. With a hundred yards left he found himself in 4th place. At the last minute, he stuck out his chest as he crossed the line and he took first place in the 1924 Olympics in the 440 after falling to his knees. Historians said it was the most incredible thing they had ever seen. It was miraculous. The medics had to literally carry him off the field. That is running with heart! Giving it all you've got, doing what God has called you to do. Therefore, throw off everything that hinders you. Don't allow the garbage man to deliver garbage in your mind. Simply tell him I don't want any today. Run the race that God has marked out for you. Fixing your eyes on Jesus, the center of your life and then simply never lose heart. Keep on striving day after day, mile after mile, year after year, knowing the facts.

You know the facts. Repeat them with me.

1) I am a child of God.

2) I am created for a purpose.

3) I am loved by God.

4) Jesus saves me from all evil.

5) I will live forever with Jesus.

6) I have nothing to fear.

7) I have confidence through Jesus.

8) I am GodíŽs chosen one.

9) I am holy through Christ.

10) I am complete with Christ.

These are the facts. Don't ever let anybody or any feelings tell you different!

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are the God of creation. You created us so unique and so special. We thank you that we can be in this place today surrounded with this crowd of witnesses and we can proclaim our faith in Your goodness. So keep our minds fixed on You, on Your love for us, and may we forever walk with You our Lord, Amen.

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