#182 (22/05/05)
A Journey Through Africa

The Message

By: Bruce Wilkinson

Special Guest

Well after working in the Hollywood industry for years, she realized she was living a life full of old baggage rather than living a new life to its fullest. Dr. Phil was here and he said she’s a person you should have as a guest and she’s helped me. She has a new book “Traveling Hopefully,” so here we are.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name "
" Take My Life and Make it New "

CCA CHOIR – “Ise Oluwa”

NITA WHITAKER – “A Piece of Sky”

The Message

Robert H. Schuller


Dr. Bruce Wilkinson brings our message today.  In my mind he is one of the greatest men for Christianity in the last fifty years.  He is phenomenal.  A man after my own heart.  He is a terrific possibility thinker and really believes that, "If you have faith, you can say to your mountain, move, and nothing will be impossible!"  (Matthew 17:20)

He's been here before and he's led many of us to deeper commitments that have enriched our lives with his book, "The Prayer of Jabez."  He broke records with over ten million copies sold.  It was phenomenal.  And then he got a calling to what he is doing now and he will tell us about this because he has just come back from Africa.  Bruce Wilkinson has always based his ministry on trying to do beyond our own abilities so that we can operate in the realm of faith and that is exactly the spirit of this church.

Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children, five grandsons and they recently moved to Johannesburg, South Africa to help with the famine, poverty and AIDS crisis.  The reason we invited him to share his message today is because he can tell us what we can do with the famine, the poverty, and the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Bruce Wilkinson


I love this church.  I love being here.  I love walking on this property.  I just felt like I was one step away from heaven when I came on this property this morning.

I read a book this past week that somebody gave to me, and it traced the past fifty years of Christianity in America.  The book talked about how the transition in our country led to the ministries of Bill Hybels and Rick Warren.  This book said that the grandfather of the mega church, the one who began and influenced this massive movement that it is today, is none other than Robert H. Schuller, the pastor of your church.

You know, only if you are a visionary, do you know the price tag it takes to be the real leader, who is way out front, who is on the edge.  People like to shoot people on the edge.  As I entered this church, I thought, do people realize how significant of a vision this Cathedral ministry has been and is?  When Robert and Arvella Schuller had the dream of a very unique setting for God's Spirit to dwell and to influence people, no one in the country thought it could be possible.  And your pastor proved that by God's grace and the generosity of this congregation, this church, time after time after time, has been the church that broke through where other churches didn't believe it could happen, and that other churches rushed in behind and said, "Ohhh, not only can it happen, but this is the way we should do it."  Look at what is happening today in many churches in America.  Thank you, Bob Schuller

In the next few moments, I'm going to ask this church to break through on a different level.  I am going to ask you to break through a threshold that I've never heard of any church breaking through before.  In the next few moments I am going to share a problem, a need and an opportunity and then I'm going to ask you to make a decision at the end of these next few moments to come with us to Africa this summer for ten days.

The Bible verse I want to think about with you is none other than my favorite passage, called the Prayer of Jabez.  I've just finished a brand new book called "Beyond the Prayer of Jabez."   I took each part of that prayer and I wrote more in depth about it, because people everywhere around the world said to me, "Please, tell us much more about how you do this?  How do you live this way?"  And I just want to read that prayer to you.

Jabez called on the God of Israel saying:

"Oh that You would bless me, indeed, bless me considerably.  And that You would do a sovereign act in my life, that You would enlarge my territoryíK" (I Chronicles 4:10)

In my words, I pray that prayer this way:  "That You would give me more influence, more opportunity.  Not that I'll stop trying to do that myself, but I want You, my Sovereign Almighty God, who does supernatural things, that You, out of heaven, will come down and remove the barriers that are around my life, whatever they may be.  Maybe it is the place where I'm comfortable. Would You please, supernaturally, challenge me?  And would You take the barbed wire fence that has limited me all my life and would You enlarge it for me?  I, in my heart, want to do more.  As Jabez says, 'Would You please enlarge my territory?  Would you increase it?'"

So, as a result of praying that prayer for a few years, look at what happened. My wife and I weren't planning to move to Africa, never thought about it in my life.  My wife and I were asked to come to Africa to minister.  After one week, she returned home while I stayed three more weeks.  In those three weeks, without any warning whatsoever, no hint, no e-mail, no fax, no whispering, nobody coming to me, I sensed I was going to be moving to Africa.  Out of the blue God took hold of my heart and planted my heart in Africa íK  without even asking permission, as if He needs to, and said, "Now, son, follow your heart to Africa."  And my first reaction was, "What!  You've got to be kidding, Lord."  And I heard this whisper, "Aren't you the guy that's been praying all these years 'please expand my territory?'  Are we going to argue where the territory is?"

I called my wife, we're very happily married, and I said to her, "Sweetheart, I think you better sit down." 

She said, "In all our married years, you've never said to sit down." 

There was a long pause.  I could hear her heart beating.  Then she said, "Oh no!  We're not moving to Africa, are we?"

I replied, "We're not going unless God confirms it with you too." 

That happened in May and we moved in August.  When God says "go," I think He means "go."  We bought a house in Johannesburg, South Africa.  On the first day to work I come to a traffic light and I saw people begging for food only three blocks from our house.  That bothered me, so I rolled down my window and gave them some money.  I came to another light, more people begging for food and it was cold and I rolled down my window and I gave them all the money that I had.  I turned left and thought to myself, I hope there is not another light.  Then at a big intersection, there were all kinds of people begging for food.  I didn't know what to do.  I had no more money and I just looked straight ahead as if these people didn't exist.  And I felt ashamed, I felt guilty, I felt terrible and I said to God, "What can we do?  We're just one little family.  We didn't move here with a big organization.  We left all that behind."

A couple of weeks later our son, who was also in Africa, asked me, "Would you come and speak at a squatter camp, where there is a little church of thirty people?"  I said, "I'd love to do that, Dave."  So I went and after the worship service I saw a thirty year old young man who was looking very discouraged.  So I went to comfort and encourage him.  Eventually I put my arm around his waist, and when I did I could feel every one of his ribs.  I gasped out loud and said, "Whoa!  When is the last time you ate?  He said, "Ah, I ate this morning íK the bread you gave us." 

"What did you eat yesterday?"

"The bread you gave us yesterday."

I said, "I've only been giving bread here for three days, what did you eat four days ago?"


"Five days ago?"


"When was the last time you ate?"

"I don't know."

And I said, "That's not right!  My son, you are my Heavenly Father's son and I can guarantee you one thing íV your Heavenly Father doesn't want you hungry.  You don't need to be hungry and I promise you one thing, we're coming back to help you."

As I got in the van to drive back to Johannesburg I said to my son, "Dave, what does God want done here?" 

He answered, "Dad, God doesn't want anybody going to bed hungry day after day after day."

And I said, "Okay, I agree with that.  If God doesn't want people to go to bed hungry then it is, therefore, His will that they have food.

The people of Africa think if they have a job they won't go hungry, but  there are places where there are no jobs. Then we bring all this food over, and deliver it to the people who desperately need it, but a month later the situation is the same.  With all the billions of dollars for food that comes from the West and Europe, there are more people hungry in Africa than in history.  More people have AIDS than ever in history and more people live in poverty today than in history.  What we've done is not the answer! 

But there is a book that has God's answer to the hunger problem in Africa.  It's the Bible.  I didn't know exactly where, because I've never had to look for it before. It has the answer because God doesn't leave us answerless.  So I said to my son, "What we are going to do is to start reading the Bible, beginning in Genesis 1:1, and we're going to keep reading until God tells us what to do."

That's what we did.  Two pages later, in Genesis 2:8-9 we read, "The Lord God planted a garden íK and made every tree grow that is good for food."   In the Garden of Eden, God says to Adam and Eve, "I'll take care of the food problem.  I've given you these grains to eat.  You don't grow them, I grow them.  I've given you these fruit trees for you to eat from.  You have nothing to do with them, I have everything to do with them and each one bears its own seed." 

That's God's answer!  Why don't we plant gardens?

So we talked to UN AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization and the major agricultural groups in Africa and we asked, "What kind of food do the people in the villages need?"  And they said, "They need immune boosting vegetables because all they eat is ground corn and their immune system is so weak that they catch AIDS too simply.  And if they catch AIDS, their immune system is so weak that when we give them the medicine, they get sicker.  So they said, "Plant spinach and cabbage the first time, and then the next season add six different kinds of vegetables."  And that's what we will do.  Each season we will increase the kind of vegetables that the people need.

So we returned to this little squatter camp and began to plant gardens next to people who had nothing.  We came just to help and in 2003, 950 families at the end of that year had food.  It worked.  God's answer always works!

In December of 2003, I said to my son, "Dave, what do you think we should do next year in 2004?"

He answered, "Dad, we should plant a lot more gardens because we shared our faith and many people came to know Christ, and that little church of thirty people is training their people to plant gardens.  Now they have three hundred people.  We should plant more gardens.  The average family has eight members, so we should plant 10,000 gardens that will feed 80,000 people."

I was praying, "Lord, is that the number you want?"  I didn't think it was.  We don't set goals based upon what we think we can do, we set goals based upon what we think God wants done.  Ladies and gentlemen, that is very different.  What God can do has no limit So I prayed and said to my son, "What would be a miracle so big that if anybody saw it, they would say God did this?"

He said, "Dad, 50,000 would be a really big miracle."

I said, "How about 100,000?" 

He said, "That is impossible."

I said, "Yes!  When you pray the prayer of Jabez, you ask God to bless you, to expand your territory íK and then your territory gets beyond the money you have, beyond the resources you have, beyond the people you know, the time you have, the talent you have, and that's when you need God to intervene from heaven and do it for you, with you and through you."

Then Dave said, "How on earth can we do 100,000?"

I said, "I don't know, but that's something God's going to help us do."

He said, "Dad, we have no more money."

I said, "God doesn't need that.  It isn't by money or by staff or by strategy."

The following month I came back to America to speak in Connecticut to a group of business guys from Wall Street.  I said, "How about coming to Swaziland, a little country at the bottom of Africa, the number one AIDS nation in the world?  It is a beautiful country.  Pay for your own ticket, we'll put you up in a hotel, you'll be safe.  We'll give you food and bottled water so you will not get sick.  There are no lions on the road.  You'll not be eaten.  We will not take you anywhere where there is danger.  You cannot and will not catch AIDS, just relax."  And I said to them, "How about it, will you guys come?" 

One guy raised his hand.  "You want us to take off work and come to Africa and plant gardens?"  (I don't think he ever had had dirt under his fingernails) 

I said, "Yes sir, and I want you to pay for it."

Twenty-two guys came.  Then I spoke to a church in Johannesburg, and I said to them, "Would you come for a week to help plant gardens?"  And ninety of them came.  We came to Swaziland with 122 people and I said to the king of Swaziland, the Parliament and the cabinet, "We believe God loves Swaziland, and no matter how hopeless it is, God is hope and we believe God is going to help Swaziland this week to plant 10,000 gardens in one week."  Everybody kind of smiled, a little laugh, and said, "That's impossible."  And I said, "I know. "

That was the beginning of the goal of 100,000 gardens in a year.  It was already April and we hadn't even planted one.  I thought to myself, we need God to do something miraculous in this week or we'll never plant 100,000 gardens.  God is going to have to show up.  God's hand is going to have to intervene.  We had already met with the chiefs in the villages.  The people couldn't believe Americans and South Africans had come to help.  They kept asking, "What do you really want?  Why are you really here?"  Then they finally came to believe it is because God sent us and because we cared.  I said to those 122 people, "I don't know how to plant 10,000 gardens in a week, but God does.  Let's go, do it and share our faith and love with the people as we go." 

The first day we planted 300 gardens and we were very tired.  And the volunteers said, "What was the number again?"  "It's 10,000."  "Wow, how are we going to do that many in one week?"  "I don't know."  We changed the strategy the next day and planted 600 gardens.  The next day we planted 1,200 gardens and we had two days left. I said to them, "Thursday morning, come back early because unless God tells us what to do on Friday we'll never do it."  They planted 1,100 on Thursday.  But I didn't plant gardens; I stayed in my hotel room.  I didn't sit on the bed, I got on my knees.  I didn't eat that day, as I just stayed on my knees and grabbed hold of God's robe and I didn't let go.  I thanked Him that He is the Father of the fatherless and I trusted His promise, "I don't want people hungry and I want you to extend your soul to those who are hungry until they are satisfied." 

I pleaded with God all day, "Did You exaggerate Your promises when You said you can ask whatever you want and I'll give it to you?  Did You didn't really mean it when You said, 'You can say to that mountain move and it will be cast into the sea?'  Now is the time to show it."

The next day, Friday morning, with only one day left, we went out to plant more gardens, and at the end of the day, I took a little piece of paper and I said to everybody, "How many did you plant?"  And each group reported their number.  That same night, we were guests at a dinner with the U.S. Ambassador, the South African Ambassador, members of Parliament and the Queen.  Everybody had heard about our planting gardens.  The whole country was talking about it. It made the front pages of the paper.  Then I spoke, "You know, there is no way that this could happen.  We didn't plant 10,000 gardens in a week "we planted 12,874 gardens!"  And the room broke out in applause.

Then a member of Parliament, in tears, came to me and said, "We had lost hope in Swaziland.  Maybe God really does care about our country."  The next day I met with the King and I said, "How would you like your country to be the first country in Africa where no one went to bed hungry by Christmas time?"  He said, "That's impossible."  I said, "Sir, it's not impossible.  The people of America have a heart and God is hearing millions of your people praying, 'please help us.'  And in America people are saying, 'God, please let me do more for You.' And these two prayers are meeting and are being answered."

So I have come here to the Crystal Cathedral because you are a possibility thinking church. I need your help, and the people of Swaziland need your help.  The threshold I'm praying for is that 500 volunteers will go to Africa to plant gardens.  If you are 13 years old with a parent, you can come.  If you are 18, you can come.  If you are 50, 60, 70 or 80, we need you! You'll stay in a hotel, you are safe.  But will you go this August, 2005, for ten or eleven days, August 15th or 16th from Los Angeles to Swaziland?  And will you give away yourself to people who need you.  I'm asking you to make up your mind, just like we made up our mind about going to Africa.  If you feel in your heart, I would love to do this, but I just don't know where to get the money to pay for the trip, I can promise you one thing íK just turn your heart toward the One who has it all and say, "God, I'll go if You provide the money."  And then watch Him do it.  So I ask you to be one of the miracles of the 500.

Will you do that? Would you permit the Lord, to ask you to do something totally unexpected, if He wants you to do something that you don't feel comfortable with? "Oh," you say, "I could never see myself doing that." "Where would I get the money to do that?" "How could I ever do that?"  íK "Will I be able to run away from the fear that I face?"  "Do I want to do something a little bit unusual?" 

Would you pray this prayer with me?

Father in heaven, I just pause and I ask that You, Lord God, would You visit me in a unique way.  I pray with Jabez, bless me and expand my territory.  Would You share Your heart with my heart?  And that through Your Holy Spirit, would You release me from the fear, the anxiety and the uncertainty that I feel.  Where You are Lord, there is great liberty; there is freedom to do that which I want to do for You.  And Father, You said that the field is white for harvest and to pray to the Father that He would send forth laborers into that field, so Lord that is precisely what I want to do.  I ask You, Almighty Father, that You would do something with me that only You can do.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

HOP Privacy Legal  
Designed by: Ultragraphics Ltd.