you have your Christmas shopping done? Do you have yours
done? That・s my grandchild, Timothy. You・re the
best looking kid in the house, Tim. I asked Timothy, the
other day, what do you want for Christmas. And he said,
Oh, I want a surprise. I know what you・re getting.
You・re going to be surprised. Wow.
it・s a time of giving and receiving. And which is the
most joyful, to give or to receive? Wow. I have three gifts
I want to give to all of you tonight. It・s a gift you
all need and I think you all want. And the gifts, maybe
you already have them but they need to be renewed every
day. It・s not like a diamond that will hold it・s
value. It needs to be re-nourished continually. The three
gifts that I・m going to give you tonight, I got them
all because I was born and raised in a wonderful family
in Iowa. My father and mother were Christians. We read the
Bible in the home. We went to Sunday school as children.
We went to church every Sunday. I was only four years old
I felt the call to be a preacher. And today I・m seventy-eight
and have lived my whole life in this Christian faith and
oh wow, it・s fantastic.
needs a philosophy. Everybody needs a faith. And I・ve
got it. And I want to share it with you, because I know
it works. I・ve lived it. Check it out.
of the three gifts I want to give you, the gifts are first,
a friend. We all need a special friend. Glasser said that
in his book, ：Reality Therapy.； We all need, not
just an acquaintance, not a casual person, but a real honest
to God friend, who will love us even after he・s seen
us at our worst, who will love us with a self giving love.
He loves us not because he wants us. He loves us, not because
he needs us. He loves us because he know, we need him. Now
that・s real love. That・s a real friend. I want
to give you that friend. We find him in our faith. Come
to church here week after week and you・ll feel an environment
here. It・s different. It・s positive. It・s
energetic. It・s spiritual. It・s sacred. And it・s
gift to you tonight is a warm invitation to become a part
of the fellowship of the followers of Jesus Christ. That・s
the second gift I give you is a faith. We all need it, for
faith is the belief that when bad things happen, they will
turn out, with blessings bestowed upon them that only God
can give. We need a faith so that when we・re alone,
in our secret moments, we can know that we have value. We
can know that we are worthy people. We will have self respect,
self esteem, because we know God made us. We didn・t
choose to be born. It was His idea. And God doesn・t
make any mistakes.
when we have faith in ourselves, then we can have faith
in God, in Jesus Christ. And faith, ready for this? Faith
in children. That・s the recovery we need in the world,
and especially in America because it has been said that
children are probably treated in no country, intentionally
worse than they are in America. It・s sad. I give you
a friend. I give you a faith. And if you love children,
come back here week after week, fabulous thousands of kids
are loved by Christ through this ministry. It・s wonderful.
you know what? Isn・t it interesting? With all the commercials,
in today・s world, you can come to the most beautiful
Christmas Eve Candlelight service anywhere on planet earth
and that・s this place right here. And you didn・t
need to buy a ticket. We are here to give you a treasure
that we have. And it・s our friend, Jesus Christ, and
a faith that・s beautiful, and my third gift, a future. A lot of you don・t see a future. You・ve come to the
right place because there is a future for your life. God
has a plan for it because no matter who you are, you have
a talent and I・ll tell you what it is. You have the
talent of being able to smile and there・s smile power
that saves people.
have been on television thirty-five years and I don・t
know how many letters we・ve received, millions and
millions, and tens of millions of letters, that・s for
sure, maybe a billion. I・ve never counted them. But
in all of these letters, they say, this faith, uplifts us,
makes us feel good. Yes. You believe in yourself, if you・ve
got a good friend who will encourage you. And you・ve
got a strong faith that you have value and nothing is impossible.
Then you・ll start dreaming of a future. You・ll
begin to believe in the impossible dreams that God gives
you and he gives them to you. And many of you have thrown
them away and we say don・t throw away tomorrow. No.
A future. You can believe in yourself, and dream an impossible
like the story that Clark Eddie tells. He was a teacher
in Skaneateles, New York. In the beginning of the new school year, and he was new in
the school. Six girls came to him from the fourth grade.
They all said, ：Mr. Eddie, Mr. Eddie, we all want to
play in the marching band.； ：Well,； he said,
：I・ll have to check you out.； He said, ：Ok,
stand here. I・ve got to check your lips and I・ve
got to check your hands. You・ve got to have the lips
that can blow a horn, and the fingers and the hands. Number
one, lips, fingers, fine.
Number two, terrific. Three, you made it. Four, you・re
in too. Five, ohh, I forgot, I・ve got to run. I・ve
got an appointment. But quickly, five, yeah, you・re
good, you・re in. Six, you・ve got to come back.；
But the sixth girl said, ：Please Mr. Eddie. I can・t
go out of here unless I know if I can play in the band.
I don・t care what instrument it is. I don・t care
at all. But I want to be in the marching band, because I
know a lot of kids say I could never make the marching band.；
：Well,； he said, he looked at her lips and he
said, ：you・ve got great lips. You can blow a horn,
that・s for sure. What kind of horn did you want to
play?； She said, ：I don・t care what horn
I play, just so I can play in the marching band.； He
said, ：you got it. You・re in. Come back at four
and I・ll check you more.； She came back at four
o・clock but she ran all over school, that whole day,
telling everyone, I・m in the band. I・m in the
band. People looked at her. They couldn・t believe.
No Mr. Eddie said I could be in the marching band. They
said you・re kidding. No, he did.
she came back at four o・clock, he said, ok let・s
see your hands. And she put her hands out. And she had no
fingers, only a stump and a couple of bumps. He was devastated,
just distraught. Then he thought, there・s one instrument,
maybe she could do that instrument, the mellophone. He got
a mellophone. She took to it. She worked so hard. She tried
to earnestly. And she made it. She was able to play it almost
flawlessly. Wow. Then came the marching band・s event
in town. And everybody was surprised to see her there because
they knew something that Clark Eddie, her teacher, did not
know. She was able to march, even though one leg was all
wrinkled and deformed and there were no toes on her feet.
Wow. She had a friend. She had a faith. She created her
you create your future. Other people don・t. Get a dream.
Make it happen and you・ll say the greatest thing was
that Christmas Eve, you got three gifts from the Lord, a
faith, a friend, and a future. Let・s pray. Lord, thank
you that every person here without a single exception is
a very valued and worth person because you made them and
you knew what you were doing and I pray that they will catch
your faith, hear your sweet voice, and may life with a beautiful
future, bring the joy that only Christ can give. Amen.