#248 (27/08/06)
Don’t Throw Away Tomorrow Part V

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

In 1998, Dr. Sample shared his leadership principles with us and he is a man whom my father is honored to have in his latest book entitled “Don’t Throw Away Tomorrow.” He is serving as the President of a little University here in Southern California, called the University of Southern California, also known as USC. He’s been there since 1991 and Steven Sample continues to set an example for not only University students at USC but for millions of positive thinking people around the world. Having recent released his first book, “The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership,” President Sample shows the pivotal leadership elements in sharing your life and being a leader in today’s society.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.."
" I Sing the Mighty Power of God "
" We Build a New Tomorrow "

" The Majesty & Glory of Your Name "
" Lord, You Have Been our Dwelling Place "

KEN MEDEMA – “Who Will Go For God?”

The Message

My son and I are continuing a series of messages under the title of my newest book, Don't Throw Away Tomorrow.  And today I am focusing on Chapter 3 with the simple title, Discover and Determine Your Mission.  You throw your life away when you don't fulfill your mission or when you intentionally discard it or take a cavalier attitude toward your mission.  One of the Bible verses that has impressed and motivated me more than any other is, "Neglect not the gift that is in you." (I Timothy 4:14)  As I grew up, I think I became conscious that I was different.  Every person is.  No two people are alike.  Don't try to fit into every other person's mold.  Be yourself.  Discover your unique talents.  You are an individual.  The DNA in you is a mixture of genes that may go back to many people through your father or your mother.  You are different.  There has never been a person like you.  God knew what He was doing when He mixed up your genes and you came into the world a very different person.

Discover your uniqueness.  "Neglect not the gift that is in you." Keep those Bible words before you.  They come directly from God to you today through me. I have attempted to apply that text to daily living and absorb its teaching in Chapter 3 of my new book, Don't Throw Away Tomorrow. 

Discover and Determine Your Mission.

Bob Hope was a friend of mine.  So many times I had seen people come to Bob Hope for autographs in the middle of his dinner, and he didn't have a chance to eat.  They snapped their photographs even when he was taking a bite of food.  It never seemed like he had a life of his own.  But Bob Hope had a mission.  His mission was a God-given mission íK to make people laugh.  And he did that and lived to the age of one hundred! My son and I were honored to be a part of the clergy processional at his funeral service in the Catholic Church. We were the only Protestant ministers. 

What is your mission?  What is the one thing that really drives you?  If you want to fulfill the potential of tomorrow and not be unfulfilled, then you need to deal with this question:  Believe that God has a mission for you. God has something special for you.  But you reply, "I'm just a simple person."  Yes, all of us are, but we have learned through ecology that every creature's life, even if it is an insect or bacteria, has a purpose in all of creation.  You are not too small.  You are important and God has a powerful purpose for your life.

Discover your mission, and then fulfill it!  For if you discard your mission, you are discarding your calling and then you are throwing away your tomorrows.  But you say, "How can I find my mission?"  Well, I do not have an easy, simple answer to that.  I give some suggestions in my book and I hope they will help you.  Begin by saying:

(1) What one thing do I want to do more than anything else in life?  Or, start with the question,

(2) What would I do if I knew I could not fail?   You can discover your mission if you ask,

(3) What would I be willing to die for in the one life I have to live?

Many students make their plans to go to the university or a college to pursue their education without having a plan for a specific vocation.  They will even get advanced degrees thinking then they will surely discover their mission.  That may not necessarily be so. I am astonished by how many people have their Bachelor of Arts degrees or Master of Arts degrees from great universities and after graduation and then they settle for a vocation that does not require the degrees they worked so hard for.  And when I ask them, "Well, why are you here?"  They respond, "I really haven't found out yet what I want to do." 

How do you find your mission?  How do you find out what you want to do?  You begin, I submit, with prayer.  I believe there is a God.  I believe God has a plan and purpose for you.  You've often heard me tell about my mother's special mission.  She had the gift of baking the most delicious mouth-watering apple pies in the world.  I know.  I grew up on her apple pies.  But her special mission was to bake apple pies for people in town.  And she made a difference in her lifetime.  People in sorrow, in suffering or in celebration, received a gift from my mother, a warm, mouth watering apple pie.  Many years after my mother died, we received a donation of many thousands of dollars to this ministry from a school teacher who wrote that my mother brought a hot apple pie to her family in a difficult time.  So my mother's mission had a greater purpose than she planned.

Your mission may be simple but very powerful, as the lady who always stood uninvited at the front door of this church, and as people came, she would shake their hands to welcome them.  She wasn't on staff, or an elder of the church.  When people left, she still stood there thanking them for coming.  When someone said to her, "Why do you always stand at the door?  You're so friendly to these people.  I don't think they know you and you don't know them!"  She answered, "My mission is to smile them in and smile them out."  You see, it is so simple.  We tend to be overwhelmed by the grandiose, the grand scale, the super spectacular, and that is all well and good, but often it is the simple things that make a difference.

So discover your mission in life--Don't Throw Away Tomorrow.  And you will throw away tomorrow if you don't sincerely and passionately pursue the purpose God has for you being alive.  God has a purpose for everyone.

You have all heard me frequently refer to Dr. Viktor Frankl.  In my mind he is one of the greatest psychiatrists in human history.  He died not long ago at the age of ninety-two.  I had the grand privilege of being mentored, shaped, and taught by him.  We spent many hours together and Mrs. Schuller and I last visited him shortly before he died in his home in Switzerland.  Dr. Viktor Frankl discovered his mission in the death camps in Nazi Germany after his parents and family were all taken there.  He alone survived and in his suffering he got a concept, a vision, "They might burn or kill me tomorrow, but as long as I am alive I can do something today.  As long as I am alive, I have a mission to help people, people who are hurting, people who are grieving, people who are confused, people who are cynical or bitter.  I can help people.  I'm good at that.  That is my gift." 

"Neglect not the gift that is in you."  You have a gift.  It may be a smile.  It may be the capacity to respond even impulsively to generosity.  Bruce Fitzgerald, a member of this church, took on a life saving mission.  One of his customers who shopped in his store was dying because his kidneys were failing and he couldn't find anybody who had a kidney that would match his.  Bruce said, "Perhaps my kidney would match yours."  It did, and  Bruce gave one of his kidneys to a customer he hardly knew.

Discover Your Mission

Now why is it so important to discover and then determine your mission?  Why cannot you and I just live a casual, cavalier life and read the paper, listen to the news, and chit chat with folks, without having a divine passion or purpose?  Why can't we?  Here is why.  When you discover a mission, then a dream enters into your consciousness.  The dream is all important.  Without a dream, you really aren't alive.  You are existing.  You are enduring.  You are not creating.  You are tolerating, and tolerance is never adequate.  Life is so much more exciting when you are positive, constructive, and inspirational in building your life or the lives of those around you.  You need a mission!

Out of that mission that you find in prayer, comes a dream.  And the dream needs to be taken seriously.  You have all heard me say the reason this ministry is so successful is because God knew that the people who come here would not throw away great ideas just because they are impossible.  God knew the kind of people in this church and the millions that join us via television in the Chinese, Russian, Arabic or other languages íK whether they live in Hong Kong or Moscow won't throw away their tomorrows.  They won't throw away a great idea just because it is impossible.  No, because when your impossible idea becomes a mission, the mission becomes a consuming dream, a divine call.  One of the reasons you can know that you are walking in the will of God is when you pray for your dream and pray for your goals, then commit to those goals, then the goals will consume you. You are being directed by God in your daily tomorrows.

As I look at the past fifty years at my ministry, I saw the goals of building a ministry that would impact the world and bring faith to cynical people. I was goal-possessed, God-possessed and God-managed.  The goal managed person should not be condemned as being self-centered in his drive.  He may be very strongly driven by God Himself.

Discover your mission.  Understand you are not ready to die until you are ready to live. And you are not ready to live until you find a cause that you would die for!  I'd die for my family!  I would have died for this church many times, if that would have been the price. Yes, I would have gladly paid it.  When you get a Divine mission, it becomes a Divine call. And that turns into a Divine dream which emerges into a measurable, manageable goal. Then you are so consumed by it, you would die for it because you know it is what God wants you to do!  Then you really are alive!  And you don't live in the mental and emotional level of dullness, drabness, lethargy, or non-excitement.  You are turned on. Wow!  Yes.  Find your mission and  you get a dream íK the dream will become a goal.  The goal will consume you and you will be alive!

Many years ago I sat next to this guy on the airplane from California to the East Coast.  I didn't know him and he didn't know me.  He started the conversation.  We introduced ourselves and he asked me, "Where do you live?"  I said, "I live in Garden Grove, California."  And he insulted me.  You know what he said?  "I never heard of it."  I had a problem.  How do I get even without insulting him?  I came up with what I thought was a God-given inspiring, honorable return "insult."  He said, "I'm from Green Bay, Wisconsin."  I said, "Oh íK what does Green Bay have outside the Green Bay Packers?"  He looked at me and he said, "I really don't know, I'm the coach!"

I gulped and asked, "Well, how are you going to do next year?"  They hadn't been doing very well at all. 

"Oh," he said, "we are going to do great next year íK" 

"How can you say that?"

"Because we are loaded with talent."

I raised my eyebrows and said, "What is talent?"  I expected him to say speed, because I know professional football coaches who say, "Give me speed and IíŽll have a winning team.  The single most important thing is speed.  I expected him to say that, but he said, "Talent is character!"  That's an odd subject, we're talking about football players who bounce each other around and almost kill each other.  That's not really the way I describe character.  I said, "What is character?"  And he looked at me and instantly replied, "It is drive!"

Yes, character delivers drive.  People who are great achievers don't necessarily have education.  They may not have superb intelligence, but they do have integrity and drive.  Find your God-given mission and commit yourself to God-directed goals, goals that you would die for if you had to.  If you can't find a mission for yourself that you would die for, what do you do?  You look for other people who have a grand mission, a powerful drive, that cannot succeed without a lot of help and connect with them.  Maybe it starts in a church.  It could start in this church.  I know we have a mission and we need all the help we can get.

People who have God-given missions and dreams are always thinking bigger than they are and they always need help.  So if you can't have your own mission and your own private goal, then be an encourager.  Attach yourself to causes that are bigger than you.  Become a partner to those who have a noble mission. 

"Neglect not the gift that is within you!"  (I Timothy 4:14)

My mission was to build a church that could change the world!  I wear a medallion only on Sunday mornings, in this pulpit.  It is engraved with a prayer I wrote and I read every time I put it on,  "Lord, lead me to the person you want to speak to through my life today."  It is the major core of my mission.  If you start living with this prayer, "Lord, lead me to the person you want to speak to or touch through my life today," then you will discover your mission.

Your Bible and a special text will come to you to help you discover your mission, There are many Bible texts to motivate you to discover what the gift is that God has given you.  It may be to connect with a neighbor, to the people who live around you.  Your mission may be to the people who work with you, the people you meet at the water cooler.  "Neglect not the gift that is in you."  Know that you can be a voice for God, encouraging, not preaching íK not condemning íK not finding fault, but sharing the love of God.

If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, I very sincerely close this message with this invitation; decide to follow Jesus Christ.  Then you will have a mission.  Connect with His mission.  It will show in your life.  You will be a beautiful person and you will have a joyous tomorrow like you can't imagine.

Dear God, Thank You.  You are working in us.  We are changing.  We are not made of brick or stone.  We can think, we can feel and we see You at work in the world and we want to be a part of sharing your love all around us.  Amen.

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