#250 (10/09/06)
Don’t Throw Away Tomorrow Part VII

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Doctor Martin Seligman has written, it’s called “Authentic Happiness: using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment.” It fits in like a hand in a glove with our ministry and our theology of possibility thinking. And this is his third visit here.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.."
" Praise to the Lord, the Almighty "
" We Build a New Tomorrow "
" Rejoice, the Lord is King "

" Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus "

TOBY & BARB WALDOWSKI – “Keep on Movin’”

The Message

My father and I have recently been sharing messages with you each week from his book entitled, "Don't Throw Away Tomorrow," and how to live God's dream for your life. Today I am going to look at chapter three, entitled "Discover and Determine your Mission." This can be really challenging for many people.

I was extremely fortunate as a child to know from the time I was very young that I was going to be a minister. As many of you know, that was not an easy task for me because when I graduated from high school, I had difficulties with reading. I knew I had to go to college and graduate from college. I knew I had to go to seminary and graduate from seminary before I could do what I felt called by God to do and that was to preach and to be a minister and teacher. By the grace of God I overcame my reading challenges in College. In seminary I had to overcome the extreme fear of speaking in front of people. I was still in college and I called my dad and I said, "how do you do this sermon thing?" He said, "don't make the same mistake I made. I had twenty points, I thought I would speak for a minute on each point and then I would have my twenty minutes. Well, I only got through my first four points and my time was up!"

So, I thought to myself, "I won't make that mistake." I wrote my sermon and I had four points and I knew exactly what I was going to say. I was very scared and nervous. I gave all four points and four minutes later I was done! That was my first message!

Through the grace of God, through determination, through following His will, He gave me a gift, and gave me peace. I believe that there are many people who, like water, follow the path of least resistance. When something comes along and it seems to push them away from the vision and dream and the purpose that they have had for their life, they just take the path of least resistance and ultimately end up in the same place water ends up, and that happens to be the lowest spot possible. I don't believe that is God's vision and understanding for our lives. I believe God wants us to find a way and as long as there is another way, take the high road and climb the mountains and allow God to perform miracles and trust Him and believe Him and move forward with faith. That is what I believe!

I have a good friend who is a plastic surgeon. He is a very good plastic surgeon. In fact, he has performed plastic surgery on all my children. All of my children have had injuries to the point where they have needed a plastic surgeon. My oldest daughter fell off of a skateboard, face first into the cement. My two sons have both run into baseball bats! My youngest daughter slipped and fell on to the glass patio door tracking. I think my children were accident prone when they were younger! This surgeon has done excellent work and none of my children have any scars. I asked him how he happened to become a plastic surgeon. I discovered that when he graduated from college, he did not have the grades to get into medical school. He realized there were different ways to do it. He found a school in Guadalajara that would accept him. So he went to med school in Guadalajara for a couple of years and then transferred to a school in the United States, where he graduated with honors and went on fulfill his residency in Missouri for plastic surgery. Now he is a well known and well respected plastic surgeon here in California. In his situation, the path of least resistance would have said, "I just don't have the grades to get into med school, too bad. Let me see, what will I do now?" Instead, my friend found a way to fulfill his life's mission.

It is easy for us to allow the dreams to die. But I don't believe that is what God wants us to do. I believe there is another way. I believe God has ideas and dreams and hopes for our life and we need to claim them, trust God, believe Him and move forward with faith.

Fred and Lydia Fisher had a pawn shop for forty years in Indiana. After forty years of having this pawn shop that treated them really well and took care of them for forty years, Fred passed away. Lydia tried to keep the pawn shop open but she really could not make a go of it without Fred and so she decided that she was going to close the pawn shop. She decided not to sell it. As an expression of thanks to the town for what the shop had done for her and Fred for forty years, she decided she was simply going to give everybody their merchandise back. Amazing isn't it? So the sign in the window said, "pawn shop closed, claim what is yours." All people had to do was come and bring their ticket and get their possessions back free of charge.

I believe that is what God wants for all of us. How do we discover our mission, our purpose, our meaning in life? How do we discover what God wants us to do? Remember, God did not make any junk. He did not make you "just because." He made every single person on planet earth for a purpose and for a reason. You just didn't happen. You were created. It wasn't just a fluke of nature. It was God ordained and God inspired and as a result you are alive today. You are a gift from God. If that is the case, if that is true, how do we discover the mission and the purpose and the meaning that God has for us? First of all, we have to pray. I think you have probably heard that before. We have to pray. We have to discover who this God, this Creator is and how He has a relationship with us. We have to develop a trust with Him. I believe that as we pray, we discover a God who loves and cares. As you pray you come to know a God who loves and cares and wants you to fulfill your purpose, your mission, and become all that He intends you to be.

The problem with so many people is they don't pray the right prayer. People have the tendency to pray, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" How many people have prayed that prayer? I have. I've prayed it many times. "Lord, what do you want me to do?" If I find myself in a predicament I will say, "Lord, now what am I going to do?" Do you know what the problem is with that prayer? It is self centered when you say, "Lord, what do you want ME to do?" When we pray self centered prayers, we don't really get what we need and want and seek in life. So the real prayer to pray is, "Lord, what do YOU want to take place?"  Not what can I do? That is so limiting. We are limiting the power of God to our physical limited ability. God wants to expand beyond our physical limits. He wants us to extend into His reality. That takes place when we pray the prayer, "Lord, what do YOU want to happen?" It changes everything!

Bruce Wilkinson, who wrote the Prayer of Jabez and other books, has prayed this prayer. He heard God tell him, "feed my people." Bruce is living in Africa and he looked at all the people around him who were starving. He saw the devastation and he prayed this prayer, "Lord, what do You want done?" And the answer came, "I want my people to have food to eat." Bruce prayed, "But, Lord, who am I that I can feed millions of people?" And he heard himself being self centered. Then he heard himself say, "Well, Lord, if you want your people fed, and you want to use me then I will feed your people." This year he planted over twelve thousand gardens. He is continuing to take people to Africa and plant gardens to feed God's people and the people in Botswana are being fed!

God is our creator. In Ephesians 2:10 we read,

"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do."

How do we discover our mission, our purpose, our meaning in life? It begins with prayer, what does God want done? Then it continues by reading our owner's manual. Now if you have been created by God, God decided that he would also give you an owner's manual so you could figure how this life works. The owner's manual is known as the Bible. The Bible looks like a pretty thick owner's manual, doesn't it? If I bought something that had an owner's manual that fat, I'd throw it away! I wouldn't deal with it because I'd never figure it out. However, the reason our owner's manual is this big is because it has to fit a whole lifetime of instructions in it. If God wanted you to live a little bit, then he could give you a little owner's manual. If you want to live a lot, live a big life, he is going to give you a big owner's manual. Now you know why the Bible is so big, why there are so many pages, because that's how big he wants your life to be! So we find in the Bible the answers we seek, the answers we need.

In chapter three of my father's book, "Don't Throw Away Tomorrow," my father tells the story of Dr. Steven Sample, the President of USC. When Dr. Sample was working in Chicago, he had to take the train from the suburbs where he lived into the downtown area. At the same time he decided he needed to know what the Bible had to say, so he started taking his Bible on the train and he would sit on the train and read his Bible. He read it through several times. It gave him understanding, meaning and his purpose and reason for living. Dr. Sample said, "Do you know what was one of the nicest things about reading my Bible on the train? Nobody wanted to sit next to somebody who was reading a Bible." Where do we find the instruction we need to experience the fullness of God in our life? We find it in the Bible. Then it simply is a matter of us accepting the reality of God's amazing power.

Corrie Ten Boom was one of my greatest mentors. I went to her home on numerous occasions and heard her teach.  She said it this way, "If you've got the faith, God's got the power." That is an amazing reality. If we have the faith to walk to the cliff that God may lead us to, we then need to have the faith to jump into His loving arms knowing that He is going to catch us and He is going to carry us through. Now if He didn't catch us but He let us slam on the ground, that would be a real character flaw in the eyes of God wouldn't it? I don't believe in a God that would do that. I believe in a God who loves and cares, a God who is going to carry us through, is going to catch us when we jump, who is going to trust us as much as we trust Him. I know every single time I have failed, it is because I have not had enough faith in God and I have given up. The good news is that He has never given up on me!

It begins with prayer, continues by reading our owner's manual, and is completed by surrounding ourselves with positive people.

We are in the process of putting together a thousand Houses of Power across the nation. A House of Power is a home just like yours where you invite other positive people into your home and you fellowship and support each other. We are in the process right now, of acquiring and finding people who will turn their home into a House of Power and if you are interested in doing that, I want you to write me, call me, go to our website and register and let us know that you are receiving a call from God to open your house and create a House of Power. By the end of the year, we will have one thousand homes where people will be meeting and they can share their dreams, their hopes and develop their visions and their missions and become everything that God has intended them to be.

Adam Vinateri is a champion kicker for the New England Patriots. He gives all of the credit for his success to his coach. He surrounds himself with positive people. His coach is Doug Blevins. Doug has never kicked a football yet he is a respected kicking coach in the NFL. He started with the Minnesota Vikings. He is currently coaching two or three men in the NFL and yet he has never kicked a football himself. For that matter, he has never kicked any ball of any kind himself. In addition to that, he has never played a game of football in his life. He has never run in his entire life. He has never taken a step in his entire life. He has been bound to a wheelchair and yet, he determined and decided that he wanted to be an NFL football coach and he wasn't about to let a wheelchair get in the way. Today he is revered as the number one kicking coach in the world.

Everyone has things that hold them back from being what God has intended them to be. But, when we decide to take the path of resistance, to climb the mountains, to face the challenges and the impossibilities with faith, we then step into the spiritual realm which requires God to step in and He will.

Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you will find, knock and the doors will be opened. (Matthew 7:7)

How do we discover our mission in life? It begins with prayer. Ask, seek, and knock. It continues by studying our owner's manual and finding out the way to make it happen. It's completed by surrounding yourself with positive people and believing God will do a miracle in your life.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are a God of miracles. You are a God who continues to sustain, to love, to care, to empower, to strengthen your people. So give us the faith, oh God to trust you, to walk to the edge and to jump into your loving arms, to say yes to the purpose and the vision and the goals that you have given to us. We trust you Lord. We love you Lord and we praise your name always and forever. Amen.

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