#262 (03/12/06)
Christmas: A Light Has Shined.. Our Joys Increased

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

If you call my office, there are two girls out doors that serve me so well. And right outside my office door is Maria Fury. She’s worked for us for seven years and pardon me but I really love that lady. Only seven months ago she was diagnosed with cancer. Life threatening, normally very fast growing. But her faith in Jesus is beautiful. And through the power of prayer she keeps working. Takes the day off when she goes in for chemotherapy.

Special Music

" O Come, All Ye Faithful "
" Go Tell it on the Mountain "
" Joy to the World "

" Joy to the World "

DANIELLA DALLI - "Mary, Did You Know?"
LISA TUCKER – “Who Would Imagine a King?”
DAVID PHELPS - "Legacy of Love"

The Message

Did you all get enough turkey this weekend? Do you have enough leftovers and the like? I went to Palm Springs this weekend for turkey day. I wanted to eat turkey with my mother-in-law. Everyone wants to eat turkey with their mother-in-law, you know. So we had a wonderful time in Palm Springs and while we were there I was reminded of the fabulous museum they have there. They have a World War II aircraft museum and if you ever get to Palm Springs, it’s a must see because they’re all working air craft, it’s at the airport and they’ll fly in and out occasionally, but you can walk through there and you can see all this incredible aircraft.

Well there was one plane there, a P-47 that’s named after a friend of mine, his name is Dick Parker. And he flew that in World War II and that’s why it’s named after him. In fact, he flew a hundred and one missions into Germany with that plane. Isn’t that amazing? Not that specific plane, but a P-47. And the reason I say not that specific one is because he was shot down six times in that one hundred and one times. He destroyed seven planes, the first one in training.
One of the hairiest situations he had was a time he was leading a squadron of sixteen planes. And as they were returning from a mission in Germany, they saw a marshaling yard, and they saw the trains in front and he said you know we’re going to go down and take these trains out. He says I’m going to lead the way. We’re going to go single file, one at a time. Their planes are loaded with 50 caliber machine guns. And so he starts his bomb, he’s going in first and a thousand yards out, at a hundred fifty feet in the air, he unloads his guns. His plan is to come in at 25 feet and then veer up and take off and he’ll be followed by 16 other machine planes who will do the same thing and try and do some damage to this train in World War II.

So as he’s coming down, a thousand feet away from the train, he unloads his guns. What he doesn’t realize is that it is filled with ammunition. The thing explodes, he doesn’t have enough time, he’s traveling at 300 miles an hour, doesn’t have time to do anything and he goes right through the explosion. He ducks and says the only thing I can do is duck and it saved his life, it took the canopy right off of the plane. When he sputtered, he was able to keep the plane in the air, all of his other sixteen guys at that time took off in different directions, and he was able to slowly gain some altitude high enough to where they could get into France, landed in a field in France, he got out of the plane, crash-landed it and assessed the damage. He said there was pieces of the train actually welded to the wings and the tail where he flew through. The whole underside of the plane was gone, the tires were all melted and by the grace of God he survived. He hopped in his wing-mans lap and his wingman took him back to the base. Just one of his stories, hold on to that thought, Dick Parker.

I have a scripture to read this morning, it comes from Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah is called by God in the sixth chapter, and here’s what he says, “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was seated on a throne high and exalted and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were serifs, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two wings they covered their feet, and with two they were flying, and they were calling to one another, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, God, Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts of the thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. Woe to me, I cried. I am ruined for I am a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips, and my eyes now have seen the King, the Lord God Almighty. Then one of the serifs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said ‘See this has touched your lips, your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And whom will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here I am Lord, here I am! Send me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Go.’”

A powerful scripture of the calling of an individual to a mission, to a purpose and to a calling, and whenever somebody is called by God for a reason, the first time that you come into the presence of God and you feel the presence of God, we are introduced to our sin, to our guilt, to our failures, to our inadequacies, to the inability to be the thing that God has called us to be. And for Isaiah it was unclean lips. For some reason I don’t think that means he had a foul tongue. I think it was more that that. I think foul tongues are overrated. I think foul tongues are to get human attention, God pays attention to the heart, and the foul tongue is just an outward cropping of the heart. Its uncouth, it’s not classy, it isn’t cool, its just for people who don’t have enough sense and enough ability to hold the tongue, and they just say whatever they think at the moment and that’s foul language. I’ve had some weird experiences with foul language.
I went golfing with a friend of mine, he invited me to golf, Jack Tar actually, he took me out to Telaga Golf course, the two of us went there, and we were paired up with two other guys we’d never met before. Yeah you get the picture. They didn’t know who I was, Jack didn’t tell them. So we’re out there golfing and every single time he swings his club, every foul word in the book comes flowing out of his mouth. Even when he got a good shot, he didn’t hit it close enough, it didn’t go in the hole. If it did go in the hole, he swore until it got in. It was miserable, we were like that for nine holes, two hours of this. Finally we turn, we make the turn, my friend Jack kind of pulls him aside and says, “Do you know who you’re golfing with?” All of a sudden you see this guy get kind of white, and kind of sheepish you know? Oh man, he didn’t know what to say, and he just.. I am so sorry, and what was interesting is from that point on he didn’t say another swear word. It was amazing; it was the most incredible thing. His entire attitude changed. He went from the most negative, having a miserable time, to all of sudden every shot was fine, oh no big deal, it was absolutely the most amazing transformation that took place in his life I had ever seen. I just thank God that I have such an affect on people.

But the truth is I don’t think that’s what Isaiah is referring to when he says, “That I have unclean lips.” I think he is referring to something far deeper, something that has far more depth to it, something that is far more damaging than a foul word, and that is a foul thought. Things that we all say in society doesn’t condemn us for it. The un-encouraging word, the discouraging word, the words that breed fear, the words that breed bitterness, the words that tear people down instead of build them up, and those are the lips that we all have from time to time.

When our feelings of inadequacy, when our feelings of not being good enough or not being adequate enough start to rise to the surface, one of the ways for us to feel better about ourselves is just to try and tear people down. It’s the old crabs in the basket thought. I’ve been told that if you have a bunch of crabs all you need is to put two crabs in a basket, you don’t have to have a lid on it, as long as there are two crabs in there, as soon one starts to climb out, the other one will grab him and pull him back down. And no crabs will ever got out as long as there’s more then one in the basket, but as soon as you get down to the last one, you better put the lid on, cause they’re going to get out.

I think our human species is a lot like that, we see somebody starting to break out of the mold, they’re all, oh they’re all getting out of the basket here, they’re getting too high, they’re getting too successful, let’s pull them down. Who do you think you are? What are you doing thinking such lofty thoughts? Who calls you? Who gifted you? And we pull them down, and for that we need to come before God and ask for forgiveness. We need to ask Him to give us that atoning fire on our lips, to help us use our lips to be encouragers of all we meet, and to share the words that God wants us to share, to give people hope, to spread love, to give cheer and good news. Because that’s what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. The word gospel means good news, and we have been called by God to give good news.

And today I want you to ask God to forgive you for every discouraging word that has ever left your lips because the sad reality is you cannot take it back. All you can do is ask God to forgive you. Today I want you to pray with me and let us ask that prayer right now: Dear God, forgive me for the foul words that have left these lips, the words of discouragement, the words that have bred fear? The words that have belittled people, and give me Lord a vision, a vision that will allow me to share Your words of faith and hope and love and allow my heart to be a reflection of all I say today. Thank You Lord, for giving me peace and joy and goodness today. I love You Lord, Amen.

Now, part two, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, here I am Lord, send me.” And God is calling every single one of us and giving all of us a mission to go out and to share the good news of Jesus Christ and to proclaim this good news. Here’s the good news, Isaiah says this: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son. And we will call Him Immanuel, God with us.” God is with us, this very moment. God is here. He’s in this place. He’s calling every single one of you for a purpose and for a reason and giving you a mission to share the good news that we can encourage people and we can give people hope and we can give people faith and we can lift people up and when we lift people up, guess what happens? They escape the doldrums of life, they get out of the basket, and they take us with them. And life becomes full of goodness and joy and health and prosperity. Whew. From forgiveness to mission, Lord send me. Use me as Your instrument today to spread Your good news.

I was in Palm Springs this weekend and the last person I saw before I left Palm Springs was my dear friend Dick Parker. Remember Dick? He’s been in the hospital for the last few weeks. And he came home for Thanksgiving and when I went over to his house yesterday, he was sitting out in the sun on his porch all by himself. He was just sitting there looking up with his face to the sun, feeling the warmth of the sun and he had this peace about him that I’d never seen on any human being ever. I’d never seen a man with so much peace. I came by and I said Dick just came by to say good-bye. It’s good to see you and he says well bombs away, Robert. Oh, good-bye Dick, to you too, you know. And my wife and my daughter had already gone to the car, I was the last one there, he goes, hey Robert, do you know what bombs away means? Oh yeah, Dick, that means you know you drop the bombs and that’s what it means, right? And he goes, no come here.

And I went back and just the two of us were sitting there in the sun and he said you know, when the bomber goes out and gets close to its destination, what happens is the pilot of the plane hands the plane over to the bombadeer and just for a few moments the bombadeer is in control and he dials in all of the precise measurements so he gets the right altitude, slows the plane down to the right speed and when he has all the proper coordinates, he gives the command, bombs away. And the bombs are dropped and at the same time the pilot takes over and we know we’re going home. Bombs away, Robert. Bombs away.

And I apply that to living. God’s our pilot. From the beginning of time to the end of time, God’s the pilot but there’s that little tiny space and time where you have been called by God for a mission, a purpose and in that tiny space of time He says okay, you know what you’re doing, you’ve been trained, I’ve given you all these experiences in your life, now take over. Do what you’ve been called to do. And when you’ve lived your life and you’ve given people encouragement and you’ve given people hope and you’ve shared the good news of Jesus Christ and you’ve declared it from the mountaintops that Jesus Christ is born. Bombs away. And it’s time to go home. Bombs away.

God’s called you for a purpose and for a reason. And it begins by coming before God and confessing our sins and erasing the guilt and then saying okay Lord, send me. I am Yours, Lord. I’ll do it. And today you’re being called and the calling that you have is to be an encourager, to be an up lifter, to be a positive influence, to share from your lips the good news that Jesus Christ is born. Bombs away, bombs away.

Dear Heavenly Father we thank You that You just continue to flood our souls with the reality of Your goodness and Your grace, that as we continue to look upon the reality of who You are and how You come into this world and how You come to heal, oh we just thank You Lord for the opportunity to be used by You. And so guide us Lord to that place where we can truly be the person that You have called us to be and give us the faith to always realize that You are in process of blessing us at every moment and help us to be nothing but encouragers and positive people, sharing positive words of faith and hope and love. For unto us is born, a Child. It is good news. And for that we say Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. We love You Lord, Amen.

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