#2138 – God is Bigger Than You Think  (27 Feb 2011)

The Message

Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman

Special Guest

Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini was Jesse Owens roommate at the 1936 Olympics and he was a World War II POW survivor too. His life has been captured in the book Unbroken by New York Times bestselling author Laura Hillenbrand.

The Message

Well you know Adam was walking around the Garden of Eden, and he was feeling really lonely. And God came up to him and said, “What’s wrong?” And Adam said, “I need someone to talk to.” And God said “Well let me make for you a companion. She will make gourmet meals for you, she will never nag, she will get up in the middle of the night, without even asking, with the children, and when you have any kind of disagreement, she will always say ‘oh honey, you were right, I was wrong.’” Adam said, “And just how much will this person cost me?” God said “An arm and a leg.” Adam said, “What can I get for a rib?” Well, you know Adam he didn’t think quite big enough, did he? He settled. Maybe he could have had one of those companions that would do everything for him that he wanted.

But God is bigger than we think people. And we have a tendency to put God in boxes and to minimize how big God is. And that’s because He’s bigger than we can think. And we have big brains. God has given our brains tremendous capabilities. And even so, we cannot begin to comprehend the height, the breadth, the depth of the God of the universe. Here is how big your brain is. A healthy, well functioning neuron can be directly linked to tens of thousands of other neurons, creating a totality of more than a hundred trillion connections, each capable of performing two hundred calculations per second. Now if you’re like me, those numbers, I kind of glaze over when I hear them because they’re big numbers. I can’t wrap my mind or my brain or my arms around numbers that big. God is bigger than you can think, and you’re going to be hearing more numbers and you’re going to go this is mind boggling. But it is important for us to recognize that God is big.

In the beginning, God; in the beginning, God. God has always been and He always will be. He is infinitely eternal. I can’t comprehend that. I can’t think back that far. I can’t think that far ahead. God is bigger than you can think. In the beginning, God created. Yes, God created this everything from nothing. The Latin is Ex nihilo. From nothing. God created from nothing. And everything we, the created, everything we create, we need and depend on something that God, the Creator, created from nothing. Think of that. How dependent we are on this God who is bigger than you can think.

In the beginning, God, in the beginning God created. In the beginning, God created the heavens, and oh my goodness people, the heavens are bigger than we thought, bigger than Galileo thought, bigger even than Carl Sagan thought. Carl Sagan thought that there would be billions and billions of stars; billions and billions. Billions and billions is ten to the power of 18. That means you take one to the power of 18 and then you add 18 zeroes behind it. That’s a huge number. But do you know what we’ve been finding? We have been finding that as of December 2010, in the Nature Journal, there are 306 trillion or three to the power of 23 stars. That’s three trillion times one hundred billion. That’s how many stars there are, and there are new stars being born every single day. In fact, if you go onto the NASA Hubble website, you can see pictures of infant stars being born.

In the beginning God created the heavens and He’s continuing to create the heavens. It says in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Laura Story wrote in a song that is made popular by Chris Tomlin, “Indescribable. Uncontainable.” You God, “You placed the stars in the skies, and God knows them by name. You are amazing, God.” God is bigger than you can think. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. Think of that. Hundreds of billions of galaxies.

You know the Hubble telescope is made with precise mirrors, polished, very, very expensive mirrors, but this telescope, science is enabling us to see and discover more about God. We are learning every single day through science that God is bigger than we thought He was. And that’s exciting. I want to say just about the Milky Way, the Milky Way where we live, that is just one of these billions of galaxies. And the Milky Way alone is 588 quadrillion miles across. Now is your mind just kind of doing this? Is it almost befuddled by these big numbers like mine is? The sun within the Milky Way is 93 million miles away from the earth. That’s how far away. This is how big the heavens are, how vast the heavens are, and God created them.

Not only did God create the heavens, it says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth, it demonstrates the complexity and the beauty of this God that we worship. Think of this. Look at the cycles that God has put on this earth, the life cycle. The life cycle which depends on the water cycle, which depends on the carbon cycle. The life cycle says in the bible that God made plants and animals. In the beginning, God made plants and animals with unique seeds so that we can reproduce ourselves. All species of plants and animals, very unique seeds bearing fruit in which is their seed. So when God created them, He put within them the unique seeds and then in turn they could continue to produce these unique seeds. Think of it: would you have thought to do that if you were creating this world? I find it amazing. The water cycle; God gave us an everlasting, never ending supply of water. He did. Because through evaporation, those H20 molecules go up into the air, they turn and they condense, they turn into rain and they come right back down. The water cycle. What an amazing concept. God thought of that. God created that. Talk about perpetual energy. God created perpetual energy. It’s in the carbon cycle. Plants have chlorophyll and through the process of photosynthesis, they produce sugar and the carbon goes back into the soil and continues on and on and on. A perpetual carbon cycle. God is bigger than you think. He is bigger than we can comprehend.

The mountains, I love to think of the mountains and the mountains point to the majesty of God. Mount Everest, we know how tall Mount Everest is: 29,000 feet above sea level, but it is not the tallest mountain. If you look at Mauna Kea in Hawaii and you go down, because part of Mauna Kea is submerged, so you go all the way down to the ocean floor and Mauna Kea is 33,000 feet. Big. God. He makes big mountains. Big heavens.

And then the diversity of the species that He put here on this beautiful, amazing earth. The earth sustains one point two five million identified species. Scientists estimate there may be as many as ten to thirty million more that have yet to be identified. Just look at the amount of water that’s in the ocean: three hundred and forty three billion, billion gallons of water. And the life that flourishes in the ocean is complex and beautiful. Just take a look at the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is so big you can see it from outer space. It’s the world’s biggest single structure made of living organisms. It is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms known as coral polyps.

Now my husband Jim loves to paint and he spends quite a bit of time in our attic painting. And one of the things he loves to do is to replicate the masters, like a Rembrandt or a Vermeer and they hang in our home. And one other thing that Jim loves to do is sit on our porch and read and there’s a stray cat that comes and sits at Jim’s feet. The cat we have named Vincent, after Vincent Van Gogh. Well, one day Jim accidentally left the front door open and Vincent went traipsing through the house, up the stairs, all the way up to the attic and found Jim’s paint supplies lying out. And Vincent got in the paint supplies and started dabbling all over the canvas with his little paws. And do you know that when we came home, there was a replica of Vermeer you could not tell the difference from the original. Do you believe me? I’m telling you a big fat fib. Jim does paint; we do have a cat named Vincent. But Vincent didn’t get in the house.

You know there are some people who believe that all of this, this complex, beautiful, amazing creation just happened by random like a cat that gets into paint and paints a masterpiece. I ask you, which is easier to believe? That a big, mighty, powerful God created this, or a cat accidentally got into the paint. I find it easier, as a science major, to believe that we are the result; we are the idea of an amazing, powerful, powerful God.

In the beginning was God. In the beginning, and God is still here today, and He is bigger than we think. If you ever want to know, and I will tell you that there are times when I’m trying to praise God and worship God in my daily morning time, and I am speechless. I cannot put my thoughts for God into words because He is so amazing. And that’s when I go to the bible and I use the Psalms. Or here’s a wonderful, wonderful passage in Job 38, make a note of it, Job 38. If you ever, ever want to know how big God is, go and read Job 38. I’m just going to read a few verses from it because God says to Job, “Where were you when I created the earth? Tell Me, since you know so much, Job. Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that. Who came up with the blue prints and measurements?”

And I’m skipping down to verse 12. “And have you ever ordered ‘morning, get up,’ or told the dawn, ‘get to work!’ No, this is something that God and God alone can do.” God asked Job again, “Do you know where the light comes from? Do you know where the darkness lives so you can take them by the hand and lead them home when they get lost? Have you ever traveled to where snow is made? Seen the vault where hail is stock piled? The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness for times of trouble and battle and war. Can you find your way to where lightening is launched or to the place from which the wind blows? Can you get Venus to look your way? Do you know the first thing about the sky’s constellations and how they affect things on earth?” And he continues one beautiful, beautiful description after another, of God’s majesty and power. And Job says this, “I’m speechless. In awe. Words fail me.”

People, words fail us when we think about how big God is. And you know, the problem is sometimes when I try to think about how big God is, I think about this huge universe, I think about those universes out there, I think about however many stars that there are. And I think I feel small. And I feel like I could get lost. And how could a God that big know where to find me? How could a God that big know about me and care about me? And yet, it was God who kept Louis Zamperini alive. He had His eye on him. He was there with him in that reef. He shielded him from those bullets. He was there with him in that prisoner of war camp for two years. And He met him at a Billy Graham crusade. God of the universe loves you. The crown of God’s creation is you!

You know, there are people who say we need to teach humility. And I will tell you here at Crystal Cathedral, and this is how I define humility. Humility is not thinking less of yourself it is thinking more of God. Because the more you think about God, you automatically feel small in comparison. But yet, God loves you. God loves you. In Psalm 139, it says, “Oh Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” As humans, out of all of those species, out of those 1.25 million species that have been identified, there’s only one species that bears the image of God. This great big powerful God. Only one species bears that image, and people, that’s you and I. It says in the bible, God said, I will make man, human beings; I will make them in My image. John Calvin said as God’s image bearers, we are a mirror. We reflect God just like the mirror in the Hubble telescope reflects the stars back to earth to us. So we reflect God. The Hubble telescope is not the stars, it just reflects. It is an image bearer of the stars. We are not God, but we can reflect Him. Well the more we reflect on God, the more clearly we can reflect God. The brighter mirrors we can be.

So people, God needs you and He needs me to mirror Him, to mirror His image. Do you want to know what God gave His life for? Do you want to know what God is like? Do you want to know and see the image of God? Look in the mirror. This, you are the image of God. You mirror God. God is amazing, mighty, powerful God. Be a mirror, people. Be a mirror. The world is counting on you and I.

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for coming. Thank You for forgiving us. Thank You for loving us so much that You chose us out of the entire cosmos to bear Your image. Thank You for being there. We can do anything with a God as big and powerful as You. We worship You, we adore You. You are truly indescribable. Amen.


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