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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - Dig Deep It's Worth It

Bobby Schuller - Dig Deep It's Worth It

Bobby Schuller - Dig Deep It's Worth It

All right, whoever you are, would you stand with us? Hold your hands out like this as a way of receiving from the Holy Spirit. Let's say this together. I'm not what I do. I'm not what I have. I'm not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God. It's who I am. No one can take it from me. I don't have to worry. I don't have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share his love with my neighbor. Thanks, you can be seated. Free time is such a precious gift, and there are so many companies and groups of people that want to take your free time. Anybody feel that sometimes? The boss who calls you after work or on the weekend. Maybe it's your kids. Maybe it's a stranger who's maybe talking a little bit too long.

There are people who when they start to take away your free time, you start to feel a nagging worry on the inside that this precious thing that you have so little of is being whittled away, and yet in this modern world, very often when we have a little extra free time, the first thing we do is reach for the phone, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or we reach for the remote control. Let's watch a good show for four hours, or we click on YouTube or funny memes. There is nothing wrong with any of that, but a fair warning to everyone: when we feel anxious about somebody who takes an extra five minutes of our free time, and then we give three hours to TikTok, something is wrong.

Can we say today let us use free time to get the life you want rather than escape the life you have. I think that time and planting time as you would plant a seed is a wise thing to do, actually. We understand that with money you take a little bit of your money, not all of it, but a little bit, and you invest it, or you plant it, and you'll get it back with a return, but did you know spiritually, when you invest your time in God's Kingdom, through prayer, through service, through personal development, you're setting up for yourself a harvest that's gonna make all the difference in the world. Use your free time to the best that you can to get the life you really want rather then escape the life you have.

Today, we had an interview with a guy who did the biography of Dallas Willard, and he reminded us that the way Dallas describes life in God's kingdom is God offers us heaven, but why wait to go there? Now, immediately we think, "Oh, that means you wanna die". But it doesn't mean... God offers a heaven-like experience to those who are willing to put in the effort, to be a disciple. The word "disciple" means trained one. Training is something you do every single day. So maybe this is something you want. Maybe there is a gap between the life you have and the life you want. Maybe your life isn't terrible. You like your life, but when you really think about it, when you're sitting alone staring at a beautiful horizon and thinking about your life, all by yourself, maybe there is a different life you wish you had.

Maybe there's a different thing that you feel like God called you to, and there's a gap between where you are and where you wanna be. The answer to that is your philosophy. Do not blame other people. Do not blame whatever, the government, or your spouse, or your friends, or inflation, or China, or whatever it is, but to simply look in the mirror and say, If I make small decisions every day, if I take responsibility for my life, God has made available to me eternal living today. You have to choose to use your free time wisely. Eternal living is a lot of things, but there's three things that really stand out to me. Number one, eternal living is a life without lack. This is the life that Jesus describes is made available in the kingdom of God. A life without lack. Immediately, many of us think, oh, that's a Mercedes. That's a big house.

Can I tell you there are many people who have means but have very little meaning? There are a lot of people in this city, a wealthy city, that have all the things that everybody else wants, but they don't have any meaning. They still don't feel fulfilled. There are many people in this city and around the world that have lots of food, but no nourishment. There are a lot of people in the world that have lots to drink but are still thirsty. There are a lot of people who do a lot of things but feel like their life isn't going anywhere, that it isn't productive. A life in the kingdom of God is a life without lack. It's a life described in Psalm 23, a life as a sheep on green pasture. You know what that is, right? That's like a teenager who just inherited a pizza parlor, just so much you don't know what to do with it. It's a fulfilled life.

In Psalm 23, King David says, "My cup is full to the very top, all the way to the very top, and that's it". No, I'm just checking to see if you're listening. No, he says, "My cup overflows". God is almost prodigal. That means wasteful in the way he loves to give nourishment to hungry people, water to thirsty people, daily bread to those who are in lack, and God loves to favor people and fill their baskets and open doors and give them victory and opportunity, but those things require responsibility. That is, it's my responsibility. That's a new philosophy, and it's looking at my free time and saying this is my chance. This is my chance to either escape my life or take one or two steps closer in the direction of the life I really want, by praying, by learning, by writing down my goals, by surrounding myself with people that have the kind of life that I want, by serving, by spending time listening to messages or studying God's Word.

You see, those are valuable things that when we use our free time to do those things, we leave not feeling like, "Oh, I just blew four hours and now it's time to go to bed, and I don't want to go to bed 'cause I gotta get up early and go to work". You ever feel that way? My friends, there's a much better way to do things. Yeah, sometimes you need just a good movie. You need to just cuddle up on the couch with some popcorn and some McConnell's ice cream. Sprinkled cake is the best one. The second thing that eternal living gives you is a life of peace: peace with God and peace with your neighbor. So many of the compulsive behaviors we have in life is because we don't have any peace. Yeah, we're not at war. We're not fighting with people, but inside, there's a lot of turmoil, and that's why we run to drugs or alcohol or that old relationship we shouldn't go to, or we give up on life or we fall into these... we don't have peace on the inside.

How can you have peace in God's world if you're not at peace with God? You have to be at peace with God through Christ crucified, and you have to be at peace with your neighbor by forgiving them. Yes, it's annoying that you have to forgive bad people. There are plenty of people in this world that don't deserve forgiveness, but guess what? It's so much better to just let it go. Give it to the Lord and forgive, and to live life at peace with God and with your neighbor. That's something you can do in your free time, to pause and think about somebody that's bothered you or hurt you or betrayed you and just, if you can't say I forgive them, you can at least say this, "Lord, help me forgive that person. Help me, Holy Spirit, to forgive that person because you forgave me".

And you'll have more peace in your life, and you'll enjoy your free time more, and the third and final thing eternal living is, is it's forever. It's an eternal life. That's one thing that doesn't require any effort. That's one thing that was given the moment you said yes to Jesus. If you haven't made that decision, today's a great day to become a Christian. Today's a great day to say, "Lord, I trust you with my life" and know that when this life is over, you'll be there with him.

Today, I want you to see your free time as a precious moment to grow, to be at peace, to be full of the breath of God, the life of God, and to become more and more of the person that will attract the things that you want in life. We are running a race. It's more like an ultra marathon. You ever heard of those guys? I have a friend that does ultra marathons. Sometimes there are 100 miles, and I thought what you run just nonstop for 100 miles? And, no, they take breaks and they rest, but it's still a race, and it's still very difficult, obviously, and it requires training. In Hebrews chapter 12, the author says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses", pause there for a moment.

Who is the great cloud of witnesses this author is talking about? Well, I used to always think the great cloud of witnesses was like those great medieval paintings, you know, like the big host of heaven, the angels flying around and stuff like that, and it's that in part, but look to your left and look to your right. You're looking at the great cloud of witnesses. We're here in this room, and guess what? When we pass away, we become even greater witnesses of the kingdom of God, a great friend of mine Juan Carlos, who passed away last year and was a mentor of mine, he taught me to pray, and I remember once he was thanking me for the choir, which I deserve very little credit for that. It was, the choir is the one that does all the singing, and Irene is the one and Cathy are the ones that do all of the planning, Mark, anyway, but he said, "I just love when the choir sings because when they sing I imagine my son singing with an array of saints and angels, the glories of God, and the great cloud of witnesses".

Now, if you don't know Juan Carlos, who was a pastor in this church, he lost his son when his son was 28 years old. Robert John passed away. For those of you who are parents, is there any greater nightmare than losing one of your children? I can't think of anything worse in the world. I can't imagine how I could endure something like that. I can't imagine waking up in the morning, and facing that, and his beloved son passed away, but when the choir sang, he pictured in his mind, and rightly so, a whole array of saints and angels, among which his son was there singing the glories of God, and it gave me a fresh perspective of the great cloud of witnesses.

Did you know that you have friends and family and loved ones, who have passed away that are watching your life, that are cheering you on, that are rooting you on to victory? They're rooting for you, and I am too. And when you get to that place, you'll be able to give them a big hug and we'll be able to talk about some of the amazing stories and things that God did in your life. It's an interesting thing, being a pastor of a church. It's an honor that, really, that our church has a lot of older folks and experienced folks. I'm always surprised the types of educated and experienced people that will give 30 minutes to listen to a guy like me, just talk and even makes stupid jokes sometimes, but part of the sad thing about that is I feel like I've learned a lot from my friends, but most of my friends are much older than I am.

And so at 41, I'm experiencing what a lot of people experience in retirement, which is the loss of good friends, like the loss of Juan Carlos. You experience a lot of loss, and to be honest, it can be painful at times, that some of my best friends are in their 70s and 80s, and some of them have passed away, and it's just something you're not, I wouldn't didn't think I would experience, but it's a comfort for all of us to recognize that those friends that prayed for me so often, those friends who poured into me and spent time with me, that although they passed on, they're rooting for me and they're rooting for us as a church, and they're watching us. They're cheering us on.

Isn't that encouraging, and that's why it's in the message of a race. It's like this author is saying, You are racing, and they're in the crowd now. They were racing. They passed the baton to you. Now you're racing and they're on the sidelines or they're up in the bleachers, and they're painted like they got theirselves painted shepherd's grove on them or something or whatever, you know, and they're going "Go, go, go". They're rooting for you because they understand the power that a single life can have. The author continues to say, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith".

What a positive view of sin that is. I know that's a strange thing to say. I'm a positive person, but to look and describe sin not as something you wallow in and all of this but to see it as something that entangles you, entangles you, that when your life is full of bitterness towards your neighbor, unforgiveness, gossip, greed, and hoarding, avarice, never giving to anyone, never serving, never helping, always angry, never trusting, always fearful. These kinds of things are not, these are things that encumber us from being able to carry on the race that was set before us. When you engage and allow those things in your life, you're like this girl who I just saw at our runway show, is a new type of fashion called extreme layering.

That's what it's called. It's supposed to be cool, but this is what the great cloud of witnesses sees. They see you as, like, wearing high heels and all of these things, and they're not upset at you. They're like, "Take it off. Get rid of all that bitterness, unforgiveness, greed, malice, fear. Let it go, and run the race that God has set before you so you can have victory in your life". Don't let it entangle you. "For the joy set before him", this is Jesus, "he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners that you will not grow weary and lose heart".

Looking to the cross reminds us of the Resurrection. In God's kingdom, there is no cross without a Resurrection. Jesus who laid his life down for us also bore in us firstfruits, and it was worth it. It was totally worth it for him to lay down his life. We forget, well, first, I should say, often, we remember how painful the cross was. We think of the physical pain, but too often, we forget the shame of the cross. Did you know when people were crucified by Rome, that as men, women, and yes, children, when those children, women, and men were crucified, they were not up on a high cross like we see in so many movies. The Roman law said they had to be hung on a cross at eye level, so when Jesus was hung on a cross, he wasn't up there. He was face to face with the people that were passing by, and it was usually on a road and they were naked.

So you'd had the Son of God, the greatest person who would ever lived not high and esteemed and but face to face, and most of the people just walked by while they watched God being killed by man. The author of Hebrews tells us, but look at the reward of that shame, right? How many of us are too embarrassed? There's too many things between us and what God has called us to. We're so worried about no. Nobody wants to hear the word no. I once heard a lady who was talking, was in the context of sales, but I think it applies really well to the Christian life. She said, You should go for no because before every yes, there's 100 noes. I might ask you the question, you hate hearing no, but what if between you and your dream, you needed to get 26 noes? What if I told you that right now, I guarantee you, you have 26 noes, and then the 27th is gonna be a yes, you would hurry to get that no, wouldn't you?

You wouldn't think about being embarrassed. You'd be like, I gotta get my noes out of the way so I can get my yes, and it's so often we don't attempt things and do things for God or for others, because we're worried about some form of no. I don't want to be embarrassed, and of course, that's human nature. I don't want to be embarrassed. I don't want to be humiliated, have to get a lot of noes before you get a yes. I think, often, when we talk about running the race, about advice that was given to me by a good friend Earl Larmer, who is such a wonderful man. He's for sure watching this right now. Hi, Earl, nice to see you. How's the weather down there in Australia? It's winter now.

Earl is the chairman of our board. He's a successful guy. Has done very well in business. Has been super generous to this ministry and many other ministries, but he was also a worship leader at his Baptist Church, an organist, wonderful man, and I asked him, or I think Hannah asked him once in a meal, "What's the best piece of advice you would give to younger people today to do well in life"? The first thing he said was have enthusiasm and outgoingness. He was quoting Dr. Peel when he said that. He said the second thing is you realize in life that so much of the win, so many of the wins that you have are just won by a nose. In a horse race, he said, you'll see these horses racing, and that one horse will be just one nose ahead of the other horse, but the reward will be sometimes millions of dollars more, and we don't realize in life that to just be a little nose ahead, a little further than you were, a little better than you thought, a little extra doesn't, give you just a little more.

It gives you a lot more, and see, friend, that's where this idea of free time comes in, is that, we have to use all our free time for this, but a little more is gonna go a long way. I have a watch on that was given to me by another friend, a friend of ours, Helen, who actually passed away this year too, a great friend of ours. Wow, my arm hair looks humongous on this screen. That's so gross. You can't even see the watch. It's, like, in a forest. Well, this is the watch I'm wearing now and Helen gave me this watch. It looks expensive. It's not. It's probably 100-dollar watch or so, but I love it. You know, I really like this watch because of that horse, somehow reminds me of Monopoly, but it also reminds me of this line that just give it a little extra consistently over time, and the rewards will be exponential.

So change your philosophy today. Your philosophy is perfectly designed to give you the results you're getting. Yes, that sounds harsh. I'm not saying that to judge anyone. I'm saying that to encourage you, is that we are always tempted, when we're not quite where we want to be, to blame others. Change your philosophy today. You have the power in you, through Christ Jesus, to build any kind of life you wanna build. He's laid it before you. It is easy in life to blame. My daughter, I was talking to her on the way to school once. I said, "Haven, when you hear the word 'blame' or when you think about blaming, just hear B dash lame. Be lame. Don't hear blame. Hear B Lame".

It's not that the people you're blaming are not at fault. It's that there's always someone to blame, and when you blame others, you're choosing not to take responsibility. You're choosing not to go around, go over, dig through, or make a new plan. You're giving yourself a license to quit and to be embittered to a world that has much to blame for your setbacks, but it's lame. Nobody plays a video game and when they get to the dragon who's guarding the princess says, "That dragon, that is not fair. That dragon put that princess, and that is not", no, you kill the dragon. You slay the dragon. See, this is life, and it's hard to kill dragons, isn't it? It's hard. Dragons are scary, and they're big, and they're tough and scary, so it's much easier to just go, "That is not fair at all, and that stupid dragon, I'm out of here". And the princess is never saved, and that's life so after you see, so the princess is stuck and the dragon is alive and so on and so forth.

So change your philosophy. You're never too old to change your philosophy. Though often you're too young to change a philosophy, I have learned that, and people do not like to change their philosophy, but you want a better marriage, and very often, people in a marriage, when they think about having a better marriage, they think of a different person. They think, "The problem with my marriage is my spouse, if only they would change". See, they're blaming their spouse, but that relationship used to be pretty good or you wouldn't have gotten married. You certainly would've gone on a second date, I think.

So maybe the person that needs to change is you. Very often, people who are single, they want to meet somebody, and when they think about meeting somebody, they think about the person they want to meet rather than the person who's meetable, that is becoming someone new, becoming a person who's more attractive to another person in every sense of the word. I don't just mean physically, but someone who is healthy and someone who is friendly and someone who likes nice experiences and likes to have meaningful conversations. Yes, everybody wants those from somebody else, but nobody looks in the mirror and says, I wanna become that kind of person.

Well, that's a new philosophy, and that will change your life. You want new friends, you want to be surrounded by healthy friends? Get healthier. If you're a healthier person, if you're a more positive person, you're gonna attract those kinds of people in your life. In other words, stop blaming other people and begin to take responsibility by applying in your free time the little changes that make the big difference. Even now, so many of you are thinking about someone else who needs to hear this sermon. You're thinking, "John needs to hear this. I need to send this to my sister. Oh, if only my mother would hear this sermon, she blames everyone. She's the worst". You see?

So even then, it's a temptation. It's always somebody else's fault. See, that philosophy will never lead you to any kind of victory. It will never help you overcome. Change your philosophy. Use your free time to become the kind of person you want to be. Use your free time to get the life you want rather than escape the life you have. You're planting seeds in your free time, you know. Every minute of your free time is planting a seed for your future, and there it is. You just put it in the ground, and the more of that thing you do, the more it grows, whether it's bad or good, you're planting seeds in your free time. I used to complain about my financial life, for example. It's politicians' fault.

You know, once I get my president, then my financial situation will get better, and you know what? I got that president, and my financial situation did not get worse, and so you know what I did? I didn't look in the mirror and say, "Add more value to the marketplace". I looked in the mirror and I said, "We need to get the party out of Congress. That's the problem. They're stopping the president," right? Can I just guarantee you that no politician is gonna save you. No government is gonna save you. I used to look at prices. We did this today here, a lot of this in the church now with inflation. Prices are too high. Well, guess what? I used to complain about prices being too high. I thought, "If prices came down, my life would get better". And guess what? In 2008, all the prices came down. Did my life get better? It got worse. It got harder.

Oh, interesting. If prices come down, that means people don't wanna pay me as much either. My price has to come down. I didn't think of that, but of course, in the kingdom of God, it's not about money. It's just that, so often we think, "I have too many burdens, too many responsibilities in my life". The truth is I can't say that when I watch so much baseball. I remember there was a time in my life when the angels signed Albert Pujals, who was considered, at the time, probably the greatest baseball player in the league, and they signed a guy named Josh Hamilton, who had a lot of promise, and there was this new player Mike Trout, who was, like, really impressive, and this was the lineup. That season, first of all, how many of you know how many baseball games there are in a professional baseball season? Hundred sixty-two, Greg, that's right. Guess how many games I watched that season?

When I was complaining about the government and prices and I had too much responsibility and things were not fair, and oh yeah, my neighbor Joe... and when I was saying all that, guess how many games I watched that season? A hundred sixty two. And they didn't even make it to the world series, and I started calling the Angels the "Cash for Clunkers" program. A few of you got that. It was a good joke. The more we blame, the more entrenched we get in the life we have. The more we take responsibility and use our free time to become the person we want, the better our life gets. Not always. It gets harder. Sometimes it's training, but training, that tough thing you do today, "Training," Craig Groeschel says, "is doing what I can today to enable me to do even more tomorrow".

If you want more free time, use your free time now to become the kind of person who has victory in the things God has set before you. There's so many opportunities, but instead of next time, when you have a little free time, reaching for your phone, quiet your heart and pray the Lord's prayer. Next time you have a little moment alone, instead of reaching for the remote control, grab that book you've been meaning to read. Nonfiction, please, if you can. When you go to bed at night, take just a couple of minutes and think about your day and the encounters you had with people and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to forgive you of your sins and to help you see where you were not the kind of person you wanted to be in that day and to do better tomorrow.

Oh, will that make a difference in your life. Oh, it will. Read more books. Spend more time asking questions rather than telling everybody, yes, and I recognize the irony of a preacher saying that, right, I'm telling everybody what to do, but it should always come from a place of inquiry, curiosity, asking people how they got where they are, surrounding yourself with people that have the kind of life that you want to have, and if you do these things, if you apply your free time to the Lord and to the life you want, everything will change. Use your free time to get the life you want rather than escape the life you have. If you do that long enough, things will change in your life, and eventually, people will look to you and say, "My goodness, she is lucky". But guess what? They'll say you were lucky, but the truth is you were responsible.

We thank you, Father, for free will, the ability to choose. Thank you, God, that we can train ourselves into the person you've called us to be, and we ask for your help. Thank you for your mercy and kindness and friendship towards us, and Lord we just pray, not any guilt or shame or anything like that. Thank you for things like TV and ice cream, but we pray Lord that you would help us use some of that free time to build ourselves up into the kind of people you've called us to be. We love you. It's in the strong name of Jesus we pray. All God's people said amen.

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