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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - God Can Change You If You Let Him

Bobby Schuller - God Can Change You If You Let Him

Bobby Schuller - God Can Change You If You Let Him

Whoever you are, would you stand with me? We're gonna say this creed together. Hold your hands out like this as a way of receiving from the Holy Spirit. 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. Actually, I hope you all don't mind, it's 104 degrees outside, we have a lot of glass here, and our air conditioning is struggling to keep it cool. I'm gonna preach without my jacket on if you don't mind. Okay, okay, maybe I'll get rid of the jacket altogether. Choir, can you guys take your folders and just... all at the same time? Little more. Oh, I can actually feel it, that's good. Cool, thanks guys, I feel better now. I appreciate it. My BO went from, like, an eight to a six. That's good. Yup, I said BO.

All right, well, welcome everyone. Today I want to talk about your future. What's your future like? Future is a precarious thing. Many of us worry about it, whether it's tomorrow or a month from now, whether it's our inevitable death. Can I tell you, I don't know what your future holds, but I can tell you that whatever current situation you're in today, the future will be a lot better if you move towards it with faith rather than fear. A life full of faith, trusting in God and in his Word and even faith in other people, those that deserve it, is such a better way to live life than to always try to predict or control the bad that may come in the future.

Today I want to encourage you, let faith not fear shape your future. Let faith not fear shape your future. There is something about living a life of real faith. Many of us who are believers have been for a long time, some of us have experienced this moment where maybe in the natural not everything is great, but something on the inside has changed, and you feel in a real sense that you don't know why, but something good is about to happen. You don't know why, but you believe a door is about to open or the thing you're struggling with is about to change or something, but you just get this sense that something good is about to happen. And although faith is not a feeling, it's a trust in God's Word, there's something wonderful when you decide that your behavior is going to respond to the promises and processes of the Lord rather than all the things in life that we cannot control. How can you love your neighbor without faith?

If you think your neighbor is out to get you, if you think God doesn't really love you, if you think that for someone to be loved and treated with dignity, they have to do a few things right, how can you truly love your neighbor? Especially if they're your enemy. Loving your enemy is one of the surest ways that you can prove to God that you trust your life to him. How can we forgive people who have offended us or hurt us or betrayed us even when we ourselves don't believe that forgiveness comes so easily? If we are riddled with shame and guilt, how can we forgive other people if they're not up to our standards? If we don't have faith in our life, how can we be generous to our neighbors and to those who need it even to the point of stretching?

Yeah, many of us are generous, but it doesn't hurt. But God calls us to give in a way that stretches. How can we give in that way, give not just our money, but our time? Time is a precious thing, especially when you're in a hurry, when you're a busy person. How can we give of our lives if we think, I've only a little time, I've only got a little money? Fear causes us to hoard whatever it is, our time, our money, and our life, but faith opens our whole life as a fist opens to embrace a friend, so does our heart open to the kingdom of God and to serve and to love our neighbors. But it's faith that does it, it's faith, not fear. How can you build your dream, your future, your business, your ministry your family, how can you have an idea that's bigger than is possible for you if you don't have some faith?

We all need a reason to wake up in the morning. We need something to live for, we need something we can picture in our mind that if I had this or made this thing or did this thing, it would mean something to me. We all need that in our life, but how can we have that if we live life afraid and are always trying to control what we cannot control and are crippled by worry about the future? My friend, let faith not fear shape your future. Let faith shape your future. You'll be glad you did. It'll make all the difference in the world. There are many children here in the United States that need help from the government, many adults too. Here's a picture of a child using an EBT coin, they're coins now, and she's using this to pay for groceries for her parents.

When I was a young man, and I still do, but when I was a young man, I felt so bad for a child like this. I thought if only they could have the childhood like so many of us did, but, you know, now being a dad myself, it's been said, don't prepare the road for the child, prepare the child for the road. That's a hard thing to do as a parent. And now growing up in the wealthiest county in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world, I have seen the harm that has been done to children whose roads have been prepared for them, who have never gone a day hungry, who have never been worried about the rain, children who have a whole plan set out for them by their parents, and have the whole thing paved and paid for.

Many of those children, even if they walked that path, resent it, and yet are crippled by fear because they're worried about what their life would be like if they didn't get into that school or didn't get that job or couldn't own that car, couldn't whatever. There is a gift in having nothing and being a believer. It's the same gift that you got from fasting. It's learning that God will always provide for you your daily bread, and all that you need when you need it. You don't really believe that until you experience it, but when you do, you switch from an abundant life in the natural but it's crippled because it feels like a life of lack, you abandon that life of lack and receive a life of abundance when you start getting your daily bread.

Hannah, by the way, grew up like one of those children with EBT coins, you know? Hannah and her family, they grew up in a town, little town called, you have to say it this way, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Tahlequah. It's actually a really, I love Oklahoma, and Tahlequah is a one horse town, college town, and they grew up in section eight housing on food stamps and didn't have a lot. One day Hannah was doing the laundry with her mom, and there was a 20 dollar food stamp, which today is a lot, back then was a whole lot, and it had gone through the laundry, and then when they were folding, they found just the rolled up little paper balls and shreds of this thing. And her mom, of course, is going to throw it away, and I don't know how, you were seven, eight, something like that? She said, "Don't throw it away, I think I can save it".

So, she took these little pieces home with her mom's permission, her mom said, "If you can save it, you can have it". She carefully pulled out every little bit and taped it all together with scotch tape, where it looked pretty decent. And then she went down to an ampm and went and got $20 worth of kid candy, which back then a whole dollar got you a whole lot. So, she had, like, you know, whole bunch of stuff with slushies, and just went, boom. And can you imagine this little girl, cute as a button, with this, you know, just food stamp, you know, handed the food's stamp to the guy at the cashier. And he took it. Is this not the picture of faith?

You know, ego gets in the way so often, but faith says it's not how good the stamp looks, it's what it says on the bill. This is a contract. This says this little girl gets $20 worth of whatever she wants, and the government's gonna pay for it. And I believe that this cashier will honor it, and he did. So much of life, a life of faith, is not about how things look or how you feel, it's whether or not you believe that the words on the contract are valid. You take an old $100 bill, and you thrown it on the ground, and you stomp on it and cover it in mud, and it's worth just as much as another $100 bill that just came off the mint. And in one year, they'll all be worth 10% less. Well, I think that those experiences build a person.

In fact, Hannah's dad, who was the man providing for that house that was heavily dependent on charity and on good will from the government now is a wealthy, very successful businessperson. I just went to a 23 acre campus he's building where he's constructed two lakes and blueberry farms. He's just finishing a 10,000 square foot bed and breakfast style house where he can have ministry meetings, and the blueberry fields are there so missionary teenagers can come and pluck berries and sell them and use the money to go on their humanitarian or missionary trips. And he's got this grand vision that was all designed by one of the world's greatest architects.

You know, there's something about having been somewhere with nothing and built it yourself, built it by faith, that does something good for a person that many of us who have grown up in a life of abundance lack a bit. That's what Jesus tells his disciples in Luke chapter 9 and 11, just go and don't take anything with you. And at the end he says, were you ever in need? And they said, never, never, Lord, never. Let faith shape your future. Live by faith. Do bold things for God. I remember there was a guy back in the day named Keith Wheeler. He came out of the Jesus movement, he was like this hippy, and he just decided that God had called him to take nothing except a literal cross and walk around the world with a cross. And he did it. And he just has these amazing stories of provision.

Do you all remember what a cactus cooler is? I love that drink, I haven't seen one in ages. But he was out in the middle of nowhere, walking down a road, carrying his cross, and he literally goes, man, I could go for a cactus cooler. And about five minutes later a truck pulls up, and he's like, they, like, go, "Hey, it looks hot out here, you want some cactus cooler"? That's a real story. You might think, well, what's a cactus cooler? Well, it's a lot to someone on a hot day. I remember when Hannah and I, we saved up $50,000, it took us 10 years to save up $50,000, and that was for our retirement. It was a nest egg, and it was more money than we ever thought we could get together. And then God called him us to plant a church, and we did.

And when we planted that church, the Lord told us to give away every bit of money that came into the church to the poor, and we did. We gave away every bit to someone who is in need of rent or needed groceries. Meanwhile, we were the poor ones. We didn't, you know, and we watched that $50,000 in about a year and a half whittle down to zero. But guess what? When we got to zero, we were never without. We still had our house, we still had a roof over our heads, we still had things when we needed it, and can I tell you the things I learned getting whittled down to zero was worth a lot more than $50,000. It was worth $1 million dollars, it was worth $10 million to know that all that I need is here, here. It's the Word of the Lord. You trust in it, and it will deliver. You trust in the Word, it will deliver.

The Holy Spirit is an ally, and what an ally he is. You trust your life to the Holy Spirit, you trust your life to Jesus, things will go well for you. Let faith not fear shape your future. And life will go really well. When your best friend owns a cattle on a thousand hills, he'll take care of you. Providence, we talk a lot in the reformed tradition, this tradition, is God's perfect will. But we forget, it's God's perfect will for you is always good. God's will for you is always good. Respond to that in faith.

In Jeremiah chapter 18 the prophet writes, "This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord. 'Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message.' So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred," that means it was kinda messed up, you know, didn't look good. It was marred in his hands, "So the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best for him. And the word of the Lord came to me and he said, 'Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?' Declares the Lord, 'Like clay in the hand of the Potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.'"

Let us leave our hearts in the hands of the Lord, and let us be malleable, pliable, soft, and tenderhearted in the hands of the Lord. That's what faith really is, faith is tenderhearted. Have you ever done anything with clay before? Have you ever seen someone shaping clay? You know what it's like to put your hands on the clay and maybe take a little more, a little less, and you shape it, and it goes wide or it goes high or maybe it gets lumpy or gets a weird stripe in it, so easy to fix it, to change it, to mold it. If God were a potter, I would imagine he would be the best potter there ever was, and that whatever pot he would make would be the most fantastic, beautiful, amazing pot anyone could ever imagine. Let our hearts be this clay in his hands. That's what it means to live by faith, is to trust that he has my life and the whole world in his hands.

If you knock over a lump of wet clay, you know what it says? No problem. Whatever. No problem. Wet clay is pliable, malleable, and changeable. We often think of soft things as fragile and hard things as robust, but boy is that the opposite. If you take a lump of clay that's dried out and been left alone and you push it off the edge, it's going to shatter into a million pieces. That doesn't sound robust to me, that sounds pretty fragile. Very often we think faith makes us hard, it makes us power up, it doesn't make us hard, it makes us soft, soft to the Word and the will of God, and boy is that a great place to be. It's wet clay that's robust.

If you have a piece of wet clay and you punch it, you know what that wet clay says? No problem. Take that wet clay, you push it off the table, and it hits the ground, you know what it's gonna say? No problem. Let our hearts be like wet clay in the hands of the Lord. Let us be tenderhearted people. Can we just say that tough minded faith always comes from tenderhearted people? And that we will ask of the Lord to shape us in whatever way he wills because we trust that the future that he can shape is better than the future that I can. And then that's just a better way to live, at peace with God and with my neighbor and with my future. You can be at peace with your future. It's very bright if you do it with Jesus. Let faith not fear shape your future. Fear, Dallas Willard said, was the anticipation of evil. Fear is the anticipation of evil.

So, It's the thing that says, don't trust anybody. It's the thing that says, are they gossiping about me? It's the thing that says, I gotta tell it like it is. I can't let them treat somebody else that way. Faith is the type of thing that labels people by their politics or by their religion or by their skin color or by their zip code or by the car they drive, and labels them outside. Fear is a life that obsesses about what's on the news channel, on what's going on in politics, I don't know about you, my friend, I only have one vote. I've only got one vote, and there are hundreds of millions of other people who have got one vote. The best I can do is vote my best and forget the rest. I just give it to the Lord.

Long After America is gone, the church will remain. It always has been and always will be. Long after Europe or any other nation that exists today is long gone, long after the whole world is swallowed up by the sun, the church will remain. The church is the body of Christ. It was built forever ago, and will continue on forever. Let us be a part of that future, because that's a bright future. It's a future that doesn't end. Let's not worry, but rather seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. This is what faith is. Fear obsesses about what you cannot control. Think about all the things you may be worried about. My guess, my friend, is 90% of them you can't control. I can't control that.

Here's another, here's a better question. Can I give it to the Lord? Can I trust him with it? What do you think, you think you can trust that to the Lord? I know it's scary, but I promise you, you can. Faith is the anticipation of victory. Faith is the anticipation of good based on God's character. God is only good, he only does what is good all the time no matter what, and that is a good thing. So, here's one of the best things about faith, is faith allows us to open our lives up to people. It's not just to God, but it's to people. And this is one of the things I realized recently, is the promise of people. Wow, the promise of people.

I remember the world's fair is an interesting thing. There have been world's fairs is going on for a long time they. They call it the Expo now, and in the year 2000, I was only 19 years old, and I was invited by David Maines, actually, to go and work at the world's fair with his company and ministry. And it's an awesome thing. They always do these great things where you have big countries with lots of money build their own pavilion, usually the host country, in this case it was Germany, built this gigantic, I wanna say 400 million euro building to showcase their nation. And each country had its own thing, and then the smaller countries shared a giant building, and they would have, like, little booths, and they always have an amazing, like, so, like the Eiffel Tower was built from the world's fair, the Seattle space needle is built from a world's fair.

Anyway, and I remember I wanted to go, but I was only 19 years old, I was a barista at Barnes and Noble, and I couldn't afford the thousands of dollars that it cost me to get there, and my Grandpa Schuller told me, "I'll pay your way if you fill your Rolodex with the people you meet there". If you fill your Rolodex with the people you meet there. Is there anybody here who's under 25, by the way, can you raise your hand real quick? Where is somebody, I saw a couple of hands go up, where? Do you know what a Rolodex is? From last service, he says, but you didn't before? Ha, ha, ha. That's good, that's good. He said, "Fill your Rolodex," and for those of you who are younger than I am, you don't know what a Rolodex is, but before cell phones it was this flippy ball thing, not ball, cylinder. You flip it, and it holds business cards and names and stuff.

He said, "Fill your Rolodex with people's names," and boy did I. What an awesome experience that was. When I got there, I was in people mode. And what a gift that was. I just went around glad handing, meeting people from all over the world, and it was just so interesting. And to this day I still have names and phone numbers of people I met on that trip 23 years ago who I could go and visit today in Germany or in the Middle East, knock on their door, they're going to answer the door, welcome me, give me a big hug. It's amazing, isn't it? All over, in Africa, in Asia.

I remember there was the funny thing about the world's fairs is there was, the United States was the only big country that didn't have a pavilion there, and it was because the spot they had was right in the front and last minute, according to the US. They gave the spot to Iran, which is like, you know, Iran and US are not on good terms now or even back then, and so the US withdrew, but they had McDonald's everywhere, and people loved it, and so they always called McDonald's the American pavilion. Hey, I'm going down to the American Pavilion and get a hamburger, you want one? And I remember I was walking around one of these big buildings with the, like, little booths, and walking by, and there was a big booth that said, Georgia.

And I went and I said, "George, well bless your heart". I said, "I didn't know Georgia was gonna have a booth here". And this big, burly man looks at me, and he goes, "Georgia is not state in America. Georgia is country". I'm like, I was like, "There's a country called Georgia"? He goes, "Georgia is great nation". And I did not get his name in my Rolodex. But he was, I can't, you know? But anyway, I think one of the things I really learned from that trip and I've carried with me my whole life is the value of people.

Wow, what a value there is in people and having a lot of friends, especially friends that come from different perspectives than you do. You want a real education, surround yourself with people who have different philosophies and conclusions. Especially surround yourself with people that have the kind of life that you want to have, that have the kind of character you want to have. It'll rub off on you. You know what Dr. Schuller taught me back then? He said, "Your network is your net worth". Boy, is that true. You might lose all your money, but if you still have your friends, you're in a good spot, my friend. You know how much money, my grandpa built the Crystal Cathedral, and it was tens of millions of dollars, I believe it was, like, maybe $10 million, $12 million, and that was back in the '70s.

You know how much of his own money he used to build that? I don't know, but I'm gonna go with zero. Between zero and a few hundred, that's my guess, I don't know. It was other people who believed in the vision. It was a network that paid for the dream. It was people who believed in him and supported the dream. And so, in this way it wasn't just faith in God, but faith in in people and believing in people that allowed his future to be shaped in the right way. The word confidence means with faith. Confide, it means you go into life trusting in life and trusting in the God of life who rules our hearts and minds. So, let us become and let us say soft hearted, tenderhearted. Let us have the tough minded faith that comes from tenderhearted people.

So, last story, I remember not long ago I was driving in the right lane at a good speed, and I saw a guy in a pick up truck barreling down, weaving in and out, and he went, and all the way around to the left and then came in front of my car, jetting over to get on the other freeway. And because I'm a Christian and a pastor, I usually don't give the American bird. I never give the American bird. I never flip people off. But there is something you can do, you can do a thumbs down and boo, which I do, is I'll go, boo, boo. And he looked at me, and he was flipping me off, and I was like, boo. That works, you know, it works, it's not quite as striking, but it's enough to get it off your chest. And I just was driving down the road and just feeling angry and frustrated, and then I sort of, like, thought to myself, I'm like, why am I still this way?

I don't wanna live like this. And then I was trying to listen to my book on tape, but I didn't hear anything 'cause I was still feeling angry. I prayed, I said, Lord, I don't want to feel this way. I don't know who that guy is, why am I letting this ruin my morning? And it was just a couple of weeks later, I was in my car, I was driving along, and some lady pulls up, and she goes, I can't hear her, but you can see, you know, the gums while she's yelling at me with flipping me off in the car, and instead of... and I was pretty sure I didn't do anything wrong, but I might have, and instead of going boo, boo, you're the worst, I just went, oh, sorry, so sorry, like this, and she looks at me, and she goes, it's okay, it's okay. I don't know what I did, I probably messed up somehow.

And I thought about that later, you know, I thought about I wonder how her day might have been different just depending on how I responded to that situation. It might have been half an hour, might have been the whole day if I had lashed out back at her. She might have been more curt with her kids or lost her temper with her husband or best friend or made a bad decision at work, but instead maybe she was able to go a little bit more graciously with the day because someone didn't let her have it. I'm done with letting people have it. How about you? I think I want to just have faith that God will take care of that. I don't need to sort it out, I don't need to tell it like it is, I don't need to fix people, I don't need to predict the future, all I gotta do is just trust the Lord with faith. Let faith not fear shape your future and your future will be a lot brighter, the whole world will open up to you, and things will be much better.

So, Lord, we ask for that in Jesus's name. Only you can do it, Lord. We ask for faith, we ask that we would rightly discern and understand the Bible, that it would be true in every aspect of our lives, and that today we can just trust our lives to you, and we do. We thank you, God, and we love you. It's in Jesus's name we pray, amen.

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