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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - God Can Do A Lot With Your Little

Bobby Schuller - God Can Do A Lot With Your Little

Bobby Schuller - God Can Do A Lot With Your Little

I think that there is something baked into the pie for all of us, that when we are not at peace with God and everything else in life is going well, something seems wrong. As Christians we believe that God sent Christ into the world to die on the cross and be raised from the dead so we could be at peace with God, so that there wouldn't be a temple anymore, but that we could be forgiven from our sins and come boldly before his throne and be filled with his Spirit. So often in life we feel far from God, and so often in life we are given these paths and choices, but we never choose the Lord.

And so, today I want to give you an opportunity, as I do every single Sunday, to make a decision to follow Christ. Sometimes you think, well, I like Jesus, or I like some religious people. I don't know, maybe it'll be for me, or something. Just choose today to follow Christ. Maybe you say, oh, maybe I grew up at church, or my grandma was religious, and I loved her, and she prayed for me a lot, but I don't... or maybe you say, I used to love the Lord, I used to have a heart for God, but something went wrong, and I've lost my way. I want to encourage you today to make a decision to follow Christ. And you do it right where you are. You don't need a priest, you don't need a pastor, you don't need any of those things. All you need is faith. And ask Christ to come into your heart, and everything will change.

Well, if you make that decision today, I want you to text the word "HOPE" to the number on the screen, and your life will never be the same. All right, here's a great question. Now, you all live in Irvine, so I know you're gonna know the answer to this. Not all of you live in Irvine, but some of you do, and if you do, you're gonna know the answer to this question. You're probably gonna have a good idea. If you're investing some money, what's a good return on investment? Now, we have had almost 0% interest rates for, what, 15 years since the 2008 housing crisis? There have been many reasons why the interest rates have stayed low, but because of that the return on investment for so many people is very, very low if you have cash to invest.

And now the interest rates are starting to creep up, some people are going, hey, I can open a savings account. Right now, I looked today, you can actually find a savings account that gives you 4%, and that doesn't sound like a lot, but that's a lot more than 0%, which is what it was a few weeks ago. So, what is a good return on investment? How many here you would say, I think if I had some money to invest, 10% would be a good return on my investment. Show of hands, anybody? That's pretty good, it's pretty good. How many would say 20% is a really good, really good, 20%? Some of you, you're like, "I'm in church, I don't believe in that". And then you're like, "20%, well, Lord, if you're looking, I'll take 20%," right, maybe? Who would say 30% is a pretty good return on investment? So, don't invest. If you don't think 30%, no hands went up for 30%.

And I don't have Irene to look at anymore. Anyway, Jesus tells us this interesting thing. He says... now, when I was growing up, when someone would do something bad, my mom or my grandma, or someone that was good in my life would say if something bad happened to them, you might hear them say, "You reap what you sow". You ever heard that? You ever heard your grandma, your mom, your dad, your pastor say, "Well, you reap what you sow"? You ever hear that? Now, Jesus actually, those are the words of Jesus, and that's true, when you sow evil, you get evil, but really this is talking about positive things, and I thought for so long, and so many of us did, you reap what you sow has to do if you do bad things, the bad things come back in your life, but Jesus doesn't say actually you reap what you sow. He says, "Whatever you sow, your return on that sowing," you ready for this? You ready for this? Your return on that sewing is 3,000%, 6,000%, and 10,000%. That's a pretty good return.

Hey, you think that's a good return on investment, Pastor Tim? Would you take 10,000%? He says, "Yes sir". Now, all of you go, okay stupid pastor, talking about money. Listen, this is about money, and it's about friendship, and it's about joy in life, and it's about the fullest life ever imaginable. When we plant in God's kingdom, we reap 3,000%, 6,000%, and 10,000% of whatever we put there. The Lord tells us, he says in that same sermon where he talks about you reap what you sow, he says, "Those things that you sow," what are those things? It is words. We talked about this last week, it's words. When you plant the words of God, when you plant the kinds of words in your life and they land on good soil, they will bear a tremendous harvest in your life.

Today I want to talk about this very simple thing, is that if you give God a little bit, he can do a lot. If you give God an apple seed, he can give you an apple tree. Too many of us, we think I gotta grow it to a seedling, and God just says, "Put the seed in the ground". So many of us think, I've gotta prepare, I gotta think, I gotta read, and those are all good things, but very often we forget, just do something. Just do something. Invest in yourself and take a step out and do something with what God's given you. Speaking of finance, I'm gonna begin this first part of my sermon with money, I gotta finish with money, and who knows more about money than Warren Buffett?

If you're not familiar with Warren Buffett, he's considered one of the great investors of all time, and he and his business partner, Charlie Munger, they lead a company called Berkshire Hathaway that, you know, they're big stockholders in Apple and Coca-Cola, and that's what they'll do. They'll sit up there, and they'll do these stockholder meetings every year, and it's hilarious and fun. It's really enjoyable. You feel like you're listening to your two grandpas give, you know, shared wisdom, They're kind of like yin and yang, and they always drink Diet Coke and eat See's Candy, and they field questions, and and it's fun to watch them field these questions they're not even prepared for.

And one of these meetings that I was watching online, a young man who had saved up $1,000 raised his hands, and he said, "Mr. Buffett, I know you're the Oracle of Omaha, you're a, you know, successful investor, and I'm a young man starting out in life, and I've, you know, worked hard to save $1,000. What's the best way? Obviously I can't buy Berkshire Hathaway stock, that's, like, $200-something-thousand a share. He says, What do I do until I can buy Berkshire Hathaway stock? What's the best way to invest $1,000"? And I heard the best answer I've ever heard in my life. It's a great answer. Here's what he said. He said, "Don't buy S&P 500 index funds, don't buy gold, don't buy a business. Use that $1,000 to grow as a person. Invest in you. Invest in a course, invest in a book, invest in something that will cause you to be more valuable to the marketplace".

In other words, he's saying, invest in yourself in a way that you'll get more per hour than you would have before that $1,000. And he said, "Whatever you learn in life," and I love this phrase, "it can't be inflated away. Nobody can take away what you learn in life. You'll always have it, even if the money runs out". And I thought, well, hold on, that sounds like someone I know. That sounds like something Jesus said. "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal, and for wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also". That is the idea that when you invest in the kingdom of God, which is things like the right kind of prayers, the right kind of teachers, the right kind of mentors, the right kind of sermons, the right kind of books, when you invest in those kinds of things, they come back 30, 60, 100fold, or as I like to say, 3,000% 6,000%, and 10,000%. It's the same thing.

Now, to be that kind of a person, we have to be not only hearers of the Word, but what what James says, we have to be doers. Now, when I went to seminary to become a minister, it's four years of graduate work, I went kicking and screaming. You know, sometimes people don't call it seminary, they call it cemetery, why? Because that's where people who have a heart for God go to lose their faith and die spiritually. That's what I thought. And it's amazing how similar those words are, seminary and cemetery. Cemetery is where dead people are buried in the ground, right? But a seminary, actually the original word for seminary, it means where seeds are planted to grow into seedlings. The idea is it's like a nursery for little plants. You grow these seeds into little plants, and you take those seedlings, and then you plant them all around the world.

So, what makes the experience different for someone, whether it's cemetery or seminary? And I will tell you, this is the biggest difference that I noticed when I was there. There were some students who, as they were learning were doing ministry, and there were other students who didn't have time for all that ministry stuff. They had to focus on reading and studying and taking courses. And what I noticed is that the people who, even if they were just volunteering at their church or they were a youth pastor or they were doing some kind of social service or something, their hearts grew like a nursery and flourished. But the people who didn't have time for all that ministry stuff came out doubting God, doubting the Bible, asking questions like, "Did God really say", became very academic, but really didn't do much good for the world.

And that's not always true, it's a broad stroke. Lots of people did just learning and they did great. But that was a big thing I noticed, is that when they were doing at the same time as they were learning, it was turning into something valuable. That's a lesson for us. We gotta be doers, we gotta be hearers. You don't want to do without hearing, you don't want to hear without doing. We call that, ready, fire, aim. Now, you say that sounds silly. Ready, fire, aim, and I tell you, ready, fire, aim is the best way to do life. And maybe that's a Schuller thing, I don't know, but there is something about ready, you get a little bit ready; fire, you do the thing; aim, you go back and you fix what you messed up. Unless you do a thing, you're not gonna know how to fix it. Unless you mess up first, you're not gonna know how to do it right.

And the books are helpful, and the videos are helpful, and the courses are helpful, but eventually you have to get out there and stink. You have to stink before you smell good. Just ask any baby. This is life, right? This is what it means to mature. You have to be weak before you're strong, you have to be green behind the ears before you're a veteran, you have to be scared before you're brave. Life is about stepping out and doing while you're learning. And so, that is the message, really, of the scripture today that we read, Jonah chapter 3, and we're gonna get to this in just a minute. Hannah already read it, I'll repeat it, but Jonah is a wonderful story. It's very short, four chapters, but it takes place in the Bronze Age during the time of the Acadian Assyrian Empire.

I did a sermon about a year ago in the whole history of the Acadian Assyrians and Nineveh, and it's very good, and I recommend you go back and listen to it. But I don't have time to talk about all that today. The key message, though, is God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh, which is the heart of the Assyrian empire, a 2,000 year old brutal empire made up of the worst villains you could possibly imagine. And the kings of these kingdoms murdered and tortured people and bragged about it, almost like PR, and they did it to keep people pressed down and in their kingdom. And so, God tells Jonah, "Go there and tell them to repent". And Jonah goes in the opposite direction. God says, "Go east," Jonah goes west.

And, of course, we know that he's swallowed by whatever sea monster, a fish, a whale, whatever it is, and that fish or sea monster seems like punishment. It's actually God's mercy. Keeps him from drowning, and it brings him back to Nineveh, it brings him back to his calling. And it's while he's there in this fish or whatever it is that he says some of the most profound words in all of scripture. He says, "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy". I know it sounds like Shakespeare, but I'll say it again. "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy". What's a lying vanity? It's the ocean, it's the whale, it's the city of Nineveh, it's evil. Jonah says that when all of those things are in God's kingdom, they're all smoke and mirrors. They're smoke and mirrors.

And if that causes you to go west when God wants you to go east, if that causes you to stay in your home when he says to go out there, if that causes you to shell up when he says go out there and pray and share your faith and give and build something great, then you are forsaking your own mercy by observing what he calls lying vanities, smoke and mirrors. Have you ever done that before? I know I have. We do it all the time. But a day will come in your life when you will see those lying vanities for what they are, and you will step through the smoke and mirrors and recognize that it was in God's hands all along. Ready, fire, aim. We call that ready, fire, aim. It's good, try it sometime. And that brings us to the actual story.

Jonah's dumped at the gates of Nineveh, a humongous city in a time that was mostly tribal people. Some historians believe the walls of Nineveh, just to give you an idea, were in a circumference of somewhere between 8 miles and 18 miles. The thickness of the walls was 50 feet thick, and the height of the walls was 150 feet high. That's 15 stories. To give you some perspective, this building is 30 feet high, so those walls were 150 feet high in a time where there was no such thing as steel buildings. They were skyscraper walls, and they would race horses around, and they would kill people, and this is where Jonah was supposed to go. And he just, trusting his life to God, walks into the city, and it says this.

"Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 'Go to the great city of Ninevah and proclaim to it the message I give you.' Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord". Everybody say obeyed. It's amazing what God can do in your life if you just obey him. And I don't mean obey him like, don't smoke, don't drink, don't chew, don't go with girls that do. I mean step out in faith in your life and build and do something great. Okay, "Now Nineveh was a large city". How large? He tells you. It took three days to go through it. Wow. And Jonah began by going a day's journey into the city, proclaiming, "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown".

Now, if I sound like Eeyore as I'm saying that, "Forty more days and Nineveh novel will be overthrown," that's how I imagine him saying it. Now, if you were a Jew in Jesus's day and you're reading the scripture and it was a Saturday and you're in synagogue and you're with your family and you're studying the scriptures, something would stand out about this prophecy. Its brevity, and it's boringness. All of the prophecies in the Old Testament go on for chapters and chapters, and they're full of the best stuff, like a horror film. Hellfire, brimstone, angels with flaming eyes and swords and arms and all sorts of crazy stuff, and, you know, sulfuric acid, and people melting and turning into salt, and it just goes on and on and on. It's really scary stuff.

If you look at Jeremiah, there's 52 chapters. If you look at like Isaiah, 66 chapters, and this is not positive stuff. And most of it, it's bad stuff, and nobody listens ever. And Jonah goes into Nineveh and he doesn't even ask them to repent or anything, he just says, "Forty more days and Nineveh will fall". Boring sermon, not scary at all, and everyone freaks out. Freaks out. It says, "Right away the people began to repent and cover themselves in sackcloth and pray". And it says that this message got to the king, and the king was cut straight to the heart. He took his robes off and put on sackcloth and fell into the dust and wept, and then he sent an order that the whole kingdom and the whole city and the animals included will not eat food, will not drink anything, that they will weep and pray and urgently ask and call upon God, everyone, and they will give up their evil ways, and they will turn from violence, and then it finishes with this great line. "Who knows? Maybe the Lord will relent".

Now, that is what you call a good sermon, "Forty more days". And can I just tell you, God can do a lot with a little. This is why I stopped worrying about my sermons. I stopped worrying about making them amazing. I do my best, but I understood from this passage that if the Lord is in the words, the words will get into the people. If the Lord is in the word, the word will get into the people, and it will change them. This is so often in life we think, "I gotta put 52 chapters together before I preach it. I gotta put 66 chapters together before I get out there". And God is just saying, "Just go out there and say, 'Forty more days and Nineveh will fall.'"

Too often we don't pray with people that are hurting. We think they won't want that. We don't reach out and meet people. We don't look for a new church. We won't read a new book. We won't do the things we need to do to become who we're called to be, and that's all God is asking us to do. He's asking us to do a thing, and all we gotta do is obey, and just watch how your life will change. Can I say this? Obedience is enough for God. So often we think that a life of faith or having a great life for God, it's about taking a huge leap, but it's really not. It's not about stepping, it's about walking. When you follow Christ, yeah, there is a step you gotta take, there's a lot of steps. It's like walking from here to L.A. You want to do that? You can do it. Take about three or four hours, maybe five. It's faster than driving. But you don't just take one step, you gotta take several steps, right?

That's what you gotta do. And it's weird how as you do a lot of little things that just keep messing up over and over how that ends up being the catalyst for greatness in your life. You wanna be a great person? You have to stink first. You gotta stink first before you smell good, as I said before. A great example of this from an awesome book called "Atomic Habits". It's not a Christian book, but it'll really help you develop the kind of habits you want in life. Story about Jerry Uelsmann, who's a professor at University of Florida, did a little experiment. He split his classroom into two. On one side of the class he said, "All right, you guys in this photography class, your grade is gonna be based 100% on quantity. All you have to do, if you shoot 100 photos, you get an A. They can stink, they can be terrible, whatever it is, 100 photos, you get an A; 90 photos, you get a B; 80 photos, you get a C; 70 photos, you get a..."

Pretty good. Math. Anyway, and on that side of his classroom, he said, "You guys, all you have to do is take one awesome picture, and I'll just, all you have to do is one picture the whole year, and I will grade you on the quality of that one picture". And guess what? At the end of the year the quantity people who were not even asked to take good pictures had the most amazing photos, and the people who only had to take one at the end of the year had a bunch of theories and ideas about how to take a great photo, almost everybody had one okay, mediocre photo. I don't know about you, but if I was on that side of the room, it would have been the night before, and I'd be like, oh yeah, I gotta take my photo.

Anyway, Jim Rohn, you might remember Jim Rohn back in the '70s and '80s. He had these old tapes to listen to. He called this and other people call this the law of averages. It's the idea that you just do it over and over and over, you're eventually gonna get a winner. He was doing it to train salespeople, but it's true in general in life. He would say, "If you just get out there and ask 100 people the worst sales pitch ever, 'You wouldn't want to buy something would you?'" He said, "Almost everybody's gonna say no, but eventually somebody's gonna go, 'Well, I don't know, what do you have for sale?'" And I actually did this in life, something similar to this when I started a church, planting a church with just a couple of friends, it's very hard. But I would go around and just ask people that I would meet, "You wouldn't want to come to my church, would you? It's on Sunday".

And, you know, just through doing that and other things, we grew our church to 300 people. And it was interesting how in life, "You wouldn't wanna," you know, whatever, "You wouldn't wanna," how just even the worst sales pitch ever can make a difference because you're out there doing something. John Wimber, who is a big part of the Vineyard Movement was so troubled because when he was a part of... as Calvary was starting, they were going through scripture line by line, verse by verse, he just kept, every time they got to the healing passages, he was saying, "Why is there no more healing anymore? Why don't we see things like this today? It was happening in the early church, why wouldn't it happen today"?

And so, when he started praying in his little group, this is something somebody told me, I can't verify, but they just started praying for elbows. Like, let's start with something small we can all really believe. And so, anytime somebody had elbow pain, they would pray for elbows, and guess how many people got healed? Nobody. They were like, well, just keep praying for elbows, and then eventually they got their elbow miracle. Huzzah. We got an elbow miracle. That's miracle number one. And that was the beginning of a ministry that was full of lots and lots of miracles. We call that the law of averages. We call that ready, fire, aim. And so, there is something about not thinking too much. There's a time to think, and there's a time to do. Don't think when it's time to do, and don't do when it's time to think. And learn the difference. You'll make a huge, it would be a huge blessing in your life.

And so, I just found out that in life failure is is just an important part of winning, and short term failure is always going to be a part of God's long term plan for you. That's something we just have to wrestle with. This guy was very often like, if you go to the gym, I remember I used to work out, I'd have friends all the time that they want me to teach them how to train back when I did that sort of thing. I had a friend, we went for three weeks, and he was overweight, and then after three weeks he looked in the mirror, he goes, "I look fatter". And I said, "Well, you build some muscle, it pushes the fat out more". You know, he said, "I don't like this at all". And I said, "Well, just stick with it. You know, the muscle will eat the fat. You got to give it some time".

But, like any kind of change, physical change doesn't take three weeks. It takes months, right? Months of discipline, It takes a commitment to this. What we think of in short term failure is really often part of our training for long term win. Here's a great way of thinking about it when you think about your big dream, your big goal, the big thing you feel like God's called you to do. What if, what if God just wrote you a letter, and in the letter he said, "Before I give you your yes, I want you to get 25 no's". Think about that. If you got that promise from God, what if I told you to get 25 no's before I give you a yes? You would probably get out there and try and just get those 25 no's done in a couple of days, right? Just get them all done, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, and then you know your yes is there.

And can I tell you? Life is very much like this, that you've got to get a lot of no's. What if you need to interview for 25 jobs and get turned down before you get your dream job? What if you need to pitch 25 people to sell your thing before you get the yes? What if you have to go on 25 bad dates before you meet the spouse you're looking for? What if you have to check out 25 churches? Not here, everybody here already found your church, but I'm saying for you on TV, you're watching on TV who are still looking, some of you, you have to go look at 25 bad churches that are all sorts of 25 different flavors of bad before you get the right one? Will it be worth it? It's a lot better than no church, no spouse, no job, no sale. Can I get an amen from the church? There's 25 failures for every victory, and those failures are a part of growing and becoming you 2.0. That's what we do.

Here's the other thing we gotta handle. We gotta not just handle failure, we have to handle the one thing worse than failure for Americans. You ready for it? What's the one thing that's worse than failure? The word is boredom. Some of you are like, "Sorry, what did he say? It was boring". James Clear, same author of that book I just mentioned, was interviewing a coach for Olympians, and he said, "I get all the greatest athletes, and almost all of them come to me, and they have about the same natural talent". "So, what's the difference between the ones who get that little extra to become Olympians and the others who don't"? And the answer was so surprising to me. He says, "The real Olympians are the ones who can handle the boredom of training".

See, what happens after you become an expert at something, you're very good at it, if you want to be elite, if you're really good at something, you've already done thousands of hours of it, it's now boring for you. So you have to keep, you have to be comfortable with that bored space to hit that, like, next level of elite thing. Maybe some of you, that's what's getting you down, is you're getting so good at what you do, you're kind of getting bored. How many here know that sometimes, I know some of you are saints and you don't think sometimes the Bible is a little boring.

I'm a pastor, I'm telling you, a lot of the Bible is a lot boring, very boring. Some of the best textbooks, boring. Some of the best sermons, boring. Some of the best mentors, boring. You have to get through the lack of entertainment and exoticness to get the meat and potatoes, to get through. Speaking of boredom, this sermon is over. We reached the end, you're welcome. God can do a lot with your little. He says, "You draw near to me, I'll draw near to you". If you don't draw near to God, he you won't draw near to you, I don't think. Maybe he will sometimes, but you got to do something, and watch what God can do with that.

So, Father, we come to you in Jesus's name. It's the only way we can come to you. And we thank you that our brother, Christ, paved the way that we could come boldly before your throne. Thank you that you don't see us as sinners. You see us as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Thank you for the scriptures and for your covenant with us. Thank you that you love us. I pray for a great deal of courage and hope in the hearts of every person here, that they would step out in faith. We love you, God. It's in Jesus's name we pray. All God's people said amen.

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