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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - How To Use Fear and Stress to Your Advantage

Bobby Schuller - How To Use Fear and Stress to Your Advantage

Bobby Schuller - How To Use Fear and Stress to Your Advantage
TOPICS: Fear, Stress

Wow. What do you think? You guys like your teacher? Yeah, she's pretty awesome. Well, you guys just finished, you were at "AGT," "America's Got Talent" eight times on NBC, and you just finished. We just want to say, Sarah, thank you so much for pouring into our kids and working so hard. We appreciate you and love you. Thanks guys, I appreciate you. Thank you. Thanks to the parents. Always have to say that, because I know it's a lot of work too. You guys work so hard. Everybody like, wow, they're so good. It's work, right? Hard work, hard work goes a long way. Well, welcome to Shepherd's Grove. We're so glad you're here. This is a place full of energy, of course. And we like that around here. Whoever you are, would you stand with us?

Hold your hands out like this is a way of receiving from the Lord. Let's say this together. I am 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. I'm gonna talk about the positive side of fear and stress in your life today. And I think that it's gonna help you a lot if you really listen to what I say. I think it'll help you in your career, I think it'll help you in your relationships, but if you don't hear this first thing, I almost don't care about the second part.

Here's the first thing. I want you to repent and believe the gospel. I want you to have eternal life. I want you to recognize that God loves you just as you are, not as you should be, and that even now he's working to bring you home in him, that all of us are born with a hunger and need to know and to be with God, and many of us think we can't do it unless we sort it out ourselves, but God has already sorted it out for us through Christ crucified. I wanna encourage you that if you trust in him, then you will be forgiven, and that you can start a whole new life today. Many of us, all of us in this room have done stuff we've regretted. We have shame, we have things that was, stuff that was done to us, things we were part of, and we still regret it. I want you to know God still loves you just as you are, not as you should be, and even now is willing to transform you into a whole new creation.

Everyone in this building is alive for a reason, and a part of it sounds crazy, but a part of capturing that reason is first being at peace with God, and you can be at peace with him today. If you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. And if you do that today, I want you to invite Christ into your heart. I want you to get baptized. If you're watching on television, I want you to plug into a good Bible believing church, and I also want you to text me the word "HOPE" to the number on the screen, and that way we can pray for you. It's the best decision you can make in your life. Now, there is so much unbelievable world changing power in this room. An incredible amount.

It's incredible when you think about what Jesus's 12 disciples, who were nobody fishermen, college age teenagers, all of us are here in this building because of those 12 guys in Israel 2,000 years ago, because they believed on the word of God and acted on it. And that is in and of itself a testimony for what you can do in your life if you simply have faith and trust in God. And I want to communicate a philosophy to you today that's helped me a lot about fear and stress, to actually see fear and stress is a good thing, something that can help you, something that could be a compass and a guide, something that can make you stronger, something that can show you what you really want and desire out of life.

Almost for sure everything you want in life, the thing you really want, the thing you were born to do, the art you were made to make, the business you're made to create, the ministry you're called to found, that between you and your destiny lies this scary shadow of a thing, this thing you're afraid of, that the way maybe you've always responded to it is by simply pretending like it's not there, when, in fact, it's ironically pointing you to the very thing that you need. We'll talk about that. You were born to do something great. You're born to change the world, you're born to change culture, society, make a thing. In fact, God, the Bible says we're created in God's image, and if there's one thing other than love that would describe God, it's that he's a Creator. I mean, look at the universe that we live in, all the colors and shapes and different things.

God is still creating today, and in a way to be made in his image is to also be a creator, be a maker, be a doer, to form things. And every day that we give into fear, we betray ourselves. Every day that we look at the thing between us and where we want to be in life and we say, "I'll do it tomorrow," or we say, "Actually, I'm gonna go watch TV," or we say, "I'm just gonna phone a friend," or "I'm gonna go get a nice sugary meal," and none of those are bad things, but when they become an excuse to not do what you're born to do, you betray yourself. Every time there's something you want to do and you have a choice to dive into it, even though it's hard and scary, or to wait, you decide whether to make your world bigger or make it smaller.

When you decide to go into the scary thing that you're afraid of, your world becomes bigger. When you decide to take a nap or have a meal or watch TV and do it tomorrow, your world becomes smaller. And you begin to train yourself to either be one who does it later or one who does it now. Let's become do it now people. Let's become the kind of brave people that the Lord needs that will do even silly things just for the sake of saying, "I will not be afraid". You are not made of cowardice or scary stuff. You're called to be a gift to the world. You're called to be a gift to the world. And I think so much of the stuff that we're ashamed of, so much of the... what we think of as sin or just outright sin or even harm that we do to others or to ourselves, it's very often us giving into the stress or the fear that lies between us and our destiny.

So, today I want you to see first stress as something that grows you, but even more importantly, I want you to see fear as a person. I want you to imagine like it's an actual guy or gal, or picture it as, like, an ogre sitting on treasure, or a dragon guarding a princess, or whatever it is, that the fear itself is a character in a book that is your story, and it's something that needs to be named and destroyed. And that the gift of fear is this. If you are afraid of the thing, that means that the thing it's guarding is important to you. Let me say it again. What we are afraid of when it comes to our calling, our art, or our work, the stuff we're most afraid of that creates the most emotional resistance in our life is a compass, a sign that's pointing to where we're actually supposed to go.

If you're playing a video game and you never get to any bosses, you're not playing it right. If you're watching a movie and you never get to a villain, you're not watching a good movie. The way you know where you're supposed to go next in life is the thing that makes you the most scared as it being associated with a calling, a work of art, a business, an organization, or it might be you need to get that spot checked on your back. Or it might be you need to reconcile with your kids, or you need to be serious about your faith, or you need to find a church, or you need to call your mother. There are these things in life that are super important that we're oftentimes afraid to do for whatever reason, and the more you want to put it off, the greater it is a sign from God that that's what exactly what you're supposed to do.

Do it now. Do it now so that your world becomes bigger and not smaller. Stop giving in to the resistance. Press against it, have utter contempt for it, and your world will get bigger. That is a Bobby Schuller promise. And it is actually a theme from scripture, and I'll show you this in just a moment. But that this theme is really repeated over and over through both the Old and the New Testament.

Now, before I get there, I want to make it a little more concrete. I'll give you three personal examples in my life. Here's the first one. One's from my childhood, one is from college, and one is from my professional life. The first one, if you've heard me preach long enough, I love this story, you've probably heard it before, but it's worth repeating. I was in seventh grade, and I went to a young life religious camp. And, you know, 90% of it is just having fun, to be honest with you, and in seventh grade I had no problem with that.

And one of the fun things we did was this thing called The Blob. It's hard to describe The Blob, so I brought a picture. It looks like a giant inflatable pillow that you put on the water, and it's like a weird version of like a teeter totter or a trampoline. Here's how it works. First kid goes, jumps from the platform, lands on the cushy platform, no big deal, then scoots from the left side to the right side, or we could say from the back to the front, to the edge of the thing.

And then a second person, a second kid, crawls to the top of that platform, and he or she jumps, and when he or she lands, the kid in the front goes into the air. Now, we've all understand basic physics. You know that the bigger the kid is who goes next, right? The higher you go. The smaller the kid is, the lower you go. And you go high. Let's just say that, and it's scary. I remember in seventh grade seeing these kids do this, remember watching from the shore, looking up, thinking, "I'm gonna do this, but not yet. I'm gonna do this, but not yet. Oh, that kid's too big, that kid's too big, I'm gonna do this, but not yet. That kid's too big". And I kept watching.

Now, we know we grow up, the more you think about doing something scary, the less likely you are to do it. The more you think about it, the less likely you are to do it. That's why if you even want to do it, just go for it. And I didn't go for it. I kept thinking, and I kept thinking, and I thought my way all the way home, and I never did it, you know? And I remember that year, that whole seventh grade year off and on thinking what a coward I was. "And, man, I wish I had done that. Man, I should have just done it. And what was that? What would that be like? And will I ever get a chance again"? So, the pain of regret and personal shame and, like, just this fear that I wasn't the brave enough kid to do it bothered me for a year.

In eigth grade I go back to Oakhurst, they go back to the same lake, the same Blob, probably 50% of the same kids. They all look the same, you know, acne and cracking voices and things. There I am, I'm looking at these kids doing this, they're all about the same size as they were before, and I had this counselor named Mike who is Hawaiian, and he's a big guy, you know? Picture not fat, not muscular, but, you know, like a lineman. And he's a super cool guy. I really looked up to him. He was standing next to me as I'm staring at it. I didn't even see him there. And he says in this Hawaiian accent, "You want to go on The Blob, don't you"? I looked at him and I was like, "Yeah, I kind of want to, but I'm kind of busy". "You, Bobby, you should do The Blob".

It's like, "Oh, I know, but I'm kind of worried, like, what if I get, like, a really big guy, and I get launched into orbit"? He's like, he's like, "Look, they're all kind of small right now. You should go now while they're kinda small. This is your chance". I was like, "Okay, you're right". And there's never a line for The Blob, there's just a crowd of people around, and it's like whoever is brave enough next will go. So, I just went right for it. I climbed up the ladder, I got up, and there was this tiny little kid at the end of The Blob, and he looks up, like, all scared, and there's this savage part of me that got excited when I saw that, because I forgot about what would happen to me for this brief moment, and I decided, I am going to launch this little guy.

This is hilarious. So, I do a cannonball, and I shoot him, and he goes flying into the air. He looks like a cat being thrown out of a window, and then I start scooting to the edge, and now my heart is pumping. I'm getting nervous, and I'm hoping that there's this, like, small girl that was behind me. And I turn around hoping to see the small girl, and who do I see but at the top of the platform is Mike, 250 pounds of Hawaiian meat standing on the platform. I look up at Mike, and I go, "Mike," in my loudest voice again, "Mike, noooooo", and just as I say this, Mike, who has this weird, like, tribal chant, like, something, as he's jumping off lands, and I do go, I don't know how high the kid went before me, but I went higher, and I was not a small kid, but I was a skinny kid, and I went flying, and I sprawled, and I landed, and I belly flopped, and I fell in the water, and here's what I want to say is everything, everything I was afraid of happened.

So, I was afraid, it was the biggest thing I was afraid of was a big kid, it was worse than that, it was a big grown up. And belly flopping, I was afraid of that, was afraid of flying through the air, I was afraid of looking stupid in front of all the cute girls. All of these things happened. The only thing that didn't happen was my bathing suit coming off. You know, it's like, and when I came out of the water, what were the emotions I had? Now, imagine you're there. Imagine you're me. After you're in the water, and you come out of the water, what's the emotion? Joy, relief, stoked, do it again, 100%. Do it again, and I did do it again. Freedom is a good word. Freedom from that thing that stood between me and what I really wanted, you see?

The fact that I was so afraid of it was an indicator that I was supposed to do it. If I wasn't afraid of it, probably meant I didn't really care about it. And this is how it is with your art and your work. This is the second example, a friend of mine, Chris, best friend in college, was gonna come out to California, visit me from Oklahoma. I was in love with his sister. Her name was Hannah, you might have met her, and Hannah had been dating my friend, and I met her in high school when I was 15, actually. Been dating my friend for three years. They finally break up, the day I find out they're breaking up, I'm on my way to move to Germany for a job I just got for six months at the Expo in Hanover. The whole six months I'm in Germany, I'm dying inside.

I can't wait to get home to ask this girl out. I've been waiting for her to be single. I get home, and what happened? She's back with her bozo boyfriend, right? So, they're back together, I gotta wait a whole 'nother year, and now a couple of weeks has passed, my friend is coming out to California, she's just broken up with this guy again, and I'm in California, and my thought is, ask Chris, and Nate, my other friend, to bring Hannah with them, I'll pay her way. Just be like, "I'm in love with her, just bring her out". We got married two years later. Now, she came out, and when she was here, she said, "You should come out to my brother's," because we were kind of, had some budding interest. We didn't kiss or anything, but she said, "You should come out to my brother's wedding". And I said, "I'll come out if you give me the first dance and the last dance". And she said, "If you come out, I'll give you both".

Yeah, we're gonna be married 20 years in May, by the way, so we're getting close there. Okay, so that's the second example. Second example that the thing I was afraid of was exactly what I needed to do. Just be bold, go for the girl. Okay, number three, here's, like, more of an art. You know, writing a sermon is always very much like writing a chapter of a book, or it's prepared, you know, put a lot of... I probably put about 20 hours into a sermon, it's a lot of work. And I remember about ten years ago I was going through the Sermon on the Mount, and there's a whole thing on divorce. And I felt like I was so afraid of giving a sermon on this divorce chapter, because divorce has been a part of my life.

My parents were divorced, and my dad was a minister when he had a divorce, and there's a lot of complex things about that. And I just felt like this is not for me. I'm afraid of this. I'll get an expert to come in and talk about marriage. And what I realized is this philosophy, if I'm afraid of doing it, it probably means Satan doesn't want me to do it. So, that was the thought that came to my mind, and that is the clue, my friend. So, I gave this sermon, I had multiple people say it changed their lives or saved their marriages, and to this day it's probably the biggest impact sermon I've ever given, and I was within a hair of not doing it because I was afraid.

So, I've learned now that that fear is an indicator of the enemy's resistance. Not always. Run from bears, don't walk on train tracks, right? There's gonna be...okay, we all know. But in general, when it comes to creating a work, starting a business, talking to someone, when it comes to doing anything that is of real value, anything that has real value to you, the more you're afraid of doing it, the more you care about it, the more it matters to you, and probably the more it matters to God. And this is why it's time to see fear in a weird way as a gift, saying, here's the next thing you're supposed to do. Here's what you're supposed to do next. And the way we give into fear is not by just not doing it, we give into fear by all, we all do the same stuff. It's TV, food, partying, substance, whatever, it's whatever your crutch is, and most of the stuff is not bad.

Most of this stuff is not bad, and it's fine if you use it as a reward, but what we do is we use it as a way to say, tomorrow. We even do some good things, right? I'll do a different ministry, I'll do a different artistic thing that's not as important to me because I'm not afraid of that. If you're not afraid of it, it probably isn't that important to you in terms of doing a new thing. I was just returned from Israel about five days ago, so I'm amped up on coffee right now if I seem a little on edge. It's the jet lag. And I was with my brother-in-law, Nate, who's a good friend of mine and was doing a lot of our filming.

And I was telling him about this sermon I was working on, this philosophy I use in life that I think is from the Bible. And he says to me, you know, I read this great book called, you've heard of "The Art of War," there's a book called "The War of Art". Great title. By a famous script writer and a novelist, Steven Pressfield, he wrote "Legend of Bagger Vance" and a number of other movies and books. He says this exact same thing. It's an ancient idea, lots of philosophers have talked about it, so it's not like I created it, but he highlights it in an even better way. He calls it, this fear, he calls it resistance. It's the resistance. It's like a person that's between you and what you're supposed to do. And he says, what you need to do is name it, call it out, defeat it, and just be a professional.

Just sit down and do the work. Just lean into the knife. Here's a great quote from him. "The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it". That's exactly right. If there's something in your life that you want to do, something that you're called to do, something you were born to do, something you're afraid to do, you're afraid to do it, the more afraid you are, the more you gotta do it. The more you gotta do it. If anything, just to be relieved of the fear. If anything, just to expand your universe. If anything, just so you can look in the mirror and respect yourself and say, "I'm the kind of person that does stuff I want to do, even when I'm scared". That's who you are, and I'm so proud of you. You're already doing it? Keep doing it. Keep doing it.

And so, we get to the scripture from today, John 3:16. How many have heard this Bible verse by a show of hands? You watch the Super Bowl or NASCAR, you've seen a sign, says, "John 3:16". I think Tim Tebow used to have it in make up under his eyes when he played football. You've seen it a million places, it says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life". Okay, this is in context a message that is given to a famous rabbi by another famous rabbi, Jesus. They're talking, this old man says to Jesus, basically, "All of us rabbis are basically jealous of you, but we know you're from God. We know that God sent you". And Jesus says to him, "If you want to inherit the kingdom of God, you need to be born again or born from above, and you need to be born of the Spirit. You need to be born of water and Spirit".

And Nicodemus says, "I don't even know what that means". Jesus says to him, "You are a teacher of Israel's people. How can you not know what I'm saying to you"? He says this, something like this, it's my interpretation, okay? He says, "You hear the wind blow and you see what the wind does, but you don't see the wind. You see the results of it". And he says something like, "You hear a sound, but you don't know what causes the sound, but you know something caused it". And he says, "So it is of someone who is born of the Spirit and born of water and born from above. You need to be a new creation". Something happens, in other words, in an invisible place in your life that you're a completely new creation. And then he says, "The Son of Man needs to be raised up in the same way that Moses raised up the snake in the desert".

So, what's he talking about there? Really interesting, very weird passage from the Torah in the book of Numbers just after Aaron dies, actually. The people are in the wilderness, and they're wandering, and these snakes begin to bite them, and many of the Israelites are dying. So, they cry out to their leader, "Moses, Moses, we're being bit by snakes. Ask God to stop the snakes". God asked Moses, "Will you stop the snakes"? And God says, "Nope, I'm not gonna stop the snakes. I made snakes". No, this isn't what the Bible says, me talking, you know. "I made the snakes. You're in their hood. You're in their neighborhood. You know, the snakes are biting you". He goes, "This is what I want Moses to do. Make a bronze snake, put it on a pole, and raise it up, and anybody who looks at the snake will be healed of the poisonous bite".

Now, if you're Jewish, this is a really weird scripture for a lot of reasons, right? Number one, the first commandment of the 10 Commandments, you shall have no other gods before me, right? You don't make idols, you don't make graven images, especially of animals, and especially of the very worst animal, the snake, the serpent, that represents, who? Satan, right? It's a symbol of Satan. Why would you make an image of Satan and have people look at the image and be healed? Why would you do that? Carl Jung, I'm not a professional in Carl Jung, famous psychoanalyst. But, you know, his father was a minister, and he himself wanted to be a pastor, but instead became a psychotherapy, you know, founder of real modern psychotherapy. And he had a great way of reading these scriptures from a soul perspective.

And he said, and I think this is actually based on another rabbi, because I found an old original text from a couple thousand years ago. But he said, and I think a lot of other Jews believed this at the time, that what's happening is when a snake bites us, we want to say to God, "Take away the snakes". But God says, "No, I'm gonna make you a snake charmer," or "No, I'm gonna make you bigger than the snake". We say, "Take away the desert," and God says, "No, I'm gonna make you tough enough to get to the desert". We say, "Take away the giants," he says, "No, you're gonna go in and slay the giants". Do you understand that this is what the scripture is about? That God does not want us to ask him to make it easier, he wants us to ask him to make us stronger, better, and most of all to face our fear and to even see our fear as under his judgment and control.

When Moses raises up the pole with the snake, what they're called to do is look at the thing that they're afraid of, just look at it. And when they look at it and stare it in the eyes, stare it in the face, look at this image, they are becoming who they are called to be, people who don't back away from what they're afraid of, but stare it right in the face and walk towards it. And that is when you are healed. This is what we find in the cross. Jesus says, "The Son of Man has to be raised up in the same way".

Now, we understand the substitutionary atonement, that the main thing that's happening is Jesus is being sacrificed for our sins, but there's a second part too. Remember, Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him so that we can have eternal life. Part of that is seeing what it means to take up a cross. When Jesus is up on the cross, he's experiencing the real stuff that human beings are afraid of. Most of all death, but he also dies naked, right? His everything is out when Jesus is killed. He's betrayed by his friends, he's tortured when he dies, we see his mother weeping, so a young 30-something year old son out, you know, mother outliving her son, one of the worst thing that could ever happen to a person, the mother has to release her son to the world.

All of these things are the things that we as parents and people fear the most in life, and it's God saying, "I do not stop at crucifixion. I go till resurrection". The whole point of the cross is a resurrection. But you gotta go through the cross. You can't just go to straight, you have to have peanut butter and jelly. You have to have them together, and this is how it is with life. You want the victory in life? You gotta face your fear, and you have to see fear as a thing that's indicating you to how to become a better person, what goal you're supposed to reach, what painting you're supposed to make, what book you're supposed to write, what doctor you're supposed to see.

Some of you need to reconcile with your kids, that's scary, or with your parents. Some of you are watching on television, you need to go back to church. You need to start reading your Bible again, you need to reach out to friends, you need to break up with some other friends that are having a nasty influence in your life. You need to change your job or move to a place. All of these things are scary. Taking a class is scary. Seeking help is scary. Confessing sin is scary. But they always indicate where we're supposed to go next. Nobody wants a colonoscopy, but sometimes you gotta do it. This is a part of life. There's big things and little things. There's little things like The Blob, and there's big things like committing your life to Christ, but all of these things have to do with becoming a bigger person, the kind of person who faces their fear. You can do it.

You ask God for something, you say, "God, I want this thing in my life". God says, "Let's go". You say, "Let's go tomorrow". Don't do that. When God says, "Let's go," you go. When God says, "Let's do it," you say, "Let's do it". And this is why we see it whether it's inheriting the Promised Land or facing Goliath or Peter walking on water, it's the fear that stands between these characters and who they're really supposed to be. It's the fear that needs to be called out, named, rebuked, cast down, disrespected, and walked past like it's nothing. That's what you do with fear. That's what you can do today. You can, you've got it in you. There's so much power in this room, it gnaws at me when someone says too old, too young, too poor, too stupid, too whatever. We all say it to ourselves. You've got it, you can do it today. Speaking of stupid, there's a stupid yacht in front of my favorite cafe. I was finished with the story.

Now, I like boats, and if you own a giant yacht, congratulations. I think that's great. You know, have nice things, I don't care. But don't leave it in front of my favorite cafe. There's this cafe in the harbor I love, it's a French cafe, best croissants in town. You go can there and have a beautiful croissant, a cup of coffee for $5, watch the sunrise, and it's right at the perfect angle to look right down the harbor where you can see the mountains and all of the water in the houses and the boats and the fog coming off the ocean, except in the slip right in front of the cafe there's a 150 foot yacht, and I still remember the first time I went to this cafe, and I'm having my coffee, and I went, "That's a beautiful yacht". And I'm like, "At least it's not an ugly building or something blocking it".

One of these days, you know, maybe next week, that yacht will be gone and I can see the harbor. So, I go back every week, it's still there. Every week, it's still there. There's always three guys cleaning it, walking around, cleaning this and that, working on it. For two years I have never seen this boat leave this slip. This is big enough, awesome enough, multimillion dollar yacht that anytime its owner could hop in and go to Hawaii, or Cabo, or Europe, or have a friend do it, put a homeless guy in it and send him to Hawaii. You may make his day, but it's just sitting there. It's just sitting there. And at first you go, that's cool, but after a couple of years, you're like, it's time to buy the slip or by the boat and sink it or something. If it's your boat, please move it. It's blocking my view, blocking my view.

And this is how so many people are in God's eyes, it's like this amazing piece of work that can do so much just sitting in a harbor, blocking people's view. Not today, man. Not today anymore, my friend. Today is the day to sail. It's the day to take a real step, don't talk about it, don't tell somebody about it, don't say you'll do it tomorrow. Do it now. God says, "Let's go," you go. And just make a commitment, a promise to yourself, that you're gonna respect yourself enough that even if you're afraid of something, you'll choose to do what's scary because you know that that scary thing sits on a pile of gold. It sits on your destiny. I wanna encourage you, you can do it. And when you go, God gives you all the power. He doesn't give you the power before you go. It's when you go, the power turns on. And try it, you'll see.

So, Lord, we thank you, and we ask in Jesus's name to give us a fresh view of the things we're afraid of and of the stress in our life and to recognize you've called us to do great things. We will not betray our soul anymore, but we'll do what we're called to do. Lord, we love you, and we thank you. It's in Jesus's name we pray. All God's people said amen. And now the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you his peace. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

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