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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - Keep Your Eyes On The Promise Land

Bobby Schuller - Keep Your Eyes On The Promise Land

Bobby Schuller - Keep Your Eyes On The Promise Land

Today I'm gonna talk about the value and importance of having concrete long-term goals for your life and how this is a major thing that God wants for us and also it's a major cure to the sickness that so many of us face in life today. It's the promised land. What is the promised land? Maybe you didn't grow up reading the Bible, you don't know what I'm talking about. The promised land was a special place God had for a special people, a people who had been freed from slavery, who had to walk across a desert to enter a place as God called it a land flowing with milk and honey. What does milk and honey mean? It means prosperity, it means luscious land, good farmland, it means animals and crops, it means everything a free person in the bronze age would want.

There are a million and one things today that you are facing that will get your eyes off the promised land and get them on the sand or on the desert, that will get your eyes off the horizon and pull you into the cabin of that boat and make you sick. Anyone sick of your life today? Anyone feeling sick about where you are? That's good, say Lord, I'm thankful I'm sick of my life. You know why? Because you have the opportunity today to make a change, to make a difference, and to set before yourself a long-term goal that will pull you through the process, that will pull you through the desert, that will get you through what you're going through. That's the amazing thing about big, beautiful, inspiring personal goals. Those goals pull you as you're going through tough times.

When those slaves were brought to the promised land, by the way, there was one caveat I forgot to mention. It was full of? Giants. See, God will take you to the promised land, but on your way there, you have to become a giant slayer. Oh, did I forget to mention that? See, the great thing about the big goals God has for your life is not just what you achieve, it's who you become. God is excited, not just about what you're going to achieve in your life, he's excited about who you're gonna have to become to achieve those goals. The promised land is set aside for giant slayers like you. You say to me I'm not a giant slayer. I say to you you're probably right.

So then what? Become a giant slayer. Become who you need to be. One day, one week, one month at a time. It's called discipleship. It means that you work into your life a pattern of disciplines and rhythms that build up in you something you thought you'd never could become, and you will. You will. If you want to become that kind of a person, you need to keep that kind of a goal before your eyes all the time. Don't get sick, don't go into the cabin, don't stare at the sand, keep in your mind's eye the promised land that God has for you. Hannah read 1 Corinthians chapter 10, I'm not gonna read it again, but I would encourage you if you're listening to the podcast or if you're watching on YouTube to just pause the video and read 1 Corinthians the whole chapter, chapter 10. But it's a really wonderful message that the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth.

The church in Corinth is made up of mostly gentiles. Corinth was a gorgeous city. It had been destroyed 100 years before Paul was writing and then rebuilt by Julius Caesar into a thriving metropolis on the sea full of wealth and power. Most of the people that were here were not from rich families or aristocracies, they were liberated slaves. They were soldiers of fortune. They were anyone who came to this place, a free town, to build a business or build a life, a very strong merchant class.

And Paul writes them and tells them about a story of his own people. He says 1500 years ago, let me tell you a story about my people 1500 years ago. He said there was, the Jews were freed from Egypt. God freed them, and as a people, they were (this is Paul's words, not mine) they were baptized when they went through the Red Sea, when God parted the Red Sea for them. And they ate spiritual bread, because of the manna from heaven and spiritual drink, because they drank water from the rock who Paul says was Christ.

So it's like they've totally had...what did this sound like? Our rites, baptism, communion, they'd become totally immersed into what it means to be one of God's people, and then they got lost. Guess how long it takes, this is a good question, guess how long it takes to walk from Egypt to the promised land. Guess how long. The answer, 11 days. It takes 11 days to go from Egypt to the promised land. How long did it take them? Do you remember? Forty years.

Here's something we can learn from that, movement is not necessarily achievement. If I walk and walk and walk in circles doing the same thing over and over, I am not necessarily making progress. Do you feel that way? Maybe you do. What should have taken 11 days took 40 years, why? Paul tells us. Almost immediately at Mount Sinai, the first stop on the way to the promised land, God goes up-er, Moses goes up and receives the word from God. He brings the law down to his people. The people say that sounds like a great idea, we'll sign up, and we'll do that. Moses says great. Now I'm gonna go talk to God about the Tabernacle, goes back up the mountain to talk to God about the tabernacle. They can literally see God in a cloud up on top of the mountain, and they take all that gold that God gave them and fashioned it into an idol, worshipped it, and then went into mass group debauchery and revelry, okay?

So this is what Paul tells them. He says even though they were baptized and all this stuff, this weird thing happened where first they went to idols, and then they went into revelry, and then they went into grumbling, and then, Paul says, and now their bodies are scattered all over the desert. That's some Old Testament stuff, isn't it? That's some bronze age, tough Bible stuff. And Paul says this is written as a warning, why? Because even (he's saying) even though this happened 1500 years ago, it's still happening today. And maybe I could say even though Paul was writing 2,000 years ago, it's what? Still happening today.

Very few things change, and most of all man's nature rarely changes unless man chooses to change it. It's written as a warning to us. Long-term goals are easily lost by today's temptations. Maybe we can say Paul was telling us today. This is Paul's guide to destroying your life in three easy steps. You wanna destroy your life? Here's a great guide, I'll show you right now.

Number one, idols. What does that mean for us today? Idols is basically saying materialism, not like shopping, but I mean the classical sense of materialism, that the only thing that exists or matters or worth paying attention to is what I can see or what I feel. Think about the importance so many people put on how I feel right now. And how I feel right now affects what I eat, how I treat people. How I feel right now, does it have an impact on your goals, you think? Absolutely.

How many businesses, marriages have been destroyed because somebody felt something? How many lives, how many horrible words were spoken because I felt something in that moment? The idea of idolatry, there's not a lot of idols in the classical sense anymore, but there is idolatry. That is bowing down to a god I can see. Bowing down to a god I can touch. And Paul says that's the first thing. So you want to destroy your life, just focus on your, just today. Don't think about just today, what you can focus on, bow down to a god you can see, touch, taste, and hear.

And he said, number two, that that leads to the flesh, right? That we give into the flesh. The flesh means a pattern of giving in and giving up. Giving in and giving up. I just give in to that bag of potato chips. I just give in to watching TV all day long. I just give into buying that thing I can't afford. I'm just gonna keep giving in, and yeah, I might have long-term goals, but I'm just gonna give up on that. Helping my kids with my homework is too much today. Going on a walk with my wife is too much today. Reaching out to people who are hurting, that's just too much. I can't do that today, and so that's the next thing is you just day by day, you give in and give up a little bit every single day.

And then what happens? You're wandering in the wilderness. You're the same place five years later you were five years before. You're sitting there in a wilderness saying where does the time go? Where does the money go? Where do the days and the weeks go? Don't feel bad. We all feel this way sometimes. I'm saying something that all human beings feel, but you feel that way long enough you get to stage three. This is the final stage, and that is grumbling. Grumbling is it wasn't my fault, it's everyone else's fault, right? Another word for it in the Bible is stiff-necked or hard hearted.

It's a shrunken life of your own making, that you blame others for. It's not my fault, it's the government's fault. It's not my fault, it's my bosses' fault. It's not my fault, it's inflation's fault. It's not my fault, it's some other country's fault, my brother's fault, my parents' fault, my children's fault, their friend's fault, the stupid educational system's fault. We create the blame list because where we find ourselves is embarrassing. And so grumbling, then, leads us to the final thing where everything is just unfair. That's a grumbling person's favorite word. It's not fair. And Paul promises us you, too, can be one of those bodies scattered in the wilderness. All you gotta do is these things.

So you work your way backwards. You find yourself as a grumbling person, maybe you've been giving in and giving up. And you go back a little further, maybe you've been focusing on today rather than the future. You've been focusing on only what you can see around you rather than your long-term goals. But I want to tell you something, God's plan for those slave people was to convert them from slaves to conquerors. From slaves to conquerors. He wanted to make giant killers to possess the land. And in God's view, it is never too late for you to become a conqueror. It's never too late for you to become a conqueror.

Abraham was 75 years old when he received the promise, and he was 100 years old when he sired that promise. I don't know about you, but I'd love to get a bottle those vitamins. I'd love to find out what exercise routine he was on. I want to be healthy like that. Moses was 80 years old when he saw the burning bush, 80 years old. How old was he? A hundred and twenty when he looked across the Jordan at Canaan's side, 120. I ask you, my friend, this is a good question. Is it ever too late for God to turn someone into a conqueror? The answer is no. Can an old dog learn new tricks? The answer is if he wants to. If he wakes up and chooses to. It's a decision you make every day when you wake up, whether this day will be yours or whether it will be forfeit.

And the thing that pulls you to every day wake up and say this day will be good, it will be mine, and I will become better. The thing that brings you there is a clear vision of the promised land. Is to have tattooed on your heart a vision of who God wants you to become and where God wants you to go. I can't tell you what that is. All I can tell you is it's there for you to discover and there for you to possess. Will you do it? It is so important to define clearly the promises God has for you. I cannot express enough as a friend of yours how important it is to take an abstract idea that I'm giving you like the promised land and convert it into a concrete, measurable, date-marked, specific thing that you achieve. But most people, to be honest with you, when I talk about writing down goals or making goals for your life, most people are allergic to goals.

Some of you, you're feeling it right now. If I say write down your goals every day, the feeling you have is like an allergy. It's like I just blew pepper up your nose, you're like... That does not sound fun at all. A great, it was my 30th birthday, I remember. We were out to dinner with some really good friends of ours. There were about I think 8 to 10 of us, and it was my 30th birthday, and things were not going well, really, in my life I. We had started this church. We had about 300 people at one point, but then the church, because of things I had done, was in decline. We were down to 50 to 80 people. I had just had my first daughter, who was a baby, and my wife was pregnant with my second child, a son on the way, Cohen, and I guess how much money was in my bank account. Zero. And guess what my goals were. Zero.

Isn't it amazing how your goals and your bank account are so often aligned? And a great friend of ours, Hillary, famous Hillary of the famous Chad and Hillary, sweetly asked me at this 30-year birthday, which is a big birthday for a young man, hey, Bobby, what are your goals for the coming year? What a great question? That is, I love to ask that question. What are your goals for your coming year? And you know what I said to her? I said, and this has become a joke since then, I said I don't have any goals. If I want to do something, I just do it. Isn't that gross? Here's the truth, I didn't have any goals. I didn't have any goals.

Here's the truth, I didn't have any goals, 'cause I didn't make any goals. Here's the truth, every single day I made a choice not to make a goal. Every single day I made a choice to let my life diminish in ways I didn't want it to. And then I grabbed a powerful idea. What if I write down my 5-year goals every day? This sounds like legalism to some people, this sounds like horrible, but like, if I tell you writing down your goals every day, most of you go, oh, gah, that sounds like, I might as well count my calories. That's like the worst thing I've ever heard of.

Can I tell you something? Can I tell you about the best part of almost every day I have is when I wake up in the morning and I write down my long-term and short-term goals and I open up my Bible and I read it and I pray for my friends and family and I drink God's favorite beverage, coffee. That is one of the best parts of my day.

Most people don't like to get up early in the morning. Almost every day I get up before my alarm clock, you know why? Because I've got some amazing goals on that piece of paper. It wasn't easy at first, but now that I am seeing that I am becoming the person in those goals, I get excited when I wake up in the morning. It's like Christmas every day, because I get excited about what I'm going to achieve. I get excited about where this church is going. And most of all I get excited that I'm becoming the kind of man I need to be, the kind of father, the kind of friend, the kind of spouse, the kind of pastor, the kind of giant slayer that possesses the land. I wasn't that so many years before, but look at my life.

And see, that's the other thing. I'm so grateful that I'm here now because of ideas like this. And ideas like this aren't just good for me. Anybody here been blessed by Hour of Power? Anybody here been blessed by Shepherd's Grove? Then you've been blessed by the idea that having a long-term goal for your life is not just good for you, it's good for others. Don't just become good for you, become good for me. The people in your life need you to become the best version of you, and the best version of you is the one that looks like Christ, full of courage, full of boldness, full of life, full of power, because you know where you're going. I don't just mean heaven, and it is that, but I mean where you're going in this life, where you want to be in five years.

You got to know that, there's an incredible power there. I'll just finish with this last word. When I was in like fourth or fifth grade, I discovered the power of zero. Zero is a powerful number. You ever try multiply something times zero? Take the biggest number you can think of, now multiply it times zero. I'm a genius, I can tell you the answer. You know what it is? Zero.

I remember when I was starting to learn how to get a good grade on a report card, and I would turn and four assignments. The first assignment was a 91%, that's an A. The second one was a 90%, that's a? A. The third one was a 92% or 93%, that's an? A. And the fourth one, I just kinda forgot to turn in, I just didn't turn anything, that's a zero, and what does that make my total grade for my class. The answer is a D. You get A, A, A, and one zero turns it all, the whole kit and caboodle into a D. And many of us in life, we have a lot of zero days, and we have zero days. Those zero days turn into zero weeks, those zero weeks turn into zero months, and those zero months turn into zero years, and we wonder where the years go. That's the power of zero. But we're a positive group, aren't we? Let's turn it around. Let's imagine that the other way.

Can you imagine creating for yourself a good day? What if you started your day with your long-term goals in mind and your short-term goals of how you're going to get there? And you started it with a cup of coffee or with a prayer, with the Bible. And by the end of that day you went wow. That was a good day. Now, do that seven times in a row. If you do that seven times in a row, you look back and you go, hey, that was a good week. Hey, if you can do that four times in a row, you'll look back and go, holy mackerel (is the word I was looking for) that was a good month.

And if you do that 12 times in a row, you go that was the best year of my life, full of personal development, new relationships, closeness to God, achieved goals, achieved dreams, a healthier lifestyle, because you're designing your life. It's yours to design. No one's stopping you. Make every day matter by beginning with God. And can I just finish with this last thing? Here's the best thing about this. When we cross the finish line of life, of our big goals, of the things that God has put before us, when we cross that finish line, we have to become a kind of person to do that. And although we cross that finish line, which is amazing, you know what we carry with us is the person we had to become to do it. And that is something you keep the rest of your life. The rest of your life.

It's your choice. You can do it. I am so proud of you. You're doing better than you think. But some of you are gonna forget everything I said. But there's a few of you, and this is who I really care about, I wanna pray for you, that today you say I will never be the same again. I'm going to decide today what my life will be like in five years, and I will do whatever it takes to become that kind of a person and get there. If you do that, your life will never be the same again. Keep your eyes on the promised land, keep them on the horizon, and watch what God can do with a lot of good days in a row.

We thank you, Lord, your presence is here, you're in this house, you're with us, and we ask by your Holy Spirit that you would give us a fresh vision for our lives of where we could go, of who we can become, of the kind of people we can surround ourselves with, the kind of things that we could achieve. Lord, you said greater things than these will you do. We want to believe that can be true in our lives. Make us miracle-working people, people full of faith and life. And we ask that you would help us now. How we love you, and how all we do we do to honor the name of Jesus Christ. And it's in his name we pray, all God's people said amen.

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