Building Forward

By Bobby Schuller

As we enter this Christmas season, we can do so with the knowledge that as Christians, we have dual citizenship. What I mean is that while we are human beings inhabiting planet earth, our souls reside in the Kingdom of Heaven, which is invisible to our eyes but alive in our spirits. In fact, everything we see around us in the material realm is actually a reflection of something that preceded it spiritually. Even better, all that is created teaches us something about our Savior’s eternal nature (Romans 1:20). 

Every physical manifestation mirrors a spiritual truth. 

Though it’s not something we often think about, this twofold residency is good news for us in years like 2020. While we’ve all endured difficulties and setbacks over the past ten months, because God has been with us, our spirit — the “inner-person” deep inside — have had opportunities to grow stronger. By taking the immortal treasures we’ve cultivated through painful times and investing them in our relationships with others, we’ve been empowered to make the world a better place. In fact, I believe that’s our assignment as we look ahead to 2021!

Because earth isn’t our final destination, we can cling to IMMANUEL and BUILD FORWARD! 

BUILDING something up requires a foundation; the taller a tree, the stronger its roots. The same is true when it comes to building our lives — we can cultivate fortitude by embracing the VERTICAL — those things that force us go deep. As we welcome the struggles that make us stronger, we become rooted and established in the love of God, and He positions us to have an indelible HORIZONTAL impact. By seeking divine insight in hardship, we’re empowered to move FORWARD with renewed hope and take our Savior’s redeeming power to our neighbors.

God-supplied inner-strength is the root of world-changing outward faith.                                                                   

In short, knowing that God is always WITH US transforms us vertically so we can make a difference horizontally. In fact, when we anchor our souls in IMMANUEL, He reminds us of four unshakable aspects of our identity. In Jesus, we are: 

  • IRREPLACEABLE — Our vertical orientation in Christ reminds us that we are beloved and that we have inherent value and dignity. There is no one like us and we have a unique role in the world and in His Kingdom. 
  • INDESTRUCTIBLE — Because we have dual citizenship, our lives are imperishable. Our vertical connection to the One who conquered death means we’ve inherited eternal life with Him in Heaven when we leave this earth. 
  • INTERRUPTIBLE — Since we walk in the Holy Spirit’s easy rhythms of grace, our horizontal posture can be relaxed. When storms swell up suddenly or we’re thrown an inevitable curveball, we can extend patience and understanding to ourselves and others because we know that nothing can hinder God’s perfect plan.
  • INDIVISIBLE — Though we have dual citizenship and give attention to both the vertical and horizontal in our lives, our hearts are undivided. Jesus is number one, and the values of His Kingdom are our top priority. Because we are His disciples, His standard determines how we live and interact with others. 

As we embrace the One who is always in our midst and hold fast to our identity in Him, He will use the strength we gain through trials to BUILD FORWARD and multiply our impact. 

May the truth that GOD IS WITH YOU bring fullness to your home this holiday season and may He fill your heart with expectant faith as you prepare for the New Year! Merry Christmas!! 

God loves you and so do I,

Bobby Schuller


By Hannah Schuller 

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him

Immanuel (which means “God with us”). -Matthew 1:23

Do you believe God is with you? If you are human, there are probably times when you’ve doubted it. David had times he doubted it, “I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” -Psalm 69:3. 

An actual angel of God appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon replied, “Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” and goes on to say, “But now the Lord has abandoned us.” -Judges 6:12-13. 

Even Jesus cried out in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. 

If you keep reading their stories, does God prove to be with David, Gideon, & Jesus? Absolutely. God does incredible wonders in their lives. Likewise, if you begin to doubt that God is with YOU, remember your story is not over yet. You received a promise from the Living God, “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5. 

How incredible that Jesus is Immanuel…GOD WITH US. What does it do for your soul to know God is with you even as you read these words? For me, it brings peace to know God will be with me in my darkest hour, and if I cling to Him, my future will be filled with His wonders. 

I’ve had to cling to Him countless times in dark hours with my son’s health problems. Over six and a half years ago, when I got on my knees to pray over my son’s first seizure, God put a promise in my heart for him. Since then, his health has been a challenge, but I hold onto the promise. I know Cohen’s story isn’t over yet. I know GOD IS WITH US. There is no safer place to be than with Him. 

In the storm of Cohen’s health problems, in the storm of COVID, God has been showing me that my heart can be at peace because HE IS WITH US. We keep doing everything in our power to help our son and to be a source of goodness during this pandemic, but in the end, our peace comes from Immanuel. 

I feel God drew you to read this article because He’s reminding you of a promise He’s made to you, “I AM WITH YOU, NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU.” God has given you this promise. It’s true during COVID; it’s true throughout the entirety of your life. 

Child of God, during this Christmas season, we can truly rejoice over Immanuel…GOD IS WITH US. Hallelujah!

God loves you and so do I!

-Hannah Schuller

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One Response

  1. Thank you Bobby and Hannah for your inspirational postings and the wonderful Sunday services with an exceptional choir. We all are facing problems during this pandemic and that includes me too. I lost my oldest son, Jeffrey to bone cancer in 2016 and my daughter, Sharon to a heart anurysm at age 61. This season is my very favorite time of the year but now it is bittersweet because they are not here with me. I have since had to move into a Nursing Facility and due to the lockdown, the rest of my family, 1 remaining son, Patrick are not able to visit. It’s sad and I am trying with Jesus’ help to stay positive in spite of it all. Merry Christmas to you and your families.

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