Near and Dear to Our Hearts
If you’ve heard my sermons, you know that I like to shake things up from time to time. It keeps things interesting, right? I think it’s important to embrace change, otherwise, how would we grow as God intended? I met with my team at Hour of Power recently and I proposed we change one word in the Creed of the Beloved that we say in unison as a congregation. Can you guess which word? Here is the former Creed:
CREED OF THE BELOVED:
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 the world.
The word I changed is “world” and here’s why: I was thinking about the Creed and the Holy Spirit began filling my thoughts. It was then I decided that I wanted to change “world” to “my neighbor.” How can just one word make that much of a difference? Well, my friend, I think it can. Here’s why:
It’s important for us to start focusing on sharing our love for Jesus with our “neighbors” first — those who are within the 15-feet of space around us at all times. You may remember me talking about this concept in past sermons. In this space is our spouse, our children, other family members, our friends, our colleagues, and anyone else who ends up in that space — even our enemies. This is a lot less overwhelming than “the whole world,” don’t you think? And it makes a bigger impact. In Mark 12:29-31 it states: “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Friend, I’m suggesting that we compare loving our God and those within our 15-feet of space to that of cultivating and growing a garden. We take such great care when we plant flowers. We prepare the soil, we plant the seed, we water the seed, fertilize the soil, and water the flowers. We should be doing this in our relationships! Much like cultivating a garden, we need to lovingly take care of, nurture, and grow our relationships with our family, our neighbors and foremost, our God. In Isaiah 58:11 it states: “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
We are called by God to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. There’s a saying that goes, “Charity begins at home.” This saying isn’t from the Bible but it is so near to being so that it is reasonable to describe it as biblical. The notion that a person’s family should be of foremost concern is expressed in 1 Timothy 5:8: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” As a member of Hour of Power and Shepherd’s Grove, you are now part of a family of missionaries tasked with impacting the 15-feet of space around you. Living missionally enables us to model God’s incarnational love to others who may look, act, or believe differently than we do. We are dedicated to sharing God’s love and dignity with our local community, and we hope you’ll make it your goal to reflect God in all you do.
I once said in a sermon that God will put annoying, difficult, and “extra-grace required” people in our lives, and you need to not only serve them, but you have to be hospitable, too! Watch as the Lord uses that and works through it in your life. We are all battling something in our lives, so keep this in mind as you go about your day. Reach out with a friendly smile, and compliment at least two people a day and watch what happens! God wants us to be radically-hospitable followers. You’ll begin to have grace, and even sympathy for your enemies. You’ll be kinder and become thetype of Christian that Jesus needs in this world. God calls us to bond deeply with one another. To love each other. To be present! You can’t live a compassionate and a hurried life at the same time. You have to choose. And if you choose Jesus Christ, you’ll find that you’ll be more hospitable. You’ll see the wounds of your spouse, you’ll see your kids are hurting before they lash out, and you’ll draw things out of your friends and neighbors. God is working through you at this point!
Friend, we don’t have to appeal to the masses. All we have to do is nurture and water the growing garden of our relationships, one person at a time, within the 15-feet of space around us. We can cultivate and grow our relationship with Jesus, and in turn, shine His radiance on our neighbors in a way that warms, blesses, and inspires everyone we meet! Hannah and I pray that the perfect love of God will flood your being with His glorious light.
God loves you and so do I!
Viewers from Down Under are Over the Moon for Hour of Power!
Did you know that aside from the United States, Hour of Power also has offices in Canada, Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland? We are so very fortunate and thankful for our viewers around the world, and we consider them to be an integral part of our church family!
Our Hour of Power staff noticed many viewer comments coming in from Australia recently, so we’d like to shine a light on this amazing country and partner. Hour of Power began broadcasting in Australia in October, 1976 and is the longest-running, one-hour weekly program on Australian commercial television! With an office in Sydney, thousands of Australian viewers contact the ministry monthly requesting materials, prayers and assistance, along with offers of support. The Australian Ministry is entirely supported by donations from Australian viewers, and their financial support is used to maintain and expand the program so that more Australians can benefit from God’s healing words, such as:
”We have watched Hour of Power on and off since 1985 (my husband loves his ‘Possibility Thinkers’ Bible). In the last three months we have rediscovered the services and have made Hour of Power our church; Bobby puts so much work into the educational, emotional, spiritual and psychological content of his sermons and it speaks to me.” — Denise, Oatley, Australia
“Absolutely delighted with the ministry, the choir leader is such a treasure. The man that sang ‘I walked with God’ yesterday was so beautiful, so lovely. The ministry really resonates with today’s audience greatly. Pastor Bobby is a gift to the world. I have been preaching for many years but Pastor Bobby is so profound in his preaching.” — Allan, Dee Why, Australia
“Overheard conversation: 5 year old talking with her 10 year old sister, ‘When we’re kind to others, it’s like a light that shines from our heart. That’s what Jesus wants; Bobby Schuller said so.’ ” — Isobel & Anna, Australia
“Thank you for letting me be part of your Church family. What a blessing you are!” — Milomir, Carina, Australia
“So many times Pastor Bobby’s sermons were just what I needed, and, as a ‘lost and hurting soul’, I need you! Thank you so very much for taking the time to pray for me. I am so very grateful.” — Yolanda, Drummoyne, Australia
“My father passed suddenly, he just died in his sleep and it was such a shock. I read from God’s Minute each day, and they were just the right messages on just the right days. It had such a big impact on my life! It got me through this very difficult time. I was introduced to Hour of Power through a parent at the school I work at. She sent me a link. Now I want more copies of God’s Minute on hand, to give to parents going through grief or difficulty, to connect the school with their faith.” — Josette, Carnes Hill, Australia
Be reminded of the preciousness of the relationships we have with Him and our neighbors each day.
Legacy: Giving Through Three Generations
There are angels all around us. For Laura Vivenzio of Syosset, New York, her angel was a co-worker who was quite relentless in recommending a religious program to her some 40 years ago. “She kept telling me, ‘You have to watch Hour of Power and you have to watch Dr. Schuller,’ so finally I did and I am very grateful for her to this day.” Laura added, “When I saw him, I was hooked. That was it.” And the rest is history. Laura is a Legacy Donor and still gives monthly to Hour of Power. She usually includes a note that states, “We love you, Bobby!”
Laura remembers how she rushed hurriedly during her lunch break across six blocks in Manhattan in the early 90s to see a glimpse of Dr. Schuller at his book signing. “He signed my book, and I told him he’s a wonderful inspiration, to which he thanked me,” she said. During that same timeframe, Dr. Schuller held a special dinner for donors in Garden City, NY. “It was packed. My husband took a picture of Dr. Schuller and I and that picture is still in my living room.”
Laura and her late husband also traveled across the country to see Dr. Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral in 2000. “I was on Cloud nine,” she said. “I took so many pictures, and my husband and I had a wonderful time.”
“His inspiration has overflowed through the generations, with his son, and now Bobby. I really enjoy Bobby’s sense of humor in going over his points. I think he’s a very happy person, and his wife Hannah reads from the Bible. It’s very positive,” she added. “You get into the habit of thinking, well maybe something isn’t so bad, let me look at it more positively, let me put more of a light on it. I think that’s what Dr. Schuller conveyed to me. Tough times never last, but tough people do. That was his saying and it stayed with me through the years.”
When asked why she decided to become a Legacy Donor, Laura said, “We go back a long time, and I thought very highly of Dr. Schuller. It’s my way of giving a little something back. If someone has been influenced in such a positive way, I think they should give a little something to say thank you for the knowledge, thank you for the light you’ve shined upon my life, and thank you for the good influence and positive thinking points.”
Putting Worry to Rest
Happy June my friends! For most school-aged children, including college students, June marks the
beginning of a fun and worry-free lifestyle for a few months. For us adults, many wish we knew how easy we had it back then. For instance, the second I became a mom I was faced with a massive giant in my life… worry. The day Haven was placed in my arms for the first time, the concern began, “Is she breathing? Is she hungry? Are the sounds she’s making normal?” It was blissful to feel her close to me, and I marveled at God’s gift to us, but I could not shake the worry. After months of anxiousness, I cracked. I surrendered Haven to God. I prayed, “Lord, life and death are in your hands. I’m trusting you with Haven. I know you love her more than I do. She’s on your watch now.” I mentally unfolded the tight grip of worry and made a decision to trust God with her.
Robert Cohen Schuller came along two years after Haven. He has Bobby’s passion and endurance. He laughs and cries with his whole being. He’s my cuddle bug. When he turned two, he developed epilepsy and I faced the worry giant more intensely than ever. This time it took more work to surrender my trust to God, especially since one particular seizure almost took his life. I had to return to God time and time again to mentally put Cohen into His hands, and I still do.
Let’s remind ourselves to live our lives with the same ease and care-free attitude we had when we were young. Putting worry to rest is a moment-by-moment practice, but it’s possible because of who God is. Whatever your giant, surrender it to Him and then keep surrendering. Jesus conquered death and set you free from being a slave to fear. He’s fighting your battles and holding you close, because He is faithful!