“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” –1 John 4:7
My daughter Haven is so cute. She’s three years old and she makes these drawings for me. She scribbles a bunch of stuff on paper, she hands it to me, and she’s so proud. Then I take that paper and I say, “Wow this is great. I love it,” because she made it.
I love Haven’s drawings because I love her. But if I had to choose between either losing the drawings or losing my daughter, which would I choose? Haven, of course.
God sees the Crystal Cathedral as I see her drawings. Is he impressed? The one who made all of the clouds of the sky and all of the nebulae in the universe and formed the very earth that we live on, and made you, is he impressed? Probably, possibly a little bit, because he loves us more. But what really matters to him is you.
What matters to me the most are not Haven’s drawings, but the little girl who is my daughter because I love her. And that’s what our former sanctuary is. It is a drawing. And like every other temple, it will be washed away with the sands of time. But the Church as a whole, that’s you and me and believers to come, will be here forever.
God believes in us. He believes in you. He does not believe in brick and mortar. He believes in people because he made us. If you believe it, say amen! And I believe in the future. Do you? I believe in it for you.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I am so blessed to look forward to a future with you and with other believers who know who you are. Thank you for not only creating me, but also believing in me. Amen.
Reflection: When you think about what really matters in life, what do you see? How does God show you how much you matter to him?
In our world, we are constantly on the go. That’s what I realized when I started living unhurried this last week. I was at odds with a world that loves to go ten miles over the speed limit, is constantly waiting for their turn to talk, and always wants to be first in line and the center of attention. It’s a place of pride. I have to accomplish everything I’m expected to do and be successful.
When we’re in a hurry, we can accomplish great things, but sometimes moving too fast is something that poisons our heart where, even if we have nothing to do, we are still in a hurried posture. Therefore, the fullness of life, the reward for the hard work that we do is sapped because we’re always thinking of the next thing and never able to be truly present in the laborers reward. We’re never really able to enjoy our meals, our company, our business, or our efforts because it’s always the next thing. And so we go, go, go, go, go, go, and talk a million miles a minute.
I just read an article about doctors saying that Americans breathe too fast. That’s true! We’re supposed to be breathing deeper and longer. There’s something about Americans that we breathe like panting dogs. Just as we need to breathe full in and then breathe fully out, we need to live life in a slower rhythm so as not to miss a thing on this journey of life.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I don’t want to miss a thing in this life with which you’ve blessed me. I look forward to slowing down and enjoying all the blessing that you have in store for me. Amen.
Reflection: When you think about living life with a slower rhythm, what does that look like to you?
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” -Psalm 27:13
When I started an experiment in doing everything slowly, it started to affect the way I ate. One time towards the end of this week, as I was peeling an orange, I felt this spiritual experience as I put my thumb in and the orange popped with a blast of juice that burst out and filled the room. I could smell the wonderful citrus scent as I pulled off the orange skin and peeled it slowly. Then, as I broke the orange in half, juice sprayed everywhere and the whole room was filled with its lovely fragrance. I bit into its juicy and sweet fruit, and ate it slowly, enjoying every bite.
Are you feeling hungry yet? That’s what slowing down does.
Slowing down, living in an unhurried way makes life more delicious. That is the truth. And that’s the thing that I realized this week. I’ve even started speaking slower to people. Believe it or not, I’m actually listening to people when they talk to me. And I’m responding to their questions rather than pontificating on my own wisdom and insight.
I’ve found myself, this last week, immediately experiencing the fruit of an unhurried life. Here are a few things I’ve figured out: My time was less filled. I had more time, and yet I was probably more productive. I was happier. I wasn’t constantly thinking about the next thing but I was present in the gifts that God was giving me. And although I think I may have frustrated some of the strangers who were trying to get around me or get ahead of me in line, I was a blessing to my friends and my family.
Prayer: Dear Lord, as I begin to slow down and live the unhurried life, I look forward to experiencing the blessing you have in store for me, and the more quality time I will have to spend with you. Amen.
Reflection: Like Bobby eating the orange, try an unhurried experiment yourself. What did you do, and how did it make you feel?
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.'” -John 17:14
Political correctness has taken our society to new levels that need biblical challenges and clarification.
We need to root our values in divine virtues from the Word of God. If we do not put down deep biblical roots, our children and grandchildren will end up controlled by self- interests learned through a corrupted society. Biblically founded ethics will be things of the past.
Our authority must come from God, not from our government or other ruling bodies whose values are rooted in self-promoting and propagation of their agendas.
Jesus came, taught, died, and was resurrected to first teach, then show, that God loves us. Can we respect that and teach it to others as the truth?
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your perfect plan for my life. Help me to discover each element of that plan through your holy Word, and to share it with others, especially the younger generations as they grow and mature. Amen.
Devotion: If there’s one value in the Bible that you see lacking in the world today, what would that be?
“…In quietness and confidence is your strength…”
-Isaiah 30:15c, NLT
we’ve learned something in the last, what, four years since the great
collapse in our economy, it is that character is the most important
thing in any organization, in any movement. We’ve discovered that what
we need in our world are people of character – men and women who
primarily care not about what people think, not about their own
reputations, but about character – doing what is right just for the sake
of doing it.
We’ve come to care more about who we really are, and whom that other person is deep down inside. That’s what matters.
is what gives strength and power to any movement of God. However, it’s
not just in the leader that needs good character, but also in all the
people involved in any organization. We must all be people of true
character, people who really love doing good. Just love it.
truly love people and care deeply about what God thinks about us, and
care less about what anybody else thinks. Together, let’s depend on
God’s strength and truth in us, as believers, to be people of good
character helping others selflessly in times such as these.
Spirit of God, in quietness and confidence is my strength for living
today. Help me to take in this truth, and then help others, as is your
will for me, in times such as these and for the rest of my life on
Reflection: How has character
helped you during hard times? How has a lack of character in missteps or
misdeeds hurt you or others? What are you doing, today, in God’s
strength to help others in need?.
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” -Job 1:21
We place unreasonable expectations on our friends and loved ones.
We expect them to drop everything they’re doing, answer the phone, and come hang out with us, or go out to dinner, or go see a ballgame.
And all of these things that we do diminish happiness and gratitude in our lives, and that’s not what the kingdom of God is about.
It’s not about entitlement, it’s not about assumption, it’s not about having all outcomes the way we want them all the time.
What about reasonable expectations? Can we give up believing that “I will wake up healthy tomorrow”? Or, “My spouse will always be with me”? Or, “I’ll always have this house”? What if we were to give up those expectations?.
Instead, we could wake up and say, “God, another day?.
Another gift from you that, today, I can live?”
Imagine what our lives would look like.
We would be people thankful for every day we’re given, experiencing each one as a gift from God. Prayer:Creator God, thank You for today’s reminder to diminish my expectations. I know that if I do this, I will grow closer to you and experience the blessings I now overlook. Amen. Reflection: What positive growth can you imagine you will experience in your life as you lower you expectations and raise your gratefulness to God?.
“Let others…see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16
On a recent Hour of Power, Dr. Steven Berry shared that “The most malignant forces of darkness can not overcome the love of God.”
Senior minister of the First Congregational Church in Manchester, Vermont, Steven revealed that during New England‘s mud season, “the days get up to about 43 degrees and the nights go down to the teens and twenties.
The woods are cold.
There are no leaves, no buds on the grey branches.
There are unseen forces at work…in the dark and the gloom.
Something sweet awaits.”
Even when we don’t think we have any more to give…we do!
When life seems bleak, God awaits, arms open wide to comfort and strengthen us as we get on to the sweet work he has set before us – to love others as he loves us. Prayer: God, show me your love so I may love others, in turn. Let my love reflect your love to all I meet. Amen.
Reflection: Despite any shortcomings, trials, or tribulations you’re currently experiencing, what can you do to help others today?.
Now that the dust has settled, Schuller is sharing his heart about the health of his father and his relationship with is family, and offering some encouraging words for others going through difficult transitions.
Charisma News caught up with Schuller, author of the new book When You are Down to Nothing, God Is Up to Something, in the second of this two-part series. Click here to read part one, “Schuller Discusses What Went Wrong at Crystal Cathedral.”
Charisma News: Was it really hard to watch your dad go through all the accusations and loss in the drama surrounding the Crystal Cathedral? Some were saying your father has dementia and there were many rumors flying around. What’s the truth?
Schuller: My father is 85 years old. He’ll be 86 in just a few months and for the past few years he’s definitely had memory loss. He hasn’t had control of his emotions very well. He doesn’t know how to solve problems. He’s confused about different things and my understanding is that’s really a form of dementia.
When I was a young man in the Crystal Cathedral, my dad was very intuitive and immediately active as far as the order of worship is concerned. We would be in worship and he would nudge me and say “Robert, you’ve got to get up there.” Because of the taping, it was important for us to be in place. So when the music stopped, you started speaking immediately. A second on television is an eternity. By the time I left the cathedral in 2008 he couldn’t follow the program. He didn’t know it was time for him to go up on the pulpit. He would ask me numerous times until I finally would coach him, saying “It’s time for you to go up now, Dad.” He definitely suffered from memory loss and the other signs of dementia.
Charisma News: I’ve read there was a time when you were not talking to your family. What is that relationship like now?
Schuller: I have a good relationship with my parents. We recently went over to my father’s house with my new grandsons. We had four generations in the picture. My grandson’s name is Robert. He’s Robert the fourth.
Charisma News: So what advice would you give then to other people who suddenly find themselves having change direction and take a new path in life?
Schuller: First of all, be open to the hand of God. Number two, do anything to do something. In other words, don’t sit on your hands and do nothing. It’s better to do anything than to do nothing as long as it’s morally and spiritually upright. So you have to be active and moving. God will guide and direct you in ways you cannot comprehend.
Charisma News: Any closing thoughts?
Schuller: This is a time in our society that I never experienced before in my life. Since World War II, we experienced job growth to the tune of 10 million jobs a decade up until the first decade of this millennium. We saw negative job growth in the first decade of this millennium. As a result of that, we have a lot of catching up to do as a nation to maintain the economic strengths that we have enjoyed for the last 60 years.
There are a lot of people who are finding themselves in positions and in situations where the job they’ve had for the last 30 years is no longer there and it’s not coming back. They really need to understand that it’s time to reinvent themselves and allow God to move in their lives to expand beyond what borders they have today.
At the same time, we have physical realities. Unfortunately, people have to deal with devastating issues in their health and in their relationships. Regardless of what you are dealing with today, if you find yourself feeling like you have nothing just remember that God is truly up to something.
The Crystal Cathedral is no more, at least not in the form that it has been known for decades. The bankrupt church has a new name and a new pastor.
Now that the dust is settling, Robert A. Schuller, the son of televangelistRobert H. Schuller, is speaking out. Schuller was groomed to become the pastor of the Crystal Cathedral and for many years was part of the weekly television broadcast, The Hour of Power.
But Schuller says he was forced out in 2008. From there, he sat on the sidelines and watched as the rest of his family suffered through a painful ordeal last year. Charisma News caught up with Schuller, author of the new book When You are Down to Nothing, God is Up to Something, in the first of this two-part interview to discuss what went wrong.
Charisma News: The drama at the Crystal Cathedral seems to have started years ago. You left in 2008 and word is that you were forced out. What happened there?
Schuller: There was a board meeting on July 9, 2008. The board decided to make my brother-in-law Jim Penner* my boss. In September he decided that my sermons were “not anointed” and he couldn’t air them on The Hour of Power. In October he told me I could preach any time other than Sunday mornings. With that I resigned.
Charisma News: Over the last year or so we’ve seen a lot of unfortunate circumstances at the Crystal Cathedral. Is there a connection?
Schuller: The church went into bankruptcy about two years later. That’s pretty fast, if you ask me.
Charisma News: Went wrong at Crystal Cathedral? Was it also an issue with the board? It seems like I hear a lot about “the board” in news reports.
Schuller: Before I left, I was in the process of moving the Crystal Cathedral into a Carver Policy Governance model, which is basically a model of pure governance. There are many corporations which have adopted this model. It is a very good way to govern any institution whether it’s for profit, nonprofit, church or secular. If you’re going to have board members, the board members have to be free from conflict of interest. I think there were people who were very threatened by the transition and couldn’t allow that to proceed. They were very sensitive to that so they made sure that didn’t happen.
Charisma News: So where are you directing your energies now?
Schuller: I had to reinvent myself from a television preacher to something else. I’m a chairman of a Youtoo social network. Since I left the Crystal Cathedral, we started a fund to acquire two television networks. We acquired FamilyNet in February of 2008 and since rebranded that as Youtoo. It’s available through most Time Warner networks. We have developed television software which allows individuals to really connect with television. They can create 15-second fame spots next to what we put on television.
Charisma News: How difficult was that transition?
Schuller: It was very difficult emotionally and spiritually. I had to go through a crash course in education as far as business practices and principles because they’re really quite different from what I was used to. I was used to raising money simply by going on television and saying, “Hey, help me out.” You’re not allowed to do that when you’re raising funds for a corporation or private placement money.
In addition to that, I had to come to grips with my relations with my family and with other people. So it was a very, very difficult time. I like to use the illustration of a tapestry when it comes to living. When we look at the back of the tapestry we see a bunch of strings and knots and it’s hard to understand why things are the way they are. But the time will come when we see the other side of the tapestry and we realize all things work together for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.
Charisma News: What was that the biggest lesson that you learned through that transition?
Schuller: There are many lessons. Clearly the one that summarizes it and puts it all together into one package is “When you’re down to nothing, God is up to something.” And that was something I held on to and something that I clung to—the promises of God.
That process for me started with the prayer of Jabez. The prayer of Jabez starts out “Enlarge my territory and then bless me indeed.” But I didn’t focus on that part of the prayer. What I actually focused on was the second part of the prayer, which few people pay attention to. That part of the prayer is “Keep me from evil that I may not cause pain.”
My first goal when I left the Crystal Cathedral was to believe in such a way that I did not cause any pain to the Crystal Cathedral or anything that was happening there. My second goal then was to discover where God was leading me and how I could best use my talents and gifts to further the kingdom of God without interfering with whatever is taking place at the Crystal Cathedral.
*Penner could not be reached for comment.
In part two of this interview, Schuller discusses how hard it was to watch his family lose so much during the bankruptcy and subsequent fall out at the Crystal Cathedral.