MOVE AHEAD WITH
ROBERT H. SCHULLER
by: Robert H. Schuller
copyright 1967 - (pgs. 6-22)
* * * * * * * * *
HOW POSSIBILITY THINKING
MOVED MOUNTAINS IN MY LIFE!
H IS CAR DROVE PAST THE UNPAINTED BARN AND STOPPED IN A CLOUD OF SUMMER DUST AT OUR FRONT GATE. I ran barefooted across the splintery porch and saw my Uncle Henry bound out of the car. He was tall, very handsome, and terribly alive with energy. After many years overseas as a missionary in China, he was visiting our Iowa farm. He ran up to the old gate and put both of his big hands on my four-year-old shoulders. He smiled widely, ruffled my uncombed hair, and said, “Well! I guess you’re Robert! I think you are going to be a preacher someday.” That night I prayed secretly, “ And dear God, make me a preacher when I grow up!” I believe that God made me a POSSIBILITY THINKER then and there.
* * * * * * *
I T WAS SIXTEEN YEARS LATER when, after graduation from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, I entered Western Theological Seminary. While a seminary student I was dismayed at the attitude some ambitious students displayed as they prepared to graduate. The great churches of the land loomed as objects to be coveted. “What a dangerous way to go out into the world,” I thought. “I can see myself coveting some great church, even perhaps scheming to get the job, only to become jealous if someone else is chosen.” I didn’t want to enter the ministry risking such negative emotions.
About this time I wrote a paper on George Truett, a Baptist minister who in his early years assumed the pastorate of a struggling church in Texas. “I’ll give my life .. ... ..the best and all of it, if need be,” the young Texan said, “to make this into the greatest church in America!” And he did. When he finally retired forty years later he left behind the largest, and probably the best, Baptist church in all of America. What an inspiration ! “Give me a chance, God,” I prayed, “to build a church from the bottom up. I covet no other man’s job. I ask only for a real, live opportunity to create a great job for myself, and leave behind something wonderful to bless generations yet unborn.”
I was ordained and began my ministry in Ivanhoe, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago . After four and a half years a call came to begin a new Protestant church in Orange County, California. Unfamiliar with the West Coast, I decided first to visit the area. There I saw houses springing up from orange groves, the beginnings of a tremendous new population explosion but with few facilities with which to start a new church. Still undecided, I started back to Chicago. That night on the train I prayed deeply, asking, “God, should I go to California?”
It was my moment of decision. It was nearly midnight. Wide awake in the top bunk of the Santa Fe railroad car, I stared out the window. The train was stopped now, high in the Arizona mountains. A full moon fell on the snow-covered pines. Suddenly a deer leaped from behind a tree and bounded off into the moonlit night spraying dry snow-dust in his trail. Then, sparked by George Truett’s experience, it came to me: the positive possibility thought,
“The greatest churches have yet to be organized.”
That did it. By the grace of God I was being given the answer to my five-year-old prayer. Here was my chance to build a great church . My decision was made. We would accept this challenge and move to California. We would begin a new church. When I stepped off the train in Chicago my wife could read the answer on my face. “I see we’re going to California, honey !“ she said.
T HE ROADS FROM ILLINOIS TO CALIFORNIA CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS IN FEBRUARY BUT ALL WENT WELL; the roads were dry all the way. In Sioux City, Iowa, I parked in front of a music store. In my pocket was four hundred dollars, a farewell gift from our Chicago congregation. The store’s proprietor, my friend Howard Duven, sold me a small electronic organ on the terms I offered: Four hundred dollars down and forty-five dollars a month for thirty-six months; it was to be delivered in California.
It was February 27 when we stopped our old Chevy in front of the tiny house that my sponsoring denomination, the Reformed Church, had arranged as our residence “until you have the money to build a home of your own.” Also waiting for me, from the same group, was a check for five hundred dollars.
Wiser people than I considered my denominational afiiliation to be a serious disadvantage. . For the Reformed Church in America had only 200,000 members in the entire country. My first task upon unpacking in Garden Grove was to find the people living there who belonged to this denomination. I could find only two other families. How could we build a strong following? Obviously the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans, and Catholics would all go to their own churches. Who would come to our church? Reformed people? But there were only two! The odds were that no more than seventy-five families, at the most, could be expected to move into the area in the next ten years! How could we succeed? Looking at some statistics, it was very plain that half the people in the U.S. had no religious affiliation. Our answer then came quickly and clearly. The unchurched thousands—this was our opportunity. We would have to impress and win the people who, for one reason or another, had never before been interested in organized religion.
Three days after we arrived our organ was delivered. I took stock of my assets: a wife, one mortgaged organ, five hundred dollars and the freedom to spend it any way I chose.
All I wouold have to do was find an empty hall and start preaching. “No, Bob,” my advisers from the area informed me. “We looked around before we called you and there is nothing available.” NOTHING—what a ghastly impossible word! I refused to accept this negative advice. On my fourth day in California I began searching for a place to hold church services. Surely there must be a place. I started to exercise possibility thinking.
First, I made a list of all the possible places where I might conduct church services. I contacted the school board and learned that California law does not permit a school building to be used for religious purposes. Possibility No . 1 struck out.
I remembered that Seventh-Day Adventists conducted their religious services on Saturday, leaving their buildings empty on Sunday. I was too late. The Presbyterians were worshiping there. Possibility No. 2 struck out.
Next, the mortuary chapel. The Baptists were one step ahead of me. Possibility No. 3 struck out.
Then, on to the Moose Hall. There, again, another denomination had already claimed it. Possibility No. 4 struck out.
I was up to Possibility No. 5. Five years before, my honey-mooning wife and I had attended church services in a drive-in theater at Spirit Lake, Iowa. I began looking for a drive-in theater. Three miles east of our new California home I found the Orange Drive-In Theater. The manager listened curiously but politely to my very peculiar request . A week later he telephoned, “It’s yours to use on Sunday.” “Thank you very much. I’ll take it,” I answered.
Immediately I sensed that this was the beginning of something new and exciting. I promptly made my first immodest public announcement: “In three weeks we will be starting what will become Orange County’s newest and most inspiring Protestant Church.” I added, “Come as you are in the family car.”
The announcements were precise: “On Sunday, March 27, 1955, at 11:00 A.M., first services will be held in the Orange Drive-In Theater.”
It wasn’t long before I had some reactions from various community and church leaders. “What? A drive-in church.” I never heard of such a thing!” “I hear you’re going to have to begin in a drive-in theater. You poor fellow. How unfortunate that you couldn’t find some empty hall,” a fellow member of the cloth said.
I was both pitied and criticized as word spread through my staid old denomination that I was going to have to preach from the sticky tar-paper roof of the snack bar of a drive-in theater. “What an undesirable way to begin a church,” was the general reaction from the more sympathetic churchmen. - Eight days before our opening service I had an unnerving visit from a friend who was also a Protestant minister. He was the most sincere impossibility thinker I’ve ever met.
“What’s this I hear, Bob? You really aren’t planning to start a new church in a drive-in theater, are you?” he asked with a shocked stare. Glaring at me from his judgmental eyes he sermonized, “Why that place is nothing but a big passion pit.” I reminded him that St. Paul preached on Mars Hill, “and that wasn’t such a holy spot.” He was unmoved by my simple defense. He promptly proceeded to spend two hours showing me what was wrong with the idea. He left me a priceless illustration of how the impossibility thinker thinks. He warned me that it “couldn’t possibly work.” He used his impossibility-complexed imagination to dream up all sorts of reasons why my decision was a mistake.
By the time my pious preacher friend with his defeat-prophesying mind left, I found that I had been infected. Impossibility thinking is a highly contagious disease.
That Saturday night I tossed in my bed. My caller had filled my mind with all the confidence-shattering fear possible. . But what could I do? The announcements were out. I had already spent almost all of the five hundred dollars: twenty-five to buy a homemade trailer to transport the organ to the theater, seventy dollars on a microphone so I could be heard through the theater’s ublic address s stem another hundred dollars for lumber with which I had already built a pulpit, altar, and then twenty-five-foot cross that I planned to erect on the theater roof . I shuddered with the onslaught of self-doubt. It was three o’clock that Sunday morning before I finally fell asleep.
“Let’s go to Hollywood Presbyterian and listen to Ray Lindquist,” I suggested to my wife at breakfast. On our way we wondered how many we would have in the drive-in theater the next Sunday. Seated in the pew, at the world’s largest Presbyterian church, we opened the bulletin to read the title of the morning message, “God’s Formula for Your Self-Confidence.” Good! I could certainly use a little self-confidence. The minister began with a text that became the one sentence I would cling to all week, all year, and all through my life: “Being confident in this one thing , that God who has begun a good work in you, will complete it.” (Philippians 1:6) Dr.Lindquist assured his audience: “God got you started in life, God has helped you to get where you are, and you can be sure that God will not quit on you.”
“GOD WILL NOT QUI T ON YOU. You may quit on God but God does not quit on you.” How these words healed my mind, curing me from the fresh infection of fear. I became a POSSIBILITY THINKER again. Once more I saw the possibility of teaming up with God to work a miracle in Orange County.
The next week I was busily occupied organizing for the Sunday service. On Saturday night I went to the garage and rubbed my hand over the new polished mahogany organ. It was firmly bolted to the trailer. I checked the back seat of my car. It was loaded with offering plates, pulpit Bible, microphone, raincoat and umbrella. I checked the air in the trailer tires.
“How many do you think you will have tomorrow morning?” my wife asked as I stepped back in the house.
“Well, we know the choir will be coming from Los Angeles. Nice of that church to loan us their music for a day . There are thirty members in the choir and I’ve asked them to come in as many cars as possible so the place won’t look completely empty.” We both laughed. “We should have another ten or twenty cars,” I guessed.
“What are you preaching on tomorrow morning?” my wife asked. I recited my text: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you can say to this mountain move, and nothing will be impossible unto you.”
That night I woke up once to find myself remembering “He that has begun a good work in you will complete it.” Then I went back to a sound and restful sleep.
The next afternoon my wife and I sat around the dinner table counting the first offering. “About fifty cars. That must mean about twenty families that came from nowhere. Some of them will be back. Thank God it didn’t rain. In two weeks it will be Easter. We are on the way, honey!” That enthusiastic report to my wife was strengthened when we finished counting the oflering—$83.75. It was a great success.
My impossibility-thinking preacher friend didn’t think so He called the very next morning to inquire how we had done. I told him, “Over one hundred people in all.” (I didn’t tell him that included the visiting choir.) “Is that all?” he lamented, adding, with condescending sympathy, “Well, what can you expect in a drive-in theater.” “But that is a hundred per cent increase over last week’s attendance,” I protested, challenging, “How much of an increase did you have yesterday over the past week?” He admitted his attendance was “down a little for some strange reason he hadn’t figured out yet.”
I hung up the telephone, returned to my typewriter, and typed a press release: “Southern California’s first Drive-In Church got off the ground yesterday with an attendance of over half a hundred ears.”
So we were off and away. It was the beginning of something great. We felt it. We knew it . So did the people who were there.
Things moved rapidly for the next few months. With funds borrowed from our denominational headquarters we purchased two acres of land where we hoped to build our church home.
I heard about an excellent architect in Long Beach and went to his office. “I am twenty-eight years old, sir,” I said. “I have no money. Will you take a chance and draw plans for a beautiful chapel?” Richard Shelley took a chance even though he knew my salary was only three hundred dollars a month. I signed a contract then promising to pay what would amount to a total of over four thousand dollars. When he sent his first bill I simply made an announcement to my small congregation which then contributed enough to meet the payment of one thousand dollars. When final drawings were submitted another offering was collected—three thousand dollars. The plans ready, money was borrowed to build our first chapel. Six months later and after eighteen months of preaching in the open air the chapel was completed . Excitement mounted as the congregation, now numbering two hundred members, prepared to move from the drive-in theater into its beautiful new church home.
It was about this time that I met Rosie Gray. It began with a telephone call. “You don’t know me, Reverend, but my name is Warren Gray. My wife and I have been coming to your church since that first Sunday in the drive-in theater. We live twenty-one miles from the theater. I know it’s a long way but could you come to see us?”
When I pulled up to the old rancher’s home he was waiting on the front porch for me. He respectfully took off his old felt hat, shook hands, and said, “Before you meet my wife I should tell you that she can’t walk and she can’t talk. You see, she had a stroke some years ago. She can only grunt a little, and cry a little, and smile faintly . But her mind is good. We never miss church. I’m old but I’m still strong. I just lift her up, put her in the front seat of the car and we drive out and sit there and listen to you talk about faith . It’s wonderful. We want to join your church.”
I followed Mr. Gray into the house. There was his wife, Rosie, sitting in her chair. Her chin slumped on her chest. Her eyes stared straight out from a head unable to turn. Her mouth hung open . She looked drugged and dazed. “Hello Rosie, I’m Reverend Schuller.” A faint smile tried to cross her face. “You want to join the church, Rosie?” I asked.
As her open lips moved slightly, her eyes lifted to meet mine and tears slid slowly down her cheeks. From the paralyzed lips that struggled vainly to pronounce words she managed a long sustained mumble . The love of God shining from her face told me what she was trying to say.
Two weeks later we baptized Rosie and her husband in their car. Now we had 202 members. The following week at a board meeting to plan the grand opening of our beautiful new chapel, someone asked, “What will we do about Rosie Gray?” There were a lot of suggestions . She might listen to religious services on television. “Why not hold services in our new chapel from nine-thirty until ten-thirty and then Reverend Schuller can go back to the drive-in and conduct a service there from eleven until twelve o’clock for Rosie There may be others who have a similar need, who would prefer remaining in their cars.” I don’t remember who suggested that solution to our prob1cm. The idea carried.
So, eighteen months after arriving in California to organize a new church I found myself with two growing congregations meeting in two separate locations three miles apart!
A year passed. Every Sunday it was the same procedure: A preaching service from nine-thirty to ten-thirty to two hundred people gathered in the chapel. Then a mad dash in my car, pulling a trailer with the organ behind, to the drive-in theater where another two hundred people were waiting for a service to begin at eleven o’clock. Three more years of the same and the dream started evolving in my mind. Why not merge the chapel and the drive-in congregation in one big inspiring creation? After all, when J. Wallace Hamilton of the St. Petersburg Community Church in Florida found his church too small to hold the growing crowds, he put loudspeakers in the parking area. People worshiped in their cars. People were worshiping both inside and outside at the same time.
Why not find a great architect to design a church where people could worship in their cars? There were those unable to walk; those with small children they couldn’t leave at home alone; those with emotional problems which made it difficult for them to meet and speak with others; those who labored at manual jobs with no time to change to suitable clothes. For these it was a blessing to be able to remain in their cars to worship. Otherwise they might never get to church. For the others, there would be more conventional pews and accommodations.
The dream began to take clear form in my mind. I could see a sanctuary with glass walls, gardens, fountains leaping in the sunlight, hells hanging in open towers, all rising from acres of tree-shaded grounds. I longed to share my dream with someone, but I did not dare until one day in a church I noticed a calendar that featured this positive sentence:
“I WOULD RATHER ATTEMPT TO DO
SOMETHING GREAT AND FAIL, THAN
ATTEMPT TO DO SOMETHING AND SUCCEED!”
That did it. I began talking with knowledgeable , POSSSSIBILITY-THINKING people, including architects, and became fortified in my conviction that it was a practical and valuable idea. With God’s help I was determined to lead this idea to success even if it should take all of my life and all of my energy and my last dime.
Taking the first step, I enthusiastically shared my dream with the congregation in a sermon entitled “How to Make Your Dreams Come True.” I used the dream of a walk-in drive-in church as an illustration. “Perhaps God would love to see a new church where people could worship both inside and outside at the same time. Perhaps God wants us to develop something totally new, to fill a real human need. It can be unsurpassed as a place of peace and beauty.”
Now the POSSIBILITY THINKERS in the church would not let the dream die. “Let’s call for a congregational. meeting to discuss the proposal,” they said. This was safe. (No intelligent person can object to a meeting to discuss a positive proposal.) So the meeting was called. We focused our attention on the problem that needed to be solved. We faced the facts. Fact number one: We had two large congregations meeting every Sunday morning in two separate locations. Fact number two: This drive-in ministry was filling a vital need. Fact number three: We had church members who needed the drive-in service. The fourth fact: We had no idea how long we could continue to use the drive-in theater. We had no lease. We could be told any day that we would no longer be able to meet there. Fact number five: It was unpractical for me as pastor to continue in perpetuity to serve two growing congregations in two separate locations. We offered the congregation three possible solutions to these problems:
1. That we divide the two groups into two separate churches.
2. That we drop the drive-in ministry.
3. That we agree to merge both groups on a new piece of
property in a “walk-in drive-in” church “giving God a chance
to show us how it could be done.” We would simply get out
of God’s way and give Him a chance to show us the possible
good such a venture could accomplish and the possible ways in
which it could be acceptably carried out.
While the congregation debated the three proposals, one POSSIBILITY THINKER, Dr. Wilfred Landrus, was writing on a scrap of paper. After the various alternatives had been honestly debated and a lull fell over the meeting, as so often happens in a problem-busting, tension-generating, brainstorming meeting, Dr. Landrus rose and, reading from his paper, said, “Mr. Chairman, I move that this congregation under God go on record as favoring merger, and that we authorize the consistory to conduct further study toward acquiring property for this purpose.” After further debate, the vote was taken. Fifty-five people voted yes, and forty-six voted no. By a slim majority, the decision was made.
The disagreeing congregation went home while I stayed and prayed alone in the dark chapel. As I rose to leave I saw the paper with Dr. Landrus’s motion. I picked it up and put it in my pocket . I felt this was an important document in my life and for others.
Thus a great project was begun—an idea, a meeting, and a carried motion. Opposition immediately mounted. Fortunately, support mounted even faster. A real-estate salesman called me with an offer: “If you are serious about your plan, I know where you can buy ten good acres of land for sixty-six thousand dollars, nineteen thousand down and four hundred a month for fifteen years. If you will put one thousand dollars down now to open a one-hundred-twenty-day escrow you can have it. If in the one-hundred-twenty-day escrow period you do not succeed in coming up with the balance of the down payment or another eighteen thousand dollars, you will, of course, forfeit the thousand dollars with which you have officially accepted the purchase offer.” The proposal was placed to the congregation.
There were those who wanted to play it safe. “Let’s not agree to buy this land until we have the total nineteen thousand dollars down payment . Let’s not risk losing a thousand dollars.”
A sharply contrary opinion was offered: “Let’s accept the offer tonight. We have eleven hundred dollars in the bank. Let’s take one thousand and trust that in the next one hundred nineteen days we can come up with the eighteen thousand to complete the down payment. Let’s not risk losing the opportunity. If we wait until we have the entire nineteen thousand it may be too late.” By a narrow and noisy vote, this second opinion won out. The next morning one thousand dollars was drawn out of our bank. The escrow was opened. We had 119 days left 40 find eighteen thousand dollars.
Three and one-half months passed. The fund grew to twelve thousand dollars. I was instructed by the church board to close the escrow by depositing the eighteen thousand dollars whenever I had managed to collect the full amount. One hundred fifteen days passed. I cashed in the family’s insurance policies. By now I had tapped and exhausted all resources. All we had was fifteen thousand dollars.
It was twelve o’clock noon of the closing day of escrow. In four hours the escrow office would close its doors for the weekend. I was still three thousand dollars short. At twelve o’clock on the final day I could see the opportunity slipping forever away. I went to a telephone booth and called my wife. “Honey, it doesn’t look like we are going to make it.” “Call Mr. Gray,” she said. “But I can’t,” I argued. Two weeks before, Warren Gray had been sent home from the hospital with an incurable cancer. “Bob, I know that God wants that property. And I know that you should call Mr. Gray,” my wife insisted. I hung up the telephone. I prayed quietly. I dialed. My eyes were wet. I wanted to cry. My lips quivered. The ranch phone rang . I conveyed my brief message to the nurse who answered and said, “Just a minute. I think Warren will want to talk to you.” A moment later the weak voice of the old sick rancher sounded on the other end of the line. “I’ve got good news for you, Warren,” I pretended. “I can give you the two thousand dollars back that you donated to buy the land. You see, the escrow closes today and we didn’t make our goal,” I added, trying to be brave. “Oh no, Reverend!” the tired voice objected. “I can do more than I have . I’ll meet you in the Bank of America office on North Main Street, Santa Ana, in about an hour. I’ve got three thousand dollars for you.” Dazed, I walked four blocks to the bank office. Warren arrived, went to the cashier’s window, and then placed three thousand dollars in my hand, saying, “Reverend, I think God wants that ten acres of ground. And Rosie needs the drive-in church. And after Rosie’s gone there will be others like her.” He turned around, walked out, and drove twenty miles back to his country home, while I walked down the street to the Orange County Title & Trust Company one hour before the closing of the 120-day time period and placed eighteen thousand dollars on the escrow desk! And that’s how God took title to His ten acres.
We had passed many hurdles in our project. Two stormy congregational meetings were now history. One obstacle remained, the sale of our three-year-old stained glass chapel. Sale of property required denominational approval. A meeting of denominational officials was held. Opposing members of the church spoke against “Schuller’s plan.” They were not without support by a few tradition-bound churchmen who saw only great danger in a drive-in church. But again a motion authorizing us to sell the property was made, supported, and after heated debate the vote was called for. “The ayes have it,” the chairman ruled. Before a closing prayer could be offered I saw the five leading members of my church rise and walk out. The next morning I came to my office to find on my desk the minutes of our church board. The secretary of the board was resigning. I also found the financial records. The treasurer was resigning. I found a letter from the vice president—he was quitting too. Suddenly my stomach sank. The three officers of the church were quitting on me. The telephone rang. For some reason my secretary was late. I answered. It was my secretary. “Sorry, Bob, I think the world of you but with this tension I just can’t continue to work there now . I’m sorry.” And she hung up. I never felt more alone in my life.
Suddenly in this black moment I recalled a Bible verse I had learned as a child: “No man having put his hands to the plough and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” I typed these words on paper, slipped them under the glass top of my desk, and read them a dozen times every day. These words gave me faith with holding power. And along side of these words, I clipped the words of Dr. Butler of Baylor University: “When things get tough—don’t move. People and pressures shift but the soil remains the same no matter where you go.” If that wasn’t enough I added the old high-school-gymnasium words: “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
However, I could see the church disintegrating, our dreams threatened with disaster. “Tell me, Lord, what you want me to do!” I prayed. “I will build My church!”— the words of Jesus Christ came suddenly and clearly into my mind. Until that moment I felt that I was the head of the church. Did I not begin this church? Did I not go out and round up the first live, ten, fifteen, twenty members? Did I not personally make the down payment and the monthly payments on the little organ? And was I not the president of the corporation and the chairman of the board?
Now I realized that Jesus Christ was offering to take over the mountainous responsibilites as head of the church. I may have been over-dramatic but the truth is I stepped out of my chair, stretched out an open hand to my empty seat and said, “Then Lord, You sit there. If You want this walk-in drive-in church to be built, that’s wonderful. And if for some reason You don’t want this dream to materialize , I’ll accept that too . Right now I’ll be immensely relieved if You will
please take command.”
I turned, walked out of His office, and left for a vacation, confident that the dream was now in the hands of Jesus Christ.
Ten days later the impossible mountain started to move. In a wonderful way the problems began to dissolve. Our chapel was sold at an honest profit. Architectural plans of a beautiful walk-in drive-in church were engineered and approved. We announced the ground-breaking ceremony to herald the beginning of what would be a million-dollar institution specializing in inspiration.
About one hundred cars drove onto our unsightly ten acres to witness the ground- breaking. Long ribbons on stakes marked the outline where the building would stand. Ceremoniously we turned the first spade. The photographers captured the moment. We were on our way. All because of a woman who could not walk or talk.
There was only one touch of sadness. Rosie Gray had died two days before. The day after God pushed us into our project, Rosie Gray was buried. As I stood with Warren Gray on the wind-swept country cemetery not far from the blue Pacific Ocean, I paraphrased an old saying, with deep feeling: “They also serve who only sit and wait.”
Two years later the project was completed. We had successfully borrowed the hundreds of thousands of needed dollars economic experts had told us were financially impossible for such a small congregation to obtain. A four-square-block parcel of ground was graded, paved, and landscaped. Ten miles of wires and another ten miles of pipes, sewers, and electrical conduits crisscrossed under the improved ten acres. A quarter mile of streets, curbs, gutters, water and gas lines had been developed. A great glass cathedral seating one thousand people and a landscaped parking lot equipped with over one hundred hi-fl speakers piping the sound into cars filled with worshiping people—all was finished . Four bell towers, one hundred feet high, holding twelve bells, cut a dramatic silhouette on the skyline. Twelve fountains, reminding us of twelve common men who became the great uncommon leaders of the Christian religion, leaped out of a block-long reflection pool that adorned the 250-foot-long east wall of the sanctuary. Now that the work was finished, would it be a success? On Sunday morning, November 5, 1961, Norman Vincent Peale flew from New York to preach the first sermon from the pulpit of this church—unlike any church ever before built in the history of religion. He mounted the pulpit and looked across a drive-in parking area filled with five hundred cars carrying nearly two thousand worshipers. He looked across the upholstered pews of the sanctuary crowded w~th over one thousand people. The choir sang “Holy, Holy, Holy.” I pressed a button—and two twenty-five-foot-high sections of the glass wall alongside the pulpit separated slowly like angel’s wings opening. Now the minister in the pulpit could look clearly out at both the walk-in and drive-in worshipers . It worked. Beautifully. Over four thousand people that were there were sure—this was a success. A handful of POSSIBILITY THINKERS had tested and proved the reality of POSSIBILITY THINKING. Today a staff of five ministers serve six thousand people weekly in this church. Our property has a valuation of over one and a half million dollars, and more construction is planned.
What does it all prove? That it is possible to achieve seemingly impossible goals by possibility thinking. That a seemingly helpless person like Rosie Gray may be used by God for very important purposes.
It proves that God keeps His promises. “He that has begun a good work in you will complete it.”
What does it say to you? I hope it says that you too can make your dreams come true. If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you can say to this mountain move—and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
What would you like to build? A church? Probably not. A business? A career? A home? A marriage? A great reputation? A life that will really amount to something?
Then you can!
The first step is to get rid of that impossibility complex.
MOVE AHEAD WITH POSSIBILITY THINKING.
By: Robert H. Schuller
copyright @ 1967 by: Robert H. Schuller (pgs. 5-21)
Guideposts Associates, Inc. Carmel, New York
published - -Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Church of the Science of God
La Jolla, California 92038-3131
© Church of the Science of GOD, 1993