Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When You're Down To Nothing, God is UP to Something

Preaching at a  church in Kenya.  November 2010

When You're Down to Nothing; God is Up to Something

Written By Robert A. Schuller

Delivered on the HOP as his last sermon there ever on 08/31/08

I concluded last week's message with words that I want to begin my message with today. These words exemplify everything about the story that I want you to take with you today. The words are: When you're down to nothing God is up to something! That is something that is important for us to realize. I'm going to tell you a story today and I will begin by setting the stage and setting the situation. I am going to tell you of a law in the Old Testament in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus. It reads as follows: "When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period she will be unclean.  Any bed she lies on will be unclean and anything she sits on will be unclean.  Whoever touches them will be unclean.  He must wash his clothes and bathe with water and he will be unclean till evening." (Leviticus 15: 25-27) In the book of Mark, Chapter 5 we read: "A large crowd followed and pressed around Jesus.  And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had.  Yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus she came up behind him and touched his cloak because she thought if I just touch his clothes I'll be healed. Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him and he turned around to the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?' The disciples said,'You see the people crowded around you and yet you ask who touched me?' But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and trembled in fear and told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'

She heard about Jesus.  She believed that Jesus could heal her.  She acted in faith and she received her healing. It begins with the fact that she heard the word about Jesus as it started spreading around Syria and around Galilee and throughout the region. People would come from miles and miles to receive some kind of a healing and they were being healed!  This woman heard about Jesus.  She heard about the fact that he could possibly heal her and it was her last hope.  She was down to nothing. She spent everything she had on doctors and trying to get well, but to no avail. She was down to nothing.  When you're down to nothing God is up to something!  She heard about Jesus and she had a glimmer of hope.

There was a group of frogs who decided to have a race and on the race they decided they were going to climb this high tower. So the word got out that the frogs were racing and all the frogs of the whole world came to watch this amazing feat as they scaled this tower. As they started racing up the tower everyone started saying, "It's impossible for anyone to reach the top of that tower," and others said, "Look at them, they can't possibly succeed; they are going to fail."  One by one they would fall and the other frogs would shout, "Oh there goes another one! We knew it couldn't happen. It's impossible." One by one they all fell except for one frog that made it to the top.  Having made it to the top they interviewed him.  They came up to him and they said, "Where did you find the strength to get up to the top of the tower?"  He said, "What? I'm sorry I can't hear you. I'm deaf."  The frog never heard that it was impossible.  He never heard that others were failing.  He never heard anything except he saw his goal.  He heard that they were going to have a race to the top and that's all he heard.  He didn't hear the negative; he just saw his goal and he reached for his goal. He succeeded. 

What do you hear today?  When you have nothing and you are down to nothing what do you hear?  Do you hear the voices that say, "You are nothing and there is no hope."  Or do you hear that there is possibly a means and a way to succeed?  Can you hear that God is up to something?  If you can hear that you can pull yourself out of any hole that you find yourself in today.  There is nothing that is impossible with God.  Absolutely nothing. 

The woman heard that Jesus was around.  She believed. She believed that if she could get close enough to him to touch his garment, she would be healed.  Now think about that for a moment.  Let me tell you about the law again. The law said: Whoever touches them will be unclean.  He must wash his clothes and bathe with water and he will be unclean till evening.  And what's her plan? She's going to go and touch him.  Tell me that isn't gutsy! She knows he is not going to touch her because he's a rabbi he's not going to touch her.  But maybe she can touch him and maybe that will work.  She believed it.  St. Paul tells us in Corinthians that we live by faith and not by sight.  We live by faith. 

So many people say, "I'll believe it when I see it." If we wait to see it to believe you're going to be waiting a long time because the sight comes to those who believe and when you believe it then you'll see it.  This past week I had the privilege of going and listening to an oilman you might be familiar with. His name is T. Boon Pickens and he calls himself an oilman and an entrepreneur and a geologist.  One of the things I heard him say as he was addressing a group of about 280 people was that he has dug a lot of wells. He said not all the wells that he dug were successful. He hit a lot of dry wells, but he believed in every one. He would never dig a well that he didn't believe in. But he said, "I hit enough of them.  I hit some.  But if I never believed and never dug how many would I have hit?"  He would never have hit a single well if he didn't try them.

Believe.  When you believe you will see it. The woman heard, she believed and she acted.  Somehow she was able to press through the crowd.  It was really crowded because even the disciples couldn't figure out what in the world he was talking about and she touched the hem of his garment.  Now the hems of the garments that Jesus wore were probably not what you envision.  The pictures you see that depict the dress of Christ are probably not very accurate. One of the things we know is that Jesus always wore a prayer shawl. Every conservative, orthodox Jew to this day wears the prayer shawl. That would have been one of the things that Jesus would have worn.  Chances are she touched the actual tassels on his prayer shawl.  The prayer shawl is called a tallith. Chances are she touched one of those four tassels. Every prayer shawl has four tassels on it.  Those tassels are to remind them of the power of God reaching the four corners of the earth; having the ability to do anything.  So if she can touch the tassel of his prayer shawl she could be healed.  She squeezed through the crowd.  She touched it. 

I watched a video the other day, which was a spoof on the Tom Hanks movie, "The Castaway."  Are you familiar with that movie?  In The Castaway, Tom Hanks is lost for several years.  He was traveling on a FedEx plane which crashed and there are all these FedEx packages around the island. Finally Tom Hanks is rescued and there is a package he decided he was going to bring back to a woman. He brings the package to the woman and says, "I've been stranded on an island for all these years and I wanted to deliver your package to you. Well that's the spoof on Tom Hanks.  The video I saw shows this man walking up to this door and he has a big long beard.  It looks like he has just got off the island, but he has a FedEx shirt on and he is holding a FedEx box and he hands the FedEx box to this lady. She opens it up right away and inside the box was a satellite phone, fishing hooks and fishing line and a lighter, etc., and she kept pulling things out of the box that could have made life so much more comfortable for him while he was stranded on the island.

The question I have for you is this.  How many FedEx packages are sitting around your feet and you've never opened them?  You're down to nothing and God sends you blessings but you don't have enough faith to open the box. Respond to the blessing that God is giving you. Inside is everything you need to give you the hope and vision, and a map to give you the direction to climb from nothing to something! She heard it.  She believed it.  She acted and she received it.  She was healed and Jesus felt the power leave him and he whirled around and he said, "Who touched me?"  Seeing the woman he said, "Your faith has made you well go in peace." 

She was healed. She was healed in every way, which then opened the door so she could go to her temple.  She wasn't able to go to her temple for twelve years.  She wasn't able to touch anyone for twelve years.  She wasn't able to embrace her husband, her children, and her grandchildren.  She wasn't able to embrace her parents, her friends. She was totally cut off from society in every way.  Physically she was healed, which then healed her socially and at the same time healed her spiritually. Jesus said to her, "Go forth in peace."

Today I encourage you to come before God in prayer.  Wherever your needs are, whatever your frustrations are today just remember this:  When you're down to nothing God is up to something. As a result of that God is going to bless us in some way.  We just need to open our ears and hear.  Open our hearts and believe.  Open our hands and act.  Open our hearts and receive.  Receive His blessings today.  He wants to heal you spiritually, emotionally and physically. God is in the process of doing that all the time. 

So I encourage you to pray.  I pray for hundreds of people every week. I receive hundreds of prayer cards every week.  I go online and I pray for people on our website and I can't begin to tell you how many people are struggling financially, physically, relationally. This woman in the scripture had lost everything to doctors.  She'd lost her health.  She'd lost her relationships.  She was lost spiritually. However, she had enough faith to simply reach out and everything changed. The same thing will be true with you.  If you will reach out to Jesus in prayer everything will change.  Because when you're down to nothing God is up to something.  Don't ever forget it. Carry it with you always and remember this story. 

Dear God, we thank you that you are in the process of bringing healing and hope and goodness to people's lives today tomorrow and always. Help us to hear your message and to believe and to act accordingly so that we will receive the bounties and the blessings that you have for us.  We love you, God. Amen.


  1. I'm tooo... sad Donna, to believe everything that happened! - Pls. go ahead people and look at Robert's new book and his slowly healing and Donna's too. So do not act like glued at his last broadcated sermon. Robert has another GOD BLESSED life after CC. Sad or not...!!! For me CC is over, not Robert and Donna of course- Blessings, Rose

  2. obert A.

    Thank you for sharing your very inspired sermon! I was saddened to hear that it was your last sermon ever at the HOP...and would only ask to have you, perhaps, offer this as a possible new sermon with your son's ministry (Robert Schuller III)

    Additionally, your above sermon also inspired me, to re-name a chapter in my book: "God's Healing Love"

    And, look forward to more of your inspired blog segments...Thank you!

  3. Sorry for the typo:

    Meant to say: Robert A.
    With much respect~

  4. Thank you Rose. Thank you Al. When Robert next gives this message in a church, in a peace conference, in The Holy Land, or wherever, we will get it on video and share it for sure.
    God is blessing you. Donna

  5. Clearly to me this was an "Inspired" sermon!

    Robert, I sense that for you and yours and so many of us, certainly myself, it felt like all you did for not only HOP/CCM but with needs for wheelchairs in impoverished regions of the world, Donna's Ministry (Habitat for Humanity work as an example), all came to a screeching HALT! For me and I have read for others we gradually said to ourselves "Time to stop grieving and tine to move onwards"!

    And how much closer have we become as Believers. How much more does your message mean "When you're down to nothing God is up to something". I know for me, while I wish it had never happened as it did so cruelly, HE has led us Through and I feel I trust in that phrase more than ever.

    As I said earlier this was an Inspired sermon, that we all would come to need! And next time life turns sour I know it will be just part of my journey that has me walking closer with Jesus!

    "Father, I know that no matter the size of waves or the ferocity of a storm, You will keep me Upright and I ask only that I and others remember this Storm we have been through and how we all were led through to Peace. Thank you Father and may I be worthy of your perpetual care".


  6. I really neededto read this sermon. I am very stressed out and have been fearful lately. I felt compelled to hear more Robert A sermons and went to you tube and randomly selected a date in May 2008,. I was still living in LA and attending the CC at the time, but we were out of town when Robert preached. (we moved to Houston a month later) His sermon was about fear, which is what i have been feeling lately. That is so weird, I just selected a random date and up came a sermon addressing what I've been dealing with....I've had a big knot in my stomach that I haven't been able to get rid of, but listening to his sernon helped so much and so did my run on the treadmill, which I couldn't motivate mysef to do until after listening to Robert!!! Thanks Robert,, you helped me today.

  7. Thank you Robert. Your sermon has inspired me.
    I am more at peace since a family member passed away over a year ago. God brings us out of the
    darkness and into the light in his time.
    God bless you and Donna.

  8. Hi All-
    It is very nice to reconnect with some of you after many months of silence! In some ways we have our blog church back! I am so glad that Robert's written sermon helped you. It also helped both Robert and myself as we had not heard it/read it in almost three years! Funny how you can minister to yourself!
    Hardship is a part of life but there is always so much to be thankful for. God is always up to something good!
    He is blessing you. Donna

  9. Thanks Donna, I hate t complain, but life has been really unbearable lately. When is Robert going to start the lessons I need a lifeline and so does my hubby

  10. Dear Mary,
    I did a video of Robert today and I sent it to our son Bobby so he could edit with music and words. I hope he can put it up tomorrow. If you send me your email I can send it to you right away. You can write me at I will check the email in the morning and send it right off to you.
    Meanwhile, although things sound really tough right now, you will make it through whatever you are going through. Let me know what else I can do for you. God is blessing you, even now. Donna

  11. I am hoping Everyday Life with Robert A Schuller will have another episode. I see it is still on the American Life Network site.

    I would encourage any who have not seen it to click the American Life link at the top of Donna's page here and then click watch Everyday Life

    It will calm and put priorities in perspective.

    He is blessing all, always

  12. we jusr received the worst news possible today. please uplift us in your prayers. all i want to is escape the pain...i dont want to drink, but the pain is so overwhelming....

  13. Dear Mary,
    We are praying for you right now. Please contact me again on my email and leave your phone # so I can call you ASAP!
    I can hear your pain in your message here so please let me know how I can reach you.
    God is still blessing you. Donna


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Please try to stay on the topic and remember also that there are many who are struggling through all kinds of challenges. Let's all be kind and thoughtful with our comments please! :D