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Faith forms the foundation of Possibility Living. Without it we go nowhere and do nothing. Now, I am referring to faith as a verb, not as a noun. Faith as a noun puts life in a box. As a noun, faith becomes divisive and argumentative. It says, "I am a Catholic," "I am a Buddhist," "I am a Mormon," or "I am a Protestant." And then we start to ask the question, "What faith are you?" If that question were asked of a random group of individuals, there would be almost as many answers as there are people in the room. Some would answer "Baptist," while others might call themselves "Muslim" or "atheist."
Faith as a verb, however, energizes life. It affirms, "I am living a life filled and overflowing with possibilities." The faith to which I refer speaks about a lifestyle, not a creed; a way of life, not a religion. Faith defined by the author of Hebrews becomes the fabric of Possibility Living: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11: 1).
My dear late friend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale directed us to focus on Positive Thinking. His influence on me was so great that it's impossible for me to hear or use the word "positive" or any derivative of it without thinking of him. His book The Power of Positive Thinking was one of the most influential books of all time. Reintegrating psychology and religion, Peale developed a cognitive approach to retraining the brain to think positive thoughts. By merging positive thinking with Christian beliefs, he was successful in changing countless lives.
Faith originates in the mind.Cognitively we talk ourselves into seeing the positive in the negative and that begins the process of Positive Thinking. Through Positive Thinking, we can see whatever happens in the present from an optimistic perspective.
Dr. Robert H. Schuller gave us the next step with Possibility Thinking. He put a handle on Positive Thinking by helping people to not only think positive thoughts and find hope, but also see the possibilities in making things happen. This helps individuals turn their dreams into reality. In Possibility Thinking, we can see our future from a positive perspective--filled and brimming over with possibilities.
Possibility Living now completes the circle by helping us put our thoughts, dreams, and hopes into action by living them. Possibility Living uses faith to take the positive steps necessary to transform thinking and possibilities into action--a healthy lifestyle in all aspects of body, mind, and spirit. In Possibility Living, we integrate Positive Thinking and Possibility Thinking into a way of life.
In hope are planted the seeds of faith. Before we can grow faith, we must have the soil of hope. Positive Thinking originates and produces the soil of hope. Faith springs out of the hope. Without hope, nothing exists but despair and oppression. We can begin to break out of hopelessness and into optimism using Positive and Possibility Thinking, and then through faith we initiate the process of Possibility Living. We start with hope, move into faith, make right choices, and then begin living out life's abundant possibilities. I have had difficulty in the past differentiating between faith and hope. Then I discovered this reality--hope is the first step to faith. Out of the soil of hope generated through Possibility Thinking comes a faith that activates Possibility Living.
Hope helps us take the first step of beginning to live, because without hope life is not worth living. But hope goes far beyond wishful thinking. Wishful thinking often drifts aimlessly in fantasy, but hope springs out of reality and truth. Out of living hope grows a faith that produces life! Scripture tells us that God in his mercy has given us new birth into a living hope (I Pet. 1:3). From this living hope grows a vital, dynamic faith that translates our thoughts into actual planning and strategizing and then into positive, Possibility Thinking.
Positive Thinking says, "I can respond positively to life's situations." Possibility Thinking takes it a step further saying, "Maybe there is a way. Maybe it is possible to overcome the impossible." And thus, hope is born.
Once born anew, living hope begins to think the positive thoughts through which we, by faith, can take action. Possibility Thinking begins the process of actually solving the problem. We ask ourselves, "What are some of the possibilities that could take place to resolve my problems?" The positive thoughts, the "maybes," become the possibility thoughts, "I can. There is a way. It's possible!" Possibility Living by hope and faith steps out of the realm of thinking into the reality of living. We actually live the possibilities!
Living the possibilities is a critical step in actualizing God's dream and desire for your life. When my father, Robert H. Schuller, started his ministry in Garden Grove, California, in 1954, he had no place to have worship services. This was a serious problem, because the Reformed Church in America had hired him to start a new church. If he had not been a positive thinker, he would have packed his bags and moved to an established church somewhere else. Instead of packing his bags and quitting, he made a list of ten places where it might be possible to hold services. Without knowing what it was called, he was practicing Possibility Thinking. His list included the local schools, Seventh-Day Adventist churches (which hold worship on Saturdays), a mortuary, a synagogue, and a drive-in movie theater. As it turned out, the only place available to him was the drive-in theater, and so he started what is today the Crystal Cathedral.
When my father started working his plan--putting possibility thoughts into action--he stepped into Possibility Living. Out of his lifestyle of Possibility Living developed a ministry with a worldwide telecast reaching literally millions every Sunday.
Possibility Living integrates Positive Thinking with Possibility Thinking and then acts! A beautiful example of how this process works can be seen in the expansion of the many freeways in California since 1995. The road crews perform incredible engineering feats in making improvement, including construction of the immense bridges linking the freeways together, around six flowing lanes of high-speed traffic.Possibility Living. Copyright © by Robert Schuller. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.