We Inspire People to Live Better Lives


The Biology of Beliefs

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Featuring: Rev. Richard Rogers

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Rev. Richard Rogers: I spoke last Sunday at Unity of Tucson. And usually what happens when I’m speaking at a place that I don’t usually speak at, it’s kind of my opportunity to go through my files and say, “What’s the talk that I really want to give one more time?” or “What’s the talk that I just loved.” And I kind of bring them out, dust them off, and look at them to see if they’re relevant still. And this time, as I was getting ready on Saturday afternoon, Spirit said, “Nope; you’re going to do a brand new talk.” It’s like, “Oh no!”

[Congregation laughs]

Oh no! Because sometimes I have to really work on my talks. You know, I’ve got an idea, and it’s kind of a slow process. But a lot of time – maybe most of the time – I feel like it’s just “downloaded.” Right? Like, I just have to kind of shut up and get out of the way, and take as many notes, and open the space as wide as I can and just get it down. And that’s kind of what happened Saturday afternoon. This whole talk just kind of dropped in! Quotes and Scripture… I mean, the whole thing was right there. And so I got up in the morning, was so excited, went down to Tucson… and it was okay.

[Congregation laughs]

But it was such a great talk! And the problem wasn’t the talk. Right?

[Congregation laughs]

And I feel like, you know, here I was up to bat; I had this great talk. It would be like whatever your pitch is. Like, somehow the pitcher telegraphed what the pitch is going to be. You know what the pitch is going to be; you have all the time, the clarity; you see the pitch. It’s coming! It’s your pitch! You want to just knock it out of the park. And you kind of dribble it to the pitcher and they throw you out running to first base. Right?

And they thought it was okay. I mean, they were polite. But it was a better talk. So guess what you’re going to hear tonight?

[Congregation laughs and applauds; Rev. Rogers laughs]

And maybe – if I don’t do it well tonight – they’re going to hear it in Prescott on Sunday! Right? And you might be hearing this talk for the next three or four weeks, until I get it right! Right?

So it all began with this idea that we made this commitment this year to elevate our life. Whatever the area is – whatever the things that are going on in your life – that this year I’m inviting you to take it up a notch. And one of the areas that I want to kind of dive into is this idea of discerning the difference between the difficult and the impossible.

If you had to look at your own life, I want you to see if there are times when you had to walk through the difficult. Has everyone had that experience? Where you had to walk through the difficult? And I want to see if you can discern that from being asked to do the impossible. Because for many of us, what happens is both those situations kind of get lopped in together. But in my way of thinking, they’re radically different. And the difference is how we take those two situations on.

How many of you have had to walk through really difficult situations in your life? Okay. And what tends to happen is: when you’re walking through a difficult situation, you tend to do what you do. You tend to use your success “mechanism,” whatever you do to be successful, and you tend to just do more of it. Right? You tend to do it faster or you try to do it better. But you kind of take on difficult situations, and you take them on from the way you do everything. Right? So there tends to be kind of this situation where – if it’s difficult – our personality kind of steps in and says, “This is a problem” or “This is difficult” or “This is awkward” or “This is painful… but I can do this. I’ve done painful before, or I’ve done awkward before… I’ve done something like this before, so I’m just going to do what I do and keep doing it the way I do it…” And, somehow, those difficult situations we get through.

But when it comes to things that are impossible, it kind of stops us. Because in our mind, we’ve decided that what’s being asked of us is impossible. And the moment we decide it’s impossible, we know that we don’t know how to do it. Does that make sense? By definition, it’s impossible! Right? And the moment it’s impossible, it brings us to such a complete stop that it allows for something greater than our own methodology. Because it’s impossible, it brings us to such a complete stop, there’s this moment where God can step in.

Have you had that experience? Where this is just impossible! I don’t know how to do this! And there’s such a sense of almost giving up from the start that God says, “I know you can’t do it. I don’t expect you to do it. I didn’t bring this into your life for you to do it. I actually brought it into your life so that you would have to come to a complete stop, take a breath, and watch me do it.” Right?

But our human tendency – out of our fear and insecurities and all the things that we have – is that we kind of plow into them, thinking, “Well, I’m just going to do what I do; I’m just going to play my game, and I’m just going to play it faster and harder and hope it works out.” And what I want you to see is, over and over again, if you want to take a bad situation and make it worse…

[Congregation laughs]

Right? And this is a spiritual term: “muck up” God’s project!

[Congregation laughs]

Right? Because, we’re supposed to have the intelligence to know the difference between a difficult project… Now, that doesn’t mean that, even when it’s a difficult project… Can you invite God into difficult projects? Yes! But there’s such a sense of ego – like, “But I can do it.” Right? But an impossible project stops us cold.

And it doesn’t matter if that impossible project is a need for a healing, or a relationship, or a work thing or a family crisis. And I want you to clearly see, in everything in your life, is when it’s above your “pay grade.” Does that make sense to everybody? When the moment calls for you to seek “professional assistance.” To call in “the big guns.” Because I think, over and over again, the more we are confronted with the impossible, the more everything in our life becomes easier.

Because how many of you know that you could pray more and you could ask for more help in every area in your life? And you simply just don’t? Or you do it only when it gets to crisis point. You know, where you’re about to hit the car you and you say, “God, please take the wheel!”

[Congregation laughs]

Right? That we get to the point where, unless it’s a crisis, we’re not really asking for as much help as maybe is available to us. Right? And so, over and over again, what I want you to see is just this ability to discern the difference between the difficult and the impossible.

On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy announced before a joint session of Congress the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending a man safely to the moon before the end of the decade. And at the time, that was 100% impossible. In fact, as the story goes, there was a group of engineers at NASA who were working at NASA, that got together from all the lead departments within NASA, and they began – on a large chalkboard – to write down all the impossible things that they would have to be able to do within the next nine years to safely send a man to the moon and return him safely back again. And, as the story goes, there were three full chalkboards listing impossible things that they did not know how to do, but their president just made a commitment that, in nine years, we were going to send a man to the moon. So let’s get busy.

And I want you to see that these were people who were not easy to exaggerate on what was impossible. That those individuals in that room knew absolutely that everything that they listed – all the items on each one of those chalk boards – literally they didn’t know how to do. That they didn’t have the technology; they didn’t have the computer power. They didn’t have the knowledge to actually do what they just committed to do. But they were all 100% committed to doing the impossible. And it required a new thought process.

Lewis Carrol, in Alice of Wonderland, wrote this:

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe in impossible things!’

‘I dare say, you haven’t had much practice with this,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I did a half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!”

[Congregation laughs]

So I want you to imagine that you’re on a cruise ship. And this cruise ship, you have spent your entire life on it. And everything that you need is on this cruise ship. It is gorgeous; you get to wear fine clothes. There’s fine food. Everything that you would ever want or need is on this cruise ship. Right? There’s only one challenge in this cruise ship: you can’t get off. All you know – and all anybody else on this cruise ship knows – is living on this cruise ship. It’s all you know. Right?

Now, what I want you to see – in Unity’s understanding of consciousness – that’s kind of what we believe about consciousness. We believe that everything that you believe – everything that you’ve ever experienced, that you’ve ever had: the sum total of all you are – is this thing that we call consciousness. And if you imagine it, it’s kind of like a bubble or a cruise ship. Now, is there anything wrong with your consciousness? No! But your consciousness defines everything you experience. And you actually cannot move outside of your consciousness, because your consciousness is all that you are.

Now, what’s the problem? Well, if you want to get out of a port-of-call on this cruise ship, you could look out the window. You can go out on the deck and you can see a possibility. But you don’t get to live there, because that’s impossible. It’s impossible!

And that’s what we do over and over and over again in our own consciousness. We have this belief system that says, “This is what’s possible in my life.” And so within that realm of “This is what’s possible in my life,” this is where we live! And we all live in our field of what’s possible. And it can be a happy, wonderful existence, but it’s within the field of what you believe is possible. It’s within your consciousness.

And so, over and over again, what I want you to see is that, to have true growth and transformation, you actually have to get off the ship. You have to get out of your own consciousness. You have to get out of your own belief system. You have to get out of your own experiences to experience a world that is infinitely greater. Because, is God limited by your consciousness? Is the sum total of God your consciousness? No! If you were cruising around the planet in a cruise ship, is there more to the planet than you could ever see through the window of a cruise ship? Yes! There’s the Sahara Desert, and there’s the Eiffel Tower, and there’s a million zillion different things that you may not be able to see from your cruise ship, but that is fully available. Right? But you actually have to step outside your consciousness – your belief system, your past experience… no matter how wonderful it is – to experience a world that’s bigger than that.

And so, over and over again, what I want you to see is that, you need impossible things in your life. You need them! And we resist them, because we’re getting great meals on the cruise ship. “Why would I want to get off this thing? They clean my clothes. They make my bed. They feed me eight times a day.” Like, why would you ever want to get off this cruise ship?

Well, because it’s one boat. Out of an infinite experience of life, it’s one finite possibility in a field of infinite possibilities. “But I like it here!” Great! That’s why all these people are on the cruise ship with you! Because we all like it here! But what I want you to see is that your soul didn’t come for just that boat. And sometimes what happens is life is the experience that you get pulled into requires that you embrace the impossible. It requires it! Because if you don’t embrace the impossible, you just kind of run at it with your limited consciousness, and it’s a mess!

So, okay; I’ve got one more question for you. Do you think Jesus came for the impossible or the difficult?

[Congregation shouts out answers]

Both? Okay. So I believe that Jesus absolutely walks with us in the difficult. But I believe that he came to demonstrate the impossible. And that every time – over and over again; what we see over and over again if we look at his message – is that he wanted us to move beyond what we thought was possible, and see an experience that was bigger than that.

Matthew 17:20: “For truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will be done, for nothing will be impossible to you.”

Right? So whether it was feeding the multitude, whether it was healing the sick or raising the dead, over and over again, what I want you to see is that he was trying to show you – outside your cruise window – a world that was bigger than the world that you were brought up seeing. And he was trying to do that in such a confrontational way that it would really so disarm us – so alarm us, if you will – that it would actually upset the apple cart to the point that we’d say, “Well, maybe there’s more.”

And then, he goes on and says this: “For truly I tell, whoever believe in me will do the works that I’ve been doing, and they will do even greater works than these, because I go to the Father…” and “I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Father will glorify the son, and you will ask me anything in my name, and it will be done.”

So what I want you to see tonight is that, no matter how big a circle that you’ve drawn around your life – yourself… No matter how big you think your beliefs are. No matter how many wonderful, fabulous experiences that you’ve had in your life, there’s an edge. And, in many ways, that edge makes us feel comfortable. You know, a dog is more comfortable when he’s got a while. Now, does the dog sometimes want to go beyond the wall? Yes! And I believe that our souls like having a sense of safety… That, if I live in this little world… Because, does anybody else have control issues?

[Congregation laughs]

Right? So if I live in this little wall, I feel like I’m in control of my kingdom! I know what’s going to happen. I know how they’re going to feed me. I know how everything is going to work. But we were created for more than this! And the truth is, right? That, unless we’re willing to take on the impossible, we just kind of live in this (pantomimes little circle around his body).

You know, when I got here in 1991, there were like 200 people here. And until about [1996], we went from 200 to about 1200, 1300 people. And we were in a little church – some of you were there. Anybody at the little church? Oh, my gosh! All of you were there! We were at the little church at Northern and 15th Avenue, right? And we went from 250 or so to, like, 1200. We were doing four services: a Saturday night and three Sunday morning services. And people would drive around and drive around, and if they didn’t get there just as somebody was leaving, oftentimes they would just drive away or they would park illegally in the neighborhood would send us a little fan mail.

[Congregation laughs]

So it came to the point where we knew we had to move and, at that point, the church had never raised $1 million in one year. We’d never broken that limit of a $1 million. And to build a new church, it was going to be about a $4 million project. And I remember one of the Board members saying, “Well, that’s okay; we’ll do bake sales!”

[Congregation and Rev. Rogers laugh]

And I thought, “Oh…” Because when you’re presented with an impossible project, the human part of us wants to do it from the place where we know how to do things. And, like, bake sales worked for us! Right? But if you made $40 or $50 or $60 or even $100 on a bake sale, we’d still be doing bake sales every week just to pay for the chairs!

[Congregation laughs]

You know what I’m saying? So what tends to happen is – when we’re confronted with an impossible project – we tend to want to go at it in the way that we know how to go at something. And all the time we’re kind of missing the opportunity to say, “But how does God want us to get there?”

And so, tonight… Are you ready for your homework? You can kind of see where I’m going, can’t you? Tonight I want you to really look at one area in your life where you know that – for you to be your most successful self; for you to have the life that you want – I want you to really see where in your life are you being asked to do one impossible thing? Just one impossible thing. And I don’t care what it is. I don’t care if it’s… One impossible thing.

And I want to give you what I think is kind of the fundamental steps – or the aspects – of engaging in the impossible. And so…

Number one: To do the impossible requires that you wait on God. What do I mean by that? When you’re taking on the impossible, there are these moments when your personality – your humanness, your ego – wants to step into action. And if you step into action in that moment, you will act from a place where you know how to do it, but it will not be enough for the situation. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a healing or a financial thing, or whatever it is… Because there’s a moment – if we’re really going to take on the impossible – where we just have to wait until the Spirit downloads into us whatever the next right, appropriate action is. Because it won’t be obvious to us. It’ll be counter-intuitive. It’ll seem like exactly the wrong thing to do. It just will not make sense… And, yet, that’s the very thing that will take us on the path that will allow us to do it.

And so, if we’re going to do the impossible, you have to be able to get ahold of yourself. If you’re going to do the impossible, I want you to imagine that you’re going to put a little choke chain on your ego.

[Congregation laughs]

Now, I am not suggesting that you ever use a choke chain on a dog; but on yourself, YES!

[Congregation laughs]

Right? So I want you – that, when you’re confronted to an impossible thing, and you want to step into it, DON’T! And then when you think you’re ready, DON’T! And then when you know you’re ready, DON’T! I want you to give yourself at least three beats of doing nothing, and ask God, “Thy will be done.” Thy will be done!

Isaiah says it this way. Isaiah 40:31: “But you shall wait upon the Lord, and He shall renew your strength. You shall mount up on wings like eagles, and you shall run and not be weary. And you shall walk and not be faint.”

Are those all statements of doing the impossible? They are! Right? I mean, they don’t make sense! How can I??? If I wait upon the Lord, He will renew my strength, and I will mount up on wings like eagles. Is that literally true? No! It’s spiritually true! That when you wait on God – if you’re willing to open your mind, your heart, your soul to a higher vibration, to a higher possibility, to a higher expectation – that it will be as if your soul is lifted to higher ground.

So, number one: I want you to stop, and I want you to wait on God, and I want you to ask for divine guidance. I want you to be divinely directed. I want you to really trust that you don’t have to compulsively move into action; that you can actually trust God, and wait, and take the next step.

The next one sounds weird. Er.

[Congregation and Rev. Rogers laugh]

I want you to make a commitment that you don’t believe in. Okay? Now, what do I mean by that? How many of you have heard that our life happens from what we believe? Right? Now, if you’re going to do the impossible, this is where it gets interesting. Because you don’t believe the impossible is possible! Do you see the problem here? If our life is limited by what we believe, then you can never do the impossible… because you don’t believe in the impossible! So what you actually have to do is make a commitment that is bigger than your beliefs… that doesn’t make sense to you rationally. But that actually demands that God step in and do something even greater than that. So you actually have to make a commitment to that which seems crazy, and live into it. Okay?

Case in point. Final act… Uh, first act, final scene, Gone with the Wind. You remember what scene I’m talking about? Scarlett O’Hara is on her knees. All the earth around her is devastation; the fields have just been wiped out. Behind her are these big, dark, ominous clouds. She’s on her knees. And she says, “As God is my witness, I will not go hungry again.” Now, is that a commitment to something that’s bigger than she knows how to do? Yes! Does she have consciously any way of knowing how she’s not going to go hungry again? No! But there’s something deep within her that makes this commitment to live a bigger life. And because she commits to it, the Universe begins to unfold, because she’s speaking it into reality!

And that’s the third point. The third point is: I want you to decree the reality that you choose to live in. I want you to decree it! Scripture says, “Decree a thing and it will be established unto you.” Job 2:22. I want you to decree the possibility of the life that you want to live.

How many of you know that Unity teaches affirmative prayer? You know what affirmative prayer means? That we claim a spiritual truth, and we speak into a spiritual truth. We decree a thing, because it’s spiritually true. And, even though we don’t fully believe it – or fully understand it, or know how it’s all going to work out – we actually don’t actually have to know how it’s all going to work out. We just have to have the faith and the consciousness to say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will be done, because you’ve spoken the word.

See, what I want you to see is: for many of us, we’re ready for our next spiritual challenge. And the reason that I know that is because our world is weird right now. Does that make sense? The world that we see around us has a lot of problems. Right? And if I went person by person by person, down every row, and said, “What are the challenge? What are the things that you’re dealing with?” I would believe that every one of you is dealing with a challenge or a problem in your life right now that we need a better solution for than the world is offering. That’s an impossible thing.

So here’s the deal. I want you to have a system to create the next version of your life. You know, the hardest time in my life – some of you have heard this story before – the hardest time in my life, where my dad died, I left the church, and I got a divorce, all within 90 days. Hardest time of my life; I didn’t know how I was going to get through it. And even in that place, there was something that I knew to be true: that the organizing principle for the rest of my life was that I wanted to be happy, free and wildly in love. And it became my organizing principle. It became the thing that I stood in; it became the thing that I decreed over and over again: that I wanted to be happy, free and wildly in love. And it became the organizing principle. And even though in my life right then it looked like I had no idea how any of that was going to be possible, my soul knew that it was true.

So, tonight, I’m going to invite you to take one event – one situation, one area in your life where it looks impossible – and I want you to transform it. I want you to use spiritual principles to transform it in such a way that you’re living a better life because of it.

So I want you to make a commitment. I want you to make a decree. And I want you to be willing, over and over again, to stop and listen to God. Are you willing?

Are you ready? One impossible thing. Will you pray with me?

I invite you to open your mind, your heart, your soul, to the activity of God that is right here, right now. And I want you to feel the power of God within you that is ready to play! That God in you is finally saying, “Finally! We’re going to do the thing that I came to do! Let me do it! Let me be in charge of your life! Let me heal it; let me fix it; let me transform it; let me resolve the situation with your family or your friends… Let me do the impossible for you!” And so, tonight, we give thanks! In the name and through the power of the Living Christ, we give thanks. And so it is. Amen.

Copyright 2020 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Richard Rogers

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

1500 E Greenway Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 978-3200

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