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Harvest: Greg Laurie Launches New Apple Watch App

June 26th, 2015 Posted in Pastor's corner | No Comments »

RIV_AppleWatch-01

Check out this press release for our new Apple Watch app:

Riverside, CA (June 23, 2015) — Harvest Ministries is excited to launch a new app developed specifically for the Apple Watch to help connect people to the growing ministry led by Greg Laurie.

“Harvest takes very seriously the role of using the influence and resources that God has given us to help make God known to as many people as possible,” says Paul Eaton, Administrative Pastor for Harvest Ministries.

“We have always had a desire to invest in new technologies that help us distribute Harvest content and Greg Laurie’s messages in new ways,” he continues. “This includes the iOS, Android, and Windows phone apps, as well as our Roku app that are all being used by thousands of people each week to hear the Gospel. This Apple Watch app creates one more way for people to connect with Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries.”

The Watch App features daily devotions from Greg Laurie, as well as content from his blog, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

It also features push notifications, which users can opt out of. Harvest Ministries can push information to users’ watches and iPhones, letting them know about new resources and events.

The app is available today for free in the Apple App Store. Search for “Greg Laurie” or click here and download it today. To download any of the other Harvest apps, visit harvest.org/apps.

Greg Laurie serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in the U.S., Harvest Christian Fellowship, based in Riverside and Irvine, California, which also oversees the large-scale evangelistic events, Harvest Crusades. The ministry exists for the sole purpose of presenting the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible, and to help believers mature in their faith. More information is available at www.harvest.org.

What We Should Be Doing as We Wait for the Return of Christ,part 3.

June 23rd, 2015 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

How are we to live in light of the fact that Christ could return at any moment? First, we need to wake up! The Apostle Paul gives us the answer in 1 Thessalonians,5:6-8

“Therefore let us not Sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
We need to WAKE UP,SOBER UP and Finally SUIT UP!
I already looked at the first two catagories in my last two blogs.
Let me close with #3 Suit Up!

“[Put] on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8 NKJV).

You are in a spiritual battle. It started on the day of your conversion and will rage until the day you go to Heaven. You will be tempted, harassed, hassled, and attacked. Simply put, Satan does not want you to follow Jesus Christ. This is why we need to suit up!

Ephesians 6:12–13 says, “We are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms” (NLT). Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm!

It’s really not a choice of fighting or not fighting. It’s a choice of victory or defeat, winning or losing, gaining ground or losing ground.

When we become Christians we also become soldiers in a spiritual battle. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4). You are no longer a civilian; you are now under the orders of your Commander-in chief, Jesus.

This is what weakens so many Christians today. They try to live in two worlds, and it just won’t work. As James 4:4 says, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Duplicity and hypocrisy weaken any witness we have to a watching world. They especially weaken our witness to our own children! They see hypocrisy in the home and it turns them away from God. So, suit up!

Paul, having spent a good deal of time under house arrest, knew Roman armor. Two pieces are mentioned: the helmet and breastplate, both essential to the protection of the soldier in battle. The breastplate protected the vital organs of the roman soldier. One well-aimed blow without that protection and he was a goner. We are to have the breastplate of faith, not feeling.

The helmet protected the head; without it you cannot do much. Most motorcycle riders hate helmet laws, but they do serve their purpose. I read about a biker in upstate New York who was participating in a ride to protest helmet laws who died after he crashed his motorcycle and hit his head. Ironically, a helmet probably would have saved his life.

The Roman soldier’s helmet was carefully designed. It was generally bronze on the outside. Sometimes it was leather over an iron skullcap. It was designed to withstand a crushing blow to the head and still protect it. In the same way, Satan will attack us in “command central”—the mind!

Our minds, thoughts, imaginations must be protected. “As a man thinks, so is he” (see Proverbs 23:7). We need to train our minds to think properly and biblically—when impure thoughts come, when doubts come, when Satan comes.

We read in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we should cast down “arguments, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Satan recognizes the value of first getting a foothold in the realm of the thoughts. Thoughts prepare the way for actions! Most people fantasize, think about, and imagine a sin before they actually commit it. They rationalize it by saying, “This is not that bad; I would never do this thing!” But actually they could and would, given the right circumstances.

The only way to protect your mind is to fill it with godly thoughts. Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth” (NKJV). When my computer is full, I get a sign that says “memory full.” There’s not enough space on my hard drive to load a new program. We need to have the hard disk of our mind filled so there is no room. That is why we need the helmet of the hope of salvation.

Father Figures.

June 21st, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

Kruger National Park is the largest wildlife preserve in South Africa.

Thirty years ago, the elephant population exceeded the park’s capacity to sustain it.

A decision was made to kill off some of the adults and relocate some of the younger

elephants. These young bulls were resettled in Pilanseberg National Park.

All seemed well for a few years then a serious problem developed—there was an

unexplained slaughter of rhinos taking place in Pilanseberg National Park. It was not

poachers as suspected, but hyper-aggressive young bull elephants.

They were chasing down the rhinos and goring them to death with their tusks.

This is not normal elephant behavior.

Why was this happening?

It turned out that these orphan elephants developed into gangs replete with leaders.

Without older bull elephants functioning as authoritative, stabilizing role models, these

young bulls were running amok!

They were able to resolve this problem.

Older, more mature bull elephants were brought to Pilanseberg Park as a “Foster

Father/Big Brother project.” Within weeks, discipline was restored and the younger

elephants bonded with the older ones imitating and exhibiting more acceptable behavior.

There were no more reports of killed rhinos.

So, how could this help us in our culture today?

We need large male elephants roaming our streets! No, this shows an important spiritual

principle. As one expert said, even in the animal world the presence of “Father figures is

essential to civil behavior, discipline, and relational decorum with others.”

In the same way,we need Godly,strong Fathers to take their part to lead lead in their homes,communities and nation.

God bless all of you Father’s today!

What we Should Be Doing As We Wait for the Return of Jesus,Part 2.

June 18th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

How are we to live in light of the fact that Jesus is coming back soon?

We need to sober up!

“Let us who are of the day be sober . . .” (1 Thessalonians 5:8 NKJV).

Having spent the first 17 years of my life in the constant presence of drunk people, I can speak somewhat authoritatively to this.

Different people react in different ways to the effects of alcohol:
• You have your so-called “happy drunks,” who laugh at anything, like fools. They think they are much wittier then they really are.
• You have your sleepy drunks, who spend most of their time asleep or unconscious after drinking.
• Then there are the mean drunks, who explode and throw things. I was around a lot of these in my childhood.

A Christian should never be under the control of the “spirits” but should be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (NLT).

Here’s a newsflash for you: If you drink, you can get drunk, but if you don’t drink you will never be drunk. I personally do not drink at all and I have never found that I’ve missed anything.

You can be “drunk” or “intoxicated” by many things in this life. Jesus said in Luke 21:34, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly.”

“The cares of this life.” It is not wrong to have things; but it is wrong when things have you. There is the “thrill of the hunt” while you pursue what you want. Then, when you get it, you move on to another thing. We should be pursing God as we await the return of Jesus Christ.

To be sober does not mean being miserable. Some Christians are like “Debbie Downer” about everything. In the name of spirituality, they never smile or laugh. That’s not spiritual; that’s not spiritual,that’s just weird.

When Paul says we should be sober, it means to be clear-headed. To be sober means to be alert, to live with your eyes open, to be sane and steady.

Don’t be drunken and sleeping; be awake and alert!

What Should We Be Doing As We Wait for the Return of Jesus, Part 1

June 16th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

How are we to live in light of the fact that Christ could return at any moment? First, we need to wake up!

“Let us not sleep, as others do . . .” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NKJV). The Encyclopedia Britannica defines sleep as “a state of inactivity, with a loss of consciousness and a decrease in responsiveness to events taking place.”

There are people in the church today who have gone asleep. They are not watching the signs of the times, nor observing the “times and seasons.” There is a lethargy and passiveness, even a laziness. There seems to be a disconnect from their so-called “spiritual life” and real life. Instead of “walking in the spirit” they are sleepwalking!

I don’t know about you, but when I have had a good meal, I get sleepy! Sometimes the most well-fed Christians are also the laziest! They become sermon connoisseurs instead of fishers of men. Paul tells us to wake up and be ready for the Lord’s return!

Remember when you were a little kid and it was so hard to fall asleep on Christmas Eve? It may have been the excitement of opening your presents the next day. For some, it may have been the hope of seeing Santa Claus. It was a joyful anticipation that kept you awake, not some kind of dread or fear.

Looking for Christ’s return is not a miserable, repressive, confining way to live. It’s a happy, joyful, purposeful way to live. C.H. Spurgeon said, “It is a very blessed thing to be on the watch for Christ. It is a blessing to us now. How it detaches you from the world! You can be poor without murmuring. You can be rich without worldliness. You can be sick without sorrowing. You can be healthy without presumption. If you are always waiting for Christ’s coming, untold blessings are wrapped up in that glorious hope!”

The Bible is the one book that dares to predict the future.

June 15th, 2015 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

And it does so with 100 % accuracy.
God must surely have wanted His people to learn Bible prophecy. He dedicated almost 30% of His Scripture to it. For example, the Old Testament features more than 100 prophecies of Christ’s coming. Through these prophecies, we know that Jesus is the Messiah, for He fulfilled every one.

This is how believers can be so confident that He will return physically to this earth to set up His kingdom: because He promised He would—five times more frequently than He promised He would come the first time!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has made a promise: “I will come again”! (John 14:3).

But why should I study Bible prophecy? In revelation, a blessing is promised to the person who reads, hears, and keeps the words found therein. The more we know about the next world, the better we will live in this one.

Bible prophecy is not given to scare us, but to prepare us for what’s ahead!

Jesus Christ Is Coming Back Again!

June 8th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 6 Comments »

This great event is described for us many times in Scripture. There are over 300 passages that deal with Christ’s return. Jesus spoke of it at least 21 times when He walked this earth. Statistically, one verse in 25 mentions the Lord’s return.

One of His most well-known statements about it is Matthew 24:29–30: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (NKJV).

Is the Second Coming physical or spiritual? Answer: it is the physical return of Christ to the earth. His first coming was physical, and so will his second coming be.

Though it is true that Jesus indwells every believer bodily, He has remained in Heaven. When Stephen died, he saw into Heaven and there was Jesus standing at God’s right (see Acts 7).

At the Second Coming, Jesus returns bodily to earth. After His ascension into Heaven, the angels said to the apostles, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11 NKJV).

But why is Jesus returning again to earth?

He is coming to judge the world in righteousness. There are so many injustices in this world: criminals who have seemingly gotten away with their crimes, terrorists who have done the unthinkable, etc.

At the Second Coming, Jesus will right wrongs and bring justice to a world of injustice.

If the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is close,then the Rapture of the Church is even closer!

Are you ready?

This Past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

June 6th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

This past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County, I continued my series on what Jesus said about the end times in Matthew 24. We talked about the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

You can watch the archive here.

Is Christianity in Decline?

June 2nd, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

The media could hardly contain its glee at the findings of a survey about what Americans believe. The LA Times trumpeted the headline “U.S. has become notably less Christian, major study finds,” stating that “for probably the first time in U.S. history, the total number of Christian adults has declined.”*

But things are not always as they appear. Cultural, Bible-belt style Christianity is becoming a thing of the past. But the fact is, although attendance in mainline churches has fallen, in evangelical churches it has remained remarkably steady. What is replacing it is a more honest assessment of true believers and nonbelievers.

Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, indicates that the report shows that there are more honest atheists in America today, and that they are rejecting “almost-Christianity,” or traditions that “jettison the historic teachings of the church as soon as they become unfashionable.”

Moore states, “The churches that are thriving are the vibrant, counter cultural congregations that aren’t afraid to not be seen as normal to the surrounding culture. This report actually leaves me hopeful. The Bible belt may fall. So be it. Christianity emerged from a Roman Empire hostile to the core to the idea of a crucified and resurrected Messiah. We’ve been on the wrong side of history since Rome, and it was enough to turn the world upside down.”**

Well said.

We must be aware of this as evangelical Christians. This kind of thinking comes by subtle deception and even enters into the church today through preachers that challenge authority of Scripture, even denying Hell.

One of the signs of the times will be a great apostasy, or falling away.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). “For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). This does not necessarily mean true believers will fall away. It also speaks of professed believers turning away.

Yes,some people have left our Churches,but were they ever even believers to begin with?

The Bible says, “These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.” (1 John 2:19)

A true believer may fall away for a time,but they will always come back.
If they don’t come back to Christ and the Church one must question if they ever were a real Christian to begin with.

1 Timothy 4:1–2 says, “The spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” I don’t think these people were true believers to begin with.

You know a true Christian by where they end up.

The fact is,with people being more direct about their faith or lack of it may in some ways be a good thing.

Our charge as Christians from Jesus Himself is “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”.

That is the ultimate answer.

* http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-religion-20150512-story.html#page=1
**Stoyan Zaimov, ‘Is Christianity Dying?’ Russell Moore Says Rise of Nones, Decline of Christians in America ‘Good News’ for Church, http://m.christianpost.com/news/is-christianity-dying-russell-moore-says-rise-of-nones-decline-of-christians-in-america-good-news-for-church-139060/

This Past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

May 30th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

This past Sunday at Harvest I spoke on “Antichrist, Armageddon, and America in Bible Prophecy.”

There are always so many questions on this topic, so I hope you will watch the archive.