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When Parenthood Comes Full Circle

March 23rd, 2015 Posted in family | No Comments »

When my son Jonathan was a little boy, he loved video games.

We had the first version of the Nintendo game system hooked up in his room, and he would play it constantly. I even put time limits on him.

One night after I told him to go to bed and turn off the video games, I walked by his room about an hour later and saw blue light coming from beneath the door. I opened it, and there was Jonathan with his game still on! I said, “You were supposed to turn that off. Why are you still playing it?” Jonathan responded, “I think I am ‘dadicted,” (he meant to say “addicted”).

I thought it was so funny, that I just told him to turn the game off, and laughed about it afterwards.

Now, fast-forward many years later. Jonathan is the father, and he has a daughter named Allie who also is “dadicted” to her newer-generation Nintendo game system. The other night he told her to turn it off, and a while later he saw light coming out from her room. He opened the door, and there was little Allie, hiding under the covers playing her game—just like her dad did many years earlier.

Jonathan snapped this photo right before he made Allie turn it off.
Allie_playing_Video_Game

This Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

March 21st, 2015 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

Jesus loved the little children!
They say that children are a good judge of character, and that is true and they certainly were drawn to Christ and He to them.
He took them into His arms and blessed them and said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
But did you know that we can learn from children?
Jesus took a child one occasion and said, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
What did Jesus mean by that?
That is what I want to talk about tomorrow in my message, “Childlike Faith.”
Join us in person for one of our services at 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, or 12:00 PM, all PDT.
Or you can watch the live HD webcast at www.harvest.org.

An Appeal to Heaven

March 20th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

Appeal to Heaven

God’s spiritual prescription for the healing of a nation is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (NKJV).

God did not say, “If the government will humble itself . . . ” or “If Hollywood would humble itself . . . ”
He says, “If my people will humble themselves…”

We need to pray and cry out to God.

This is what we did when our country was forming. During the Revolutionary War, a flag was commissioned by George Washington. On it were the words “Appeal to Heaven.” It was the banner Washington used on his navy ships to signal that their only hope against British rule and persecution was an “appeal to heaven.”

Ironically, a group of pastors recently were kicked out of the US Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) over a prayer meeting with an “appeal to heaven” theme. The pastors were granted the use of the CVC for an event dedicated to racial reconciliation, but five days before the meeting they were told to remove the “appeal to heaven” theme. They were told to change the title to “an appeal for legislation.”

But the only hope for racial reconciliation is an appeal to heaven. The only hope for the violence in our streets is an appeal to heaven. The only hope for protection against those that wish us harm is an appeal to heaven.

Let’s appeal to heaven today for the healing of our nation.

Today I will interview the Consul General of Israel, David Siegal.

March 18th, 2015 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

Today, on Pastor’s Perspective, Don Stewart and I welcome our very special guest, the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, David Siegal. David serves as the senior representative of the State of Israel to the Southwestern United States.

Previously, Mr. Siegel served two terms at the Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C., in successive roles as Chief of Staff to three of Israel’s Ambassadors to the United States, Counselor for Congressional Affairs, and Spokesperson.

It appears that Benjamin Netanyahu has been reelected as Prime Minister in Israel, and with all that is going on in the world, from the rapid spread of Islamic terrorism to Iran developing nuclear weapons, this is a very important time to speak with someone who is “in the know.” David Siegal is clearly that man.

This is sure to be a very informative and fascinating discussion in light of the critical role the nation Israel plays in the prophetic events of the end times. You will not want to miss it.

It starts at 3:00 PM Pacific.
You can listen in Southern California to it on KWVE 107.9.
Or you can watch or listen online anywhere in the world at www.kwve.com

Here Is an Official Press Release for Harvest America

March 11th, 2015 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

500 North Texas Pastors Meet at AT&T Stadium to Launch Harvest America for November
Evangelist Greg Laurie to bring Gospel message to Metroplex and beyond in first-ever Christian event to be held at the home of ‘America’s Team’

DALLAS, March 11, 2015 – Nearly 500 pastors and ministry leaders from throughout North Texas attended yesterday’s launch event for Harvest America, an evangelistic outreach to be held at AT&T Stadium in November, as well as broadcast live and streamed to other venues across the country.
Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church and a member of the Harvest America advisory team, spoke to the timing and location of the crusade as he introduced Greg Laurie to the crowd.
“This is the right time, the right moment for something like this in America, to take the message of Jesus to the world,” he said. “Who knows but that this could be the catalyst we’ve all been waiting for, that God would move mightily across our nation and change the future for our children and grandchildren?
“There’s no question, the urgency of these times requires that we do things differently,” Graham continued. “We get to do something innovative and inspiring, to come to the biggest and best sports venue on planet Earth – and that’s no Texas brag, that’s a fact. We get to come to this stadium, the home of America’s team, with a star in the floor, to preach the King of Kings and the Morning Star, Jesus Christ, and to lift Him up in this place!”

Laurie encouraged unity among the hundreds of local churches that will be involved in the event as a necessity for its success.
“We’re asking you to stand with us in this outreach, not only for your community and your state, but for the entire country because this event will go out to thousands of venues across the U.S., a live video feed into sanctuaries, movie theaters, homes and other locations around the country,” he said. “Our prayer is that God will fill this place, and that’s a step of faith. We’re taking a big risk, and we’re asking you to join with us. I feel we’ve got to go big, and there’s no better place to go big than Texas.”
“Let’s join forces and we can get a lot accomplished; we’re not competing with each other; our competition is with the world and the flesh and the devil,” Laurie continued. “Let’s stop fighting with each other and realize who the real enemy is. Let’s stop arguing with each other over theological minutia and get the big picture. This world is in need, it needs to hear the Gospel. This is a great place for us to do that.”

Harvest America 2014 was based out of American Airlines Center in Dallas, which drew overflow crowds of 20,000, with thousands more watching live via simulcast around the country. This encouraged the Harvest team to dream even bigger for 2015, not just for north Texas, but for the entire nation.
Laurie urged those in attendance to “consider the importance of the cause before us and the urgency of the hour, the need in people’s lives,” he said. “I believe America is facing a great storm right now. We’re facing a terrorist army that goes by many names: Isis, Al Quaida, Boko Haram, Hezbollah. Young kids are being drawn to this as Isis has somehow made jihad ‘cool’ using social media, using sophisticated videos, and they’re pulling young people in.
“This is the problem: a whole generation of young people with no belief system, no ideology, is being sucked into this,” Laurie continued. “We have the greatest belief system, the greatest ideology in the world – the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – and we’ve got to proclaim it. I believe there’s a military solution here in the fight against terrorism, but ultimately, the answer is not with AR-15s, it’s with John 3:16.”

Individuals and churches can find more information and sign up to participate at https://texas.harvestamerica.com. An exact date for Harvest America will be announced once the NFL schedule is released in April.
Laurie serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, based in Riverside, Calif., which oversees the 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.

My Message to the Pastors and Leaders Gathered at AT&T Stadium

March 11th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

I am so happy to be with you today in Texas!

I heard about woman who went to her pastor and said, “Pastor, I’m so scared. My husband says he will kill me if I keep coming to your church!” The pastor replied, “Don’t be afraid; have faith in God. God will watch over you.” She came back many times telling the pastor about this threat and he reassured her, “Don’t be afraid; have faith in God. God will watch over you!”

Then one day she returned and told the pastor, “Now my husband says that if I keep coming here he will kill you!” The pastor responded, “This might be a good time to start attending that little church across town!”

Faith—it’s easy to tell others to have it but sometimes it can be hard when it comes to our own circumstances.

What is real faith? “It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT). Faith is “belief plus action!” Faith is a living, restless thing; it cannot be inoperative. Faith sees the invisible. It is like a muscle: if you use it, it gets stronger. If you don’t, it can atrophy.

We are getting ready to take a bold step of faith this November: one of the largest evangelistic events in American history, to be held at AT&T Stadium. It’s an event we are calling Harvest America. But why do this?

Because America needs God, and we have all been commanded to go into the world and preach the gospel. When it’s all said and done, God saves people primarily through preaching. As 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (NIV). And what is the message we preach? The gospel!

But there is no way we can do this without the help of many leaders. We all know it is not an easy thing to be called to leadership. As leaders, we have great responsibility. Being a leader is a great privilege and a great joy, but it can be quite hard at times too. A leader is second-guessed, gossiped about, and sometimes slandered. We have our lives threatened and we face challenges each and every day.

We all know it is an honor and a privilege to lead. But it is a privilege that comes with a price. You need the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhino. It’s not easy, but if you are called you must do it. A leader is also barraged with things people want you to support, and here I am, ‘cowboy hat in hand’.asking for your help.

Harvest is not a parachurch organization. We are from the church, for the church, to build up the church—because the church is the only organization Jesus started when He walked this earth.

Events come and go, but the local church carries on the work. I believe God wants your churches to grow, both spiritually and numerically. Not just “transfer growth,” but the best kind of growth: new converts! Our prayer and hope is to have 100,000 people fill AT&T Stadium. Then, when the gospel is proclaimed, we trust that thousands will believe. We want to send them to your churches. Your church will grow in direct proportion to your involvement. Most new converts end up in the church of the person who brought them. And we all know, new converts are the lifeblood of the church. You show me a church that does not have new believers and I will show you a church that is dying. We have a choice: evangelize or fossilize!

Yes, this is a huge undertaking. You might ask, “What if you fail?” Then it will be a spectacular failure! But what if we succeed together?

Let’s look at a very familiar Bible story about “failure.” This failure started as a success. And it was a spectacular failure. If you are going to “fail,” this is the way to do it. And by the way, I would rather try and fail than never try at all. I want to talk about Jesus and Peter walking on the water.

You remember that Jesus sent His disciples into the boat and a great storm came. He was on the mountain praying, undoubtedly for them. At the fourth watch, He came to them walking on the water. At first, they thought He was a ghost. But Jesus reassured them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27 NIV). Simon Peter got very excited and said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come!” So he said, “Come!” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

What do we learn from this story? For one thing, we learn that storms come in life, even to leaders. Maybe you are facing a storm right now. Troubles in your church. Trouble with your family.

We faced the worst storm of our life seven years ago. Our oldest son, Christopher, died in an automobile accident. When I heard the news, I wondered if I could even survive such a thing. As a pastor, I have counseled many families who have lost children, but when it happens to you it is a different thing altogether. If God had not come through for me, I would have given up preaching. But He did come through. Now I have a ministry to families who have lost loved ones. It was not a ministry I necessarily wanted, but one I accept, because I do not want to waste my pain.

Friends,I believe a great storm is coming to America right now. It has already spread rapidly to other parts of our globe, including the Middle East and Europe. We make a huge mistake if we ignore it. I am speaking of Islamic terrorism.

We have never seen anything quite like this in recent history—a terrorist army with many names: ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah. Some will tell us it’s not true Islam; all I know is they do what they do in the name of Allah. Of course there is a place for a military solution to these threats, and I support that. But have you noticed how these groups are capturing the imaginations of young people? Kids who have no moral center, no worldview to speak of—they are being reached with a radical ideology.

We have the greatest ideology, the most important message, and it’s the gospel!

Yes,there is a military solution,but ultimately this war of beliefs will not be won with AR-15’s but with John 3:16!

So, here are the disciples in the storm and Jesus comes to them, walking on the water. He reassures them: “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid!” As Jesus reassures them, Peter suddenly has a great burst of faith in his heart. Peter is filled with love and devotion to the Lord and just wanted to be near Him. He had gone from terror to fear. “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come you right now!”

This is very impressive. Peter is willing to put it all on the line. These are rough seas and he is ready to step into them. Why? Because he was looking at Jesus! Looking at Jesus gave him supreme confidence and courage. But he will not act presumptuously; he waits for the command from Christ. Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come!” Jesus said, “Come!”

Did this turn out to ultimately be a failure? Yes. But it was a spectacular one! If you are going to fail, this is the way to do it! Again, I would rather try and fail than never try at all.

There is a risk of failure in going to this large venue—AT&T Stadium. But there is also potential for great success.

Why did Peter sink? He took his eyes off Jesus and put them on other things. “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid.”

We as leaders can sometimes take our eyes off Jesus too. We look at another start-up church that is exploding while our numbers our down. We begin competing, and even taking shots at the other preacher.

But we are not competing with each other; we are not in a race to beat each other. Our “competition” is the world, the flesh, and the devil. Friends, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord.

Jesus lifted Peter up, and he walked on water again, and they went back to the boat. At AT&T Stadium, we are going to go “walking on the water.” We are going to, without shame, proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. I ask you to join us.

As a group, there are theological distinctives among us. But can we lay those aside and pull together for the gospel today? As Augustine said, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” If we join forces and focus on this gospel Jesus has called us to proclaim, great things can happen. We can accomplish more together than apart.

We have our marching orders from Christ: Go into all the world and preach the gospel, making disciples. Vance Havner said, “If we are too busy using our sickles on each other, we will miss the harvest.”

Let’s not miss the harvest!

This Past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

March 7th, 2015 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

There are so many people today that are looking for the meaning of life.
They are on a quest for personal happiness.
Many feel it will happen through self-fulfillment.
It can be summed up in one word: “Selfie”
That’s when you take a photo of yourself and post it.
But according to Jesus, life’s purpose is not found by seeking to fulfill yourself.
It is found by losing yourself.
What does that mean?
That is what I spoke about this past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County in my message, “Lost in Translation.”
You can watch the archive right here.

My Thoughts on Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

March 5th, 2015 Posted in video | 2 Comments »

Yesterday on the Pastors Perspective radio show with Don Stewart, we talked about Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress and then talked to former Navy SEAL Chad Williams. Check out the video.

Faith Is “Belief Plus Action!”

March 4th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

I heard about woman who went to her pastor and said, “Pastor, I’m so scared. My husband says he will kill me if I keep coming to your church!”

The pastor replied, “Don’t be afraid; have faith in God. God will watch over you.”

She came back many times telling the pastor about this threat and he reassured her, “Don’t be afraid; have faith in God. God will watch over you!”

Then one day she returned and told the pastor, “Now my husband says that if I keep coming here he will kill you!”

The pastor responded, “This might be a good time to start attending that little church across town!”

Faith—it’s easy to tell others to have it but sometimes it can be hard when it comes to our own circumstances. Have you ever had a time in your life when your faith was tested?

It really comes down to what you have your faith in. If your faith is in a person, or your career, or even in the church, you will be disappointed. Jesus says, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).

Sometimes we make it way too mystical when in reality we use faith every day.

• When we go to a restaurant and order, we expect the food to be fresh and properly prepared.
• When we board a 747 with very little understanding of aerodynamics, we trust that, despite the take-off weight of 900,000 pounds, that baby will fly.
• We also apply faith in the pilot and copilot of that plane.
• We apply faith in the pharmacist and the dentist and the surgeon.

We apply faith in so many circumstances in life, but then someone says, “Have faith in God,” and some of us think that may be a bit risky! But there is no safer place to put your faith than in God.

What is faith?
The Bible defines it this way: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV). The New Living Translation says: “It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.”

The very existence of faith, despite our circumstances, is a proof of God.

Kenneth Wuest calls faith “the title deed of things hoped for.” It is God who gives us as believers this title deed, this proof, this “confident assurance.” This faith of ours mystifies the nonbeliever.

A lot of people treat faith in a fragile way, like it’s an egg or a museum piece. But the fact is, faith is like a muscle. It gets stronger through use, not neglect; otherwise it will atrophy.

Jude 1:20–21 tells us, “Dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master” (MSG, emphasis added).

Praying. Staying. Keeping.
Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative.
Faith is “belief plus action”!

Amazing speech before joint sessions of US Congress today from Israel PM, Benjamin Netanyahu

March 3rd, 2015 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

Well worth listening to.
I love it that he cited the story of Esther and closed with the words of Moses.
I was happy to see members of Congress give multiple standing ovations for him.
America needs to stand by Israel.
America needs Israel more than Israel needs America!
God said to Abraham, “I will bless them that bless you, and curse those that curse you.” (Genesis 12:3)
America has stood by the Jewish people and the nation Israel since their declaration of Statehood in 1948.
We must continue to do so.