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Thoughts on the Umpqua Community College Shooting

October 3rd, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

Imagine—being at the business end of a semi-automatic weapon and being asked the question, “Are you a Christian?” You know that if you tell the truth, this will most likely not end well for you. But what other alternative is there? Deny what and who you know is true?

That is exactly what happened for thirteen people as they faced a dark and twisted young man who posed this question to them on the campus of Umpqua Community College just yesterday.

The press initially reported that the gunman asked people “about their religion.” Hardly. After ordering everyone to hit the floor, the gunman asked a very specific question: “Are you a Christian?”

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Why I Do What I Do

October 1st, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

I recently received this letter from a correctional officer in the state of Washington.
He tells the story of how he drifted from his faith and how he came back to Christ.
He also mentions the Harvest App.

You can download this for your iPhone, Android phone, or tablet device and hear and watch our radio and TV program on demand.
To download the Harvest App, go here:

Hi Pastor Greg, I am writing you because you said that you wanted to hear from us on your radio broadcast, A New Beginning radio. I am a correctional officer for the State of Washington and I want to thank you for all that you do! I gave myself to the Lord at a young age and was devoted to the Lord for some time. However my parents got divorced, my dad moved away, I started to hang with the wrong crowd, etc… etc… I’m sure you have heard this story too many times to count. I had been without God for a long time and had become a very angry and bitter person. The smallest things would set my temper off. And the environment that I work in didn’t help matters. I knew that the person that I had become wasn’t me! I knew that I was mean and I wanted to be a good person. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong and why I couldn’t change. And the Lord had been calling me back; my heart was so hardened that I didn’t realize it. I can see the signs now but back then I couldn’t see it.

Anyway we live so far from work that we have a carpool van that a bunch of guys carpool to work together for the over-an-hour drive that we do every day to and from work, and there happened to be a few Christians that I work with that I ride with and every now and again a topic would come up and I would always engage in the conversation but I was oblivious that Jesus was calling me to come back to Him. So a few months back during our hour van ride to work we started listening to 106.5 and the new Christian music got me and a few of the other guys interested and eventually we started listening to the messages on our way home from work. We work 2pm -10pm So its the perfect time to catch your daily messages in the evening. I have since subscribed to And from listening to your message it has brought several of us to (or back to) Christ. We listen every night. I have even downloaded the Harvest app on my phone and we listen to your extended messages that I am able to download and l listen to from my phone.

One of the guys invited me to his church and now several of us even belong to the same church and go every Sunday! Everyone around me notices the change in me and I gotta tell you it feels so AMAZING to be walking with the LORD JESUS again!!!! Praise the Lord!!!! Thank you soooo much for what you do Greg. We love your messages and love listening to you! You are a great person and we also love your sense of humor. Don’t stop being you!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU AND ALL THAT YOU DO!!! Thank you again!
Some day I hope to be able to meet you and thank you in person!!!


Pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini to Be Released from Prison in Iran Today.

September 26th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 8 Comments »

Today, I am calling on every Christian reading these words to pray for our faithful brother in Christ, Saeed Abedini.We are joining thousands of Christians around the world to remember to pray for him today and to also remember the persecuted church. There are 810 prayer vigils in 38 countries praying for the release of Saeed Abedini from the Iranian prison he is presently being held in.

Who is Saeed Abedini?

My friend, Joel Rosenberg recently wrote this article describing this amazing man:

“Saeed was born in Iran in 1980 and raised as a Shia Muslim. In his teens, he was recruited by a Radical Muslim group to become a suicide bomber and thus a martyr for the cause of jihad. But in 2000, God had mercy on Saeed and opened his eyes to the truth of the Gospel. At the age of 20, he renounced Islam and become follower and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As he grew in his faith, Saeed became active in sharing the Gospel with other Iranians, leading them to Christ, discipling them, and setting up and supporting a network of underground churches throughout Iran. Fox News has reported that “his home church movement had about 100 churches in 30 Iranian cities with more than 2,000 members.”

In time, Saeed had the opportunity to travel to the United States. There, he met and married Nagmeh, became a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and the couple had two children, Rebekka and Jacob. As a family, they were committed to reaching the Iranian people with the love of Christ. Several times, Saeed traveled to Iran to encourage the underground church and care for the poor and needy. But in 2012, he was arrested by the Iranian government, beaten, and sentenced to death under Sharia law for converting to Christianity — thus becoming an apostate, in the eyes of Islam — and leading others to faith in Christ.

“It [the underground church movement] was just growing so fast,” Naghmeh told Fox News. “They [Iran’s government] see the underground churches as a threat and they see Christianity as a tool from the West to undermine them. They think if the country becomes more Christian, they are no longer under Islamic authority. That’s why it’s a threat.”

Today marks the third year since Pastor Saeed was arrested in Iran and sentenced to death. So we are praying for his immediate release.

At Harvest, we are holding two prayer vigils: one in Riverside, the other in Newport Beach.

We will meet at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside at 10:00 AM to pray.
We will also meet in Newport Beach at the Newport Beach Civic Center at 10:00 AM.
For more info, go to

If You Follow This Advice, You Will Never Be Called a Backslider

September 23rd, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

If you want to be a growing Christian, you must read, study, and love God’s Word:
Scripture is filled with admonitions to ready,study and obey God’s Word.

• “Oh how I love your instructions, I think about them all day long!” (Psalm 119:97 NLT).
• “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV).
• “See how I love your commandments, LORD. Give back my life because of your unfailing love. All your words are true; all your just laws will stand forever (Psalm 119:159–160 NLT).

You should read the Bible as if your life depended on it—because it does!

Jesus, in the conclusion to His Sermon on the Mount, said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24–27 NIV).

One of the things that will happen to the young believer is doubt. This is the way Satan attacked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: “Did God really say what you thought He said?” That’s why we must study and know the Word of God.

Jesus modeled this for us during His temptation in the wilderness. Each time Satan came at Him, Jesus responded with Gods’ Word: “It is written . . .”

• When Satan tempted Him to turn the rocks into bread, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’”
• When Satan told Him to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
• When Satan offered Him all of the kingdoms of the world, Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”

This is why Ephesians 6 calls God’s Word the sword of the Spirit. It is our weapon against the enemy.

Many years ago, a young man named Billy Sunday received Jesus Christ as his Savior. An older believer gave him some advice that he never forgot. He said, “William, there are three simple rules I wish you’d practice. If you do, no one will ever write ‘backslider’ after your name: Take 15 minutes each day to let God talk to you. Allow 15 minutes to talk to Him. And then spend 15 minutes telling others about the Savior.”

Billy Sunday faithfully followed that advice and ultimately became a great evangelist.

Are You Going Through a Hard Time?

September 21st, 2015 Posted in sermons | 14 Comments »

In Luke 22, Jesus told Peter, “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (NKJV). Can you imagine if Jesus said that to you? What a frightening thought. But take note of this important detail: Satan had to ask God first! He can do nothing in the life of the child of God without our Father’s permission.

God has built a wall of protection around you! Satan correctly noted that God “put a hedge” around the righteous Job. And even when Satan attacked Job, he was under divine restraint. God had told Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but do not touch his life!”

God knows our breaking point! We may think we do, but we really don’t. We can handle far more than we often think. When God allows us to go through fiery trials, He has a purpose.

Warren Wiersbe said,

“When God puts His own people into the furnace, He keeps his eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. He knows how long and how much. If we rebel, He may have to reset the clock; but if we submit, He will not permit us to suffer one minute too long. The important thing is that we learn the lesson He wants to teach us and that we bring glory to Him alone.”

Satan is always probing, looking for the “weak link” in the chain.

Jesus is saying to Peter, “Simon, I know you better than you know yourself. I know your weaknesses, your vulnerability. Yet I have prayed for you!” I have people tell me all the time that they are praying for me. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. It is the greatest gift. But I am even more thankful that Jesus is praying for me—and not me only, but you as well.

Think about it! Jesus is interceding for us!

Robert Murray M’Cheyne said,

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies.
Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”

In Romans 8:34–35, we read, “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (NIV).

Were it not for the prayers of Jesus, I wouldn’t have a chance. Nor would you.

You Make Your Choice, Then Your Choice Makes You.

September 14th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

Was Judas a misunderstood victim?

“So close, yet so far.” That phrase is a perfect description of the life of Judas Iscariot. One of the privileged Twelve, Judas walked with Jesus daily, listened to His words, and saw His miracles firsthand. And yet, despite being so close to Jesus, Judas was perhaps the most wicked man who ever lived on earth, betraying Him for thirty pieces of silver.

An article in New Yorker magazine titled “Betrayal” asks the question, “Should we hate Judas Iscariot?” The article states,

Did Judas deserve this fate? If Jesus informs you that you will betray him, and tells you to hurry up and do it, are you really responsible for your act? Furthermore, if your act sets in motion the process—Christ’s Passion—whereby humankind is saved, shouldn’t somebody thank you? No, the Church says. If you betray your friend, you are a sinner, no matter how foreordained or collaterally beneficial your sin. And, if the friend should happen to be the Son of God, so much the worse for you!

Is the New Yorker right? Have we misunderstood Judas?

No. Just because God brought good out of Judas’ acts, doesn’t mean they are justified. And just because God foreknew that Judas would betray Him, doesn’t mean Judas had no choice in the matter.

Judas was no victim. He wanted to betray Jesus. He initiated it. He did it for money. Judas was not just a passive tool of Providence.

He made his choice, and then his choice made him.

Now, was Judas tempted by Satan to perform this betrayal? Yes he was. But just as when you or I are tempted to sin, Judas had the choice to resist. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God, who is faithful, does not allow us to face temptation without also providing a means of escape.

How could Judas be so close, and yet so far?

In spite of all the exposure Judas had to Jesus’ teachings, His compassion, His loving actions, and His friendship, Judas chose unbelief. And just as Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord, and the Lord strengthened that resolve, God allowed Judas to harden his heart as well.

There is a danger in being close to God but not accepting Him.

Are you playing the game? Are you pretending to be a Christian, but are not genuine in your faith? God offers you friendship and forgiveness, just as He did for Judas. Don’t pass it up!

To learn more about what it means to be a true follower of Jesus, go to Know

It’s Never Too Late to Come to Christ!

September 4th, 2015 Posted in Harvest Crusades | 1 Comment »

Here’s a classic story from one of our follow-up counselors, Janet:


This is Shannon from Long Beach. He is 70 years old, and 2015 was his first time at SoCal Harvest. When the ushers shifted our row, he ended up sitting right next to me. As a follow-up counselor, I had my stack of Bibles. Shannon was very aware and interested.

He told me that at age 15 he remembers hearing about Jesus, but no one ever explained to him what salvation meant. I shared with him [Pastor Greg’s] notes that were in the front of the Start! Bible and instructed him to read the Book of John so he could learn about the life of Jesus.

When Pastor Greg gave the invitation, I made my way down to the field. To my surprise, Shannon was hot on my heels all the way down to the field, where he stood near me. I could hear him pray the salvation prayer out loud. I was so thankful that Shannon became a child of God! To God be the glory!

Do you have a story about how you came to know Christ at SoCal Harvest? Click here to share your story.

People Are Just Waiting to Be Asked.

August 20th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

A poll by researcher George Barna revealed that about 25% of the adults in the United States would go to church if a friend would just invite them. Barna elaborated, “The best chance of getting them to a church is when someone they know and trust invites them and offers to accompany them.”

That is really an amazing statistic. Think about it for a moment: 25% of the people out there are waiting for an invitation to go to church.

  • Do you have friends?
  • Do you have friends who are not believers?
  • Do you have nonbelieving friends you haven’t invited to church?

The key is to invite them. And more to the point, you pick them up and take them with you. Even if the pastor does not extend an invitation for people to come to Christ in the service, you could go out for lunch afterward and have that conversation with them.
Most people come to faith because someone shares the gospel with them.
With the SoCal Harvest only days away, let’s be praying for and thinking about people we can bring with us!

How to be a Happy Christian.

August 19th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

Next to personally knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, the greatest joy I know of is leading others to Christ and watching them grow spiritually. And you can do that too. It should be a joyful, happy thing to tell others about your relationship with God and explain how they can have one too.

I have found that the happiest Christians are the evangelistic ones. And I have also found that the unhappiest Christians are the nitpicky kind. They are so busy arguing theological minutia that they miss out on opportunities. As the old country preacher Vance Havner used to say,”If we are too busy using our sickles on each other, we will miss the harvest!”

Yes, there is a happiness that we are missing out on if we are not sharing our faith. John wrote that his personal joy was made complete by sharing with others the message of Christ (see 1 John 1:4). And after all, does not Scripture tell us, in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”?

The believers I know who make a habit of sharing the gospel are happy people.

So, do you want to be a happy Christian?
Then invite them to the SoCal Harvest which is only days away!

With Us in the Storm

August 7th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 8 Comments »

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
— John 16:33

When the Bible says that God will keep us, it doesn’t mean that He will always keep us from trouble. But it does mean that He will keep us while we’re in the midst of trouble.

When the Israelites saw the Egyptian army closing in on them at the Red Sea, God had allowed them to get into that situation. Why? It was so they would pray and see His glory on display. And then, when He answered them by opening up the Red Sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they saw that God walked with them through their difficulties.

God could have kept Daniel from the lion’s den. Instead, God kept Daniel in the lion’s den. God could have kept Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace. Instead, God walked with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Jesus could have kept the disciples from all the storms on the Sea of Galilee. Instead, He was with them as they went through the storms.

Maybe you are in trouble right now. Maybe you are frightened and unsure about your future. You don’t know what is going to happen next. Know that you’re not alone. God is with you in the midst of your troubles.

Sometimes I think we believe that we have the right to live easy, tranquil lives, and then one day we will die in our sleep. Everything will be nice, cozy, and comfortable. But the Bible doesn’t promise that. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). But He also said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Sometimes God will keep us from a problem. And sometimes He will let us go through the problem and will be with us in the midst of it.