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A Homing Instinct for Heaven

August 26th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
— Philippians 3:20
An old chorus begins, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” That is literally true. The Bible says that when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you become a citizen of heaven because that is your real home.

That is why we find ourselves with a deep-down longing for something this earth can never deliver. And that is also why we always will be a bit out of tune with this world and all it celebrates. Have you noticed? Sometimes the world will parade its toys and its so-called pleasures before you, and you’ll find yourself saying, deep down in your spirit, “That just leaves me cold. That is not what I desire. That is not what I want at all.” As followers of Jesus, we’ve tasted much, much better things than these.

C. S. Lewis described this longing with these words: “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.” He went on to say of heaven, “It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want.”

I liken it to a homing instinct that God has placed inside some of His creatures. We all know that some animals have a mysterious ability to migrate or travel great distances to very specific locations. It’s like a natural GPS system that God has placed inside them.

One of these days we’ll be going home too — home to a place we’ve never been. Heaven is more real to me than it has ever been because of those who are already there. My son Christopher is there, as is my mom, and the father who adopted me. Friends I have known through the years are on the other side now, and so are many familiar faces from our church.

Don’t get me wrong: There is much wonder, beauty, joy, and fulfillment in this life God has given us on earth. But what makes all these things even better is the sure knowledge that the best is yet to come.

My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

August 18th, 2014 Posted in Harvest Crusades | 6 Comments »

On Sunday night of the SoCal Harvest I followed through on my ice bucket challenge from Levi Lusko, and here’s the video:

Here Is the Official Press Release for the Weekend’s SoCal Crusade.

August 18th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 4 Comments »

MORE THAN 116,000 GATHER AT ANGEL STADIUM OVER WEEKEND FOR 25TH ANNUAL SoCAL HARVEST WITH GREG LAURIE

Harvest Crusades—the Longest-Running Evangelistic Outreach in U.S. History—Celebrates Milestone with Fireworks, Video Flashbacks, Music from Top Christian Artists, and Message of Hope from Pastor & Evangelist Greg Laurie

RIVERSIDE, Calif., August 18, 2014—Excitement was palpable at Angel Stadium of Anaheim this past weekend, Aug. 15 – 17, as more than 116,000 people packed the stands of the famed baseball stadium over three nights to attend the 25th annual Southern California Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie—the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history. From crowds of teens to extended families to the Mayor of Anaheim, each evening the outreach, called the “2014 SoCal Harvest”, drew a diverse crowd that gathered for a singular message of hope.

That message of hope is the same one that Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie has delivered at every Harvest Crusade event since 1990, when he and the late Chuck Smith co-founded the outreach. Staying true to form, Laurie took the stage each evening of the 2014 SoCal Harvest to offer those in attendance a chance to know God in a personal way.

“God can forgive your sin and the guilt that goes along with it. He loves you,” said Laurie. “Have you heard His voice? After 25 years, I know there’s nothing I can say to make you believe in Jesus. All I can do is deliver the news, sharing it with you. You have a choice: you can say yes to Him or you can say no to Him.”

By the end of the weekend, some 12,791 people walked to the outfield of Angel Stadium to indicate their faith in Christ, saying “yes” to Jesus. In addition, 1,425 people who viewed the SoCal Harvest Crusade on the Internet broadcast also made professions of faith.

The 2014 SoCal Harvest took on a celebratory tone with a Sunday night fireworks display that accompanied “America’s worship leader” Chris Tomlin as he sang “God’s Great Dance Floor,” and a musical medley from Grammy-nominated vocalist Crystal Lewis, who has performed at nearly every Harvest Crusades outreach in Orange County.

Harvest also reflected on the past 25 years with video flashbacks and testimonies from past participants who experienced spiritual change after attending a Harvest Crusade event. Laguna Hills resident Greg Munck was a Marine waiting to be deployed to Kuwait when he attended the very first Harvest Crusade outreach in 1990, and it was there that he committed his life to Christ, finding the peace he was desperately searching for.

“I don’t know where I’d be without that moment when God brought me to this place through Greg (Laurie),” Munck said. “That was the greatest moment of my life, when God captured

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my heart and I surrendered everything to Him at the Harvest Crusade. Every year going back is like a privilege.” (The Press-Enterprise, Sunday, August 17, 2014)

Additional musical artists who performed at the 2014 SoCal Harvest included NEEDTOBREATHE and Phil Wickham on Friday; Skillet, Sidewalk Prophets and Phil Wickham on Saturday; and for King & Country on Sunday. During the the Friday evening program, Laurie interviewed former mobster, Michael Franzese, who has been described by media as the “Prince of the Mafia.”

All nights of the 2014 SoCal Harvest were broadcast on the Internet, where 62,733 people from all 50 states and 121 countries around the world watched the outreach. In addition, 1,425 Internet viewers made professions of faith in Christ after watching the Harvest Crusade online. The 2014 SoCal Harvest is archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org.

With a trademark ability to present a clear gospel message in a culturally relevant format, drawing on the latest in current events, contemporary Christian music, and technology, Greg Laurie’s Harvest events have been attended by more than 6.5 million people worldwide since 1990, both in-person at stadium and arena events and via live Internet broadcasts. Laurie also serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Harvest Christian Fellowship which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, Calif. He serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In addition to the 2014 SoCal Harvest, this year Harvest with Greg Laurie will host the Dallas Harvest at the American Airlines Center (October 5), which will be simulcast to thousands of locations nationwide for a coast-to-coast evangelistic outreach called Harvest America.

Last Night Was Amazing!

August 17th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 6 Comments »

41,000 packed Angel Stadium and 4,169 came forward at the invitation to follow Christ!
Add last night’s stats and that means means so far we have had 69,000 people in attendance and best of all . . . 6,464 people have made a profession of faith to follow Jesus Christ.
Please be praying for the SoCal churches as they now engage in follow-up.

TONIGHT is the night you will not want to miss.

We will have music from the Harvest Worship Band, Crystal Lewis, for King and Country, and America’s worship leader, Chris Tomlin.
My message for tonight is on the topic of the afterlife with the title, “See you in the Morning.”
After the message, we will have a fireworks show to celebrate all that God has done in the last 25 years of Harvest Crusades.
It all starts at 7:00 PM, Pacific.
I hope to see you there!

We Had a Great Night to Kick Off the 25th Anniversary of Harvest Crusades.

August 16th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 5 Comments »

28,000 people came and 2,295 people made a profession of faith to follow Jesus Christ.
Now that’s good mews!
We had amazing music from Phil Wickham and Needtobreathe as well as the Harvest Worship Band.
I also interviewed my friend, former mobster Michael Franzese.

TONIGHT . . . Angel Stadium is going to ROCK!

Skillet, Sidewalk Prophets, and Phil Wickham will be playing.
My message title is “Jesus and You!”
Among other things, I want to talk about the tragic suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams and offer hope to others who may feel so depressed they too want to end it.

One other thing . . .

This crusade is not only webcast LIVE at www.harvest.org.
You can also see it on GODTV which is all around the world.

http://www.god.tv

Let people know about the last two nights of this crusade.
Here is a link to an article that the Christian Post did on our crusade last night.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/28000-people-attend-socal-harvest-greg-laurie-interviews-ex-mob-boss-says-god-is-a-big-eraser-124912/

How to Watch the SoCal Harvest Online

August 15th, 2014 Posted in Harvest Crusades | 15 Comments »

The crusade will be broadcast live from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, each night at 7:00 p.m. Pacific.

Simply go to socal.harvest.org and click on the banner that says “Watch Live Now.”

Please remember, this link will not be available before 7:00 p.m. Pacific.

 

The 25th Harvest Crusade starts Tonight!

August 15th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

We will have special music from the chart-topping band,Needtobreathe.
The Harvest worship band will lead us in worship
Phil Wickham will be sharing special music as well.
You will not want to miss my interview with former mobster,Michael Franzese.
My message title for tonight is,”The God who loves and forgives”
For more info,go to

http://www.harvest.org/crusades/2014/anaheim/home.html?&utm_source=FeatureBanner&utm_campaign=SoCal2014&utm_medium=banner

A Holy Hurricane

August 5th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 4 Comments »

Here is an excellent article written by our Harvest Crusade director,John Collins about the upcoming SoCal Harvest.

It’s like a hurricane. A holy hurricane.

That might be the best description I can give for the Harvest Crusade. As we prepare for next week’s 25th annual crusade in Anaheim, we are at that this moment in the calm before the storm.

Like hurricanes, crusades don’t show up unannounced. As a hurricane gathers steam and energy, it moves seemingly slowly across the water while people on shore gather news of its direction, their eyes on the horizon. They are alerted through radio and television. They busily move possessions to higher ground. They board up windows, secure doors, stack sandbags, and then they pray. Something big and ominous is on its way.

Crusades are like that. For weeks in advance, churches mobilize their people. Christians busy themselves and alert their neighbors by handing out flyers, displaying bumper stickers, putting up posters and lawn signs. Billboards are hung. Radio and television announce its coming. And Christians pray! Something big is on the horizon.

Hurricanes grab the attention of first responders too. They anticipate that there will be injuries and rescues—even life-threatening rescues will be necessary. They prepare food and water and distribution centers. They mobilize an army of volunteers, people who are ready to assist with the hurting and the homeless.

Crusades are like that! Before a crusade, churches are preparing volunteers to handle the crowds and to provide a safe environment where the message can be clearly heard. Follow-up workers from churches all around the area are trained and equipped to assist the people who have made a life-changing decision to follow Christ. They are there to bandage the wounds of those who’ve been injured by sin, and counsel those who have found the healing touch of Christ.

It’s also a fact that hurricanes do tremendous amounts of damage. A typical hurricane can have winds up to 150 miles per hour, while some have been known to exceed 200. At that speed, trees are torn from the earth, homes are lifted from their foundation, cars and trucks can be tossed around like children’s toys. And in the middle of those furious winds swirling round the eye of the storm, there is an unusual peace and tranquility.

Such is the message of the gospel. It is furious and it is offending. It rips the falsehood off people’s lives and leaves them bare and stripped of excuse. The winds of forgiveness upend the arguments of the wise. The love of Christ shakes the foundations of the most ardent sinner and tosses his arguments around as if they were rag dolls.

They say a hurricane, if you’re in its path, comes upon you with the sound of a freight train. It is deafening. Those in its path are helpless to withstand its power. One can only seek shelter and cower under the power of that which is so big it seems unearthly.

People have said that about the gospel too. C.S. Lewis called it “the hound of heaven.” It was the unrelenting force of truth bearing down upon his soul that left him saying, “I was the most reluctant convert in all England.” Like a hurricane, the gospel sweeps through the crowd at Anaheim Stadium, enveloping all who hear the message of the evangelist, Greg Laurie. It is a faint call that begins with a whisper as people find their seats and listen to the sounds of the church in fellowship. The clapping of hands and the stomping of feet to the beat of worship and praise becomes a rumble as the sky darkens and the message approaches.

Then, from the pages of Scripture comes thunderous truth. All sounds are drowned out. A penetrating voice from the center of the podium is synchronized with the deafening sound of truth. As the message sweeps over the audience, the winds of the Spirit begin to dishevel lives and rend hearts. The foolishness of the message preached grows to gale force; it is louder than a freight train. Submission alone draws the penitent into the Eye of the storm, and once there, there is peace.

In the aftermath of a hurricane, people are stunned at the devastation. All around, things are broken. And yet, in odd twists of fate, certain buildings stand unfazed, unharmed, though not untouched, by the howling winds.

So, too, the gospel. Those who stood defiantly in its path are shattered. Those who yielded to its power are broken, and yet made whole. Follow-up workers remain strong, untouched, canvassing the field for those who have responded to an invitation to receive Christ. Tears of repentance flow while lives are being reconstructed on a foundation that will withstand future storms.

Yes, a Harvest hurricane is coming. It’s about the size of man’s hand on the horizon. It will be here soon. Are you ready?

The Power of your Personal Story.

August 4th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

One of the most effective tools in your ‘spiritual tool box’ is your personal testimony.
Your testimony is your personal story of how you came to know Jesus Christ.
Every believer has a story to tell.
Granted,some may be more dramatic then others,but all testimonies are valid.
Fact of the matter is,when you boil it down,we all have the same basic story.
We like the blind man who was healed would say,”Once I was blind,but now I see!”

Here are a few tips in sharing your personal testimony.

1.Don’t glorify or exaggerate your past. Accuracy is important. So is truthfulness. Some people’s “testimony” changes with time. It gets more dramatic with the telling.
Another problem is making your past sound more appealing than your present:You might say something like, “I had money,women, power,an amazing car . . .
but I gave it all up for the old rugged cross.” If you have truly been converted, there is no way that your past is better than your present.

2. Don’t boast about what you gave up for Him, but what He gave up for you.
I have heard people speak of the “great sacrifices” they made to follow Christ. Listen to Paul’s words about how he viewed his past:

“Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ” (Philippians 3:8 MSG).

3. When you tell your story, it’s not about you, but Him. Don’t go overly long in telling your story.
Your story is a bridge, not the destination. The destination is Jesus and His story: His love for humanity, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead.

Just give the big picture and sum it up: You had your eyes opened. You’ve turned from darkness to light. Your life is no longer under the power of Satan but the power of God. And for that, He deserves all glory.

A Holy Disturbance

July 28th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

It seems that wherever Paul went there was either a conversion or a riot. In Acts 17:6 for example, the people of Thessalonica told their city’ leaders, “Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city.”

That’s what we need in our culture today—a holy disturbance!

G. Campbell Morgan said, “Organized Christianity which fails to make a disturbance is dead,” and A.W. Tozer said that “if the Holy Spirit were taken away from the New Testament church, 90% of what they did would come to a halt. But if the Holy Spirit were taken away from today’s church, only 10% of what it does would cease.”

Vance Havner wrote, “We are not going to move this world by criticism of it, nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”

So, if the world is turning you upside down, it’s time to make a change.

And it starts one person at a time. It starts with you and with me.

The early church was just a handful of men and women who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, did not leave their world the same way they found it—ordinary people who were enabled and empowered by God to do extraordinary things. It was the beginning of a movement that continues to this very day.

How about you? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to enable you and empower you? Ask God for a fresh refill of the Holy Spirit today.