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What If It Were Illegal to Pray?

Monday, October 20th, 2014 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

Let me ask this: What if a law were passed that said you could no longer pray?

What would you do?

That is exactly what happened to Daniel. He was in a place of great influence with the king of Babylon.

He advised the king well, and the king listened. The other advisers of the king were jealous and wanted to bring Daniel down.

They googled his name, but could not find anything negative about him. So they said to each other, “The only way we will bring him down is if we find something about him and his God.”

They knew that Daniel had a habit of always praying to God openly. He did this three times a day.

So these jealous advisers got the king to sign a decree that no one could pray to any god except him.

So in effect, it was illegal to pray. What did Daniel do?


“When Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God”
(Daniel 6:10 NLT).

Do your enemies know you pray?

Sometimes we feel weird about praying publically—say, in a restaurant.

But 1 Timothy 2:8 says, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

Daniel “knelt down as usual” and prayed “three times a day,” as he always had done.

And what was his prayer? Personal petition? “God help!”

No, it was “giving thanks to his God.” Scripture reminds us to “give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.”

It is important in prayer to remember first that God is on the throne and is in control. We call this the sovereignty of God.

Our sovereign, powerful, good God is in control!

So, no matter what, we are to pray and give thanks.

And yes, because Daniel broke the law that should never have been decreed in the first place, he was thrown into the den of hungry lions. But you know how the story ends, right?

Daniel survived that night with the lions and he lived a long life. And those men that devised this wicked plan ended up being thrown into that same lion pit, but this time, the lions’ mouths were not shut.

Nick at Night.

Monday, October 13th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

The Bible tells the story of the famous religious leader Nicodemus coming to have a conversation with Jesus. He came at night, most likely because he did not want to be discovered.
Jesus told the famed leader he needed to be “born again” (John 3:3).

There is no indication Nicodemus made a commitment to Jesus that night, but clearly a seed was sown in the leader’s heart. But with the passing of time, the once timid Nicodemus did believe.

Nicodemus might have been somewhat sheep-like in the beginning, but in the end he turned out to be one of the bravest followers of Jesus. You have to start somewhere! Some have an outwardly impressive beginning in the faith, only to deny Him or wander away from Him later in life. Nicodemus was just making his way into the kingdom while Judas Iscariot was seemingly a full-fledged apostle in good standing. In the end, Judas betrayed our Lord for 30 pieces of silver, and then went out and hung himself. Nicodemus, however, came out publicly and stood for Christ.

In John 19, we read these words:
“After all this, Joseph of Arimathea (he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because he was intimidated by the Jews) petitioned Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission. So Joseph came and took the body.
“Nicodemus, who had first come to Jesus at night, came now in broad daylight carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. They took Jesus’ body and, following the Jewish burial custom, wrapped it in linen with the spices. There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it.”
(John 19:38-42, MSG).

I love the fact that it points out that Nicodemus came out publicly for Christ in the end. He may have first come to Jesus at night, but in the end he identified with Jesus in broad daylight. It’s so much better to have a feeble beginning and a strong finish than a strong beginning and no finish.

Here is the Official Press Release For Harvest America.

Friday, October 10th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

We are still gathering data from around the country as to how Harvest America went in the various venues.
But this is what we released to the public

DFW Churches Join Thousands across the Nation for Harvest of Souls — Lives Changed by the Gospel Message of Evangelist Greg Laurie
Local event at American Airlines Center Oct. 5 Draws 20,000 from 175 Local Churches; 4,000 Remote Venues Tune-in around the Country

DALLAS, Oct. 6, 2014 — With an overflow crowd of more than 20,000 in attendance at the Dallas Harvest at American Airlines Center last evening, and thousands more tuning in via simulcast and online from every state and 80 nations, evangelist Greg Laurie shared how one can overcome worry and find peace amidst the stresses of life.

“Why should our hearts not be troubled or afraid?” Laurie asked, referencing Bible verse John 14:1. “I’m going to tell you why — we should believe what God says in His Word.” He added two other points — that we should believe that heaven is a real place for real people to do real things, and that Jesus Christ is coming back again.

Altogether, more than 1,100 individuals in Dallas and likely thousands more in remote venues made a faith commitment at Laurie’s encouragement to turn their lives over to God. “I’ve told others to trust in God when times are hard. If He came through for me, He’ll come through for you,” he said, referring to the loss of his eldest son in an automobile accident several years ago.

Laurie made it clear that heaven is a destination for believers in Christ only. “I believe all roads lead to God,” he said, referring to the inevitable time of judgment everyone will one day face. “I don’t care if you’re a believer, an agnostic, an atheist — whatever. I believe whatever road you’re on you will get to God and you will stand before God one day. All roads lead to God. But only one road leads to heaven and that’s the road through Jesus Christ.”

Laurie described heaven as infinitely better than all of our best moments on earth, stating that we are created for more than this life, which is why people are constantly searching for fulfilment. He listed examples, such as Lana Del Rey, Michael Phelps and other celebrities whose success has not fulfilled them. “That’s why nothing in this world will satisfy,” Laurie said. “Only God can fill the void deep inside your soul.”

Before the day even started, 43 decisions for Christ had already been registered when a group of teens hit the streets of Dallas Saturday to share their faith and invite people to Dallas Harvest. More than 40 students from Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., joined forces with another 50 young people from three area churches: Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano; Calvary Chapel, Texarkana; and Calvary Chapel, Temple, Texas.

As participants in Harvest America took to Twitter, #HarvestAmerica began trending, moving from No. 1 in Dallas to No. 1 in the U.S. by the end of the night, with Laurie himself trending as well before the conclusion of his message.

One of the largest remote venues participating in Harvest America joined from the Prescott Valley, Ariz., area where dozens of local churches worked together to secure Tim’s Toyota Center. More than 2,700 attended, with nearly 100 of those making a decision for Christ.

Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano offered a prayer for the event, that God would be praised and hearts across the nation would be touched with the power and hope of the Gospel message. Graham’s congregation was one of more than 175 churches that joined together to invite Harvest to hold its first meeting in Texas after 25 years of evangelistic outreach in California, other parts of the country and around the world. The possibility of a three-day Crusade at GlobeLife Park in Arlington, home of The Texas Rangers, in November 2015 was referenced from the stage.

Evangelist Greg Laurie has been hosting Harvest Crusades for more than 25 years now, beginning in Southern California in 1990, expanding throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Harvest has only previously been in Dallas once, at Prestonwood Baptist Church in 2004.

Of the cumulative audience of more than 5 million individuals to whom Laurie has preached through Harvest Crusades, over 434,000 have made a faith commitment. In addition, Harvest Crusades have seen 1.4 million additional individuals tune in online since the live webcasts began in 1997.

Besides conducting evangelistic outreaches, Harvest Ministries produces A New Beginning, an international radio program with messages by Laurie. In addition, television specials featuring past Harvest Ministries events air internationally on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and a weekly television program greglaurie.tv is available online at www.harvest.org and airs every Friday evening on both TBN and the Church Channel, as well as on ROKU and the Harvest app.

Laurie serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, based in Riverside, Calif., which oversees Harvest Ministries. The organization 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.

In His Hands

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 5 Comments »

The Bible says that our days are numbered, which means there is a day coming (we don’t know when) when we are out of here. We can worry about that, or we can simply trust that God knows when that day will be. It doesn’t mean that we take up bungee jumping off of bridges or try swimming with sharks, putting our lives at unnecessary risk. But it does mean that we recognize the fact that our lives belong to God. We are in His hands.

Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.
— Job 14:5

This is a very comforting thought because it means that until God is finished with us, nothing will happen to us. That’s great to know. But it also means that when our number is up, it’s up. When that day comes, there is nothing we can do to turn the clock back.

So what are we to do? As we have already read in these pages, the apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). So we should praise God for each new day, thank Him for the opportunities He provides, for the blessings He gives us, and for our family and friends. We should take time to smell the flowers and bounce a little one on our knees. We should savor the sight of a rainbow or a tree painted with the colors of autumn or the blue surf rolling in across a sandy beach. And of course we should be available and willing to serve Him in whatever plans He has for us.

God values you. He loves you. But if death came for you today, would you be ready? If not, you would face a certain judgment. That’s the last thing God wants to happen to you. That’s why He sent Jesus to die on the cross and shed His blood for every sin you have ever committed.

Only the person who says, “To live is Christ” can then say,
“To die is gain.” That is a person whose soul is right with God.

Harvest America Is Almost Here!

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 Posted in sermons | 4 Comments »

Please spread the word.
Use this hashtag #HarvestAmerica

Here is an article from our friends at the Christian Post to tell you more about our event happening THIS SUNDAY in Dallas, Texas.

Greg Laurie’s Harvest America: More Than 3,400 Churches, Theaters, and Living Rooms to Host Livestream From Dallas

BY ALEX MURASHKO , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
October 3, 2014|7:15 am

Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries will take their Southern California-grown, power-packed worship music and straight-forward Gospel message to a national level for the third year-in-a-row this weekend. This time, Harvest America comes to Dallas on Sunday, and will be livestreamed to more than 3,400 locations across the country, including churches, theaters, and living rooms.

“We are very excited about bringing the Gospel to the DFW Metroplex area,” Laurie said. “This is a unique part of our great country. It represents the heartland of our nation and is filled with people who espouse traditional family values, hard work and big dreams.”

What began 25 years ago as the Harvest Crusades in huge outdoor stadiums (the outreach events took place primarily in Orange County), however, have now come to include annual live digital transmissions from a chosen city, such as Philadelphia last year, streamed to host venues throughout the nation.

In the Dallas area, volunteers from more than 150 local churches representing at least 15 different denominations have received training to serve as ushers, counselors, and other roles for the area-wide event to be held at American Airlines Center on Sunday, beginning at 6 p.m (CT). This free, public event features musical performances by MercyMe, for King & Country, and Phil Wickham, followed by a presentation of the Gospel message.

Laurie said that while Dallas “is filled with large and growing churches, there are still people on her busy streets that are without hope and without God in this world. My prayer is that thousands in the church around the Metroplex will pray and participate in this Harvest outreach and that it will become a sounding board for people all around the world to hear the gospel.”

Harvest Crusades officials say the events such as the one in Dallas are designed to be opportunities for Christians to invite family members, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances to hear the life-changing message of the gospel in an environment that is entertaining, yet nonthreatening.

Laurie is able to uniquely identify with a wide audience, according to the event’s promotions, having grown up outside the Christian faith, and having suffered the loss of a son in an automobile accident several years ago. “He understands the search for meaning and purpose in life, as well as what it means to grieve, and presents the gospel message in a simple, factual way, empowering audiences to make an informed spiritual decision.”

Harvest events have also expanded throughout Canada, Australia and New Zealand, reaching more than 5 million in attendance. Harvest has only been in Dallas once previously, in 2000 at Prestonwood Baptist Church. That church’s pastor, Jack Graham, is a close friend of Laurie’s and one of the key leaders in bringing Harvest back to Dallas this year.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/greg-lauries-harvest-america-more-than-3400-churches-theaters-and-living-rooms-to-host-livestream-from-dallas-127441/

For more info on Harvest America,go to

http://harvestamerica.com/.

The Fourth Man in the Flames.

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
— Daniel 3:24-25

Not many of us, perhaps, will face tests as great as Shadrach, Meshach, or Abed-Nego faced on the day when the king threw them into a fiery furnace. Even so, tests will come. Temptations will come. And many of those moments of great testing will come when you are alone, with no one looking.

We’re foolish if we think we can stand up to temptation—the lure of the world, our own flesh, and the Devil—in our own strength and wisdom. We need help from on high.

The key to the courage and serenity of these three teenagers in the midst of those flames was their Companion! Nebuchadnezzar said it best: “The form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

I don’t know that Nebuchadnezzar necessarily realized that this fourth person in the flames was Jesus Christ. I don’t know what he thought. All he knew was that he tossed three men in a blazing furnace, and they were walking around in the fire like it was a Sunday stroll in the park. And Someone else was walking with them.

Just that quickly, the king didn’t want to mess with these guys anymore. He had great respect (not necessarily belief at that point, yet respect) for the God they represented.

Are you in a fiery trial right now? Are you in the hot waters of temptation? Know this: You aren’t alone in life. Jesus is there with you each step of the way. Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NIV). And again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Take your stand for the Lord in things great and small, and even though you may feel the heat, your Companion will never leave your side.

What It Really Means to Prosper

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 4 Comments »

I know that as you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is all going to turn out for my good.
— Philippians 1:19

Sometimes I think that today’s “prosperity preachers” have hijacked a legitimate biblical term. After all, God does want His sons and daughters to prosper. But what does that really mean? That you’ll never get sick? Never have problems? Never run out of money? Never have strains in your relationships? No, that is not what the Bible means by “prosperity.”

Five years before making his journey to Rome, Paul wrote to the believers there and said in Romans 1:10, “Making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.” In other words, “Hey, would you guys pray for me? I’m coming your way. And pray that the Lord gives me a prosperous journey by the will of God.”

Did God answer his prayer? Yes. He did make it to Rome and had an amazing ministry there of preaching, teaching, discipleship, and writing. He just hadn’t understood that getting to Rome would mean false accusations, arrest, incarceration, and chains. He couldn’t have foreseen that it would involve hurricane-force winds at sea, shipwreck on an island, and the bite of a poisonous viper on the way.

The reality is that you can live a prosperous life in the will of God and still face fierce personal conflict and adversity. Paul went through a shipwreck on his way to Rome, but he had a prosperous journey by the will of God because of what it ultimately accomplished.

Facing storms and shipwrecks in our lives really isn’t a matter of if; it is a matter of when. So it’s time for us to get our sea legs under us. Rather than trying to avoid the storms of life, we need to learn how to get through them, how to survive them, and how to learn the lessons that we can only learn in such times and such places.

It has been said that you can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails. In other words, I can’t control all the elements of my world—or even very many of them at all. But I can control my reaction to them. I can adjust my sails—and adapt.

The Problem of Lust and Some Solutions

Monday, September 15th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

In Matthew 5:27–28, Jesus deals with lust in the heart: “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (NLT).

Jesus wasn’t talking about a casual glance.
Rather, He was referring to a continual act of looking.
In this usage, the idea is not an incidental or involuntarily glance, but an intentional and repeated gazing with the express purpose of lusting.
This statement doesn’t apply to men only. It also applies to women looking lustfully at men.

So this refers to looking at someone for the deliberate purpose of lusting.
You remember the story David and his fall with Bathsheba.
David was not at fault for happening to see Bathsheba bathing.
Perhaps he could not have helped noticing her.

One must wonder if Bathsheba knew he would be there and intentionally put herself in a place where she would be seen. No modest Hebrew woman would normally bathe publically.
Remember, this is a two-way street! If lustful looking is bad, then those who dress and expose themselves with the desire to be looked at and lusted after are not less but perhaps more guilty!

Girls, think about what you are wearing (or not wearing) before you leave your house!
How would you feel if it were Jesus who were taking you out somewhere?
This doesn’t mean you can’t dress cool and be in style. But don’t dress in such a way as to encourage a guy to lust after you.
You might protest, “But Greg, some guys would lust after a tree!”
True, but that doesn’t excuse you from having some modesty!

David’s sin was a continuous looking and then taking dramatic action. He misused his considerable power as king and had her brought to his bedroom.
Clearly, this “man after God’s own heart” was the most culpable in this sin.

What we must do is, to the best our abilities, “guard our minds.” That doesn’t mean you do not notice that a girl is pretty or a guy good-looking. This is talking about taking it to another place, where you lust or fantasize about them. We must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”
(2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

• If an offensive scene comes on in that movie theater, get up and walk out.
• If something on TV is sexually suggestive, turn the channel or turn it off.
• If an attractive girl/guy is walking your direction, look down.
• If a conversation with a member of the opposite sex becomes sexually suggestive, terminate it.
• Check out something before you watch it, read it, etc.

Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman” (Job 31:1 NLT).
Be intentional!

This Weekend at Harvest/Riverside and Orange County-

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

Lust.
Retaliation.
Murder.
Do I have your attention?
These are issues that we all deal with in life.
Even Christians get mad and lose their temper.
Is that always wrong?
Is there a place for retaliation in the life of the believer?
What about self-defense?
What does it mean to “Turn your Cheek” and “Go the extra mile?”
Was Jesus the ultimate pacifist?
We will talk about that and more at Harvest/Riverside and Orange County in my message “What Jesus taught about Anger,Hatred and Lust”.
You can join us in person for our services on both campus’s which are 8:00,10:00 AM and 12:00 PM.
All of these services are at Pacific Standard Time.
Or,you can watch the LIVE HD Webcast at www.harvest.org

We Remember.

Thursday, September 11th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

Today is 9/11
The day we remember the horrific attack against the United States resulting in a tragic loss of life.
The day we remember those who died, and those who laid their lives down in rescue efforts.
It is also the day we remember our brave soldiers who have fought and laid down their lives for the freedom we far too often take for granted.

Here is an article that was run last Saturday at the WorldNetDaily website, that I wrote on the topic of 9/11.

Did 9/11 Change Our Beliefs?

In the days following 9/11, I was interviewed by a number of newspapers and magazines. The journalists wanted to know how something so horrible, so unthinkable, could take place not only in the United States of America, but in New York City? They just couldn’t comprehend the wickedness, the capacity of someone who could kill thousands of people and lose their own lives in the process.

I reminded them that not only was there a God, but there was a devil, and that mankind was not basically good as we often hear, but that mankind is basically bad. In fact, the Bible teaches that mankind is sinful to the very core. People were shocked by this.

Our churches were packed like never before in the aftermath of this horrific attack. I remember well Sunday, Sept. 16, 2001, at the church where I pastor. It was the largest single attendance we have ever had in the history of the church. It was my hope and prayer that it would be a spark that would ultimately lead to a revival that would sweep our nation. But that has not happened. In fact, something quite surprising has taken place since 9/11.

A survey conducted by the Barna Research Group in Ventura, Calif., revealed that instead of a return to God after the attacks, there has been a resurgence of moral relativism.

This survey found that in the wake of 9/11, a mere 22 percent of a sample group of Americans told Barna’s researchers they still believed in absolute moral truth. That is compared with 38 percent in January 2000. That is saying more people believed there was such a thing as evil before 9/11 than now.

It would seem that more people would believe there is evil and more people would believe mankind is basically bad when they saw it demonstrated in such a dramatic way. But the opposite has occurred.

Moral relativism, which is basically the lack of moral absolutes, is more widespread than we may think. According to moral relativism, your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. And just because something is true to you doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true to me. In other words, there is no right or wrong.

This view would say that it is not right for us as the West, as the United States, to say that the actions of another nation are wrong. Who are we to say what is right and wrong? Moral relativism teaches that we are all products of the evolutionary process, and there is no God, there is no devil, and there is no evil. Instead, we make our own luck, we create our own faith, and we are all basically good inside.

If we do something bad, then it is not our fault because we are victims of our upbringing or environment. Moral relativism teaches there are no absolutes; it is the freedom from all restraint.

What I find interesting is that if you disagree with this viewpoint, then you are insensitive. If you have the audacity to say that you believe there is right and wrong or there is good and evil, then you are classified as insensitive, intolerant, bigoted and narrow-minded. If you dare to quote the Bible and say it is the source of truth, then you will be accused of pushing your puritanical belief system and values on someone else.

Although moral relativism has actually gained ground, the percentage of people who say they pray regularly since 9/11 has gone from 84 to 85 percent. On one hand, more people are saying there is no such thing as right and wrong, good and evil, and there is no God or devil. But on the other hand, we pray more than we did before.

Barna’s survey also found that Americans’ “personal commitment to Christ” remained stable at 68 percent and even increased among the youngest group from 58 to 61 percent. That may seem good, but actually I think it is relatively bad. These same people, when polled, did not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, nor did they believe that the devil is real. Rather, they classified him as a mere metaphor.

This essentially tells me that people are creating a whole new god, a god who doesn’t believe in right or wrong and doesn’t give us standards to live by. In essence, they have created a god in their own image.

Let me say something that might be controversial, but it is basic, biblical Christianity: Jesus Christ is the only way to God. All roads don’t lead to a relationship with God, and all religions don’t teach the same thing.

Someone who says she believes in God, believes she should pray, but doesn’t think Jesus is the only way cannot be a Christian. If you are a true Christian, then you have to believe the Bible. The very idea of being a Christian and knowing God comes from the Bible. We don’t make up the rules as we go.

I can’t go out on the streets today and say, “I have made up a new rule. I think that it is OK for me to drive 120 miles per hour. I believe it is OK for me to walk into a store and take whatever I want. It is mine for the taking.” I can believe these things, but soon I will have a new prison ministry. There are rules. There are absolutes. And whether I believe in them or not, those rules are still true.

Therefore I can’t come to the Bible and say, “I like this, and I like that, but I am not so sure I agree with this part of the Bible.” It is a package deal. We take it the way God gives it. False belief systems and false religions will keep us from God and not bring us to Him.

What concerns me is there are more people today who say they believe, but they don’t believe what the Bible says. I think that is why this country is in the state that it is in today and why there is no regard for human life.
The basis of morality is belief, and the basis of belief is the Bible. That gives us the absolute truth on which we can base our faith. And when we don’t have this belief, then we have chaos.