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Tweet and Text Me Your Questions!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 Posted in questions, sermons, video, worldview | 1 Comment »

I am speaking tonight at our Orange County Bible study, starting a new series called Worldview. I will begin this series with a look at the Ten Commandments and a message titled “Absolute Truth.”

Immediately following the study, I am going to answer questions once again from those of you who text or tweet me between 7:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M., Pacific Time. I won’t be able to answer all your questions, but I will get to as many of them as I can.

We’ll also capture it on video and post it this weekend at harvest.org.

Please do not send these questions to this blog or my Facebook page. If you want to send in a question, you can do one of the following:

  • Tweet your question to my Twitter account here.
  • Send it via text message to (949) 464-7340.
  • Leave your question on voicemail at that number.
  • E-mail your question to oc@harvest.org.

We did this question-and-answer format recently, and I was joined by my friend Don McClure. To see that, click here.

It’s Our 36th Wedding Anniversary Today!

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 Posted in sermons | 31 Comments »

It was 36 years ago today that Catherine Martin walked down the aisle and became my wife.

I thank God for her every day, and give thanks to God for 36 years of marriage!

Absolute Truth: This Sunday at Harvest

Saturday, January 30th, 2010 Posted in sermons, worldview | 3 Comments »

In 2009, a Barna poll revealed that Americans are more interested in faith and spirituality than they are in Christianity.

Barna said that Americans increasingly want to shape their own faith experience, in his words, “concoct[ing] a uniquely personal brand of faith.”

“What they’ve done is they have put together a whole series of beliefs and a series of religious practices and a series of relationships and connections–all of that that makes sense to them and helps them to feel good about themselves,” Barna said.

The result of a faith of our own making and and a God made in our very own image

My question is, will this faith we have created at whim and this god we have imagined be able to save us in the final days?

The answer, of course, is no. God is who He says He is, not who simply want Him to be.

Thinking and living biblically

This Sunday at Harvest, we are beginning a new teaching series.

We have just completed our 35-message series that I called Essentials: What Every Christian Needs to Know. We have looked at God, His attributes, and His character. We have looked at Jesus Christ, His deity, and His humanity. We examined the unseen world of angels, demons, and the devil.

We have looked at heaven, hell, and end times events. We have looked at topics like salvation, faith, the Bible, and much more.

This is the foundation that we build our lives on as Christians.

Now, we come to the follow-up series to Essentials, which I am calling Worldview: Thinking and Living Biblically.

Do you have a Christian worldview?

Not every believer necessarily has a true biblical worldview. Do you?

Find out what a Christian worldview is, and how to have one this Sunday morning at Harvest.

Our services are at 7:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M., and 11:45 A.M. This message will also be webcast live at harvest.org.

This and that

You can check out my weekend colemn at WorldNetDaily here.

Here is a link to my weekend devotional.

Giving Ourselves to God

Friday, January 29th, 2010 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 4 Comments »

The Bible tells us that, in light of all that God has done for us, we should then present ourselves to Him. If we will do this, then we will know His will for our lives.

The apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

What does that mean, to present our bodies? It means that you give your whole self to Christ, and Christ alone.

1. We need to present our minds.

Fill your mind with the Word of God, not the junk and twisted worldview of our culture.

A recent survey revealed that America’s children and teenagers are now spending an average of more than 7 1/2 hours a day involved in electronic media (TV, video games, listening to music, surfing the Web, texting, and e-mailing).

We all need to think more about godly things! As Paul wrote to the Philippian church, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).

2. We need to present our tongues.

This refers to how we use our words, what we say to others.

We do great harm and great good with our words. One world can elevate, or devastate. The Bible tells us, “So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire” (James 3:5).

We need to T.H.I.N.K. before we speak (for more on this, check out my post here).

3. We need to present our hands and feet too!

Among the seven things listed in Proverbs 16 that the Lord hates are “hands that kill the innocent . . . feet that race to do wrong.” (Proverbs 16:7-8).

How much more glorious is it to have our hands and feet take the gospel to a lost and dying world! Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I urge you to present your body to Him today and every day!

T.H.I.N.K.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 12 Comments »

Tonight in Orange County, I will speak on knowing the will of God. One of the things I will mention is the importance of thinking about what we say before we say it.

A helpful acronym that you can use when wondering if you should spread a certain piece of information is T.H.I.N.K. Ask yourself the following questions:

T – Is it true? In other words, this thing that you have heard about someone else, is this accurate information? Or is it just gossip or something someone heard about someone else.

Have you ever had anyone tell a lie about you? How did that make you feel?

How about someone gossiping about you? The very word “gossip” just hisses. Gosssssssip! Remember, Satan is the Father of lies.

We are far too ready to pass on information before verifying if it is true or not.

H-Is it Helpful? Will sharing this information be helpful to the other person?

I- Is it Inspiring? That is clear enough.

N- Is it Necessary? Do we really need to spread this information?

K– Is it Kind? Pretty clear there.

You might say, “Greg, if I applied that T.H.I.N.K. acronym to what I said about others, I would hardly speak at all!” Ah! Perhaps that’s not such a bad idea?

The Jesus Tablet?

Monday, January 25th, 2010 Posted in Pastor's corner, sermons | 8 Comments »

You probably have heard that Apple is supposedly going to announce a new tablet computer this week. I am interested to see what the specs are, and what it can do.

I really am a fan of technology, and without question Apple builds fantastic, groundbreaking products. In fact, this post was typed on an Apple laptop.

However . . .

The Messiah machine?

This new tablet has been hailed by some as “The Jesus Tablet,” and others are calling it “The Messiah Machine.” One article asked breathlessly, “Can Apple’s Jesus Tablet deliver a miracle?”

Whaaa . . . ? Did I miss something here? Is this new device from Apple going to somehow deliver eternal life or the forgiveness of sins?

I am being a bit facetious here, but I think some of these techheads need to seriously get a life, preferably an eternal one.

This reminds me of the the depression some were experiencing after viewing the new film Avatar, because they could not personally experience the imaginary CGI world of Pandora. I wrote a blog about that.

Taking the Lord’s name in vain

The Bible reminds us to not take the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7) This doesn’t just mean using profanity with God’s name, but also using His Holy name in a frivolous, insincere way.

Sometimes people will sell certain things to the Christian market with a token mention of Jesus or the Bible, in hopes that we will eat it up, be it movies, products, or whatever. That is using God’s name in vain, and He does not take kindly to it.

So, Jesus tablets and Messiah machines just will not do.

There is another commandment that warns against having other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3). That is Commandment No. 1 in God’s Top 10.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that people who are excited about a new laptop, tablet computer, or phone are necessarily idolaters (though they could be). I am simply saying that we need to keep our priorities clear here.

Having another god speaks of anything or anyone that takes the place of the true God in their life.

In 1948, General Omar Bradley observed, “We are technological giants and moral midgets. We have discovered the mystery of the atom, but we have forgotten the Sermon on the Mount.”

Let’s love the Lord and use technology, not love technology and use the Lord.

How to Know the Will of God

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 5 Comments »

I will be back at Harvest on Sunday morning to speak on a topic that we all wonder about: the will of God.

Does God indeed have a master plan for our lives? If so, how do I discover it? How do I hear His voice? How do I know the will of God?

These are important questions, and they are not easily answered, but we will take a shot at this weekend.

You are invited to join us for our services in person, or online at harvest.org. We will have a time of Communion after the message.

Our service times are 7:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M. and 11:45 A.M., Pacific Time.

By the way, this will bring to a close our series of more than 30 messages that I have called Essentials: What Every Christian Needs to Know. Next Sunday, I will launch a follow-up to the Essentials series, which I am calling Worldview. I’ll have more details on it later.

Weekend musings

To read my weekend column at WorldNetDaily, click here.

To read my weekend devotional, click here.

Keep Moving

Friday, January 22nd, 2010 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 4 Comments »

We all know people who have supposedly “fallen away,” spiritually.

Sometimes people make changes in their lives, start going to church, and get all excited about the Bible. Then suddenly they bail out, never to return.

Usually, we say, “Oh, isn’t that sad. They are backsliding.” But I suggest to you that many of these people never were true believers to begin with. The true test is where they wind up.

A true believer will always come back home eventually. A person who is not a true believer won’t.

My mother, for example, spent most of her life as a prodigal, but she came home in the end.

Backsliding

We must keep our guard up, however, because anyone can backslide and become a prodigal.

Backsliding isn’t something you “plan” on doing. You don’t call up your Christian friend and say, “Hey dude, instead of going to church tonight, you wanna go backslide instead?” There might be some Idiot who would say that, but generally you don’t plan something like that.

The point is that backsliding happens. In fact, one of the signs of the last days is that “some would fall from the faith.” It could happen to you or me, if certain precautions are not taken.

I suggest to you that there a people out there who are fully backslidden, but they don’t even know it! And that is because they don’t understand what the word “backslide” even means.

The Bible certainly warns against it. Jeremiah 3:22 says, “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” Jeremiah 2:19 tells us, “Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.”

You might protest, “I don’t think I have actually backslidden!” That’s so dramatic.

“OK, so I’m not as active spiritually as I once was. I still go to church (when I can find the time). I still read the Bible (when I get around to it). I still obey God (unless it conflicts with what I want to do).”

No standing still

Listen, falling away or backsliding is something that we as Christians need to constantly be aware of. If we are not moving forward in Christ, we are naturally going backward.

There is no standing still in the Christian life. We are either progressing or regressing, moving forward or backward. The Christian life is like a greased pole; you are either climbing or slipping.

I once saw a sign along the road at the end of an airport runway that read, ”Keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger, and a danger to those flying.”

Unless we make progress in the Christian life, we jeopardize ourselves and others. In fact, the moment you cease to progress and grow as a Christian is when the process of backsliding begins.

So make every effort to move forward spiritually!

A Diamond Called Hope

Monday, January 18th, 2010 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 5 Comments »

Have you heard of the Hope Diamond?

It is a described as the most perfect blue diamond in the world. It is one of the most valuable gems on the face of the planet, worth $250 million. It has an amazing history, having passed from King Louis of France to Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great to King George of England, and ultimately to various wealthy people.

And yet, despite its enormous value, one of the eccentric owners of this rare blue diamond would often strap it to her pet dog’s collar. There are also stories that she would frequently misplace it at parties, and then make a children’s game out of “Finding the Hope.”

Under lock and key

The Hope Diamond ended up with New York diamond merchant Harry Winston, who ultimately donated it to the Smithsonian Museum. Today, it sits guarded behind bulletproof glass.

BTW, Winston sent the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian through the U.S. Mail in a plain brown paper bag. Imagine something worth $250 million being sent in the mail in a brown paper bag.

That’s why men should never wrap gifts.

Taking something of value for granted

Imagine the Hope Diamond on a dog’s collar or in a brown paper bag! Something so valuable, yet so unappreciated.

It reminds me of the most precious gift that God has given to us, something we may not appreciate.

I am speaking of our salvation.

God has saved us, is saving us, and will save us from future judgment. No other gift comes close to that.

A great salvation

I think that, far too often, we take the gift of personal salvation for granted. The Bible calls it “so great a salvation!”

When we believe in Jesus Christ and turn from our sins, this glorious gift (worth far, far more than the Hope Diamond) becomes ours. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8).

Let’s not take God’s salvation for granted today.

Thoughts on Backsliding, and Depression and Its Cure

Saturday, January 16th, 2010 Posted in sermons | 7 Comments »

I heard the story of a little girl who fell out of bed in the middle of the night. She cried out and her mother came running to her bedside.

Her mom asked, “What happened?” The little girl replied, “I think I stayed too close to the place where I got in!”

That happens to a lot of us, as well. We fall because, like the little girl, we are staying too close to the place where we got in. After committing ourselves to Christ, we never go forward spiritually. We never make that complete break with the past, and we end up slipping back into our old sinful behavior.

Backsliding is a powerful word, and a misunderstood one. It can happen easier than some people think.

Falling away, or backsliding, is something that we, as Christians, need to constantly be aware of. That’s because if we are not moving forward in Christ, we are naturally going backward. There is no standing still, we are either progressing or regressing.

The Lord says “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding” (Jeremiah 3:22).

This Sunday at Harvest

Backsliding will be my topic this Sunday at Harvest. I will also talk what steps to take to get right with God, if you have fallen.

I will also address the topic of “Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?”

What to do if you are depressed

In my column this weekend at WorldNetDaily, I deal with the topic of selfishness, but I also touch on the subject of depression:

Maybe you find yourself a little depressed today. You might be down in the doldrums, even though you are in good health, you had a meal today, and you have clothes on your back and a roof over your head. But maybe you are down because you know someone else has it a little better or maybe a whole lot better than you do. If so, then I have a 10-step solution for depression . Step No. 1: Do something for someone else who has greater needs than you. Step No. 2: Repeat step No. 1 nine more times.

To read the entire column, click here.

Aid for Haiti

One place that has great needs right now is Haiti. We have all been deeply saddened by the horrific earthquake that rocked their country earlier this week.

I encourage you to support relief efforts there, especially Christian organizations that are offering spiritual hope, as well as physical aid. Samaritan’s Purse is an organization I endorse and believe in.

To learn more about what they are doing in Haiti, click here.