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New Harvest iPhone app is here!

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, questions, religions, sermons, video, worldview | 10 Comments »

You can download it today for free!

After several months of work from the Harvest web programmers and designers, we are launching our new “Harvest: Greg Laurie” iPhone app. We’ve tried to take our best web content and pack it into one place to help you “know God” and “make Him known” to others. It is unlike any other Christian app I’ve seen. Let me give you a “sneak peak” of what you’ll find when you launch it.

Messages
The app includes all of my recent “Messages.” You can play messages from my Worldview and Essentials series in both audio and video formats, as well as Parables from the Beach videos and A New Beginning radio programs.

Devotions
You’ll have easy access to my daily devotions, so that every day you’ll find fresh inspiration to help you walk with God.

Tools
What really makes this app unique are the “evangelism tools” designed to proclaim the gospel and help you share your faith with others. There are videos to share, including a gospel message, first steps for new believers, and answers to tough questions. You’ll learn how to share your testimony with others through a One-Minute Message. We’ve also included Scriptures to memorize and strategies for sharing your faith with people from other religions. If you help lead someone to the Lord, they can register their decision and request a New Believer’s Growth Packet directly from the app.

Connect
Finally, you’ll be able to get “Connected” to all of our social network feeds. You can also share content from the app with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or by sending an e-mail.

I hope you like the new iPhone app and find it a useful tool to help you draw closer in a relationship with Jesus Christ and for sharing your faith with others.

You can download it for FREE on iTunes: here.

Greg

P.S.
If you like our new app, make sure to write a review in the iTunes store. We are also working on apps for Android phones and one optimized for the iPad. They’re coming soon!

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?

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.

The Gift of Salvation

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 Posted in encouragement, essentials, OC, Pastor's corner, sermons | 1 Comment »

Tonight in Orange County, I want to talk about the amazing gift of salvation.

Did you know that this wonderful gift we call salvation takes care of our past, present, and future?

  1. Salvation covers our past. As a result of believing in Jesus, I am saved from my sin. That’s because salvation is a gift from God. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
  2. Salvation takes care of our present, as well. He is saving me from the power and control of sin. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we trust that He will still deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10).
  3. Salvation is also for our future. In other words, God has saved me from future judgment. Scripture tells us, “And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved from eternal punishment by his life” (Romans 5:9-10).

We will learn a lot more tonight at our Bible study in Orange County, as we unpack and discover the gift of salvation, purchased for us by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Knowing God’s Will is not Always Easy

Monday, January 11th, 2010 Posted in encouragement, essentials, family, Pastor's corner, sermons | 6 Comments »

Let me say something that may surprise you: The will of God is not always easy to discern.

Most of my Christian life is one of faith, where I read Scripture and pray for wisdom. Then I make decisions and act on them, hoping that I am in His will.

I hope that is not a disappointment to you.

Mission: Impossible

You may have thought that I get a message from God every day, just like on Mission: Impossible (cue theme song).

“Good morning, Mr. Laurie. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves leading a person named Joe Smith to Christ. He will be pumping gas at the station across from the church at 1:35 p.m. today. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.”

Supernaturally, naturally

In real life, the chances are that I will see my “idiot light” come on, and then pull over to get some gas. Old Joe will be standing there and say, “How ya doing?” And I will find myself smack dab in the middle of the will of God as I share Christ with him.

This is also true of the Christian life, in general.

Emotions will come and go. Some days, you “feel” more spiritual than others. Some days, you are very encouraged, and other days you are discouraged.

Hold the course

The best thing to do is just hold your course.

It’s not unlike marriage. You cannot expect have a euphoric high every day, where you heart flutters whenever your mate walks into the room.

I have been married to my wife Cathe for 35 years now. If I still felt the way around her that I did when I was first getting to know her, it would be absurd.

Imagine this: your spouse walks in the room and your heart flutters, your mouth goes dry, and your mind goes blank. My wife would think I was having a heart attack!

No, we have been married all these years and we have made a life-long commitment to each other. The same is true of our commitment to God. Those emotions come and go, and come again.

The Christian life is one of faith, not mere feeling. Scripture says “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

So hold your course today.

What is Salvation?

Saturday, January 9th, 2010 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 2 Comments »

I know what you are thinking: “What is salvation? Everyone already knows that.”

I wonder. This wonderful thing God has done for those who have put their faith in Christ is a lot deeper and wider than some of us may realize.

The question of “What is salvation?” is my topic this Sunday at Harvest, as we get back into the series Essentials: What Every Christian Needs to Know.

There are some other words I also want to explore that are often mentioned but rarely understood. Words like regeneration, justification, and adoption. Each one of those words is packed with action and power, and they are all part of this wonderful gift God has given to Christians called salvation.

So come on out to Harvest this Sunday to find out more. Our services are at 7:45 A.M., 9:45, A.M., and 11:45 A.M. This service will also be webcast live at harvest.org.

Weekend goodies

You may want to check out my weekend column at WorldNetDaily. Also, here is a link to my weekend devotion.

Tonight in Orange County

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 Posted in essentials, OC, sermons | 1 Comment »

I’ll be speaking tonight at our Thursday night study, which has been going on for more than eight months now. We have really seen the Lord bless this study, and best of all, we have seen more than 1,000 people make commitments to follow Jesus Christ.

Tonight, in addition to our outstanding praise band leading us in worship, Phil Wickham will join us to share some of his amazing songs. I will be sharing a message for the new year from God’s Word called “Good News in a Bad World.”

It all starts at 7:00 P.M. If you are in the Orange County area, be sure to join us. If you know someone who lives in Orange County, let them know!

Click here for all the information.

This Sunday at Harvest in Riverside

We will be back in our series, Essentials: What Every Christian Needs to Know, this Sunday at Harvest. I will share a message on the topic of salvation.

As Christians, we use the word “saved” a lot. But do we really know what salvation really is?

I think this message that I will share with you on Sunday may be a real ‘eye-opener’ for many. I know just preparing for it has been a great blessing.

I suggest that most believers do not realize just how awesome and vast salvation really is. It is something God has done, is doing, and will do in our future.

I’ll explain that all this Sunday at Harvest.