The Holy Spirit is God and a member of the Trinity. Hopefully, we all know and understand that. He is not some mysterious force or object.
Did you know that, being God, He has a distinct personality? That is hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it? It is for me.
Having a personality, He can also be specifically offended. Now if there is one thing I do not want to do, it is to offend the Holy Spirit.
This Sunday morning–in my message, “Honest to God”–I am going to look at the sin of a couple named Ananias and Sapphira from Acts 5. The Bible says that they “lied to the Spirit” (Acts 5:3 NLT). Now, what does that specifically mean and how does one do it?
Not only that, but I will identify six particular sins we can commit against the Holy Spirit, including lying.
Can anyone out there identify the six sins the Bible says we can commit against the Spirit? If so, let me know right here! I’ll send a signed copy of Lost Boy to the first person who gets it right.
Lost Boy book signing
Speaking of Lost Boy, I wanted to update you on some Lost Boy happenings . . .
I will be doing a Lost Boy book signing after the services this Sunday at Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside. So if you would like me to sign your copy, come on out!
Lost Boy documentary is almost done
The Lost Boy documentary is almost completed. We are going to be doing some special showings of it here and there in the next few weeks.
Lost Boy: The Documentary will premiere at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside on Sunday, June 22, at 6:00 p.m. I will be speaking after that as well.
We will show the movie at Calvary Chapel of Kendall in Miami on Wednesday night, June 25. I will be speaking after that showing for my friend, Pastor Pedro Garcia.
The movie shows again in Florida on Saturday, June 28 at Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale. I will also speak at all weekend services for my friend, Pastor Bob Coy, with a message that will help believers know how to use their story as we tell “His Story.”
Lost Boy will show at the Strand Theatre in Kalispell, Montana (home of Fresh Life Church) on Sunday, July 6. I will speak there for my friend (I have a lot of friends!), Pastor Levi Lusko.
I will doing a TV interview for Lost Boy on the Daystar network on June 10. I am not sure when that will air, but I will let you know when I find out.
So, that’s what’s new for now! Have a blessed weekend and, as Billy Graham always used to say at the end of his crusades on television, “Don’t forget to go to church this Sunday!”
As you may know–if you have read my story, Lost Boy–my mom died a few years ago. Despite my crazy upbringing, I always loved her and really wanted to take care of her, even as a little boy.
In Lost Boy, I talk about her prodigal ways and how she returned to the Lord before she left us. I believe that I will see her again in Heaven.
Today, on our radio program A New Beginning, host Dave Spiker asked me an unexpected question. I did not know he was going to ask it, so my answer is very much from the heart.
Here is the audio clip:
Dave: If your mom was still here and you wanted to give her a copy of this book, what would you say to her as you gave her a copy of Lost Boy?
Greg: Well, I would say I’m telling both of our stories. And I hope that you know that your life helped to bring me to the place of commitment to Christ, and God used you to help me to see my need for the Lord and then to point others to Him. And I hope that you can see how God never forgot about you and how you came back to Him in the end and now everything you were looking for in life you have found in Christ in heaven.
See, my mom, she wanted to have fun. She wanted joy. She didn’t want to live a miserable, restricted life. Well, what does the Bible say? “In His presence is fullness of joy and on His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”
You know, I have had dreams about my mom and whenever I dream about her, I don’t dream of her in her older state. I always dream of her in her younger, more beautiful state. And she is in a new body right now, not broken down by the ravages of age or abuse of different things. And I think she is more joyful than she has ever been before. And I wish she had found it earlier. But thank God she did find it before it was too late.
And you know, frankly, if she hadn’t lived the life that she lived, I don’t know that I would come to the place where I came and I look back on it now and, like Joseph, I can say God used it for good what was meant for evil. I think she would actually be kind of pleased by the way she comes out in the story because she is the rebel girl that runs from God but comes around under the wire in the end. I think she would kind of like it.
Crazy weather these days here in Southern California. Seems like the weathermen never get it right. I think I can do just as good of a job looking out my window and determining what kind of day it will be just by looking for the obvious.
I do know of one sure way to know if it will rain: wash your car. It always works for me!
BTW, bald men always know first when it is raining! My wife and I will be walking along outside and I will say, “It’s starting to rain!” Her response is, “No, it isn’t!”
That’s because she has enough hair for two people. If I could somehow use the hair that is left over on her brush, it would be like a revival on my head!
But with no hair up there, you know right away when those little drops begin to fall.
Advantages to being bald
There are a couple of other advantages to being bald:
- It takes us two minutes to dry our hair, if that. In contrast, it takes my wife a good hour!
- You never get “helmet hair” or have a “bad hair day.” You always have “no hair days.”
Signs of the times
Coming back to the unpredictable weather, Jesus said, “You are good at reading the weather signs in the sky, but you can’t read the obvious signs of the times!” (Matthew 16:3 NLT). All around us are signs of the times that Jesus Christ is coming back again.
I will speaking on that topic tonight at Harvest, should you want to come or watch online. It will based on 1 Thessalonians 5 and the title of the message will be “How to Live as we Await the Lord’s Return.”
Lost Boy book signing
I will also be signing copies of my new autobiography, Lost Boy, after the service. If you are one of my “blogging buddies,” come by and let me know!
This last Saturday, I woke up very early in the morning, still reeling from jet lag after our trip to the Holy Land. I decided to take a walk, as I usually do every morning. There was a light drizzle, as we had an unexpected storm front here in Southern California.
“Wait a second,” you might ask, if you don’t live on the West Coast. “Doesn’t the song say, ‘It never rains in Southern California’?”
Well, sometimes it does, and today along with that rain came an unexpected treat—a rainbow.
Now, I have seen some beautiful rainbows in my time, including a number of them in Hawaii (where it seems like they have a rainbow practically every night!). They take rainbows for granted over there in the islands.
But here in California, they are more unusual. And on a scale of 1-10, this was a “7.” So, I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a shot. Unfortunately, the camera did not catch what my eye could see.
Then, right before my eyes, the rainbow that was a 7 turned into an 8. I thought, “I’ve got to run home and get a proper camera and record this! No one will believe it.”
At this point, it was about 5:50 a.m. So I quickly drove home and grabbed my digital camera and video camera. Hey, go big or stay home, right?
I rushed back to find the best vantage point to click the shot of the rainbow, which was now a full, mega-wattage 10! I could see it through the window of my car and I considered stopping right there and snapping the shot, but I thought, “I know a better spot to shoot this!” It was only two minutes more, surely the rainbow would wait.
You already know what happened, right? I came to my spot, pulled out my camera, and… you guessed it, no rainbow. I mean, not one little bit of rainbow left at all.
What do they say about chasing rainbows? I had literally been doing all that, and in the process, I missed the grand finale. I should have just been satisfied with my low-res iPhone photo and enjoyed the moment. But no, I had to be “Ansel Adams” and try to capture the shot of the century.
Life can be like that
Life can be that way, can’t it? We chase after something but never quite get it. We get all built up for some ‘big event,” only to be let down.
I have found that the little moments are often far more enjoyable then the “big ones.”
Take Christmas, for instance (Is it here yet?). There is so much hype over the ‘big moment” of Christmas morning, and opening your presents. Once it’s all done, you look at the small mountain of torn-up wrapping paper and think about the bills you will have to pay, and it’s a bit of a let down.
No, Christmas morning is not all it is cracked up to be. I have found that the great moments of Christmas are the ‘in-between” ones. Picking up your tree—or if you are able, chopping it down—and decorating it. Having a leisurely cup of coffee with a friend while everyone else “shops till they drop.” Lingering over a meal with your family. And most importantly, remembering Jesus as you worship Him for coming to this earth to begin with.
Rainbows! They are wonderful when you have them.
I would suggest the next time you see one, don’t run home for a camera. Just stop and watch and wonder. Take it all in. And remember its origin.
God gave the symbol of the rainbow to Noah and all of us after the great flood. He gave it to us to say He keeps His promises.
So the next time you see a rainbow, remember that.
This is Memorial Day weekend. For many, that means heading to the beach, the mountains, or the lakes. It means an extra day off. Or maybe a barbecue, a family get-together or a sporting event.
Sadly, for others, it means partying and driving under the influence on the roads, resulting in increased arrests and inevitable (but avoidable) fatalities on the road. But let’s give this day a name that sounds a little less formal—and perhaps a bit more understandable. Memorial is based on the term “to remember.”
So let’s call today, “Memory Day.”
And what are we specifically to remember? We are to remember the courageous members of our armed forces—past and present—who have died in military service to their country. We’re speaking of grandparents, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, and grandchildren who have taken the oath to defend their country and protect the Constitution.
That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily agree with every military engagement our country has undertaken in times past—or is engaged in at present. What it does mean is that you are to remember those who have committed themselves to protect you, or even made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Such sacrifices make possible the freedoms we so richly enjoy and hold dear.
One of the greatest privileges we have in our country is the freedom to openly proclaim the gospel message and, as a pastor and evangelist, I am especially thankful for that. In places like Communist China, you can’t do that. At least, not legally. That of course has not stopped the rapid growth of the underground church, or what we often refer to as “house churches.” But freedom is indeed a precious thing, don’t you think? Far too often, we take it for granted. And we take heroes for granted, too.
What is a hero?
When we think of hero different images may come to mind. We might refer to a skilled athlete who can expertly dunk a basketball as a hero. Or maybe we would give the title hero to a rock star who can hit that power chord on his guitar. There’s even a video game that’s very popular right now called “Guitar Hero.”
These athletes, musicians and others may be famous—or infamous. But are they really heroes? In my book, a real hero is someone who makes a sacrifice. Someone who thinks of others before themselves. A person who is even willing to die for another.
Let me close with the story of a real American hero this Memory Day. His name was Ross McGinnis. You’ve no doubt have read about him recently. On duty in Iraq on December 4, 2006, PFC McGinnis was perched in the gunner’s hatch of a Humvee when a grenade whizzed past him and into the truck carrying four of his fellow soldiers.
In a split second, McGinnis did the unthinkable. He shouted a warning to the others and threw himself onto the grenade taking its full impact. He was killed immediately, but he saved the lives of the other four soldiers, his “band of brothers.” Now that’s a hero.
Ross has been given the Silver Star, posthumously, and will also receive the Medal of Honor—both richly deserved. PFC McGinnis is the kind of person we should remember this day, and the thousands of other troops stationed in faraway places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. This very hour, some of them may be called upon to make terrible, self-sacrificing choices like the one PFC McGinnis made.
Go ahead, enjoy your barbeque and family. But don’t forget to remember. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Two thousand years before PFC McGinnis made the choice to lay down his life, Jesus voluntarily surrendered to a Roman cross, and died for my sin and yours. He made that choice so that we could have the hope of heaven, and know the meaning of life.
And that’s something we ought to remember on Memory Day as well.
I want to express my sympathy to Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife and family over the tragic death of their young daughter, Maria Sue Chapman. Maria was one of the close-knit family’s six children.
I have met many talented Christian musicians over the years, but Steven Curtis Chapman stands out as an unusually godly and compassionate man to me.
I remember when we were in Christchurch, New Zealand, a couple of years ago and we had a long lunch together. We talked about a lot of things, but it was evident to Cathe and me that Steven’s passion was not about his career, songs, or anything like that. His passion was adopting Chinese children into Christian homes, and little Maria was one of those he adopted.
There are no words we can say to take away Steven and his wife Mary Beth’s pain in this very difficult hour, but we can turn to the One who touch them as only He can, and bring consolation.
Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” May He extend His comfort to this family at this time.
Little Maria is in heaven now and thank God she is not only a part of the Chapmans’ past, but also of their future. They will see her again, as all believers will reunited with their loved ones who have died in the Lord.
P.S. Steven has a Web site that tells you more about adoption of children who are in great need overseas. Check it out here.
We have just returned from our trip overseas. I am majorly jet-lagged.
I HATE jet lag (I am typing this at 3:45 a.m. on Friday morning). But it’s good to be home again!
One of the things I miss most when I’m away from America is Mexican food! So that will be on my list of things to do today.
A few things I wanted to mention.
Dr. Dobson Show
I told you in a previous post that the message that I gave at church featuring my life story will be aired on Focus on the Family’s radio program. To see the original message, click here.
But there has been a DATE CHANGE on when Focus on the Family will air it on the radio. The new dates are June 30 and July 1.
Please note that on your calendars and tell your friends to tune in.
Lost Boy Q-and-A
Pastor Steve Wilburn and I did a little question-and-answer session about the book Lost Boy and how to use your personal story. To see the Q-and-A session, click here.
Don’t forget to check out my weekend column at WorldNetDaily. It runs late Friday to Sunday.
Then there is our long-form weekend devotion, which you can read by clicking here.
This Weekend at Harvest
I will be at Harvest this Sunday, May 25, sharing some thoughts of what we saw in Israel.
Also, I will be speaking at Harvest this Wednesday night. It will be a message on how we are to live and what we are to do as we await the return of Jesus Christ. It’s powerful truth from 1 Thessalonians:
For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3-11 NKJV)
Lost Boy book signing
After the service this Wednesday, I will be personally signing copies of Lost Boy for any of you who want to get one for yourself or a friend. Also, I will be doing a book signing on Sunday, June 1.
Hope to see you there,
Greg let me have a sneak peek at the whole book, Lost Boy, before its release and it was truly epic!
It was unfair, though. I got it on a Saturday while preparing my Sunday morning sermon and I thought, “I will just read a few pages and finish it later.” Nice idea. Before I knew it, I was halfway through the book and I was behind on my message.
The rest of Lost Boy was just as riveting. It moved at a great clip and never bogged down.
Having had the pleasure of actually knowing Greg Laurie as a friend and mentor, I can say that Lost Boy truly allows you to see who he really is. It’s not just a diligent chronicling of his history so much as a rollercoaster ride that enables you to see and feel who he really is as his story races by. It’s kind of like a biography on Red Bull!
One thing’s for sure, this book will show you that the singular passion in Greg’s life is to know God and make Him known. In Lost Boy, Greg expresses his deep respect for Billy Graham and how highly he esteems him. Greg has been someone that I have looked up to in that way. As a pastor and as an evangelist and as a person, he is someone whose footsteps I want to follow, and I know I that I am not alone.
For the thousands who have been impacted by Greg’s ministry, Lost Boy will be an opportunity to see “behind the scenes” in his life and get to know the man behind the pulpit.