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Archive for April, 2010

Check Out The New Southern California Harvest Poster!

Friday, April 30th, 2010 Posted in Harvest Crusades, OC, Pastor's corner, photos | 5 Comments »

Yes, the 21st Southern California Harvest is coming! And we have some special surprises that I will tell you about soon.

Musically, we will be joined by the David Crowder Band, MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman, and the Katinas. On our Saturday youth night, Sanctus Real, Phil Wickham, and The O.C. Supertones will appear.

We will also have some other musical guests, as well.

You can download this poster, by right-clicking on the image and saving it.

Enjoy!

Happy People Are Holy People

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 Posted in OC, Pastor's corner, sermons, worldview | 2 Comments »

In the Beatitudes, Jesus unlocked a major secret to living a happy life: A happy person will be a holy person.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

In the modern use of the word “heart,” we tend to associate it with our emotions. We will say, “My mind says one thing, but my heart says another.” We describe an emotional person as “wearing their heart on their sleeve.”

In other words, we tend to think of our mind as logical, while our heart is more emotional.

But in the Bible, the heart is not only the center of our emotions, but also of our mind. This includes our thinking process.

In Proverbs, we are told, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

The heart of the matter

The heart is important in Scripture because it is the center of our personality. The heart is the center of our will and emotions.

God wants us to have pure hearts. Purity seems to be something that is so lacking today. It is attainable, otherwise Jesus never would have promised it.

What exactly is this purity, as in being “pure of heart”? It is a word that means “without hypocrisy,” or “single.”

Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil (or “double-visioned”), thy whole body shall be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23 KJV).

To be “single” or pure means to have a single-minded devotion to Jesus. As the Psalmist wrote, “Unite my heart to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).

To be pure in heart is to seek to live a holy life, and that is the secret to happiness. If you want to be happy, seek to be holy, or pure in heart.

As Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “Seek for happiness and you will never find it. Seek righteousness and you will discover you are happy. It will be there without your knowing it, without your seeking it.”

Waiting For The Rat To Die

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 Posted in Pastor's corner, sermons, worldview | 2 Comments »

It’s been said, “To not forgive is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die!

If there is one thing we all could use more of these days, it’s forgiveness and mercy. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

In Jesus’ time, Roman culture did not value the virtue of mercy. A Roman philosopher said that mercy was the disease of the soul.

A sign of weakness

The Romans glorified justice, courage, discipline, and power.

You may remember the scene from the film Gladiator where the Roman soldiers greeted one another with the phrase, “Strength and honor.” That is what the Romans valued: strength, force, and their own definition of honor.

When a child was born into the Roman world, the father had the right of Patria Protestas. If he wanted the newborn to live, he held his thumb up. If he wanted the child to die, he held his thumb down, and the child was immediately drowned.

Mercy was laughed at, mocked, and derided in that culture.

Mercy in short supply

Our culture does not really value mercy either. More often, we cry out for justice and, better yet, revenge.

But God values mercy.

What exactly is mercy?

In Matthew 6:3, the word for mercy is used in the context of almsgiving. It means to help a person in need, to rescue the miserable.

Mercy means, “A sense of pity, plus a desire to relieve that suffering.”

It is not enough to simply say, “I feel your pain.” Mercy is meeting the need, not just feeling it.

Real mercy is pity plus action! Anything you do that is of benefit to someone in need is mercy.

Mercy is seeing a man without food and giving him food. I think of my uncle and aunt at the Fred Jordan Mission on Skid Row, giving food, clothing, shelter, and, most importantly, the gospel to people for 60 years.

That’s mercy!

You shall obtain mercy

Again, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

The more righteous a man is, the more merciful he will be. The more sinful a man is, the harsher and more critical he will be.

If I know anything of God’s forgiveness in my life, I will be forgiving. If I am not merciful, then one must question if I know anything of the mercy of God myself.

Thomas Adams said, “He that demands mercy and shows none ruins the bridge over which he himself is to pass.”

Today, let’s try to show mercy to someone.

Jonathan Laurie Is Married!

Sunday, April 25th, 2010 Posted in family, Pastor's corner, photos | 41 Comments »

Left to right: Greg, Brittni, Jonathan, and Cathe Laurie.

Our youngest son Jonathan got married on Saturday!

It was a beautiful wedding where family and friends joined together to witness the joining of Jonathan Allen Laurie with Brittni Alexandra Hill.

That’s right, we have a Brittany Laurie and a Brittni Laurie now!

You can post your congratulations here, if you’d like.

Let’s talk about Happiness this Sunday!

Saturday, April 24th, 2010 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

This Sunday at Harvest,I will be speaking on the Pursuit of Happiness.
Happiness is certainly something we all want, but few find.
Why is that? British Pastor Martin Lloyd Jones summed it up this way:

Seek for happiness and you will never find it. Seek righteousness and you will discover you are happy. It will be there without your knowing it, without your seeking it.

That is so true, and I want to explore that this weekend at Harvest in my message.
It is based on the teachings of Jesus from what we call The Beatitudes, which is the point of entry for the greatest message ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount.
You can come to one of our services at 7:45/9:45 or 11:45 or watch online at Harvest.org

Billy Graham, The Man of God

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 Posted in Pastor's corner, travel | 5 Comments »

 

I was just in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the reopening of the Billy Graham Library.

This place is really a must-see for any believer, especially those who are passionate about evangelism. This interactive museum chronicles the ministry of the greatest evangelist who has ever lived, Billy Graham.

It covers his humble beginnings as a dairy farmer in Charlotte to being the friend of presidents and a bold herald of the gospel around the world.

To learn more, click here.

Billy himself came to the event and told us that he still dreams about milking cows! He did a lot of that as young boy, wondering what course his life would take.

Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined what the Lord would do with his life.

As a young boy, I remember watching Billy on the old black-and-white television at my grandparents’ house when I lived with them. After my conversion, I heard him preach in San Diego and felt a calling myself to be an evangelist.

In the late 80′s, I had the privilege of meeting Billy and have since gotten to know him personally and I can tell you he is the same man privately that you see publicly.

It was said of Moses that he was the man of God. I don’t know of a higher compliment one can pay to anyone. But I would say the same of Billy . . . he is the man of God.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 Posted in OC, Pastor's corner, sermons, worldview | 1 Comment »

Happiness. It is something we all want, but few find.

Why is that? British Pastor Martin Lloyd Jones summed it up this way:

Seek for happiness and you will never find it. Seek righteousness and you will discover you are happy. It will be there without your knowing it, without your seeking it.

That is so true, and I want to explore that tonight in my message, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” at our Bible study in Orange County. It is based on the teachings of Jesus from what we call The Beatitudes, which is the point of entry for the greatest message ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount.

Billy Graham

I just returned from Charlotte,North Carolina for the reopening of the fantastic Billy Graham Library, which is something you really ought to see. I will tell you more about it tomorrow.

Tweet, tweet!

Did you know that I tweet? Sometimes multiple times in a day.

Here is my latest tweet on Twitter: A Christian is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.

To follow me on Twitter, click here.

My interview with the “Green Prince”

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 Posted in sermons | 14 Comments »

Here is an excerpt from my interview with Mosab Hassan Yousef from our recent Preach the Word Prophecy Conference.

You can order the entire conference on DVD, CD, and mp3 HERE.

Happiness Is A Warm Puppy?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 Posted in OC, Pastor's corner, questions, sermons, worldview | No Comments »

One thing that pretty much every person wants in life is happiness. And over the years, many people have weighed in on what happiness is and how to find it.

  • Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz kept it pretty simple when he said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.”
  • Albert Schweitzer said, “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
  • George Burns said, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family . . . in another city!”
  • Oscar Wilde said, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
  • Milton Berle said, “A man doesn’t know what true happiness is until he gets married. Then it’s too late.”

So what exactly is happiness, and where do you find it?

First, let me tell you where you won’t find it. It will not come from this world.

The fleeting happiness that this world offers comes and goes, depending on your circumstances. The happiness this world offers just will not do it. If things are going reasonably well, we are happy. If they are not, then we are unhappy.

You need to know that there are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not getting what you want, and the other is getting it.

The fact is that money can buy us some things, but not the most important things.

Money can buy you a bed, but not a good night’s sleep. It can buy you books, but not brains. Money will get you a house, but not a home. It will purchase medicine, but not health. Money can bring you amusement, but not happiness.

And to quote St. Paul, St. John, St. George, and St. Ringo, money cant buy you love.

So how then can we be truly happy people?

Surveys by Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Pew Organization have concluded that spiritually committed people are twice as likely to describe themselves as “very happy” than the least religiously committed people.

So happy people are spiritual people. But let me take it one step further . . . truly happy people are godly people.

According to the Bible, if we seek to know God and discover His plan for our life, then we will find the happiness that has eluded us for so long. Not from seeking it, but from seeking Him!

The Bible says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.”

I will be speaking on the topic of happiness this Thursday night in Orange County. For more info on the Orange County study, click here.

God Bless You!

Monday, April 19th, 2010 Posted in Pastor's corner, sermons, worldview | No Comments »

As Christians, we use the words “bless” and “blessing” a lot. Most of the time, we mean it.

“Blessed” and “blessing” are spiritual words. The world may try to hijack those words, but they really have no idea of what they are. That’s because true blessings are something that only the child of God can truly experience.

It is worth noting that Jesus both began and concluded His earthly ministry blessing people.

When He met the two downhearted disciples on the road to Emmaus, He blessed them. When children came to Him, He took them in His arms and blessed them. After His resurrection, He lifted His hands and blessed them and ascended into heaven.

In short, Jesus loved to bless people.

What does it mean to be blessed?

The word “blessed” can also be translated as “blissful and happy.” That’s because the word is derived from the Greek word Makarios, an adjective that basically means “happy or blissful.”
The Greeks called the Island of Cyprus “The Happy Isle.” Because of its geographical location, balmy climate, and fertile soil, the Greeks believed that anyone who lived on this Island had it “made in the shade.”

They believed everything needed for happiness and fulfillment was found on Cyprus. No need to import anything, because you had it all in a self-contained island of bliss.

So, what does that mean to us?

God wants us to be blessed and happy

In the opening chapter of Genesis, we read, “So God created Man in His own image. In the image of God He created them. Then God Blessed them . . . ” (Genesis 1:27-28).

Later, Aaron pronounced this blessing on the Israelites:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you,and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

This blessedness or true happiness is independent of circumstances

In other words, this happiness is independent of what is happening to you.

For instance, things may be going really well for you. Then that’s great, you are blessed. But when things are not going well at all, you are still blessed.

As Paul said, “I have found in whatever state I’m in to be content.”

So God bless you!