I will be speaking this Thursday at Harvest: Orange County on the Lord’s Prayer. I hope you can join us for that. For more information, click here.
Also, this weekend at Harvest in Riverside, we will be having special Fourth of July services. We will also be launching our brand new fourth service, which will start at 5:00 P.M.
I will speak at all services and we will be joined by special musical guest Leeland!
Death is not the end
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
The older we become, the more this question will gnaw away at us: Is there life after death? Sometimes we ask that question earlier in life, when someone close to us dies without warning, and we come face-to-face with the uncomfortable fact of death.
Some Christians will say, “I’m going to go to heaven, so when I die, don’t weep for me.” But death is hard for everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling sorrow over the loss of someone you care about. It’s a natural part of the grieving process. As the Bible says, there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Death even brought tears to the eyes of Jesus when His friend Lazarus died (see John 11:35).
Of course, we know there is life beyond the grave for Christians. We know that life is not limited to this time on Earth, and that our stay on this planet is temporary. Even so, we will feel sorrow and loss for a Christian who has died.
The apostle Paul wrote about an incident where his friend and fellow worker Epaphroditus fell gravely ill. Paul wrote in a letter: “Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow” (Philippians 2:27 NIV). So even Paul, who certainly had strong faith and his theology straight, could hardly bear the thought of being separated from a close friend by death.
Nevertheless, as believers, we can know we will see that person again in heaven. That is God’s great gift to us. His Son Jesus personally intervened and turned death into victory.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews put it like this: “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT).
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10 THE MESSAGE).
Interest in life on Mars seems to run in cycles. As I write this, our nation has a new robot prowling around and digging little holes in the dirt near the Martian north pole.
A few years ago, when I was interviewed for an article about life on other planets, I said, “I don’t see anything in the Bible that would indicate there is life on other planets, but if there is, God created it.”
They closed the article with another of my statements: “Maybe we shouldn’t be so worried about life on other planets and ask ourselves the question, ‘Is there life on Earth, and are we living it the way God wants us to?’”
Is there life during life?
We often wonder if there is life after death. But is there life during life? That is a question we should all consider.
When I was 17, that was my question. I wasn’t so concerned with what happened beyond the grave, because I thought I would live a long, long time. My primary concern at that time was, “What’s life all about? What’s the purpose of life?” I knew in my heart that there had to be more than what I’d experienced to that point. I was desperately searching for some kind of meaning in life. I just had to know.
There are people still searching.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to look very far, because there was a group of very outspoken Christians on my high school campus. They practiced what they preached, and I was intrigued by them. So I began to watch them. I saw that they were experiencing a dimension of life that I had never known
Not long after that, I gave my life to Jesus and discovered the truth of Jesus’ great statement from John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” That’s what I had been searching for: life during life.
Ask the Lord to point you toward someone today who may be searching for that very thing.
This Sunday at Harvest, I will be speaking once again on the Lord’s Prayer.
I will deal with the last three petitions:
- “Give us this day our daily bread”
- “Forgive our sins as we forgive those that have sinned against us”
- “Lead us not into temptation”
Do you find yourself falling easily into temptation’s pull? Do you struggle with forgiving others? Then you will want to hear this message.
We will have a time of Communion. Also, you will not want to miss a brand new song that was written that will be performed by the Harvest Worship Band, titled “Jesus Weeps.”
The service times are 7:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M., and 11:45 A.M. This service will be webcast live at harvest.org.
So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 90:12 NKJV)
It’s hard to explain when someone’s life has been cut short, dying at a relatively young age. We expect that person to live a much longer life. But who is to say that it wasn’t his or her appointed time to go? Who is to say that it wasn’t the exact length of life that God had preordained for that man or woman from the very beginning?
In the Book of Acts, the apostle Paul says of King David: “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers” (Acts 13:36 NIV). David, great a man as he may have been, served his purpose in his own generation, and then was taken off the scene.
The shortcomings of tofu, vitamins, etc.
That is why we want to make every day count. To paraphrase the words of Moses in Psalm 90:12, “Lord, help us to realize our lives can end on any day, so please show me how to use each day wisely.”
We don’t know when our day will come. We don’t know when we will have “served our purpose to our own generation.” When God calls you home, you’re going home! You can live on vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea. You can drink green tea, eat tofu, and avoid all the toxins you can, but when your number is up, your number is up.
God is not done with you yet.
On the other hand, you will be around until God is done with you. You won’t go before your time. You may or may not be the healthiest person, but you will live to the time that God has appointed for you… and worrying about it won’t extend your life for one moment.
At the same time, however, we are not to take foolish risks and “put the Lord to the test.”
We can be assured that we are here until God is done with us. As the apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). So let’s make the most of the lives God has given us.
Missionary Jim Elliot once wrote: “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
The Lost Boy film was honored again, this time at the 2010 Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival in Asheville, North Carolina.
Lost Boy: The Next Chapter was among only a select few, faith-based films wthat were are invited to be shown at this very unique event, which incorporates accomplished films with seminars designed to set the mark for excellence in Christian media arts.
We had a member of the Harvest team at the Gideon Festival and he reported that many people approached him over the course of the conference to tell him how powerful and encouraging the film was.
For moere on the film, click here.
I thought that headline might get your attention.
No, Ithere isn’t a real connection between these two things and the Lord’s return. I just wanted to muse a bit about our new iPhone app, a new film that I enjoyed a, and s well as tell you about a conference I’m speaking at at the end of this week.
The new Harvest iPhone app.
With the new iPhone 4 coming out, you will want to get our new Harvest app. Since we are on the topic of the iPhone 4, I have to say I’m quite impressed. The HD recording feature will be great for video blogs! You have to also love the “Facetime” video conference feature.
Now, back to the Harvest app. This thing is chock full of killer features, including video and audio messages that I have given, including the Parables from the Beach series as well as the new series I am presently teaching, Worldview: Learning to Think and Live Biblically.
Something you will find really useful on this App is the “Tools” section. 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.
There is much more I could say, but just go download it! It’s free!
To download it, click here to go to iTunes.
Toy Story 3 (warning: if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know any plot “spoilers,” skip this section)
I went with my wife Cathe and granddaughter Stella to see this new chapter in the Toy story series.
The little boy in the story, Andy, is now 17 and headed off to college. He packs his toys in a bag, intending to store them in an attic, but they get thrown away by accident by his mother. The toys end up in a daycare center that seems to them like the promised land. They will be played with again!
But soon they realize that “Lot’s-O Huggin’ Bear,” a toy who is in charge, is really evil. The toys find that they are now in a toy prison!
Woody, the cowboy toy who never stops loving Andy wants to return to him. After all, Andy’s name is written on him. So . . .
Do I see a spiritual analogy here? We are like those toys running from our owner, God? Perhaps I will write about that in another entry soon. What do you think?
Bible prophecy conference
Now to something more important, a conference on Bible prophecy.
Joel Rosenberg, an expert on Bible prophecy and a friend, has invited me to be one of the speakers at his Epicenter conference to be held in Philadelphia this weekend. Other speakers include Tony Perkins, Janet Parshall, Kay Arthur, Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, and others.
This conference will be seen in 200 churches across North America and aired on 1,000 Christian radio stations.
If you would like to attend and want to know more, click here.
You can find it at WorldNetDaily ,where I have a column every weekend. If you would like to see this continue, please email them and let them know.
You can read the article here.
This weekend at Harvest I will share a special message on The Perfect Father. No, it’s not about any man, because we as fathers will all fall far short of perfection.
I want to talk to you about our Heavenly Father. He is a Father who is always consistent and always available. A Father who is pure love. Regardless of how your father on earth treated you, you need to know that your Father in heaven is there. Psalm 68:5 reminds us that God is the “Father to the fatherless!”
We will base this look on our Father in heaven on the word Jesus taught us to pray in The Lord’s Prayer as a part of our series on the Sermon on the Mount.
Enter in Live!
We will also have a live performance of Enter In, the recently -released CD from our outstanding Harvest Worship Band. BTW, if you have not picked up a copy of this CD yet, you really need to. You can find it here.
You can join us live at Harvest for one of our services at 7:45, 9:45 or 11:45 A.M. where this all will happen or connect to our live webcast.
The New Fourth Service.
I will also be talking about our plans for our Sunday evening service that will now be called the “Fourth Service.” This is going to kick off on July 4 at the new time, 5:00 P.M. I will be speaking and we will have special music by Leeland!
This will be especially relevant to you who watch online. I’ll tell you more about this on Sunday.
One of the amazing things about little girls is their desire to be a princess.
Having raised two boys, I had not spent a lot of time around little girls. That is, until Stella, my first granddaughter, came along. It was like she was genetically predisposed to like the color pink and all things princess-related.
So I have entered those once-mysterious pink aisles in the toy stores that stock all things of that genre.
And I have a confession to make . . . it’s kind of fun!
The other day, we were playing with a castle I had bought for her, and she was doing the voices for all of her princesses: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Snow White, Belle, etc. I was doing the voices of the princes who went with all of them, including my favorite: The Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
Frankly, in these movies, the princesses get all the good lines. The princes? They just show up and rescue the damsel in distress, either by killing dragons or singing some kind of song.
Away to his castle we’ll go . . .
Anyhow, Stella (who is almost four now) and I were playing, and I was trying to teach her the song from Snow White, ”Some Day, My Prince Will Come.”
I only knew the first line, “Some day, my prince will come. Some day, my prince will come . . . ”
So we found the song on YouTube and played it again and again and again. Then the rest of the day, she sang that song.
The lyrics are:
Some day my prince will come
Some day we’ll meet again
And away to his castle we’ll go
To be happy forever I know
Some day when spring is here
We’ll find our love anew
And the birds will sing
And wedding bells will ring
Some day when my dreams come true
A greater prince.
Now, not every little girl wants to be a princess, but many do. I sometimes wonder if this is not a longing for something or someone greater.
No man, no matter how wonderful, will be your prince as you imagine him to be. If anything, he will probably turn out to be more like the reverse of the frog becoming a prince. He will turn out to be a frog! Or at least he will only be a man.
Perhaps that longing of the little girl’s heart, for a knight in shining armor, is a longing for a “greater prince:” the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords Himself.
I believe it is.
The little girl and little boy, for that matter, long for more than any person can bring. They long for God.
And one day, our Prince will come. He will establish His kingdom on this earth and that dragon called Satan will be defeated.
And guess what? We will indeed “live happily ever after!”