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Archive for July, 2010

Leading Others To Christ, This Sunday At Harvest!

Saturday, July 31st, 2010 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

The Southern California Harvest is only days away! So, to help you prepare, I’m speaking this Sunday at Harvest on “How to Lead Someone to Christ.”

For a lot of us, it breaks down with “popping the question, ” the moment when we ask the person we are sharing with, ”Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior right now?”

Many are just waiting . . . waiting for someone like you or me to ask them. I’ll tell you more about how to do it this Sunday.

Service times are 7:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M., 11:45, and 5:00 P.M. If you can’t make it out to Harvest in Riverside, you can watch the live webcast here.

For Those Who Do Not Feel “Worthy” To Approach God In Prayer

Friday, July 30th, 2010 Posted in encouragement, Pastor's corner, questions, sermons | 3 Comments »

Do you ever feel as though you are not “worthy” enough to approach God in prayer?

If so, then read this Scripture:

His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son.  (Ephesians 1:5-6 TLB)

What God has done for us

So often, we hear about what we are supposed to do for God. But the emphasis of the Bible is not so much on what we are supposed to do for God, but rather on what God has done for us.

If we can get hold of that in our minds and hearts, it will change our outlook and actions. The more we understand of what God has done for us, the more we will want to do for Him.

This is no small truth. In fact, it’s fundamental to our spiritual lives.

The devil would love to keep you from praying at all by reminding us how “unworthy” we are—telling us, in effect, that we have a lot of nerve to even think that we could approach a holy God. He whispers, “Do you think that God would hear your prayers after what you have done?” But the real question to ask is this: “Is Jesus Christ worthy to come into the presence of the Father whenever He wants?” Of course, He is.

“Accepted in the Beloved”

The fact is that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). Because Christ has open access to the presence of the Father at any time, we have the same access when we come to God the Father through our relationship with Jesus. It’s not on the basis of what we have done for God. It is solely on the basis of what Christ has done for us.

Listen to the writer to the Hebrews:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of his death for us. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. (Hebrews 10:19-21 NLT)

I just can’t imagine any better news than that.

I’ll Be Speaking In Orange County Tonight On Sharing Your Faith

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 Posted in OC, Pastor's corner, sermons | 1 Comment »

Did you know that only 1 in 20 Christians have ever shared the gospel message, and that only 1 in 10 think they should? That means only 10 percent of Christians are engaged in personal evangelism.

And if there are 50 million true Christians in the U.S, then only about five million of them are sharing Christ, and most of them ineffectively. I believe that can change, starting with you . . . and me.

Tonight in Orange County, I will complete my Crossover series on sharing your faith with a message that will deal primarily with actually leading a person to Jesus Christ.

Live on the radio

I will be live on the radio tomorrow, from 6:00 A.M.-9:00 A.M., on KFSH (95.9 FM) in Southern California. You can call in with questions, if you like.

If you are outside Southern California, you can click here to listen on the Internet.

Are You Discouraged Today?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 Posted in encouragement, Pastor's corner | 6 Comments »

Even the most committed believer has those moments when fear or worry can kick in.

Anxiety can overtake us. Maybe we’re concerned about our future, feel discouraged about some of our failures and shortcomings, or find ourselves anxious about the lives of our family members.

Far too often, though, we are afraid of the wrong things in life, and not afraid of the right things . . . or the right One. Many people don’t fear God, giving Him the awe and the reverence that is His due. Yet the Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the very beginning of wisdom.

What is the “fear of the Lord?”

The Bible says that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).

To fear God doesn’t mean that we cowering in terror before Him. Rather, the fear of God has been properly defined as a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. If I have sinned, my fear should not be based on the anticipation of what God will do to me, but on what I have done to displease Him. I love Him so much that I would never want to grieve His heart by turning my back on Him or going my own way. That is what it means to fear the Lord.

Don’t be discouraged today

David wrote, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” (Psalm 19:9). It is good for us to fear Him. The remarkable thing is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else. On the other hand, if you don’t fear God, then you fear everything else, and you find yourself running from shadows.

In another psalm, David stated, “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Only the person who can say, “The Lord is the strength of my life,” can then say, “Of whom shall I be afraid?”

Maybe you feel that your life has been a failure, or perhaps find yourself discouraged, depressed, or afraid of something. If you’re gripped by fear and worry today, then let the Lord be the strength of your life. Trade in all your lesser and destructive fears for the fear that will bring wisdom and peace.

Ask Me A Question And Perhaps Hear The Answer This Friday!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 Posted in OC, Pastor's corner | No Comments »

I will be interviewed live this Friday on KFSH (95.9 FM in Southern California) from 6:00 A.M.-9:00 A.M. Pacific Time, and I’ll be answering questions on the air!

You can post a question for me here.

Heavenly Hope!

Monday, July 26th, 2010 Posted in encouragement, Pastor's corner | 3 Comments »

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

We don’t have to be stressed out or troubled in our hearts because, as Christians, our destination is eternal life in heaven. No matter what happens, no one can rob us of that great hope.

Maybe you’ve lost your job or your car won’t start. Maybe you have all kinds of problems in your life right now. But you are still going to heaven.

The apostle Paul encouraged the church with these words:

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 TLB).

The surest word in the universe

Jesus promises that there is a real place called heaven, and you have His word on it—the surest word in all the universe.

Now when Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions,” I don’t believe He was speaking of a celestial Beverly Hills with beautiful, palatial mansions for those who live really godly lives on Earth. The Amplified Bible renders this verse: “In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places (or homes).”

Who can begin to imagine what these “homes” or “dwelling places” will be like? All I know is that Jesus Himself—the One who created the universe with all its wonders—has been working on preparing a place for us for more than 2,000 years.

I can only imagine

I agree with Paul when he wrote: “No mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord” (2 Corinthians 2:9 TLB).

Jesus has promised us that we will be together with Him in heaven, for eternity, in the place He has prepared for us. And He will keep His word.

Video tribute to my son, Christopher, now in Heaven.

Saturday, July 24th, 2010 Posted in sermons | 18 Comments »

Here is a video that was done in memory of my son Christopher. This was played at the Harvest Crusade in 2008, only a few weeks after he went to Heaven.

Missing Christopher

Saturday, July 24th, 2010 Posted in family, Pastor's corner | 64 Comments »

July 24 is a date that marks time for me now. For it was on July 24, 2008, that my firstborn son, Christopher David Laurie, left this world at the age of 33.

Yes, it has been two years since he died. Two long years since I last saw his face and heard his voice. It seems like yesterday that he was here. Then again, it seems like forever since I last saw him.

I miss him so, so much

At first, people would approach with often clumsy attempts at offering sympathy. Other times, they would say just the right thing.

But after two years,very few people say anything at all. Only a handful. Perhaps they don’t know what to say.

Many will ask how a grieving person is doing. Are they over it yet? May I answer for all people who have lost loved ones, especially children?

No. We never will be “over it,” so please don’t ask that, if you please.

Some well-meaning but misguided Christians might say, “Don’t be sad. They are in heaven!” You must have never lost a loved if you say something like that. We know they are in heaven, and frankly, we want them here with us on Earth. So, we are sad.

When the apostle Paul’s 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 a strong faith and his theology straight, could hardly bear the thought of being separated from a close friend by death.

Are we getting through it?

The answer to that question is yes. Some days are better than others.

The most random things can trigger vivid memories that we did not even know were stored in the vaults of our imaginations. But like little home movies, they play out, and it both comforts and saddens.
But the thing we cannot do is forget. Nor do we want to,even if remembering causes pain.

Yes, our pain is deep, but know this: God is deeper still. He has kept His promises to me and my family. He has been there for us each step of the way, though it has been so very hard.

So we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. But we do sorrow. And we will continue to shed many tears. That’s because our love continues on for that person that has left us.

Yes, I am two years removed from the last time I saw Christopher. But I am also two years closer to when I will see him again.

This is my blessed hope. It is the hope of all of use who have had loved ones precede us to heaven.

Hope Beyond The Grave.

Friday, July 23rd, 2010 Posted in encouragement, family, Pastor's corner, sermons | 3 Comments »

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 the question gnaws 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 brings great sadness

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, it is only natural to feel sorrow and loss for a Christian who has died.

When the apostle Paul’s 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 a strong faith and his theology straight, could hardly bear the thought of being separated from a close friend by death.

Nevertheless, as believers, we 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 fear of dying

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)

Tonight in O.C., I’ll Be Answering Difficult Questions Non-Believers Ask!

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 Posted in OC, questions, sermons | 2 Comments »

Guess what? The Southern California Harvest is only 15 days away!

So, to prepare you, as you seek to invite friends and family to Angel Stadium, I will speak tonight on the topic of “Answering Difficult Questions That Non-Believers Ask.”

We have all heard the questions before:

  • “How do you know the Bible is the Word of God?”
  • “How could a God of love send someone to hell?”
  • “Why does God allow suffering?”

The list goes on . . . We will deal with these questions and more in my message from the Crossover series.

To find out more about where it is, click here.