How should I live my life on this earth?
What purpose does God have in mind for me, now that I have received His Son Jesus Christ into my heart?
This is a question every believer should ask, because if you have no goals or purpose, you can waste your life. As I have often said, if you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it.
Many people simply want to prolong their lives, rather than try to find their purpose in life. Certainly medical science is helping us live longer lives. We can add years to our lives, but we cannot add life to our years. Should our primary goal be to prolong our lives, or should it be to live life to its fullest?
Jim Elliot was fresh out of college when he felt the call of God to go to the mission field. Tragically, Jim and four other young missionaries lost their lives in the jungles of Ecuador in an attempt to reach others with the gospel. It might seem like a terrible waste of life for such a young man with so much promise. But after his death, this entry was found in one of his journals: “I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.”
That’s a good goal: to live a full life, a life with meaning and purpose. We don’t know how long we will live; that’s up to God. But life isn’t merely a matter of years. It is a matter of how we live. It is not the years that count, but what you do with those years.
Heartaches will come.
Sometimes, heartaches, trials, and tragedies can threaten to squeeze all of the meaning out of life. In our darkest moments, we may even wonder why God leaves us on the planet. But if our heavenly Father has chosen to give us life for another day, we can be sure that He has a purpose in doing so. We need to wait on Him, keep our eyes open to every opportunity, and trust Him daily for the grace to keep us going.
“If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! ”
(Matthew 5:15 MSG)
Join us this weekend at Harvest Riverside as I speak on one of the most well-known statements that Jesus ever gave.
I think it is an especially important one to consider with the busyness of the Christmas season. It’s when He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
These words from Jesus are for every person in every place with any problem. They are for the rich and poor, the young and old, the healthy and sick. They are for men and women.
But what does it mean to “take His yoke upon us?”
We will find out in our message, which will be followed by a communion service.
Our service times are 7:45, 9:45, and 11:45.
Franklin Graham and Dennis Agajanian on Sunday night.
At our Sunday evening service (5:00 P.M.), we have very special guest, Franklin Graham, speaking. Franklin, the son of Billy and Ruth Graham, is the C.E.O. of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
We will be dedicating the special Christmas boxes we have been collecting and pray that God will use them. Also featured Sunday night will be musician extraodinaire, Dennis Agajanian.
Join us live or watch online at www.harvest.org.
Thanksgiving is finally upon us. And that means the Christmas is closely following. Often we put so much of our focus on Christmas; we miss this important American Holiday.
I like that fact that thanksgiving is not about buying presents or decorating trees and homes, etc., but it’s about getting together with family and friends and doing what we all love—eating! And more importantly, it’s about giving thanks.
Thanksgiving was established by President Washington on November 26, 1789. It is a religious holiday started by the Pilgrims. The first Thanksgiving lasted three days, during which the Pilgrims feasted with their Indian guests.
The Bible says to us as believers:
Psalm 106:1 – “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
Hebrews 13:15 – “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.”
Yes, praise and worship can sometimes be a “sacrifice” because we don’t want to give it. That may be because we are down or depressed, or things aren’t going all that well. Or it may be that hardship or tragedy has hit your life and you don’t want to thank God.
But the Bible does not say, “Give thanks unto the Lord when you feel good,” but rather, because “He is good!” So, I encourage you to give thanks in this special holiday time.
May God bless you, and I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
I will be up speaking at Skid Row at the Fred Jordan Mission in L.A. this Thanksgiving. Fred Jordan, now in heaven, was my uncle. Willie Jordan, Uncle Fred’s wife and my aunt, has faithfully continued reaching out to the needy folks of L.A. This is the third year I have done this and we have rejoiced to see the many that come to Christ at this great event, which not only provides food and clothing, but also spiritual hope.
To find out more about the Fred Jordan Mission, go to http://www.fjm.org/.
I’ve had the privilege, for the last two days, to be with one of the most special people on the face of the earth. He is justly called America’s Pastor, a friend of presidents, a fearless preacher of the gospel.
Of course, I am speaking of Billy Graham.
Billy is 92 years old now, and his eyesight is failing him, and his hearing is not as good as it used to be. But he still has a fiery passion that drives him—in fact, it’s a burden on his heart:
Billy Graham wants to preach one last Sermon.
He said “I have one more message to give!” He wants to do it before a crowd of people. And he wants to do it soon.
Think about that. One last message from the world’s greatest evangelist. Have you ever thought about what you would say if you could give one last message? Even if you are not a preacher, per se, you still have a message to deliver. What if you could stand before family and friends, or even the world at large, and give one last talk about what really mattered to you? What would your topic be? What text from Scripture would you quote?
Billy Graham has prayed and thought deeply about this and has come up with an answer. I am sure if he does give this message that, quite literally, the world will sit up and take notice.
Lunch with Billy
I sat with him today at lunch and asked him, “Billy, I heard you want to give one last message. Is that true?”
Emphatically, he said “Yes!”
“Do you want to do that before a live audience or to a TV camera?”
“A live audience,” he said with certainty. “Maybe I could come do it at your church!” he said, with a twinkle in his eye.
“You have a standing invitation—trust me!” I told him. I then asked Billy what the text of his last message would be. He said it would be 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Billy wants to call our nation, and all who would hear, to turn back to God. Billy said, “I want to call the country to repentance.” Billy Graham listens to the news. He knows what is going on in our country. Throughout his ministry he always stayed in touch with his culture, and that has not changed.
In this great passage from 2 Chronicles, God tells His people what to do when they want to get right with Him again: humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. What is fascinating is that this passage is not directed to the world at large, but to God’s people, to whom it was originally given. Billy wants to call the church and the country to turn back to God.
He wants to see spiritual revival in America.
That is a message that I, for one, would love to hear him give.
But there is another passage that burns on the famed evangelist’s heart. In fact, it is posted on his wall in large print so he can read it and commit it to memory. It is Galatians 6:14, where Paul writes, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” That is what Billy has always preached over the years: the cross of Christ. He has never wavered from that, always emphasized it.
Once, some years ago, I asked him the question,”If an older Billy were to speak to a younger one, what would he say? What would he tell the younger man to remember?” Without missing a beat, Billy said, “I would preach more on the cross and the blood of Christ. That’s where the power is.”
I never forgot that.
I don’t know if Billy will ever deliver this last message, but if he does, he wants us to know that we need to turn from our sins to God…and this was made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ. We need to humble ourselves and pray and turn from our wicked ways. God promises if we do this, He will heal our land. That sounds like good news to me.
A true story was reported about a couple visiting a jewelry store. As the jeweler showed them various cross necklaces, the woman commented, “I like these, but do you have any without this little man on them?”
That’s what so many people want today: a cross without Jesus. They want a cross without any offense…one that will look cool with their outfits. But if we could travel back in time and see the cross in its original context, we would realize that it was a bloody and vile symbol. It would have been the worst picture imaginable to see someone hanging on a cross.
Crucifixion was brutal.
The Romans chose crucifixion because it was meant to be a slow, torturous way to die. It was designed not only to kill someone, but to utterly humiliate them as they died. Crucifixions outside Roman cities served as warnings to anyone who would dare oppose the rule of Rome.
If there was any other way, do you think that God would have allowed His Son to suffer like this? If there had been any other way we could have been forgiven, then God surely would have found it. If living a good moral life would get us to heaven, then Jesus never would have died for us. But He did, because there was and is no other way. He had to pay the price for our sin. At the cross, Jesus purchased the salvation of the world.
What happened on the cross.
Listen to the apostle Paul’s description of the divine transaction that took place in those terrible moments when Jesus suffered for our sins: “God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ” (Colossians 2:13-15 NLT).
If you were ever tempted to doubt God’s love for you, even for a moment, then take a long, hard look at the cross. Nails did not hold Jesus to that cross. His love did.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Okay,with a quick show of hands, how many of you have ever struggled with doubt?
Yeah, me too.
I will be speaking on that this weekend at Harvest Riverside in my message “Dealing with Doubt.”
Some Christians are reluctant to admit that they have any questions at all. I think sometimes that we have the idea that to question God is an act of “spiritual treason” or betrayal, or that doubt is an unpardonable sin. But that is not true at all.
The Foyer of Doubt
Sometimes we need to go through the Foyer of Doubt to get into the Sanctuary of Certainty.
A French proverb says, “He who knows nothing doubts nothing.” Another says, “Doubt is not the opposite of faith, it is an element of faith.”
Some of the greatest men and women of God have struggled with doubt, including the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist. So,we will tackle this topic head-on and look at the reassuring words of Jesus to those who struggle with doubt.
I will speak at all four services, which are at 7:45/9:45/11:45 am and 5:00 pm.
You can join us in person or watch it all live at www.harvest.org.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8, NIV)
Two men camping in the forest were enjoying their morning coffee when they suddenly spotted a very large, hungry grizzly bear running toward them. One of the men quickly pulled on his running shoes. “Do you actually think you can outrun that grizzly bear?” his friend asked.
“I don’t need to,” he replied. “All I have to do is outrun you.”
We’ve all had friends like that, haven’t we? At the first threat of danger or hardship, or difficulty, they’re out the back door. So what makes for true friendship? It has been said that a true friend is one who walks in when others walk out. Thankfully, there have been people in my life who have stood by me and have been honest friends. But there’s one thing of which I’m confident: I have found a true and loyal friend in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ offers His friendship to us. In fact, the New Testament goes so far as to say we have been called by God the Father into fellowship with His Son (see 1 Corinthians 1:9). But is it all one way? Do we really expect a friendship without a response on our part? A genuine relationship, obviously, is made up of two people committing themselves to one another. I can extend friendship to you, but until you return it to me, I can’t legitimately say we’re really friends.
Jesus demonstrated His willingness to have a friendship with us by what He did for us. He said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13, NKJV).
Jesus forever proved just how dedicated He was to us when He did just that.
GREG LAURIE: SEATTLE HARVEST DRAWS MORE THAN 39,000 PEOPLE TO WEEKEND OUTREACH AT KEY ARENA
Some 4,225 Make Decisions of Faith During Three-Night Event Featuring Pastor & Evangelist Greg Laurie, Coach Lorenzo Romar, Nick Vujicic, MercyMe, Jars of Clay
RIVERSIDE, Calif., November 8, 2010—Seattle is the most technologically wired city in America, and although its residents are “connected,” many of them are not connected to God. But a hunger to know God clearly exists, as was demonstrated this past weekend, November 5 – 7, when more than 39,000 people packed out Key Arena to listen to the message of hope offered by Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie during the Greg Laurie: Seattle Harvest.
In addition to the 39,000 in attendance at Key Arena, some 160,000 more connections were made on the internet by people watching the Seattle Harvest live online. Throughout the weekend, 4,225 people made decisions to put their faith in Christ, either in-person or online.
Nearly a year in the making, the Seattle Harvest was hosted by more than 300 area churches—from the Kitsap Peninsula to North Bend, and from Olympia to Lake Stevens—and united congregations across denominational lines in a fresh new way. Praying for the outreach on Saturday night, Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church said, “This used to be the least-churched city in America, but it’s not anymore. People are meeting Jesus, and more are going to meet him tonight.”
Key Arena filled to overflowing two of the three nights of the Seattle Harvest, with standing room-only crowds in attendance to listen to music from popular Christian musicians like Jeremy Camp, Kutless, MercyMe, and Jars of Clay. In addition, Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar was on-hand on Friday evening to share his inspiring personal story of faith.
The music and Coach Romar’s story served as a preface for the message presented by Greg Laurie each night as he addressed matters of eternity, faith, and the hope we all have in Christ. The crowd gathered went silent as Laurie challenged, “What do you live for? Everyone lives for something. Is it pleasure? Is it knowledge? Seattle has the highest percentage of college graduates than any other city in the U.S. This is noble, but if you leave God out of the equation, it’s empty.”
Similar to other Harvest Crusade events this year, the Sunday evening program was designated “An Evening of Hope,” where Laurie addressed issues of sorrow and the hope we have in Christ in the midst of crisis. Laurie, who lost his son, Christopher, in an automobile accident in 2008, teamed up with Nick Vujicic—a man born with no arms and no legs, who founded the organization Life Without Limbs—to offer encouragement to people who are suffering loss of any kind.
When Laurie asked him how he finds joy, despite having no limbs, Nick Vujicic responded, “It’s not about the outside, it’s about being complete on the inside. I had no idea that God would use a man with no arms and no legs to be His hands and feet.”
Laurie encouraged people looking for comfort in the face of loss, “From the moment you were born, you’ve been on a quest; you’ve been searching. God has placed eternity in your heart, and what you are longing for is something this world cannot deliver. You are homesick for a place called heaven, and Jesus tells you how to get there. You can have certainty that you’re going to heaven if you put your faith in Christ.”
Apart from the crowds gathered at Key Arena, people from 15 countries around the world watched the Seattle Harvest live, with 162,768 connections made to the live Harvest HD webcast. In addition, 1,588 webcast viewers filled out online cards indicating that they prayed with Laurie to make a commitment of faith. Each evening of the Harvest Crusade is archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org.
Video podcasts and blog accounts of each message were also made available at http://blog.greglaurie.com/, as well as “behind the scenes” updates from Greg Laurie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greglaurie and on Facebook.
Greg Laurie, who founded the evangelistic Harvest Crusade events in 1990, also serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in the U.S.
During the past 21 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn some 4.1 million people to events in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Laurie also serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.
On Sunday night, the final evening of our Seattle Harvest, many hurting hearts were infused with the hope that “does not disappoint” when they surrendered their pain, their grief, and their hurt to Jesus Christ.
In addition to fantastic music by MercyMe, Jars of Clay, and the Katinas, the crowd heard the testimony of special guest Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms or legs. I gave a message entitled, “Hope for Hurting Hearts.” The theme of hope was woven through the entire night, culminating in the invitation to receive God’s gift of eternal life.
With 15,000 in attendance at the venue, and over 93,300 watching the event online, 1,692 accepted that invitation on Sunday night.
That brings the weekend totals to:
* 39,200 attendance
* 162,717 webcast
* 4,225 decisions for Christ
Praise God for what He has done in Seattle!
But this is not the end. In fact, for those 4,225 who registered decisions for Christ, this is just the beginning. Please join us in praying for these who made commitments and recommitments, that they would “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
It was another amazing night at the Seattle Harvest in Key Arena.
With an overflowing 14,200 in attendance—many of them young people—the venue was brimming with an enthusiastic crowd. The audience was on their feet with amazing music by Kutless, Hawk Nelson, Revive, and Jeremy Camp.
The crowd’s enthusiasm was undoubtedly mirrored in heaven, as a result of many people coming to Christ. After I delivered a message titled, “What is the Meaning of Life?”, we presented an opportunity for listeners to get right with God, and 1,417 people (at Key Arena and online) seized that opportunity.
That means that over 2,400 have made professions of faith. . .SO FAR!
Will you pray for those who have dedicated or rededicated their lives to Christ so far in Seattle? As we match them up with nearby supporting churches, pray that those churches would make them feel welcome and that they would grow and mature steadily in their newfound faith.
Tonight is called “An Evening of Hope”
Tonight’s program, “An Evening of Hope,” is designed to encourage and refresh those who are hurting and it features music by MercyMe, Jars of Clay, and the Katinas. We will also hear from special guest, Nick Vujicic whose compelling testimony is guaranteed to astound you.
I will also speak from my own experience on the topic of hope for hurting hearts.
Do you know someone who could use a dose of hope? Invite them to the event or to watch with you on the Web. You can share this event using Facebook, Twitter, or by sending an e-vite.
Continue to pray for the Seattle Harvest!