Have you ever been semi-listening in on someone’s conversation?
Not intentionally, of course, because you would never do that. But maybe you were in a restaurant and your table was right next to someone else’s, or maybe you were in an adjoining booth. And then (even though you didn’t mean to hear) someone said, “What I’m about to tell you now is a secret. I need you to hold this in complete confidence….”
We all love secrets.
What did you do then? Did you put your hands over your ears? No. If you’re like most people, you listened more carefully. Maybe you even leaned a little closer to hear what that person was saying in hushed tones. We all love to hear secrets! We all want to know the inside story. Even if someone is a complete stranger, we’re still interested and intrigued by what his or her secret might be.
God has a secret.
God has a secret that He wants to declare to you. The Bible says, “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him” (Psalm 25:14). In many ways, this isn’t really a secret, because it is plainly declared in Scripture. Unfortunately, because so few people have opened up the Bible to see what it says, they have missed out.
Avoiding untold misery.
This is the secret of making your days on earth more full and meaningful. It is a secret that can help you avoid untold misery and heartache. It’s the secret that will point you toward heaven, and the unimaginable joy of eternal life in the presence of God. You might even say it’s the secret of life itself.
Solomon said much the same in the concluding chapter of Ecclesiastes: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
That’s what it all comes down to. A deep reverence for God and His Word, a strong aversion to disappointing or grieving Him in any way, and a strong, motivating desire to walk that particular path He has marked out for your life.
Are you facing a really hard time in your life right now?
Are you in one of those situations where if God does not come through for you, then there is no solution?
If so, rejoice!
I have a message for you this weekend at Harvest/Riverside that will address those issues and more.
The title is “Walking with Jesus through the Storms of Life.”
We all love to walk with Jesus, especially when the sun is shining and we are going to places we want to go to.
But very few people want to go through a “storm,” or a hardship in life.
Yet, it is in these very places we will see Jesus like we have never seen Him before.
So, come join us at Harvest/Riverside this weekend at one of our four services.
7:45/9:45/11:45 am and 5:00 pm.
It will all be webcast live at www.harvest.org.
“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it…”(Luke 14:27-28).
When Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Passover, John’s Gospel tells us that many believed in His name after they saw the signs He did. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because “He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25).
To put it simply, many believed in Him, but He did not believe in them. Many believed in Him in a shallow, superficial sort of way, without any real commitment attached. They were interested in Him, curious about Him, drawn by Him, and perhaps even felt affection for Him. But the loyalty of these crowds was a mile wide and an inch deep. Jesus knew that when push came to shove, the multitudes would simply drift away. For that reason, Christ did not commit Himself to them.
Why do you follow Jesus?
There are many people who say they want to follow Jesus. And that’s good. But that commitment will be challenged. We must decide to follow Jesus—not because our best friend is, not because our boyfriend or girlfriend is, not because our parents are, but because we have chosen in our own heart of hearts to follow Christ.
Many of us can get caught up in the moment. It’s like watching an Olympic medal ceremony. We see someone representing their nation standing up on that pedestal. As the gold medal is placed around the athlete’s neck and the flag of his or her country is raised while the national anthem plays, we say, “I want to be an Olympic athlete. That’s what I want to do.” But do we realize the hours, days, months, and years these athletes dedicate to one competition?
We get excited about the medal ceremonies. But are we willing to go through the training? Are we willing to count the cost? Is our commitment to Him and Him alone? Are we willing to be real followers of Jesus?
Sometimes we know they are coming and prepare ourselves ahead of time. But other times they come suddenly and with great force. One thing is clear: you cannot control them; you can only react.
The Gospels have multiple stories of storms on the sea of Galilee and how the disciples faced them. These storms could be seen as a metaphor for the those hardships, challenges, problems, and even tragedies we all inevitably face in life.
How do we get through the storms of life?
The storms of life. How do we face them? How do we get through them?
We will talk about that tonight in the message, “Walking with Jesus through the Storms of Life,” from Matthew 14.
It’s part of our Follow Me! series from Matthew’s Gospel.
It all happens at Harvest Orange County TONIGHT at 7:00 pm.
For information and directions, go to
Our hearts go out to our friends in Christchurch, New Zealand after they have survived a 6.3-magnitude earthquake. Christchurch is the second-largest city in New Zealand and the site of a wonderful evangelistic crusade we were able to hold, back in 2006.I remember this charming city well and the warmth of the people there.
A friend from Christchurch wrote us and told us the following:
Many are still being rescued alive but there are many who have died.
The inner city area is in a very serious situation.
Much off the city is without water and electricity.
A number of our iconic churches have suffered what appears to be
The people are traumatized.
There was little sleep last night with terrifying aftershocks going all night.
Let’s pray for the emergency personnel as they tend to those in need, that they would be helped by God in their valiant rescue efforts. Let’s especially pray for the churches there—that they can reach out with the only real hope we have in this life: a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I will be going to New Zealand in June of this year for a crusade in Auckland. May God be glorified in this wonderful country, despite this tragedy, and may many turn to the Lord.
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 1 John 3:13
I heard a story about some fish suppliers who were having problems shipping codfish from the East Coast. By the time the fish reached the West Coast, they were spoiled. They froze them, but by the time the fish arrived, they were mushy. So the seafood company decided to send them alive…but the fish arrived dead. On their third try, they once more shipped the fish alive, but with one difference. They included a catfish in each tank. The catfish, you see, is the natural enemy of the codfish. By the time the codfish arrived, they were alive and well, because they had spent their trip fleeing the catfish.
Could it be that God, in His wisdom, has put a catfish in your tank to keep you alive and well spiritually? Maybe there’s a person at work who always has hardball questions for you every Monday morning regarding spiritual things. Maybe it’s that neighbor who constantly gives you a hard time about your faith in Jesus. Maybe it’s a spouse or family member who doesn’t believe. And you begin to wonder, “Why is this happening to me?”
God allows it.
It’s just that catfish in your life…keeping you spiritually alert and on your toes. It’s God’s provision to protect you from a weak, mushy faith.
Shortly before He went to the cross, Jesus told the disciples, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).
God will allow persecution in the life of the believer. If you’re experiencing persecution—whether subtle or out front and in the open—here are two things to remember: First, persecution confirms that you are a child of God. Be glad in that. And second, persecution causes you to cling closer to Jesus.
When you endure persecution for your faith, remember that this world is not your home.
And as far as I know, there are no catfish in heaven.
Do remember when you were in cchool and there would be “pop quizzes”?
I hated those.
Reason being, I was rarely prepared for the announced tests, much less the ones that came by surprise.
I have news for you . . .God gives “pop quizzes” too.
To see if we are learning what He is seeking to teach us.
Why are there trials?
James reminds us, “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers,
don’t treat them as intruders but as friends! Realize that they come to TEST YOUR FAITH
and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character, men of integrity with no weak spots.”
The way to pass this test is to see your utter inability to do anything on your own (see James 1:2).
This Sunday at Harvest Riverside
I will be speaking on the topic of why God allows tests in our lives and what we can learn from them this Sunday at Harvest in my message, “Dinner with Jesus.”
We will also be having a special communion service as well, where we will remember together the great sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us.
The service times are at 7:45/9:45/11:45 am and 5:00 pm.
It will all be webcast live at www.harvest.org.
The Start! Bible, filled with notes I had the privilege of writing, just won an award from “2011 Outreach Resources of the Year,” Outreach magazine announced today.
The Start! Bible won in the best “Pass-Along Resources” category.
We are thankful to God for this acknowledgement.
I hope you all will get one for yourself and another to “pass along” to someone you know.
The Start! Bible is perfect for believers who want to understand the Bible better, but it is especially helpful to those who are new in the faith.
Lost Boy: The Next Chapter is now on Netflix.
Please spread the word and if you have a Netflix account, go and and place Lost Boy: The Next Chapter in your queue.
Order a copy and have an outreach right in your living room or wherever you like!
To find out more, go here:
Attention Netflix subscribers – Lost Boy: The Next Chapter is now featured on Netflix!
Help us out by saving it in your queue (even if you’ve seen it or own it) through this link:
Lost Boy is not available to rent or stream yet, but by saving it in your queue, you will demonstrate to Netflix the appeal of the film with the goal of persuading them to offer it via DVD and instant streaming. We want to use any means available to us for presenting the gospel to those who will listen; if Netflix carries the film, it will open the door for the Good News of Christ to be presented to millions of people, right where they are.