To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: … A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7)
I can think of so many times when I should have kept silent, but I just had to speak.
On more than one occasion I have said something, and the moment it left my lips, I thought, Why did I just say that?
And I have found myself instantly wishing I could have those words back.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to say the perfect thing, but instead, you ended up saying the lamest thing possible?
Peter on the Mountain
It reminds me of when Peter, along with James and John, witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus. What an awesome privilege these three men had been given! Their eyes were the only ones who got to see Jesus’ face and clothes suddenly becoming shining like the sun. And then they had the privilege of having a front row seat as Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus about His upcoming trials. Even as this conversation was taking place, however, Peter blurted out, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here…” (Mark 9:5). Mark includes this interesting commentary: “He did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid” (verse 6).
“Who is that guy?”
But Peter wasn’t quite finished. He said, “Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (verse 5).
I wonder if Moses turned to Jesus and asked, “Who is that guy?”
“Oh, that’s Rock. Never mind.”
How easily thoughts can jump into our minds, and we just say them without thinking. But how much better it is to think about it a moment and ask ourselves, Is this the right thing to say?
Would this be an appropriate statement to make? Would this glorify the Lord?
A Final Thought
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
If we applied that filter to our conversations—“Will this comment build this person up? Will these words benefit this person?”—imagine what a difference there would be in the content of our words.
Have you ever experienced one of those ‘special’ moments in God’s presence? Perhaps it was during a time of worship at church, or a sermon which really spoke to your heart. Maybe it was while you were alone in your devotions and you sensed the nearness of God, a certain text jumped off the page and into your heart?
Jesus with Moses and Elijah
Don’t you wish it always could be like that? But it’s not, is it? Imagine how Peter, James, and John felt when they saw Jesus shining like the sun on the mountain with Moses and Elijah on either side! It’s safe to say they never wanted to leave that place, but they had to, going back to the mundane things in life…
Join us tonight.
Join us at 7:00 PM and you’ll hear about this and more in our Follow Me! Bible study in the Gospel of Matthew, and bring out someone who doesn’t have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Once again, we are looking forward to the Harvest Crusades for this year here in Southern California.
It all kicks off with three nights at the Angel Stadium. The dates this year are August 12-14.
Then we go to Dodger Stadium in L.A. for a one-night event, September 10.
One thing I wanted to make you aware of is what we call “launch” events. These are for pastors and church leaders to attend. We are holding two this week.
Special “Launch” Events
On March 22, we will be at the Diamond Club at Angel Stadium from 11:00-1:00.
On March 23,we will be at the Stadium Club at Dodger Stadium from 11:00 to 1:00 as well.
If you are a pastor or church leader, please attend. If not, would you let your Pastor know about this if you are in the SoCal area?
For more information, go to http://socallaunch.eventbrite.com/
Why did the church of the 1st Century have such a dramatic impact on their world? Why is the Church of the 21st Century not doing the same?
I believe the answer to that is in the way that the believers heard the words of Jesus 2000 years ago.
They understood what it meant to be disciples and to take up the cross and follow Him. Do we understand that today?
I believe something has been “lost in translation” when we think of taking up the cross and following Jesus.
Let’s look at that together this weekend at Harvest Riverside in our message, “Lost in Translation.”
Our service times are 7:45, 9:45, 11:45 a.m., and 5:00 p.m.
Join us live or watch it all at www.harvest.org.
And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 4:9).
It is possible to hear God’s Word with our ears, but not with our hearts. Jesus knew that we can often hear without understanding.
That is why He would so often say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” If we were to paraphrase that in our modern language, Jesus would be saying, “Pay attention to what I’m saying. Listen carefully to what I am telling you right now.” He who has ears to hear, let him hear….It is attention with intention.
I do quite a bit of traveling. When I get on a plane and take my seat, I really don’t listen carefully to the safety message that the flight attendants give before every single flight. They have a long list of information to give out, pointing out the exits and the location of the oxygen masks and life vests. But often I don’t pay attention. I may look at a magazine instead. Because I have heard it so many times, I think I don’t need to listen.
Your life depends on it.
But what if a few minutes after takeoff the pilot came on the intercom again and said something like this? “We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties, and the flight attendant is going to go through that safety message for you one more time,” I can guarantee you that I would be listening. Why? Because my life would depend on it. I would really want to know where those exits are, how to use my seat as a flotation device, and what steps I might need to take to survive an emergency.
Attention with Intention.
When you think about it, that’s how we need to be reading the Word of God. Not as a ho-hum morning routine where we’re skimming a passage and not really even thinking about it. No, we need to listen carefully. It is attention with intention, listening with the desire to apply what we have read to our own daily situations, because so much depends on that infusion of wisdom and life. Probably more than we’ll ever know.
Jesus told us if we want to be His disciples, we must deny ourselves, and take up our cross, and follow Him (see Matthew 16:24).This statement is given to all believers, whether they live in the 1st or 21st Century.
You could insert YOUR NAME HERE.
“If Greg will take up his Cross…”
“If Joshua will take up his Cross…”
“If Mary will take up her Cross…”
This message is for you!
This is not just to the 12 disciples of Jesus,it also is to you.
I must deny myself, or “say NO to” myself, if I am to follow Jesus.
The question is, are you doing that? Am I? Do we even have a clue as to what that means?
I suggest that we may not. Something has been “lost in translation” here.
Tonight at Harvest Orange County.
So that is what I want to talk about in my message tonight at Harvest Orange County. I hope you can join us. BTW, this is the same message I will give at Harvest Riverside this weekend as well.
That will be webcast live. For now, our Thursday night Bible study is not webcast live, but it will be soon!
For more information on our Bible study tonight, click here.
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. ” (Isaiah 61:3, NLT)
I have been amazed at the testimonies of some people when they tell me the way they used to be.
I’ve looked at them and thought, There is no way they used to be that way. Jesus Christ has so radically changed them.
Isaiah 61:3-4, (NLT) promises that God “will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago….”
When life is a mess.
For the person who has made a mess of his or her life—a pile of ashes, so to speak—God says, “I will bring beauty.” For those who mourn because of the wrongs they have done and the sins they have committed, God says, “I will bring joy out of it.”
Only God can do that. Only He can take a tangled mess of a life, turn it around, and transform it in such a way that you wouldn’t even know that individual used to be a very different person. As Paul wrote: “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, TLB).
He can transform you.
That’s the best news ever for the person being transformed, but the change in that life also gives great hope to others, who may still despair over the condition of their lives.
If you come to Christ and say, “Lord, here I am. Forgive me of my sin,” He can transform you and change you. He can take your mistakes and your sins, turn them around, and even use them for His glory. When you commit your life to Christ, putting the broken, stained, twisted pieces into His hand, He will transform it into a thing of beauty.
An 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan has hit with a ferocious tsunami.
It’s the largest earthquake in the history of Japan. This on the heels of the quake that just rocked Christchurch, New Zealand.
Friends, I believe that these are “signs of the times,” without question.
There are many “signs of the times” Jesus told us to look for, which point to His return. Jesus told us one of those signs is that there would be an increase in earthquakes.
“And there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11).
We will see more of this in the future.
We have always had earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, but you can expect to see more of them as we get closer to Christ’s return.
According to the U.S. Geological Society, earthquakes are increasing. For the past five decades, every decade has seen an increased in the number of earthquakes. Not just minor ones, but “Killer Quakes,” and this one has been one of the strongest ever.
Unrest in the Middle East
Then you look at all that is happening in the Middle East, especially in Egypt and Libya, and we wonder, are these “signs of the times?”
I believe they are.
I want to talk about that this coming Sunday at Harvest Riverside. Our service times are 7:45/9:45/11:45 am and 5:00 pm. All of this will be broadcast live online at www.harvest.org.
Don’t forget: we are having a time change this weekend as well.
“The sky is falling!”
So said Chicken Little in the children’s fable.
We have heard for all of our lifetimes that Jesus is coming back again. Yet, here we are still. So, is this is a myth, or is it the truth?
Jesus said He is coming back.
First of all, if you believe the Bible you must accept the fact the Christ is coming back to this earth.
After His ascension to heaven, the angels said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Jesus Himself said it as plain as day: “I will come again” (John 14:6).
But the question remains, will Jesus come back again soon?
No one can say with absolute certainty, but there are compelling “signs of the times” that would say yes to that question. What are they?
Personally, I believe that Jesus could come back any day. I’ll tell you why tonight.
P.S. - Our services at Harvest Orange County are not webcast live at this time. However, I will be giving the same message this weekend at Harvest Riverside and that will be webcast live.