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Archive for November, 2011

Encouragement via E-mail

Monday, November 21st, 2011 Posted in encouragement | 10 Comments »

Are you signed up for my daily devotional?

Over 100,000 people receive them every day by e-mail in addition to those who read them online. You can sign up and start receiving them right away. Go to

http://www.harvest.org/devotional/get-connected/email-subscriptions.html

Here’s is today’s devo:

An Eternal Perspective

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

—2 Corinthians 4:18

When you are younger, you think certain things are always good, while other things are always bad. For example, success is always good, and hardship is always bad. But when you have lived life for awhile, you can look back and realize that success actually can be bad for some. And hardship actually can be good for others. You begin to see things differently. And sometimes the things you thought were really good things turned out to be bad things. And the things that you thought were bad things turned out to be good things.

We must realize as Christians that God is in control of all circumstances surrounding our lives. God takes all of the events of life, the good things and the so-called bad things, and works them “together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).

We must also realize that God loves us and is always looking out for our eternal benefit—even if what we are presently going through is difficult. We are told in 2 Corinthians 4:17–18, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Are you thankful for what God has blessed you with? Have you given thanks recently for your health? For the freedom to worship openly? For the clothes on your back and the roof over your head? We need to give thanks to God—because there is so much to give thanks for.

 

This Weekend at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

Saturday, November 19th, 2011 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

The “Great Commission.”
Easier said than done.
Where are we to Go? What are we to say? How important is it?
I will speak on this Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County in my my message “GO!” from the Follow Me! series in the Gospel of Matthew.
Come join us in person or watch it LIVE at
www.harvest.org

When Trouble Comes

Monday, November 14th, 2011 Posted in sermons | 15 Comments »

When we are afflicted, suffering, or in trouble, God tells us what we should do: Come before His presence and pray. Why? For one thing, it may just be that God will remove that problem because of our prayers. That is not to say that God will always take away our afflictions, suffering, or troubles; but sometimes He does.

By simply bringing our circumstances before the Lord and acknowledging our need and dependence upon Him, we can see God intervene in the situations that most trouble us. Prayer can also give us the grace we need to endure trouble and be brought much closer to God.

James 5:13 tells us, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” The word suffering used here could also be translated “in trouble” or “in distress.” Is anyone among you in trouble? Are you distressed?  Then you should pray.

So when the bottom drops out, when you feel you are hanging by just a thread, when circumstances have become incredibly difficult, or when they have grown worse by the minute, what should you do? You should pray. Come into the Lord’s presence, humbly and thankfully, and pray. Pray when you are afflicted. Pray when you are sick. Pray when some sin has overtaken you. Pray when specific needs occur.

Pray, and don’t give up.

This Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County: Randy Alcorn!

Friday, November 11th, 2011 Posted in sermons | 9 Comments »

I am really looking forward to having my friend Randy Alcorn at Harvest Riverside and Orange County this weekend.

Randy is a prolific author of such classics as Heaven and many more. I think his book Heaven is the finest I have read on the subject and I have read many. Add to that one of his newer books, If God Is Good.

Randy is also the author of many outstanding fiction books, including Safely home, which I recently read.

Randy Alcorn has an eternal perspective in his writing and speaking that always moves people closer to God. I know you will be blessed as you listen in on this interview/Bible study we will have together.

We will talk about topics like, “Why is there suffering in the world?”, “How can God use trials in our lives”, “What happens after we die?”, “What is heaven like?” and much much more.

If you would like me to ask Randy one of your questions, post them here.

Tonight at Harvest Orange County: “The Almost Christian”

Thursday, November 10th, 2011 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

Let me state something that may surprise you.

Did you know it is possible to pray and not necessarily be a Christian?

Did you know it is possible to try and keep the ten commandments to the best of your ability and not necessarily be a Christian?

It’s even possible to be baptized and not necessarily be a Christian!
I think one of the problems we have today is there are a lot of educated nonbelievers, or what I would call “Almost Christians.”
They are close, but not close enough.
So, how do you go from being an “Almost Christian” to a real one?
That is what I am talking about tonight at Harvest Orange County.

For more info, go to www.harvest.org.

Smoke Signals

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 Posted in sermons | 5 Comments »

I once heard a story about a man who was shipwrecked on an uninhabited island. Seeing that rescue might not happen for a long time, he painstakingly built a little hut to provide himself protection from the elements and a place to store the few items he had managed to salvage from the wreck. Every day he would prayerfully scan the horizon, hoping for the approach of a ship. But he saw nothing.

Up in Smoke

Then one evening, after he had been out and about on the island, searching for food, he came back to see that his little hut was in flames. He tried to put out the fire, but it was too late. Everything he owned in this world had gone up in smoke. He went to sleep that night listening to the pounding of the surf, stunned by his own misfortune.

Best-Case Scenario

The next morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island—the first ship he had seen since he had been marooned. Still trying to believe his eyes, he heard footsteps, and then a human voice, saying, “We saw your smoke signal and we came to rescue you.”

That’s how it happens sometimes. In divine sovereignty and grace, the worst-case scenario somehow becomes the best-case scenario.

Disasters can turn out to be great opportunities for God to work in your life. The Lord is always present with us, always intimately acquainted with our circumstances, and He specializes in taking “impossible” situations and turning them around, for His glory and our benefit.

Don’t Look Back!

Monday, November 7th, 2011 Posted in sermons | 4 Comments »

I find it interesting how we can look at the past through rose-colored glasses.

Remember the children of Israel? They had been delivered from the tyranny and bondage of Egypt, where for years they had languished in slavery. In their deep distress they cried out to God for deliverance, and the Lord answered their prayers through a man named Moses.

Manna again?

As they made their way through the wilderness, God supernaturally fed them with an incredible bread-like substance called manna. They had it daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But after a while, they got tired of it. They said, “We are sick of manna (manna literally means, “what is it?”). We remember the good old days back in Egypt, where we ate garlic, leeks, and onions.”

Table Scraps

They spoke of the good old days in Egypt, but as slaves they basically ate table scraps. They barely scraped out a miserable existence. Yet in their imaginations, they magnified these scraps into some sumptuous feast they had each and every day. Don’t build up the past in your mind. Remember it for what it was. Don’t allow the enemy to pull you down by fantasizing about it. Protect your mind, and don’t look back. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” These words contain an implied promise that ought to challenge us to the core. The Lord is telling us, “If you do not move forward for My glory, then you will not be fit for My Kingdom. But if you move forward, then you will have an honored place at My table . . . forever.”

This weekend at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

Saturday, November 5th, 2011 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

If you have ever lost a loved one, you know how it feels. It feels like the end.
That is how the disciples felt when Jesus Christ was arrested and murdered before their very eyes.
But what seemed like the end was actually the beginning.
This Sunday at Harvest I am speaking on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
This is one of the most important topics to us as believers, because our very foundation rests on this historical event.
Service times at Harvest Riverside are 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 am.
Service times at Harvest Orange County are 9:30 and 11:30.
For more info, or to watch the live webcast of the service, go to
www.harvest.org.

You Are Not Alone!

Friday, November 4th, 2011 Posted in encouragement | 5 Comments »

Have you ever felt as though you were all alone and nobody cared?
You might be surprised to know that the great apostle Paul felt this way too.

In his final epistle, he wrote,  “Everyone abandoned me” (2 Timothy 4:16).

Know this: God has not abandoned you! He can compensate by His own loving presence for every earthly loss.

C.H. Spurgeon wrote:
If all else forsook him, Jesus was company enough.
If all others despised him, the smile of Jesus was approval enough.
If the good cause seemed to be in danger, in the presence of his Master, victory was sure.
The Lord who had stood for him at the cross now stood for him in the prison.
It was a dungeon, but the Lord was there;
It was dark, but the glory of the Lord lit it up with Heaven’s own splendor.

Listen: Better to be in a jail with the Lord than to be anywhere else without Him. Jesus is with us as well, in the “good” and “bad” times of life.

God reminds us in His Word, “When you go through deep waters, I WILL BE WITH YOU. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” ( Isaiah 43:2).

When Jesus hung on the cross, He cried out the words “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Those were not delusional words. They were factual. Jesus, at this point, was most likely bearing the sins of the world.

Here is the good news:  Jesus was forsaken for a time that you might enjoy God’s presence forever.

Know this: Jesus will never forsake you. You have have His Word on that. Jesus said, “ I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Or from the Greek it would translate out more like, “ I will never, no never, NO NEVER leave you nor forsake you.”

Tonight at Harvest Orange County

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

Have you ever been discouraged as a Christian?
Have you ever felt that your life has been a failure?
And do you know what it is like to be frightened about the future?
Well, take heart! You’re not the first child of God to feel this way.
In fact, it may surprise you to know that none other than the great apostle Paul seemed to be struggling with these very same problems.
We will see what Jesus both did and said to revive Paul as He gave to him “Christ’s Call to Courage” in my message tonight at Harvest Orange County.
There will also be special music from Crystal Lewis!

It all starts at 7:00 PM, PDT.

It will also be webcast live at www.harvest.org.