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Archive for January, 2013

The Secret Way

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

I have a little game I play with my granddaughters. When we are out and about, I ask them the question, “Do you want to go the regular way or do you want to go the secret way?”

Of course, they excitedly squeal, “The secret way, Papa, the secret way!” And that is the way we go.

Oh, by the way, there really is no “secret way” to speak of. If we are in a car, it’s simply an alternate route. Or if we are going into a restaurant, I may take them in a side door instead of the front.

The idea is, let’s have fun when and where we can.

Life is hard enough without making it harder. Sometimes we have rough days, and sometimes life is hard—very hard. Especially for a person who has lost a loved one and is in the depths of grief.

I speak to many of these people every day because I am a fellow griever, and we always seem to find each other.

I have found that a little humor can really help. One person said, “Laughter is a temporary vacation from grief.”

I like that. Or we could just call it “the secret way.”

The Bible says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT).

So try to laugh today. Or instead of going the regular way to where you need to go, try to go “the secret way.”

It’s my wife, Cathe’s Birthday today!

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 Posted in sermons | 43 Comments »

I love her with all of my heart.
If you would like to wish her a Happy Birthday, you can do that right here.

Do You Know About All the Ministry Resources We Have at Harvest?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

11-year-old Tony sure does!
I just received this email from him.

Dear Mr. Laurie,

I am 11 years old. I would like to thank you for your ministries. My mom and I listen to your radio broadcast every day on the way to school. I also receive your daily devotional, and have your Harvest app. I enjoy watching Greg Laurie TV also. I have been a happier person after listening to you. I have also made one of my best friends a believer. Thank you again for all that you’ve done.

Sincerely,
Tony

What Will You Be Remembered For?

Monday, January 28th, 2013 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

What is heaven like?

What will we do when we get there?
The Bible has answers to all of that.
In the book or Revelation we read these words that tell us three things about heaven:

“‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” —Revelation 14:13

#1 Heaven is a place of rejoicing.
“Blessed are the dead . . .”

As much as we may miss our loved ones who have gone before us to Heaven we need to know that they are in pure bliss.
The Apostle Paul died and went to Heaven and was brought back to life.
No he did not write a book about his experiences.
It seems he could only find one operative word to describe what he saw and heard.
The word he chose was “Paradise”.( 2Cor.12:4)
In His presence, all questions are answered, all tears dried, all pain gone. Paul said he longed to go there—because it is “far better” (Philippians 1:23).

Adrian Rogers, who I had the honor of once meeting is now now in heave., once wrote, “Consider the artistry that God has put into Heaven. In his commentary on the book of Revelation he wrote these words,”The God who sculpted the wings of the butterfly, blended the hues of the rainbow, and painted the meadows with daffodils is the same who made Heaven.”

#2 Heaven is a place of rest.
“That they may rest from their labors . . .”

I really don’t understand people wanting to retire and spend the last portion of their earthly lives in constant recreation. I understand working hard and saving your whole life, but I don’t understand wanting to be on perpetual vacation. It seems to me that the retired Christian now has more time to serve the Lord!

Don’t get me wrong. We can take time off and enjoy it, and we should. Even Jesus took breaks, saying to His disciples, “Come apart and rest for a while” (see Mark 6:31). As the old country preacher,Vance Havner once said, “Come apart and rest a while, or you may just plain come apart!”
But that temporary rest is for the purpose of recharging, in order to better serve God!

Yes, we will have a permanent rest from our labors in heaven. The curse will be gone, and we will no longer have to work “by the sweat of our brow” (Genesis 3:19), but we will still be busy for the Lord! Revelation 22:3 says of our future, “There shall be no more curse . . . and His servants shall serve Him”! Our work is not over when we leave this earth; it continues in heaven and on the new earth. We will have things to discover, work to do, service to be given.

#3 Heaven is a place of reward.
“And their works follow them.”

You cannot work your way to heaven, for it is a gift of God to each of us. However, the Bible teaches that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). You show me a faith without works and I will show you a faith that is not working!

There are rewards waiting for us on the other side because of our faithful service to the Lord. Listen: God keeps meticulous records. Nothing is forgotten! Jesus said in Mathew 10:42, “If you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of My followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

Yes, your “works will follow you.” One day, in your memorial service, your family and friends will talk about your life.
I guarantee that no one will care about how successful you were in business or how much money you had.
People will want to talk about your character, your merciful acts, your love for others.
Make sure you have some “good works” to follow you to that day.

So let’s press forward—continuing to serve the Lord during our short time here on earth, knowing that eternity will be a time of rejoicing, rest, and reward!

This Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

Saturday, January 26th, 2013 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

What about the person who has never heard the Gospel?

Will God send them to hell?
If so, how could a God of love do such a thing?

We have either had someone ask this of us or perhaps even some of you have wondered about these things.

I have good news for you: God loves us deeply and wants us to be saved even more then we want to be saved.

This Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County, I will deal with these questions and much more.

God’s Word has a lot to say about it.

You can join us in person at one of our campuses or watch our LIVE webcast at

www.harvest.org.

The Surprises of Life

Friday, January 25th, 2013 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

One thing I have found in life is that it is full of surprises.
Many of them are unexpected pleasures and blessings that come our way.Others are tragic and sad.

I have been greatly surprised by the way some people’s lives have turned out.
I can think of individuals I have met that seemed to have no potential whatsoever. They were never expected to amount to much of anything. In school, people made fun of them, calling them “geeks” and“nerds.” Now those same people are calling them “boss.”

Then there are those that had so much promise—so much raw potential. You just knew they would make their mark in life because they just had that special something: talent, giftedness, great natural ability.

It might have been someone who was unusually gifted spiritually. And sure enough, their star began to rise and you could say “you knew them when.” But then suddenly, seemingly without warning, their life came tumbling down.

Or they were slowly but surely sidetracked by foolish decisions and living. I have seen many talented, super-gifted people crash and burn.

This is sad, because God has a unique, custom-designed plan for each of our lives. As time passes, I find myself more impressed with character than charisma—with personal integrity than talent.

I am more impressed with someone who has, for instance, stayed with their spouse than someone who may have some huge ministry (not that you can’t have both). But the key is to finish what we have started, and to finish it well, because if you run first place in a race for every lap except the last, it doesn’t matter.

You have to cross that finish line and play by the rules. So run your race with all of your strength. Guard your life so that you don’t get sidetracked or disqualified. And keep your eyes on the finish line.

Tonight at Harvest Orange County

Thursday, January 24th, 2013 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

Temptation.
The problem is that it’s so. . . TEMPTING!
And that is the whole idea of course.

Every Christian will be tempted. I would even add, if you are not being tempted there is something terribly wrong in your life.

Yes, you read that right. Satan tempts us because we are a threat to his kingdom. It’s been said, “You don’t kick a dead horse.” If the devil never bothers tempting you, perhaps it’s because you pose no threat to his kingdom.

The question is, “Can temptation be resisted?” And the answer is YES!

Tonight at Harvest Orange County, I’m going to talk about a man who sadly shows us what not do to when temptation comes. His name is Samson. He was the “He-Man with the She-Weakness”.

It all starts at 7:00 PM, PST. You can find directions and/or watch the live webcast of the service at www.harvest.org

Who’s Your Daddy?

Monday, January 21st, 2013 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

“Having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
—Revelation 14:1

My mom was married and divorced seven times.
Thus, there were quite a few last names I could have chosen to take.
But there was only one of those men who treated me as a father should treat a son:
Oscar Felix Laurie. So I chose that name.
When looking at the other options,it was the ‘name above all other names.’

Though he was not my biological father, he was in every other way my dad.

You’ve heard the expression “Who’s your daddy?” Well, the Bible says you have a choice of who your father will be. You can either be “of your father the devil” (John 8:44) or you can choose the Heavenly Father.
If we are wise,we will choose the “Name above all names”,Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:19 tells us, “The Lord knows those who are His.” God sees what others may not. He knows those who bear His mark. It’s like those TSA Agents who use that little light on your driver’s license at the airport. It’s a black light that picks up a hologram on your license to help them authenticate it.

When we trust in Christ, He gives us His seal—His I.D. tag. Why? Because we belong to Him! We read in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, “You are not your own. For you were bought at a price.”

In old days, if something belonged to a king, it carried his seal. In the same way, we carry God’s seal: the Holy Spirit. “He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NLT).

I read a story about an old gentleman who was known for his godly life. Someone asked him one day, “What do you do when you are tempted, Old Man?” He replied, “I just look up to heaven and say, ‘Lord, Your property is in danger.’”

If you are a Christian, then you are His. You bear His seal, His mark, and His name.

This Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

Saturday, January 19th, 2013 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

The Mark of the Beast
666
The Antichrist
These are some of the best known and least understood teachings from the Bible.

Google the number 666 and you will find 543 million results. Perhaps even 543 million ideas of what it is. But it’s not science fiction; it’s the future.

According to Scripture, a world leader identified as Antichrist will introduce a cashless society, requiring people to take a mark. No one can buy or sell without it. What exactly will that mark be?

We will find out about that in the message this Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County. We will also look at how we are to live as followers of Jesus in light of His soon return.

Come join us or watch the live webcast at www.harvest.org.

Narcissists Need Not Apply

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 Posted in sermons | 6 Comments »

I read an interesting article about how narcissistic our culture is today. It said,

“A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.

“Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.”*

The article went on to talk about how because of Facebook and Twitter, everyone can act like they are a rock star. They can live in the fantasy world of video games as an Olympian or sharpshooter. On MTV, they see lives just like theirs portrayed on reality TV shows— people who are portrayed as “stars,” but in reality are still living in their parents’ basements.

But then there are those who have a realistic assessment of themselves, and here is some good news: God can do amazing things through those people. In fact, God goes out of His way to find people like that—people who see their shortcomings, but also the greatness of God.

When Simon Peter saw himself in light of God’s greatness, he told Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). In other words, “Don’t waste your time on me Lord. I will only let you down!”
The people God uses are not proud and arrogant, but see themselves for what they are.

This gives hope to all the people out there who are not extraordinary, but ordinary.

• Those who are not necessarily the best students, class president, or on the homecoming team.
• Those who are not the first chosen for the team, but the last.
• Those who have not made the cover of People magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful People.”
• Those who don’t naturally have outstanding talent.

There are a lot of people out there like that. (Just look at the initial auditions for “American Idol” or “The X Factor”!)

If we humble ourselves, examine our gifts and abilities realistically, and then hand them over to God to use as He pleases, God can and will use us for His glory.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” —James 4:10 NKJV

*Albow, Keith. “We Are Raising a Generation of Deluded Narcissists.” Published 1/8/2013. Foxnews.com.