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Some Thoughts on the Love of God

March 29th, 2016 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

What a contrast the love of God is to the so-called “love” of our culture.
Our world loves you when you are young and beautiful; God loves you when you are old and not so attractive.
Our world loves you when you are famous and a celebrity; God loves you when you are unknown and a complete nobody.
Our world loves you when you are rich and powerful; God loves you when you are penniless and weak.
Our world loves the extraordinary. God loves the ordinary. People like you and me.
And God has demonstrated this love for us in a tangible way. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13 NKJV).

Easter: A Time of Hope

March 26th, 2016 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

Here are some of my thoughts on Easter from a editorial I wrote for Riverside’s Press Enterprise that was published today.

GREG LAURIE: Easter 2016: a time of suffering and hope

Another terrorist attack, this time in Brussels. At least thirty-four people killed, many others injured. Add to this the fact that the horror of the terrorist attacks of San Bernardino are still fresh in our memories, happening right here in the Inland Empire –
and that atrocity coming on the heels of the Paris attacks.

Our hearts and prayers go out for all those who have lost loved ones.

This weekend, many people are coming together with family and friends for festive gatherings celebrating Easter.
Yet, there is so much sadness is in the air.

One thing we need to remember about Good Friday and Easter Sunday is that they were times of both suffering and hope.
Good Friday is the day we remember that Jesus died for our sins.

When we think of God, we usually consider the fact that He is righteous, holy, loving and good. But here is something else to consider about God: He is the God who has suffered.

We don’t tend to think that a perfect Creator would experience such a human trait as pain and suffering. After all, why would you suffer if you did not have to?

But God has suffered, and more deeply than any of us could ever imagine.

Our God is a suffering God.

Listen to Isaiah’s description of what Jesus (who was God) went through at Calvary

“He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. … Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5 NKJV)

A man of suffering – that was Jesus. But why did God suffer? Because He loved and loves. That means He enters into our suffering as well. He enters into the suffering of all those who lost loved ones. He enters into the suffering of all of us who are in pain of some kind today.

You are not alone in your suffering today. Jesus has been there and walked in your shoes, and He is here for you right now.

Spoiler alert! In case you have not read the Easter story, you need to know Jesus rose again from the dead!
That is why the message of Easter is one of great hope.

For some, Easter will be a great day, spent surrounded by family and friends. But for others, it will be a sad day, because Easter is a reminder of a loved one who has died and is now desperately missed.

Death seems so cruel, so harsh, and so final. That is what the disciples were feeling when they saw their Lord, whom they had left everything to follow, hanging on the cross. They were devastated. Death had crushed them.

But, death is not the end. And the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves it. If you have put your faith in Christ, then Easter means that you will live forever in the presence of God. Easter brings hope to the person who has been devastated by death.

I pray that this will be a hopeful Easter for you.
You are more than welcome to join us for services at Harvest Christian Fellowship this weekend.

Greg Laurie is senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship.

For service times, go to
www.harvest.org

Easter was the “Death of Death”!

March 25th, 2016 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

Easter was the “Death of Death”!

When Jesus died on the cross, he conquered sin. But when he rose from the dead, he defeated death. Death is not a subject we usually want to discuss. But when you get down to it, that is what Easter is all about. Easter is about the death of death, because Jesus came to conquer death.

Some people assert that Christians have their heads in the sand and don’t deal with reality. To the contrary, I think Christians deal more honestly with death than most nonbelievers do. We talk about it. We discuss it. We wrestle with it. But it seems to me that nonbelievers don’t even want to use the word death. They will use other terms for it, such as “passed away” or “expired.” Or maybe they’ll make light of it, saying that someone has “kicked the bucket” or “cashed in their chips.” Death is a hard subject to grapple with.

Reflecting on his father’s death, actor Bradley Cooper told a magazine editor, “All of a sudden I was like, ‘Oh, right, I’m going to die too.’ Here it is. It’s not in a book. It’s not in a movie. … It’s someone you love dying in front of you. I was like, ‘OK. This is death. And this is going to happen to me one day.’”

As I have said before, the statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of every one person will die. We have to face it, because only those who are prepared to die are really ready to live.

Life goes by so quickly. And I have noticed that it seems like time accelerates as I get older. I read an article recently that said the reason for this is because we had most of our major life experiences when we were younger. But as we get older, we settle into a routine. We don’t have that many new experiences, thus life seems to accelerate. So the proposed solution in the article was to have more new experiences in life. However, I think most of us rather would take a nap or go back to our comfortable routine. Life goes by so fast.

My generation, the baby boomers, celebrated our youth. One of our theme songs was “Forever Young.” I am amazed the Rolling Stones are still touring. I see they are doing a concert in Cuba.For years,they have sung,”Time is still on my side”.Have you seen them lately? Time is not on their side. My generation has gone from sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to nip, tuck and Botox. That is the reality. We have gone from acid rock to acid reflux.

Then there are the people who are in denial about their age. They don’t want to admit they are getting older. Just a thought: If you are 65, you cannot – you should not – shop at Forever 21. All the anti-aging lotions and potions available to us are not going to extend our lives one day. We can eat organic and drink wheat grass juice all we want, but someday life will come to an end.

I read an interesting article about a woman from Texas named Pearl Cantrell was celebrating her 105th birthday. When asked to reveal the secret to her longevity, the mother of seven replied, “I love bacon. I eat it every day. It’s got to be crispy.” I like that approach.

Easter is a day when we mark the death of death. Death died when Christ rose. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26 NIV).

I once heard a pastor talk about what happens when honeybees sting. It’s a one-time experience for them because once they sting someone, they will not survive. Not only is the bee’s stinger left in its victim, but part of the bee’s abdomen and digestive tract are left there as well, along with muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture kills the bee shortly after it stings.

In the same way, when Jesus died on the cross, Satan thought he had succeeded. He thought he had stung Jesus and had a role in his death. But the sting of death was Satan’s own defeat. As the Bible says, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54–55 NIV).

For the believer, the sting of death has been ripped out, because at the cross, Jesus took the stinger out of death. Of course, people still die. I’m aware of the horrible things that are happening in our world. I’m aware that just this week, 31 people died and at least 250 were injured in the Brussels terrorist attacks.

Personally, I have had to look at death up close when my own son went to heaven. Just a few days from now, we would have been celebrating his 41st birthday. We probably would have kidded him a little about getting older. Instead, it will be a sad day.

I understand that we die. I understand that our bodies go into a grave.

But this Easter, 2016, I have hope because death is not the end. Yes, our bodies will into the ground when we die. But our souls will live on forever. And the Bible says that one day, our bodies will be resurrected as well. Death is not the end of the road. It is only a bend in the road. When Jesus died and rose again, he rendered death powerless. It was the death of death.

Taken from my weekly column at World Net Daily.

Harvest America the Largest One-Day Live U.S. Evangelistic Event.

March 10th, 2016 Posted in sermons | 13 Comments »

It’s official: Harvest America has been deemed the largest one-day live evangelistic event ever for U.S. audiences.

Now that many of the 7,200 remote host locations participating in Harvest America have reported in, we can officially say that God has exceeded all of our expectations.
Remember, we asked you all to pray every day at 3:20 PM for the crusade.That number was based on Ephesians 3:20, which states: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…”

True to His Word, God did “exceedingly and abundantly above” all we could ask or think. In addition to 82,000 packed into AT&T Stadium with 6,300 coming forward to make a profession of faith, we saw another 180,000 attend host sites. Of those, 18,000 responded to the invitation to follow Christ. Not only that, but another 90,000 viewed the event online with more than 1,000 indicating they had made a faith commitment.

This brings the cumulative participation for Harvest America to over 350,000 with over 25,000 making professions of faith to follow Jesus Christ. What can we say but, “Glory to God!”

Thank you all for your prayers. Continue to pray as churches and individual believers engage in the process of follow-up. To view a webcast of the event, go to
www.harvestamerica.com

Here’s the Official Report of what happened at Harvest America.

March 8th, 2016 Posted in sermons | 9 Comments »

Thousands Flock to First Christian
Event ever Held at AT&T Stadium

DALLAS, March 7, 2016 – It was a full house and overflowing at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Sunday as Pastor Greg Laurie brought a message of hope for 82,000 individuals gathered locally as well as hundreds of thousands more across the nation, tuning in via radio, television, Internet stream or remote broadcast at over 7,200 host locations in 123 countries. More than 750 local churches cooperated to bring Harvest America to Texas.

At a time when the nation is searching and anxious, Laurie addressed the loneliness and emptiness that exists in every heart, encouraging audiences that true peace and fulfillment can only be found in Christ.

“Not a woman, not a man, not a drug, not an experience, not a possession will fill the emptiness inside you,” Laurie said.

Referencing research on the top three late-night Internet searches – porn, loneliness and suicide – he said, “You don’t need to go to Google for your answers; God has an answer for your loneliness and it is Jesus Christ his son.

“Your religious beliefs are not enough, either; you’re not good enough on your own,” Laurie continued. “Jesus alone is uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between a holy God and sinful humanity.”

More than 6,000 of those gathered responded to the evangelist’s invitation to make a faith commitment. Harvest America organizers hope this event will spark a revival that will spread across the nation, as many attended from out of state, and with remote venues participating from all 50 states.

In a first for Harvest America, a 2,500-voice choir composed of local church members performed with artists Chris Tomlin and MercyMe, helping to lead the crowd in worship. They followed the stellar musical line-up of Switchfoot and Lecrae, providing a variety of musical styles for everyone in attendance.

Another 3,400 volunteer counselors, 1,500 ushers and 350 individuals manning the prayer room made this the largest volunteer effort ever for Harvest Crusades, which has been hosting such events since 1990. More than 5.3 million individuals have attended, with over 450,000 having made a faith decision. In addition, Harvest Crusades have been webcast online since 1997, and have seen 1.7 million individuals tune in via live stream. Another 90,000 viewed the most recent webcast live online Sunday evening.

Local pastors providing leadership for the effort included Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas, Dr. Tony Evans of Fellowship Bible Church, Matt Chandler of The Village and Dr. Robert Morris of Gateway. All agreed on the potential impact of the event.

“I am hoping this is a catalyst – not just in the DFW Metroplex, but for churches across the country to rally in a renewed commitment to evangelism,” Graham said.

Jeffress echoed the sentiment, remarking that “it was a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God; I believe every Christian and church will be re-energized in sharing the Gospel of Christ with as many people as possible.”

About Harvest Crusades

Besides conducting evangelistic outreaches, Harvest Ministries produces “A New Beginning,” an international radio program with messages by Laurie. In addition, television specials featuring past Harvest Ministries events air internationally on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), and a weekly television program greglaurie.tv is available online at www.harvest.org, and airing on both TBN and the Church Channel, as well as on ROKU and the Harvest app.

Laurie serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, with campuses in Riverside and Irvine, California, which oversees Harvest Ministries. The ministry exists for the sole purpose of presenting the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible, and to help believers mature in their faith. More information is available at www.harvest.org.

Harvest America Was an Amazing Success!

March 7th, 2016 Posted in sermons | 48 Comments »

Wow.

What an amazing night at the AT&T stadium for Harvest America.

To correct the record, there were 82,000 people in the stadium, inside and outside.

The place was alive with praise and excitement. It was an electric atmosphere.

All the artists, including MercyMe, Lecrae, Switchfoot, and Chris Tomlin did an outstanding job. What at great group of gifted people to work with.

We had a tremendous response to the invitation, seeing 6000 plus come to the field to make a profession of faith to follow Christ.We were told that they had reached capacity and some of those responding had to be directed to other rooms.

Over 2,064 churches took the live feed of the event along with another 5,133 small groups and homes, called host sites.

As I get more info about what happened in those sites, I will update you.

Harvest America was the result of two years of pre-meetings, planning, and lots of lots of prayer.

So, we look back and say, “To God be the Glory!”

Harvest America happens TODAY!

March 3rd, 2016 Posted in sermons | 7 Comments »

Wherever you are, you can participate.
There is still time to become a host site.
Listen: Evangelism is a big deal to God and it should be a big deal to us too.
Jesus, in His “last words” before He ascended to Heaven, told us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Matthew 28).
We all should be doing that, and Harvest America is the perfect vehicle to help you.
The message of the gospel needs to be shared, not hoarded.
In fact, we need to evangelize or we will become spiritually stagnant!
Jesus said, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38).
So, give the gospel away TODAY through Harvest America!
To find out more about becoming a host site, go to harvestamerica.com.

How You Can Share the Gospel

February 27th, 2016 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

Let’s imagine you are out for a walk one night around your neighborhood when you suddenly hear people screaming. Startled, you look over your shoulder and see a house with flames leaping from the windows and roof. Someone out front of the house cries out, “There’s someone in there!” Let me ask you, if you were to just keep on walking without giving a passing thought to those in such terrible danger, would that be wrong? At the very least, wouldn’t you pull out your phone and dial 9-1-1? Even more, wouldn’t you try to find a way into that burning house to rescue that person inside? To do nothing would be outright criminal.

In the same way, however, we walk by people – men and women we know or total strangers – who are without Christ and don’t do a thing to help them. We don’t even try to initiate a conversation about our faith. We just keep walking. And to be blunt, a fate even worse than a house fire awaits those who reject the offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. It is eternal fire. Eternal separation from God.

The last thing God wants is to send any man or woman – deeply loved by Him and made in His very image – to this place called Hell. That’s why He sent Jesus to live a perfect life, to die a perfect death on the cross for our sins, and then to rise from the dead.
You might protest, “God could never use someone like me!” Actually, He can and He will if you will let Him. It could even happen today – before this day is over. He won’t force you to share your faith, but He may very well prompt you. And when you take that step of faith, He will empower and use you. Yes, you.

I want you to discover the adventure of being used by God, especially in this area of telling others about Jesus. God says that He is looking for people He can “show Himself strong on behalf of” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV). He is searching for someone who will simply say, “Use me, Lord!” Would you be that person? If so, a wonderful adventure awaits you.

I want to let you in on a little surprise: Sharing your faith can be both exciting and – believe it or not – fun! As Psalm 126:6 reminds us, “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them” (NIV). Jesus told us there is joy in Heaven over every sinner who comes to repentance (see Luke 15:7). So if there is joy in Heaven upon hearing the news of a conversion, there certainly should be joy in having a role in it.

Next to personally knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, the greatest joy I know of is leading others to Christ and watching them grow spiritually. And you can do that, too. It should be a joyful, happy thing to tell others about your relationship with God and explain how they can have one, too. I have found that the happiest Christians are the evangelistic ones.
Yes, there is a happiness we are missing out on if we are not sharing our faith. The apostle John wrote that his personal joy was made complete by sharing the message of Christ (see 1 John 1:4). The believers I know who make a habit of sharing the Gospel are truly happy people.

So here’s the bottom line: What’s your excuse for not sharing? Clearly, God could reach people without us. He could send angels down every street in the world with megaphones, declaring the Gospel. Instead, however, He has chosen to work through us. In fact, He almost seems to go out of His way to find the most unlikely candidates to accomplish His divine purposes.

You might say, “I’m not qualified. I’m not gifted or talented.” Do you want to know a little secret? You are just the person God is looking for. He delights to use people who aren’t necessarily self-confident. Why? Because when God does something amazing through them, He is the one who gets the glory, as He should. No, you may not feel qualified or “ready.” But God isn’t looking for ability as much as He is availability. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!

There have been so many times when I have felt drained and exhausted, both physically and mentally. I have even felt like my spiritual gas tank was close to empty. But then, when I started to share the Gospel with someone, or stopped thinking about myself and focused on another’s needs and shared some truth from God’s Word, I was replenished in every way. I started on empty and ended on full. Proverbs 11:25 tells us that “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (NLT).

You may be asking, “But where do I start?” As a matter of fact, there is an excellent opportunity coming up just a few days from right now. Harvest America is an annual live nationwide event, streamed to thousands of host locations including churches, theaters and living rooms. This is more than just a webcast. It is the body of Christ banding together to proclaim the Gospel live across the nation. The next Harvest America will be held on March 6, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. Central time, streamed live from AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

The event will feature top Christian artists including Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, Switchfoot and MercyMe, and I will be on hand to offer a clear Gospel message. To find a location near you, simply go to our website, harvestamerica.com.

This may be the opportunity – the open door – you’ve been waiting for to introduce your loved one, friend, or neighbor to the Lord Jesus. And all you have to do is invite them to come along with you for the event. Yes, they might say, “No.” But who knows? They might also say yes – and walk right into the biggest decision of their lives.

Harvest America Is 8 Days Away!

February 16th, 2016 Posted in sermons | 17 Comments »

What is Harvest America?

It is a one-day evangelistic event to be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Music will be performed by Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, MercyMe, and Switchfoot. I will bring a clear gospel message and invite people to come to Jesus Christ.

Harvest America will be live-streamed via a dedicated signal to host sites around the country. There are almost 4,000 host sites signed up. 1,700 of those are churches hosting the event. The other 2,015 are home hosts.

A host site can be a church, an auditorium, or even your front room. You invite people over, and when I am preaching the gospel at AT&T Stadium, I am also preaching the gospel wherever you are.

Thousands of people are going to come to Jesus Christ, because God’s Word does not return void! Start praying about who you could bring to a Harvest America host site to hear the gospel. Or even have one yourself!
To find out more, go to www.harvestamerica.com.

Did You Know That God Loves You?

February 15th, 2016 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

God tells us in Jeremiah that He loves us “with an everlasting love” and with “lovingkindness” (31:3).

This love God has for us goes back further than we can imagine. God, in His great love, chose you to be His child. God personally chose and loved you as though you were the only person on this earth. Jesus said, “You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit” (John 15:16 NLT).

In an episode of The Simpsons, it was Valentine’s Day at Springfield Elementary School. Ralph Wiggims was very sad that he did not get a Valentine’s Day card. So, Lisa gave him a card out of sympathy that had a train. It said, “I choo, choo, choose you!” Ralph took this very seriously and developed a crush on Lisa and pursued her.

Listen, “God choo, choo, chooses you!” It is genuine. You are deeply loved by God.

Do you think that God the Father loves God the Son? Of course! And God loves you as much as He loves His own son. Jesus prayed in John 17 to the Father these words, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me!” (verse 23 NLT).

That’s easy to say, but God proved it. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). Jesus affirmed this in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” But it wasn’t just the world God loved; it was you. Paul wrote, God “loved me and gave Himself for me!” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).

And no matter what, nothing will ever separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38–39 says, “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.”

Think about that. God loved you before you were you! Nothing or no one will ever stop God from loving you.