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In His Hands

October 8th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 5 Comments »

The Bible says that our days are numbered, which means there is a day coming (we don’t know when) when we are out of here. We can worry about that, or we can simply trust that God knows when that day will be. It doesn’t mean that we take up bungee jumping off of bridges or try swimming with sharks, putting our lives at unnecessary risk. But it does mean that we recognize the fact that our lives belong to God. We are in His hands.

Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.
— Job 14:5

This is a very comforting thought because it means that until God is finished with us, nothing will happen to us. That’s great to know. But it also means that when our number is up, it’s up. When that day comes, there is nothing we can do to turn the clock back.

So what are we to do? As we have already read in these pages, the apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). So we should praise God for each new day, thank Him for the opportunities He provides, for the blessings He gives us, and for our family and friends. We should take time to smell the flowers and bounce a little one on our knees. We should savor the sight of a rainbow or a tree painted with the colors of autumn or the blue surf rolling in across a sandy beach. And of course we should be available and willing to serve Him in whatever plans He has for us.

God values you. He loves you. But if death came for you today, would you be ready? If not, you would face a certain judgment. That’s the last thing God wants to happen to you. That’s why He sent Jesus to die on the cross and shed His blood for every sin you have ever committed.

Only the person who says, “To live is Christ” can then say,
“To die is gain.” That is a person whose soul is right with God.

Harvest America Is Almost Here!

October 3rd, 2014 Posted in sermons | 4 Comments »

Please spread the word.
Use this hashtag #HarvestAmerica

Here is an article from our friends at the Christian Post to tell you more about our event happening THIS SUNDAY in Dallas, Texas.

Greg Laurie’s Harvest America: More Than 3,400 Churches, Theaters, and Living Rooms to Host Livestream From Dallas

BY ALEX MURASHKO , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
October 3, 2014|7:15 am

Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries will take their Southern California-grown, power-packed worship music and straight-forward Gospel message to a national level for the third year-in-a-row this weekend. This time, Harvest America comes to Dallas on Sunday, and will be livestreamed to more than 3,400 locations across the country, including churches, theaters, and living rooms.

“We are very excited about bringing the Gospel to the DFW Metroplex area,” Laurie said. “This is a unique part of our great country. It represents the heartland of our nation and is filled with people who espouse traditional family values, hard work and big dreams.”

What began 25 years ago as the Harvest Crusades in huge outdoor stadiums (the outreach events took place primarily in Orange County), however, have now come to include annual live digital transmissions from a chosen city, such as Philadelphia last year, streamed to host venues throughout the nation.

In the Dallas area, volunteers from more than 150 local churches representing at least 15 different denominations have received training to serve as ushers, counselors, and other roles for the area-wide event to be held at American Airlines Center on Sunday, beginning at 6 p.m (CT). This free, public event features musical performances by MercyMe, for King & Country, and Phil Wickham, followed by a presentation of the Gospel message.

Laurie said that while Dallas “is filled with large and growing churches, there are still people on her busy streets that are without hope and without God in this world. My prayer is that thousands in the church around the Metroplex will pray and participate in this Harvest outreach and that it will become a sounding board for people all around the world to hear the gospel.”

Harvest Crusades officials say the events such as the one in Dallas are designed to be opportunities for Christians to invite family members, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances to hear the life-changing message of the gospel in an environment that is entertaining, yet nonthreatening.

Laurie is able to uniquely identify with a wide audience, according to the event’s promotions, having grown up outside the Christian faith, and having suffered the loss of a son in an automobile accident several years ago. “He understands the search for meaning and purpose in life, as well as what it means to grieve, and presents the gospel message in a simple, factual way, empowering audiences to make an informed spiritual decision.”

Harvest events have also expanded throughout Canada, Australia and New Zealand, reaching more than 5 million in attendance. Harvest has only been in Dallas once previously, in 2000 at Prestonwood Baptist Church. That church’s pastor, Jack Graham, is a close friend of Laurie’s and one of the key leaders in bringing Harvest back to Dallas this year.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/greg-lauries-harvest-america-more-than-3400-churches-theaters-and-living-rooms-to-host-livestream-from-dallas-127441/

For more info on Harvest America,go to

http://harvestamerica.com/.

The Fourth Man in the Flames.

September 30th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
— Daniel 3:24-25

Not many of us, perhaps, will face tests as great as Shadrach, Meshach, or Abed-Nego faced on the day when the king threw them into a fiery furnace. Even so, tests will come. Temptations will come. And many of those moments of great testing will come when you are alone, with no one looking.

We’re foolish if we think we can stand up to temptation—the lure of the world, our own flesh, and the Devil—in our own strength and wisdom. We need help from on high.

The key to the courage and serenity of these three teenagers in the midst of those flames was their Companion! Nebuchadnezzar said it best: “The form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

I don’t know that Nebuchadnezzar necessarily realized that this fourth person in the flames was Jesus Christ. I don’t know what he thought. All he knew was that he tossed three men in a blazing furnace, and they were walking around in the fire like it was a Sunday stroll in the park. And Someone else was walking with them.

Just that quickly, the king didn’t want to mess with these guys anymore. He had great respect (not necessarily belief at that point, yet respect) for the God they represented.

Are you in a fiery trial right now? Are you in the hot waters of temptation? Know this: You aren’t alone in life. Jesus is there with you each step of the way. Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NIV). And again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Take your stand for the Lord in things great and small, and even though you may feel the heat, your Companion will never leave your side.

What It Really Means to Prosper

September 16th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 4 Comments »

I know that as you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is all going to turn out for my good.
— Philippians 1:19

Sometimes I think that today’s “prosperity preachers” have hijacked a legitimate biblical term. After all, God does want His sons and daughters to prosper. But what does that really mean? That you’ll never get sick? Never have problems? Never run out of money? Never have strains in your relationships? No, that is not what the Bible means by “prosperity.”

Five years before making his journey to Rome, Paul wrote to the believers there and said in Romans 1:10, “Making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.” In other words, “Hey, would you guys pray for me? I’m coming your way. And pray that the Lord gives me a prosperous journey by the will of God.”

Did God answer his prayer? Yes. He did make it to Rome and had an amazing ministry there of preaching, teaching, discipleship, and writing. He just hadn’t understood that getting to Rome would mean false accusations, arrest, incarceration, and chains. He couldn’t have foreseen that it would involve hurricane-force winds at sea, shipwreck on an island, and the bite of a poisonous viper on the way.

The reality is that you can live a prosperous life in the will of God and still face fierce personal conflict and adversity. Paul went through a shipwreck on his way to Rome, but he had a prosperous journey by the will of God because of what it ultimately accomplished.

Facing storms and shipwrecks in our lives really isn’t a matter of if; it is a matter of when. So it’s time for us to get our sea legs under us. Rather than trying to avoid the storms of life, we need to learn how to get through them, how to survive them, and how to learn the lessons that we can only learn in such times and such places.

It has been said that you can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails. In other words, I can’t control all the elements of my world—or even very many of them at all. But I can control my reaction to them. I can adjust my sails—and adapt.

The Problem of Lust and Some Solutions

September 15th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

In Matthew 5:27–28, Jesus deals with lust in the heart: “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (NLT).

Jesus wasn’t talking about a casual glance.
Rather, He was referring to a continual act of looking.
In this usage, the idea is not an incidental or involuntarily glance, but an intentional and repeated gazing with the express purpose of lusting.
This statement doesn’t apply to men only. It also applies to women looking lustfully at men.

So this refers to looking at someone for the deliberate purpose of lusting.
You remember the story David and his fall with Bathsheba.
David was not at fault for happening to see Bathsheba bathing.
Perhaps he could not have helped noticing her.

One must wonder if Bathsheba knew he would be there and intentionally put herself in a place where she would be seen. No modest Hebrew woman would normally bathe publically.
Remember, this is a two-way street! If lustful looking is bad, then those who dress and expose themselves with the desire to be looked at and lusted after are not less but perhaps more guilty!

Girls, think about what you are wearing (or not wearing) before you leave your house!
How would you feel if it were Jesus who were taking you out somewhere?
This doesn’t mean you can’t dress cool and be in style. But don’t dress in such a way as to encourage a guy to lust after you.
You might protest, “But Greg, some guys would lust after a tree!”
True, but that doesn’t excuse you from having some modesty!

David’s sin was a continuous looking and then taking dramatic action. He misused his considerable power as king and had her brought to his bedroom.
Clearly, this “man after God’s own heart” was the most culpable in this sin.

What we must do is, to the best our abilities, “guard our minds.” That doesn’t mean you do not notice that a girl is pretty or a guy good-looking. This is talking about taking it to another place, where you lust or fantasize about them. We must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”
(2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

• If an offensive scene comes on in that movie theater, get up and walk out.
• If something on TV is sexually suggestive, turn the channel or turn it off.
• If an attractive girl/guy is walking your direction, look down.
• If a conversation with a member of the opposite sex becomes sexually suggestive, terminate it.
• Check out something before you watch it, read it, etc.

Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman” (Job 31:1 NLT).
Be intentional!

This Weekend at Harvest/Riverside and Orange County-

September 13th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

Lust.
Retaliation.
Murder.
Do I have your attention?
These are issues that we all deal with in life.
Even Christians get mad and lose their temper.
Is that always wrong?
Is there a place for retaliation in the life of the believer?
What about self-defense?
What does it mean to “Turn your Cheek” and “Go the extra mile?”
Was Jesus the ultimate pacifist?
We will talk about that and more at Harvest/Riverside and Orange County in my message “What Jesus taught about Anger,Hatred and Lust”.
You can join us in person for our services on both campus’s which are 8:00,10:00 AM and 12:00 PM.
All of these services are at Pacific Standard Time.
Or,you can watch the LIVE HD Webcast at www.harvest.org

We Remember.

September 11th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

Today is 9/11
The day we remember the horrific attack against the United States resulting in a tragic loss of life.
The day we remember those who died, and those who laid their lives down in rescue efforts.
It is also the day we remember our brave soldiers who have fought and laid down their lives for the freedom we far too often take for granted.

Here is an article that was run last Saturday at the WorldNetDaily website, that I wrote on the topic of 9/11.

Did 9/11 Change Our Beliefs?

In the days following 9/11, I was interviewed by a number of newspapers and magazines. The journalists wanted to know how something so horrible, so unthinkable, could take place not only in the United States of America, but in New York City? They just couldn’t comprehend the wickedness, the capacity of someone who could kill thousands of people and lose their own lives in the process.

I reminded them that not only was there a God, but there was a devil, and that mankind was not basically good as we often hear, but that mankind is basically bad. In fact, the Bible teaches that mankind is sinful to the very core. People were shocked by this.

Our churches were packed like never before in the aftermath of this horrific attack. I remember well Sunday, Sept. 16, 2001, at the church where I pastor. It was the largest single attendance we have ever had in the history of the church. It was my hope and prayer that it would be a spark that would ultimately lead to a revival that would sweep our nation. But that has not happened. In fact, something quite surprising has taken place since 9/11.

A survey conducted by the Barna Research Group in Ventura, Calif., revealed that instead of a return to God after the attacks, there has been a resurgence of moral relativism.

This survey found that in the wake of 9/11, a mere 22 percent of a sample group of Americans told Barna’s researchers they still believed in absolute moral truth. That is compared with 38 percent in January 2000. That is saying more people believed there was such a thing as evil before 9/11 than now.

It would seem that more people would believe there is evil and more people would believe mankind is basically bad when they saw it demonstrated in such a dramatic way. But the opposite has occurred.

Moral relativism, which is basically the lack of moral absolutes, is more widespread than we may think. According to moral relativism, your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. And just because something is true to you doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true to me. In other words, there is no right or wrong.

This view would say that it is not right for us as the West, as the United States, to say that the actions of another nation are wrong. Who are we to say what is right and wrong? Moral relativism teaches that we are all products of the evolutionary process, and there is no God, there is no devil, and there is no evil. Instead, we make our own luck, we create our own faith, and we are all basically good inside.

If we do something bad, then it is not our fault because we are victims of our upbringing or environment. Moral relativism teaches there are no absolutes; it is the freedom from all restraint.

What I find interesting is that if you disagree with this viewpoint, then you are insensitive. If you have the audacity to say that you believe there is right and wrong or there is good and evil, then you are classified as insensitive, intolerant, bigoted and narrow-minded. If you dare to quote the Bible and say it is the source of truth, then you will be accused of pushing your puritanical belief system and values on someone else.

Although moral relativism has actually gained ground, the percentage of people who say they pray regularly since 9/11 has gone from 84 to 85 percent. On one hand, more people are saying there is no such thing as right and wrong, good and evil, and there is no God or devil. But on the other hand, we pray more than we did before.

Barna’s survey also found that Americans’ “personal commitment to Christ” remained stable at 68 percent and even increased among the youngest group from 58 to 61 percent. That may seem good, but actually I think it is relatively bad. These same people, when polled, did not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, nor did they believe that the devil is real. Rather, they classified him as a mere metaphor.

This essentially tells me that people are creating a whole new god, a god who doesn’t believe in right or wrong and doesn’t give us standards to live by. In essence, they have created a god in their own image.

Let me say something that might be controversial, but it is basic, biblical Christianity: Jesus Christ is the only way to God. All roads don’t lead to a relationship with God, and all religions don’t teach the same thing.

Someone who says she believes in God, believes she should pray, but doesn’t think Jesus is the only way cannot be a Christian. If you are a true Christian, then you have to believe the Bible. The very idea of being a Christian and knowing God comes from the Bible. We don’t make up the rules as we go.

I can’t go out on the streets today and say, “I have made up a new rule. I think that it is OK for me to drive 120 miles per hour. I believe it is OK for me to walk into a store and take whatever I want. It is mine for the taking.” I can believe these things, but soon I will have a new prison ministry. There are rules. There are absolutes. And whether I believe in them or not, those rules are still true.

Therefore I can’t come to the Bible and say, “I like this, and I like that, but I am not so sure I agree with this part of the Bible.” It is a package deal. We take it the way God gives it. False belief systems and false religions will keep us from God and not bring us to Him.

What concerns me is there are more people today who say they believe, but they don’t believe what the Bible says. I think that is why this country is in the state that it is in today and why there is no regard for human life.
The basis of morality is belief, and the basis of belief is the Bible. That gives us the absolute truth on which we can base our faith. And when we don’t have this belief, then we have chaos.

Listen Up!

September 10th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

The story is told of President Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what he said.

One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.”

It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. The ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming!”

Clearly the others were not listening!
This is why Jesus would often say,”He that has ears to hear,let him hear.”(Matt.11:15)
Or another way to translate it,”Listen up!”
The success or failure of our Christian life depends on how we hear God’s Word. It is no light thing to constantly hear the Scriptures preached and taught.

Those who hear are made more responsible than they ever were before.
So,let’s make sure we pay careful attention to what Scripture says,as it is the very word of God.

What is Prayer?

September 8th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness!
It’s not getting my will in heaven but getting God’s will on earth.

Martin Luther said, “By our praying, we are instructing ourselves more than Him.”

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14–15 NKJV).

Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. God only answers the requests which He inspires.

Prayer is surrender—surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will.

It’s like being on a boat, and I throw the boathook to the shore and pull. Do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore?

Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but aligning my will to the will of God.

Today at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

September 6th, 2014 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

Why is it that some people, after accepting Christ, take off spiritually and never stop?

They just go from fruitfulness to even greater fruitfulness.

Then there are others we know that take off like a rocket, then inexplicably, they crash and burn.
As we reflect back on the SoCal Harvest Crusade, at 15,000 people in total who made a profession of faith, we pray they will get and stay strong spiritually.

If you know one of these people, or you are yourself one of these people, make sure you tune into my message at Harvest Riverside and Orange County tomorrow.

We will also be showing an amazing documentary film about what God did at the crusade this year.

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