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The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith: A Reward Worth the Risk

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 24, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith: A Reward Worth the Risk

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 24, 2021 3:00 am

Evangelism is at the heart of Pastor Greg Laurie’s ministry. From this radio broadcast, A New Beginning, to his television program, to his large Harvest evangelistic events, the Gospel is always a central component. Our mission statement is Knowing Him and Making Him Known. And today, from Pastor Greg’s new series called Refresh, we dig deep into some principles for effective personal evangelism by learning from the most successful evangelistic outreach in history.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. When we make ourselves available to God, Pastor Greg Laurie points out today on A New Beginning that God will make His power and direction available to us. God is looking for people to show Himself strong on behalf of. He's looking for someone, well like you, who will actually say, use me Lord, I'll go where you want me to go. I'll say what you want me to say. Listen, will you be that person?

If so, a wonderful adventure awaits you. Evangelism is at the heart of Pastor Greg Laurie's ministry. From his radio broadcast, A New Beginning, to his television program, to his large Harvest evangelistic events, the gospel is always a central component. Our mission statement is knowing Him and making Him known. And today, from Pastor Greg's new series called Refresh, we dig deep into some principles for effective personal evangelism by learning from the most successful evangelistic outreach in history.

Okay, let's go back in time. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a very young Greg Laurie, age 17, came to believe in Jesus Christ. So I started going to church. I started reading the Bible for the first time I might add. And I heard the pastor say, you need to go out and tell other people about Jesus Christ. And I did want to tell people what God had done for me. My life had been transformed.

I found the answers that I and my generation were searching for. But I did not want to walk up to a total stranger. There was a fear of rejection.

They might ask me a question I don't have the answer to. But I got a little booklet called The Four Spiritual Laws put out by Campus Crusade for Christ. And I went out looking for someone to talk to. Understand I had a thimble full of theological knowledge at this point. I knew very little.

I saw a middle-aged woman sitting on the beach in Newport Beach about the age of my mom. And I thought, well maybe she will be nice to me. I walked up. I was very nervous. My voice was shaking. And I said, I talked to you about God and stuff.

And she says, yeah go ahead. So I sat down. And I was so new at this I literally just read this little booklet. I hadn't even memorized its contents. Page one. Page two. Page one. God loves you and has a plan for your life.

You are separated from God by your sin. And I read through it. And I remember thinking as I am doing this, this is not going to work.

Who do I think I am? This is the most insane thing I have ever done. I couldn't wait until it was over with. So at least I could say to someone, I talked to someone about Jesus. I was planning for failure.

Trust me. So I get to the end of this little booklet where a question is asked, is there any good reason why you should not accept Jesus Christ right now? I realize oh that is a question. So I looked up at her and she said, no. I looked back down. Wait. Does that mean you want to accept Jesus Christ right now?

She said, yes. Oh no. I didn't know what to do. Well I had heard the pastor say, let's all bow our heads and a word of prayer. So I said, let's pray. Bow your head.

I am frantically searching this booklet for like what do I do now. And I found this little prayer which I let her in. And after she was done praying she said, something just happened to me.

And something happened to me too. I discovered the joy of sharing my faith. The thing I didn't want to do.

The thing I dreaded doing ended up being exciting and fulfilling and refreshing. So that is the title of my message. The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith, which is a part of our new series that we are simply calling Refresh. Now I know it seems counterintuitive to talk to people about Jesus because it seems hard.

We too are afraid of rejection. But here is the truth of the matter. By the way I don't think Satan wants you to know this.

Listen. When you tell others about Jesus it will revive you. It will restore you. And it will refresh you as a follower of Jesus Christ.

I want to say that again. When you tell others about Jesus it will refresh you. It will revive you. It will restore you. Proverbs 11 25 says, a generous person will prosper.

Listen. And he who refreshes others will be refreshed himself. So this is a very important spiritual principle. Now we all know as Christians we are supposed to share our faith. You have probably heard of the Great Commission.

In case you don't know what it is. It is found in two gospels. Matthew and Mark. Mark's version has Jesus saying, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Matthew's version is go into all the world and make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And lo I am with you always says our Lord. The Great Commission. We know we are supposed to do it.

But frankly most of us don't. Listen. The Bible says that God is looking for people to show Himself strong on behalf of.

He is looking for someone well like you. Who will actually say, use me Lord. I will go where you want me to go. I will say what you want me to say.

Listen. Will you be that person? If so a wonderful adventure awaits you. I believe that sharing your faith can be exciting, joyful, and dare I use the word fun.

Yes you heard me right. And Psalm 126 says, those who go out weeping carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy carrying their sheaves with them. You have heard that old song, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves. That is what that is about. You go out with sadness, concern for people that don't know the Lord, but you come back with joy because people have come to Christ. Jesus said there is joy in heaven every time a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ. And if there is joy in heaven because of that there ought to be joy on earth and in our hearts if we had the privilege of playing a role in that as well.

Listen. Next to personally knowing the Lord the greatest joy I know is bringing others to Him and then watching them grow and be transformed. There is joy in telling people about Jesus and seeing them grow in Jesus. Back to the story of Jonah. The book of Jonah is a story of a massive revival that came about through the efforts of one man.

And that man was Jonah. He was called to preach to Nineveh, which was a great city by the way. The population of Nineveh was around 300,000. It might have been a little smaller but that was a mega city back at that time. The reason the population was so high is because it became the capital of Assyria. There was a magnificent palace built there.

So it was a very very large city of its day 300,000 strong. It was a great city we read in Jonah 1-2. But Jonah said I don't want to go preach to that great city. So then we read in Jonah 1-4 God sent a great wind. And then that wind brought a storm and Jonah was ultimately swallowed by a great fish. Jonah 1-17. But the ultimate story of Jonah is about a great God who showed great love to a lost city like Nineveh and offered them His forgiveness. If we miss that we have missed the whole point of the story.

How was he able to do this? It started with Jonah himself. Of course he was swallowed by maybe the whale or whatever that creature was. And it was in the belly of that whale that Jonah had a personal revival. It was there that he repented of his sin and recommitted himself to the Lord and was willing to do what the Lord called him to do. And he has a message 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

Wow what a story this is. But listen Jonah was the right man at the right place at the right time. I wonder if you know somebody right now that the Lord has been nudging you to talk to. Why don't you engage that person in a conversation? Did it ever occur to you that God has placed you right where you are right now to reach certain people?

So seize the moment. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here. You know my uncle Fred Jordan had one of the first Christian TV programs out there. It was called Church in the Home.

I remember watching it as a little boy when I was living with my grandparents. Well we have Church in the Home for you every weekend. It's called Harvest at Home and you can find it at Harvest.org. We have worship and a message from God's Word.

So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is anchoring our study in Jonah chapter 3 today as he brings us his message called The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith Part 1. What else did we learn about sharing our faith from the book of Jonah?

Number two. Jonah went to where the people were. Jonah went to where the people were. Jonah 3 3 says Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city. It took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day's journey into the city crying 40 more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.

Then we read these words. The Ninevites believed God. He went right into the middle of the city. He could have just shouted it from the shores of Nineveh. 40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown.

Thank you very much. Well I need a ride back somewhere. No. He went into the city. He could have shot a tweet out.

No they didn't have Twitter back then. But he could have got the message out in other ways. But he realized I need to go into the middle of the city where people are.

This massive city of 300,000 people. Listen. We need to go to unexpected people in unexpected places to share with them what will be an unexpected message. That is why here at Harvest we are online for you every weekend. And you may be watching us at our website harvest.org. Maybe our Facebook page. Maybe on YouTube. You might be watching this on television. You might be hearing this on radio.

These are the various media platforms that we use. We are always looking for ways to reach people that you would not normally reach. People who would not necessarily darken the doorway of a church. We read a letter a little bit earlier from that gentleman who was a trucker. He heard our ministry while he was driving his truck and we were able to invade his world.

And this is the thing. As Christians we're not called to isolate. We're called to infiltrate and we're called to permeate.

Number three. Our message. The message of the gospel must be delivered with urgency.

It must be delivered with urgency. Notice it says in Jonah 3 4 as he entered the city he cried out 40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown. He cried out. This is by the way not the first time that Jonah cried.

He also cried out in the belly of the fish. And Jonah 2 we read Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly and he said I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction and he answered me out of the belly of Sheol I cried and you heard my voice. Are you in a time of affliction? Are you in a time of difficulty? Are you in a time of trial? Cry out to the Lord. Jeremiah 33 3 says call out to me and I will answer you says the Lord.

I'll show you great and mighty things that you do not know. Jonah took the desperation he felt in the belly of the sea creature and channeled it in what God had called him to do in bringing the message to the people of Nineveh. Jonah had been transformed in the fish's belly. Jonah should have died in the fish's belly. He had been saved and preserved by God. Jonah was a resurrection man.

And people cannot argue with a transformed life. Jonah should have been dead but he was alive and well. Because of this there was an urgency and there was a passion in what he was saying.

Do you have an urgency and a passion in reaching other people? Jonah certainly had it. There was an authenticity in his voice. He was a changed man as I pointed out.

He probably was also a bleached man who smelled of vomit perhaps and fish. But he had a mission and he was going to fulfill that mission and the people of Nineveh could see this was a resurrection man. This was a man brought back from the dead. There's a lot of power in your personal story when you share your faith with others. But I want you to think of a story in the New Testament. It's called the story of the woman at the well.

It's in John 4. We don't know this lady's name but fascinating story. We know she was a Samaritan and the Samaritans and the Jews wanted nothing to do with each other. There was a lot of tension there.

Racial tension. And then also we know she was an immoral woman because she had been married and divorced five times and she was living with some dude when she encountered Jesus. Now the thing with this woman is she would go and draw water in the heat of the day.

Why? Because she went when nobody else was at the well. The other ladies would go to the well earlier in the morning, catch up on the latest town gossip. But she was ostracized. She was rejected because of the lifestyle she had chosen to live. So she was there all by herself drawing water in the heat of the day. And who was waiting for her but Jesus Christ the very Son of God. He went out of His way to meet with her because unbeknownst to her she had an appointment with God. And there she was at that well and Jesus entered her world. And then she heard the truth of His message. How she drank of the water He gave she would never thirst again but there would be a well of living water coming out of her life. And she believed she realized she had been talking with the Messiah. And we read in John 4 28 she left her water jar. She came back to town and said to the people come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah. Then we read this. They came out of the town and made their way to Jesus.

Why? Because she was a resurrection woman. She was a woman who had been changed. They knew her. She had a bad reputation. But they saw her passion and her excitement for what Christ had done for her. And as a result they came and wanted to hear Jesus for themselves. You know I love the way Jesus connected to her. He asked her questions.

He listened to her. He didn't come off as a know-it-all. Don't be a know-it-all. I know you know certain things as a Christian but sometimes they're talking to a non-believer and they'll say something. Well that's wrong. That's so stupid.

Why would you think that? Just listen. Don't be a know-it-all. Who was more of a know-it-all than Jesus? He literally knew it all.

I mean technically knew it all because He was omniscient, which means all knowing. Sometimes we are accused of being holier than thou. Don't be holier than thou. Who was more holy than Jesus? He was the holiest of any man who ever walked the planet because He was God incarnate. But He didn't come off holier than thou.

The Bible says He was a friend of sinners. He entered her world. He listened to her.

He took time with her and it resulted in a transformation. Listen. Effective evangelism is not a monologue. It's a dialogue. Now when I speak at our crusades I have the privilege of standing on a stage and speaking to 30,000, 50,000 people. Sometimes more.

Sometimes less. It's effectively a monologue. Occasionally someone might yell at me from the audience. But generally it's me speaking through a microphone, through a massive sound system to a lot of people. That's a monologue. But when I share my faith one on one it is a dialogue. I don't walk around with a pulpit like this on wheels.

You know on the market pushing it down the aisle. I've got my bread, my bottle of water. Hey how are you doing? Let me tell you about Jesus. Now I don't do it like that. I enter people's worlds. I listen to them. I don't tell them I'm a pastor up front if they're a stranger because they'll run away in terror if they're talking to an actual preacher.

But I just try to be a friend to them. And so here's some interesting stats for you to consider. 79 percent of unchurched people agree with the following statement. I don't mind talking to a friend about their faith if they really value it. Isn't that interesting? 79 percent.

That's the majority. People who are not believers are saying I don't mind talking with a friend about their faith if they value it. So they want to see do you actually believe this yourself?

Do you value this yourself? The Barna group asked non-believers what they value most when talking about spiritual things with someone. Listen. They answered they want people to listen without judgment. Listen without judgment.

This isn't easy for some Christians. You want to judge people. You want to condemn people. You want to yell at people.

That's not how you're going to reach people. The objective is not to win the argument. It's to win the soul. The goal is not to burn the bridge. It's to build the bridge, which means you listen with love.

You let them tell you their story. And then you appropriately apply the message of the gospel. Such good counsel today for all of us because we're all called to share the life-saving message of the gospel. Pastor Greg Laurie with his study called The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith Part 1.

And this is a new beginning. And then we're so excited to make available a new book called The Jesus Music. You know, Pastor Greg, in the mid-70s, I was a DJ at a Jesus music station not far from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, where so much of that music was born. And our entire library was about 60 albums. So even by the mid-70s, it was still a fledgling music format, nothing like it is today. And we tried to expand its reach.

We tried to work through the churches to get the word out about this new music. And frankly, most resisted. It was different. It had drums and guitars, and they didn't want any of that stuff.

Well, things have changed, haven't they? I mean, it's not uncommon to see electric guitars and drums and all that in churches today. A lot of the things that you see in the church today actually came from the Jesus movement. One of them is contemporary Christian music.

Another is, I would say, a more casual approach by the preacher, maybe dressed in a more relaxed way. A lot of things that are commonplace in the church were born in this time of revival that started somewhere around maybe 69, went on through the 70s. And one of the big things was the music. The Jesus music was the soundtrack of that movement.

And I had the privilege of having a front row seat. I didn't know that I'd walk smack dab into the middle of a genuine spiritual awakening. In fact, I wrote a book about it called The Jesus Revolution.

By the way, it's being made into a feature film that will be released in 2022. But this music was happening. Amazing, fresh, new music that was current for our generation.

And not only was it made back then, but it continues to this present day. So a book has been written about this called The Jesus Music. It's a beautiful hardbound book with glossy pages filled with photographs and stories about these artists, the ones who pioneered the Jesus music, people like Love Song, Andre Crouch and the Disciples, and of course Larry Norman through artists like Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith through bands like Petra and Striper to the present day with bands that we listen to today and artists that we listen to today.

Fascinating origins. And this book is a story of, well, flawed individuals that God worked through. A lot of these artists weren't perfect people.

But who is a perfect person? It's not the whole Bible, the story of flawed people that God worked through. So this is a book that will tell you things about this music that you've probably grown to love that you've never heard before or seen before. It's a brand new book called The Jesus Music. I had the privilege of writing the foreword. And I think you're gonna really enjoy this.

This is the kind of book you'll probably sit down on your coffee table and keep out to look at again and again. So we're encouraging you to order your own copy of The Jesus Music written by Marshall Terrell who I wrote three books with and I'm working on a fourth book with by the way. And this is something you're gonna love and it will be yours for your gift of any size. Now some of you can give a lot. We appreciate that. Some of you can only give a little. Whatever you give, we will send you your own copy of The Jesus Music as our way of saying thanks to you.

Yeah, that's right. And we hope you'll contact us today with your investment in this ministry. And we'll send you this beautiful hardback edition of The Jesus Music.

So many great pictures and such great stories of the birth of contemporary Christian music. You can write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call anytime 24 7 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time we take a break from our current refresh series to bring a study particularly appropriate for Thanksgiving Day here in the US. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-18 06:54:11 / 2023-07-18 07:03:46 / 10

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