You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. While we're working to reignite our faith, Pastor Greg Laurie says the purposeful study of God's Word is imperative. You read it, you think about it, you meditate on it. It's just getting back and doing those things we should have been doing all along. We know we put on our socks before our shoes and our shirt before our jacket.
We all know that the order of things is important. Pastor Greg Laurie says a spiritual awakening will come to our culture after a spiritual revival comes upon the church. God described that dynamic in 2 Chronicles 7.14. Today on A New Beginning, we're learning about the components that lead to revival among God's people.
It's a part of Pastor Greg's enlightening series called Jesus Revolution. I want to talk about prayer and revival because that's really what needs to happen. We need to start praying like we've never prayed before. You know, it's interesting that one of the great awakenings that happened in America that I mentioned last time was what is called the prayer revival in New York City.
It started as a prayer meeting on Fulton Street in New York and it started very small. But then the stock market crashed and everyone basically was freaking out and calling on God. You know, when things are going well, we don't really need God all that much.
Oh, trust me. We need God. We need God badly.
But maybe we're just not willing to realize how desperate the situation really is. Often in the Bible, lethargy, laziness, and sleep is used as a picture of a person that is complacent in their relationship with God. In Romans 13, 11 it says it's more urgent right now. The day of the Lord is closer than it's ever been. Time is running out so wake up because our salvation is so close. So God wants to send a revival.
One person wrote it down this way. And I quote, if all the sleeping people will wake up. If all the lukewarm people will fire up. If all of the dishonest people will confess up. If all the disgruntled people will cheer up. If all the estranged people will make up. If all the gossipers will shut up. If all true soldiers will stand up. If the dry bones will shake up. If all the church people will pray up, then we can have a revival. I like that.
So here is point number one if you are taking notes. If you want to see a revival, you need to confess your sin, humble yourself, and pray. You need to confess your sin, humble yourself, and pray. And in a moment we are going to look at a passage of Scripture where that happened.
Where God's people began to pray like never before. But there are things that can hinder our prayer life. The Bible says that if we have idols in our heart the Lord will not listen to us.
So what is an idol? Well it can be anything. It could be a car. It could be a house. It could be your body. It could be some device that you have. A phone or whatever else.
It could be a career. It could be so many things that you are more passionate about than God. So the idea of not having another God before him is make God number one in your life. The first commandment is put God first and have no other gods before me.
And then he says don't make any graven images. So if we have an idol in our heart God won't hear us. Another thing that can hinder our prayer is unconfessed sin. You know because the Bible says that if we have iniquity in our hearts the Lord will not hear us. So I think it is really important for us to confess our sin.
In fact that kind of brings us to the text I want to look at. Nehemiah chapter 9. And this is the story of a massive prayer meeting that happened. And this prayer meeting took place after the people of Israel who had been held captive in Babylon for 70 years were free. And talk about idols. They were like an idol central.
They were idols everywhere. In fact the reason they ended up in Babylon is the Israelites kept taking God for granted and turning into these stupid false gods. So the Lord said, ok you guys want false gods and idols?
I will send you to a place where you have more than you can shake a stick at. After 70 years in Babylon they were allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They were led by Nehemiah. So after the walls were rebuilt and everybody was back in the land a prophet priest named Ezra gave a powerful message. And after he was done speaking the people prayed.
So Nehemiah 9 verses 1 to 4 I am reading from the New Living Translation. On October 31 the people assembled again and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads and those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. They remained standing in place for three hours while the book of the law of the Lord God was read aloud to them and for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord.
So that sounds like revival to me. So what do they do? They prayed with passion and they confessed their sins. The Bible says if we will confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You sin more than you think you do.
Let me restate that. We sin more than we think we do. And so they confess their sin. Number two they separated themselves from ungodly influences. They separated themselves from ungodly influences.
Verse 2 says they separated themselves from all foreigners. Our modern context would be getting away from bad influences. We all know people that drag us down don't we? And we all know people that pull us up. Some people when you are with them you are just a little bit closer to Jesus.
They inspire you to be a more godly person. Other people they are always mocking you, challenging you, arguing with you, pushing back on anything you say regarding your faith. You know you need to think about who you hang out with. Now I am not suggesting you only hang out with Christians because how can we lead people to Christ if we don't hang out with nonbelievers? But at the same time the Bible says that we are to flee youthful lusts and follow faith, righteousness, and peace.
Listen. Along with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Find godly people. Hang out with godly people. When I was a young Christian, just a kid like some of you are, I hung around with a lot of older people. I knew some people my age as well. But I found people that were old enough to be my parents who could be good role models for me so I could learn how to be a more godly version of me.
I would recommend you do the same thing. And thirdly they heard God's Word and they acted on it. That was after three hours of listening to the Word. And by the way when we listen to the Word of God it is not for us to pick and choose what parts we like and what parts we don't like. But some people will kind of edit things out.
They will say things like this. My God would never say that about a person. My God is all loving. Well I don't know who your God is but He may not be the God of the Bible.
He might be just a figment of your imagination. There is only one God and He reveals Himself in the Scripture. He says lo in the volume of the book I have come it is written of me. So you want to know again the mind of God, the nature of God, the will of God. Open this book. In fact everything you need to know about God is found in the Bible.
You don't need to look anywhere else. So they did those things. You know Jesus said you are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you. He didn't say you are my friends if you do whatsoever you agree with or whatsoever you find easy or whatsoever is culturally cool. He said you are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you. So it is very important for us to understand the Bible is a package deal as is the Christian life and we do it God's way or we are not doing it the right way. Do what God tells you to do. Listen to what God told Joshua in Joshua 1. He says be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you.
Don't deviate from them turning to the right or the left. Then God says you will be successful in everything you do. Study this book continuously. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.
And then you will prosper and succeed in all that you do. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know there is nothing like hearing the word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at Harvest.org. You can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the word of God together. So join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. And now Pastor Greg continues his message, prayer and revival from his series Jesus Revolution.
We are preparing for the release of the feature film Jesus Revolution on February 24th. We are looking together today at Nehemiah chapter 9. Do you know what it means to meditate on the word? It means to chew something over. This is a gross analogy but I will use it. You know how cows chew their cud? They chew, then they swallow, then they regurgitate it? I guess they figure hey if it was good last time I will have it again, right? And it is a warm meal too by the way.
Hey, just saying. But they chew it over, they chew it, chew it, chew it. Ok. That is how we should study the word of God. Not regurgitate it but read it, contemplate it, ponder it. You know we use the word meditation in an eastern sense. It means to empty your mind.
When you use the word meditate in a biblical sense it means to fill your mind. But it is not just jamming as many chapters in it that you can get in there. I have heard people say, I read ten chapters from the Bible today.
Fantastic. What chapters were they? I have no idea. I remember nothing. You would be better off to read ten verses with comprehension than ten chapters without it. So you read it. You think about it. You chew it over. You meditate on it.
You consider it throughout the day. This is not rocket science on how to be a strong and growing Christian. Revival doesn't have to be overly mystical.
It is just getting back and doing those things we should have been doing all along. Here is a really interesting statement from a man that worked very closely with a great evangelist known as D.L. Moody. This guy was named R.A. Torrey. Back in those days they liked to use initials instead of names.
So R.A. Torrey who worked with D.L. Moody made this statement. He says, I can give a prescription that will bring a revival to any church or any community or any city on earth. Number one. Let a few Christians, it doesn't have to be many, get thoroughly right with God. Again let a few Christians get thoroughly right with God. He says this is the prime essential.
If this is not done the rest I say will come to nothing. Number two. He says let them bind themselves together in a prayer group and pray for revival until God opens the heavens and comes down.
Number three. Let them put themselves at the disposal of God for Him to use as He sees fit in winning others to Christ. Then He says that is it.
That is all. It is sure to bring a revival to any church or any community. I have given this prescription around the world. It has been taken by many churches and many communities and in no instance has it ever failed. It cannot fail. So I need a revival. Lord send a revival.
Why don't you just do the things we just talked about. Remember from where you have fallen. Repent.
Do the first works quickly as I said earlier. Get right with God. Pray with others. Pray for revival till you see it in your life, in your family's life.
We don't have to worry about the whole planet or even the whole nation. Let revival start with you. Let it start in your home. Let it start in your life. It starts with you. The Jesus revolution starts right here in my heart. It starts in you.
It starts in me. And then I love how He says ask God to use you to win others to Christ. When is the last time you shared your faith? You just start doing those things alone and I think you will be surprised by what God will do in your life. God gives us a choice in Deuteronomy 30 19.
He says I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose life that you and your descendants may live. You know you decide what your life is going to be like. You can't control the circumstances of life. Oh I wish we could.
Trust me. But we can't. But I can control the decisions I make in life. I can't control what happens to me but I can control how I react to it.
Right? So every morning when I get up I have decisions to make. Choices to make. I went to Cheesecake Factory the other day. Their menu was too big. I was overwhelmed.
I thought come on. There are too many versions of chicken. There are like pages of chicken. Chicken. That is why I like Chick-fil-A.
It is just chicken sandwich spicy chicken sandwich fries the end. Good bye. You know simple straightforward.
Same with in and out. We make choices. And then our choices make us. And if we make the right choices we will live a blessed life. Not a pain free life.
Not a trouble free life. But we will live a blessed life. And Jesus will be with us walking through it through thick and thin.
And sunny days and stormy nights. But listen all these things I am saying these are for people that have put their faith in Jesus. And I wonder if you have done that. You know what we care about more than anything else is our relationship with God. And I wonder if some of you have enjoyed us here and you would say to yourself I don't really know God in this way. You know the thing that got me to believe in Jesus before anyone talked to me. And actually no one ever invited me to church.
No one even invited me to the Christian meeting where I ended up getting saved on my high school campus. What drew me to that meeting were Christians that loved Jesus. And I thought they were crazy. But I wanted to know why they were crazy.
So I went and sort of sat at a distance so I could figure out why I didn't have to be bothered by them anymore. And I ended up hearing the gospel in a way I understood for the first time. And that is the day I believed in Jesus Christ. I heard for the first time in a way I understood that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was sent from heaven to earth to die on the cross for my sin.
Because I have broken God's commandments and we have all fallen short of God's glory. And I was told if I would turn from my sin and believe in Him I could start this new relationship with God. And the statement that really got my attention is when the guy who was speaking said Jesus said you are either for me or against me.
You are with me or you are opposed to me. And I looked around at the Christians and I thought well I am not one of them. Does that mean I am against Jesus? I don't want to be against Him. But I didn't even know I could be for Him and know Him.
This is all new to me. And then he said if you want to ask Jesus in your life I am going to ask you to pray a prayer with me. And I did it and that was the day I became a Christian. A long time ago. 1970.
That is really long ago isn't it? But ever since that day from 17 to today a Jesus has been faithful to me. Jesus has been there for me. A Jesus has made Himself even more real to me.
And I want that to happen for you. Because Jesus who died on the cross and rose from the dead is here with us right now. And He says I stand at the door and I knock and if you will hear my voice and open the door I will come in. And I wonder if there is someone here or someone listening that has not yet opened the door of their life to Jesus.
But they would like to do it. He wants to come into your life. He wants to forgive you of your sin.
But only you can open the door of your life and ask Him to come in. In a moment we are going to pray. And I am going to extend an invitation similar to the one that was extended on my high school campus. For you to believe in Jesus Christ. For you to be forgiven of your sin.
For you to start this relationship with God and have your own Jesus revolution. Let's all pray. Father I pray for every person here.
Every person watching or listening wherever they may be. Help them to see their need for you. Help them to come to you.
Help them to believe in you. We pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer. And if you would like to make that kind of change today in your relationship with the Lord. Pastor Greg would like to help you with that. And he will do so before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Please stay with us. And then here is your invitation to go see the outstanding feature film Jesus Revolution.
Coming to a theater near you. It tells the story of the Jesus movement of the late 60's and early 70's. It follows Pastor Greg's life during that time. And shows how God transformed his heart and the hearts of so many others. It shows the story of young Greg with his mother Charlene.
Who would hang around in bars and get picked up by men. And the sad life that we had together which set me on a search as a young man. It's also a love story where I meet Kathy. And it's a story of how two very unlikely characters came together.
You know we're just kids in high school still. And it shows how we came to faith. It showed the crazy things we did before we were Christians.
And how we saw the emptiness of life without Jesus. It shows our love story. Our romance. And then it's a story of Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee. Now these are two very unlikely people that came together.
Chuck a very salt of the earth. A traditional kind of a guy. A pastor of a small struggling church. And Lonnie Frisbee a charismatic unusual hippie evangelist.
Then it was sort of like nitro met glycerin. And the result was a spiritual awakening. Well Pastor Greg Jesus Revolution is coming to theaters nationwide very soon. How can we all take advantage of this opportunity? The opportunity to not only see it ourselves.
But use it to bring people to the Lord. Yeah so here's how I would do it. I would go down to the theater. And I would buy two tickets, four tickets, whatever you want to do.
And then I would go to a friend and say you want to go to the movies with me? Let's go see this film Jesus Revolution. You're going to love this film. And trust me the movie will do the heavy lifting. Once this film starts it pulls people in.
They're just completely captured by the story and the music and the acting and everything else. And then afterwards go out and get some dinner or have some dessert. And say let's talk about that. You know what do you think about this Jesus Revolution movie? You know what do you think about that scene where Greg is baptized and prays and asks Christ to come into his life?
I mean it's a perfect way to get a conversation started. And I think that someone would be willing to go to a movie with you. Sometimes more than they'd be willing to go to a church. And let me say this. Not all Christian movies are well made. This is the most unchristian Christian movie that I've ever seen. And at the same time it has more gospel in it than any Christian movie.
So let me explain that statement. When I say unchristian Christian movie I mean it isn't the predictable film that's tidy with a little bow on it. This movie is a little gritty at times. It's realistic. It shows the real search of a young Greg and a young Kathy making a lot of bad decisions.
Going into drugs etc. and so forth. So you know you're pulled into the reality of the story. But then when it gets to the moment where my character accepts Christ it's very straight forward. I've never seen anything like this in any film ever. And I think it's the biggest moment of the film in many ways.
Many say that. But I think it could be the most important moment for the person watching it where they could pray and accept Christ into their life. So this is a film that I promise you will surprise your friend that you take. It has twists and turns especially toward the end that you would not expect in a Christian film. But it has a beautiful powerful redemptive ending. It's a true story. So there's twists and turns in the stories of life and everything doesn't work out perfectly. But we see God at work in this film and we pray that we'll see God at work in the lives of the people who watch it.
Yeah, yeah that's right. Well Jesus Revolution will be officially released February 24th. It's a moving evangelistic story within a great motion picture. And by the way there will be a special national preview showing February 22nd two days earlier. It will feature special bonus content including an easy to understand presentation of the gospel by Pastor Greg.
So make plans to bring someone who needs the Lord. To get tickets to the special preview February 22nd go to JesusRevolution.Movie. Now that's dot movie not dot com. Again JesusRevolution.Movie. And thanks so much for partnering with us as we share the gospel in this innovative way. You partner with us as you support the film at your local theater. And you partner with us when you send a donation in support of sharing the gospel. In fact to thank you for your generosity right now we want to send you the book that tells the story in more depth.
It's also called Jesus Revolution. We'll send you the book to thank you for your investment. So get in touch today. Our 24-7 phone number is 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to Harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you spoke today about having a relationship with the Lord. Someone can enter into that kind of a relationship with God right now can't they? Yeah they really can. That's the amazing thing. I think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't take days.
It doesn't even take hours. You can believe on the spot. And I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for His forgiveness. A prayer where you can receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life. If you want Him to forgive you of your sin. If you want a second chance in life.
If you want to go to heaven when you die. Stop what you're doing and pray after me. These words, Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner. And I'm sorry for my sin. And I turn from it now.
And I choose to follow you from this moment forward. As Savior and Lord. As God and friend.
Thank you for loving me. And calling me. And forgiving me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Amen. And listen if you have just prayed those words with Pastor Greg. The Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin. The Bible says Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin.
And cleanses from all unrighteousness. And we'd like to send you some materials to help you begin to live this new life. We call it our New Believers Growth Packet. Just ask for it and we'll send it to you free of any charge. If you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg. Call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300. Again 1-800-821-3300. Or just go online to harvest.org and click on Know God.
And then one other thing. As you know 2 Chronicles 7-14 says, If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Well Pastor Greg is asking us all to do just that. To humble ourselves and pray each day. At 7-14 each day we're committing to praying for revival among believers and a spiritual awakening in the culture. And we're asking God to use Jesus' revolution as the catalyst. Will you join us in this? Commit to praying with us each day at 7-14.
Thanks so much. Well next time an enlightening discussion about matters of the end times. As Pastor Greg invites Bible scholar Don Stewart to join him. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story. Leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
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