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The Power of One: "What Can I Do?"

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2020 3:00 am

The Power of One: "What Can I Do?"

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 3, 2020 3:00 am

For every Oskar Schindler or Raoul Wallenberg who are known to have saved thousands of Jews from Nazi holocaust, there’s a Sir Nicolas Winton who saved even more but was never given public recognition. It would have been easy for him to say, “I’m just one man, what can I do?” Instead, he acted.

Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that one person can make a huge difference in the world, especially when he or she is guided and empowered by the Spirit of God!

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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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If you would like to know how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.

That's harvest.org. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says don't discount what kind of change you can make when you stand up and speak out for what's right. One Christian making a stand in a given situation can change everything around them. I once heard it said, I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do. The power of one. For every Oscar Schindler or Raoul Wallenberg who were known to have saved thousands of Jews from Nazi Holocaust, there's a Sir Nicholas Winton who saved even more but was never given public recognition. It would have been easy for him to say, I'm just one man.

What can I do? Instead, he acted. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out one person can make a huge difference in the world, especially when he or she is guided and empowered by the Spirit of God.

It was 1994. I had just signed with a major Christian publisher. This was a first for me, and I suddenly found myself surrounded by some very well-known authors and speakers who had been writing for quite a long time. So this publishing company wanted to do a little bus tour. Actually, it was more like a metaphorical bus tour because we only had one stop.

But they thought that would be kind of a clever thing. We were all on a bus together, and so we all boarded the bus meeting the other well-known Christian authors. And an older African American woman was boarding the bus, and she looked familiar to me.

And I asked someone, who is that lady? And they said, oh, that's Rosa Parks. You mean Rosa Parks, the civil rights legend? Yeah, Rosa Parks.

I couldn't believe it. Hey, I didn't want to talk to these stupid preachers. I wanted to talk to Rosa Parks.

And so here's the irony. I'm talking to Rosa Parks on a bus. And if you know your history, of course, she distinguished herself. It was in 1955 when the South was segregated. Black people were forced to use separate drinking fountains, separate restrooms.

They would have the sign colored over them. Horrible time in the history of our country. And they were expected to sit in the back of the bus. Well, Rosa Parks courageously refused to sit at the back of the bus, and she took her rightful place in the front of the bus, and she made history. She was later called the first lady of civil rights, and she was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

By the way, the highest honor given to a civilian. So here I am with Rosa Parks on a bus. We weren't in the back.

We were in the middle actually. But I had to hear the story, and she was very gracious and took the time to talk with me. And what I was not aware of was her very strong faith in Christ. That is what gave Rosa the courage to make a stand.

You know it has been said, character is not made in crisis. It is revealed. I thanked her for the stand she took. I wish I had got a photo. I have one in my mind.

She has since gone on to be with the Lord. But it just made me stop and think about the power of one. One Christian making a stand in a given situation can change everything around them.

I once heard it said, I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.

Listen to this. One godly man or woman in the darkest situation can make a dramatic difference. Jesus said, You are the salt of the earth. What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?

It is really good for nothing but to be walked on. I was in a restaurant yesterday with my wife and her dad who is now 92 years old. And so we ordered fish. And it looked great. I got it blackened. I love to get fish blackened.

And I don't know how they did this. There was no flavor in this fish. Like zero flavor. So I am sprinkling salt all over my fish and some pepper trying to get some flavor there somehow because that is what salt does. It sort of enhances flavor. A little pinch of salt like in your oatmeal will take it to the next level.

Right? Try it on some cantaloupe. Just a little bit.

Not too much. Too much salt can be overkill and it can wreck a meal. My wife made me an omelet the other day and she makes, by the way, the best omelet on earth. Kathy Laurie owns the omelet. Just know that.

Mark it at this place right here. Anyway. So she made me one of her great omelets and so I put salt on it. And then she had put salt on it so it was too salty. See I didn't know she had put salt on it. A little salt goes a long way.

I was in a restaurant years ago with a friend. I put that in quotes because of what he did to me. But I went to the restroom and came back and he thought it would be funny to almost pour an entire salt shaker into my iced tea. And so I took a big gulp and before I swallowed it I realized what he had done. And my mouth is just filled with this horribly salty water. I am not going to swallow it.

That is not going to happen. I am not going to spit it on the floor. So I had a half drunk glass of water and I spit it in there. Sorry. I did that.

Spit it in the water. And I called him a dog and we went on with our conversation. And then I had to leave and I said, well goodbye. And as I got up to leave he just took two large gulps of his iced tea and then a shocked look was on his face.

He had not drunk his iced tea. He had drunk my spit out salty tea water. And I said, it serves you right.

Your sin will find you out and you will reap what you sow. Boom. A little salt goes a long way. And a little light goes a long way.

Try pulling your cell phone out in a theater. Every eye will go to it. One person can make all the difference out there. And so I want to look now at the power of one. One man who impacted millions of people. One man who through his godly life of integrity kept two and a half million from turning to idolatry. I am talking about Moses the man of God. That is how he was described.

Moses the man of God. May that be said of us. Not just by casual acquaintances. But by our family and close friends.

Those who know us well. If someone meets you once and says they are a man of God that is one thing. But if your wife says you are a man of God, man you are doing well. If your kids say you are a man or a woman of God that is significant.

If people that know you well and spend time with you say it that is the highest compliment that can be paid. Moses the man of God. And you know what? When Moses the man of God left the scene literally all hell broke loose.

You remember that. Moses had gone into the court of Pharaoh and demanded the release of the Jews. Pharaoh refused.

He hardened his heart. A series of plagues came upon Egypt. Finally he acquiesced and the Jewish people were now free and they went out into the wilderness and had their first Passover meal together. Well as they are making their way to their new land the Lord directs them right to the edge of the Red Sea. So behind them was the desert. In front of them was the Red Sea.

Sort of caught between a rock and a hard place. And the Pharaoh heard about this and decided he was going to kill all of them. So he got the Egyptian army ready and they went and saw the Israelites who now were crossing through the Red Sea that had been parted as Moses held his staff up and the Egyptians thought they would get them but they didn't bargain on the waters closing on them and drowning all of them. So now the Israelites have been delivered from Egypt. And God has this amazing GPS system for them.

Remember fire by night. Cloud by day. When the cloud moved they moved.

When it stopped they stopped. In addition to this the Lord fed them every day a supernatural substance that would fill their bellies called manna. They would have manna for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You would get up in the morning and they were waiting right outside of your tent. It was fresh manna. By the way it comes from the Hebrew word krispokrimo. We get our English phrase krispy cream from.

No I made that all up. But it was delicious. So they had GPS.

They had amazing food. They had the Lord Himself guiding them. But then something went wrong.

Horribly wrong. They turned away in mass and engaged in idolatry worshipping a golden calf. Which reminds us that miracles will not necessarily guarantee godly living. I mean every day receiving your manna. That was a miracle. Having the Red Sea Part to let you and your family through. That was a miracle. Then closing the Egyptian army. Another miracle. Everything was a miracle. But yet they turned to this false god.

So here was the problem. It was the fact that they had a shallow and superficial faith. I don't think their first idol was the golden calf. I think their first idol was Moses himself.

They allowed Moses the man of God to take the place of the true and living God. And we can do the same thing. And it is not necessarily the fault of the person that we may make an idol in our heart. It is just that we have our values out of whack.

And so we think that person walks on water. We think that person is perfect. And then when they show humanity, vulnerability, weakness, and even sinfulness we are shocked. Well don't put anyone in the place of God. And this is shown by the fact that when Moses left to receive the Ten Commandments everything just fell apart. You know there are some people that really walk with God.

And I put that in quotes because someone else does. For instance that husband comes to church because his wife comes to church and he is there to please her. Or the kids go to church because mom and dad want them to go to church. Or people go to a church to hear some preacher that draws a lot of crowds.

Ok but here is the problem. Maybe one day that woman doesn't want to go to church anymore so now the husband will stop. Or the parents stop going so the kids will stop. Or the preacher doesn't live up to the hype or whatever people expect him to be. And then some even turn away from their faith. No we need to be careful and let the Lord hold that place in our life. Not any other person. In just a moment Pastor Greg explains just how Moses leadership made an impact on the Israelites.

Good insight that we can apply coming up next. Hearing about listeners whose lives have been changed because of the radio ministry of A New Beginning is so encouraging. A New Beginning.

What a perfect name. Pastor Greg and staff, I'm a proud mother of two and a fairly new born again Christian. I struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for many years but have been sober for some time now. I thought I had become close to the Lord but late last year something happened to me. Something I still to this day can't even put my finger on except to say I was completely attacked by darkness. My world as I knew it seemed to turn upside down. I felt completely alone and it felt like I had no one to turn to.

Even now just thinking about it tears flow down my cheeks. In my absolute determination to stay out of my own head and the negative thoughts that seemed to be flooding it. I turned on the radio and began listening to your program. It was as if the Lord was speaking directly to me through you.

Your words were quenching a thirst I didn't even know I had. Sermon by sermon I began to feel God's undying love for me. I really believe that you all played a huge role in saving my life and bringing me closer than I ever could have imagined to the Lord. I want to say thank you with all of my heart.

I feel like you all are my family and I will forever have a place in my heart, in my mind and on my radio. How have these daily studies in God's Word encouraged you? Why not drop Pastor Greg an email and let him know? Send it to Greg at harvest dot org.

Do it today while you're thinking about it. Again that's Greg at harvest dot org. Well today Pastor Greg is showing us the leadership of Moses and how it made a big difference among God's people.

Here's Pastor Greg now to continue. So here's what happened to the Israelites. Exodus 32 one. They're waiting on Moses. When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain they gathered around Aaron.

Come on they said. Make us some gods who can lead us. We don't know what happened to this fellow Moses who brought us here from the land of Egypt.

Interesting. Instead of recognizing it was the Lord through Moses who had led them out of Egypt they thought it was Moses himself. And as soon as Moses was gone they were looking for something to take his place. Again Moses was their first idol.

The golden calf was the second idol. In effect they were saying look we need something we can touch. I mean Moses was the guy we could grab him by the arm. We could voice our complaints to him. We could pat him on the back. But he's not here. So we need some tangible thing. We cannot relate to an invisible god. We need an object. We need a thing.

We need something that we can look to to help us. And that's where the golden calf comes in. Now we can be critical of Moses but really we should not because it was his integrity and influence that kept them from doing this. In fact Moses the man of God should be commended, emulated, and followed. He demonstrates the power of one. How did he do it?

Number one. He was a man of personal integrity. He was a godly man of personal integrity.

He kept over two million people from idolatry by living a godly life. Let me ask you this. Do you have personal integrity? Do you have character? I didn't ask you if you are a character. I asked you if you have character.

D.L. Moody the great evangelist defined character as what you are in the dark. I actually came across an interesting article in Forbes magazine which is really oriented toward those in business. And the headline was success will come and go but integrity is forever. I thought that was a good opening statement. So I read this article and it said among other things, Integrity means doing the right thing at all times under all circumstances whether or not anyone is watching. It goes on to say building integrity takes years but it only takes a second to lose.

How true. Building integrity takes years but losing it can take only seconds. Billionaire Warren Buffet when he is looking for people to hire looks for three qualities. Number one, integrity. Number two, intelligence. And third, energy.

He says but if they don't have the first one the other two will kill you. I mean you can have energy. You can have intelligence.

But if you don't have integrity you don't have really much at all. And Moses had integrity. He was Moses the man of God.

And when he is out of the picture look what happens. And now when Aaron is left in charge he was like the worst babysitter ever. Years ago when our son Christopher was around 15 we asked him to babysit his younger brother Jonathan.

Ten years younger. Jonathan is just a little guy. And we went down to San Diego. So we called to see how everything was going. And Jonathan answers the phone. He said, Jonathan where is Christopher? He is asleep. Well go wake him up.

It seemed like ten minutes go by. You know you go wake him up and he comes back. He is still sleeping. I said Jonathan go over and hit your brother in the face. Hit him in the face. Because I know he is not going to hurt him but he may wake him. I said go get him. He came back.

He is still sleeping. Ok Jonathan. And I said this to him.

Not my wife. I said go get a little cup. You know your cup. Dip it in the toilet. Because he couldn't reach the water. I said pour it on Christopher's face. He had to wake up. He said he is still not waking up.

We are miles away and this little boy is walking around the house with his brother asleep. So we needed some folks down at the police department. And we asked them if they would go and check. So they came to my house. All the doors were locked. They finally broke open my garage door and came in.

Christopher woke up looking a cop staring at him. So that was a wake up call. Right.

But you know sometimes you ask someone to do something and they don't do the job you were hoping they would do. Right. So here is Aaron left in charge of the Israelites. Ok Aaron look. God is calling me up to Mount Sinai up yonder there. Now I am going to go up there and I am going to receive the commandments.

Can you take care of things? No problem Moses. I have got it covered. And so while he is gone the people come to Aaron and say, Hey you know we need something we can worship. And Aaron says, Bring me all of your gold. Bring me all of your bling.

Ok. So he takes all the gold. He melts it. Makes it into the shape of a calf and says, This is your God that brought you out of Egypt. And now meanwhile here is Moses up in the mountain and he is getting ready to return.

And this is what he sees. Exodus 32 verse 21. Moses comes down and demands, What did these people do to make you bring such terrible sin upon them? Hey don't be so upset Aaron says. You know how evil these people are. They said, Make us gods who will lead us.

We don't know what happened to this fellow Moses who brought us from the land of Egypt. So I said, Whoever has gold jewelry take it off. And they brought it to me and I threw it into the fire and out came this calf.

Yeah that is exactly how it happens. What a lie. Aaron initiated it. He was responsible.

And that is the second thing. He didn't take responsibility for his actions. It was his watch and he helped the people with this idolatry.

He should have stopped them cold and refused. And to make matters worse he wrapped it in religious jargon to do away with the guilt. Look at verse 5 of Exodus 32. He made a proclamation and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.

Wait a second. A feast to the Lord. You are going to worship an idol and you are calling it a feast to the Lord? And then we read in verse 6, They rose early, offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings.

They sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Oh but this still happens. You know we will do our little token spiritual thing. You know I am amazed people go, Our meal is here. We better say grace. Some people freak out if you forget grace. You didn't say grace.

Oh sorry. Ok. Let's pray. Thank you Lord. I mean I encourage you to say grace. I encourage you to give thanks before your meal. But it is not the end of the world if you do it at the end of the meal. In fact maybe you should wait until the end of the meal to see if it is worth thanking God for. No I am not joking. I have had some burnt offerings come my way for more.

I am joking. It is good to give thanks before. You can give thanks during. You can give thanks after. You know chill.

Ok relax. You just give thanks. That is the main thing.

But people will fixate on something like that. And then they will go commit gross sin. You know I am going to take this girl out and we are going to have a meal. Oh let's pray. Lord bless the food. But wait.

What is happening the rest of the night? See if your plans for the night are to go get drunk and maybe to have sex God doesn't want to hear your grace. God wants you to repent.

You see my point. Oh it is a burnt offering to the Lord. Lord is saying I am not hearing the burnt offering.

All I am seeing is you guys worshiping a golden calf. There is a fascinating passage over in Amos 5.23 where God says, take away from me your noisy songs and your stringed instruments. I don't want to hear them anymore. Did you know there can come a point where you are singing praises to the Lord and God would say, stop already. I don't want to hear. But I am singing so beautifully.

I don't care. Because your lifestyle is contradicting what you are singing and what you are doing is offensive to me you see. It offends me God is actually saying.

And so that is what is happening here. They are worshiping a golden calf. Oh but we offered a burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering.

I actually don't want you to worship false gods. I want you to love me with all of your hearts. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering.

I want you to love me with all of your hearts. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I want your burnt offering.

I want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering.

I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering.

I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering.

I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering.

God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering.

God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. God is saying, I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering. I don't want your burnt offering.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-30 15:36:24 / 2024-01-30 15:47:15 / 11

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