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December 21, 2020 3:00 am
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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 some special friends of this ministry. Pastor Greg wanted to see a special word of thanks to the harvest partners who make this ministry possible next time your online check out Pastor Greg's personal email@example.com. Remember the message of the Angels of the Chevron's recent glory to God in the highest piece on earth that we look around and think of what words of these 2020 has been anything but peaceful. Trying today. Pastor Greg Laurie says believers could have a supernatural transcendent circumstance of the peace of God. Peace with God when your life is pleasing to God. You will have peace and love. Many of us would wish there was calendar. There's a treatment for the anxiety we've all been feeling especially here at Christmas time today on a new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie points out that the holiday stress is actually built into the reason for the holiday. See the real meaning of Christmas offers hope days and it offers hope all the lights on house and so many of you put Christmas lights on your home to raise your hand up how many of you don't screw, just come on over my house and like I have. Those are really, really bright ones were those called Kathy the call LED five LED lights so there even a little brighter and I have a major seem to because we have to remember what it's all about right. How many of you have Christmas trees at home, your Christmas tree, how many of you are against Christmas trees.
You think they're evil just go home now okay yeah will the telltale signs of Christmas lights everywhere, Christmas trees on the tops of cars Christmas songs played everywhere.
You gotta love hearing the name of Jesus being sung at the mall and wherever you go right along with Rudolph the red nose reindeer and I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus and all the rest. And then there's the other side Christmas people assaulting each other at Walmart on Black Friday. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas right and you're dropping hints right now to your spouse or your parents what you want for Christmas.
I heard about a little boy he was five years old. He decided to write a letter to God and tell him what he wanted for Christmas so we started out, his note dear God, I've been good for six months now. We thought about it and crossed out six and wrote three that he thought about a little bit longer and crossed out three months and put five weeks that he cross that out and he walked over to the little nativity scene in his front room and grabbed the little figurine of Mary, came back, set it down next to him and wrote dear God, if you ever want to see your mother again you will be talking a lot of days they had about where Jesus came.
We know he came to planet Earth.
We know he came to the little town of Bethlehem led to think for a few moments why he came. Why did Jesus come number one Jesus was born in a stable to save us from ourselves. Jesus was born in a stable to save us from our sin. The Bible tells a story of a little dude named Zakia and he was a tax collector and that was not a popular profession then or now, but especially then because of you collected taxes for Rome as a Jewish man would Zakia was that men effectively you were a traitor, turncoat are you will be perceived as a backslider by your fellow Jews, and so it was bad enough to collect taxes for this occupying power of Rome, but to make matters worse, tax collectors often collect a little bit more for their own pocket. So imagine his shock when Jesus shows up and down gives me a small guy climbs up in the tree and he's looking at Jesus and by the way, you can see things more clearly when you're up a little bit like you guys in the balcony can see in and when you're in a tree you see things I I have five grandchildren. One of them is name Allie and the others and Christopher are two of the five so Christopher got upset about something one day and ran out of the house and climbed up a tree and Ali uses protector. I was very concerned that she ran out and yelled up to him. Christopher Christopher come down.
I don't want you to become a tree boy.
I don't even know what a tree boy is but Allie was concerned that Christopher was about to become one while Zakia is is a tree boy if you will up in the tree. So here comes this crowd around Jesus everywhere Jesus went there were people pushing, pulling, grabbing, asking them for something and as he's walking through he suddenly stops and looks up and sees little Zakia said the chances Zakia come down from that tree because I'm coming over to your house for lunch today.
Zakia is good and believe his heirs he came down he went to his house and prepared a beautiful meal for the Lord old town basically was standing outside of the house.
Is that just like what's going on in their why would Jesus even hang around with a guy like that kiosk doesn't Jesus know that he's a sinful man exactly Jesus knew it well enough of the emergent that house Zakia support his faith in Christ and the Lord said salvation is come to this house today so everything changes when you invite Jesus into your home, and I wonder if he's welcome in your home right now. One of the easiest times to forget Jesus is during the Christmas celebration with all of the rushing about an event that you attend in you can forget all about why he came in. I want to just tell you right now if you want to marry Christmas this year.
If you want a happy Christmas this year make it more about giving than receiving.
No studies have been done that have revealed that people who care are happier than people who don't give so engage in an act of generosity for somebody in need help somebody that's hurting. I hear there's a 10 step response to depression.
10 things you should do if you don't want to be depressed.
Number one do something for someone who is less fortunate than you number two.
Repeat step number 19 more times right make your Christmas more about giving than receiving.
And make your Christmas more about his presence in your life then the president under the tree. I bet most of us here can't even remember what we receive. Last Christmas, much less the Christmas before I discovered that the greatest moments of the holidays aren't the ones we get all built up in our minds like Christmas morning, but rather the in between moments. Moments like right now we have said let's go to church and let's worship the Lord and you took time to do this, so enjoy those simple moments of worship. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message just a moment whatever you send us a letter and email or post a comment on social media. We read every word dear harvest Christian Fellowship 24 years ago I lost my three children in a divorce, not knowing the Lord. I was as her as an active everyday parent risk is that Justin taken away from them can possibly be an avid radio listener accidentally turned my down to a Christian radio station. I was unaware of this type of broadcasting. At that time I heard Pastor Greg explained God's word day after day for months in soothing and loving way. He explained the God of second chances, perhaps more than any other radio preacher was Pastor Greg led me to drop to my knees and receive Christ as my Savior. July 12, 1997. This is a long overdue thank you because best to you all. What an encouraging story touches lives you know it's only through the support of listeners like were able to reach people in this way, so thanks for your investment. Here you can make a donation harvest harvest.org Pastor Greg is pointing out the real reason Jesus came to earth as a man, as we present a timely message called the real message of Christmas. Number two.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, so we would become the friends of God.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, so we would become the friends of God. Romans five says God is shown as great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners, and since he been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ will save it from condemnation, and we have friendship with God through the death of his son, listen the birth of Jesus was so there would be the death of Jesus, the incarnation was for the purpose of the atonement.
He was born and died that we might live, the son of God was born, so we might be born again the son of God left his home in heaven so we would have a home in heaven and think about this friendship with God. Talk about friends in high places right friendship with God.
I mean, you may revere God and you should.
Everyone should have reverence and respect for God, but he actually wants to enter into a friendship with you.
What is a friend of friend is someone you can be truthful with a friend is someone that you can open your heart to a friend is someone who stabs you in the front lawn in the back right, they'll tell you the truth they're there for you there with you through thick and thin, but sometimes we make our relationship with God to formal my best friend is here tonight. She seated in the front row. She's also my prettiest friend my wife Kathy is here and we don't have a formal relation ship. I don't get up in the morning that Satan old blessed wife. How are the IPCC make me something that I might fill my stomach not just say, hungry, or probably what I'll say before that is must have coffee now right so you know friends could talk to each other in shorthand, true friends are always there for you and then we enter into this friendship with God and then we have peace with God. Peace with God. That's with that verse says a remember the message of the Angels to the shepherds is a glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth and we look around and were thinking what happened here. Where's the peace seems like the only time we have peace on earth is when we pause to reload right resolve the conflicts and wars in the world today, but a better translation of that statement of the Angels would be glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among been with whom God is well pleased. See when your life is well pleasing to God. You'll you'll have peace. But before you can have the peace of God, you must have peace with God. And here's the problem is if we don't believe in Jesus were effectively the enemy of God were at war with God comes as a shock to some people because nothing will. I believe in the man upstairs in the good Lord whatever but you are at war with God because of your sin that separates you from him. I remember when I heard the words Jesus said here for me or against me and I looked around at the other Christians that were at the little meeting I was attending as a nonbeliever, I will. I'm not one of them does that mean that I'm against them, but I didn't want to be at war with God and that was it that I believed in Jesus and I remember that I felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders and for the first time in my life.
I found that piece that God promises for myself personally and Jesus also came number three to give us life and all of its fullness.
Jesus said I am come that you might have life and that more abundantly. He has the meaning of life. You know, medical science seeks to add years to our life, but only Christ can add life to your years and give you a life that is worth living. So you can live life to its fullest in a relationship with the Lord.
Not a few moments really got Sargon I found beneath that mean things in the water, tree, light up Google be a blast. But before we do that I want to just close with this. Some of you may be, are visiting here tonight and some of your watching were talking about this relationship with God, and you may not have this relationship right now that you find yourself very lonely and sad this time of the year. Depression rates go up during Christmas. There's a lot of reasons for that one reason is sometimes a loved one who was with us last year is not with us this year. Sometimes it's problems at home, problems with your family.
Maybe a broken marriage problems with your parents problems with your kids or just problems with life in general and your despondent your sad. Don't miss the real reason of Christmas. Jesus wasn't born the major so we could go shopping and overextend ourselves financially. He was bored so you could have this relationship with them. The messages Immanuel, which means God is with us, you don't have to be alone in this Christmas season. You can have. Jesus Christ was born in the manger and died on the cross and rose from the dead living in your heart as your Savior and Lord.
One of the things I love about Christmas carols is a lot of them have a lot of gospel in the and that one of them.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing has the lyrics let every heart prepare him room. So you have to prepare room in your heart for Jesus you have to say Lord come in the my life.
Listen to this kids listen to me. I know there are some kids here you can believe in Jesus tonight and maybe you're just a little kid, you're saying well I don't know my two young.
I member talking to Dr. James Dobson some years ago and I said Dr. Dobson. When did you become a Christian. He said what I was four years old. I was like what really. That said, yes, I was a sinful person at four and that is the time he believed in Christ. That's the day he marks as his conversion. You can come to Jesus as a four-year-old is a 14-year-old is a 44-year-old is an 84-year-old whatever age but everybody needs Jesus and I would like to give you an opportunity to believe in him to go look at the Christmas tree you want to know what God's Christmas tree really is. It's not covered in lights. It was the cross. The Bible says curse. It is every man that hangs on a tree. Jesus died on the cross for our sin. He took the judgment that should've come upon us upon himself.
That's the real tree and that's what we celebrate because that's why Jesus came to pray right now there's anybody here that needs Jesus in their life. Or maybe they fallen away from him. You want to come back to him. This would be the perfect time to do that. So let's pray father, thank you for your love for us. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. After he was born in the manger in Bethlehem now. I pray for every person here and every person that's watching wherever they may be. They don't know you yet. May this be the night.
They believe may this be the night where they pass from darkness to light the night where they change their eternal address from hell to heaven the night when they turn from a life of misery and emptiness to a life of purpose, and fulfillment. A life with Jesus we pray you'll speak to those that don't know you bring them to yourself and your name Mr. Greg Laurie important word or prayer. And if you know you need to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord.
Pastor Greg will come back to help you do that in just a moment before today's addition of a new beginning. Concludes please stay with us now if you had any interruptions in the last half hour and were able to hear this whole presentation. You can catch up by listening firstname.lastname@example.org just look for the study, called the real message of Christmas and you can order a CD copy by calling 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24 seven at 1-800-821-3300 Pastor Greg a number of years ago we lived in a rural area and our house was sent back away from the road with a very long driveway and I used to have to take the trash can out once a week and you know it.
It seemed like that driveway got longer every week in the trashcan got heavier every week. Yes.
Well 2020 has sort of felt to me like I've been carrying a heavy trashcan on a never-ending driveway you but the thing is, once you empty the can. It feels like a reset. It's no longer overflowing and smelly as we approach January 1.
It's it's a good time to reset and get an infusion of hope about what's coming up in a fresh new year.
Yes. Oh boy I you know where were all hoping 2021 is better than 2020 right. But Diane, it's all in God's hands but but here's the thing. There've been a lot of setbacks and hardships in 2020, and sadly lives that have been lost in this pandemic that swept our nation and of course I myself got covered 19 and came through it. Thankfully and I'm in good health now so I give God the glory for that, but that's been the hard times for our nation. Lotta restrictions a lot of difficulties a lot of challenges, but yet it's been a glorious time as well to remind you of the book, a tale of two cities of the opening line.
It was the best of times it was the worst of times. Yeah, it was the worst of time so we had some good times to because this is been one of the most fruitful years in the history of harvest ministries and seen people come to Christ because there's so much uncertainty because of the political season that we've come through because of the anarchy and chaos in our streets, and of course the pandemic a lot of people despondent, searching, hurting, needing answers and then that's always step in because, listen here in harvest ministries we distribute hope and we do so for free.
We give hope for free because people are looking for hope in there looking for purpose and they're looking for perspective, and I think deep down inside the looking for God and as we shared with our listeners.
Many times now this was a banner year for us with our outreach ministry that we call Harvest at Home.
We saw over 100,000 people come to Christ and thousands more came to faith after watching our special cinematic crusade that we did called a rush of hope. So were thankful for that. And now we want to encourage our listeners to help us finish this year strong with a financial gift and as a way of saying thanks to you I want to send you a copy of a brand-new resource called a rush of hope. You sought online most likely know you can own your own beautiful DVD copy that you can show where ever you want whenever you want to whoever you want in this special DVD that were offering the Russia pope also has some special added features like a little booklet you can call it in evangelistic track with the title life's most important questions that you can give to someone to read.
There's also a little flyer in here telling you how I host a watch party and show a rush of hope in your front room in your backyard or wherever you want as an outreach to people that are in your family are in your neighborhood. There's also a special digital download code. We will provide for you.
What that means is to let the DVD the show to where we want to show to but you can downloaded to your phone you can downloaded to your tablet device or to your computer and then watch it or show it when ever you want carry around with you event and you can have an evangelistic crusade in your pocket so we want to send a special copy of a rush of hope to you for your gift of any size. They help us finish 2020 strong and let me see in advance. Thanks so much for believing in this ministry.
Thanks for investing in this ministry and my hope and prayer is that some of you might become partners with us for the next year because when you partner with us and enables us to reach even more people.
Yeah, that's right. And so we hope you will ask about becoming a harvest partner when you contact us and with your first gift as a harvest partner with thank you with a copy of the DVD of a rush of hope along with all the extras. Pastor Greg mentioned the writers at a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and it has to Greg just before we go.
Would you mind praying with the person listening who wants to make a change today in the relationship with the Lord. I'd be happy to Dave you know is you been listening to this today. Maybe you've heard another voice. By that I mean, you heard me say a few things, but you heard God's voice speak to you deep in the recesses of your heart and it suddenly dawned in you. This is what I need order stated more accurately. This is who I need I need Jesus. And I want Jesus, but maybe you don't know how to make that connection. Let me help you pray this after me right now if you want Jesus Christ to comedy your life Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sin and I need your forgiveness right now.
Would you come in to my heart, my life as Savior, as God as friend. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for calling me and accepting me and for giving me in Jesus name I pray, amen. I know there was a relatively short prayer. Maybe you felt something as you prayed it. Maybe you felt nothing, that doesn't really matter because God's word says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
It doesn't say so.
You may think you have it or you may hope you have it of gods in a good mood. No that you can know it and I want you to know if you pray that prayer and minute Jesus Christ, the son of God has come into your life. So congratulations, you're now a Christian now continue to follow the Lord to help you as you follow the Lord would like to send you some resource materials recolor new believers growth packet it will answer many of the questions you might have and get you started in your new relationship with the Lord to contact us and ask for the Senate, free of charge. Again, it's the new believers growth packet.
Write a new beginning.
Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300 where here around the clock, seven days a week.
That's at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click know God will Pastor Greg helps us examine the surprisingly checkered earthly family tree Jesus.
Jesus reaches beyond earthly imperfections to offer his grace and mercy join us next time. Beginning possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor grades free daily email, email@example.com