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September 11, 2021 3:00 am
Listen in as Pastor Greg gives hope and encouragement through the gospel, telling us directly, “Only those who are prepared to die are really ready to live.”
This episode was originally produced for radio broadcast and features attendance numbers and some audio of happened after over 5,934 people came onto the outfield of Dodger Stadium to accept Jesus Christ.
As we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, find encouragement in these resources from Pastor Greg.
Read his special daily devotional: “Finding Shelter.”
Read his article: “The Day When the Unimaginable Became Reality.”
On October 3, join Pastor Greg for the 2021 SoCal Harvest at Angel Stadium or catch the event streaming online. RSVP and learn more here.
Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.
This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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Hey there, thanks for listening to the great glory part just a ministry supported by harvest partners on Greg Laurie encouraging you if you want to find out more about harvest ministries. Learn more about how to become a harvest partner, just go to harvest.org. Why would God allow a person that we know to get cancer.
Why would God allow a child to be born with a disability. Why would God allow a young man in the prime of his life to die in an automobile accident of article was taken and the question was asked if you get us got one question know that you would receive an answer. What would you ask the most common response was why is there pain and suffering in the world. CS Lewis said and I quote the problem of pain is atheism's most potent weapon against the Christian faith.
Maybe there are some of you here tonight that are angry with God because something bad is happening you or to someone you loved and you just can't reconcile it. Your parents divorce.
A close loved one died unexpectedly. You were born with a disability or someone else you know is been heard you say why. The reason we got is because our human intellect and notions of fairness reject the apparent contradiction between a God of love in a world of pain in the classic statement of the problem. Either God is all-powerful, but he is not all good. Therefore, he doesn't stop evil, or God is all good but not all-powerful. Therefore he can't stop evil, but the general tendency is to blame God for all the evil in operating in the world.
That's all responsibility to him know this as we look back at the tragedy of 9/11, God did not do that wicked people did that and that's because mankind is wicked. Listen, I hate to break this to you, then it is not basically good to go that great theologian George Thorogood demanded that he's bad to the ball.
Bubba Bubba Bubba Bubba that you understand what I'm saying the Bible says all of defendant fallen short of the glory of God.
Listen we are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. It comes naturally. I never had to teach my two sons how to be sinful. It was natural to dislike it was to me just like it is to you, but in a broad sense, all sickness, all disability, even death are the result of sin not not seen personal sin a particular but sin in general is a God's original plan was not for these bodies to break down in a God's original plan was for us to live forever in a perfect state, but our first parents Adam in the eight of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden by the way, the Bible never says it was an Apple.
I don't know where that whole Apple thing came from another about you if I was going to be tempted by fruit it would never be an Apple. Maybe a nectarine for half I like nectarine probably was a piece of fruit like we've never seen before. Probably pulsated with light and had its own theme song. You know know what whatever it was they ate of the forbidden fruit and since bread into the world. Ultimately, why didn't God make mankind so we could not sin. Oh I get it you mean like robots with no will of our own. You just push the little button and we say whatever we been programmed to say in every predictable little doll and you push the button and it says something you do really get a charge out of that someone programmed it to do that. God did not make us that way. He gave us the ability to choose someone we come back and look at the tragedy of what happened of the World Trade Center we answer the question why did God allow this here is really the answer because a very similar question was asked of Jesus 2000 years ago. Apparently a tower had fallen on a group of Gentiles non-Jews and some were suggesting that it happened because they were nonbelievers and it was God's judgment and Jesus said, were they the word sinners in Jerusalem, though I tell you, unless you repent you will also parents effectively. Jesus was a look guys, people.bad things happen.
We don't always act as a poet was God's judgment. This happen and it doesn't always make sense. Listen, you better get ready because you could.listen. Death is gonna knock it every single door. No one is exempt because it happened one event to get out of tonight or tomorrow. The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of every one persons will die. The Bible says is appointed unto a man once to die, and then come the judgment. The Bible says there is a time to be born. There's a time divide world why three people die every second hundred and 80 every minute 11,000 every hour, 250,000 people enter eternity every single day. That is why David the Psalmist said show me oh Lord my life and in the number of my days.
Let me know how fleeting is my life because the span of my years is as nothing before you man's life is brought a breath know in earlier days people talk more about the topic of death.
Ancient merchants often wrote the words meant so Mori which means think of death in large letters on the first phase of their accounting book that was something that was before. Nowadays we will want to talk about it. We want to discuss it but you can avoid the inevitable Steve Jobs of Apple computers" life is short and were all going to die really soon. True, you know, filmmaker Woody Allen said, quote I'm not afraid of death. I just don't want to be there when it happened. Well you will be Woody. We all will. Actor William Shatner who played Capt. Kirk in the Star Trek TV series speaking about death and interviews" I'm so not ready to die. It petrified me. I go alone I go to a place I don't know. It might be painful it might be the end. My thought is that it is the end I become meaningless. When I spent a lifetime be known.
Quote what happens after we gone.
That's the big question.
There is an inscription on a tombstone I'm sold in England with these words because no stranger as you pass by as you are now also once was. I is I am now so you will be so prepare for death and follow me, someone reading that inscription was overheard to say to follow you is not my intent until I know which way you went to. Here's my question for you tonight. What will happen to you after you die.
According to the Bible.
There are two there's heaven, and there is hell. There are no other choice. We live in a fallen world, bad things happen. People gone. Maybe you've come here with great sadness tonight someone close to you has gone you have recently found out you have cancer. Your marriage is unraveling before your very eyes, and understand that as I speak to you tonight. I'm not speaking from an ivory tower theological theory. I am a man in pain.
Speaking to people in pain. You hurt a little of my story and that video about my son, Christopher, age 33.
He died in an automobile accident in 2008.
I've been a pastor for many years and I gone to visit many people who lost loved ones, including children have always tried to say the right words and try to bring a measure of comfort to them, but I remember thinking to myself I hope this never happens to me because of it. Did I don't think I can handle it, but it did happen to me when I heard the news. It was like time stood still. It was like all of the air in the room was sucked out. I couldn't believe this was actually happening.
I was not I was in deep pain. And people say to you, you know, a few months after will argue over again visited three years.
I'm not over yet. I don't know that I'll ever get over it.
Let me say this, though it was the most painful moment of my life and my wife Kathy and our son Jonathan Christopher's brother and his wife Britney.
I want to tell you also that God was with us in our darkest hour.
Any gonna screw it and I want to bring a measurable.
I'm not saying it's easy.
I'm not saying there's not deep sadness by green and I miss him deeply. As David lost his son Absalom even though he was a wicked boy.
He said I wish it had been the Kim and any father would gladly trade places and go to heaven instead of their son or die. We shed many tears.
But the Bible says we do not grieve as those that have no hope. We have hope. What is a hope. I know I will see my son again in heaven because he put his faith in Christ. I put my faith in Christ will be reunited. Do you have that old but why, why does God allow things like this to happen. Okay, ready to answer the question open, but I know tablet you can put it in your phone if you like a noggin answer the why question why does God allow bad things to happen to good people, even godly people. Here's my answer. Are you ready I don't know I don't. One day when I stand before God.
The Bible says all my questions will be answered but until that day, yes I will have questions but here's what I do know I know that God loves me. I know that because my son put his faith in Christ in heaven. I know because I put my faith in Christ. I will see him in heaven one day. I know what I get to heaven. All of the wise will be resolved so maybe we should be asking the why question we should be asking the what question and the low question what is the what question it's what I do now.
Okay so your suffering you come you repeat what you do now balance, the question you turn to Jesus Christ who will give you the help you need to get my say what is Jesus know about pain and suffering are you kidding no man ever supper like Jesus where he was God knowing he was God and he was fully man and when those spikes went into his hands. He felt pain like you and I would feel that was real blood that course in his face and spilled to the ground as he hung on the cross of Calvary and died for the sin of the world that was real rejecting he felt as his own disciples that he can pick turned away from him for the most part and I was real loneliness. He experiences he hung them across, and said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me a lesson of this Jesus was forsaken that you might be forgiven. Jesus hung on the cross and died and rose again so you could live forever, so God knows what you are going to turn again. Okay, let me make a provocative statement. Only those who are prepared to die are really ready to lead your the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 1 for me to live is Christ and the die is gain. Get up. I live that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires.
Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long for the part of the withdrawing that would be far better for me but it's better for you that I to live is Christ in the diet know when you hear a statement like that you think what planet are you living on what you mean to die is gain what you mean when you say to live is Christ, you know, one of the criticisms against persons is where so heavenly minded were no earthly good gorilla. I think when you're really heavenly minded you'll be of the greatest earthly good lesson whenever there is a tragedy somewhere in the world. It's always Christians respond first. Have you ever noticed that it doesn't matter thereof of another faith. It doesn't matter, they have no faith at all. We reach out. We provide housing.
We provide close we provide food and everything else that we can. We also want to tell them about our faith in God ever noticed there are no atheists relief organization and other there's not an organization out there called nonbelievers part. But there is one called Samaritans birds. Okay, there's no mission downtown called ACS mission, but there's the Fred Jordan mission okay so that's he has a five to live is Christ die is gain see a Christian can enjoy life more than anybody else. As we look on see a beautiful sunset we see something that God is made and we give him the glory we can enjoy the taste of food the joy of love and marriage the comfort of family and friends and laughter. We don't need strong alcohol to enhance the experience we know God delivers client see we have Christ in our life.
That's where the light comes from what we also know that believers life on earth is not all there is. We know the greatest variances we have here, but kittens of heaven so like when you go to a movie theater you see a trailer you know something that's coming. Ever notice a lot of trailers are better than the actual movie but it's artisan music all that's cool I want to see that film we have little kids suburban little glimpses into eternity. If you will see is Luis and I quote all the things that ever deeply possessed her soul had been, but kittens of heaven. Tantalizing glimpses promises never might fulfill at those that died away just as they caught your here. If I find in myself a desire with no experience in this world can satisfy the most probable explanation is I was made for another world earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy but to arouse to suggest the real thing." One day will see all of our dreams come true in the sense one day we will all live happily ever after, when we stand before God.
This is why from the moment you were born you been on a quest to search trying to find the meaning of life. Animals don't search for the meaning of life. Dogs only around in the backyard and safe. Why am I here in the serve is the reason for my existence. I tried all the things this world has to offer.
This is my dog voice. By the way, don't know why this is a dog voice.
I tried everything this world has offer chasing cats eating roadkill drinking toilet water. None of it ever fulfilled me know.something about stuff like that but people do you do you think about all the time. Why am I here here's a question for you what you look what you have for fill in the blank. Paul said for me to live is Christ and then he could say to die is gain what you live for piranhas tonight. Some would say well to live as the just live it out. Take it easy man.
Can we say to each other.
Take it easy to get one day at a time. They just exist. They have no philosophy to speak up that all I could contemplate the meaning of their life. They just live for the moment they satisfy their desires matter how bizarre or deviant they may be Paul in the book of Romans talks about people whose God is there telling some people's gods are a little bigger than others. I think what he says belly. He needs her appetite. They live for fulfilling their own apoptotic when you bring up the subject of spiritual things they don't want to talk about it.
They just live but others would say to live his leisure pleasure is all about having fun. A well-known actor was interviewed in the magazine that he made the statement.
A lot of people are just relationship junkies. You roll from relationship to relationship because you're afraid of being alone when I was lonely I would get in a relationship just to alleviate the loneliness you need something to fill the emptiness they can be another person drives trustees. I tried all of things they don't do the trick.
Maybe you felt that way lately. Maybe recently you were partying with a bunch of friends. Everybody was laughing suddenly looked around and you said I hate this. My life is empty, the lead singer of one of the most well-known walkmans in America that sold millions of records recently committed suicide on his shirt. There was a no that was clipped and he wrote these words.
I'm a lonely soul that you tonight singer Amy Winehouse recently died.
She was only 27 years old to join the so-called 27 club of our rock stars that died young like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, now Amy Winehouse name has been added to 15 g best new artist record of the year song of the year most well-known song was rehab. In an interview she said, quote since I was 16 I bought a black cloud hanging over me and said I took pills for depression" to make no apologies for our lifestyle is my justification as most people my age spent a lot of time thinking about what to do for the next five or 10 years the time they spent thinking about their life. I just been drinking." How sad. The Bible says see the love for pleasure is dead while she is living. It's a deadline don't live that way there's a better life for you in Jesus Christ phenomena tell you how to come in your relationship with him for not listen. I'm not saying that sin cannot be fun. I'm one of the few preachers I may actually say sin to be fun for a while. Then comes the penalty. The Bible says there is pleasure in Synthroid type, but it also says the wages of sin are death sort of like waiting in line at an amusement park.
If you notice when you go to parks like this is a minority of these little find it here. At this point in the line you will get on the right in one month like this is really helping, but you way then you wait anyway. Then you wait and you wait finally get on the ride is strapped down the bar go you go and live for.
It seems like nine seconds and then you going get another line right. Life can be like we go from line to line trying to find fulfillment. We little moments of fun, but so much of that time is spent in emptiness delivers pleasure. That's a dead-end street might say data live in his possession the bumper sticker on their car set either dies of the most toys when trying thousands of years ago a man named Solomon live. He was known as the wisest man whoever lived, and also one of the wealthiest. He made the statement that sounds so current the book of Ecclesiastes. I try to find meaning in building huge homes for myself. I had everything a man could desire anything I wanted.
I saw I did not restrain myself from any pleasure.
Listen to this is a look at everything I worked so hard to accomplish.
It was so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. I read an interview with Simon Cal. One of the most successful men in show business today. The interview was done in this 14,000 square-foot home and it says that it's complete with staff just south movie theater garage and houses a Bugatti of Rolls-Royce and Bentley enough for Charlie and I like that is happy right in the interview Simon says. I get very dark mood for no reason. Nothing in particular brings it on you to be having the best time of your life and your utterly and totally miserable as I'm just a wandering asteroid without all that's on like you. Sounds like Solomon everything this world operates. But it left me empty. Yes, that's what you may be living for that is never going to fulfill you.
Here's what Paul says to live is Christ and to die is gain. Know what is he mean when he says to die is gain pulsing. He looks forward to dying no, but he say look, and I know what's on the other side. How would he know check this out Paul the apostle die and came back to life again. By the way he did write a book about it but he just gave us a few words.
He says hey I was caught up because in the body or out of the body utterly no in-depth paradise saw things I can't even really describe.
So that's why.
From that moment on he was homesick for heaven. He knew what was coming. He wasn't afraid anymore so he could take along to the parts that be with Christ, which is far better yet I need to stay here here with you guys. Can you imagine what that was like for Paul to die. Many believe it may have happened when he was preaching the gospel of the book about he was put to death by stoning.
So he enters into heaven very a study before the Lord himself known of God, said Paul Whelchel. I have some good news and some bad news. What's the good news Lord. The good news is Paul, you're coming back again.
Paul might ask, what's the bad news. The bad news is people down on earth there praying for you to be raised again from the dead, this is Lord, don't listen to their prayers are sinners. I want to go back no Paul, I have a work for you to do. Still meanwhile back in the apostles are people praying: raise up all bring Paul back to life. Suddenly the choice of color comes back to us. Paul said to get the Mooney makes up for that.
I would've done who's idea was it to pray for me to come back from the dead, yet he came back for a time with ever since that day he said I'm homesick for heaven. I long to the part D Christ else interesting were the Paul uses here for the part be with Christ were the means to break You like to camp, the campers that we have out there that I don't like the I like hot showers. I like a roof over my head. I like to go to the beach so you know what I discovered my favorite time about going to the beach is when I get there when I leave because when I read over the patent so excited all work here at the beach that's so sunny it's so great.
I love this. Then after about an hour about how hot and sweaty.
Let's go home and sends in the sandwich seagulls are flying up with her to Jill's call. Paul says I wanted a part of being with Christ. The ideas to break-in.
He compares the human body to attend. The tents are meant to last forever. There only temporal right. Maybe you are trying to stay eternally young and and you you know gone out there in done some cosmetic surgery and I've no problem with that whatsoever. But, though sometimes a look at some people and wondered did you want to look that way. I don't know okay if you did got it.
I guess, but you are maybe you want to get a tattoo men I want to look. I would have street crack getting a tattoo I built from a tattoo. Let me just say though the tweety bird of today may be the big bird of tomorrow take us to get bigger. Think about it that cute little butterfly to be a pterodactyl think those designs over carefully before you getting yes bodies are temporal. The Bible says when they were in a move from attend to a mansion member. The Beverly hillbillies Diddley live very here somewhere.
None of the story. All Jed was out hunting and up from the ground came a bubbling crude is awarded Jed in Ellie Mae and Jethro and Granny do with a they loaded up their trust and they moved to Beverly hills that is swimming pools all the old people said that all the kids are like what is happening in the lyrics to sitcom from many years ago.
That's organ to be one day relieve this broken body and move into that new body that God has waiting for all of us.
That's good news because these bodies are breaking down the bodies Thomas Robert the telltale signs you're getting all you know you're getting old when your knees buckling your belt will write you know you're getting old when happy hour is a now you know you're getting old when you straighten the wrinkles in your thought and then you're sought to discover you're not wearing socks. You know you're getting old when someone calls you at 9 o'clock in the evening. It says that I'd wake you. You know you're getting old when your and you don't leap together anymore. One day God will give you that new body. It's way better than this one. Why is heaven better than her all the pain will be gone. If you have a disability. It'll be behind whatever you're facing God as something better in heaven for you. Another reason evidence better than her is because it is immediate. Paul says the part and be with Christ. Listen to Christian dies they go straight to heaven.the Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The moment you take your last breath hundred you take your first breath in heaven cannot say why 07 is better evidence better because all of your questions will be answered. We have questions why why I have my question.
You have your will all be answered heard about one woman's question for God in an ambitious moment. She invited about your friends over for a birthday party that the table she turned to her six-year-old daughter said honey why don't you pray for our food in us the blessing little girls and mommy I don't know what to say. The mother said sweetheart. Just say what you hear. Mommy said little girl said okay everybody, let's pray Lord Weinert that I invite all these people over my house one day all of our questions will seriously be answered because will be withdrawing. Listen, you don't really have in the buying price you go to Christ, applying heaven me say something controversial. I believe that all roads lead to God probably didn't expect me to say that but it's true. All roads lead to God, whatever you believe, whatever your religion, or lack thereof of your further then your faith you're not writing that road will lead you to God. Yes, it's true, you will die and you will stand before God Almighty one day. There's no getting away from it that only one road leads they have in Jesus because he say will Greg get your opinion will know exactly God's opinion because Jesus said in John 14 six I am the way the truth and the life no man comes of the father but by me is the only way is able why Greg, that's so narrow while Jan way it is. But here's one because there is no man that ever walked this earth that was fully God and fully man.
That's why Jesus and Jesus alone was uniquely qualified to satisfy the righteous demands of God and reach out to sinful humanity see when he died on the cross. In effect, with one hand he reached out to God for the other. Again, he reached out to mankind. Spikes were driven about sand and he died there in your place became the. Said he did not know because you owed a debt you could not pay you'll forgive you of all in here since July. If you will put your faith in him and you can go to heaven when you die what you need to do to get right with God and no that your sin is forgiven. What you need to do to fill that void in your life, what you need to do to go to have number one you need to admit you're a sinner.
Stop blaming people for disabled Greg. I come from a dysfunctional family.
Oh please listen I came from a dysfunctional family on the head of a dysfunctional family okay all dysfunctional call center you heard Kirk Franklin story. I was mother and father effectively gave him a I was conceived out of wedlock. I wasn't a wanted child per se, though I wasn't planned by my parents. I was planned by God and I'm loved by God and the love that you're a sinner.
I know some people like to hear the world what you mean on the center you're a sinner. What is said send this to cross the law God is given his commandment you shall not lie. You shall not steal. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain you ever broken any of the commandment. No, I never have your line right now course, you okay will I know, but I'm not as bad as some people check this out. God is not great on the cover. One sin is enough to keep you out of heaven. The Bible says if you have been at one point in the law, you're guilty of all of it. We've all broken God's law, but in addition the word sin means to false order to miss the mark got a Cinemark for humanity its perfection. None of us are perfect.
You module will you save your perfect Greg no, I'm a sinner like you that for Jesus came in his seat admit you're a sinner. The Bible says all of the submitted number two repent of your sin, so I don't know what that means. I haven't even hinted yet, much less repent. The word repent means to change your direction. Figure this way you hang a U-turn of the road of life you were going away from God. Are you getting a yearly go to God to turn away from that sin. The Bible says repent and be converted in times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. The Bible says God is commanded people everywhere to repent.
So it's not enough to just say you're sorry. Turn from that sin number three you must receive Jesus Christ in the airlock as Savior and Lord.
Being a Christian is not just going to church, going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a donut shop make you a call. It's just a joke we copped afterwards you'll know what happened. So I was raised in a Christian home will congratulations become a moment when you put your faith in Christ. You can live up your parents.
You can't live up your husband faintly your wife faith for your friends, faith you need your own relationship with God.
That's what it is an outcry. I'm not talking about our religion here tonight. Believe it or not I do not consider myself a religious person to guess what I want to become a religious person I'm talking about a relationship with God through Christ has become cited. Jesus says behold I stand at the door not you will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in. You must receive Christ in your life. And lastly, you must do it now. The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Tonight is a nine lesson. You can leave dodger Stadium tonight with your sins forgiven you can leave here tonight with a change in your eternal address from a place called hell to a place called heaven. You can leave here tonight with your guilt taken away if you will put your faith in Jesus Christ who loves you died for you and rose again from the dead, live inside a sword in a prey and then I'm a no invites you to make your stand for Christ. Let me say one last thing Jesus said you're either forming or against me.
This is an either/or proposition here folks. Jesus is not saying admire me or think good thoughts about me. He said your forming or against you either believe what I am and follow me. You reject me, or turn away from your gonna make a decision in the next few moments and you know what is the most work decision of your life.
I pray you'll make the right decision and follow crime out of our hands and pray together. Father I pray for every person in the stadium. I pray for every person that is listening and watching them to see their need for you of them to come to you and receive the forgiveness that you offer your Jesus Christ, amen and and we can let any more people on the field. The fire marshal is that this is the maximum amount so all of you that are in the stands that want to come down, listen you are making the most of court decision of your life right now.
The decision to follow Jesus Christ. I'm in the lead you in a prayer, and as you would pray this prayer out loud after me, neither from your heart. God will hear you so good. As I pray you would please pray this out loud after me if you want all bow your heads right now. Pray this out loud now, Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner, I broken your commandments.
I have fallen short of your standards. I'm sorry for my sin. I turn from it now. I put my faith in you. I want to follow you, Lord, from this night forward. Thank you for loving me and calling me and for giving me I choose to be your disciple. Thank you for accepting me now in Jesus name I pray. Amen. God bless everyone of you will officially 5934 people register decisions for Christ on the field at dodger Stadium.
We understand there were at least a thousand more in the stands who also made commitments and received the following materials.
It was the largest response we've seen in 22 years you know it was a step of faith to come to dodger Stadium. We did know for sure if anyone would show up 50,000 head and if you just prayed with Pastor Greg, a we want to welcome you into the family of God to and we also want to help you get started off right in your walk with the Lord would like to send you our new believers growth packet to help answer your questions and help build a strong foundation for your faith. Just click over to know God.org that's KNOW know God.org you can watch a short video from Pastor Greg to talk about the plan of salvation or just simply click the connect icon and let us know where to send your new believers] let us help you get started in your new faith in Jesus Christ. Everybody this is Greg Laurie and you've just been listening to a classic message from harvest ministries. This podcast is supported by harvest partners to learn more and to find out how you can become a harvest partner just got a harvest.org