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The Refreshing Power of Revival: Reaching the Unreachable

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshing Power of Revival: Reaching the Unreachable

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 22, 2021 3:00 am

God has given us mere humans the opportunity to participate in giving life. A mom and dad bring life into this world with their newborn baby. And as believers, we have the privilege of bringing the message of new life to people as we share Christ. But some folks are not easily persuaded. They’re stuck in their sin and don’t want to move. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how we can reach the unreachable. It’s part of his series called Refresh.

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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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Hey, everybody. You're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at gregg.harvest.org. Again, it's gregg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. I want you for a moment to think of someone you know that you can't even imagine being a Christian. Maybe it's your father or your mother. Maybe it's your son or your daughter.

Maybe it's an angry, contentious neighbor. You're thinking, they could never come to believe in Jesus. Oh, they could.

Listen to this. No one is beyond the reach of God. God has given us mere humans the opportunity to participate in giving life. A mom and dad bring life into this world with their newborn baby. And as believers, we have the privilege of bringing the message of new life to people as we share Christ. But some folks are not easily persuaded. They're stuck in their sin and don't want to move. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how we can reach the unreachable.

It's a part of his series called Refresh. So I want to look for a few moments with you at the greatest revival in human history. And it took place in the city of Nineveh. And of course, the man that God used to bring this revival about was named Jonah.

Now let me ask you a question. When you hear the name Jonah, what do you think of next? The whale, of course. We always think of the whale.

It's a funny thing when you read the book of Jonah. There's only a few verses about this whale. By the way, the Bible never says whale. The Bible says it was swallowed by a great fish. The root word could be translated sea monster. It could have been a whale. It could have been some creature that has come to exist and no longer is out there. It could have been a one-off custom-designed creature God made just for Jonah.

I don't know. Well, he was in the belly of the beast for three days and three nights. How did he end up there? Well, it all started when he was running from God. You see, God came to Jonah and he said, I want you to go to the city of Nineveh and I want you to preach the message that I give you to them. And Jonah flat out refused.

Why? Nineveh was a wicked city. Nineveh was known for their atrocities and their intense cruelty that they would demonstrate toward their enemies.

And Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, they were the about enemies of Israel. Therefore, Jonah wanted nothing to do with them. He had no concern for their souls. It didn't concern him that God would judge this nation. In fact, it was his hope that God would judge this nation. So Jonah literally bought a fare on a boat going the opposite direction.

Well, that didn't work out so well for him. God set a big storm and then a big fish and he gave Jonah a big spanking. And there in the belly of the fish, Jonah called out to the Lord. And then God gave him a second chance. Jonah 2 10 says, the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

And the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time saying, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to them the message that I give to you. So here was Jonah now, repentant and regurgitated, believing and barf, righteous and roughed. He was bleached and beached. He was victorious and vomited.

And one more, he was regurgitated and revived. Imagine if you were laying around at the beach in Nineveh and you saw the sight. In comes this massive beast cruising through the water. It comes right to the shore. It opens up his mouth, makes a retching sound and out rolls Jonah. Ta-da!

His skin was probably bleached from the gastric juices in the whale's belly. And here's this message. In 40 days, Nineveh is going to be overthrown. Look at Jonah chapter three.

He preaches this message that God gave him. And he says, 40 more days and Nineveh is going to be overthrown. Now you might think that's a pretty hopeless message.

But actually it's more hopeful than you may realize. They had 40 days to repent. They had 40 days to get right with God. The fact of the matter is God sent no warning to Sodom and Gomorrah. Judgment fell on them.

But in the case of Nineveh, though they were wicked, the Lord gave them a second chance. I wonder what we would do in America if we were given a 40 day warning. Would we turn to God? Because in this story it starts with the king who turns to God and then all of the people do it as well.

Would that happen in our nation as well? You know God has given two secret weapons to the church today. They are not boycotting and protesting.

They are not even registering and voting. The two secret weapons God has given to the church are prayer and preaching. So Jonah has prayed in the belly of the beast. Now he's preached to the city of Nineveh walking through their streets.

What happens next? You need to go now to Jonah chapter 3 verse 5 and we read this amazing story. The people of Nineveh believed God's message from the greatest to the least and declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.

When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes and dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. And everyone prayed earnestly to God. And when God saw what they had done, how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

This is a stunning turnaround. An entire city filled with thousands of people turned to God en masse and a revival takes place and the judgment of God is turned away. It just shows us that no one is beyond the reach of God. I want you for a moment to think of someone you know that you can't even imagine being a Christian. It's hard for you to even picture them holding a Bible and saying something like praise the Lord. But listen to this.

No one is beyond the reach of God. Maybe it's your father or your mother. Maybe it's your son or your daughter. Maybe it's someone you know that gives you a hard time at work. Maybe it's an angry, contentious neighbor. Maybe it's a public figure. You're thinking they could never come to believe in Jesus.

Oh, they could. And you need to start praying for them that God will reach them. Again, this was a revival. God told these people 40 days judgment was coming and they repented. God tells us in 2 Chronicles 7, 14, if My people which are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and churn from their wicked ways, then it will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land. Listen, if you want to see a revival, just do revival-like things.

Don't overly mystify this. Just do those things that you know you should be doing as a follower of Jesus Christ. Let me go back to comparing this to maybe the romance between a man and a woman. You know, when you're first taking a girl out as a guy, you want to make a good impression on her, so you actually shower and your shirt is clean. And you show her great respect and maybe as you pick her up, you open the door of the car for her and then you go to the restaurant, you pull out the chair for her, you take her to a nice French restaurant.

Then you get married and things change a little bit. You still open the door for the car, but you just close it before she's all the way in. You pull the chair out in the restaurant, but you let her fall and then you point at her and laugh. And you take her to French restaurants. The last one you took her to was, I think it was Jockensy Box or the Golden Arches. I don't know, but something's happened.

You've sort of slipped away. Go back and do those romantic things again, so to speak, if you want your marriage to be strong. I heard a story about a woman that wanted to divorce her husband in the worst way. She went to an attorney and said, I want to divorce my husband, but I want this to hurt him. I want him to feel a lot of pain.

And the attorney said, oh really? Well, okay, I have a plan for you. He says, for the next three months, I want you to smother your husband with affection. Compliment him constantly. Tell him what a great guy he is, how much you care for him, and then when that time has come to an end, you'll drop the divorce papers on him. He won't know what happened. He won't see it coming.

It'll even be more painful. She says, I'll do it. And so for the next three months, she complimented her husband, affirmed her husband, told her husband how much she loved and appreciated him. And when the three months came to a close, the attorney called her and said, all right, let's get this divorce started. She said, divorce?

We're going in our second honeymoon. You see, the point is, she did what she probably should have been doing all along. And in the same way in our life as Christians, when we're doing the things we should always be doing every day, getting up and reading the Bible, having a prayer life, being involved in our church, sharing our faith. When we do these things, it fuels the fire of revival and keeps that fire burning.

But when we neglect those things, we begin to faith. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from listeners all over, some who listen to A New Beginning, Pastor Greg's podcasts, and even to the recent SoCal Harvest.

My message is to Pastor Greg Laurie and amazing SoCal Harvest. I watched on my cell phone and I was crying and wanted to let him know that my son died in a car accident too, like his son, and you never get over it. But I have a grandson named Jonathan. His name is his son. And it's amazing that he has to go through the same thing.

But yet his son is a pastor now, but my grandson is a prodigal. So could you please hold him up in prayer? I'll never forget watching that. It was beautiful.

I watched the whole thing and it came in so clear. And I want to let you know how much I appreciate you, Pastor Greg Laurie. Thank you so much.

God bless you. Be assured that when you request prayer, we'll make sure to pray for your need. If you have a story of how one of Pastor Greg's outreach has touched your life, would you call and share it with us? Call 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. And now Pastor Greg continues his helpful insight on personal evangelism from the message called The Refreshing Power of Revival. Is there somebody that God has called you to reach that you don't want to reach because you have a discomfort talking to a person like that? I've told you before that my mother was married in divorce seven times, right? And after I became a Christian and a pastor, the Lord spoke to my heart to go back to these husbands of my mother and share the gospel with them.

It didn't always go so well. There was one guy who was especially cruel to my mom. He lived in Hawaii.

I'll call him Eddie. And he beat my mother and almost killed her. And in fact, one night he knocked her unconscious with a wooden statue. And as I saw her laying on the floor bleeding, I thought my mother had died.

She left him after that. And I had a very hard heart toward this man, even after I was an adult. And I was over in Hawaii preaching at the Waikiki Shell. And someone said, Greg, you remember your old dad, Eddie?

Yes. He lives right across from the Waikiki Shell. And you know what? He's not doing well. His health is failing. If you'd like to say something to him, I said, I'm good. I don't want to say anything to him. And I felt directed by the Lord to go meet with him. So I took my wife, Kathy, over there and we sat in his tiny little apartment.

He used to live in a beautiful palatial home. And there he was in great pain, obviously, not doing well in life. And I told him what Christ had done for me and how he had changed me. And I said, I would like to invite you to come over here just across the street, basically, and hear me speak. And he said, no, no, I can drive you over if you like it. No, he wanted nothing to do with it.

So that's why I don't even try to reach these guys. But then there was another guy my mom married named Oscar Laurie. He adopted me.

And I always loved this man because he treated me as a father should treat a son. But my mom left him. In fact, she left him and we flew over to Hawaii when she married Eddie. So I was getting out of school in New Jersey and the car was packed up with our suitcases. And I said, where are we going? She said, Hawaii. I said, where's dad?

She said, he's not coming. And I didn't see him for the rest of my childhood. But after I was a young pastor, I sought him out, found him living in New Jersey. And I said, let's get some lunch together.

He said, oh, no, come to my home. We'd like to, you know, get to see you and know you again. And and I'll introduce you to my new wife, Barbara. So I took the train out with Kathy and our oldest son, Christopher, to New Jersey there, Red Bank, New Jersey. And and he was waiting at the station and he I remembered him immediately. And before I knew it, I was calling him dad again. And one night we were sitting at the table and his wife made us a beautiful Italian meal. And and she said to me, Greg, tell me how you became a Christian and then how did you become a minister? And as I shared my story, my dad was just staring at me, not really responding. Oh, by the way, I left out something needs to be an attorney. So I thought the guy was standing before a judge, giving my testimony.

And I don't I didn't seem like it was going very well. Another thing I left out was my father had just had a heart attack only a short time before. It was having serious heart problems and even blacked out at the wheel of his car.

And so he was on a restricted diet and he was exercising a lot. So he's listening. I tell my story of how I came to Christ and then the dinner was done. And Oscar, my father, who adopted me, said, Greg, let's walk in the morning. And I said, OK. He knocked on the door of my room at six o'clock in the morning, New Jersey time, three o'clock in the morning, California time. I was still pretty groggy.

And as we're walking along in the park, he says, Greg, I was listening very carefully to what you said last night. And I said, yeah. And he said, I would like to give my life to Jesus Christ. Boy, did I wake up fast.

It was like a double espresso. I said, well, dad, maybe you don't understand what I said. Let me go over it again.

And I went over it again. He says, yes, I want Jesus to come into my life. And I said, well, what we need to do is pray. And he drops to his knees.

We're in the middle of a park. We're just walking at this point. He drops to his knees. I wasn't going to get on my knees. But since he was on his knees, I got on my knees and I let him in this prayer. And Christ came into his life and he lived 15 more years, got involved in the church, was a leader in his church. An amazing, amazing story. But, you know, I didn't really want to reach these men that my mother was married to. But I had to leave my comfort zone and go to them.

Maybe there's someone like that that you're thinking of right now that you need to reach. Well, bringing this message to a close, God gave a second chance to Nineveh and God loves to give second chances. The Lord does not want to bring judgment. But we know this. Every nation's days are numbered.

Every great world empire that has been on this planet, they had a beginning, a middle and an end. And the same will happen to the United States of America in God's timing. But here's what we're praying for. One more great spiritual awakening. Maybe two more.

Maybe three or four more. That's up to the Lord. But our job, our mission is similar to Jonah.

We are to proclaim the good news and tell people that there is a God who loves them. It's a message of mercy. But it is also a message that says there's judgment if we reject that mercy.

Classic example. John 3 16 offers both the forgiveness and the ramifications of not accepting that forgiveness. Jesus says, For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son. And whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. So here's the message of love.

For God so loved the world that He gave. Here's the message of judgment. Whoever believes in Him should not perish. So if I don't believe in Him, I'll perish. If I don't believe in Him, I'll face the judgment of God. Romans 6 23 is similar. First, there's the message of judgment. The wages of sin is death. But then the loving offer of forgiveness. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Years ago I was walking down the street in Hawaii. I was a young pastor at this point. The guy was holding the sign. It said the wages of sin is death. And he was yelling to the people, God hates you and God will judge you. And I watched this guy for a few minutes and I thought he's misrepresenting the Lord. So I walked up to him and I said, Excuse me.

And he's still yelling. God hates you and God will judge you. Excuse me. God hates you and He'll judge you. Excuse me. Yeah, what?

What do you want? You know, why don't you put the rest of that verse? It is true that it says the wages of sin is death but the rest of it says but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then he told me God was going to judge me. Well, he was misrepresenting God. Yes, it is true judgment can come but it's also true that Jesus Christ took the judgment of God on the cross of Calvary in our place.

So we don't have to face it. God spared Nineveh. God extended mercy to Nineveh. A spiritual awakening happened in Nineveh. One person put it this way. Quote, If God could bring a mighty revival in Nineveh with no better representative than Jonah and no more gospel than He preached in their streets, He can surely do the same thing for America.

End quote. Jesus actually validated the story of Jonah and He said, As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale, so will the Son of Man be. Three days and three nights on the heart of the earth. Here's what Christ was saying, Just as Jonah was in the belly of that beast, so I, the Son of God, will be crucified on a cross and I'll rise again from the dead. He validated the story and used it as a picture of His own death and resurrection. Listen, Jesus died for you.

Jesus absorbed God's judgment that you should have absorbed and that I should have absorbed and He died in my place. Again, God loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son and whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Have you asked Christ to come into your life? Have you asked Him to forgive you of your sin? Do you have the hope right now that you will go to heaven when you die? If not, wouldn't you like to have it right now? Have you been running from God like Jonah?

That needs to stop. Stop running from Him and run to Him. If you've never asked Jesus into your life, you can do it right here, right now. So if you want your sin forgiven, if you want to know that you'll go to heaven when you die, if you want Jesus Christ to be your Savior and your Lord and your friend, why don't you just pray this prayer after me? Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner.

I'm sorry for that sin. I turn from it now and I choose to follow You from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. An important moment for those praying that prayer. Pastor Greg Laurie leading them in a prayer asking Jesus to be their Savior. And if you've just prayed that prayer, first of all, we want to be the first to welcome you into the family of God. And we also want to help you grow as a Christian. We'd like to send you our New Believers' Growth Packet. It's free of charge, and it'll help you get started right in walking each day with the Lord. Ask for the New Believers' Growth Packet when you write 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. Pastor Greg, we're excited about making available a new book called The Jesus Music. You lived through the start of Jesus Music, as I did, but for someone younger, what makes this history so important and so interesting? Well, this is the roots of the music that we have all come to love. I love history.

I've always loved to know about history. For instance, take rock and roll as an example. You know, rock and roll music really started with a group of individuals in what was called Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

A producer named Sam Phillips discovered a young singer named Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and so that music turned into what we call rock and roll. And so now let's go back to the origins of Jesus music. It was a bunch of bands that were forming during the Jesus movement, names like Larry Norman, bands like Love Song, Mustard Seed Faith, Andre Crouch and the Disciples, and many others were innovating and creating music that was different than anything people had heard before. It was current with culture, but it was music that honored God.

Fast forward to today. Artists like Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, Jeremy Camp, Phil Wickham, For King and Country, you know, the list just goes on. These amazing artists that produced this great music, it all started a long time ago in the late 60s with these bands that would record these records, literally sell them out of the trunks of their cars, go on the road and perform these songs.

Little did they know that this was gonna be the tip of the spear of a whole industry that was to follow. So if you've ever wondered about how this music got started, if you wanna know some behind the scenes stories of some of your favorite artists, or you wanna know more about what you may have missed, it's all here in this brand new book called The Jesus Music, written by my friend Marshall Terrell. By the way, I've written three books with Marshall Terrell, as you may know.

Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, and Billy Graham, The Man I Knew, and I'm working on a fourth book with Marshall right now. But this is a book he wrote on his own, but I had the opportunity to write the foreword for it, because this is a book that you're gonna love, and we'll send it to you for your gift of any size. By the way, very high quality book, hardcover, glossy pages, lots of photographs, lots of information, stories, and history of the music that's a part of our life today.

It's called The Jesus Music. And we'll send you a copy of this book for your gift of any size. Whatever you can send, we'll send this copy to you. And I would encourage some of you to be generous, because when you are generous with your finances, we will put that money to work in expanding this ministry to reach more people with the teaching of the word of God and the message of the gospel. So order your copy of this brand new book, The Jesus Music, from us right here at Harvest Ministries.

That's right. Your donation is an investment in changing hearts and lives. It's an investment in keeping Pastor Greg's teaching coming to you each day.

So with your investment today, be sure to ask for the new book called The Jesus Music. You can write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300. Reach us any time 24-7, again at 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time we'll sharpen our focus on the story of Jonah and the lessons the book teaches us about personal evangelism. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-19 16:45:21 / 2023-07-19 16:56:17 / 11

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