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What I Would Tell My Younger Self: From Pain to Gain

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2021 3:00 am

What I Would Tell My Younger Self: From Pain to Gain

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 8, 2021 3:00 am

Have you noticed how our perspective changes in life? Some of us hated certain vegetables when we were kids. And now? Well, we may still hate those vegetables but that’s not the point! The point is our perspective changes. Right? We eat vegetables ‘cause they’re good for us. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us realize that a changing perspective is good evidence that we’re maturing. And today we’ll see how we can embrace and enhance that maturing process.

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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. You don't decide what hand you will be dealt in life, but you decide how you will react to it. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out whatever trials or pain we encounter can be a tool in the hands of God to make you into the person He wants you to be. And here's the thing you discover in time.

Your pain can be effectively turned to gain because what you have gone through was not designed to destroy you, but to develop you. Have you noticed how our perspective changes in life? Some of us hated certain vegetables when we were kids.

And now? Well, we may still hate those vegetables, but that's not the point. The point is our perspective changes, right?

We eat vegetables because they're good for us. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us realize that a changing perspective is good evidence that we're maturing. And today, we'll see how we can embrace and enhance that maturing process. The title of this special message is, What I Would Tell My Younger Self. What would I say to a young Greg as an older Greg?

What advice would I give myself? What things would I tell young Greg to avoid? What things would I tell young Greg to do?

Well, there's the obvious answers. I would tell young Greg, press your teeth every day, boy, because you do not want to have to spend as much time at the dentist as older Greg has. Of course, I would tell younger Greg, wear sunscreen. I was a blonde kid out at the beach a lot. I don't think I hardly ever wore sunscreen.

And I've had more than one trip to the dermatologist. So I'd certainly give that advice. Maybe I would say to a young Greg, you know when Star Wars comes out and all those figures are in the original packaging? Don't open those. Save those because you'll be able to sell those for a lot of money later. I think that's true of original Barbie dolls in their packaging. I just read the other day that an original copy of the Legend of Zelda video game sold for, get this, $411,000. So I guess I would say, young Greg, go find a few copies of the Legend of Zelda because they'll be worth half a million one day.

But don't take it out of the original packaging. Now, these are silly things. Things that don't matter all that much. But I want to talk about things that really do matter. What I would say to a younger me and in effect what I'm saying to young people right now. Let me give you a little bit of advice. Maybe you don't have a mom and a dad that are doing this for you or a grandfather. Let me be your dad for a few minutes or your grandfather and say things to you that you need said to you as a younger person.

This first one may be surprising. But I'm going to start with this. Whatever you're going through, it's going to be okay. Whatever you're going through, it's going to be okay. I know when you're young and you're experiencing things for the first time, life can seem kind of scary. You're wondering about what you're going to do with your life, where you're going to go, who you're going to marry, what career path you're going to choose. And then maybe something bad happens to you. You have a huge setback.

You break up with your boyfriend or your girlfriend. And it almost seems like your world has just ended. Listen. It's going to be okay.

You're going to get through this. I look at photos of my younger self. By the way, I just rediscovered these really old photos of me as a little boy.

I believe they were taken when I was living in New Jersey. I was around six or seven years old. Look at this little guy. And knowing now what I know now, I know that little guy is going to go through a lot of suffering. His mother would effectively abandon him. He would never have a father growing up. He would be passed around from aunts and uncles. He would spend a considerable period of time in military school. Life would not make sense to him. Sometimes he would be up all night wondering when his mother was going to come home. And she wouldn't come home.

And he'd have to get himself ready for school and take a lot of responsibility on as a little kid. But here's what I would say. God has his hand on you.

God is going to watch over you. I mentioned I was passed around to family members. And I did spend a bit of time with my grandparents.

And that was probably one of the most stable times in my life. Because they functioned as parents. But they were parents from another century.

They were quite old when I was living with them. And they believed in old-fashioned values. But fortunately they believed in old-fashioned food too. Starting with fried chicken. And by the way, we had fried chicken. We didn't just go to the market to buy chicken like normal people. My grandfather would kill a live chicken. Cut its head off.

I remember as a little kid watching him do it one time. He took the chicken. He put it on a tree stump. He took out the hatchet or the axe I should say.

Boom. Off comes the head. And the body is running around spurting up blood. And as I recall it started running toward me. And I'm thinking, how does the chicken body know where to go? I felt like the little chicken head laying there was saying, go straight. Turn right.

Turn right. Whatever. It traumatized me. I still break out in a cold sweat when I go buy Chick-fil-A.

Not really. But fresh chicken. Mashed potatoes made from scratch.

Black eyed peas. So many incredible things she would make every night. But her crowning achievement was her biscuit.

This was a biscuit unlike any other I've had any place. So it was good. It was stable. And I remember we would sit in the front room of my grandparents' house. They each had sort of a lazy boy type chair.

And I would sit in a little stool in the middle. And I remember we watched Billy Graham. And how was I to know as a little boy that I would one day meet him and actually become friends with him. My grandparents had a little painting of the face of Jesus over the furnace.

It was a floor furnace. And I remember I would look at that picture of Jesus for hours thinking about him. There was something about him that interested me. How was I to know that I would come into a relationship with him.

And he would change my life forever. So despite the hardship I went through as a little boy I was able to react to it in a different way. Because at the age of 17 I put my faith in Jesus Christ.

Listen to this. You don't decide what hand you will be dealt in life. Some of you are in a stable home with mom and dad raising you in a wonderful way. Some of you are from a broken home.

In fact probably more of you are from a broken home. And you are facing an uncertain future. You don't get to pick what hand is dealt to you in life. But you decide how you will react to it.

And here is the thing you discover in time. No matter how bad your upbringing is or bad the experiences are that you go through your pain can be effectively turned to gain. God can take your setbacks and turn them into setups. Your tests can become a testimony because what you have gone through was not designed to destroy you but to develop you.

To develop you so you will be a different person. And I have been able to take the pain of my past and use it as a tool to help people who are going through similar pain. The apostle Paul speaks about comforting with the comfort that we ourselves have been comforted with. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We are delighted when we hear stories of people whose lives have changed because of Pastor Greg's teaching from God's Word. Pastor Greg I went to church as a kid but at age 16 I stopped attending because I was convinced I was going to hell no matter what I did. In 1993 I was invited to a free concert by some very close friends.

I asked what kind of music and was told rock contemporary and country. I agreed to go but was not given all of the details. A few hours later they told me there would be a message.

When I asked what kind of message I was told Pastor Greg Laurie gives a message. At that point I realized it had to do with church and I immediately told them I didn't want to go. But I went. As the night went by I know God was whacking me upside the head and so I figured I'd get a free concert and my wife would get the church stuff. So I agreed to go. I really enjoyed the music but as soon as you started giving the message I got very uncomfortable and asked my friends if we could leave.

They told me not until this is over. My palms started sweating and I just knew that my friends had spoken to you because it seemed like you were talking just to me. Your message was about not hardening your heart and after you finished you gave the altar call.

I asked my friends again if we could leave now and they said not until it's over. Then you repeated the altar call. A friend from work who was sitting right behind me later told me when you repeated the altar call a third time she said, Lord what about Frank? And when she was done praying she said I jumped right up and ran down the stairs to the field. I remember asking myself what I was doing there. A young counselor approached me and began praying for me and I started crying like a baby as I accepted Jesus into my heart. But the story doesn't end there. Over time I started to fall back into some of my old ways. I knew deep down inside that I shouldn't be doing those things.

There was no excuse. Then just this year when I heard that you were doing another harvest crusade in Southern California I knew I needed to attend again. My wife and I had both talked and we made reservations to fly from Alabama to attend the October 3rd 2021 SoCal Crusade. Once again your message spoke directly to me and I recommitted my life to Jesus. Thank you Pastor Greg for never wavering from the word of God through these many years. We're thankful God is touching lives today and if you feel led to invest so this kind of life-changing ministry can continue make a year-end donation online at harvest.org.

That's harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is getting very personal today letting us in on those things he would tell his younger self. Good wisdom coming our way today. I read just the other day that the majority of Gen Z has high levels of anxiety and stress. Let me say something to my younger viewers right now. I know it's harder for you than it was for us when we were growing up. I know older people will say things like you know when I was a child it was so much harder. No it's harder for you guys. One of the reasons it's harder is many of you are coming from broken homes. Another reason it's harder is because everything has been escalated. In my day I might get beat up at school. In your day you might get shot in school.

The drugs are much more serious and much harder and of course you have social media that amplifies everything and has changed things dramatically. I also read that Generation Z are afraid of the future and one-third of this generation struggle with suicidal thoughts. Am I talking to somebody right now who has contemplated suicide?

Maybe you've even attempted to take your own life. I want you to know something. I want you to know that you are loved. I want you to know that you are wanted. I want you to know you're loved by more people than you could ever imagine. And I also want you to know that God has a special plan for your life. You matter. We need you.

Don't contemplate ending your life. I just watched a documentary film called Roadrunner. It's about the life of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain first kind of broke out with his book that he wrote called Kitchen Confidential.

Then he started working in television and had a very successful show on CNN called Parts Unknown that took him around the world meeting all kinds of people tasting the most exotic foods and sort of the life that many people would only dream of. It's almost like this film Roadrunner was designed to show why suicide is the worst possible solution because they interviewed many people that really cared about Anthony Bourdain and how much they missed him and how much they loved him and how devastated and in some cases traumatized they were by him taking his own life. Bourdain actually had a scene filmed where he's with a psychiatrist and they're having a discussion together into the psychiatrist. He says I would like to be happier. I would like to be calmer.

I'd like to be able to relax. I'd like to be able to look out the window and say life is good and the psychiatrist replies well you don't do that. You can't look out the window and say life is good and Bourdain replies no I can't and then the psychiatrist says to him you need to start thinking do you want to change anything and Anthony Bourdain responds I think it's too late for that. Listen it's never too late to change. I don't know what trajectory your life is going in right now. I don't know what bad decisions maybe you've made at this moment but it's never too late to change and it's not just changing the way you feel.

You need to change the way you think. Christ can change the course of your life. Listen just as surely as there is a God in heaven who loves you there is a devil that's headed to hell who hates you.

And Jesus summed up the contrast when he said in John 10 the thief speaking of Satan comes only to steal kill and destroy but in contrast Jesus said but I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly. So there's your choice. Life in a relationship with God. Death outside of a relationship with God. Don't let the devil whisper in your ear you should take your life.

The Bible says he's a liar and he's a father of lies. Sometimes people are apprehensive about giving their life to Jesus because they think well it's going to be misery and rules and regulations. Au contraire. That's French for snails with garlic.

No that's escargot. To the contrary God's plan for you is better than your plans for yourself. God himself says in Jeremiah 29 11 I know the thoughts that I think towards you says the Lord.

Thoughts of peace not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Let me just stop right here and ask this question. Would you like to fill that hole inside of your heart? Would you like to have all of your sins forgiven? Would you like to have a fresh start right here right now?

Here's what you need to do. You need to realize that God loved you so much. He sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you 2,000 years ago. If you will turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ will come into your life and he can change the course of your life. Not to mention your eternal destination from hell to heaven. If you would like Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you would like him to forgive you of your sin. Why don't we just stop for a moment and why don't you just pray this prayer with me. Just pray Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner and I know you are the savior and I need you in my life. Forgive me of all of my sin.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Such an important prayer with those making a decision for the Lord. And as you've listened to A New Beginning today if you've prayed along with Pastor Greg Laurie we want to be the first to welcome you into the family of God.

And second let us help you get started off right. We want to send you our New Believers Growth Packet. It'll help answer some questions you might have and lay a foundation for your faith and we'll send it free of charge. Just ask for the New Believers Growth Packet as you write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime. Again dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. You know Pastor Greg evangelism is our heartbeat here at Harvest Ministries. It pervades all we do and we're making available a great resource that undergirds our evangelism efforts. Season one of The Chosen on DVD.

Yes. How can we use this as an evangelism tool especially with those who just you know just don't go to church? Yeah that's a great question because we're dealing with the generation now that has been born with screens.

They've never known a life without an iPhone or a tablet device or or a big screen in front of them somewhere so this is how many of them process information. Now of course we would like them to become more literate and read more but hey let's meet people where they are and so that one of the best ways you can come to them is through cinema, through film, through dramatizing something and telling a true story but in a way that connects to them culturally and I can't think of anyone who's done a better job of this than director Dallas Jenkins in this series called The Chosen. The Chosen is a dramatic depiction of the life and ministry of Jesus and it's done in a way like I've never seen before. These apostles come to life. These Bible stories just jump out at you in a way like you've never seen before and I'm very excited to announce that we are offering season one of The Chosen to you this month for your gift of any size and what a great time to sit down and watch these stories with your family. I have to tell you the episode where Jesus encounters Nicodemus is one of the most moving things I've ever seen.

In fact I've been speaking with actor Jonathan Rumi who plays the role of Jesus and told him how powerful his portrayal of Christ was in those scenes of The Chosen. What have you come here to show us? A kingdom.

That is what our rulers are worried about. No, not that kind. Then what? The sort of kingdom that a person cannot see unless he is born again. Born again?

Yes. You mean a new creature? A conversion from gentile to Jewish?

No, no that's not what I'm talking about. Then what is born again? I hope you don't mean return to the womb because that would be a problem for me.

My mother and she rest in peace is dead. Truly I say to you unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.

That part of you that is what must be reborn to new life. So we're going to send this to you for your gift of any size. Whatever you send to help us financially to continue on teaching the word of God and preaching the gospel will be greatly appreciated and we will rush you your copy of season one of The Chosen so you can sit down with your family and start enjoying it together. But it's not just entertainment. You're going to be moved spiritually and it's going to make you want to open up your bible and read the stories as given to us in the gospel.

So don't delay. Order your copy of season one of The Chosen for your gift of any size to Harvest Ministries. Yes the perfect time to have a DVD that tells the real story of Jesus. It would make for good quality time with your kids or grandkids. Maybe watch it together on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. As Pastor Greg said, we'll send it to you to thank you for your investment in this ministry and the lives that will be touched in the coming year. And doesn't our culture need a touch from the Lord right about now? In fact we received this note.

It said, I'm 16 years old from the United Kingdom. I've been listening to the New Beginning podcast for the past seven years since I was nine. I'm so thankful for the content you put online. You've been a blessing to my friends and family. So thanks for your investment today and we'll say thanks tangibly with season one of the TV series called The Chosen. You can donate securely online at harvest.org or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or call us anytime 24 7 at 1-800-821-3300.

3-800-821-3300. Ever start your day off wrong? You know, things started badly and just kept going downhill. A lot of it has to do with your focus, where your mind is centered as the day starts. Why not plug into Pastor Greg's daily devotions? They're free of charge. It's good encouragement to keep your eyes fixed on Christ. You can read each day's devotion or listen to the audio version.

Your choice. Sign up today free of charge at harvest.org. Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You know, my uncle Fred Jordan had one of the first Christian TV programs out there. It was called Church in the Home.

I remember watching it as a little boy when I was living with my grandparents. Well, we have Church in the Home for you every weekend. It's called Harvest at Home, and you can find it at harvest.org. We have worship and a message from God's Word. So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg continues his message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self with insight on how we can avoid the scourge of worry and commit to living a life of honesty and integrity. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others, or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-11 21:36:30 / 2023-07-11 21:45:49 / 9

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