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What I Would Tell My Younger Self: The Importance of Discipleship

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2021 3:00 am

What I Would Tell My Younger Self: The Importance of Discipleship

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 13, 2021 3:00 am

Whether you’re an electrician or a chef, an auto mechanic or a roofer, chances are you served some sort of apprenticeship. You learned the trade from someone with a few years under his or her tool belt. Well the Lord has a similar plan for how believers can pass knowledge from older to younger. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie shares the kinds of precepts that we should be passing on. If you missed the first 14 precepts in this thoughtful message, get a replay at

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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 made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how discipleship is an important part of God's plan for passing insight and wisdom from older believers to younger believers. So if you're a younger believer, find an older believer you can learn from. Whether you're an electrician or a chef, an auto mechanic or a roofer, chances are you serve some sort of apprenticeship.

You learn the trade from someone with a few years under his or her tool belt. Well, the Lord has a similar plan for how believers can pass knowledge from older to younger. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shares the kinds of precepts that we should be passing on.

If you missed the first 14 precepts in this thoughtful message, get a replay at Hey, if you have a Bible, why don't you grab it and turn to 2 Timothy chapter 4, and the title of this special message is What I Would Tell My Younger Self, advice I would give to anyone, young people, but older people as well. I would say, young Greg, tell others about Jesus and then disciple them.

This is called the Great Commission. Jesus said, go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and lo, I am with you even to the end of the age. Jesus is saying he will be with the person who does this in a special way. It means that we look for opportunities to initiate conversations about Christ. To the best of our ability, we seek to lead people to the Lord and then we disciple them.

You say, what does that even mean? It means you take them under your wing and you help them get up on their feet spiritually. Here is why discipling a new believer is important for the new believer as well as for the old believer. The older believer stabilizes the younger believer, and the younger believer energizes the older believer. So, you know, when you have been going to church for 10, 15, 20 years, I don't know what you do after the service, but maybe you start critiquing things.

Did you see what she was wearing? Oh, man, can you believe how loud the music was? And that sermon seemed a little too long. You know, you kind of gripe and complain maybe. But let's say you have a brand new believer with you. They just accepted Christ two weeks ago.

They are in that bloom of first love. I guarantee you are not going to be critiquing the sermon or critiquing the church because the new believer will say, you know, the pastor said this and I have never heard that before. So you will find yourself elaborating on it. Do you understand how that is helping you as well as it is helping them? But, see, a lot of us don't do this. You know, we are not sharing the truth. We are hoarding the truth. And we just think about ourselves. But a true mark of spiritual maturity is when we get our eyes off of ourselves and start thinking of others. But then there is the joy of sharing.

Because Jesus said it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. Share your faith. Seek to disciple others.

And here is another one. Spend time with older, godly people. Sometimes when you are young you just want to hang around young people. I remember when I was a brand new Christian I was 17. I knew a lot of people my own age. But I went out of my way to find older people to hang around.

You know why? I thought, what do these other young people know? I don't think they know much more than I know. So I met people that were older like Pastor Chuck Smith, his wife Kay Smith, an associate pastor there at the church he pastored Calvary Chapel named Pastor Romaine. I spent time talking to them.

You know why? I didn't have a dad growing up. I didn't have a mom growing up. I needed an older person to help me figure life out.

To give me some life hacks if you will. And they did that. They spent time with me. I didn't just listen to them speak. I had meals with them and did fun things with them. And got to see what a Christian looks like up close and personal. Especially an older more mature believer. A little bit later in my life I became friends with a great British preacher Alan Redpath who wrote a lot of amazing commentaries. And of course I became friends with Billy and Ruth Graham. Being with these godly people impacted me. Find godly people you can be with. So if you are an older believer find a younger believer you can bring under your wing. If you are a younger believer find an older believer you can learn from.

Paul says to Timothy, teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. See we are in a race as Christians. And this race is the beginning, middle, and end. I expect that I am toward the end of my race.

I am certainly not at the beginning of it. And this is a relay race. And my job in this race is not to hold on to the baton forever.

I have to hand it on to the next runner to carry it forward. We need to do the same. And we need to share these truths if you are older with younger people. God told Moses to teach these truths to his children when they sit down, when they lie down, when they walk, when they get up and they go to bed. In other words just integrate this truth into the life of other people throughout life in general.

Listen to this. World view for young people is formed between the ages of 18 months and the age of 13. Those are the most critical years to pour truth into the life of a younger person. Find a younger person and do that.

And if you are a younger person get someone to help you with that. Here is my final point which is simply this. Don't give too many points when you are saying what an older you would say to a younger you. The last point is this. Finish your race well. I mentioned we are in a race.

A race of life. Paul says many people are in the race. Run that you may win. We all want to run to win.

We all are running for the gold. You know we want to do the best we can with the life that God has given us. And there will come a moment when we have our last meal and we give our last statement and then we are done.

We breathe our last breath. Hopefully we can say along with the Apostle Paul, and this of course is found in 2 Timothy 4, I fought the good fight. I kept the faith. I finished the course.

Henceforth there is laid before me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will give to me in that day and not to me only but to all who love His appearing. You don't know when the end of your race will come. My son's race ended at 33. And we used to race on the beach by the way.

Him and I. He was a great runner Christopher. But somehow I could beat him for many years even though he was a good runner. He was a long distance runner.

I was a sprinter. So I would challenge him to a race. I would always have the race favor me. I would pick a rock up the beach. I would say, let's race to the rock. And Mark had said go.

Well it would favor me because I am a sprinter. And I would always beat him. And one day we were walking along the beach. I said let's race to that rock.

You ready? And off we go. And he not only beat me, he really beat me. And I think that he has gone to heaven before me. He beat me in the race. You think well I have a long ways to run this race and live this life. Maybe I'll get right with God when I'm in my 80s or 90s.

No. Your race may be coming to an end more quickly than you planned for. So always be able to say I fought the good fight. I kept the faith. I finished the course.

Run this race well. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're 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

That's Well today Pastor Greg is passing along advice to those younger in the faith and really to all of us. And he recalls getting some counsel from his mentor, Pastor Chuck Smith. I asked him this question, Chuck what would an older Chuck say to a younger Chuck?

What advice would you give yourself? And Chuck's response was simply, hold the course. I wasn't sure what that meant. I said, what do you mean hold the course? You mean like we're in the race of life and you just hang in there and keep running? He said, that's it. Hold the course.

That's what he did by the way. He held the course into his mid 80s before the Lord called him home. I say to you seasoned saints, you that have been walking with the Lord for some time, hold your course.

Keep running this race because you never know when the race will end. I was with Alice Cooper a little earlier this week and of course you probably know who Alice Cooper is. He's a famed rock star at one moment. He was the most famous and successful rock star in all of the world. His name he was given was Vincent Fournier and as a young man he got into a little rock band. They were called the Spiders and they later changed their name to Alice Cooper. Of course he was known for spectacle and for almost being like a dark figure.

But in reality a lot of it was an act. But in time Vincent Fournier started turning into the character Alice Cooper. Almost like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He started becoming this character. He was drinking.

He became an alcoholic and then he became a drug addict. But here's the amazing thing you may not know about Alice Cooper is he's the son of a pastor. And he was running from God. He described himself to me in an interview I did with him as the prodigal running from God. And he went so far that people thought he'll never get right with God.

This guy is so evil he told me they were destroying copies of his record on the 700 Club. But God wasn't done with Vincent. He wasn't done with Alice. And he got a hold of him.

Alice was actually overdosing on cocaine. He had a rock of cocaine the size of a softball. And he was hallucinating and he looked in the mirror and he saw what looked like blood coming out of his eyes. And he cried out to God. And he took that rock of cocaine and flushed it down the toilet. And God heard his prayer and turned him around and he's been walking with the Lord clean and sober for many years now. The only addiction he seems to have today is an addiction to golf.

He loves to get out on the course. I think that's an acceptable addiction so to speak. But the point is Alice speaks out about his faith in Jesus Christ right now reminding us that no one is beyond the reach of God. I've talked a lot about younger people. Let me talk to someone who is a little older. Maybe you've made some bad decisions. Maybe you've done some things and you would say it's too late for me.

It's never too late for you. God can turn your life around. God can forgive you of your sin. God can refresh you and replenish you and revive you. But you must turn to Him.

Let me do an invitation of a different kind right now. An invitation to prodigal sons and daughters out there who like Alice Cooper have been running from God. But listen, God has not forgotten about you.

God loves you and God will accept you and forgive you. We talked about the prodigal son. You remember that story in the Bible. A boy runs away from his father, ruins his life, loses everything that he has, comes back in shame, returning to his father. And Jesus, who told the story of the father when he saw him at a distance, ran to him, threw his arms around him, and rejoiced and said, this, my son, who is dead, is alive again.

He was lost, is found. You wonder, how would God treat me if I returned to Him? He would forgive you. Abraham Lincoln, after the end of the Civil War, was asked how they should treat the rebellious southerners. And he said, treat them as if they had never left.

The idea is God will treat you as if you have never left. He'll forgive you because on the cross, Jesus took your sin 2,000 years ago. He paid it in full.

It wasn't a partial payment, it was a complete payment. And that's why he uttered the words, it is finished, it is completed, it's done. You just need to come and say, God forgive me. Are you a prodigal son or daughter? Have you been running from God? Maybe it's time to return to Him. I'm going to pray a simple prayer. If you would like to recommit your life to Jesus Christ, you can do it right here, right now. Let's pray.

Pray these words, Lord Jesus. I have been a prodigal. I know it's right, but I've been running from You. But I'm so thankful You love me and You'll forgive me. Lord, I return to You now. I recommit my life to You now.

I choose to follow You from this moment forward. Thank You for hearing my prayer and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name I ask this.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie, with an important prayer today. And we hope you'll get in touch and let us know about the decision you've made today.

Whether you're coming to the Lord for the first time or coming back to the Lord, let us know how God has spoken to you. And we'd like to send you some follow-up resources to help you build a strong foundation of faith as you go forward. We'd like to send you our New Believers Growth Packet. It's free of charge and it'll help you as you take your next steps. Just ask for it as you write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or when you call 1-800-821-3300. And you can reach us anytime around the clock.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to and click Know God. If you missed any part of Pastor Greg's extended length message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self, you can get a replay at

In the presentation, he offered 17 guidelines for Christian growth. And we've covered them all over the last four programs. So be sure to hear what you missed at 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 1 of The Chosen on DVD. How can we use this as an evangelism tool, especially with those who 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 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 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 was 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? A 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, may 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? 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 or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us anytime 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. 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 Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here, encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message from the Word of God.

You can watch it with your family, in your front room, or you can watch it on the go, on your tablet, on your phone, or your computer. Take it with you. Take the Word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at You know, people often wonder if there's more to life. Well, next time, Pastor Greg assures us, yes there is, we'll learn about the blessings of getting on the highway to heaven. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-09 16:28:03 / 2023-07-09 16:37:40 / 10

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