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 greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie has encouragement for the wanderer. You can experience love, joy, and peace. There is someone to believe in. And of course, it's Jesus Christ. And if that wasn't enough, He tells us that there is life beyond the grave in a place called heaven. So you might say, well great, I'll look forward to that one day.
But wait a second. You have to get on the right road to get to the right destination. You need to get on the highway to heaven. Ever heard the term retail therapy? So many of us, if we need a pick-me-up, a little fun and enjoyment, we go shopping. And boy do we go shopping at this time of the year.
We should all be ecstatic. Well, when people get to the end of the temporary happiness they find in the things they buy, they often wonder, is that all there is? They wonder if there's more to life. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says, yes there is.
And he explains where we can find Him. I want to talk to you a little bit about your future and your life. Not only your plans for your life on earth, but your plans for eternity.
It's something we all think about, or at least we ought to, especially young people. You think about what you're going to do with your life. You know what college are you going to go to? Or are you going to go to college at all? Who are you going to marry? Where are you going to live? What you're going to do? What you would like to do?
We all think about things like that. I read an interesting survey that was taken, I read about one rather, conducted by a leading polling agency. And questionnaires were distributed among people of various ages and occupations. And the key question was this. What are you looking for most in life? And when the results were completed the analysts were surprised because most of them had expected answers that would suggest materialistic goals. But the top three things that people wanted in life were love, joy, and peace. That is what they wanted more than anything else. More than a big car or a nice house or make lots of money or worldwide fame or whatever else that people think they want. People want love, joy, and peace. And that is exactly what the Bible promises we can have in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Now maybe for some that sounds too good to be true.
Oh that is in a movie. Man you can't actually experience love, joy, and peace. Not on this place that we call earth.
Do you live on the same planet that I live on? Have you turned on the news lately? How could you even believe you can have such things as love, joy, and peace? Actor Nicholas Cage who has a new film out made this statement. His philosophy on life recently. We are here to ruin ourselves.
To break our hearts. To love the wrong people and die. End quote.
Ok. Having some fun now with Nick Cage. Actor George Clooney made this pessimistic statement about life. Quote, I don't believe in happy endings but I do believe in happy travels because ultimately you die at a very young age or you live long enough to watch your friends die. It is a mean thing life.
End quote. What a miserable outlook he has on life. Do you feel this way right now like Nicholas Cage sure to ruin yourself. Break your heart. Love the wrong people or die.
Or like George Clooney thinking that life is a mean thing. I am here to tell you there is more to life than this. You can experience love, joy, and peace. There is something or more to the point someone to believe in. And of course it is Jesus Christ. And He promises you a life that is full with purpose and with meaning that you can live. And if that wasn't enough He tells us that there is life beyond the grave in a place called heaven. So you might say, well great I will look forward to that one day.
But wait a second. You have to get on the right road to get to the right destination. And what is this road that I am talking about?
Where is it? Is it hard to find? Is it hard to walk on once you have gotten there? Well let me read to you now from Isaiah 35 verses 8 to 10. And a main road will go through the once deserted land and it will be called the highway of holiness. Evil-hearted people will never travel on it. It will only be for those who walk in God's ways. Fools will never walk there.
Lions will not look along its course and there will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will follow it. Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return to Jerusalem singing songs of everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear and they will be overcome with joy and gladness. God gives us a picture here comparing our relationship to Him with being on a freeway or a highway. Now we all know about freeways. How many of you get out on the freeways a lot these days?
I mean most of us do. It is just miserable out there. I mean it is just gridlock like a parking lot. And I just go crazy when I drive because it is because of what other people do. The crazy things that they will do. And you know it is just a constant source of frustration to me. And you know you are stuck out on these freeways for hours on end.
Everybody is rushing about. And they all supposedly have a destination. But have you ever gone the wrong way on a freeway?
I have. Because I have traveled overseas. Take England for instance. Their steering wheels are on the wrong side of the car. So instead of being on the driver's side like we are used to their steering wheel is over here. And then to make matters worse their lanes are reversed in England. So you are in the wrong side of the car and you are automatically drawn to go on the wrong lane.
And then throw in jet lag and you have a disastrous combination. And when I have been driving in England I have gone up curbs. I have gone up the wrong roads. I went on a British roundabout. You know what that is? It is this little circular thing.
You get on it and then you go around and then you come to your little part and you pull off. But the problem was I couldn't find where you got off and I spent a month on a roundabout. It was around and around I went. Not knowing where I was going.
A lot of people are like that in life. They are just going around and around in circles. Not sure where they are going. Why are they going there.
Who they are running with. But they just go on and on and on. You need to get on the highway to heaven. There are five things about this highway to heaven I want you to see. Number one. There is a road to heaven. Number two.
It is easy to find. Number three. It is a holy road. Number four. It is a happy road. Number five. It is the only road.
Number one. There is a road to heaven. Jesus said you can enter God's kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide for many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small and the road is narrow and only a few ever find it. It is clear Jesus is saying there is a way for us to walk in life. He is certainly not advocating that all roads lead to God. I think a lot of us sort of see the road of life as a mega highway with multiple lanes and we are just sort of changing lanes all the time.
That is me. Just always changing lanes. But let me tell you that is not the highway of life. It is not a big old giant freeway with multiple lanes to choose from and they all get us to the same place and it is all cool and whatever you want to believe that is fine as long as you are sincere.
That is ridiculous. The Bible tells us that is not the way to heaven. It tells us that is the way to destruction. Proverbs 14 and 12 says, There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death. See every day you live you decide what road you are on. God has given you a choice. He says in Deuteronomy 30, I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live. In Jeremiah 6 16 the Lord says, Stand in the ways and see and ask for the old paths where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.
So we have a choice to make. I am either going to get in the narrow way. God's highway that leads to life. I am going to be on the broad way. The easy way that leads to destruction.
Number two. This road. This highway to heaven is easy to find. That is good for me to know as I am always getting lost. I even get lost with GPS.
It doesn't matter. I am always going the wrong direction. But God's way is easy to find. Even a child can figure it out. I heard a story about a drunken man who was looking for something on a sidewalk one night under a street light. He was groping along on the ground holding the lamppost for support and someone walked by and said, Excuse me.
What are you looking for? And the drunk guy said, I am looking for my wallet. They said, Did you lose your wallet here?
He said, Of course not. Where did you lose it? Two blocks back there. Why don't you look back there?
There are no street lights back there. It is not going to do you any good to look for something unless you look in the right place. God has given us the right place to look. He has given us the right way to live. And He will reveal Himself to a true seeker. I believe if someone really wants to know God, God will make Himself real to them in a tangible way.
God says, I love those who love me and those that seek me diligently will find me. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment, right after a quick look at the way a new beginning touches the lives of listeners. Pastor Greg has been instrumental in my walk with the Lord. I came to Christ 11 years ago, after having been an addict for 17 years. I just started hearing him on the radio.
My mom used to leave it on that station so that maybe I would hear something. Well, what I heard back then is still helping me today, along with all the things I've heard in between in every way in every part of my life. He's helped me and I'm so grateful. Thank you, Pastor Greg.
God bless you. Wow, stories like that really move me. I think of this, this young lady is a little girl hearing our program and then she obviously made some bad choices in life, becoming an addict by her own admission, but coming back to the Lord. You know, the Bible says if you train a child in the way that they should go, they'll come back to it, they'll return to it.
And that's what happened with this young lady. And that's why it's so important to, when you're driving around with your kids in your car, great to listen to contemporary Christian music, great to listen to Christian radio, and can I just say, really great to listen to A New Beginning, because the Word of God will not return void. So we're so thankful that our ministry has touched her back in her childhood and to this present day. And that's why we do what we do. And we couldn't do what we do without the support of our listeners. Thanks so much for praying for us and for investing so this work can continue. You can make a generous year-end gift today at harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is giving us five observations about the highway to heaven we should all be on.
Let's continue. Number three, the highway to heaven is a holy road. It's a holy road. Verse 8 says it will be called the highway of holiness. Then we're reminded in Hebrews 12, without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Now let me define what it means to be holy because that's a word that sort of throws us. Holy. H-O-L-Y. Let's spell it another way.
W-H-O-L-L-Y. Holy. Holy committed. Now a lot of people are wholly committed to a lot of things. They're wholly committed to surfing. They're wholly committed to skating. They're wholly committed to career. They're wholly committed to video games. They're wholly committed to football, to basketball, to baseball. They're wholly committed to something. So we are all committed to things that we're just passionate about.
That we're fired up about. So to be holy is to be to be wholly committed to God, you see? And nobody can do this in their own strength. None of us can live a holy life in their own ability because we all are going to fall short. You see, but what God is looking for is a total commitment to Him. Here's where the problem is for a lot of people. They've never made the full commitment to Christ.
They kinda wanna live in two worlds, you know? Yeah, I kinda want Christianity, I want forgiveness, I wanna go to heaven, but yeah, I wanna party, I wanna have fun, but then again, I kinda, you know. And you're sorta like a guy with a foot on the dock and a foot on the boat that's starting to drift away. You're gonna get hurt.
It's not gonna work. You need to decide. You know, if you wanna live for this world, go live for this world. You wanna experience the pleasures of the world, stop living a hidden life, a secret life, go for it.
Get all that the world has to offer. Live it up and go to hell. But you won't be a hypocrite. You'll be true to yourself, truly wrong. But at least you are what you are. Or be a Christian.
Go for it. Wholly committed to the Lord, passionate about Jesus Christ, giving Him your everything. But the problem is so many wanted a little of this and a little of that and you end up getting nothing. You have too much of the Lord to be happy in the world and too much of the world to be happy in the Lord and you're in this miserable no man's land of compromise. Live a holy life. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking holy life.
Why don't you just call it what it is? Live a boring life. Boring. I mean, what are you gonna do? You know, you're not gonna go out and you're not gonna drink, you're not gonna party, you're not gonna have sex, at least outside of marriage.
You know, you're not gonna do any of the fun stuff. You're just gonna, yeah, go to Bible study and pray and go to Bible study again and pray a little bit more and, you know, live for Christ. Yeah, that's right. That's what it is. But let me tell you something.
I've been on both sides of the fence. The first 17 years of my life I lived without Christ. I experienced what this world had to offer.
It's all I knew. It was everything I had. I watched my mother's life. I saw what alcoholism did to her. I saw her immorality, how men used and abused her.
She almost got killed on two separate occasions because of her drinking. And ironically, I got into the party seeing myself. I started drinking myself, smoking, all that. And then I got into drugs for a while and I saw the emptiness and futility of it but I didn't know what the answer was but I knew one thing, this isn't it. So for me it was sort of process of elimination. I don't know the truth yet but I know this isn't the truth.
I know this isn't what I want to waste my life on. And then fortunately I was exposed to the gospel but I was afraid it was gonna be a boring life but I'm telling you the Christian life when it's lived right and you live holy for the Lord it's not a boring road. Number four, it's a happy road. It's a happy road.
It is. Isaiah 35, 10, those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return to Jerusalem singing songs of everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear and they'll be overcome with joy and gladness. The holy life is a happy life and the Christian life is the fullest life. See when I came to Christ at 17, five years ago.
Okay a little bit longer. I wasn't thinking that much about life after death as much as I was thinking about life during life. And I heard that promise of Jesus where He said, I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly and that's what I wanted. That's what He offers to you, a full life.
And check this out. A life where you don't need these artificial stimulants this world has to offer. You don't need drugs to get there. You don't need alcohol to get there. You have the real thing.
Why mess around with cheap substitutes when you can have the genuine article? The Bible says don't be drunk with wine but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit. You don't need the spirits, you need the Holy Spirit in you. Living a happy life and a holy life and a joyful life. The Bible says happy are the people whose God is the Lord. The Scripture reminds us in His presence, His fullness of joy and on His right hand there are pleasures forevermore. So it's a happy life. And fifth and lastly, I would like you to know it's the only road.
It's the only road. We like to think that all religions are true and all roads lead to God. And I'll even hear people sometimes say, well you know what, I believe that all religions basically teach the same thing. And you really boil it down. They're all essentially saying the same.
You know that's such a stupid statement really. It shows you have not even given a cursory look at the religions of the world because if you were to do that, you would quickly discover they don't all teach the same thing. There's an old fable that illustrates it this way. There was a man who lost his way and fell into quicksand. As he slowly was thinking, Confucius came walking by.
He looked at this man's dilemma and said, Confucius say it is evident you should avoid such situations. And he continued on. A little time passed and Muhammad came along and said, alas, it is the will of Allah. And he too went on his way. Then Buddha came by and said, let this man's dilemma be an illustration for many.
And he too left. And then Krishna came by and said, hey, better luck next time. Then Jesus Christ came walking along, saw the man's situation, reached down into the quicksand and pulled him out.
That illustrates the difference as well as anything. Jesus Christ looks at you in your life and says, and that is why the death of Jesus was so important. If there were other ways to Him. Do you think that God would have allowed Jesus to die such a horrific death if all roads led to God?
Of course not. Because God knew there was no way that we could reach Him in our own strength. There was no way we could be holy in our own ability.
There was no way we could meet His righteous standards. He sent His Son to die in our place and die for our sins. And the Bible says there is not salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Jesus said, I am the door by Me. If you enter in, you shall be saved. Again, Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.
And no man comes to the Father but by Me. There is only one way for you to find the life that is full and rich on this earth and know for certain that you're going to heaven. It's the highway to heaven. And you can pull right up to the on-ramp at this very moment. But let me also say in closing, there is also a highway to hell.
Let me be real blunt. If you're not on the highway to heaven, you're on the highway to hell. Again, the Bible says, broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are that go that way.
That's the way that's popular. That's the way that most people are going. But you're gonna have to make a choice and say, which road do I wanna be on right now? You say, all right, well, how do I get on the highway to heaven? How do I get into this relationship with God where I can know that I'll go to heaven when I die? How can I be forgiven of all of my sin? Number one, you need to realize you're a sinner. You need to admit that. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Realize you can't do it on your own. Number two, you have to turn from that sin. The Bible says that God has commanded people everywhere to repent. The word repent means to change your direction. If you're going the wrong way on a road, you do a U-turn, right? And in the same way, if you're going the wrong way in life, do a U-turn.
Hang a U-ey. Get going God's way. Instead of choosing death, you choose life. Thirdly, you have to receive Jesus Christ into your life. Becoming a Christian is not simply believing in a creed.
It's more than that. It's saying, Lord, come into my life and be my savior and my friend and my God. And Jesus says he stands at the door and he knocks and if he'll hear his voice and open the door, he will come in.
Only you can open that door of your heart and ask Christ to come inside. And lastly, you must do it now. The Bible says now is the time.
Today is the day of salvation. So don't put this off. Don't say, you know what, Greg, maybe I'll do it next Sunday or next week or in a month.
You're just like the people I talked about in the beginning of this message. Just kind of going in circles. Life is passing by. Now is the time. Don't put this off. Get on the happy road. Get on the holy road. Get on the only road. The highway to heaven.
You'll be glad you didn't. Pastor Greg Laurie with five characteristics of the highway that leads to God's reward. And if you're not sure you're on the right road, Pastor Greg will help you make a change in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well, here during this Christmas season, we want to make available a special gift for you.
Perhaps you've heard of this. It's the critically acclaimed TV series called The Chosen. It's a gripping cinematic portrayal of the life and ministry of Jesus.
It's as though you're right there beside the Lord as he walks through life. It's the kind of series that'll speak to believers and non-believers alike. It's directed by Dallas Jenkins, the son of Left Behind author Jerry Jenkins.
He's produced over a dozen films for Universal, Lionsgate, Pure Flix, and others. Maybe you've seen the trailers for The Chosen online. Anne Graham Lotz said she was moved to tears and to worship as she watched. Pastor Greg has said literally millions of people have been getting to know the authentic Jesus through this series. And we want to send season one of The Chosen to you on DVD to thank you for your investment in the ministry of A New Beginning. What a great Christmas gift. And your donation helps us reach out with a gospel not only through this program, but also through Pastor Greg's large scale evangelistic events. It's such an important time for that work.
Hearts are hungry. You know, we even saw it several weeks ago at SoCal Harvest. One person wrote us and said, can you believe how many people are here? We came from Los Angeles and frankly, we would have driven across the country to be here.
We wouldn't have missed this for the world. It's such an important time to reach out with the love of Christ. And your investment makes that work possible. And with your donation right now, we'd like to send you season one of The Chosen. You can donate securely online at harvest.org. Or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. And we have operators who can speak with you by phone anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Well Pastor Greg, a few moments ago, you spoke of how someone can accept God's offer of eternal life. Could you help the person who wants to do that right now?
Yes, I'd be delighted to. Listen, as you've listened to this program today, maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing, I need to do this personally, but how do I do it and what do I do? Let me help you. It's very simple.
In fact, it's so simple you may be shocked. God, this relationship with him is just a prayer away. The Bible says if you will call upon the name of the Lord, you'll be saved. So I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that. You call on the name of the Lord.
This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In your name I pray, amen. I know, it's such a simple, short prayer, but you just called on the name of the Lord and you know what?
He heard that prayer and if you meant that prayer in your heart, he answered that prayer. Now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ. The greatest adventure awaits you, the life of walking with God. I wanna send you what we call a New Believers' Growth Pack that includes the New Believers' Bible and a whole lot more and let me be the first to say to you, congratulations and welcome to the family of God. Yeah, and to get that free New Believers' Growth Pack, just ask for it if you prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today. We'll be glad to send one your way. Write us at A New Beginning, box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. Call us any time.
Again at 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Next time, we'll be reminded of the importance of loving God with all our hearts and discover the benefits of that kind of devotion. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
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