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December 23, 2021 3:00 am
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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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Everybody you're listening to a new beginning, which is a podcast made possible by harvest partners. If this program is impacted you, I love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org again it's email@example.com you can learn more about becoming harvest partner by going to harvest.org we have so many options to keep ourselves entertained, at least temporarily. Pastor Greg Laurie points to where real contentment is we've never been more intense.
Technologically, we have our social media were on were on Facebook and Twitter.
All of this is going on simultaneously planar video games and many young people are saying I'm for which Jesus is wonderful, Jesus will take care of the dullness of life and TV receive maybe 1/2 dozen channels that was it will in March of this year. The FCC said there are currently 1758 channels in the US.
Many of us still flip around and complain. There's nothing on me that were looking in the wrong places to satisfy an internal desire today on a new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie hope to see what our heart really home seems to be in short supply, doesn't it. A lot of people are despair right now their worry there filled with anxiety. There filled with hopelessness.
Maybe that's why drug uses up alcohol use is up in the days in which were living room. I see of how it might've been around 2000 years ago when the people of God had not heard from the Lord for 400 years. That's a long time. 400 years without a single angelic appearance 400 years without messenger from the Lord. Thundering God's word to them 400 years and said seen a simple miracle and because of that it appeared there was an icy silence from heaven yet. Things look pretty bleak. 2000 years ago at the first Christmas, but everything was right on schedule.
In fact, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist understood this when he said in Luke chapter 1 because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, yes the Messiah was coming. Now I want to focus on a passage of Scripture that I think really sums up what Christmas is all about and why Jesus came in the first place.
It's a passage you probably have memorized Isaiah 96, and here's what it says undo us a child is born, undo us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace.
Have you ever noticed that that verse gives sort of a heavenly and earthly perspective of what happened when Jesus came at the same time. From our perspective unto a child was born in a manger in Bethlehem, from God's perspective son was given for us. It was an arrival for God. It was a departure would listen to this. The birth of Jesus was not just beginning. Jesus is part of the Godhead, father, son and Holy Spirit. He always has been. But what happened at Christmas. The incarnation is it's called as God walked among us as a man, he breathes our air. He walked in our shoes. He lived our lives and ultimately he died are death.
It's such an amazing thing that all of this happen for us and I want to go over those descriptions of Jesus given in Isaiah 96 because it shows how Jesus is sufficient to meet what ever need. You have in your life. Let's start with this one is name shall be called wonderful that takes care of the dullness of life. Bertrand Russell was quoted to have said at least half of the sins of mankind were caused by the fear of boredom. The word wonderful comes from the root word. Wonder and think about all the text we have today. We've never been more advanced technologically than we are right now we have our smart phones we have are tablets we have our mega screen televisions hanging on the wall. We have our social media were on tick-tock were on Facebook or on twitter. All of this is going on simultaneously. Why were planar video games and many young people are saying I'm bored. But Jesus is wonderful, Jesus will take care of the dullness of life. But if you look to this culture or this world to find answers or fulfillment you're going to come up empty. There is nothing this world offers that will satisfy a person who's created to know God written an interesting interview with actor Ethan Hawke the other day when he first started out in Hollywood as a young actor. One of his contemporaries was River Phoenix and he really looked up to the tragically River Phoenix moved to Hollywood and ended up in the fast lifestyle of that culture and tragically ended up dead of a drug overdose outside of the Viper room in Los Angeles and so Ethan Hawke in this interview, made this statement and I quote drugs, alcohol and depression are formidable opponents all over the world. People think getting what you want will make you happy. But then he says, but a sense of self purpose and love don't come from the outside you can get so distracted by this culture that celebrates things that sometimes aren't what they seen." That's an understatement.
People were caught in the undertow of this culture take someone like Justin Bieber who said more than his share of fame and adulation and he made this statement, quote a world this glamorous lifestyle portrayed by famous people and Instagram don't be full and think their life is better than yours because I promise you it's not "Jesus is Lord God comes in these wonderful the word wonder means he's amazing. She's astonishing these bewildering fees be on our human comprehension. You know, we have one word that really sums up got awesome.
We as a world a lot, especially here in Southern California you know people like to imitate Californians and it'll sound something like whoa that's awesome dude. Nobody in California thoughts away. By the way, but we as a world a lot. All that's an awesome car.
All that was an awesome taco. I hope you don't think a taco is as awesome as God. This is a word that really is reserved for the Lord alone. He's on in Irene. She's a wonderful and this will add meaning and purpose to your life when you have a relationship with him. Medical science seeks to add years to your life and only Christ can add life to your years.
So for all of us. His name can be wonderful but then Isaiah says his name is counselor that takes care of the decisions of life. Did you know that God Almighty wants to reveal his will to you. He has a specific plan for your life as an individual. Psalm 73 says you guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory the many will go to the local bar and pour out their troubles to the bartender or anyone who will sit around and listen to them. Others in desperation will spend thousands of dollars on therapy. Even others will go to a psychic trying to get some kind of an answer. Others might even turn to Google or Siri to try to find the answers to life. Listen, to tell you here's where you're going to find the answers you're going to find them in the Bible God is a counselor is not only wonderful, he wants to bring a specific counsel to you.
The Bible says if any man likes wisdom, let him ask of God and the Lord will give it you can have an appointment with Jesus Christ when ever you want it. He always has time for you, one dark night amending Nicodemus, a religious leader had an appointment with Jesus. One afternoon a woman from Samaria tried to fill the hole in her heart with relationships with Ben had an appointment with Jesus and God is ready to make an appointment with you and D. Your counselor and he's finally interested in whatever you're facing in the book of Numbers chapter 6 there is a blessing that the Jewish priests were to pronounce over the people and one along these lines, the Lord bless you. The Lord keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. If you ever wonder what that means in the winter. Send the Lord bless you and keep you. But when the Bible says he'll lift up his countenance and means God's can the betaine attention to you.
You have God's attention. He's interested in what you're facing. He wants to be your counselor's name is wonderful, his name is counselor and he is the mighty God that takes care of the demands of life. As I pointed out Jesus was fully God and fully man. He was not just a good man.
He was the God man, not man, becoming God, that's impossible for God becoming a man is kind of hard to wrap our minds around the idea that that beautiful little baby born in the manger of Bethlehem was God all mighty he was.
Dear the diapers God came among us and walked among us. Listen to this. Jesus became one of us, without ceasing to be himself. He became human without ceasing to be God unbelievable but he is the mighty God, which means that he has all the power that you need in life. Whatever you're facing whatever challenge, whatever difficulty whatever addiction the almighty powerful God is taken residence in your heart if you put your faith in Jesus Christ your great glory of the second half of this message moment right after a quick look at the way a new beginning touches the lives of listeners. 20 years ago I gave my life to Jesus. After listening to on the radio. God bless you always. Thank you for leading Christ years ago when the harvest you majoring on my life and I can't thank you enough.
Early last year.
I found the Lord and harvest Christian Fellowship God is so I'm happy to partner with you in your mission more folks that know me know that I often in my message, no matter what the topic with an invitation for people to come to Christ because there's always someone out there that doesn't know the Lord may be there in the congregation.
Maybe there listening, then radio maybe there watching online, and I want those people to know they can never relationship with Christ and I know that this is what God wants, because the Lord says he's not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, so I'd like to throw the net and as you know, if you listen to a new beginning we throw the net a lot and you know what we see thousands of people come to Christ every year through our radio program along so that is why am thankful when you invest in our ministry because you enable us to reach a lot of people that I can never reach otherwise they'll never darken the doorway of the church, but they might be turning the radio dial income upon our show and say what is this all about, and I've had more than one person tell me that's all they found their program and ended up listening and coming to Christ, so that's what were all about. So when you support as you help us to reach more people like the ones you just heard from with the message of the gospel, you can make a generous year-end donation today by going to harvest.org where were considering the nature of Christ today by way of a special holiday message called a hopeful Christmas. Let's continue. His name is wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the everlasting father.
This brings hope and encouragement to those who maybe grew up without a father, and life baby I'm talking to someone who came from a fatherless home or a broken home or maybe your father never had time for you. Or maybe he was a harsh abusive father.
Regardless of how your father and earth was I want to tell you you have a father in heaven who loves you. I didn't have a dad growing up, my mom was married and divorced seven different times so I never had that father figure 1 a became a believer in Jesus Christ. Suddenly, Qaeda heavenly father looking out for me that I could come into a relationship with after Jesus rose again from the dead. He appeared to Mary at the empty tomb, and he said I'm going to ascend and go to my God and be your God and to my father and your father say because of Jesus dying on the cross and rising again from the dead. Now I can call God Almighty father, how does he teach us to address God in what we call the Lord's prayer.
Remember our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
The Bible even takes it a step further and says God is not giving you a spirit of bondage again to fear, but one of adoption, whereby you cry, Abba, father still the phrase Abba father does mean a lot to us today, but it means a lot to someone who speaks Hebrew effective you're in Israel today, you'll see the little children, calling their father Abba and that's their version of daddy to the Bible is not only seen a God to be your father but if any, can be here all but your daddy your Papa if you will. He is the ever lasting father and everlasting from my desk it's eternal. It reminds us that you'll be my father on earth and you'll receive me into heaven where I will go one day because I put my faith in Jesus Christ and it says also here in Isaiah 9 he is the Prince of peace that takes care of the disturbances of life.
You know when the storms of life. We long for peace within, and our crazy culture was so many uncertainties in the air and uncertain economy you're uncertain about your health, your uncertain about so many things. It's great to know that he can be your Prince of peace.
When the angels appeared to those shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Remember what the message was it was glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men with whom God is well pleased the way you have peace is by having a relationship with God when your life is well pleasing to God. You can experience this personal peace now. Isaiah shifts gears and he says and the government will be upon his shoulders. This is speaking of a future event and he will be called wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace, and the government will be upon his shoulders.
Now there's a lot of time between the birth of Jesus and the return of Jesus.
When Christ comes back again will have a perfect government and we want that.
Don't wait so much corruption in government, no matter how you vote in one day they'll be a perfect government of righteousness, but that will not happen through political channels that will happen when Jesus Christ returns again to this earth and establishes his kingdom and he will reign righteously as King of Kings and Lord of lords would listen to this before Jesus would take the government upon his shoulders to future event, it would first take the cross upon shoulders. He came to die on the cross we don't like to think about that like to think of that beautiful little baby in the manger made them blue light for that little baby came with a purpose omission to die for the sin of the world. Remember those wise men became a little bit later in the Christmas narrative and they brought to him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, curious gifts to bring a child about a stuffed camel, no gold, frankincense and myrrh.
They had an insight as to the mission of what Jesus had come to fulfill goal because he was a king frankincense or incense because he would be our high priest representing us to God and murder that was an embalming element. They understood that he was going to die for the sin of the world. So I want to see the you in closing, red is the color of Christmas is a Y because Santa wears red or poinsettias are red, no red is the color of Christmas because that is the color of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for the sin of the world. That's why he came because God knew way back that we would sin against him. He knew we would break his commandments. And so, in the garden of Eden, the Lord gave the first passage that points to the arrival of the Messiah. When the Lord said to Satan, there is coming, one who will crush your head, but he will bruise his heel. And when Jesus came he was born he lived his perfect life and then he went to the cross and he crushed Satan and he rose again from the dead and we can come into a relationship with him right now. But first we have to receive the gift.
Christmas is about giving gifts is that I hope you've done all your Christmas shopping. If you're like me you forget some people enough to go out and get them a gift at the last minute, but you know you give a Christmas gift to someone you say Merry Christmas. Hopefully they read something thank you very much. In the open it now ladies are usually more polite about a gift. If there's a card with that though the will open the card. Go read the card sometimes are visibly touched by what they read the same thank you and then the carefully open it all. Save this ribbon for later in and carefully and do it. You know, I may use this another time guys are very different now to give a card to a guy to look at it, but he's not reading that are ideally recently opened it. These open. There's gift cards in it. Are there some money will throw it aside and wrapping paper to a man is a mere obstacle. He just wants to get it off as quickly as possible. Doesn't really matter how you open your Christmas gift.
Just open the sender. This God is a gift for you. It's called the gift of eternal life. The Bible calls it the unspeakable gift, which is another way of saying the indescribable gift about awake.
This is the only gift that keeps on giving. In fact, I think this gift of eternal life only grows more precious. With the passing of time. You know when you're young and you're told that if you asked Jesus to come in your life you go to heaven one day you think will that's nice but I'm kind of looking for meaning and purpose in this life but as you get older, but like me and you realize you're closer to the end and you are the beginning, all of a sudden, that eternal life part becomes even more precious to you. This whole that you can spend all eternity with the Lord in heaven. Well, if you want to gift you receive. So God is offering you will get this gift was purchased for you by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. 2000 years ago. And if you want this hope of heaven. If you want your sins forgiven.
You must receive this gift. The Bible says, for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God.
So in the same way if I offer this gift to you. You must say, I accept this gift, and God is offering you this awesome gift of eternal life, but you must say, I accept his label. I don't even know what that means and means you say to the Lord in prayer. I need Jesus to come in the my life. I need him to forgive me of my sin. I want to know that when I die I will go to heaven. Jesus born in that manger living that perfect life, dying the death on the cross for our sins and rising again from the dead is standing at the door of your life and he's knocking anything in future my voice and open the door of come in in a moment. I like to pray with you and pray a simple prayer that a child could understand a simple prayer that your offering to God. We are seeing Jesus come into my life. Forgive me of my sin. I want a relationship with you. Listen if you want Christ to come in your life if you want him to forgive you of your sin if you want to discover that all of God that I talked about where his name will be wonderful to you will be your counselor, your mighty God than just pray this prayer after me again I'll just pray this prayer you could pray it out loud after me. This is where you're asking Jesus Christ come in your life. Pray with me know if you would pray these words Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner but I know that you're the Savior was born in the manger of Bethlehem who died on the cross of Calvary and rose again from the dead. Now Jesus, I ask you to come in the my life to be my Savior, and be my Lord to be my God, thank you for hearing this prayer in answering this prayer in Jesus name I asked this amen Greg Lord closing with an important prayer for those making a decision for the Lord and appropriate way to close today study on a new beginning with our celebration of the Lord's birth.
Just a couple of days away and if you just prayed with Pastor Greg and you've meant those words.
Sincerely, your sins have been forgiven.
Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness and we want to help you get started.
Living the Christian life would like to send you our new believers growth packet just ask for and will send it free of charge requested when you write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or when you call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org will hear during this Christmas season. We want to make available a special gift for you. Perhaps you heard of this. It's the critically acclaimed TV series called the chosen is a gripping cinematic portrayal of the life and ministry of Jesus is as though you're right there beside the Lord as you walk through life is the kind of series that will speak to believers and nonbelievers alike as directed by Dallas Jenkins, the son of left behind author Jerry Jenkins. He's produced over a dozen films for universal Lions gate pure flexion. Others made using the trailers for the chosen online and Graham Lott said she was moved to tears and to worship as you watch Pastor Gregor said literally millions of people live in 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. Your donation helps us reach out with the 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 even shot 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've 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 would like to send you season one of the chosen.
You can donate securely firstname.lastname@example.org or write us at a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 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 one next time.
Pastor Greg brings enlightening perspective on when Christ came and why he came to look at the importance of Christmas from a heavenly perspective. Join us here on a new beginning.
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