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How to Be an Encourager | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2022 3:00 am

How to Be an Encourager | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 23, 2022 3:00 am

Everybody needs someone to encourage them in their walk of faith. In this Sunday morning episode, Pastor Greg Laurie notes the world-changing impact of one man who was known as the “son of encouragement.” Glean good news in this latest message from the book of Acts.

Notes

“The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.” —Proverbs 25:11

75% of what we worry about never happens, but God will be with us when the other 15% happens.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” —Philippians 4:13

There is a place for criticism and correction.

1. An encourager sees the potential in others and cheers them on.

Barnabas took Saul under his wing and true to his name, encouraged him!

Do you know a Barnabas?

Are you a Barnabas?

Paul could not get the church to embrace him.

New believers need Christians who will model for them what it is to follow Jesus.

If we had more Barnabases, we would have more Pauls.

Our calling is to lead others to Christ and then disciple them.

The more I give, the more He gives to me.

Have you ever led anyone to Jesus Christ?

Have you discipled anyone?

Everybody needs a Barnabas in their life at one time or another.

When people are suffering, they don’t always need a prayer; they need an encourager.

We are able to encourage others as we ourselves have suffered.

2. If you want to be an encourager, help other Christians to grow in their faith.

“He encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.”

He will forgive you of all of your sin!

Scripture Referenced

1 Thessalonians 5:11

2 Corinthians 12:8–9

Psalm 38:15

Proverbs 27:6

Matthew 28:19–20

James 5:19

Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

Support the show: https://harvest.org/support

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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. to the side, and they said, oh, you're as good as dead. You'll never get out of that pit. But those two little frogs didn't want to stay there, and they started jumping and jumping and jumping, and they couldn't make their way out. And the frogs on top yelled out, you're gonna die, just give up, there's no way. It was so discouraging, in fact, so discouraging that one of the frogs just gave up and died. But the other frog would not give up. He kept jumping and jumping, and finally, much to every frog's surprise, he jumped completely out of the pit. The other frog said, didn't you hear us? We told us you couldn't get out of the pit.

And then that little frog said, oh, sorry, I'm hard of hearing. I thought you were cheering me on. You see, we live in a culture right now where there are so many discouraging words, so many people saying, you're not going to make it, you're gonna fail. I mean, go online and look at all the internet trolls and the ridiculous mean-spirited vitriol and comments they'll make. This is a discouraging time. Turn on the news, it's even more discouraging.

So what are we to do? It's actually affecting the mental health of our nation, especially young people. No wonder the rates of depression in 14 to 17-year-olds grew from 60% from 2009 to 2017. And it's even gone up more recently because of COVID and lockdowns and isolation and all the rest of it. Suicide rates in young people have more than doubled in a decade. 43% of millennials in Gen Z's report being very concerned about their mental health. That's almost half of them. And a recent survey found that half of Americans in general feel alone or left out, and over half feel that no one knows them well.

Well, if you go on social media, as I've already mentioned, this is only going to make it worse. There's a song out by an 18-year-old artist named Olivia Rodrigo, and the title of it is Jealousy, Jealousy. And in the lyrics of this song, she sums it up, quote, I kind of want to throw my phone across the room, because all I see are girls too good to be true, with paper white teeth and perfect bodies. I wish I didn't care.

And then she sings in the chorus, comparison is killing me slowly. I think too much about kids who don't know me, end quote. And that's true, but it's not just young people feeling this depression, it's older people as well. They're feeling forgotten, left out, unappreciated, passed over.

Many senior adults are seeking hope and a word from someone telling them that their lives matter. Some have lost their physical strength, others have lost their mate, and they're struggling with loneliness, and suicide is up among older people as well. Men who are 65 and older face the highest risk of suicide. That statistic surprised me.

And adults 85 and older are the second most likely group to take their own lives. So what do all these people have in common? I think what they all have in common is they need a word of encouragement. They need to know that they're appreciated, that they're needed, that they're loved, and they're cared for. And let me personalize it, you need to know that you are cared for, loved, and appreciated.

Not only by God, who loves you of course, but other people who value you so much. But there are so many discouraging words out there today. It just seems to me like the whole platform of Twitter is just filled with discouragement.

I mean you post a picture of a puppy and people will criticize it and fight with you, looking I think sometimes for a fight to get into. And so words really matter. What we say really matters. I've often said there's an acronym I wish we would apply before we speak and before we tweet. And the acronym is of course THINK, T-H-I-N-K. Are you impressed I can spell think?

But T stands for is what you're about to say truthful. H is for is it helpful. I is it inspiring.

N is it necessary. K is it kind. Again is it truthful, is it inspiring, is it necessary, is it kind. If not, don't say it.

If not, don't post it. You say Greg if I followed that rule, I wouldn't say anything. Good, do us all a favor and shut up. Stop discouraging people. Be an encourager instead of a discourager. I remember critical words given to me as a young man when I was in high school. My report card, I didn't get very good grades I have to tell you. And the teacher actually wrote these words in my report card. Greg Laurie spends too much time sitting around, staring out the window, daydreaming and drawing cartoons. And then there's this line, he's never going to amount to anything, end quote.

Thank you for those words of affirmation. Funny I still remember them so many years later. And then I remember when I was in elementary school, I did create a lot of trouble. I'll be honest with you and they tried to expel me but my mother went into the principal and said, I'll sue you if you expel my son, so I stayed in school. But I was a troublemaker and there was a teacher in the classroom next to ours who heard of my exploits. And she said publicly to her entire class, I would like to take Greg Laurie, bury him in the sand in the blazing sun and let ants eat him alive. I have to say, that was not so discouraging.

I thought that was kind of cool that this teacher called me out like that. But words do matter, words impact us and others as well. We need to think about what we say to others.

So I want to share some encouraging words with you today. Words that I hope will elevate you and lift you up and it does affect you. I read an interesting article with the title, The Most Dangerous Word in the World. It was actually written by two doctors and they wrote these words and I quote, if we were to put you in an MRI scanner and take a video of your brain and flash the word no for less than one second, there would be a sudden release of dozens of stress producing hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal function of your brain, impairing logic, reason and communication. Just flashing the word no totally affects you in the way you think. And then they go on to say, yet positive words such as peace and love can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas of the frontal lobes, promoting the brain's cognitive functioning. Isn't that interesting?

So they can even show this medically, scientifically. The words will impact us and the way that we think and the way that we live. You know, when President Lincoln was assassinated, they took his belongings that he had with them, a pair of spectacles and much to everyone's surprise, there was a rumbled up little newspaper article that Lincoln carried with him everywhere.

And written on this little article from a newspaper were these words, Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen of all time, end quote. So even the President of the United States needed to be encouraged from time to time. Proverbs 25, 11 says the right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver. So I want to encourage you right now and we're supposed to be encouraging one another. First Thessalonians 5, 11 says, encourage one another and build each other up. It does not say discourage one another and tear each other down, does it? Then over in Hebrews 10, 24, it says let's consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and so much more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. Whatever you're going through right now, and I know I'm speaking to somebody going through a very hard time, a storm is coming to your life unexpectedly and it's turned your world upside down.

So here's what I want to say to you right now, you are going to get through this. There is an occasion in the gospels where Jesus told his disciples to get in the boat and he said let's cross over to the other side. Well, a great storm came and the disciples began to panic thinking they were going to die, but Jesus did not say let's go to the middle of the Sea of Galilee and drown together, shall we? If so, I doubt anyone would have boarded that boat.

No, he said let's go over to the other side. He did not promise them an easy ride, but he promised them a safe arrival. The same is true of us. Whatever you're going through, you're ultimately going to get through it. God's going to finish the work he has begun in your life because he is the author and finisher of your faith.

And ultimately we'll get over to the other side, which is heaven. That is a promise that God has given to every one of his followers. But here are some encouraging Bible verses for you. Let's say you're thinking right now, I'm a failure and I can never change. Here's God's response to that from Philippians 4, 13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

No, you cannot do this on your own. And maybe you have failed, but God can forgive you, give you a second chance, and you can get up on your feet and keep going and do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Maybe someone listening to me right now would say, man, I'm just so afraid of the future. But here's what God says in Deuteronomy 31. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God goes with you and he will not leave you or forsake you. We're told in Timothy, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.

And that word sound mind can be translated a well-balanced and disciplined mind. You might say, I can't go on another day in this trial that I'm facing. But God's response to you in 2 Corinthians 12 is what he said to the apostle Paul when Paul said, Lord, remove this affliction from my life. And the Lord responded, my grace is all you need.

My power works best in weakness. You might say, I have no future and I have no hope. God says in Psalm 38 15, you, O Lord, are my hope. I put my trust in you. Psalm 130, verse five, I'm counting on the Lord.

Yes, I'm counting on him. I've put my hope in his word. That's where you're going to find hope. You're going to find it in the word of God. You're probably not going to find it online for the most part. You're not going to find it in the newspapers.

You're not going to find it on the news. You're not going to find it in so many places, but you'll find it in the word of God. One of my favorite verses about hope, of course, is Jeremiah 29 11, where the Lord says, I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Okay, so speaking of encouragement, I want to introduce you now to a man that could be called Mr. Encouragement. He was always known for encouraging others up. He was not a guy who knocked others down. He was a guy who built others up, and his name was Barnabas.

Actually, it's interesting, his given name was Joseph, but he was nicknamed Barnabas, and Barnabas means the son of encouragement, or as I would think of it, Mr. Encouragement. I love that, Mr. Encouragement. If you were going to be summed up in one word, who would you be?

Again, Barnabas was Mr. Encouragement. Maybe you would be Mr.

Happy, or Miss Excitement, or maybe Mr. Bible, or would you be Miss Cranky, or Mr. Critical, or as I've said before, would you be Debbie Downer, or Bobby Buzzkill? Always seeing the negative, never seeing the positive, always there with a critical word, never there with a word of affirmation. Are you that person? Always criticizing, always complaining. You might say, well, I think God has given me this gift to keep others humble. No, he actually hasn't given you the gift at all. You're just a mean person, and you're going about it in an unbiblical way.

Maybe you should change your name to Karen. But whatever it is, we want to be more like Barnabas. Now, having said that, there is a place for criticism, constructive criticism and correction. We're even told in Proverbs 27, 6, Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. So we want to be that person who's a true friend and tells the truth to another friend. But don't be known for being a critical person. Be known for being an encouraging person.

If you're going to take the withdrawal of a person through criticism, make a deposit through a compliment. So back to Barnabas. We first read of him in the book of Acts after Saul of Tarsus came to faith. Now, you have to understand how radical of an event that was. Saul of Tarsus was a notorious sinner. He was a Christian killer, literally, hunting down followers of Jesus, men, women and children, arresting them, taking them in chains back to Jerusalem.

Many of them were executed. This man was feared in the church. But then, much to everyone's shock, Saul of Tarsus meets Jesus on the road to Damascus. Frankly, a lot of people didn't believe he was really converted. They didn't believe that Saul of Tarsus was now a Christian. I don't even know what to compare this to, like a modern version of someone you never thought would become a Christian.

I think of Alice Cooper, who I've gotten to know recently, and I've interviewed him, and people criticized me for doing that. Oh, this man is living in darkness. Well, sure, he did live in darkness for many years. But he came to Christ, and Jesus delivered him from drug addiction, and he put Alice's marriage back together with his beautiful wife, Cheryl, and now they speak out for their faith in Jesus Christ, but say, oh, no, we don't believe he's a Christian.

Or take another friend of mine, Michael Franzese. Michael was in the mob. He was a gangster. He was a made man, a good fellow, if you will. And so Michael was being groomed to become the next godfather or Don of the Colombo family, and God got hold of him. He was arrested, sent to prison. He didn't rat out any of the people he knew, so he served time in prison, including time in solitary confinement, and a guard there in the prison gave Michael a copy of the Bible, and Michael began to read it, and his heart was moved, and he turned his life over to Jesus Christ.

And I remember that many years ago, someone came to me and said, there's a guy named Michael Franzese. He used to be in the mafia, and he says that he came to Christ, and he wants to meet you, because as it turns out, when Michael was in the hole, as he calls it, in solitary, he used to listen to messages from me on the radio. So he said he wanted to meet me. Well, first of all, I didn't know if I wanted to meet someone from the mafia.

Number two, I was thinking, if he is from the mafia, did he use the word whack Greg at any point in his statements? I thought, I don't really want to meet this guy. I don't even know if this guy's really converted.

And then I met him, and immediately, just minutes after, I knew this is a real believer in Jesus Christ. But, you know, sometimes in the church we think, oh, that person can't be a Christian. That was Saul's problem. No one believed he was really a follower of Jesus, but Ananias, a man, was called to pray for Paul, which he reluctantly did.

But then Ananias exits, stage left. And Paul now has spent six to seven years in Tarsus, just growing in his faith, but really not very involved in the church. Enter Barnabas, Mr. Encouragement, to help Saul along.

And that brings me to my first point, an encourager sees the potential in others and cheers them on. As it turns out, Barnabas took Paul, Saul, now becoming Paul, under his wing and encouraged him. They went on missionary journeys together. Effectively, Barnabas was more the lead guy, the more mature guy, but he gave Paul more opportunities to preach, and Paul emerged as a powerful preacher of the gospel. So Barnabas helped Paul reach his potential. Acts 9, verse 26 speaks of it when it says, When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him and did not believe that he had truly become a believer. So Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul, and he told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So Barnabas had a lot of credibility in the church. He puts it all on the line for Saul.

Guys, listen to me. This guy's legit. He's really a Christian. He really knows the Lord, and I want you to embrace him.

How important is that? Have you ever been a Barnabas to someone else, someone to help someone grow or to meet other Christians? You see, Paul could not get the church to embrace him. That's where Barnabas stepped in.

You know, so many fall through the cracks. They make a profession of faith, but they never get grounded. They never get established with other Christians, and other Christians are suspicious of them. It doesn't help when people look askance at us when we walk into a church. Oh, how could you be a Christian?

You know, you don't look the way we all look. I remember years ago, during the days of the Jesus movement, I had been going to Calvary Chapel, and there were all kinds of people there of all ages, a lot of long-haired kids like me who had found the Lord, and so one day I decided to go to another church. It was a very traditional church. I happened to come in toward the end of the service. They had a choir up there, and the preacher was in his suit, and all the men were in suits, and the ladies were dressed very nicely, quite a bit different from the church I was attending at that time where it was a much looser dress code, et cetera. So I come walking in with my full hippie here, my long beard, my bell bottoms, and all that, and I notice everyone was staring at me. Now, by the way, I'd heard the end of the pastor's sermon. I thought, oh, that's good.

I'm looking forward to hearing it. I take my seat. Literally, people are bending over and staring at me. I thought, wow, I guess I'm the only person that looks like this in the church. So the second service begins, and the pastor's preaching what seems like a different sermon, and I notice he's looking directly at me, and it dawns on me. He thinks he has a live hippie sinner in the church, and he's saying, you need to come to Christ.

There's a young person here today that doesn't know Jesus. You need to make a commitment to follow Christ, and everyone's looking at me. I go, wait, he's directing this toward me, and then the choir gets up and sings Just As I Am, and the pastor calls people forward, and he's looking at me like, why aren't you up here? And finally, the pastor literally comes down from the platform and says, Son, have you accepted Jesus Christ?

I said, yes, I have. He seemed very disappointed, and so finally, the service ends. They're disappointed. The hippie didn't walk forward, and as I'm walking out, everyone asks me the following questions. Are you saved?

Yes, I am. Are you coming to the baptism and getting baptized? I said, I've already been baptized, and the last question was, are you coming to the church picnic? See, the problem was they did not make me feel welcome, and that's how Saul felt when he first came to the church, but Barnabas helped to bridge the gap, and this is what newer believers need. Do you know a younger Christian right now? They need someone like you to be a Barnabas in their life to encourage them in their faith because people cannot make it as a solo Christian. I already mentioned that verse in Hebrews when it says let's not forsake getting together with other Christians as some are doing, and I think one of the problems of this pandemic is some people got out of the habit of going to church, and we're glad you're watching online right now, but I strongly urge you to be a part of a church wherever you are in the world, and I know people from all around the world watch us. We, of course, have a church in Southern California and a church on Maui, so we have a campus in Riverside, a campus in Orange County in California, and then a campus in the Lahaina area of Maui. Come to one of our services, but go to a good Bible-teaching church.

Be there in person. There are things that happen when we gather in person with God's people that aren't gonna happen that way online, so I urge you to do that, but there are people falling through the cracks right now, and they're not growing spiritually. We need more people like Barnabas to step into the gap, so a guy named Mark did this for me. I became a Christian in high school. I was using drugs at the time.

My life was going the wrong direction, and I had a radical conversion at lunchtime and heard the gospel and gave my life to Jesus. This was 1970, so I didn't know what to do next. No one came up to me and said, hey, Greg, we have a Bible here. Start reading this Bible. No one said anything to me.

No one invited me to church, and so literally, I went out front of the mountains after that, because I had already planned that weekend to go use drugs, and so I went with my friends thinking, oh, cool, now I believe in Jesus, and I'll get high too, and I was literally by myself sitting on a rock, and I pulled out a bag of weed, and I was getting ready to smoke some, and that same still small voice that spoke to me on my high school campus only hours earlier spoke to me again, and it was the Lord. He said, you don't need that anymore. I thought, I don't even know where I'm hearing this or where this is coming from. It's not coming from me, because I happen to think I do need this still.

You don't need this anymore. So I said, all right, God, I don't know anything about you, but I'll make a deal. If you're real, make yourself real to me. I'm filled with skepticism and doubt, but I'm open, and I took that bag of weed and threw it out, and I never looked back again. So I went back to school, and there was a little on-study or on-campus Bible study, which I went to, and they had kind of this weird guest speaker who was there that day, and I didn't feel comfortable in that group. I didn't understand these other Christians.

There was a little too much praise the Lord and hallelujah for me, and I thought, I was gonna be a solo Christian. So I was basically right on the edge of falling away, and some guy that I did not know from Adam's house cat comes up to me. His name is Mark.

He says, hi, my name is Mark. Okay, fine. You're Greg, right? Yes, I'm Greg. I saw you accept Christ the other day at school.

I'm kind of defensive. Yeah, yeah, I did. He goes, I wanna take you to church. I said, that's okay, Mark. I don't wanna go to church. No, I want you to come to church with me. I said, Mark, really, I don't really wanna go.

What's your address? Mark asked. I don't want you to come get me. Next thing I know, I'm in the car going to church with Mark because he was persistent, and that's when I walked into Calvary Chapel. That was right in the epicenter of the Jesus movement in Southern California, and I was surrounded by worshiping people, and I took a seat in the front row. By the way, I didn't wanna sit in the front row. The place was so packed, I couldn't get in, and I was kind of relieved, but someone in the front row that went to my high school recognized me and said, Greg, come sit up here. So I'm in the front row, and Pastor Chuck Smith comes out and gives a message from the Bible, and I was hooked.

And then I was going to church as many times as I could. Who made the difference? A guy you probably don't know at all. His name was Mark. He was my Barnabas. Can you be that Mark or Barnabas for somebody else?

Listen, we are all called to do this. This is not just for the preachers or for the missionaries. We're all, as followers of Jesus, called to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things that Christ has commanded, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And then Jesus says, and lo, I am with you, even to the end of the age.

Contextually, in the original language, the implication is he is with us in a special way when we are doing what he has asked us to do, when we're going into all the world and making disciples, taking people under our wing and helping them get up on their feet and grow spiritually. And you do it over and over again. See, Barnabas did this for Saul, later to become Paul, and it made all the difference in the world. Do you know somebody maybe that's stumbled spiritually and they don't know how to get up again?

This is where you come in. Be an encourager. James 5.19 says, brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone bring him back, remember this, whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Listen to this. When a person has stumbled and fallen, they don't necessarily need a preacher. They need an encourager. They need someone to help them along. They need someone to just be there.

It's called the ministry of presence. Maybe you know someone who's suffering right now. Maybe they're in a hospital. Maybe they're in a convalescent home.

Maybe they're isolated somehow. They need you to be there for them. Even Jesus, when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, said to Peter, James, and John, will you just be with me? Sometimes just being with people and letting them know you love them makes all the difference in the world. And listen to this. Paul reminds us in the book of Corinthians that the sufferings of Christ flow over in our lives in order that through Christ comfort will overflow.

The King James Version puts it this way. We comfort with the comfort we've been comforted with. Listen, I wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone, but God has given it to me as a tool to help other people who are going through rough times. You know, my son Christopher went to be with the Lord in 2008. If I could bring him back, I would do it in a moment. But I don't have the ability to do that.

As David said of his son who had died, he will not come to me, but I will go to him. But here's what I decided to do. I decided to not waste my pain. When you go through a hardship, you have a choice. You can become better or better. I've chosen to become better.

And I've chosen to use it as a tool. And hardly a week goes by when I don't talk to one or two people who have lost a loved one and have reached out to me. And I try to help them to the best of my ability. I don't have any great answers for them, but I've been down that road.

I'm still going down that road. And I encourage them with the same encouragement that has come to me. So let me encourage you if you're going through a hardship right now because there's nothing as refreshing as an encouraging word or deed.

It's like a fresh drink of water on a hot summer day. Proverbs 25, 25 says good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty. I think encouragement may be the greatest need in our world today. And I hope that you've been a little encouraged from this message. Number two, if you wanna be an encourager, help other Christians grow in their faith.

If you wanna be an encourager, then help other Christians grow in their faith. I mentioned that Barnabas took Paul under his wing, took him on his missionary journeys. Paul emerged as really the better preacher of the two. The more well received of the two, frankly, Barnabas and Paul had a little bit of a conflict. We'll get to that later in the book of Acts. They had conflicts and arguments and disagreements even in the first century church.

And they parted ways. But the key is they parted ways as friends still, but really, Barnabas had done his job. What is our job? Again, it's to make disciples of other Christians. It's to take the young believer, get them growing, help them develop disciplines of Bible study and prayer and being involved in the church and so forth, and then go do it again.

It's like wash, rinse, repeat. Preach, disciple, preach again. That's our job, Barnabas did his job well.

So here's one more instance of Mr. Encouragement in action from Acts chapter 11. So as it turns out, God was working mightily. Lots of people were coming to Christ. They heard about it in Jerusalem. And the leader said, let's send Mr.

Encouragement to go give him a helpful word. So we read in Acts 11, 22, when the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. And when he arrived and saw the evidence of God's blessing, he was filled with joy and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. I love this little commentary on Barnabas. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.

What a great message Mr. Encouragement brought to the believers there in Antioch. And Antioch, he said, stay true to the Lord.

And let me encourage you to do the same right now. Stay true to the Lord. Whatever you're going through, hold your course. Continue on in your relationship with Christ.

Maybe you're feeling down or discouraged right now. I want you to know that God is here ready to step into your life and he's bigger than your problem, ready to see you through, ready to walk with you through your valley. Psalm 23 is one of my favorite passages from the Bible. And David writes, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Why David? He goes on to give the answer, for you are with me.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. So whatever valley you're going through right now, the Lord is with you if you are a Christian. Now God is here and omnipresent in a broad sense for every person. But he is only involved actively in the life of his children. And how do you become one of his children? You think, do I have to be born in a Christian family? No, you need to be born again. Jesus said you must be born again. And by the way, he said that to a very religious man named Nicodemus.

And Nicodemus was born again and his life was changed. And your life can be changed as well. You're talking to someone that is depressed and down. You've even thought of taking your own life. Let me say this to you, don't take your life, give your life to Jesus Christ. And now you're gonna find the life you've been looking for. Jesus said if you wanna find life, then lose your life and follow me. What that simply means is put God first in your life and he'll show you what the purpose of your life is and he'll guide you and he'll fill that void in your life.

Because here's your problem, our problem, the problem of humanity. We've all sinned, we've all fallen short of God's glory, we've all broken his commandments and we're separated from God. That sends like a big giant barrier that keeps us away from God and we may try to reach him through good works or religion or other things, but we cannot scale this wall.

That's bad news. Here's the good news, 2,000 years ago, God loved us so much he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sin and then to rise again from the dead. Christ died for our sins, the Bible says. Now we will turn from our sin and ask Jesus Christ to come into our life and forgive us and then be born again. We can start this new relationship with the Lord.

Let me encourage you to do that right now. In a moment I'm gonna pray a simple prayer. There's nothing magical in this prayer that I'm about to pray, but it's a prayer that you can pray where you're asking God to forgive you of your sin. You're asking Christ to come into your life. So if you wanna go to heaven when you die, if you wanna fill that hole in your heart, if you want your sin forgiven or maybe you've fallen and you wanna get up again spiritually and start walking with the Lord as you did at one time in your life, then I want you to pray this prayer with me right here, right now. Maybe you're all alone.

Maybe you're in a room with some other people. But if you want Jesus to come into your life, pray this prayer. You can pray it out loud if you like. You can pray it in the quietness of your heart if you choose. But 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. I turn from my sin and I choose to follow you now. Be my Savior and Lord. Thank you for hearing this prayer.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-19 00:53:13 / 2023-06-19 01:08:30 / 15

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