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. is dead. Not cool to be a guy anymore.
And what really are the traits of a man, you know, in today's day and age? And I'm a little disappointed. You know, it's funny. One of my daughters tells me, you know, dad, there's no men around anymore. And for me, a guy's got to have at least a misdemeanor before I'll go out with them. And I said, no, no, no, no, no. I said, we don't need misdemeanors or felonies.
I have enough for the whole family. So let's forget about that. I said, go to church and meet a guy. That's where you're supposed to meet guys today.
But anyway, it's true. There's been a dumbing down of men. Let me just read something to you. By the late 1980s, TV shows wanted to distance themselves from the corny, syrupy stuff of earlier dads like Father Knows Best. Who remembers that? Shown our age here.
Okay. Father's Knows Best, My Three Sons, Leave It to Beaver, Donna Reed. And in-step shows such as Married with Children and The Simpsons. Now I got to tell you this. When I was in the hole, I was in solitary in a few different places. Sometimes they have a solid door and sometimes they have bars. Well, in this particular place, I was in L.A. County jail.
They were trying to indict me on another case. And so they had bars and they had a television on the tier. And every night at six o'clock, I would watch Married with Children. And it just made me laugh. You know, you got to laugh at something. And my mother-in-law, who is the most godly woman I ever met in my life, she was like, Michael, you can't watch Married with Children. I says, Ma, you don't get it.
I'm in jail. I got to laugh at something, right? It was funny. But, you know, I mean, and Ed O'Neill now has become a dear friend of mine.
He lives in Santa Monica. Great guy. But, you know, stuff like that that kind of men look, made men look silly, really. Ad after Ad makes dole-ish dad the butt of all jokes. He's outwitted by his children. He's the target of condescending eye rolls from his wife. We know that.
He's a dumb, incompetent, sometimes even selfish oaf, but his family loves him anyway. But that's how guys are depicted. In recent times, masculinity has been under attack by Nivea, L'Oreal, Garnier, and all the other cosmetic and beauty houses who have been trying to convince men that they need to look young, fresh, and healthy like women. It's true. Men are being encouraged to use moisturizer, plucking their eyebrows, dying their gray hairs, well I get that a little bit, get manicures to keep their nails looking good, and do more housework to please women. It's all true.
Think about it. Masculinity is also being attacked by ultra-feminist bloggers who have come to believe that men are toxic and evil and need to be more like women. You know what? I don't think women really want that in men. I think women want men to be men. You know, not some, you know, amen? Okay.
And it's really been dumbed down to a point where, to me, it's getting a little bit serious. Let me read a couple of things. Ladies, you're going to like this. A man does what he can, a woman does what a man cannot. Do we agree with that? Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes. I've seen much of that. In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man.
If you want anything done, ask a woman. It takes one woman 20 years to make a man of her son, and another woman 20 minutes to make a fool of him. I agree with that. Men never remember, but women never forget. And my wife can verify that. She doesn't forget anything. Sure, God created man before woman, but then again, you always make a rough draft before creating the final masterpiece.
Okay. Behind every successful man is a surprise woman. Guys are like dogs. They keep coming back. Ladies are like cats.
Yell at a cat one time, they're gone. Here's all you have to know about men and women. Women are crazy. Men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. Okay. Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present.
I can go along with that. A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
Correct. And then finally this, a woman's faults are many. Men have only two.
Everything they say and everything they do. Correct? All right guys, I got to give us one. Here's one for us.
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. That's Proverbs. We agree with that? Oh, I didn't hear a lot of yelling on that one. Okay.
Anyway, it's all good. But you know, getting down to what a real man's man is all about. You know, I think sometimes we think that a guy's got to be macho and he's got to be tough and he's got to be all of that.
That's not it at all. You know, from the time I was five years old, my father drummed it into my head, Michael, you've got to be a man's man. That's the standard in life that you have to live up to.
When you walk down the street, you've got to hold your head up high. You've got to have integrity. You've got to treat women and children the right way. You've got to be a man's man. And he drummed that into my head.
When I got into the life and I took the oath, that's all I ever heard. We're men of honor. We're men above men. You know, we have respect. We have loyalty.
We have discipline. Men of honor. And I looked up to the guys that I thought were really men's men. I looked up to my father, Sonny Francis. I thought he had all the characteristics of a real man. I looked up to Fat Tony Salerno.
He was the boss of the Genovese family, one of the five New York Mafia, Cozon, Oster families. I thought he was a man's man. You know, a lot of guys like that. And I wanted to emulate them. And you know, when I finally came to Jesus, I realized that Jesus was a man. And growing up as a Catholic, and I don't mean to be offensive to Catholics in any way. I grew up, I was in Catholic school from kindergarten right through high school.
I was an altar boy the whole bit. But for some reason, for me, Catholicism was like a subject in school. And I had this wimpy view of Jesus.
And again, not blaming Catholics. I didn't understand back then that this whole life is about a relationship with Jesus. You know, I had this wimpy view. So, when I came to Christ, I wanted to see what kind of guy He was. It was just in me to look at it that way. So, I separated His manhood from His deity, and I just studied Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the man. And people, I found out one thing. The only true man's man that ever walked the face of the earth was Jesus of Nazareth. That was it.
He had every characteristic of what a true man should be. And it kind of started to get my head going a little bit. And I was saying, wow, I had it all wrong. It's not about being the toughest guy.
It's not about throwing your chest out. It's not trying to be a macho. It's all the characteristics of Jesus. And you know, I try to be logical in my thoughts about everything, even in my faith.
I try to, you know, apply logic to it. And I said to myself, wow, if I try to emulate Jesus through my life, Jesus of Nazareth, if I'm a husband, I'm going to be a better husband to my wife. I'm going to be a better father to my children. If I'm a boss, I'm going to treat my employees the right way.
If I'm an employee, I'm going to give my boss an honest day's work. Everybody in the community is going to benefit from me trying to emulate the greatest man that ever walked the face of the earth. And throughout my life, I'm going to benefit.
And guess what? If He's not the Savior of the world, well, what's the difference? When I'm dead, I'm dead anyway. So, emulating Jesus is a win-win situation because of course as Christians we know He is the Savior of the world.
And as a result, we have all of heaven to gain in all of eternity. So, following Jesus, guys, is a win-win situation. You can't lose. And ladies, that goes for you too. You can't lose.
It's a win-win situation. And I started to see that there are 10 characteristics of Jesus that are really that of a man's man. I want to go over that today.
10 characteristics of Jesus. Guys, pay attention because your wives are going to appreciate this, your girlfriends are going to appreciate it, your kids are going to appreciate it. I don't always practice it. I'm being honest with you. I do my best but sometimes I fault it.
We all do. That's just life. But we try to be better. 10 characteristics.
Number one, let me take the glasses out. It's all about love. Jesus is the ultimate example of love as He died for us. And remember this people, greater love has no one than this, that someone laid down his life for his friends. You know, John chapter 15 verse 13. And that's what Jesus did. And remember what he said. Two greatest commandments, love God and love your neighbor. And you know people, I got to tell you this. I have a tremendous respect for our military.
I really mean that. Because they go and they lay down their lives for our country, for the people that they love here. I have a tremendous respect for them. I have a tremendous respect, believe it or not right now, for law enforcement. Because they protect us. I am — I just do not understand this defund the police movement.
It's the craziest thing I ever heard. And there was one — Amen. And honestly, there was a time in my life when I hated the police. I grew up hating the police because I grew up with a dad that was in the mob. And we were taught that police weren't good. But at some point in time the light went off and God not only transformed my heart but transformed my mind and let me see that they were the good guys and we were the bad guys.
And people say, well Michael, come on. You still have that in you. I say wait a second. I have five daughters. I have a wife.
I have two sons. When they walk down the street, I want them to be protected and I expect law enforcement to do that and I respect them for that. And people, let me tell you this.
And this is from an ex-mobster. This defund the police movement is the craziest thing I ever heard. Reform the police, OK. Every walk of life needs reformation. Sometimes even the church needs it.
That's just part of life. But I want to ask some of these politicians, wait a second. When you think you go soft on crime and you go hard on police, do you think if Rudy Giuliani would have came to me years ago and said, Mike, don't worry about it. We're not going to press the racketeering laws.
You can commit that crime. We'll go easy on you. I would have said, well thanks. Now I'm going to go straight?
No. I would have committed more crimes. That's what criminals do. And to go soft on crime, it just doesn't make sense, people.
And we could see what's going on across the country. I don't get it. You know, I really don't. And the reason I'm saying this is because these people do put their lives in danger for us. And we have to honor and respect that. And Jesus showed us that. No greater love. Amen.
So love, number one characteristic of a man's man. Number two, forgiveness. We all know we're supposed to forgive others when they wrong us, but we still have problems doing it. It's hard enough to forgive those we love, let alone those we might consider to be our enemies. But Jesus managed to extend forgiveness to the guards who were crucifying Him in the middle of an act. You know, people, I think the greatest ten words that show forgiveness that were ever spoken came from Jesus' mouth on the cross. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Can you imagine that? He's a man innocent. Remember, I say a man. Jesus of Nazareth. Sometimes we think He was God. Oh, He can handle that.
No. He was a man. He went through persecution. He was spat out for a crime He didn't commit, but He knew He had a job to do. And when He sat on the cross, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. You know, I recently was having a discussion with my kids, and you know, you always got trouble in the family. Who gets mad at who, whatever. We all know this. We experienced this.
And you know, I just turned 71 years old, and I said, you know what? I don't want this anymore. We can have disagreements, but no dissension.
So it's D-N-D. Disagreement, no dissension. Disagree with one another. Battle it out at the table. When you get up, it's all over, and we're back to being a family again. We have to learn how to forgive people. It's so burdensome to carry, you know, resentment on your shoulders.
It's really hard. And I'll tell you a story that to me was the ultimate forgiveness in my life. You know, a horror in the mob life is this. You make a mistake, a serious mistake, you don't know it. Your best friend walks you into a room, you don't walk out again. And I had that experience one important time, and obviously over the 20 plus years I've spent in that life, I've seen those things, and they're horrible.
I'll be honest with you, horrible. And one night, you know, I got into that situation, I would say. And what happened, I was in the gas business, I hate to even say that with gas prices as they are, right.
You know what, God has a sense of humor. Every time I go to a gas station, now I suffer, I'll be honest with you. It's tough, it's tough. For those of you that know my story, at one point in time I defrauded the government out of tax on every gallon of gasoline. We were selling a half a billion gallons of gas a month, taking in eight to ten million dollars a week. It was a pretty, you know, good operation at the time.
And so, it's what I went to prison for, I pled guilty to that and I did my time. But I was making a lot of money. I was one of the younger guys, and you know, the older guys resent that, and there was a lot of talk on the street that I was getting powerful enough to break away from the Colombo family and start my own family. They wrote an article about it in the newspaper, there was no truth to it whatsoever. It was a fantasy, never even a thought in my mind.
But it starts to get in people's heads. In that life, there's a lot of competition. And the boss of my family at that time, I think he was getting a little bit nervous about it because I had — the Russians were part of my crew, I had probably 300 guys under me who were making a lot of money, a lot of stuff was happening, and people started to get a little bit nervous, right? So my dad was out on parole. He and I were both captains.
That's a powerful position in that life, we had the equal rank. And since he was on parole, he could never meet with anybody that had a record because it would be a violation. So I used to drive him everywhere, anywhere he needed to go, I kind of protected him a bit. So he called me up, he said I got to see us. So I go to his house in Long Island, I said what's up, dad?
He said boss wants to see us tonight. I said OK, what time do you want me to pick you up? He said well they want to do this a little differently, they want you — me to come in first, they want you to come in second.
I said why? I said why are they going to separate us? I said no dad, you know there's talk on the street, we're not going to do that, we're going to go in together.
He said no, we were given an order, we got to obey the order the way they wanted. I said no dad, I said there's too much talk, we're not going to do that, we're going in together. And we argued.
It was the first time I really had an argument with my dad because I always respected him regardless that we were of the same rank, he was my dad. And we went back and forth, back and forth. Finally I threw up my hands and said you know dad, I've been listening to you all my life.
I said I don't like this, if this is what you want we'll do it. I leave him. I got a call from another captain, Jimmy Angelina his name was, these people have passed away, I can talk about it. And he says Mike meet me in such and such a place in Brooklyn. Because the boss was on parole, we had to have a covert meeting, we had to make sure nobody was following us because he would be violated. So I drive into Brooklyn, I meet Jimmy at a certain spot, I park my car, I get in his. There's a guy sitting in the back behind me, I'm in the passenger seat, Jimmy's driving. And I recognize him, but I didn't know him well. And Jimmy doesn't even introduce me again.
So I get in the car, and we start to drive to the house and he had to, you know, be careful to make sure nobody was surveilling us, we always had surveillance at that time. And I'm waiting for Jimmy to tell me what's up. And he doesn't. He starts talking to me about the Yankees. Now I'm a die hard Yankee fan, especially now if you've been watching the team, they're doing great.
But anyway, I didn't want to hear about the Yankees that died, I wanted him to tell me what was going on, but he doesn't. And we get to the house, it was a house in Brooklyn, we had to go downstairs into the apartment. So I get out of the car, it was a day in August, summer day, it was hot out, I'll never forget. And I get out of the car and I assume Jimmy gets behind me, and then the other guy gets behind him. And I'm starting to say, this isn't right.
Something is wrong here, I don't like this setup. And you know people, when I talk about this, I kid you not, I can see the fireflies that were, you know, flying around that night. I can smell the aroma of the flowers because my senses got so hot, you know, intense, because I thought this could be the end of my life. I don't like this. And I started to get scared.
Yeah, guys do get scared, a man's man could be scared. I was scared. My heart started thumping out of my chest, my knees were getting weak. I said, I don't like this. And you know, people have said, Michael, but you walked into the room, how heroic was that?
It wasn't heroic, people, it was robotic. I was such a product of that life, I said, hey, if this is it, this is it. They said, why didn't you cut and run?
I said, I don't know why. When we walked down that steps, I am telling you, it was, I don't know how I didn't fall down this step. When that door opened, I knew that that could have been the last moment of my life.
I don't know how I didn't faint when the door opened. But obviously I'm here, so that didn't happen. But we sit down and they start grilling me about money, this and that and that, and they read the article and blah, blah, blah, and all this kind of stuff. And you know what, I started getting angry, because this was a deal that I brought into the life and they were making a lot of money with me and I'm saying, now I'm getting put on the spot, what's going on here?
You read some crazy article, you think that's in my head, what are you thinking about? Anyway, we start to talk and then I start to calm down. I said, wait a second, I'm with the boss, you don't ever disrespect the boss in that life, no matter who you are.
So I caught myself, self-control, calmed myself down. Finally it's over, hey Mike, everything is great, have a glass of wine, the hugs, the whole bit. I just wanted to get out of here, I wanted to leave. I said, Jimmy, drive me back to my car, I got a long ride out to Long Island. We get in the car and I was about to really give it to Jimmy for not talking to me and preparing me. And just as I turned to him, he says, wait Mike, before you say anything, I got to tell you something. I said, what? He said, you know, this could have been very serious for you, you held yourself up really well in there tonight.
I got more mad at him. I said, you knew this? I know you my whole life, you knew this? You would have let me walk in that room, you didn't say anything to me? And he turned to me, he was smart. He said, well let me ask you this brother, if it was the other way around, would you have told me? I thought about it, I said, no.
This is the life we lead. He said, you know it as well or better than anybody, you grew up in it with your dad. I couldn't say anything, I just kind of thought of it. And it really got to me.
We get to where my car is parked, I go to get out of the car and he grabs my arm. And he says, Michael, I'm going to tell you something, you're not going to want to hear this, but it's the truth. He said, you can take this to the bank.
I said, what? He said, your father was in there before you tonight, he didn't help you one bit, he hurt you in there. And I'll be honest with you, I was stunned. I didn't even know what to say or how to respond to him. My father, we were tight. I mean, I love my dad, I idolized my dad, we were tight. And I get out of the car and I started to walk back to my car and knowing my dad so well, I said, what could he have done?
I thought about it. And he just threw me under the bus. He said, hey, if my son is stealing money, I don't know. I'm on parole, he does everything, I don't do anything. He put it all on me. Instead of standing up for me and really, you know, my father had a lot of juice in that life.
Instead of really standing up, he just kind of left me on my own. And as I walked back, I said, man, if this life can separate father and son, what do we really have here? And it really got to me, and you know what, I'll tell you this, you know, just to divert a little bit, I met my wife maybe two years after that, and many of you know the story. Young Christian girl, met her, her and her mom really introduced me to the world, turned my life around in many ways. We're married now 37 years. Amen.
Sitting in the front row here. But if that incident didn't happen, I don't know if I could have walked away from that life. I don't know if I could have just put my father in, you know, and left him that way because we were that tight. But I realize now that God had to do something to break that bond that I had with my earthly father so that he can really take over as my heavenly father. And you know, there are times in our life when God allows us to go through it.
He doesn't cause it. He allows us to go through it so he can really make an impression and get to us, and that was an important part of my life. It was one of the defining moments in my life, as Greg talked about at one point in time.
But you know what? I forgave my dad. Right after it happened, I forgave him. As a matter of fact, when we spoke about it, I never even mentioned it to him. I wrote it in one of my books, my first book, and he read it and he was incensed.
How could you believe that? I said, Dad, I know it was true, but I love you. It's okay. I forgive you. I don't hold it against you.
As a matter of fact, it probably saved my life because it caused me to make a better decision at some point in time. I forgave him, and we got fairly tight again. Things changed a little bit between us feelings-wise, but you know, and I was with him until he died. He passed away two years ago at the age of 103, my dad. My dad was, amen. He was the oldest living mob guy in the country when he died, probably in the world. I don't think anybody lived to that age. My dad was released from prison after 40 years that he did, in and out on parole five times in 2017.
He was the oldest inmate in the system at the time of his release, so he set a couple of, you know, benchmarks there. But anyway, forgiveness, people, forgiveness. Whatever you got inside you, whatever you're holding on to, let it go. I can't tell you how much better feeling it is when you let it go, and it doesn't do you any good to hold a grudge and to be resentful, especially within the family and friends. Get over it.
I'm telling you, Jesus showed us that He was the most forgiving man that ever walked the face of the earth. OK, humility. You know, how attractive is it to all of you? I know how it is to me. When you see somebody that really has power and influence, and yet they're so humble.
It's such an attractive quality. And what did Jesus show us? Jesus Himself said, for even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus is the ultimate example of a humble servant leader. Consider the time He washed His disciples' dirty feet. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with a towel that was wrapped around Him. John 13, 15.
You know what, people? There is no room for arrogance in a heart committed to Jesus. And remember this, don't ever confuse arrogance with confidence. You can have confidence in life, but when it turns into arrogance, bad traits.
It's not manly, it's not what we should do. Humility is such an attractive thing. You know, we don't realize how fragile we are in this life. Some of the bosses, the most powerful people that I saw on the street, people that had an influence into the White House, that controlled unions in this country, that at the snap of their fingers could have had somebody killed.
They all died in prison, living in someone else's underwear with a 24-year-old guard telling them when to eat, when to go to sleep, when to wake up, when to make a phone call. When we really think we're about something, that's when we're about nothing. And Jesus showed us that.
It's not a man's man to throw your chest out and make people believe that you're really something. When you have humility, they feel it, trust me, and they know it. Patience.
No, I'm sorry. Compassion. When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.
Compassion is important, people. You know, there was a guy that I knew in that life, again, he was 87 years old. I just did this on my YouTube channel, and he was an important guy in that life. He wasn't really a friend of mine. He and I went at it a couple of times, you know, obviously.
We had a couple of disagreements through that life. But he's done 30 years in prison. He's 87 years old.
He was convicted of a racketeering case. He has dementia. He's gravely ill. He's probably going to die within the next couple of months. He went in for a compassionate release, which is something that you can do when you're in that situation. It was denied by his trial judge and then just denied by the second court of appeals.
And I wrote — I said, 87 years old. He doesn't even know who he is. He thought at one point he was the president of the United States. He's got all sorts of issues as a result of his dementia. Send him home to his family. Why should you taxpayers pay for him to be cared for in there?
Regardless of what he did, he doesn't know it anymore. Send him home. The man is going to die within the next couple of months. Compassion.
No, they're leaving him in there. People, we have to have compassion for people. It's important. And Jesus again showed us that. Gentleness. Jesus was direct when He had to be, but He had a knack for communicating with gentleness.
Today, our culture seems to celebrate men who speak their mind and pull no punches as if being a bully is an admirable trait. On the contrary, Jesus Himself said, blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. You know, Pastor Greg spoke about this a while back. He said, you know, when you're trying to share the Gospel with people, you don't impose it upon them. You don't say, hey, you gotta be a Christian or you're going to hell.
That's not the way to approach people. Gentleness. You know, every time I start, when I start my testimony, I always go into the back room and I pray. And I say, Lord, you know, give me the right words. Let me be effective.
Let me be passionate enough in delivering this message so that you can reach out and touch the heart that you want to touch in this room. Gentleness, because we're not here to impose our faith in anybody. We're not here to turn you into a Christian. We can't do that.
None of us can do that. That's God's deal. We want to be effective in delivering the message. We want to be gentle in delivering the message because it's our obligation as Christians to share, not impose, and not direct, share what the Lord has done in our life.
Mark 16, 15, go out and preach or share the good word to all of creation. That's what we are all obligated to do. Not only those of us that get up on this stage, but we do it in a gentle fashion so that people understand and they buy into it. They really do. Self-control.
Oh boy, my wife will, Cam, I'm going to try on this one. A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs chapter 25 verse 28, Jesus lived a sinless life despite being tempted by Satan himself.
Satan presented Jesus with everything this world has to offer to no avail. Exhibiting self-control is not easy. You know, when I was in the mob life, I had to have self-control. You could not, could not lose your temper with another superior in that life. As a matter of fact, whenever we had a sit down, you know, we had certain policies and rules. We could be sitting down with another maid guy, a guy that took the oath, and that guy could be lying through his teeth and we couldn't call him a liar.
If we did, we'd lose the argument. We had to be respectful. We had to know how to get our point across and how to put him in the wrong and us in the right in a very tactful way.
It was really a strategic meeting that we had because we can never be out of line. Self-control in that life, I really had it because you needed to survive. You can't lose it. Now I've lost it a little bit in this life.
I'll give you a story. One day, I pull into a gas station in Brentwood, California. I'm driving an SUV. I get out of the car to put gas in. I forget to turn the car off.
You know, sometimes you don't hear the engine. I'm filling up the car and a guy comes. He pulls up in an SUV and he gets out of the car.
There's a little guy who's this big. And he comes by the pump and he looks at me and he says, you didn't turn your car off. I said, oh, sorry, I forgot. I go in, I turn it off. I come back out.
He's still there. I said, can I help you? He said, why didn't you turn your car off? I said, I told you I forgot.
What do you mean? He said, you forgot? I said, yes. He said, my five-year-old daughter would give me a lame excuse like that.
I said, oh man, where's this guy going with this now, right? I said, look, I said, you didn't come to talk here to me. I said, why don't you fill up your car? I said, go have a nice day.
We'll both leave here and be happy with gas in our car. He looks at me. He says, you know what?
You're a blankety blank. He starts cussing me out. Now my first reaction, I'm going to pull a pump out of there. I'm going to put it on him.
I'm going to light a match. That was it. No self-control. I really had to fight that urge, right? But I didn't. I had self-control. So I said, okay, you know, I turn around.
I'm trying to ignore him. All of a sudden, my daughter, Amanda, pulls into the gas station with these kids. When you're gassing up the car, they figure out, they find you.
I don't know how they find you. You've got to gas up everybody's car. So I pull in. She pulls in behind me, and she knew.
She's in tune with me. Something was up, right? She gets out of the car, chest out. Daddy, what's wrong? I said, Amanda, get back in the car. She said, Daddy. I said, get back in the car. If he would have said something to her, he was getting gassed.
That was it. It would have been all over. You know, so self-control. Very, very important. Guys, come on. How many times do we want to lose it, you know, and go crazy? I know sometimes I have a tendency to do that. Look, you can take the boy out of Brooklyn. You can't always take Brooklyn out of the boy. And I tell my wife, she says, I said, listen, I didn't get a lobotomy when I came to Christ. I still remember some of the things I did back then, but self-control. Very, very important, guys.
We got to do that. That's a real, real, real character trait of a man. Patience. But I receive mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. Jesus had perfect patience. He waited 30 years, 30 years to start His public ministry because He knew that's when the time was right. Patience. Very important, you know.
Before I went to prison, and this is the truth, I had patience for nothing. We bought furniture. OK, I want that. Wrap it up. Bring it to my house today. No, you have to — no, I don't want to order it. I'll pay you extra. Get it to my house.
OK. Car, same thing. We got to order — you don't order a car. I want that car.
I'll pay you a little. Get it to the house. I had zero patience. When you go into prison, everything is hurry up and wait.
That's it. You have to have patience. You don't get through the system. So I come out, right, one day. After eight years in prison, I come out. My wife and I go into a movie. And we're going to the movie, and the line is around the corner. Now I never waited in line.
She don't know how I did it, but I did it. Never waited in a line. We got in right away, right? So I start walking to the back of the line. So my wife says to me, where are you going? I said, I'm going to the line. There's a line there. She says, you're going to wait on line? I said, yeah, why? She said, you never waited on line for anything. I said, well, Cam, for the last eight years, I've been waiting on line for everything. So it's OK. Yeah. Whatever way you got to learn patience, people. Don't go to jail.
I don't want you to do that. That's the different part. But patience is important, and it is a characteristic of a real man to have patience with people, patience with our children. Sometimes I don't. You know, you lose it, but you got to do it. It's a character trait of a man that we all need to have. And ladies, this goes for you too.
I'm just dealing with the men today, but you get it. OK. Obedience, and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. You know, I can't imagine the agony Jesus felt knowing the ultimate faith that He was going to suffer.
Remember in the garden? He asked His Father in prayer. He said, Father, you can take this cup from me.
Do it. But He said, not my will, but Yours. Jesus was obedient. And you know, I want to tell you this. I learned a lot in the mob life in the street. I learned to be obedient.
You had to follow orders. And I will tell you this. For you young guys, I believe every young man should be in the military for a year or two. Every young man.
I believe that. I don't want you to go to war. Don't get me wrong. And if it was my own son, I'd be careful of that because you don't want — but the military is great. You learn discipline. You learn respect.
You learn obedience. A lot of these kids today don't have it. You know, I see it on the street. Listen, I speak to young kids all the time. I go into juvenile halls. I go into prisons. We speak to these gangbangers. And you know the sad thing? They all have the same story. Broken home.
No father figure in the house, unfortunately. They gravitate to the local gangbanger on the street before you know it, they're in prison. They're like wild little kids.
They don't have any discipline. Any respect. Any obedience. The military does that. And I believe in it.
And I don't know if it'll ever happen, but I believe in it. But again, you worry because obviously we don't want to send our loved ones off, you know, to fight, God forbid. But you gotta have — obedience is so important. You gotta learn to respect authority.
You know, sometimes people — and I don't mean to be offensive. I've been arrested 18 times. I never had a run-in with a cop.
You know why? When they say you're under arrest, I say, OK. Put the cuffs on me, put me in the car, and we'll take it from there. I'm not going to fight with them. You can't win. I'm not going to start yelling and screaming at them.
You're not going to win that argument. It's obedience. It's in your head. OK, I gotta respect this. I made a mistake.
Or maybe I didn't make a mistake. We'll straighten it out after. Obedience is an important character trait in any man. Honesty. Proverbs 13, 22, the Lord detests lying lips but he who delights in me are truthful. In the age of fake news, alternative facts and relative truth, honesty seems to be fading in value.
No one seems to care about honesty and integrity anymore. I'm here to say there's hardly a more important trait for a godly man to be honest. Now, I'll tell you something. I have a little trouble with my family on this.
My dad taught me. He said, Michael, don't ever lie to hurt somebody. But if you gotta lie to help somebody, that's OK. And you know what?
I believe that. Now, maybe I have a little gray area here, but I don't want to lie to hurt people. I'll lie to help somebody if I have to. I'm never going to give my kids up for anything unless they were a danger to themselves and a danger to the community.
That's different. That's a struggle we as parents would have. But other than that, I'm gonna lie to help my kids. I'm gonna be honest now.
I don't want God to be upset with me, but that's how I feel about it. But you know what I mean. Being honest in your life is important, people.
It's a character trait that we need. And I want to tell you something. I wrote a book recently.
It was just released last month called Mafia Democracy. And I'm telling you, it was a book that I really labored over because I see our government acting like the mob on the street. Very Machiavellian. Remember what Machiavellian said? For those of you who have ever read The Prince, he said this. He was advising his prince how to maintain control of his kingdom.
And you know what he said to the prince? He said, you can do anything you need to do. You can lie. You can steal. You can cheat. You can even kill to maintain control of your kingdom. But to the outside world, you must always appear honest, upright, and having integrity. Now, does that remind you of anyone in the government?
Honestly, it's not a joke. You know what? I don't want people to protest. I don't want an uprising. But we need to hold our public officials accountable when they make a campaign promise.
Amen. When they make a campaign promise, we got to hold them to it. How many of them lie? They tell us something. The next day they're lying on video. They don't even care anymore.
And you know what we say? Politics. It's not politics.
It's lying. And to the detriment of the people that put them in office. Hold them accountable. That's all I'm asking. And I'm bringing your attention to it.
Why do politicians go into office as blue collar assets and come out multimillionaires? I'll explain it in the book. I'm telling you right now. We're going to do a signing afterwards.
You know what's satisfying to me? Seriously. The reviews I'm getting, people are saying, Michael, I see it. I get it. You explained it. And all I'm saying is hold them accountable. And we got to put the right godly people in office. Amen. So important.
Honesty. And the last trait that I think we all need to have in our everyday lives is the most important of all maybe. And that is to be prayerful. One of my favorite traits of Jesus is his commitment to prayer. Before anything major was about to take place, Jesus spent time alone in prayerful conversation with the Father. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Luke 5 16. People, we need to pray. That's the secret. Maybe it's not a secret, but that's what we need to do in our lives. I don't do enough prayer.
You know what? I'm not good in my prayer. I get distracted quite a bit. My prayer is just talking to God like I'm talking here.
Just have a conversation with him. My mother-in-law, the opposite, was a prayer warrior. My mother-in-law prayed me to where I am right now, no doubt about it.
A prayer warrior. But we need to pray. And Jesus told us that he prayed all the time. And that was God the Son praying to God the Father. How much more do we need prayer in our life? It's our way to communicate with the Lord.
That's it. You know, I want to tell you something. As I stand here today, I'm probably the most blessed, most fortunate person that's ever going to walk up on this stage and talk to you about anything. The reason I say that, because had I been left up to my own to do what I wanted to do in my life, I'd either be dead or in prison for the rest of my life. And quite honestly, that's what I deserved. That's what I earned from myself having spent over 20 years on the street every day in violation of both God's laws and the laws of man. And I realize God made it crystal clear for me that if He didn't have a different plan and a purpose for my life, I wouldn't be here today.
You know what? He's got a plan and a purpose for every one of your lives, people. It's not only people that walk up on this stage. Your purpose in life or God's purpose in your life might be to bring one person to the Lord. One person.
But remember this, all of Heaven rejoices when one person comes into the Kingdom. And if that's your purpose, we're on equal ground. That's it. But remember that. And I want to end it kind of with this. You know, when I was in prison, I spent 29 months and seven days in solitary confinement.
Six by eight cell, 24 seven, me and God. And people, that's not easy. We weren't meant to be solo creatures. We were meant to be social.
Those lights go out at night. A lot of guys did not do well. A lot of moaning and groaning. I dove into my Bible. I prayed every day. It was my closest time with the Lord because I had no choice.
That was it. And I turned that, thank God I turned to Him and nowhere else. Thank God my wife put that in my head and my mother-in-law and sent me in that direction. And of course, like I said, we're past the grave. But you know what happened in that hole? I developed a healthy fear of hell. Now I want you to stop a minute and think of the worst thing that you've ever encountered in your life and realize that that worst thing will never go away.
Never go away. This is your constant thorn in your side forever. And now put yourself in hell, which is a million times worse and will never end. That's hell.
Bible is very descriptive. I'm not bringing you bad news. I'm just telling you the truth.
The good news is we don't have to go there. There is a heaven and there is a hell. And Jesus was very explicit. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. And people, it's good to have a healthy fear of things that are no good for you. I have a healthy fear of drugs. My father jumped into my head from the time I was a kid that drugs were bad. My sister died of an overdose of drugs at the age of 27.
It killed me. My brother, 25 years a drug addict. I've seen so many people die because of drugs. I'm afraid of drugs. I don't mind saying it. I never even smoked a joint because I'm afraid I'll like it.
I don't want to be addicted, so I stay away from it. It's good to have a healthy fear of things that are no good for you. That's manly. That's a man's man that can resist that kind of stuff. Say, I'm afraid of it. I don't want it. And it's good to have a healthy fear of hell. So, I want to tell you this.
I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse at this moment, OK? I've showed you all the qualities of Jesus, 10 traits that a man's man needs to have. And again, it applies to all of us, all of you ladies, not all of us. I just defeated my own play.
I made myself a woman. Anyway, it applies to all of us. But I'm going to give you an opportunity now. And people, I got to tell you this. We are living in crazy times. We don't know from one minute to the next what's going to happen in this life. We really don't. And I'm telling you, I've seen people that I love with me one day gone the next.
Shocking. We don't know. We're not guaranteed anything.
And what are you waiting for? Why would you want to test it? Why would you even want to think that maybe I'm not ready to go to heaven? Maybe there's something I haven't done.
Why? I told you what the benefit is of emulating Jesus Christ. It's a win-win situation. You can't lose. It doesn't matter what faith you are. On this earth, you can't lose. The only way you lose is if you don't confess your sins and accept Jesus as your Savior.
But in every other way, you win. So I want to give you all the opportunity now for those of you that maybe have not done that at this moment. This is the most important thing. This is what the service is all about. This is what this church is all about.
This is what your life is all about. So I'm going to give you the opportunity at your seat now to say this prayer with me. Many of you have done this already.
Some of you haven't. You don't have to step up here. You don't even have to raise your hand.
But this is the most important decision you will ever make in your life, barring none. So let's bow our heads and repeat this after me to yourself. Dear Lord, I know that I'm a sinner. I have no problem with confessing that to you today, Lord. I know that I've made mistakes. I know that I've been sinful. I know that I've done it intentionally and unintentionally. And today, Lord, I want to confess those sins.
I want to take responsibility for them. I sincerely mean this from the bottom of my heart, Lord. And today, I know because of your grace and mercy that I don't have to earn heaven.
It's not a place that I have to work hard for. I have to repent my sins. And I'm ready to do that today, Lord. And I'm ready to accept you, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior. And I know you gave me a promise, your solemn word. No one comes to the Father except through me, you said, Jesus.
And I believe that with all my heart. And I'm going to give you the opportunity to prove that to me for the rest of my life by getting closer to you, Lord. Bible says draw closer to me and I will draw closer to you. So Lord, you have that opportunity. You have my commitment from this day forward. I promise you that I will walk as straight as I possibly can. I promise you never to be perfect, Lord. But if I do sin, I will get down on my knees. I will develop that Jesus conscious and I will be sorry for everything that I've done to hurt you and to wrong anybody, Lord. I make this commitment. And I expect and depend on your grace to open up the gates of heaven for me. And I do this all in Jesus' name. God bless you all. Thank you very much.
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 / 2023-03-29 14:15:39 / 2023-03-29 14:36:38 / 21