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August 4, 2022 3:00 am
Christianity is a worldwide faith. Some say over 31% are Christians the world over. Yet, if you rewind history, Christianity began in a small geographic area on the other side of the globe, with just a handful of followers. How in the world did they reach the world!? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us some good insight from the book of Acts that’ll help us encourage one another in the faith, and reach our world in our time with the love of Christ.
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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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You are listening to a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by harvest partners for more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk and roll and pastor breaks free online courses firstname.lastname@example.org survey measured regular radios will be early church turned their world upside down with their commitment to the garage and weekend to be more finally have an interest in all of the major primary passion about Jesus drawing 131% of the world over rewind. He began smoking a graphic. On the other side of the globe with world they reach the world today on glory brings is good insight that will help us in the faith of our Bible shop structure to read our book about series and the title of this message is better together story about a genie that appeared to a woman. True story.
The genie said what ever you want, I'll give you that.
I'll grant you his many wishes as you want.
Pretty good deal.
So the woman replied well genie my wishes that my husband's eyes should only be on me during all waking hours. Jimmy said I what else do you want to use as well. I don't want him to be concerned with anything else in life except me.
In fact, she said I don't even want him to sleep without me right by his side all the time.
Okay, the genie says what else. He said actually I want him when he wakes up in the morning to see my face first.
All right anything I show one more thing, I don't want him to go anywhere without me so genie said go. You're a cell phone turned into a smart phone, funny. We call these things smart phone right. I think they've actually made us more stupid in many ways. I read an article in Inc. magazine with this headline we lost the gadgets one and among other things, the article points out that the average smartphone owner unlocks or folds 150 times a day 85% of smart phone users check their phones while speaking with friends and family. Have you ever done that that that's rude. By the way, what some would think. I just want to share this it so important young and I just say okay are you listening, I'm listening way know that you're not listening put the phone down. We all of done that have only and I think not only have smart phones made us more stupid. They made us relationally dumb.
I think social media in many ways is making people antisocial because you know social media back in the day on Instagram might be pictures of what you had for breakfast or you might see a random chat, video or other fun things and I would like people renting renting about whatever it is they're upset about. And then there's the effect that it has on young people of Facebook has 2.8 billion monthly users and they recently this is a new story. They recently did an internal research program. They wanted to find out what their users were really thinking and how Facebook and Instagram was impacting them and they discovered that 30% of young girls who use Instagram it makes him feel worse about their bodies if they were already having insecurities teenagers blame Instagram for increases in the rates of anxiety and depression. Another presentation found that among teens and felt suicidal 13% of British users in 6% of American users tracer suicidal feelings to Instagram so this is horrible.
The girls let me just say something even the people you see. Don't look like those pictures okay because her using filters at a fax to make them look thinner or taller. Whatever it is they're doing. That's not the real person but this is the problem. Social media is not very social at all. In fact, Americans have probably never been more disconnected.
I read article that was done that came to the conclusion that Americans have never felt more alone, and this article describe Americans as a loneliest people in the world that article 1st appeared 30 years ago. That was 230 years ago. How much more true is it today is Cigna global health service company recently released this article where they interviewed 20,000 people in your foot they concluded number one half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone number two only half of Americans have meaningful in person social interactions on a daily basis, and number three generations. He is a loneliest generation and is in the worst health then any other generation.
So we have a problem.
So what is the solution number one we need God. And number two, we meet each other. It's as simple as that. We need God and we need each other. God wired you. That way your build for community.
You're not meant to do life alone. In fact, the first thing that God said was not good was the aloneness of man.
Back in the book of Genesis. It says Genesis 218. It is not good for man to be alone. Proverbs 2717. Remind just as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another Ecclesiastes for nine says you are better than one. If either one of them falls down one can help the other. I read an article from the Harvard women's health watch and I always rebuilt Harvard women's health watches.
No, I just came across and it said quote dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, there are fewer health problems and they live longer." That's so true because God is wired is that way and this is where the church comes in. Using because the church is an oasis of hope in a desert of hopelessness. That is why every one of us needs to be a part of the church will be happier when you're a part of the church and you'll even be healthier when you're part of the church physically die magazine that a cover story with the headline benefits of faith and the church and hear their observations heart surgery patients who draw comfort from their faith. Have a significantly higher survival rate than those who do not is not interesting.
Secondly, the blood pressure of people attending church is lower than those who don't. Thirdly, people with faith to attend church on a regular basis experienced less depression than nonchurch attenders and on it goes. So it's not only good for you spiritually. It's not only good for you emotionally.
It's actually good for you physically to be a part of the church.
I bring this up because you're next to were looking at the birth of the church. The church that Jesus started the church that Jesus is establishing only started one organization if you will. When he walked. Our earth, and it was the church, by the way, the word church means called out one. It's not about a building is not about a cathedral.
The church is one God's people gathered together because Jesus said when two or more are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them. The church is a place to find accountability. The church is a place to be spiritually fed.
The church is a place to hear the word of God. The church is a place to discover and then use your spiritual gifts and the church should be your family because we really are.
Your family so let's consider now the story here before us of what the early church look like the church that change the world. The church that was accused of turning the world upside down. I'm reading from acts chapter 2 verses 42 to 47. Everything from the new King James version just to get contact. Remember this is on the heels of the day of Pentecost. So the Holy Spirit is been poured out, and 3000 people have come to believe in Jesus after Simon Peter delivered the inaugural message of the church acts 242 and they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and in prayers and fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
All who believed were together, they had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, is everyone had knee so continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they eat their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people the Lord added to the church daily those that were being say, Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message just a moment. Whenever you send us a letter, text, email or post a comment on social media.
We read every word.
Thank you for your word. I found out that one of the facility or workout clothing, leaving me my coworker job certain will be our family financial situation.
However on writing word help me to have more faith in God and know that the situation thank you again for your industry. What you do those resources at new beginnings are helping listeners if you like to share your story. Call us and let us know: 866-871-1144 that speech 668-7111 44 Pastor Greg is taking us to the early days of the church. It was an exciting time. Scripture says the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.
Let's continue to look at. We learn from this church.
If you're taking notes is point number one, they were learning church.
There were learning church solemnly apply this to you personally. If you want to be a growing Christian, you need to be a learning Christian. There's always so much more to learn. I've been a Christian while prolonged over 50 years and you know you would think that I know a lot I know some things but I've discovered that I have so much still to learn, then there's a problem. As you get older with forgetting things you've learned right so it's it's a process of learning new things and be reminded of all things that maybe you have forgotten, and the apostle Paul. After years of walking with the Lord said look I I am pressing on because I have not reached perfection pressing on toward the mark and that should be the objective of the attitude of every follower of Jesus Christ.
These people were studying the word of God to those of us were called to preach and teach the Bible Scripture says in second Timothy 42 preach the word. Be persistent. Whether the time is favorable or not patiently correct, rebuke and courage are people with good teaching.
Then Paul goes on to say, when the time will come when people will no longer listen the right teaching the fall of their own desires to look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear.
So our focus at this church for 50 years now is been on teaching the word of God.
We offer theology without apology pretty much whatever were going to get around opening up the Bible and see what it has to say. That is our focus will always be our focus now that is not always the focus ring that's always the focus.
Some churches are focused more in worship. Maybe focus more on having emotional experience and then other churches are focused perhaps on entertainment and another church might be focused more on politics, but our focus should be on the word of God. This first century church did that.
So there's a need for strong biblical preaching, but there's also a need for good listening, good listening, you know it's easy to not pay attention. Remember those old Peanuts cartoons and when the parents spoke. It was like they never had the voices of the parents is the kid and sometimes that's how things can sound you. You can tune something out. You're not paying attention you need to give your attention with intention. The fact of the matter. Here in verse 42, when it says continued steadfastly. This speaks of passion. There were living in a first love relationship with Jesus and they had burning heart. Let me ask you this, what are you passionate about. I mean, seriously, I know the default enter Jesus. Okay maybe we'll see all that you got your social media, and then I'll see what you're really passionate about what you post most about what you talk most about some people are passionate about the sport sports I have never cared that much about sports, I'm sorry to tell you this, I may have to turn my man card in butts. I just never cared that much, you know, never having a dad growing up. I just never really got into the sports vortex and I know a lot in. There's nothing wrong with loving sports and enjoying sports but is your primary passion.
Other people are passionate about movies or this new series on Netflix. I have you seen this out. You don't want citizen you know you be talking about whatever. But the moment that topic comes up.
They got all fired up other people are passionate about food food everything so you know and that's what fired them up other people. It's politics and they're not even interested in the conversation until you get the politics. Now they come to life. Listen, it's fine. We have an interest in all of these things but make your primary passion about Jesus Christ.
That's it said that these other things are bad things, but if one of these things takes the place of Jesus in your passion is channeled in a different direction and actually can be a bad things.
So these people listen they listen to what the word said they continued with passion in the apostles doctrine and that's the way we should be as well. We must come with the desire to hear the word number two. It was a loving church so number one, they were learning church, number two, they were a loving church. Verse 42. They continued and fellowship. The breaking of bread and prayers and continued to do this together now as we grow in our faith we will want to do it with other believers gathering around the word of God and the Lord loves it when we talk about him together is a fascinating little passage over in Malachi 316 that says those in fear of the Lord talk with each other and the Lord listened and heard the Lord listened and heard so it's the ideas that the phrase listened her to be translated to prickly here so it's you hear something and all of a sudden you tune into it. The ideas that God bends down so as not to miss a single word so were talking about whatever and suddenly someone says you know the word of God or the Bible or Jesus. Also in the lurch is only what you see I'm really interested in what you're saying Fritz, it's about talking to an adult. One of my grandchildren comes and says pop up. I hear that and I wanted to know whatever is happening around me and put my attention toward one of my grandchildren.
God likes it when we talked about him. Together fellowship is praying together, fellowship is serving together fellowship is suffering together fellowship is been blessed together fellowship is serving together affect the stronger your vertical fellowship.
The stronger your horizontal fellowship by vertical I mean, the closer you are to God. The closer you be with God's people and if you are not as close to God as you will need to be, you'll probably want to spend less time around godly people.
So this is something that is so important.
Now I know sometimes you go so I don't know the church you know is so full of hypocrite.
Hey, there's always room for one more so come join me and others say many times that don't try to find the perfect church because when you find it you'll ruin it right. The church is made up of imperfect, we all fall short. We all make mistakes but that's an excuse when you say the church is full of hypocrite.
Sometimes evil, safe water. Know what I go to church. I feel judged, let me say something that might surprise you. Maybe you need to be judged a little bit. Let me explain.
20 Jesus said Judge not lest you be judged.
Every nonbeliever knows that verse and they also know this. First, let him that is without sin cast the first stone right but what does it mean when Jesus says Judge not lest you be judged as a mean we should not make evaluations about people or situations we should not make judgments of any kind can mean that because the Bible says judgment begins at the house of God, a literal translation of what Jesus said would be condemned, not lest you be condemned. So if you went to a church and you were condemned, that's wrong, and I apologize for that. That happened but if you went to a church that someone called you because of a simple thing you were doing.
That's not condemnation. That's love know there's a right way to do it. There's a right way to do because you know some people there so holier than thou and their arrogant and condescending know what I'm talking about that but I'm saying that there's someone that loves you enough to say I'm concerned about you spiritually. That is a true friend because the Bible says faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
See a true friend will stab you in the front, not the back right. The Bible says open rebuke is better than secret love. So we do need to be accountable to one another. I think this is one of the reasons people church because people get their number hey man, I see you're still doing the thing why you done on unfeeling call to another church and the other but the other church and people find on them.
They moved to another church on zero story of a guy. He was stranded on an island on the middle of the ocean that finally came and rescued him saw that he had three buildings that he had built three and so they are some well three buildings.
What are these buildings, he says the first building.
That's my house. Okay, one of the other two buildings will the next one. That's my church. Okay, your house, your church, what's the third building. He says that's a church I used to go to the church, a place to develop a consistent theology applies to develop friendship, a place to grow you are Greg Laurie important insight on the role the church should play in our daily lives were learning a lot from his new series on a new beginning called the upside down life based in the book of acts with pastor Greg yearbook Steve McQueen the salvation of an American icon is touched a lot of lives. In fact we've heard from so many who've had their lives touched effect only read this example says hello Greg I just finished reading your book and wanted to say thank you. At the end of the book. I prayed the prayer out loud and made one small change.
I simply added the word back. I asked Jesus to come back into my heart and life to be my God and friend nice. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. As a teenager and would describe my walk with the Lord is somewhat of a roller coaster ride. I contracted covert.
A short time ago finally forced me to stop and rest my wife just happened to bring home your book on Steve McQueen. She was getting it for herself. By the way, and not for me.
I began thumbing through it. I had no idea who you are, Steve McQueen were before reading it. However, something in your book spoke to me and by the end of the book. This morning I was fighting back tears. I walked upstairs now by my bed and did my best to say the prayer out loud without completely bursting into tears.
Thank you for writing this book and for your ministry is made a difference in the life of someone that lives on the opposite side of the country from you. May God bless you. While I love that you know people are vastly great when you write these biographies I've written.
Foreign total of first Thursday between the salvation of an American icon than Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon than another one called Billy Graham the men I knew and finally Lynn and Dylan Allison Jesus I write these stories because well everyone loves a good story and these are the stories of people that are well known who realize that they needed God in their life, and I use their stories. Sort of like a testimony to tell the bigger story of who Jesus Christ is and this guy who just wrote that letter got it so I look at it this way. Jesus has called me to be a fisher of men. And sometimes I fish in a pond that I might do that through a biography I write in a might show up in a Barnes & Noble are on Amazon.com and someone takes a bite of the hook or the paint in that pond and then I have a crusade.
If someone else comes to Christ, and that lake let's say and then we do another event and someone comes to Christ at debtor with a watch one of our movies and they come to know the Lord. So it's just a whole bunch of ways of going fishing for men to bring people to Jesus Christ and I think that these are great tools because you can read it and you can have your own life impacted but then you can share with someone else. I mean, this lady, this man's wife. She bought them for herself and her husband ended up coming back to the Lord. As a result, after Steve McQueen, who in his day was the most famous movie star and all of the world.
He realized he wanted to tell people about it. But tragically, his life ended sooner than he expected and he got cancer and died of it, but he did make this statement.
My only regret in life is that he was not able to tell more people about what Jesus Christ had done for me when I read that statement I thought well I want to write that wrong. I want to help Steve give his testimony because most people have never heard it so I wrote a book and we even made a documentary film the by the way, you can watch on Apple or Amazon or on YouTube that's called Steve McQueen, American icon, but you can have this book that I wrote were all started called Steve McQueen the salvation of an American icon for your gift of any size whatever you send is here and harvest ministries will be used. To reach more people with the gospel and to continue our mission of teaching the word of God. So thank you in advance for what you can do. Let us send you your own copy of Steve McQueen the salvation of an American icon, and he when you're done handed on to someone else they may come to the Lord or come back to the Lord just like that man who wrote the letter and it's true in fact considered a part of your personal outreach ministry. We also contact us today with your investment in these daily studies that you asked for pastor Greg book Steve McQueen the salvation of an American icon will send it right out. You can call us anytime night or day at 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300 or write us at a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to harvest.org you know there's nothing like hearing the word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I will encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home every Saturday and Sunday harvest.org join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the word of God together. So join us for Harvest at Home and harvest the next time more insight on how we need the church and the church needs us more from our studies in the book of acts join us here on a new beginning. Pastor and Bible Greg Laurie will buy harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to do, harvest partner, sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith harvest.org