You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. We need to avoid it. Author Irma Baumbach was quoted as saying worry is like a rocking chair.
It gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere. Matthew 6 27 is pretty frank. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us overcome fear and worry. In a new series, we're learning to adopt a biblical worldview. And we'll learn today that worldview doesn't include worry. We'll see worry and faith are mutually exclusive.
Let me start with a question. How many of you have ever been gripped by fear? You?
Yeah. You know the feeling well. That your blood goes cold. The shiver down the backbone. Your mouth goes dry. The hair in your head is steadying up.
In my case, that's one singular hair. But still, you know, it's a terrifying feeling. Maybe it happened when your life was in danger or you were gripped with the fear of death. Or as you're listening to this, there's something you're afraid of right now. The amazing thing to me is we'll spend our hard earned dollars to be scared. You know, we'll go to that super scary movie. And then when the scene comes on, that's a worse scene than the film.
We cover our eyes. Wait, didn't you pay money to see that? Or you go to an amusement park and go on the most insane rides. A number of years ago I decided I am just done with roller coasters.
I don't know that I ever really liked them. But I was on a roller coaster and I was at the very top right before the drop. I remember looking down and looking at people standing there looking up there about the size of ants. And I thought I would give anything to be down there with them instead of being up here right on the big drop. And oh, that was so fun.
It wasn't fun. It was scary, right? So we know what that feeling is. And then the thing that goes along with fear is worry. And there's so many things to be worried about. The state of our country. The economy. Of course, terrorism.
What's going on in this crazy world we're living in right now? Maybe that's why one of the top Google searches recently was is World War III near? Then there are the other fears that we have. The fear of flying. I read that there's a lot of other things you probably should be afraid of. Did you know 600 Americans die each year from falling out of their beds?
So maybe you should have a fear of going to bed tonight. Or many die due to the fatal plunge down the stairs. The bite of sausage lodged in your throat.
The tumble on the slippery sidewalk. And then you're thinking, Greg, wait a second. I came to hear a message about overcoming it. You're giving me more things to be afraid of now. And then there are shark attacks. We have a lot of shark activity now off of our beaches here in Southern California. I saw a video that was recently shot. And there were some guys out doing stand up paddle.
You know what that is? You stand up with a board and you paddle to catch waves. And they were waiting for a wave and a helicopter flew over.
It was the Orange County sheriff. And so this is the exact announcement they made actually of a transcription of it. So imagine you're out on the water on your stand up board and you hear this ominous message from a loudspeaker of a helicopter. Direct quote. Be advised that the state parks are asking you to make an immediate exit because you are surrounded by 15 great white sharks.
They're as close as a surf line. Just remain calm. Thank you for your cooperation. Why don't they just say you're surrounded by 15 great white sharks. You're going to die. Repeat this out loud after me.
Our father who art in heaven. Seriously. It's bad enough to say one or two or five. 15 great white sharks. Then they can psych him out and play the Jaws theme over the loudspeaker.
No. That would be horrible. But a lot of things to be afraid of today. And then there's the fears about our own life. Maybe our family or our personal health. It's funny with all that's going on in the world I read that the number one thing that people worry about is their appearance. Their appearance.
So it's like yeah I may be eaten by a shark or you know killed by a nuke but how do I look in this outfit right. It's funny how we are. So there's all these things that we worry about that don't help us at all actually. In fact John Curtis director of the University of Wisconsin stress management institute says quote I believe that 90 percent of stress is brought on by not living in the present moment and worrying about what's already happened what's going to happen or what could happen.
So here's what you need to know. Worry is not productive and in fact worry is a failure to trust God. It's interesting that the word worry comes from an old German word that means to strangle or to choke. Sometimes my grandkids like to choke me from behind. They find this entertaining. And they'll come up and say Papa we want to choke you. No don't do that. Because sometimes you know I pass out.
No I haven't really. But that's what worry does. It chokes you out. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.
It empties today of its strength. I think we should take a cue from the Australians or the Aussies as they're called. When you go down under these are very relaxed people and very friendly people.
And whenever you ask an Aussie for something maybe directions or anything else after they give you what you ask for they'll say this. No worries mate. Hey thanks a lot man. No worries mate. Good on you. And I like that.
No worries mate. And that's actually theologically correct. It's been said worry is the advanced interest you pay in troubles that seldom come. So let's try to stop worrying.
You say well it's easy for you to say. Well I know but I want you to consider who wrote the words we're about to read. They were written by the Apostle Paul under adverse circumstances. When Paul wrote the words we're about to read he was under house arrest. He had gone to Rome to preach the gospel and instead was arrested and he didn't know what his future held. He might be acquitted. He might be beheaded.
This could be his last day. He knew nothing about his future but he gives to us some of the most inspiring words down on the pages of Scripture. A series of verses that every believer should know and even commit to memory.
I'm talking about Philippians 4 starting in verse 4 and we'll read down to verse 8. Paul writes rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing.
Or literally don't worry about anything. But in everything my prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Look at this promise. And the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. I love these verses. Paul is not in some ivory tower spinning off impractical theories.
He is not laying on some beach in the Mediterranean eating a falafel and having a nice tea. This is a guy who as I said was incarcerated yet he is able to say rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. And by the way that is a command from God Himself.
So understand this. Rejoicing is a scriptural command and it is not a suggestion. Let me put it another way.
To not rejoice is disobedience to God. But we will justify worry and say no it is ok for me to worry because I am in a difficult situation. Well in many ways we all are. Some more than others. But maybe we just all need to lighten up a little bit when we can. I think all of us know people that are just a downer to be around.
It is Debbie Downer and her husband Bobby Buskill. Right. So whatever is going on they see the dark side of it. No matter what.
They can't appreciate it. You know you have a great meal. Man that was a great meal wasn't it. I am so full. Bobby Buskill will say, yes too bad there are people starving in other parts of the world right now.
Thank you Bobby for living up to your name Buskill. Oh look at this beautiful sunset. Look what the Lord made. Well love not the world neither the things that are in the world says Debbie Downer. Will you stop already. You know you can find joy. You can find humor. You can find something to rejoice about in some very difficult circumstances. Paul is saying in effect look guys if anyone knows what it is like to be afraid it is me. But yet I am telling you rejoice in the Lord always.
Listen. Anyone can rejoice when things are going reasonably well. But when you are facing adversity or sickness or hardship or death and then you rejoice well then you are obeying God. Habakkuk 3.17 says, even though the fig trees have no blossoms and there are no grapes on the vine, even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and barren, though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.
Man he was having a hard day wasn't he. We could update that with words something along the lines of this. Even though the economy is bad and they are downsizing at work and insurance rates are up and the car is out of gas and I am sick I will still rejoice in the God of my salvation. You don't rejoice when things get better. You rejoice no matter how things are going. It doesn't say rejoice when you feel good. It doesn't even say rejoice when things are going well. It says rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. It's in the Lord. The Lord is on his throne. God is in control.
The God who is in control loves you and cares about you and is watching out for you so rejoice in the Lord. In just a moment Pastor Greg highlights a three step biblical plan for overcoming worry. Practical insight is just ahead. Hey I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world. Listen to this we even have harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the word of God.
So join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. And now Pastor Greg continues his message called the biblical worldview on overcoming fear and worry. So now Paul is going to tell us how to overcome worry. This is the biblical worldview on overcoming fear and worry.
Three elements I want to bring to your attention. It's right praying verses six to seven. It's right thinking verse eight. And finally right living verse nine. So right praying right thinking right living. Let's start with the first one right praying. The next time you're tempted to worry pray instead.
Turn your worries into prayers. This is called developing a conditioned reflex as compared to a natural reflex. We all have natural reflexes. You know when the doctor tells you to cross your legs and then he hits you with that little device and the little thing that your leg shoots out. It's a natural reflex.
It's amazing. Or if you touch something hot you immediately pull back. You don't have to teach that even to a toddler. They know when they touch something hot it hurts. They pull their hand back. That's a natural reflex. But then there's a conditioned reflex. Now that is something you're taught to do.
And after you've done it so many times it becomes natural to you. For instance standing during the national anthem. That's a show of respect. That's a conditioned reflex. I was taught to do that. Or putting my hand over my heart when I say the Pledge of Allegiance. That's a conditioned reflex. I learned to do that.
Now I automatically do that. You could compare it to driving a car. Do you remember the first time you drove a car what a mystery a car was? I was out on the road the other day and I saw a car and I mean on top of the car it said student driver on the right side of the car. Big sign. Student driver on the left side. Student driver on the back.
Another sign. Student driver. I gave wide birth to that car. Because I know they don't know what they're doing yet. And sure enough they're driving along. They stop for no reason. The right turning signal is on. They turn left. So you give them a lot of space.
They're figuring it out. And I remember what it was like for me when I first learned how to drive. And the thing that was really hard for me to figure out was a manual transmission. You know a stick shift. Because it's like ok you push the clutch in and then you let on the gas but you have to be in gear and the brake pedal and the clutch are different.
Don't hit one instead of the other. So you're jerking and stopping. But after a while you get in your car. You're driving. You're eating a burrito. You're talking on the phone. You're changing the radio. All at the same time of course.
This is not recommended. But you know the idea is that it comes naturally because you taught yourself to do it. You say ok what's the point of this? So here is our natural reflex. When something scary comes. When something threatening comes. When something that alarms us comes we freak out and we need to teach ourselves to pray. The natural reflex is panic. The conditioned reflex and I might add the biblical response is to pray. So Paul says don't worry about anything.
Pray about everything. And I like the fact that he says in everything by prayer let your requests be made known to God. Verse 6. He did not say in only the big things. In only the super big gnarly scary things in prayer. Now in everything God is interested in big things. God is interested in little things. God is interested in whatever concerns you. Because sometimes little things turn into big things rather quickly.
Don't they? Little problems can suddenly become big problems. Maybe you are struggling a little bit with drinking and it seems like you are getting a hold of you and you think well I am ok.
I will take care of this on my own. Or you have this little issue of looking at porn on the Internet and it is becoming worse. A little thing is becoming a big thing.
You need to start praying right now and ask God to help you deal with that situation. Or you watch your children grow up and when they are really small they look so sweet and innocent you think do I even need to pray for them. They are wonderful. And then they get a little older and then they hit the terrible twos and then they become even a bit older and then one day they are pre-teen and all kinds of strange things start happening. And pre-teens are like teenagers today. Aren't they? And it doesn't help when we have publications like Teen Vogue out there.
I have read some of the articles that they have put out. I don't know why but a Teen Vogue came to my house the other day. They should be sending me elderly Vogue.
I don't know. Frankly I don't want any Vogue. Because as far as I am concerned what they say is out of Vogue. It is out of sync with God's Word. One issue that I read was telling people what to do after your friend has an abortion.
This is for teenagers. And it was almost in its way encouraging abortion. Then a new issue deals with sexual matters I will not deal with specifically in this message. But let's say it is entirely inappropriate and it was actually in many ways a how to manual and how to do things that people shouldn't be doing much less teenagers.
This is my point. This is a culture that is out of sync with God. But with all of these things that are going on around us we want to bring everything to the Lord and especially our children. I love how the mothers brought their children to Jesus and the disciples rebuffed them and the mothers were even more persistent.
It says in the original language they kept bringing their children to Jesus. And parents you need to keep bringing your children to Jesus from the earliest to the later years. Don't ever stop praying for your kids. Pray for them when they are young. Pray for them when they are teenagers. Pray for them when they are college age. Pray for them when they are young adults going out into the world. Pray for them when they hit middle age. That is when you know you are getting old.
When your children are middle age. Keep praying for them. Big things.
Little things. In everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. Notice it says with thanksgiving.
With thanksgiving. That is an important element before the prayer is answered. Because they take time to worship my Father and remind myself of His greatness and power. And in doing so I automatically put my own problems into their proper perspective. When I see God in His glory I see my problems the way I should see them. Big God. Small problems.
Big problems. Small God. That is why the Lord taught me in the Lord's Prayer to pray as follows. Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
And then it goes on and gets to petitions eventually. But the point is it starts off with just acknowledging and recognizing the awesomeness and greatness of God. And that I am giving Him praise even before my prayers are answered. We need to pray that He will have His will in our life and that we rejoice in the fact that He is in control. Pastor Greg Laurie with good insight on right praying, thinking, and living. Pastor Greg will have more insight as he continues this study called The Biblical Worldview on Overcoming Fear and Worry.
Including a final illustration before we close today. You know Pastor Greg some people are major league worriers and minor league prayers. And they just don't know how to change leagues. But you have a book that discusses the basics of prayer along with several other subjects. Isn't that right? Oh yes they do.
It's called The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. Listen worry affects all of us. Some worry more than others. Reminds me of a story of a guy who had a real problem with worry.
Always worrying. And one day one of his friends someone said, Man you seem to be really chill. You're relaxed. You're not worrying like you used to. He goes, Oh yeah I don't worry at all anymore. His friend said, Really?
How's that even possible? He said, I hired someone to worry for me. His friend asked, How much do you pay a guy like that? He says, I pay him $15,000 a week. His friend said, You don't make that kind of money.
How do you afford to pay him? He said, Hey that's for him to worry about. Some of our listeners have heard that one before right? But here's the thing. The Bible is very clear on this topic. It says, Don't worry about anything. Pray about everything. And the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. So I encourage people, turn your worries into worship. Turn your panic into prayer. So the next time you're tempted to worry, just immediately transform that into a petition to heaven. And say, Lord, this is bothering me right now. I'm burdened by this.
But you told me to cast all my care upon you, for you care for me. So here it is, Lord. So Dave, I talk about this a lot more in this book that we want to offer our listeners. Called The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. I also talk about how to resist temptation. How to know the will of God. How to pray.
We already touched on that for just a moment. And so much more. And I'd love to send you this little book, The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living, for your gift of any size. Now, whatever you send, we'll send you one of these books. Some can give more, and we thank you for that. Some can only give a little, and we want to make sure you get this resource.
But whatever you give will be used to continue to expand this radio outreach that is heard literally around the world. So order your copy of The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. Dave, tell them how to do it exactly.
Yeah, it's easy to do. Just give us a call at 1-800-821-3300. You can reach us anytime, 24 hours a day. And we'll walk you through the details right over the phone. That's 1-800-821-3300.
Or just go online to Harvest.org. And once again, the title is The New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. In Philippians chapter 4, we find Paul's words to be anxious for nothing. Well, Pastor Greg closes with good insight on that passage. In everything by prayer and supplication, praying for others, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
And what happens? And the peace of God that passes all human understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. By the way, that word there for keep in the original language is guard. The idea is if you put everything in God's hands and trust Him and rejoice even before you know the outcome, God will post a century outside of your heart. Sergeant peace is guarding your heart. Have you ever experienced it? In the most crazy circumstances, you have peace in the middle of a storm. That is the peace that passes all human understanding. And it's a peace that God can give you no matter what you're facing right now.
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