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Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. You know the Bible 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. It's a fruitless pursuit to let our minds wallow in the challenges facing us. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie reminds us to give those concerns to the Lord.
We all know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night and be gripped by panic or fear or anxiety. That's the moment when we turn our troubles over to the Lord. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing.
This is the day, the day when life begins. They say thousands of Thomas Edison's early experiments initially failed, including finding the right filament for the practical electric light bulb. His friend said, what a shame, all that work and no results. Edison said, I have gotten lots of results.
I know several thousand things that won't work. How's your life going and how do you respond? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie has good encouragement for anyone who's facing tough challenges and feels like giving up. This is the day, the day when life begins.
Thanksgiving is a holiday in our nation where we give thanks to God for his blessing, but for the Christian every day should be Thanksgiving. I think of First Thessalonians 5 18. It says, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you. Sometimes people say, I don't know what the will of God is for my life.
I know one thing that's a will of God. He commands you to give thanks and notice it says, in everything give thanks. Sometimes it's easier to give thanks than others, isn't it?
The birth of a baby. But it's not as easy to give thanks when there is the passing of a loved one. It's easy to give thanks when your health is good and the lights are green and the sky is blue and the bills are paid. It's not as easy to give thanks when you're having poor health or you're having problems in other areas of your life. But the key is the Bible says we should give thanks regardless of what is happening because Psalm 106 says, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Now listen, if God ceases to be good you no longer need to give thanks. But of course God will always be good.
Therefore you should always give thanks. The Bible says in Philippians 4, rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. And by the way, when Paul wrote that he was not kicking back in some beach eating a falafel. Paul was in prison and yet in prison he is saying rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
So here's what the Bible says. It says that we should give thanks to him regardless of our circumstances because sometimes thanksgiving is an act of sacrifice. The Bible actually talks about offering the sacrifice of praise, giving thanks to the Lord with the fruit of our lips.
That's interesting. So it's not just do it when you feel like it because you don't always feel like it. Do it because God is good.
But then do it with the fruit of your lips and otherwise verbalize your thanksgiving. Say thank you Lord. You know we are so quick to go to God when we have a problem. And thankfully he welcomes us in prayer. Oh Lord help me with this. Oh Lord intervene over here.
Oh Lord step in here and he answers our prayer. Fine. Good. Now give thanks. Lord that was not a coincidence. That was your blessing. That was your provision.
Thank you Lord. Just as surely as a husband and wife need to verbalize their love one to another. So Christians should verbalize their love to God. Bring to him the glory that is due his name. We all know the story of those 10 lepers that were healed.
Leprosy was an incurable disease. They came and begged Jesus to heal them. He answered their prayer and only one came back to give thanks. And Jesus noted didn't I heal 10 people.
Where are the other nine. And what's interesting about the one guy that came back is it says he praised Jesus with a loud voice. And that phrase loud voice comes from two root words and we get our English word megaphone from it. So this guy kind of made up for the others. Make sure that you use your megaphone to give thanks to God for all that he has done for you. So now we're going to shift gears and we're going to look at a story in the Bible in Acts chapter 16. This is an example of two men who saw the good despite the bad.
They saw God in the darkest of places. And those two men were Paul and Silas. So let's read a passage together. Acts chapter 16.
I'm going to read a few verses from the New Living Translation. They were severely beaten and then they were thrown into prison. This is speaking of Paul and Silas. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn't escape so he took no chances and put them in the inner dungeon and clamped their feet into the stops. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly there was a great earthquake and the prison was shaken at its foundations and the doors flew open and the chains of every prisoner fell off. The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped so he drew his sword to kill himself and Paul shouted to him, Don't do it.
We're still here. Trembling with fear the jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas and brought them out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they replied, Believe on the Lord Jesus and you'll be saved along with your entire household. Then they shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in his household. In the same hour the jailer washed their wounds and he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized and he brought them into his house and sent a meal before them and he and his entire household believed and they all believed in God.
We'll stop there. What a great story this is. You want to talk about tough circumstances but how things can turn around so quickly. Why was this jailer changed so quickly? Because he saw two men that were willing to bring a sacrifice of praise to God regardless of their circumstances. At night time in the inner part of the dungeon, this is a torture chamber. They are chained up in the worst conditions imaginable and at the midnight hour they start singing praises to God. We all know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night and be gripped by panic or fear or anxiety and that's the moment when we turn our troubles over to the Lord. You know the Bible 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.
It's interesting because this word that is used for listening as in the other prisoners listen could be translated listen with pleasure. I don't think they'd ever heard a concert in the dungeon before but it was music to people's ears because it was a sacrifice of praise to God. You know it's a powerful testimony to a lost world when a Christian can give glory to God when they're going through hard times. You see people who aren't Christians are watching you if you want to believe that or not they are and I know it's a lot of pressure. Some people are developing their opinion of God based on you and they really don't want to in many cases see you do well. They want you to mess up.
They want you to do something where they can point an accusing finger at you and say you hypocrite. But when you live a godly life and then when you go through adversity and give praise to God that is a powerful testimony and that gets people's attention. It certainly got the attention of the jailer didn't it and he was a very hard man. But Paul knew about being a hard man didn't he because he was formerly the notorious Saul of Tarsus. The Christian killer.
The man who dedicated his life to eradicating this church and then he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and now is the Apostle Paul. So he looked at this hardened guy and he thought I used to be that guy. I know how he thinks. I know how he feels and my heart goes out to him. And that's why Paul was so willing to extend grace to the man when that man was prepared to kill himself. But I think it's a good reminder that when you're going through hardship, it's good to get perspective and to sing to the Lord.
I love that they sang and we're going to do a lot of singing in heaven. So let's start practicing. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We love hearing when people find help through these daily studies some in person and even some on the road. Pastor Greg, I listen to your sermons every day on my way to work. I can't thank you enough for your words, humor and immense love for Jesus. Your messages are so inspiring and eye opening. I look forward to listening daily. You are a bright spot in what has become a very dark world. Thank you. If you have a story to share, why not call us and let us know?
Here's the number. Well, today, Pastor Greg is helping us adopt the right perspective during our times of trial, including taking time to lift our hearts and voices to the Lord. When I worship and when I pray, I get a better perspective of the greatness of God. When I come to church and hear the Word of God after a time of worship, it changes my outlook. Have you ever had that happen? Where you came in, you were kind of down.
You didn't even really want to come in many ways. And then as you began to sing and then as you heard the Word of God, it just changed the way that you look at things. It reminds me of the words of Asaph, who writes in Psalm 73. Really, he was asking the question, why do the wicked prosper? He says, I tried to figure it out.
This is a modern translation. I tried to figure it out and all I got was a splitting headache until I entered the sanctuary of God. Then I got the whole picture. I didn't understand why things are the way they are until he came into God's presence to study his word with his people. And then my questions came into their proper perspective. I love that.
And that's what happens to us as well. So Paul and Silas are worshiping. They're giving glory to God. They're bringing their songs in the night.
And this is making a great impact. Notice they didn't pray for deliverance. They simply praise the Lord. We read in verse 25, the other prisoners were listening as Paul and Silas were singing hymns to God. They didn't pray for a way out. They just glorified God. So the great miracle of this story is not that an earthquake came, but rather that the child of God can rejoice in any circumstances.
Let me say that again. The real miracle of this story is not that an earthquake came, but that the child of God can praise God despite their circumstances. Because honestly, sometimes the earthquake does not come. Deliverance from the circumstances does not come. Sometimes he delivers us from our circumstances like Daniel in the lion's den. Sometimes he simply walks with us through our circumstances like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So this earthquake comes and the chains come off everyone.
So obviously it was a miraculous thing. And the jailer is going to kill himself. You say, why?
Because he knew that if his prisoners escaped, he would be executed. So he's pulling out his short Roman sword, getting ready to take his own life. And Paul stops him. Hey, stop. We're all still here. Don't take your life. And this man was deeply moved by what they said and what they did in that moment.
And of course he asks this great question. Sirs, what must I do to be saved? So that comes back to us just doing our part. And God will touch and change the hearts of other people. So rejoice in the Lord. Not in what you're feeling.
Not in your circumstances. Again, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Let me close with what Paul said to this man. What must I do to be saved? Paul says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. And that goes through your entire household. And that man believed right on the spot.
And that brings us back to the question that people might still have or at least should have. What must I do to be saved? And is that not the perfect word? Saved.
I mean we use that word for something dramatic. Someone was saved. I read an article the other day where a person was in a burning car and a police officer ran to the car, pulled the door open, reached in, pulled this man out, pulled him to safety. So the article says a man is saved.
That's the perfect word. He was literally saved. Or a firefighter rushes into a burning building and rescues someone. We say they were saved. Or a lifeguard pulls someone out of the ocean who was caught in a rip tide and we say the lifeguard saved that person's life.
And so they did. Saved. What must I do to be saved? That's how radical our situation is.
We are in a situation like we are caught in a rip tide or a burning building. We need someone to save us and we cannot save ourself. But the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And that's what this man did.
This Philippian jailer. And that's what you and I can do as well because Jesus will save us from our sin if we will call out to Him. So I'm going to close in a moment with a word of prayer.
And I want to extend an invitation for anybody here who is not certain if their sin is forgiven. You know maybe you have thought Christians are collectively nuts. Honestly some of them are. But they are saved nuts.
Ok. But seriously you may have dismissed Christians as a whole because you thought these people are all collectively crazy. But then you know things mess with your narrative. Because it's someone you care about or someone that you are friends with and they become Christians. And you see how their life is changing. You say well maybe I need to think this through one more time.
Or maybe you are visiting us and you are checking this all out. I have to tell you that the thing that really got my attention before I was a Christian was the love that Christians had for each other. And when I saw them worshipping God. That's kind of what opened my heart up.
I told you my story. Before I was walking across my high school campus and there were these Christians singing songs about Jesus on the front lawn at lunchtime. And I sat down far enough away where people wouldn't think I was in the group.
But close enough where I could kind of listen in. And as I looked at some of these people. Some of them I knew. One had been a good friend of mine. And I thought wow. This guy I know is not a crazy person.
He is a normal guy. And he has become a Christian or as we called them then a Jesus freak. And so it kind of opened my heart up a little bit where I thought they do look happy. They do look like they have something that I certainly don't have because I am miserable and empty and all the rest. And then when a message was given by the preacher named Lonnie that day it resonated with me. So maybe you have joined us and you are looking at all of this praise and worship.
And you are thinking wow I need this in my life. Well what do you need is Jesus. And He will save you and forgive you of all of your sin. So you can have the guaranteed assurance that when you die you will go to heaven. And then find the meaning of life in this life.
Because you know when it really comes down to it. The reason God has created you is so you can have a relationship with Him and bring glory to His name. And this is something that once we discover it, it changes everything about us. Everything about our decisions and where we go in life. And I want you to find that.
I think the two biggest moments in a person's life is when they discover why they were born and what they were born for. And you are born to bring glory to God. So I want you to come into that relationship with Him and I am going to pray and encourage you to join me in prayer if you need to. So you can be saved from all of your sin and from the judgment of God.
Let's pray. Father thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to die on the cross in our place. And then to rise from the dead. And I thank you Lord that He is with us in this place. He is here with us right now standing at the door of our life and knocking. And He is saying if anyone will hear His voice and open the door He will come in.
Now I pray for every person here. Every person watching wherever they are. If they don't have a relationship with you. If they don't know you. If they have not been saved from the penalty of sin. Help them to come to you and believe right here right now we pray. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we are praying together. If you would like Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin. If you would like to know that when you die you will go to heaven.
If you would like to find the meaning of your life. If you want your sin forgiven wherever you are. I want you to pray this prayer after me right where you are. You can't just pray this prayer. You can even pray it out loud.
Pray Lord Jesus. I know that I am a sinner. But I know that you are the Savior. Who died on the cross for my sin.
And rose again from the dead. I choose to follow you now from this moment forward. As my Savior and Lord. And as my God and my friend. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie closing with an important word of prayer with those making a change in their relationship with the Lord today. And if you've just prayed that prayer and meant those words sincerely.
Then the Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin. And we want to welcome you into the family of God. And we want to help you get started in this new relationship with the Lord. Let us send you something called our New Believers Growth Packet. It's free of charge and it will help answer the questions you may have and begin to build a strong foundation for your faith. So ask for the New Believers Growth Packet when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. Or write, A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
Or just go online to harvest.org and look for the words, Know God. Okay, so Johnny Cash, Steve McQueen, and Billy Graham all go to heaven. Sounds like a set up to a joke, doesn't it?
But it's not. They all went to heaven. Pastor Greg, wouldn't you have loved to have been a fly on the wall for some of their early conversations? Are there flies in heaven? No, they're not because Beelzebub, another name for Satan, means Lord of the Flies. So there will be no flies in heaven, I think I can safely assure you of that. I'm so glad.
And I'm glad of it because I hate flies. But yes, they are all in heaven. Now of course we expect to hear that Billy Graham is in heaven. But Steve McQueen and Johnny Cash, you better believe it.
Because they all believed in Jesus. And Billy is sort of like the glue in these other relationships. I've written books on all of the men you just mentioned. I wrote a book called Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon. Another book on Billy Graham, The Man I Knew.
And I wrote a book called Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. Johnny was very close with Billy. They were actually friends. Their wives were friends. They spent a lot of time together.
Of course Johnny performed at Billy Graham Crusades. But Billy played a key role in the life of Steve McQueen as well. Because McQueen tragically got cancer and was going to get treatment and wanted to meet Billy. And Billy met with him and prayed for him and personally gave to Steve his own Bible. Which Steve was holding when he was in recovery after his successful surgery. But sadly Steve died. But the thing Steve McQueen was holding when he entered eternity was the Bible of Billy Graham. These stories are amazing and I love to read biographies and I love to watch documentaries.
And I like to write biographies and participate in making documentaries. So I want to tell you about a brand new documentary film about Johnny Cash. This film is called Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon.
It's been produced and directed by the Irwin Brothers. Now you know them best for their films like Woodlawn, I Still Believe, I Can Only Imagine, and the soon to be released Jesus Revolution. So this is a very high quality film that was made with the cooperation and endorsement of the Johnny Cash estate. We interviewed Johnny's son, John Carter Cash, his sister, Joanna Cash-Yates, as well as country superstars who knew him or admired him.
Like Winona Judd, also Marty Stewart, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow was interviewed as well. The theme of this movie is the spiritual life of this superstar. That's why it's called The Redemption of an American Icon. There's even a gospel presentation in it, so this would be a great film to go to and take someone with you that does not yet know the Lord. It's going to be a fathom event, which means it will be shown in theaters across the United States, hopefully a theater near you.
So I'm hoping you'll go out and see this brand new film, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. Dave, tell them what they need to do next to get tickets. Well, the easiest way is to go to harvest.org. There at the website you'll see all the dates for this fathom event. We're happy to make tickets available to say thank you to those who believe in the power of the gospel and in taking that message into unexpected places.
Friends who support that work with a generous donation. These showings are coming up soon and tickets are going fast, so go online to harvest.org or call us at 1-800-821-3300. You can reach us around the clock 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. Hey everybody, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home?
It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg points out the dangers of the worthless pastime called worry. He'll help us focus on the faithful promises of God instead. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to Harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-27 13:40:00 / 2022-11-27 13:50:00 / 10