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Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. It's a threat against your very life. But here's the good news. If you build your life on Jesus Christ, you'll be able to get through the storm. The Christian life isn't constant rainbows and butterflies. It's not bliss, bling, and bemusement. And we shouldn't promise that kind of life in our presentation of the Gospel. We need to be honest. Sometimes trials come our way, but the Lord is with us in the midst of them and will help bring us through them. We'll learn more today on A New Beginning as Pastor Greg continues our study of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.
A timeless insight that stretches right into the 21st century. How many of you like to go to the beach, and you love the beach? How many of you like the mountains more than the beach? You're more of a mountain person?
Okay. Well, I'm more of a beach person. But I think, as I've thought about it, maybe I like the idea of the beach more than actually going to the beach.
I like the idea of it like, oh, I'm going to go to the beach today, so I load up my beach chair. I've got my sunscreen. I've got my sunglasses. I've got my ear headphones or ear pods or whatever. I've got some music to listen to. I've got tons of books to read.
I'm always dragging books wherever I go. Maybe have a little lunch. I've got my towel. So I go down to the beach, and I set everything up. There's the towel. Here's the books. Here's everything.
All right. This is great. I just love the sound of the ocean, and there's no one around me. But then I get hot, so I have to go in the water.
But the water is so cold in California, right? So I go in partially, and maybe I get all the way in. And then while I'm in the water, I look. A seagull is now flying off with my lunch.
And if that's not bad enough, he's wearing my sunglasses to add insult to injury. And maybe he leaves one little final parting gift on my towel just so I know he was there. And then so I return to my towel now, and I sit down. And why is it that if there's an entire beach with all these places to go, someone pulls their towel up right next to me? Even touching my towel. That should be illegal. Don't touch my towel.
Their towel is touching a little bit. And I always have the person that's having the conversation on the phone very loudly on speaker. So I'm hearing what the other person is saying and what they're saying or another person with a loud, obnoxious music. Okay.
Well, enough complaining. That's some of the things I like and dislike. Mostly dislike about the beach. Here's what I do like about the beach. I like to go with my grandkids and build sandcastles with them. Now, I'm not a great sandcastle builder. Fill a bucket with sand, turn it upside down, boom, that's it. I might go to the next level, put a few shells on it, maybe dig a little moat around it, right? But there's other people who build elaborate sandcastles. To me, this seems like the biggest waste of time ever. You say, why? Because that tide's going to rise and it's going to wash it away. Or some little three-year-old kid, most likely a boy, the moment you're not looking is going to come and destroy your sandcastle.
So it's not a good idea to build something on sand. So I want to talk about two kinds of people as we wrap this up. I'm going to even give them names. Rocky and Sandy, right? Rocky, he builds his house on a firm foundation of stone.
Sandy, however, she's built on the shifting seashore. And so we'll find out who's who when the storms come. And when you get down to it, every one of us builds our life on something. We all have a set of values that we live by.
Even people that say they have no values actually have values of some kind. We have a philosophy, something we think is true. That is the foundation of our life.
So here's the question. Will your foundation sustain you when the storms of life come? Because the storms of life will come your way in one way, shape, or form.
And sometimes one storm will follow another even. So here's how you'll really know what your life is built on. If you build it on sand, you'll crumble.
If you build it on rock, you will be strong. All right, let's read these final words of Jesus. Matthew 7, verse 24.
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise. He is like a person who builds a house on solid rock. And though the rain comes and torrents, notice it doesn't say if, it says though.
In other words, it will happen. And the flood waters rise and the winds beat against that house. It won't collapse because it's built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish. He's like a person who builds a house on the sand. When the rains and the floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. When Jesus had finished these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching.
For he taught with real authority, quite unlike their teachers of religious law. We'll stop there. So now we have this final contrast of two guys building houses. And you know what? They probably looked exactly the same. They had the same floor plan. They had the same landscaping. They had the same car in the driveway. They had the same dog even. The same kind of dog.
Right? But here's the big difference. One represents a believer. The one who hears the Word of God and does it. The other represents effectively a non-believer. But we'll call him a pseudo-believer. Who hears the Word of God and does not do it. What I mean by a pseudo-believer is he appears to be a believer, but actually he is not. So this is not a non-believer that never goes to church.
This is a person that could be sitting next to you in a seat. And they have a Bible that looks just like your Bible. And they know the words of the same songs you know. And when you pray, they pray.
And everything looks good. But then one day you find out that person is, well, they've been living a double life. And they haven't been a believer at all. But they looked like one and you thought they were one. And the difference is hearing the Word and doing it and hearing the Word and not doing it. So which one are you?
Here's how you'll know the difference. Verse 25. Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise.
Look. Storms will come in every life. And when I say storm, I'm using it as a metaphor for trouble.
Right? Trouble is going to come into every life. Sometimes it's a health issue. Sometimes it's a marital problem. Sometimes it's a kid problem.
Sometimes it's a legal problem. Sometimes it's a threat against your very life. So many things can qualify as a storm or a trial.
Whatever you want to call it. Storms come into every life. And now we have hurricanes. We named them.
Right? I actually came across a list of all the hurricanes of days gone by and all the ones that are coming. They have an alphabetical list. And here's what the next hurricane is going to be named.
So I was looking over the list and some I recognized. Of course we all remember Hurricane Andrew. That was a big one. Devastating one. Hurricane Katrina.
I was over on the islands of Hawaii when Hurricane Iniki hit. That was a big one as well. But then they had some storm names that I thought, seriously? These are storm names.
There was one. Hurricane Larry. There's just something not frightening about Hurricane Larry is coming. Larry? Really?
Then there's another one. Hurricane Fabian. Fabian. I thought, why not Hurricane Fabio, man?
Long blonde hair. Come on. And then here's one of my favorites. Hurricane Kirk. That just is not threatening. Here comes Hurricane Kirk.
Oh wow. Right? So whatever you name it, if that hurricane is coming your way, if that storm is coming your way, it's real. And it's not any fun. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4, Our present troubles are quite small, and they won't last very long. Yet they produce in us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever. Not a great glory.
A great glory. So don't look at the troubles you can see right now. Rather look forward to what you have not yet seen. For the troubles you see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. Listen. These storms sometimes are tidal waves of temptation.
And other times it's a slow eroding effect of more subtle methods. It can be persecution, tragedy, a major disappointment, but it is going to come. But here's the good news. If you've built your life on Jesus Christ, you'll be able to get through the storm. And not only will you get through the storm, you'll be stronger because of the storm. But if you've not built your life on Jesus Christ, you will not weather those storms at all.
So that's why we want to build our life on a good foundation. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know, there's nothing like hearing the Word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at harvest.org. You can 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 at harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg continues his encouraging presentation about surviving our life's storms, called the Foundation of Life. Let's listen. I was interviewed the other day and this person interviewing me asked me if I ever had a moment in my life where I had doubts or I was questioning. And I said yes, as a matter of fact I did.
I don't know if I'd qualify it as a doubt. But it was very hard and it was of course when our son died. And the question I asked was why. And not so much why did it happen to me, though I have to admit I asked that, but I really ask more why did it happen to him.
You know he was 33 years old. He had fallen away from the Lord for a time, recommitted his life to Christ, was married, had a beautiful daughter and another one on the way. And he was actually serving the Lord with his abilities as a graphic artist working at our church and was on his way to church and was in an auto collision and he died. And you know when something like that happens you ask the why question. And I think sometimes we feel like wow I must have no faith in God because I'm asking why. Some preachers won't tell you this, I'll tell you this, there's nothing wrong with asking God why. It's okay. Hey, don't expect an answer but ask away.
Right? Because if God were to answer you, if God were to say okay I'm going to tell you why now, are you ready for it? Write it down. We probably wouldn't like it. We'd probably disagree with it or some other thing. So you can ask God why. Even Jesus said my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? So I asked why for a while and there was no satisfactory answer.
So I fell back to another issue, two other W's. What and who. Let's start with who. I don't know why. I don't know the answer to why.
Who. As in who do I turn to? Well I don't turn to a bottle. And I'm not going to turn to drugs. And I'm not going to turn to something else. So I'm going to turn to Jesus Christ.
He's the one who sustains me. That's the who. And the what. The what as in what am I supposed to do? You know I would have never written this script for myself but God has allowed it in my life and I don't understand why.
And he does say he causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Therefore Lord what do you want me to do? And I determined that I could not waste my pain. I was in pain. And I thought maybe I can help other people. So I became a member of a club I never wanted to join. A club of people who have lost children. And I realized that God had given me a platform to speak both to them and for them.
To them and for them. So you know when you've lost a child you can speak authoritatively to somebody else who has lost a child. They will listen to you because they know you have come through it. Just like if you are a cancer survivor you can speak more authoritatively to someone who just found out they have cancer than someone who has never had it before.
Right? And that is true of many things in life. When you have come through it people will listen to you because you have been there.
So you can have that platform and you can bring words of perspective and encouragement. But then I speak for these people and remind folks that hey if you meet somebody who has lost a loved one, especially a child, don't ever ask them are they over it yet. That is never an appropriate question ever. I actually had someone ask me that like two weeks after our son died.
I ran into him on the street and he goes, oh yeah I am really sad about your son. Are you over that yet? I will be over it after I kill you? Maybe? No I didn't think that. But you know what an insensitive thing to say.
Seriously. And I have had every weird thing said to me so I know what it is like to be on the receiving end by well-meaning Christians that don't know what the heck they are talking about. And I think we feel as Christians we always have to have an answer for everything.
We have to have a scripture for everything. And sometimes the best thing you can do is literally say nothing. Sometimes the best thing to say to someone who is suffering would be something along the lines of I have no idea what it is like to go through what you are going through right now. But I want you to know I am praying for you. And I am here for you. You know could I do something for you? Could I pick you up a bite to eat?
Could I run an errand for you or just do some other practical thing? I am just here for you. I don't have sermons for you. But I have friendship for you. Now here is the time for those words of encouragement.
Don't get me wrong but sometimes we just don't know what we are saying to these people. And so we have to be sensitive to that. But look storms are going to come. But here is the good news about a storm. A storm is a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Some of you are just pulling into a storm a hardship. You are going oh man what is this thing? Is this going to be a long one?
I don't want to do this. Some of you are in the middle. Oh this has been going on forever. When is it going to stop? And some of you are just pulling out.
So glad that is in my rearview mirror. Oh no what is that on the horizon? Sometimes storms come in stages. Sometimes storms come and they take a hard turn. Over in Hawaii a big storm was coming their way not long ago. A hurricane.
I forgot the name of it. And so they were all getting ready because they are saying there is going to be a bad storm. And what is the deal with these weather people? It is just three drops of rain hit the ground. National emergency.
They are just breathlessly reporting. We are here now waiting for the storm to come. Anyway so they thought this huge storm was going to devastate Hawaii and it was coming and it was building. And it came right their direction and just kind of turned and gave them a little bit of a storm and they were fine. And then the funny thing is a little bit later another storm came they didn't even expect.
And that probably did more damage than the first storm. So that is just like life isn't it? Here it comes. Here it comes. And then it doesn't come. Boom.
Now here comes another I didn't expect. Right. Weren't we supposed to have had a big storm yesterday? Yeah.
What happened to that? You want to know how to get it to rain? It is very simple. Wash your car.
It always works for me. I don't know about you. Storms are going to come. They have a beginning. They have a middle.
They have an end. God will get you through your storms if you are built on Jesus Christ because it comes down to this. When you are going through these storms you are going to learn a little bit because character is not made in crisis. It is revealed.
Let me repeat that. Character is not made in crisis. It is revealed. The storm reveals who you are and what kind of faith you have. Sometimes people go through a hardship or a tragedy in their childhood and they will say, Well that shook my faith. That is why I turned against God. Because this hard thing happened to me when I was young so I lost my faith. Well good. Lose that faith.
Because it comes down to this. A faith that can't be shaken is a faith that has been shaken. And maybe one of the reasons you lost your faith is you never had faith in God. So put your faith in God because hardship will come in life. But the good news is God will be there to sustain you. Now you know there might be someone here at church tonight that is here because something has happened to you.
Bad. Maybe you faced the consequences of some dumb decision you made. Maybe some other thing has taken place. Maybe a doctor gave you bad news.
Maybe it is something else. You got fired at your job. You know something happened and you know you broke up with your girlfriend or your husband walked out.
I don't know whatever it is. But something happened and you thought, I need to get to church. And you feel a little embarrassed.
Like you know I don't feel this is right. You know you have come to the right place. I am glad you are here. This is the best place to come at all times but especially if you are suffering. Because the church is a place to get healed. It is a hospital for sinners.
And it is a place for the saints to get patched up to. Some say, well that is weakness. Christianity is a crutch. Oh Christianity is more than a crutch.
It is a wheelchair. It is everything. Emergency room.
Everything you need. It is there in a relationship with God. And there should be no shame in anyone ever admitting they need God's help. And so if you have had a difficulty that has got you to church. God bless you for coming here. Because Jesus has what you need.
And so we want to close with this. It really comes down to knowing God. Not knowing about God.
Knowing God. Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them. He is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. That is Rocky. Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does not do them. He is like a foolish man who built his house on this end. That is Andy. Who are you?
Rocky or Sandy? What are you built on? And do you have the guaranteed hope that if you died you would go to heaven? That is only the hope of the follower of Jesus Christ.
And Jesus who gave these teachings went and died on a cross for our sin. And then he rose again from the dead and he stands at the door of each of our lives and he knocks. And says if we will hear his voice and open the door he will come in. So I want to close with a prayer and an invitation. An invitation for you to believe in Jesus. An invitation for you to be forgiven of all of your sin. An invitation for you to know God. Not know about God. Know God. A relationship. A friendship.
And much more. So if you need this relationship with God. If you want to know you will go to heaven when you die. If you want to be ready for the Lord's return. Respond to this invitation as we close now in prayer.
Let's all bow our heads. Father thank you for your word to us. Thank you for the promise of Scripture. Now I pray for any person here who does not yet know you. Help them to see their need for you. And help them to come to you now. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an invitation to get your heart right with the Lord.
And if you'd like to do that today. Pastor Greg will help you in just a moment. Before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well Pastor Greg the release of your new evangelistic documentary. Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon is just days away.
Tell us about this new film. You know Dave as we think about Johnny Cash's life. Let me contrast it with Steve McQueen.
Because I wrote a book on both of them. And we did a film about McQueen's life as well. McQueen was a hedonist extraordinaire. He knew nothing of God.
Never went to church as a boy. One day he saw a godly man that he spent a lot of time with. And that man shared the gospel with Steve. And Steve McQueen became a Christian. It was a black and white moment.
It was a dramatic conversion. The story of Johnny Cash is different. Johnny was raised in a Christian home.
Albeit with a cold and distant father. But he did love the Lord. In fact he wanted to originally be a gospel recording artist. But he ended up becoming a country superstar.
And in many ways to find his own style of music. But Johnny struggled throughout his life. Johnny would be walking closely with the Lord. Then he would have elapsed. He struggled with drugs like amphetamines and barbiturates and drinking.
He had his highs and lows and his ups and downs. But in the end Johnny made that recommitment to the Lord. So I bring this up because we all know folks like this. You know some people come to Christ. Their past is in their rear view mirror.
And it's onward and upward. Others they have a lifelong struggle. Sometimes with drugs or alcohol. Sometimes with other sins.
But they're always struggling. And we say how can I help a person like that? I have a suggestion. Bring them to see this brand new documentary film. Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. Because they'll see a story of a man who struggled. But found his way back to the Lord.
And how God helped them and sustained them. A great idea. Sometimes struggling people need to see that breakthrough demonstrated. They need to see that someone else walked that pathway.
So bring that friend to see Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. It's a Fathom event that's just days away. You can see the dates at our website, Harvest.org. And tickets are going fast. So contact us today. We're making tickets available as a way to say thank you for your generous support.
That helps make a new beginning possible. So go online today to Harvest.org. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300.
Call anytime, 24-7, 1-800-821-3300. Pastor Greg, you mentioned how someone can become a Christian with just a simple prayer. Maybe somebody would like to do that right now. Could you help them with that?
Sure, I'd love to. A simple prayer is right. In fact, I would like to just pray a prayer. And I would ask you to pray it after me right now.
Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. But I also know that you are the Savior. Because you died on the cross for my sin and you rose again from the dead. Jesus, come into my life and forgive me of every sin I've ever committed.
I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer, Lord. And I pray all of this in Jesus' name.
Amen. If you just prayed that prayer and meant it, I want you to know on the authority of Scripture, God Almighty has heard your prayer and He will answer this prayer. You are now a newly minted child of God. So congratulations.
You've made the right decision. And welcome to the family of God. I want to send you a special gift because of that prayer you've just prayed. It's called the New Believer's Growth Packet. And in it is a copy of the New Testament in a very understandable translation called the New Living Translation. It also is filled with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you've made to follow Christ.
And there's some other outstanding materials in this little packet I'll send you as well. So order your copy today and let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. And to get that free New Believer's Growth Packet, just get in touch and we'll be glad to send it right out. Just call 1-800-821-3300.
That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or you can write a new beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words, Know God. Well next time, Pastor Greg launches a challenging new series called, Discipleship, The Road Less Taken. Good counsel to help us move to the next level in our walk with the Lord. 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.
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