Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners.
I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you. If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Daniel chapter 4 is a unique chapter in the context of the book of Daniel, in that it was not written by Daniel like all the other chapters of Daniel were. It was written by Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was a non-believing king, a non-believing powerful monarch over the kingdom. He ruled the ancient city, the ancient kingdom of Babylon, and he was probably the most powerful man that has ever lived on the face of the earth as far as government went. Daniel later on gave to Nebuchadnezzar a vision that he saw of a great image who had a head of gold and a breast and arms of silver and on through the image, the metals of the image became of less value and of less value until finally the toes became clay. And Daniel went on to describe to Nebuchadnezzar that that image symbolized different stages of kingdoms that were to come and the gold, the head of gold, the purest metal there was, was Babylon. And Daniel said, you're the king, you are the man over Babylon, you're the monarch, you're the great being there and so Nebuchadnezzar was a very powerful man. But Nebuchadnezzar did not know God, Nebuchadnezzar did not believe in God. When he got in a bind, he would go to astrologers or soothsayers or sorcerers and he would not turn to the living God. And so one day he had a dream and in this dream it was a little bit disturbing because he dreamed of a great tree that grew up and this tree was magnificent and all the people were coming to this tree and birds were in this tree.
And suddenly a great hewer from heaven came and chopped that tree down to the base and that was the dream. And old Nebuchadnezzar didn't know what this dream meant, it was starting to trouble him a little bit. So he called for the astrologers and he called for the magicians to come and interpret the dream for him.
Nobody had an interpretation. And so in his great anger he said, I'm going to destroy everybody. And as the decree went out to destroy all the wise men in Babylon, they ran into a guy named Daniel who Nebuchadnezzar had not consulted with yet. And he did not know that Daniel was a prophet of the Lord and in Daniel was the very presence of the Holy Spirit. In Daniel chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all the people, nations and languages that dwell in all the earth, peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought towards me. This is Nebuchadnezzar's testimony. A testimony is a personal story in your life or in my life and how you came to know the Lord. So Nebuchadnezzar now is giving his testimony. He's going to talk in Daniel chapter 4 how he came to believe in God because God dealt with him in some really heavy ways. And he goes on and he says, how great are his signs, verse 3. How mighty are his wonders and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and his dominion is from generation to generation.
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, was resting in my house and flourishing in my palace. And I saw a dream which made me afraid and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore I made a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.
Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, the soothsayers. And I told the dream before them and they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. But at the last came Daniel before me whose name was Belshazzar, according to the name of my God in whom is the spirit of the holy gods and before him I told the dream.
And then Nebuchadnezzar goes on to describe the dream that he had to Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful man and often the Lord will allow powerful situations to happen to powerful men to bring them down to see their need for God. For often the man that has prospered financially or the man that has prospered in his lifetime and is popular or has made himself a name or has done something in this world often feels he doesn't need God. And so because God loves us so much, sometimes he'll intervene in our lives and he'll do things to us to get our attention. Now God has given you a free will. He won't force you to believe in him.
But let's just say sometimes he has a way of gently persuading us even when we don't always want to be persuaded. Such as in the case of Jonah. He was swallowed by a whale.
Now he had a choice. He could stay in the whale's belly and rot or he could call upon the name of the Lord and be delivered. Now you may say well that's an awful unfair thing for God to do. How can a God of love do such a thing?
Why does he do that? Because God loves us so much that sometimes he even goes into our free will a little bit and doesn't violate it but he just lets us see the importance and the very reality of coming to know him in a personal way. I know many people who were really on the top and the Lord had to pull the rug out from under them so the only way they could look was up. Sometimes God will use a tragedy. Sometimes God will use a horrible incident. Sometimes it might mean the death of a loved one.
Sometimes it might be an accident. And people will turn to God in desperation because their money doesn't give them their answers then. Their fast cars don't give them their answers then. Their popularity don't give them their answers.
There's nothing to turn to. So often in desperation they turn to God and with loving hands he says I've been waiting for you a long time. Now that may seem cruel that God will allow something to happen like that to get our attention but when you stop and think about the importance of eternity and stop and think that there's nothing more important than your eternal destiny and each one of us think Lord I thank you that you got hold of me and some of us were in some pretty strange situations and the Lord did and if I had each one of you share your testimony I think some of you would blow your minds at some of the things some of these people would say. You may be sitting next to a former heroin addict. Some of you might be sitting next to people that even killed.
Some of you might be sitting next to people that did all sorts of weird things and if you knew what they used to be like you might not want to sit next to them. But the glorious thing is they've been so transformed by the Spirit of God you look at them and you can't even tell where they came from. It's amazing when you can look at somebody who was just totally wiped out and strung out in drugs and they talk to you and there's no possible way you could ever tell that because their lives have been so changed by the Lord.
Amen be in Christ. He is a new creation. Old things are passed away. All things are become new. He changes you.
A metamorphosis. Anyway, Nebuchadnezzar tells his dream to Daniel and so Daniel listens to the dream and he was troubled for about an hour and then finally he says, I don't think you're going to like this dream interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar said, why Daniel?
He says, because your enemies are going to be a little more excited about this than you are. And he went on to say, this is the interpretation, verse 24 of chapter 4, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my Lord the King. They shall drive thee from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, so you know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas thy commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots, thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after you shall have known that the heavens do rule.
Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee. Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, and it may be a lengthening of your tranquility. In other words, repent Nebuchadnezzar. There's still hope. If you show mercy to the poor and help out those who are in need, God will lift this judgment from you.
You won't have to become like an animal. God will lift it. But Nebuchadnezzar did not give heed unto the Lord. Often God will warn us.
Often He'll tell us over and over and give us chances to come to Him, and we shine Him on, and we turn Him down, and we turn Him down, and so the Lord will allow that one incident to get our attention because He loves us so much. And so He goes on and He says, And all this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. And at the end of twelve months he was walking in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. Again, Babylon was a powerful, beautiful kingdom.
It was something that any man would look at with great awe. And Nebuchadnezzar was the monarch king over this kingdom. He was the most powerful man in the world. So here walked the most powerful man in the world in his beautiful kingdom that he'd made for himself. And he said, Is not this the great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and the honor of my majesty? Having a bit of an ego problem here.
A little bit of eye trouble, you might even say. Me, myself, and I. And so now Nebuchadnezzar begins to exalt in his own self for the great kingdom that he'd procured and made for himself. And it says, While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken. The kingdom is departed from thee. The shall drive thee from men. Your dwelling shall be as the beast of the field, and they shall make you grass as oxen.
And seven times shall pass over thee until you know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will. The same hour was this thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from men. He did eat grass as oxen. His body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hairs were grown like eagle's feathers and his nails like birds' claws.
Now, that may sound a little bizarre to you, but I believe it. I think this really happened to Nebuchadnezzar. I think God actually allowed this physical thing to happen to him where he actually returned to an animal state. And at the end of the days, Nebuchadnezzar lifted up his eyes into heaven and says, My understanding returned.
After this heavy dealing from the Lord, Nebuchadnezzar came to a census and began to turn to the Lord. Now, this is something I don't normally do because I don't like to dig up the past, but sometimes I think it's good to do for the point of just sharing what Christ can do in a life. And I want to just take a few minutes to go a little bit into my life before I knew the Lord and share a bit of my own personal testimony and how I came to know Jesus Christ.
Right now I'm 24 years old, and I accepted the Lord when I was 17 years old. I was going to Harbor High School. I was born in Long Beach in 1952, and my mom was married and divorced seven times. And so I had a really lousy childhood. I never had a father that I could find security, and I never had the family image, you know, Ozzie and Harriet type of a thing. Milk and cookies after school.
I never had that. I was brought up in an environment where I very quickly, I believe, matured a little quicker than most children my age because when most kids were out playing baseball with their buddies and stuff, I was getting an insight into the very adult world that I was soon to join. And a lot of times they didn't have younger friends. I was around adults more than young kids, and I watched them swap wives and drink their way around and try to have fun and wake up the next morning, and I just looked at their lives and saw the emptiness in it really quickly.
And I knew that I wanted something more, but I didn't know what I really wanted. So as a young boy and I got into school, I went into military school because my mom didn't have time to watch me. She had to work, and believe it or not, I was a straight A student on the honor roll. Good kid. Private Laurie, you know. And as I was in military school, it got to a point where I was going to get out, and so I transferred out into a public school, and I was so used to the discipline, and back in military school you say, Yes, sir, to your teachers, and the teachers wear uniforms, and you wear uniforms, and it's just like the army except you're a bunch of little kids.
It's really kind of a strange place. And so I got out of military school into a public school, and there was absolutely no discipline any longer. I could do whatever I want, so I totally reverted into my other nature, what I really wanted to be, and just basically was a rotten kid. In the sixth grade, I caused a lot of trouble. I caused so much trouble and made so many enemies, and I would write things on the blackboard when the teacher was gone and yell things at him in the middle of class and make up jokes and draw weird pictures of the teacher in various environments doing strange things. And so they would call me into the office and tell me they were going to expel me. My mom called them and said she would sue the school system if they expelled me, so they decided to leave me in school. And my teacher hated me so much that once when I was outside and the rest of the class was there, she said, you know what I'd like to do to Greg Laurie?
I would like to bury him up to his neck in the sand and let red ants eat his head. I really, the teachers hated me. But I loved it, you know, because to have teachers down on you is just like kind of an ego thing. One day my teacher really got me, though. I was in the sixth grade.
I won't tell you what I used to call him, but I called him what I usually called him. And he picked me up by the seat of the pants and spanked me. And it hurt. And everyone saw me get spanked. Oh, it was horrible.
I couldn't believe it. And so I was really mad after that, and I really set out to cause trouble. In the seventh and the eighth grade, I went to Harborview Elementary School. Then I transferred to Lincoln Junior High School.
That's local around here. And I got in there and, you know, and I was starting to grow and that and all and noticing girls more. And of course I noticed girls before that by beginning to aggressively go out and date and, you know, the Sadie Hawkins dance and all that kind of stuff. But I always had a problem with girls.
I was scared of them. I would get these big infatuations. I'd see a girl and fall in love with her, you know. I was always into meeting the perfect girl, but I'd get around it and I would freeze up. I didn't know what to say. I could talk to anybody, you know, make them laugh, say lots of things, but I'd get around a girl I like.
My heart would start beating and I'd act like a total jerk, you know. So I got into high school, and at that point I was starting to think about what direction I wanted to take in my life. I was thinking, you know, what do I want to be, really? And I looked around at the different types of people, and we had every kind of guy in our high school. We had bikers, we had athletes, we had surfers, and we had the people who were into their study and all that.
And I started looking over at the athletes, and I don't know about your schools, but the school I went to, this was Corona Del Mar High School, CDMHS. We had different sections where the athletes would stand in one section and the surfers would stand in another. The athletes would stand in one section where their letterman jacket put one foot up on the planter and their cheerleaders would stand around and drool, you know.
And if a freshman went through senior square in my school, they'd can them head first in the trash can. And then they had the surfer section, and this was this long planter where all the surfers sat. You know, it's funny, to me, surfers all look the same. You know, they got the blonde hair cut in the hang-ton t-shirts and the sandals.
They all just sit there going, stoke a bokeh, man, you know. So all the surfers sat in one part, and then there were these weird people. They hung around the vending machines, you know. I don't know what they were. They'd say, hey, man, vending machines, you know.
Strange. And then there were those who liked to hang around in the library and study at lunchtime. I never could understand that at all. And so I decided I wanted to go out for sports. Now, as you can see, I never was a great physically built person, but I was always good at track and running and things like that. And so I went out for football for a split end, because I figured, you know, I don't have to sit around and get annihilated in the front line there. I can run out for passes and be a hero and all that. And so I went out for football, and I was doing pretty good.
And it was hard because, you know, you got to get out there and hit these bags. And our coach was really some sort of a nut or something. He wanted you to hit this thing, this big metal thing with these pads on it, and hit it until your ears started bleeding.
He goes, Blade! You know. So we did it, you know. It was that big macho image, be an athlete. And I worked and got the butch haircut, and went out and got all my football equipment. And I was called into the office about a week before season started, told I couldn't go out because my grades were too low.
That really bummed me out, because I'd worked for months, you know, in the training and after school and giving up my time. And I thought, oh, man, forget that. And so we'd go to dances at night and drink a six-pack of Colt.45 and that kind of thing. And then a friend of mine told me about smoking marijuana. Now, I'd seen the movies, you know, in school that they show you that were made in 1930, where the guy smokes it and turns into a raving maniac and runs out and murders puppies and things like that. So my friend told me, he said, man, smoking grass is really good.
You're really going to like it. And I said, no, it's bad, you know. And I had all these ideas in my mind, and he said, no, let's go ahead and do it. And so we sat down in this room, and it was really dark, and it was just like I thought it would be. And I was expecting, you know, the police to come bursting open with submachine guns, Elliot Ness, you know.
Nothing happened. We got loaded, and I kind of liked it. So I thought, that's kind of fun.
I think I'll get loaded and drink a little on the side. And again, it wasn't a big thing to me. It was still just a social thing. We were just running around at night and just doing what all good, wholesome, all-American high school kids do, you know.
And just going through the normal antics, and I could walk across the campus, and everyone would come up to me and go, hey, Greg, hi, Greg, how you doing? I knew everybody. I was popular. But I didn't have any friends, you know. I didn't have anybody that I really could sit down and open myself up to. I always joked a lot, and I'd make fun of people and walk up and put them down, and that was my big act in life.
But I was really, you know, empty inside, and I was trying to cover it over. So I started getting into smoking grass a little bit more, and this was in the 60s, and it was when the so-called hippie movement started gaining popularity, you know. Tune in, turn on, drop out Timothy Leary and all his garbage that he gave out and that kind of a thing. And I started seeing him on the news and hearing about these rock concerts and people coming into this hippie thing where, you know, you get natural with people, and you love your brother, and you love sisters and free love and loving at the park. And I thought, hey, man, that is where it's at.
They've got the answer. And so I was getting in trouble a lot at Coronado Bar High School. I was called into the office just about every other day for something or another. So I decided to transfer to Newport Harbor High School because I'd heard that over at Harbor High you could get loaded in the front lawn and no one would even hassle you. So I transferred over, and, you know, it was mostly true. I started hanging around with a bunch of friends that were really into getting loaded, and I started growing my hair long and doing the whole thing and really becoming a hippie, you know. I was so proud of myself.
And it's a funny thing because someone that takes drugs, they often think they're a little bit better than you, especially someone that does it more than just a social thing. And I walked around and thought, you know, as Jimi Hendrix would have put it, I was experienced, you know. I'd come into a new dimension. It was like everyone else was lame, but I was really into what was happening, and I was into a different realm of thinking and a different realm of awareness, and I really had an answer, and I was really proud of myself. And I started dropping LSD, taking acid. And I started doing it on a regular basis and really enjoying it and thought I was coming into a whole new awareness of thought.
And I have drawn cartoons my whole life, and I started doing my art and drawing these little cosmic creeps, you know, on paper. And we started growing marijuana in our backyard and really getting into it, and I just thought this was so far out. And I'd run into some of my old friends, my old athlete, you know, beer chugging buddies. They'd see me, and I knew what they were thinking.
They're thinking, oh, Greg has just become a pothead, but I knew that I was really turned on, and they were just lame, and they didn't know, you know, I had it together, I thought. And so one day we went down to Laguna Beach. We were going to buy a kilo of grass, and we went down and got it and put it in the trunk of our car, and we were driving back. It was a very rainy night, and driving near Laguna Beach along the cliffs, you know that if you go off a cliff, you're in trouble. And we were driving along, and it was raining, and suddenly our car started fishtailing. We started losing control, and we slid into the other lane, and we were going right, and they hit on traffic, and my friends were freaking out, and I was in the back seat. And I saw the headlines in the paper the next morning, drug freaks killed on the freeway.
And I could see the old lady going, it serves them right, you know. And I thought, I don't want to go this way. And I remember crying out, God, if you get me out of this one, I'll serve you, I'll obey you, I'll do this and do that. And we're spinning out, and all of a sudden our car, we got back in the lane.
I went, thanks a lot, God, you know. God had got me out of another fix, but I wasn't going to serve him. It reminds me of the story of the guy that was slipping down a house. He was losing control, and he couldn't get hold of himself, and he was going, God, help me, God, help, help, help. And he hit the edge of the roof, and all of a sudden this belt loop got caught in a nail. He said, it's okay, God, I got caught in a nail. That's where I was at, whenever God would get me out of a jam, I would say, you know, oh, it's all right, God, it worked out. Not realizing that he was the one that worked it out.
And so it got to a point where I started to get loaded with my friends four, five, six times a day. I had about a D-F average. I didn't care, though, you know. People would say, your grades are low.
I'd say, who cares? What good is an education? What good is this life?
I look at these people that tell me about an education, and I saw that they had so little, and they were so empty inside, and I thought I was really getting a real education. You know, I was learning about life the right way, I thought. And so, you know, just getting into that and taking acid on the weekends, and that was my whole life. You know, I walked in front of Chuck Smith's house probably about five or six hundred times before I was a Christian, and it's funny because they told me this later. They used to look out the window and pray for us because we on the corner, we used to deal drugs out of this guy's house and have big parties and get loaded and sit out in the front, you know, hey, well, for a space out, nothing. And they used to drive by and look at us and pray for us all the time. And little did I know that, you know, later on that those people were going to be a real major part of my life, walked right back and forth in front of their house. Never knew, but they prayed for us. You know, praise the Lord, it worked, sort of.
God's still changing me. And so things just began to progress, and one time we were walking across a parking lot and we were holding a lot of drugs on us, and I saw a cop parked over in the shadows, and I knew he was going to bust us any minute, and I looked in and I saw his face, and he was reputed around the Newport Beach area. We called him baby face. It's because he had a face like a seventeen-year-old, but he was about thirty or so, and he hated hippies.
He hated them, and he would harass you to no end. And so we were walking along and we started dropping the drugs through our pants, legs, and everything, trying to get rid of them. All of a sudden he got scratched.
You know, the siren and the whole thing. He's only about twenty feet away. Pulls around, takes us out of the car. All right, you hippie freaks. Goes down, starts frisking us.
He didn't find anything. And I remember saying, oh God, if you get me out of this one, Lord, you know. Well, he got me out of it, and I was happy, and shined it on again.
And so we went over and we would get loaded with our friends and just kept doing it and doing it. And then one day, I think the thing that probably every person that takes drugs, maybe fears, happened to me. I took acid one night, and I had a bad trip.
It hit me wrong. It went into my bloodstream. I started to panic and made it rush, and I just started going wacko right there in the room.
The room started spinning. I started seeing all these strange faces, and I kept hearing this voice yell out to me, you're going to die. You're going to hell.
You're going to hell. And I just freaked out, man. I started screaming. My friend said to physically hold me in the room because I had just totally gone overboard. I just thought, for sure, I was dying. And then one of my friends came in, and I remember crying out, oh, God help me.
God help me. And it just got worse and worse, and everything just got more wiped out and more. I couldn't see anything, and everything was, oh, it was just a horrible experience, just so much of Satan. You know, that's why so many people who are into drugs often go off into mystical-type things because there's no doubt about it, it opens you up. I did not believe in the spiritual realm, but as I took drugs, and I'm not attributing it to drugs, I'm just saying it opened me up, and I got more into Satan himself and saw that there really was an evil force.
But fortunately, by God's grace, He was able to get hold of me before I went too far. And so I came down that day off it, and I said, I'm never taking LSD again in my life. That's it. That scared me, man. I'll just smoke weed and forget the acid. You know, so I would take mescaline and cannabenol and reds and whites.
But then my friends kept taking it, and I really wanted to get turned on again to acid. So we had an English class, and we were supposed to go watch West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet for our class. And I loved Romeo and Juliet. That was one of my favorite movies Again, I always had the thing, meeting the perfect girl and falling in love. So I loved that movie, and I went, and my friend said, hey, let's take LSD.
Oh, hey, that'll really be good. So we took acid and sat in the movie. I was sitting there watching the movie, or I could have been watching the wall for that fact. And this girl was sitting in front of us, and she turned around for a minute and turned back, and I just looked at the girl. Here I was, stoned, watching Romeo and Juliet, and I see this girl, and I start going, there she is. I've met her finally, you know.
And I knew that this was the one. And I looked at her, and she looked at me again, and I went, oh, wow, oh, I got to meet her. And so it was weird, because the next day, a friend of mine, I went over to his house, and he had the latest Beatles album, and the Beatles had just broken up. And it was funny, because I followed the career of the Beatles maybe a little more aggressively than most people. The Beatles really had an impact on my life.
They helped me get into drugs, and I followed their careers. And when I watched them break up, it had a strange impact on me, because I was just coming off a psychedelic trip, and I sat there and thought, wow, the Beatles broke up, man. You know, and I thought, something's happening, and I knew in my life, a change was coming soon. And so I really wanted to meet this girl. So the next day, Monday at school, I was walking across the campus, and I saw her, and I went, all right. She was talking to a friend of mine.
I'll just walk right up there and get in the conversation. Well, as usual, I got up, and I started getting all flippy, because I'd get around a girl I liked, and I couldn't maintain myself. So I walked up, and my friend was talking to her, and I was going, oh, good, there she is. And I looked down, and she had a black book with gold edges on it.
And I went, oh, no. She's a Jesus freak. Now, if you want to be popular in school, you don't become a Jesus freak, because I looked at her and thought, what a waste, man. Because I used to avoid Christians. I didn't like to talk to them.
We'd be out on the beach, and we'd see Christians coming, and we'd literally go out and hide in the water to get away from them, because Christians never went in the water because they didn't want to get their Bibles wet. So here is this beautiful young girl, and at that time, I was very disappointed because she had wasted her life on Jesus. So I just looked at her, and, you know, wow, what a bummer. And so I started watching her, and I'd watch her go across the campus, and I didn't like the Christians, because the Christians would walk across the campus Monday morning at 8 o'clock, first period, and sing. Not Friday, fifth period.
Monday, first period. And anyone that could be happy at that time was a little wacko, as far as I was concerned. And they would be singing about Jesus and carrying their Bibles, and I just couldn't identify with that. And so I saw this girl, and one day I was sitting out on the front lawn, and a friend said, hey, there's a guy on campus, man. He's selling orange sunshine. That's LSD. And he says, why don't you go get some?
I said, all right, you know, for the weekend. And so I went walking across the campus looking for this guy, and I started hearing this, you know, Jesus and here and here and here and here. And I looked over, and here's about 50 of these Christians sitting, love, love, love. That's the way Christians dance, you know. Then they all point up to this guy.
What are they pointing at? So I just looked at him, and I saw that girl. Her name was Chris. And I saw her there, and I went, there she is, man. And then I saw this guy talking. He was sitting down, and he had long hair and a beard, and I said, wow, he kind of looks like sort of a turned down guy.
Maybe he has some good things to say. Maybe I'll listen to this guy. So I sat down close enough to hear what they were saying, but not too close so people would think I'd become one, you know, because I don't want to do that. And I sat down and listened, and I kept looking at Chris, you know, going, oh, man, I'd sure like to get to know her. And I started listening to this guy, and he said something that just shook me up. I'd been witness to before. I had drawers full of Christian literature, little red Bibles, the Chick tracts.
You know, remember the one that says somebody goofed, where in the end the guy pulls his mask off, and it's the devil? I read that while I was stoned and laughed, just laughed. I thought it was hilarious. I didn't have any impact on me. And so here I was listening to this guy talk, and for some reason what he was saying was having an impact on me.
It never affected me before. I laughed at Christians. And he's talking, and he said, Jesus said, you're either for me or against me.
I thought, what? He said, Jesus said, you're either walking with me or you're scattering against me in opposition to me. And I stopped and thought, does that mean that if I'm not like one of these Christians that I'm against God? And I thought, I'm not against God, man. God's got me out of a lot of jams. I believe in God. You know, I've called upon Him, and He's helped me out.
But yet I'm not like one of these people. And I began to realize that either I was for Christ or against Him. Now I was always considered to be neutral to myself, you know, in between.
But I realized that to be undecided at that point was to be decided. It really touched my heart. But of course, he and I wasn't going to become a Christian. It just touched my heart.
It was interesting. I mean, there's just no way I would become a Christian. And so the guy said, now there's some of you that want to give your lives to Christ today. I want you to stand up right now, right in the front of a high school. I mean, there's hundreds of kids sitting around eating sandwiches and, you know, to stand up there and go, Jesus.
I mean, that just is crazy. And people got up and started going up there, and I looked out the ground, and I started feeling this funny sensation inside, something I'd never known before, and it was a very alien sensation. And it was something just drawing me and calling me. Now I know it was the Holy Spirit.
And I looked out the ground. I said, I'd like to do it. I really would, man. I'd like to see if it's real. I've tried everything else. Why couldn't I try that?
But I just can't do it. And then about a moment later, I was up there. I don't know what happened, but I got up there, and the people put their arms around me, which worried me a little bit. And they prayed a prayer. I don't even remember what I prayed. I don't even remember what happened. But I'll remember it was after we were done praying, that girl came running up to me and said, Praise the Lord, brother!
That girl, Chris, I like, and threw her arms around me and hugged me, and I went, Oh, hoo hoo! And I thought, Hey, maybe this Christian stuff isn't too bad of an idea. Again, my motivation for going and hearing the meeting that time was totally wrong. I wanted to meet a girl, but the Holy Spirit had different plans for me. You know, there may be a lot of reasons why you're even here tonight. I've heard people say, Let's go to Calvary, man.
The music's really fine, or this or that, and all sorts of weird reasons, but, you know, whatever gets you here, once you hear, you begin to hear the Word and praise the Lord because you may have one idea, but God has another. Anyway, so I prayed, and I said, Far out, I'm just going to, you know, be a loaded Christian now. Smoke grass, take acid, read the Bible.
Sounds good. I was all set. So I went off, and that weekend, we went off into the mountains, and a friend of mine said, Hey, Greg, you want to drop acid? And I always took it. Whenever drugs were offered, I'd eat them, you know, right there in the spot. And I said, No, man, I don't want it.
I don't know why, I just don't. I just feel like getting loaded on grass, and so I want to go off by myself. I'll see you guys later. And I walked off, and I took out my pipe and started to fill it with some grass, and I was going to smoke it, and that feeling came to me again, the one I got the day before. And the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said, You don't need that anymore. And I went, What?
You don't need that anymore? And he spoke to me again. It wasn't like a preacher jumped out of the bushes with a black Bible. What sayeth the Lord God? I wouldn't have listened to him. But God spoke to me. The beautiful thing is God comes to each one of us on our own level. You know, you may listen to what I'm saying. You go, Well, he was a mixed-up kid that was taking drugs.
He needed religion. But I'm different. You're not different. You have an emptiness inside of you too.
The only difference is I tried to fill mine maybe a little differently than you try to fill yours. But, you know, the far-out thing about the Lord, no matter what our age is, how old we are, how young we are, everything from an eight-year-old child to a 65-year-old successful businessman to a person that used to be a Mr. Universe to a rock musician to a normal Joe Schmoe guy. He comes to each one of us and says, Hey, I love you in their own way and comes on our own level. Anyway, he started to speak to me and I realized that was God speaking once again.
I said, All right, God, I'm going to give you a chance. Now, you got to remember, to me, smoking grass was not just a pastime. It was my life. I had actually formed my life around it. It was everything to me. There was nothing more important to me than my drugs. I loved them.
They were like the rich man had his money. I had my drugs and that was my thing. And for me to give up drugs was a pretty big deal. And I said, All right, God, if you're real, if you really exist, and I've seen all these Christians with their happy faces, if you're real, change my life. I'm going to give you a chance. And I took it, ripped it up, threw it down and said, All right.
So I went back to school. The Christians came up to me and just welcomed me into fellowship. And, Oh, God bless your brother, Greg.
You know, I didn't like him called brother Greg, but I put up with it. Praise the Lord. You know, all those words.
I had a hard time. Praise the Lord, you know. And so they said, Hey, man, you know, you've got to really watch out. You're going to get tempted by the devil. Tempted by the devil? You believe in a devil?
Oh, yeah, man. Satan's real. You got to watch out for him. He's really subtle.
He's going to come to you and give you all the things that you want. Just resist it. And I thought, Oh, come on, you know. And I went to my next class and this girl that was in the class, a really attractive girl who I had been wanting to meet for a year, but I was just totally afraid to talk to her. Really good looking girl, non-Christian girl came up to me and said, Hey, what's your name? I said, Greg. She goes, Hey, I've never met you before. You know, I kind of like you. Oh, wow.
She goes, Why don't you come up to the mountains with me for the weekend? And I went, It's it. It's the devil. And it was.
It was. And I realized Satan was tempting me and I said, No. And I was saying to myself, What are you doing? You know, I said, No, no. I believe in God now. And then she just, Oh, wow.
You know, and got away from me the same way I reacted to Christians a few days before. And so after class is over, I was thinking that over and I walked up, my old buddy came up and said, Greg, you want to smoke a lid of Acapulco gold right now? And I went, I'm getting tempted again. And that was really a temptation for me because I really wanted to do it. And I started to realize this whole thing and it was starting to make sense and I was seeing the whole spiritual realm.
That's when I started to enjoy resisting temptation. I said, No, I don't want it. You know, all right. I figured something's going on, man. You know, someone's trying to rip me off.
There must be something to this. So I was starting to like it because things were happening. It wasn't something I had to make up.
It was really existing. So I started reading the Bible and feeling I don't like to compare God to drugs. And I don't like when people say Jesus is better than getting loaded because I don't think you can compare the Creator of the universe to some stupid drug. But when I would read His word and pray, I had such a presence of peace. I'd never known before that.
I never got from anything. And I just said, Wow, this is great. What a deal, you know. And I became very excited about it. Well, I got back to school and I had a hard time relating to the Christians because they were, the Christians on this campus especially, they loved the Lord and they didn't care if anyone knew it. And they would walk down the middle of the campus, like I said, singing out loud at the top of their vocal chords, Praise the Lord, you know. And I couldn't relate to that. And I said, Well, I'm going to kind of be a loner Christian, you know.
I'll believe in God, but I won't hang out with them. But then one day one of them said, Come on, do a Christian meeting. And I said, All right. So they were at lunchtime. We went into a room. I sat down.
Everyone was looking at me. Hey, isn't that guy used to get loaded? He's a Christian now?
Wow, you know. I was just sitting there. And this guy came to preach. And now he was kind of a strange brother.
He was very fervent and he preached like an old fashioned preacher. And Jesus said, you know, he's storming around the room and I'd never seen anybody talk like this before, you know, throwing their arms around and and God, you know, the fluctuations. And I didn't know why a person would want to speak so weird.
You know, I still really don't know why people talk like that. And so I got out of the class and this guy comes up and he goes, Brother Greg, I want to give you a Bible. And he gave me this suede Bible with popsicle sticks glued together to make a cross on it, you know. And I thought that was kind of neat.
Wow, thanks a lot. You know, can I pay you for it? No, no. You just take this and read it, man. It's God's word.
I said, Thank you. And got out of the room and thought, Oh, man, I can't carry a Bible around. Don't they make little ones you can hide in your pockets or something? And so I had this jacket with big pockets on it and I said, Well, I'll just stuff the Bible down in the pocket, pull the flap over and no one will know. So I stuck it down in there and I walked along and I hadn't seen my friends for like a week.
My old loady buddies, you know. So I said, Hey, I'll go over and visit them. And so I walked over and looked around and opened the bushes up and stuffed that Bible and hid it in the bushes. Walked in.
Hey, man, how you guys doing? I said, Hey, Greg, where you been, man? Oh, nowhere. And the Lord, you know, that feeling came back and I started feeling what was conviction to witness. Oh, I wasn't going to witness.
Didn't want to do that. So I sat down. Greg, we haven't seen you for a week. Where have you been? Oh, I haven't been anywhere. And I just kept evading the subject.
They kept cross examining me. Hey, you want to go smoke a joint? No, no, I don't want to do that. Where have you been, man? What's happening? You're different.
Oh, nothing. And no way was I going to witness. Suddenly the front door comes bursting open and it was my friend's mother. And I don't know how she did it. She found my Bible in the bushes. And she says, Who does this belong to? I said, That's mine.
I took it. And every eye in the room went to the book with the black cover and the gold edges and the ribbons, you know. Not many books have ribbons in them and gold edges.
You must remember. And I said, Greg, what is that? It's a Bible. It's a what, Greg?
A Bible. And then this one guy goes, Oh, Greg, are you going to be a good Christian boy now? Praise the Lord.
Thank you, Jesus. And I said, You know what? I'm going to slug you right in the mouth. I didn't know what it meant to be persecuted and to endure it for the Lord. I just wanted to hit that guy, you know.
I didn't like it. Because here, these are the guys that told me no matter whatever happened to each one of us, we'd stick together. We're your friends. And I had said I believed in God and they were really giving me a hassle over it. And my friend, my best friend who I'd grown up with said, I said, Hey, man, are you going to shine me on too?
And he goes, No, I'll still be your friend. I said, That's neat. I go, Listen, don't worry. I'm not going to get into it.
Same. Praise the Lord and carry in the Bible. I'm still going to be like everyone else. I'm just going to believe in God.
Well, you know what happens. The Lord began to work in my life and pretty soon I started saying, Praise the Lord. I remember the first time I said it. It was hard getting those words out. Praise the Lord.
What an alien set of words to say when you've never known them. And suddenly to start saying, Praise God and thank you, Jesus and Hallelujah and things like that. And I started saying it and my life started changing. And again, I started really identifying with the Christians and I started realizing they really were my brothers and sisters. Now, see, back in the old drug culture, people called each other brother. Hey, brother.
But they'd rip you off. A guy would look at a girl and go, Hey, sister. And what he really wants is I want to go to bed with you. And that was the only reason. And it was just a big facade.
So I was really paranoid about calling people brother and love because everything the hippie movement offered it didn't have and everything the hippie movement offered Christians had. They had love. They had peace. They had brotherhood. They really loved each other. They really put down the walls that they had. Now, you know, Odin, the guy in mustard seed faith, he tells me he's a completed hippie now, you know, because everything the hippie movement offered, Jesus Christ gave.
All the facade and imitations that Satan put in it is fulfilled in him and much more besides that. And so I started getting into it. And we had a little Bible shop down in Newport Beach and I'd go down there and hang out there after school. And one day I saw my old buddy, who I told you a little bit earlier. I told him I'd never become like the rest of him. Here I had a cross around my neck, a Bible under my arm, and I started witnessing to him. And I was so excited. I'd been a Christian for like two weeks now. And I was telling him everything I knew.
Oh, yeah, I'm the Lord this and the Lord that. And I was telling him and all of a sudden there was this guy in a head shop that was right next to our Bible shop, you know, drug paraphernalia shop. The guy comes walking out and he'd been listening. He goes, hey, man, are you a Christian?
I said, yeah, I am. He goes, well, let me tell you something about your God. And apparently he'd studied the Bible a little bit and knew how to make contradictions that didn't really exist, but I didn't know better. And he just totally put me down, totally put down my faith, totally put down everything I believed in right in front of my friend that I was talking to. And I went back in that Bible store and I was mad and I started to cry. I said, you know, I just tried to share Jesus with somebody and this guy came out and just totally ruined it. And they began to share with me about being a Christian and the kind of attitudes that people have towards you. And I thought, well, why are people so hostile?
Why, you know, what is their trip? They go, man, don't you remember what you used to feel before you were a Christian? I go, yeah, I used to feel the same way and now I am one. And I'm going back to people just like I used to be and I'm trying to tell them and they're doing the same thing I used to do. And you say to them, I used to think that way. They go, oh, no, you didn't.
You were never like me, but you were just like them. You know, people think Christians are odd specimens, that we were all brought up in religious homes. How many of you were involved in drugs before you were Christians? Raise up your hand.
Look at that. God's changed your life. And so many of you, you know, you look at you and you'd never know it.
People think that we were all brought up in Christian homes and taught the Bible since we were little kids and so many of us just had wretched lives, man, out there in the world. Anyway, I began to change and my life began to change before my very eyes and the Lord began to make himself real to me. And later, someone told me about this place called Calvary Chapel. Now, I thought there were only about 100 Christians in all California. And when they took me to Calvary Chapel and I saw 2,000 people crammed into a building, I freaked out. I couldn't believe it. And I was a little afraid because that's a lot of Christians in one place, you know, and I was still adjusting to this whole thing. And I was kind of glad we got there late because there were no seats available, but suddenly someone left out of the second row and there was a seat left. There's a seat over here, Brother Greg. And I went walking in and sitting down and I was sitting there surrounded.
Happy, happy, happy. And I was just going, oh, man, you know. And suddenly this man comes out with a bald head.
And he starts talking about the Lord. You know, and I really had a hard time with adults because up to that point I was a real rebel with the adult world. I'd been through so many things, I just felt like I didn't want to even get involved with them. And here this guy was, an adult, sharing the things of God, and I just liked him. I liked him right off the bat. I said, God, I really dig this guy, you know. And it wasn't things he said and he didn't relate to me, like talk in heavy terms or dress like a young kid and try to be youthful. He just was himself.
But of course we know why he has that attraction or why anybody does. It's the Holy Spirit. And I thought, you know, why did he get his head to shine so much? The Lord had gifted him. And so that night I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. And so the changes that happened to all people that give their lives to Christ began to happen to me.
And I became a new person in Jesus Christ and my life began to change. And so throughout the remainder of my high school year I began to serve the Lord. And, you know, I think of a person can maintain a Christian witness in high school.
Getting out is going to be easy. I think high school is one of the hardest places to be a Christian because you're under constant pressure from peer groups. There's a lot more of a social thing going on in high school than when you get out and you're a lot more concerned about what people think about you. And if you can maintain your witness in high school, man, getting out is going to be like a vacation. And I went through and by the grace of God I was able to maintain my relationship with the Lord through school and then graduated and then gradually step by step the Lord began to lead me into a ministry later on. But, you know, getting back now to Nebuchadnezzar, I'd just like to kind of close up and see what happened to him. Last time we saw Nebuchadnezzar he was out in the field with eagle feathers eating grass. I think he sure was getting humbled by the Lord. And so after all this it says his understanding returned, verse 34. And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes into Kevin and my understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that lives forever and ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation, and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing. And he doeth according to his will in the army of Kevin and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stop his hand or say to him, Why do you do this? At the same time my reason returned unto me, and the glory of my kingdom, my honor and brightness returned, my counselors and my Lord sought unto me, and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added.
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the kingdom heaven, all whose works are truth and his ways are judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to humble. Now take it from what God says, Believe the word of the most powerful man that ever lived on the face of the earth, Nebuchadnezzar, who came to his greatest heights and his lowest depths, and said that he found that relationship with God meaningful. Take it from Solomon, probably the richest man that ever lived, who had all the women a man could want, that had all the money a man could want, all the possessions, and he said all was emptiness. Take it from Howard Hughes, one of the richest men that ever lived on the face of the earth, and said that money never gave him happiness.
Take it from Freddie Prinze, a young man who was a success in this world's standards, and shot himself and took his own life. Take it from the thousands and thousands of people who turned to drug abuse and alcoholism, and all sorts of other things, psychiatric things, whatever, to fill that emptiness inside and realize that what God's word has said. Take it from me, just another person who's been changed by the Lord. Take it from all the people sitting around you and believe either God is true or God is a liar. Either everything we say is true, either Jesus is true, either he really is the life, or it's all a lie, we're all living a façade, our lives haven't been changed, but that just isn't possible. People come and tell me, they go, well, you psyched yourself into that.
I go, just cut that jive right now. I tried to psych myself into a lot of things. I tried to psych myself out of a lot of things, but the thing, when I came to Jesus Christ, I had wasted myself so bad, all I did was just throw myself down and say, okay, God, start working. I didn't even have the ability to psych myself anymore, and I know it's the same with many of you.
We haven't psyched ourselves into this. We haven't thought ourselves into an emotional high because Christianity isn't an emotional high. There are times where emotionally I feel absolutely nothing is a Christian, but that's not what Christianity is about.
It's about reality. People accuse us of escaping from reality when in essence we found reality because we've come to grips with eternity, we've come to grips with life and quit playing little games like little children trying to cover it over and pretend that emptiness isn't there, and we've approached it and embraced it and found the one that said, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me. As the words that I heard that one day changed my life, maybe they'll change yours tonight, the words in which Jesus said either you're for me or against me. Are you for Christ tonight? I don't mean do you just believe He exists and say your prayers once in a while. Are you born again? Is your name written in the book of life?
Are you going to heaven? If your answer to those questions, to any of them, has been no, I doubt if you know Him. Or are you against Him? Are you violently opposed to Him? Do you want to reject Him? Do you want to turn your back on Him?
Do you want to be for Him? Well, I want to be neutral. I don't want to be for Him, but I don't want to be against Him. Well, you're either one or the other. And if you walk out of here tonight not for Jesus Christ, you are just as much in opposition to Him as the atheist marching up down the street corner with God is dead on his side. Oh, no, I'm not like that.
Yes, you are. Because either you're for Him or against Him. Either you're walking with the Lord or you're actually working in opposition against Him tonight. That's the words of Him, not the words of Greg Laurie, not the words of Calvary Chapel, the words of Jesus.
And that's what He said. That same Jesus that has changed our lives is knocking on the door of your heart. You don't have to wait years and years to see this. He says, Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If any man will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in. Well, I'm too old to accept Christ. No, you aren't. I'm too young to accept Christ. No, you aren't. You're not too old.
You're not too young. You're ready if you want to open your heart and say, Yes, Jesus, I see my need for you. I see that emptiness that I need filled. I want to know that there's eternal life. Come into my life and change me.
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