Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie invites former baseball great Daryl Strawberry to speak about his faith. Salvation is everything, everything I've always wanted, not baseball, not home runs, not millions of dollars. I wanted a relationship with Jesus Christ. And that's what we all should want is a relationship, a personal relationship with Jesus. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He's so good. And when you make that commitment to Him, you will not want anything else. Wow. If happiness and fulfillment were found in money and fame and accomplishment, then celebrities would be the happiest people on the face of the earth. They often have it all. But too many of them end it all when they discover that that's not what life is really all about.
So then what? Where can we find life that's worth living? Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie speaks with a celebrity who found out where the answer wasn't. And now he's found where the answer is. We have a very special guest here today. And I bet you know what his name is. Mr. Daryl Strawberry is here. Now if you're a sports fan, you know who he is.
But I think many people know about Daryl Strawberry. He's one of the most electrifying baseball players in baseball history. Throughout his 17-year career, he made eight consecutive All-Star appearances and captured four World Series championships.
I mean that's amazing. Four World Series. He's played with the Yankees, with the Mets, with the Giants, and with the Dodgers. But despite that amazing success, you know, Daryl's life spun out of control. He made some bad choices. And despite the mess he got himself into, the Lord reached out and got hold of him. And Daryl has an amazing story that you're going to hear today. Let's welcome Daryl Strawberry.
Thank you, Pastor Greg. You know, Daryl, you've lived the American dream. I mean, many young men would just love to do what you've been able to do.
Play with all these teams like the Giants, the Mets, the Dodgers, the Yankees. And they think maybe you lived like this storybook life. But it wasn't a storybook life. Your father was an abusive man. In fact, there was a moment in your life when it could have turned out horribly.
Tell us about that time. Yeah, I mean everybody's really got a chance to see me live a very successful life because I played Major League Baseball and put a uniform on. They thought, well, you make a lot of money. You should be happy. Money don't make you happy. If you're broken on the inside, broken is real. It doesn't matter how much money you make, how much fame you have, if you're broken on the inside. And I was broken before I ever put the uniform on. See, my pain led me to my greatness, but my greatness would eventually lead me to my destructive behavior because if you're never well on the inside, it's going to lead you to all those habits.
Can I just stop you there? That's such a great statement. Say that statement again. My pain led me to my greatness, but my greatness led me to my destructive behavior.
Right. My father was an alcoholic and he just beat me and laid me across the bed, made me take off my shirt and beat me with an extension cord. Pulled out a shotgun when I was 14 years old and my brothers and we went into action. We came this close to killing my father. Were you 6'5 then? I was.
I was 6'5. We were about to do some damage to me and my brother and he pulled out a shotgun and said he was going to kill us all. So most people never knew that I was already broken before I put a uniform on.
Yeah. And brokenness is real and we live in a society today. Brokenness and lawlessness brings about brokenness. Loose living, alcohol parents, rejection, all this stuff brings about a broken generation.
And that's what it was for me and that's what it still is today. Why kids are broken because of what they go through and never allow themselves. We don't allow them to get well on the inside.
We want to look at people from the outside. Yeah, I've been privileged my whole life. I live behind community gates. I had millions of dollars. I had homes, cars, but I had nothing.
I was just a baseball player when I put that uniform on hitting home runs because I was in pain. I didn't become a man until I met Jesus. When I met Jesus, I became a man.
So here you had this incredible success as you've already said. But then your life began to spiral out of control. You got into drinking. You got into drugs and all kinds of crazy stuff.
And then there was a big moment in your life where you found out you had colon cancer. So where were you at spiritually when you got that news? Well, I was never anywhere spiritually because I got saved in 91, but I didn't get discipled. And discipleship is so important. I think so many Christians miss out on discipleship. And discipleship is reading the Bible and understanding God's word and God's commandments and his will.
And if you don't do that, you're going to be the same person. That's why the Bible talks about my people perish because of lack of knowledge. I was perishing because of lack of knowledge and no understanding. I had earthly knowledge, but I didn't have kingdom knowledge.
You don't really get kingdom knowledge till you pick up the word because the word empowers you and it teaches you how to live and it teaches you who you are. And so I was struggling with all that. I was struggling with the success. I was struggling with the sickness. I was a complete lost person completely. I was a heathen. I was a liar. I was a womanizer. I was a cheater.
I was an alcoholic. I was a drug addict, but I was a sinner saved by grace. God's grace is sufficient. No matter who you are, he still has grace for you. No matter how far you go down, he still has grace for you and he still has a perfect plan for you. And so many of us find ourselves with so many struggles like I did and they ultimately give up. And one thing I just want to encourage the church and people are here today is don't quit.
Don't give up. God is not finished. Everybody else may be finished with you, but God has never, ever finished with you. I'm a prime example that God has never finished with you. He meets you right where you're at and he has the perfect plan for your life if we don't quit.
I mean, so many of us quit and so many of us deny Jesus. We just think he's Jesus as a power. Jesus is a holy man. He's a righteous man with no sin. So he comes into your life and when he comes into your life for real, when you commit to him for real, he empowers you. He brings you to a wholeness and righteousness. He liberates you. He redeems you because he's been resurrected. He is the redeemer.
I'm not an overcomer because of me. I'm overcomer because of the blood of the lamb. When we understand that blood from the cross, that blood Jesus had on that cross for you and for me, that blood is clean.
So you need to know that. See, I always tell people, what is Jesus here for? Jesus is here to rescue you from your sinful ways. He's here to redeem you with his blood and he's here to restore you with his grace.
See, when you understand that, then you understand who you are. I think a lot of times, a lot of times, a lot of us never give ourself a chance, pastor, to enter into a real relationship with Christ and we just think, oh, it's just Jesus that they talk about it in the book, you know, but he's the king of kings. He's the Lord of Lord. You know, he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our negativity. By his stripes, we get to be healed.
You get to live a abundant life, a life that you don't even know about because of the grace that he gives to you every day. That's right. There might be somebody listening right now who's struggling with drugs or struggling with alcohol and they've tried to break free from it and they've fallen back. You have those same struggles like you said a few moments ago for 15 years. So, what word of encouragement would you give to a person struggling with whatever addiction it is in their life? Whatever you're struggling with, just allow other people to help you. Yeah. That's the most important thing.
First, don't try to do it yourself. You know, God used my wife a little bit over 16 years ago, you know, pulling me out of dope houses, you know, and I was shooting dope smoking crack and she had one year recovery and I was lost and I told her, why don't you just leave me here, you and God, let me die and she was like, you're just not that lucky. So, God is going to always do what he's always done. God is always going to use people to help people and when we can understand that and we can humble ourselves, especially those that are struggling and those that have hangups and habits of hurt, if we can humble ourselves and we can get rid of our ego, a three-letter word, easing God out.
If we can get rid of our ego, then we're able to get the help that we need because that's what he's going to always do, you know. He's not asking you to be perfect. Stop trying to be perfect. You're not perfect. Jesus is the only perfect one, you know. He's asking you just to obey the commandments, follow me and trust and trust the process and some of us got to be in that place where we have to learn to trust God, you know, we don't trust God enough and we'll trust what the television is saying, we'll trust this, we'll trust everything else, you know, and Proverbs 3 5 and 6 come to my mind, you know, it talks about it, trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding and all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your past.
He will direct the past if you trust and believe in him, if you believe what the word says and allow people to help you. We got to get away from stop pushing people away and we got to learn how to love people. The most important gift that I've learned through this whole process with God is God loved me in my brokenness and that's what we need to do. We need to learn to love people right in their brokenness.
Don't mean you have to tolerate. Tracy didn't tolerate me but she loved me in the midst of my mess and she loved me back to life. God used her to lead me back to the cross, coming to the altar and repenting to God and asking God to forgive me and then he restored my life. Pastor Greg Laurie will continue his discussion with Darrell Strawberry in just a moment. We're hearing from so many people who have been impacted by Pastor Greg's film, Jesus Revolution, like this listener.
Pastor Greg, I just watched Jesus Revolution for the third time. This time it was with my 18-year-old granddaughter. She loved it. I had a great conversation with her about God on the way home. While talking with her, I found out that your story, Greg, deeply touched her and she felt a shift in her anger over the death of her mom, my daughter.
God is healing her heart and her spirit. Thank you, Greg. Do you have a story to tell?
If so, would you consider letting us know? Contact Pastor Greg by emailing him, greg at harvest dot org. That's greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well, Pastor Greg is speaking with baseball great Darrell Strawberry today about his journey of faith.
Let's continue. So, Darrell, your father mistreated you so horribly and one would understand if you were to say, I don't want to ever talk to that man again. But after your baseball career had concluded and you were out now serving the Lord and speaking, your father ended up in the hospital and the Lord directed you to go see him.
Tell us about what happened. Yeah, that's good, Pastor, because it's very powerful to understand that, you know, about forgiveness. I think so many of us, we hold everybody hostage about what has happened to us and I did that for so many years with my father. You know, I kept him out of my life, my career and I hated him. I didn't want him to be a part of nothing that I was achieving and the Lord saved me and then, you know, six years later, somewhere down the line, I'm going to do a man's conference. I'm out there speaking and the Lord says, go see your father in the hospital. Go see your father and repent to him.
I said, really? I mean, we hadn't had no relationship or nothing for a very long time. He says, yes, I want you to go down there and I want you to repent to him, but I want you to talk about anything he did to you. He says, how dare you not forgive him and I forgave you. I called my wife and said, please pray for me. I said, God is all over me right now and he's not playing. He's talking about go see your father and repent to him and she said a prayer and then I went down there and I asked him to forgive me. He said, don't talk about anything he did. He beat me, rejected me. He said, don't talk about nothing and I said, will you please forgive me?
I'm wrong for keeping your mind. He said, yes and I just lost it. I laid in his lap, cried so hard. I just lost it.
I just completely lost it. I just laid there and I was just crying like a baby and I said, you know, the Lord has changed my life and I said, the Lord is speaking to me and he wants to change her. Would you like to accept the Lord as your savior?
And he said, yes and there it was. I was leading the man that beat me to the Lord and God says, I want you to remember one thing. I want you to remember one thing clear. It's never about you. See, because I used to always think it was about me. He said that forgiveness was not for your father. That forgiveness was for me.
Wow. Because I had held him hostage so long and I was broken and empty on the inside so long because anytime you don't let anybody free, the brokenness of who you are stays and as soon as I released him, I got free. There was something that came off of me and there were, there was God telling me in the midst of that, don't you ever forget. It is never about you. Once God has saved you, it's about you being redeemed to go out there and help somebody else to come to know that his great love for them is real regardless of what you've been through.
It doesn't matter what you've been through. So Darryl, tell us what you're doing now. Well, I'm doing a lot now. I'm an evangelist.
I travel. I traveled 236 times last year preaching, which I wasn't qualified. Nine years ago, God called me away and said, you're going to preach. I said, no, I'm not. He goes, well, yes you are.
Let me say one thing, Darryl. You're very qualified and I'll tell you why. Because you have a story to tell and God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called. You know, God is not looking for ability.
He's looking for availability. I'm not qualified either. You know, high school graduate, barely, that's it. Made a lot of bad decisions in the early part of my life, but you know, I have something to say and you have something to say and you've lived it and you've seen God do it for you. So as far as I'm concerned, you're very qualified to go and preach the gospel. Well, thank you. Thank you, Pastor. You're so kind.
You're so kind and I really do appreciate it. I really appreciate being with you as you're a great man of God and you know, I really follow those that set the example of who Jesus is. You know, God has allowed me to live an abundant life. You know, He has allowed me to preach the gospel and He's raised me up, you know, from the pit to the pulpit and qualified me to do as well. Only because I said yes.
That's right. When I got to a place, I said yes. Do you know what yes is?
Three letter word. Y-E-S. You enjoy salvation. Amen. You get to enjoy salvation and salvation is incredible. I think so many of us, Pastor, don't understand the greatness of salvation. Salvation is everything. Everything I've always wanted, like not baseballs, not home runs, not millions of dollars. I wanted to know Jesus.
I wanted a relationship with Jesus Christ and that's what we all should want is a relationship, a personal relationship with Jesus. Taste and see that the Lord is good. He's so good. He's so great. He's better than anything that you will ever taste. Better than money. Better than fame. He is everything when you taste and see and have a relationship with Him.
When you make that commitment to Him, you will not want anything else. Wow. Amazing. Let's thank Darrell Strawberry. Thank you, Pastor. I have more joy in what I am gaining than what I am losing. I love Darrell Strawberry's story because he's very honest. Very honest about what he did. The mistakes he made. But yet at the same time, he says, this new life I'm living in Christ is better than the old life at its very best. He described it as the abundant life, which John 10, 10, Jesus says, I've come that you might have life and that more abundantly. You know, Darrell went from being a notorious sinner to being a notorious Christian.
And it's a powerful story. God can change anyone. I don't care what your problem is. God can change you.
Say, no, not me. I'm always going to be a drug addict. No, you're not. No, have to be if you don't want to be. Well, I'm always going to struggle with that.
Well, you don't have to. Well, I'm always going to be in this gay lifestyle. I was born that way. God can change you. God can transform you. God can make you a new person.
And you can say goodbye to the past and hello to a brand new life as a follower of Jesus Christ. If God could do it for Darrell, he can do it for you. How is that possible? It's not through your effort.
You can't do it. I can't do it any more than a drowning person could save themselves. If you're drowning, hopefully there's a lifeguard on duty and you call out for help and they'll rescue you.
Well, there is a lifeguard on duty. His name is Jesus and he's ready to rescue you if you will call out to him because the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. He'll do that for you.
Your life can change today. Jesus died on that cross and paid for all of your sins and then he rose again from the dead. Now he stands at the door of your life and he knocks and he says if you'll hear his voice and open the door, he'll come in. So we're going to close now with a prayer and I would like to extend an invitation to two types of people today. First, I want to extend an invitation to any person who wants Jesus in their life. You know, you've you're hearing these things for the first time. Maybe it's your first time at church. I'm so glad you're here. This is all new to you.
I never heard this. I want this. I want Jesus.
Excellent. Jesus is standing at the door of your life and he is knocking and if you hear his voice and open the door, he'll come in. You say I don't even know what that means. It means Jesus wants to come and live in your heart and life and you have to ask him to because he won't force his way in. But the second category of person I want to give an invitation to is someone that would be more in the category of where Daryl Strawberry was for those 15 years. He made a profession of faith but the problem was in his words he was never a disciple.
He never got grounded. He never really understood what the Bible said and so he was in sort of that miserable spiritual no man's land. You know, too much of Christ to be happy in the world. Too much of the world to be happy in Christ. That compromised life. Is that where some of you are now?
That's a bad place to be. Look if you're going to be a Christian, be a Christian. If you're going to follow Christ, follow Christ.
Go for it. Let go of the past or go live in the world and chase after every pleasure this world offers and face the very severe consequences. But this in-between spot that's just ridiculous and some of you have been living there for a while and it's time for you to say goodbye to that and live like a redeemed justified child of God. And you can do that today. So I'm going to extend the invitation to each of you. If you need to respond to this why don't you do it right now as we all pray together. Let's all bow our heads. Father we pray for every person here and every person that is watching wherever they are. We pray that you will help them to come to you or come to you or come back to you whatever their need may be. So we ask you to speak to their hearts at this very moment. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord before today's edition of A New Beginning wraps up in a moment, Pastor Greg will help you do that.
So please do stay with us. Well Pastor Greg I've read so many comments from people all over the country who just love the movie Jesus Revolution. And a lot of people have been asking if it's going to be available in some form that they can take with them maybe play at home after it disappears from theaters.
What's your answer on that question? My answer is roll fanfare music now. Yes it's true Dave. You can have your own personal copy of Jesus Revolution. You know I've talked to so many people who've seen this movie so many times. People have seen it two three four times. Some have seen it nine ten eleven times.
And you know one of the reasons they keep going back is A they love it and B they love to take friends to see it. So I'm so excited to announce that we have an exclusive version of the Jesus Revolution DVD available for you to get so you can have your own personal copy. Let me tell you a little bit about it. Now I know Jesus Revolution is streaming out there on Apple and Amazon but this is different what we're offering because number one this special edition of the Jesus Revolution DVD has a message that I recorded done in a cinematic way as the sun was setting on the beach. I share the gospel.
I pick up where the film leaves off. And so this is the perfect thing to watch right after you've seen the film especially if you had someone who was watching it who was not yet a believer. There's also a lot more bonus content that we will exclusively offer on our version of the Jesus Revolution DVD and also it supports our ministry. So instead of just buying it when you get it from us listen for your gift of any size and we're hoping you'll be generous with that gift because this is one of the more expensive resources we have offered but for your gift of any size we will rush you your own copy of the Jesus Revolution DVD and you can watch it nine times you can watch it 90 times you can give it away it's there for you to keep so order your copy today and help us continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God right here on A New Beginning. Yeah that's right and it'll be our privilege to send a copy your way on DVD and we'll also include a free streaming code and we'll do that as soon as we hear from you you can call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org and then Pastor Greg would you like to speak to those who'd like to make a change today in their relationship with the Lord? I would you know I received so many letters Dave from people from every walk of life from successful businessmen to those who are incarcerated to mothers struggling as they're trying to raise their children to young boys and girls writing and saying they've made a commitment or a recommitment to Jesus and maybe you need to make that commitment to him right now let me lead you in a word of prayer yes you can meet God right now and I would just ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me and this is where you are asking Christ to come into your life pray with me now if you would Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner I know that I've broken your commandments and I've fallen short of your standards but I thank you that you have loved me and you have called me to yourself so I turn from my sin right now and I choose to believe in and follow you be my savior be my Lord and be my God from this moment forward thank you for calling me and loving me and accepting me in Jesus name I pray amen hey let me just say God bless you you've made the right decision and welcome to the family of God yeah and we'd like to send something your way to help you as you begin your new relationship with the Lord it's an assortment of helpful resources we call our new believers growth packet just ask for it if you prayed along with Pastor Greg today give us a phone call at 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4 000 riverside california 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world listen to this we even have harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the word of God so join us this weekend saturday and sunday for Harvest at Home at harvest.org well next time more insights from Pastor Greg's series in Romans called relentless grace we'll gain a new appreciation for our standing before God because of the sacrifice of his son join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie thanks for listening to a new beginning with Greg Laurie a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a harvest partner at harvest.org
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