You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses. Sign up at harvest.org. or is in a hospital bed.
It can really make a huge difference and you might have that again. Employment agencies work with two different types of people. Those who need an employee, and those who need a job. The agency's goal is to help those people find each other. Well, God has given us spiritual gifts, and He also has some work for us to do that's divinely designed to make use of those gifts. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us find gainful employment of those miraculous gifts God has entrusted to us. There's a job to be done.
Time to get to work. The title of the message is The Church, A Place to Call Home. And let me just say, I thank God for the church, don't you? I mean, the church is so important. Oh, I know we have our flaws. I know we're not perfect, but we're still the best thing going, ok?
There's nothing like it. And don't forget, Jesus started the church. We call it an organization, and in a technical sense it is, but it's more of an organism. And to be more biblical, it's a family. The church is a gathering of the family. And when I'm a part of the church, as a member of the family, I have a role to play.
I need the church and the church needs me. And it is here that I discover and develop my spiritual gifts that I can use for the glory of God. To not want these gifts and to not use these gifts could be quenching the Holy Spirit. Romans 12 verse 6. In His grace God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.
So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you're a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If your gift is giving, then give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Here is the mark of a person who is called to serve. They see a need and they get in and do something about it. Some people I think they have a spiritual gift of complaining.
They find things that aren't right in their estimation. Why doesn't the church do this? Why doesn't the church do that? Well why don't you help us? Well I don't feel called.
Okay. But a person who is called to serve says, I see a need and I am going to meet that need because I want to help out. Has God given you the gift of serving? What a wonderful gift it is. And then others are called to teach the Word of God.
Verse 7. If you are a teacher, teach well. You know teach well. Work at your craft.
Let me use music as an example. If you are a musician, play well. Sing well. Practice. Know your craft.
Work on your skill set. And in the same way if you are a preacher or a teacher, study. Prepare.
Get that message ready. Because it is a privilege to speak for God. And the Bible actually warns us, don't ask God to make you a teacher because we will receive a greater judgment. I know that I will be held accountable for everything I say to you guys. And sometimes people have asked me, what is it like to stand on the stage and preach to thousands of people in a crusade? It is an awesome privilege and it is kind of a scary responsibility. Because I want to make sure that I represent the Lord well. And I want to make sure that what I say up there is biblical.
And I want to rightly divide the Word of God. Because that is what you are supposed to do when you are a teacher. And I have to tell you that I am the least qualified person who has ever been called to be a teacher. I was a poor student. I wasn't the teacher's pet. I was the teacher's monster. My teachers hated me. I disrupted class. I never studied. I failed tests. I was just a big goof off. And God calls me to be a teacher.
It is almost laughable you see. But since then I have learned to study and to prepare and to put a lot of effort into those messages. But the way to know if you are a teacher is if people want to listen to you.
It is very simple. I have often said to leaders, if you want to find out if you are a leader, lead and see if anyone follows. Because I do fear that there are some people that think they are called to be teachers that aren't. You know because the moment they start speaking I am just like bored.
Like two minutes in I am bored. What is going on with this person? Well maybe they are not called to teach. That doesn't make them less of a person or less gifted than another. That just may not be your gift. If you have the gift you have it. If you don't have the gift you don't have it. But if you do have the gift develop it.
Cultivate it. And if you are called to teach then teach well. But then God has given others the gift of encouraging others.
Look at verse 8. If your gift is to encourage others well then be encouraging. I like that. Oh you are called to encourage others well be encouraging. See this is because some people don't know how to pay a compliment. Right.
Always critical. I know people. I won't name them but there is one here.
No I am joking. But I know people. Everything is a criticism. Whenever I see them there is going to be a criticism. They are going to critique this or critique that.
And actually I don't mind being critiqued but it would be nice to hear just a little affirmation occasionally. Some people don't know how to pay a compliment. It becomes a backhanded compliment.
Also known as a complisalt. A complisalt is insulting someone while you are supposedly complimenting them. For instance you meet them for lunch and you say to them, hey you are on time. That is a compliment. But what you are really saying is you are always late. Or you say to someone, you know you are a really good driver for a woman. What?
That is an insult. How about this one. I love this one. You look great for your age. So I look ok but I am really old and I have one foot in the grave. Is that what you are saying to me? Or how about this. You are so pretty.
Why are you still single? Wait. What? Now that is not a proper compliment. And there is no spiritual gift of criticism. Now the word exhort that is used here, the gift of exhortation, King James, is a word that means to motivate, to stimulate, to excite, and when necessary to correct.
There is a place for all these things. Urging someone on. Motivating someone to go. See the difference between a teacher and someone with the gift of exhortation is a teacher tells you how to do it. Someone with the gift of exhortation makes you want to do it. Some people are great with details and Greek and Hebrew and background and Scriptures on Scriptures and it is fantastic.
But then I hear other people and I just hear that message and I want to run out the back door and change the world. And we need both gifts in the church. We need teachers. We need people with the gift of exhortation. Sometimes people have both of those gifts combined together. But these are wonderful gifts that we need to have out there. And I think Jesus actually gives us the model of how to properly exhort in His message to the seven churches of revelation.
And as an example the church of Ephesus. Let's paraphrase it. He says, you know I know you guys work hard. I know you are discerning. I know all that you do for me and I appreciate that. But I have this issue with you.
You have left your first love so remember from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works quickly. So He starts with compliments and affirmation. Then He comes with a word of criticism.
Then He comes with a solution as well. So deposit a compliment before you make the withdrawal of a criticism. I am going to go critique you but I am going to say something nice to you first and affirming to you.
And then I am going to offer my criticism if it is necessary. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We continue to hear from so many who have been touched by Pastor Greg's film, Jesus Revolution. My husband and I took my 86 year old father to see the movie. Before it started I handed him some tissue. He asked why and I told him he would probably get emotional during the movie because that was the era of his salvation when most of our family was saved.
Dad chuckled at me but when the movie was over he had used up all the tissue. Thank you Greg for a great movie. What an encouragement to hear how the Jesus Revolution film continues to impact lives. Do you have a comment to share with Pastor Greg? If so, email him. Greg at harvest dot org. That is Greg at harvest dot org. Well today Pastor Greg is addressing some of the specific spiritual gifts mentioned in scripture with insights on how to put them to work in our lives.
Let's continue. And then there is the spiritual gift of giving. Romans 12 8. If it is giving then give generously. Just as God has gifted certain people to be evangelists but has also called every Christian to evangelize it is also true that God has given certain people the gift of giving though it is also true that every Christian should give to the Lord on a regular basis. To fail to do so cheats you of the blessing of laying up for yourself treasures in heaven as well as the sheer joy of giving. Have you discovered the joy of giving? Jesus said it is more blessed or literally happymaking to give than it is to receive. There is almost a euphoria. Studies have been done on this and there is an endorphin release they found medically that happens when you do an act of kindness or generosity for somebody else.
And I am not saying do it for endorphins. Do it because the Lord has told you to do it. But this is a funny thing with Christians. Because this is an area that is a weakness in many believers' lives. Studies have been done and it is quite clear that 10 to 20 percent of people in an average congregation do the giving that underwrites the whole work.
That means 80 percent of the people are either not giving at all or at best are giving in a haphazard or sporadic way. And that means all those people are missing out on the blessing of giving. And I don't understand why when we get to this subject we recoil. It is like we believe everything the Bible says about the meaning of life. We believe everything the Bible says about the afterlife. We believe everything the Bible says about everything else. But when it comes to the subject of money and giving we say eh I don't know about that.
Why is that? Because the Bible actually tells us that He wants us to bring our offerings to Him. Here is an amazing promise we have all heard in Malachi chapter 3. It says, Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me.
They ask, When did we cheat you? The Lord says, You cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. Then God makes this amazing promise to the faithful giver. Bring all of the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my temple. Listen to this. If you do, says the Lord, I will open up the windows of heaven for you and I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in. Try it.
Put me to the test. This is not so much about what I am supposed to do. This is about what God is going to do.
And I suggest to you the reason many people get themselves into trouble financially is because they disobey God. Learn to give. You say, What is a tithe? Ten. Ten percent. You have ten pennies. One penny goes to God. You have ten dollars. One dollar goes to God. Do the math.
Extrapolate it. That is how it works. But you don't just bring your tithe. You also bring your offerings to Him.
And listen to what He says. Listen to this promise. 2 Corinthians 9.6. Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly. Whoever sows generously will reap generously. For God loves a cheapskate.
Oh it doesn't say that does it? For God loves a cheerful giver is what it does say. So if I am generous here is what the Lord promises. God will generously provide all you need and then you will have plenty left over to give to others. I am telling you if we would obey God in this area it could revolutionize your finances and it could revolutionize your life.
God says, Put me to the test. Bring your tithes. Bring your offerings to Me. I will open up the windows of heaven and it will overflow.
You won't have room enough to contain it all. So there is the giving that every Christian should engage in. And then there is the gift of giving.
And it is a funny thing you know. You don't have to be wealthy to have the gift of giving. I know some wealthy people who are very generous and have this gift. But I know people who are living on a more moderate income and also have the gift of giving. They are just always doing things for other people. And you will say, Oh that is too generous.
And they say, Oh no I am happy to do it. They have the gift of giving. What a great gift that is. If you have that gift use that gift for God's glory.
The last one we will look at. The spiritual gift of showing kindness and mercy. The spiritual gift of showing kindness and mercy. Romans 12 8. If you have a gift for showing kindness to others do it gladly.
Listen. There are people who have an extraordinary supernatural ability from God to show mercy and compassion and kindness to those who are in need. It might be showing it to someone who is aged or is hurting or is in a hospital bed. You know I can think of times where I have walked into hospital rooms and I haven't had the words to say.
I haven't known what to do. And my wife will just walk up and hug the person. And whatever it is she does that is what needs to be done. And that is what that person needs right now. You know when you are in pain you don't always want a sermon. And to be honest with you sometimes when you are in pain the last thing you want is a sermon. Please no sermons. But when someone understands how to show compassion and how to show empathy it can really make a huge difference. And you might have that gift. You say, well I am not called to be a preacher. So? Well I am not called to be exhorting people.
Ok. But I kind of have this gift of encouraging people and just kind of having the right words at the right time and just helping people. That is an awesome spiritual gift. Develop and cultivate and use that gift because every one of us has these gifts and we need to start developing them whatever they are. Again the Bible says, don't neglect the gift that is in you.
Or as another translation put it, keep your gift dusted off and in use. God is giving you gifts. They are just there. Maybe they are lying dormant.
Maybe they have never been discovered. You need to start praying what they are. You say, well how do you discover your spiritual gifts? One of the best ways to find out is through process of elimination. Find out what you are not good at before you find out what you are good at.
So how do you figure that out? Volunteer for everything. I will do that. I want to be in the worship team. After half a song people carry you away with their hands over their ears. Maybe that is not your calling. I am called to be a teacher. People fall asleep in the first three minutes.
Even the dog falls asleep. Maybe that is not your gift. But then through process of elimination you discover, oh wait I seem to have a gift in this area I was not aware of. So you just get out there and you try and you make an effort and you see what you can do for God's glory. Because listen as I said already the church needs you.
But you need the church. You know we need each other. Again we are a family. And at this family there is a seat in the table for you. No we are not a perfect family. In fact honestly we are a dysfunctional family. But we put the fun in dysfunction now don't we? So find your place at the table.
And I will tell you what. The church can change so radically for you. Two things that could be a radical change in your life from this message. Number one if you would get what we have been talking about with finances it could revolutionize everything about your life.
And number two if you could get what we are saying about serving that too could revolutionize your life. Instead of coming in here as just a member of the crowd you know become a part of the congregation. Even more become a part of the family of God. And that makes the big church a small church.
And that is when you have skin in the game. And it is going to start happening for you. So in closing your favorite part of the message.
So in closing. There might be somebody that is doing this here and you are not part of the family of God. You know we are having sort of a family discussion aren't we? And you are thinking well I don't know if this really relates to me. Well it actually relates to you a lot because we want you to join our family. You say, well I wasn't born in a Christian home.
I don't think I qualify. You don't have to be born in a Christian home. Jesus said you must be born again. And what that means is you must realize you are a sinner.
Understand that Christ died on the cross for your sin. And He rose again from the dead. And now He stands at the door of your life and He knocks and He says if you will hear His voice and open the door He will come in. You want to join the family of God. Here is how it works. The Bible says for as many as received Him He gave them the power to become sons of God.
To join God's family to become a child of God you must receive Christ. Let's go back to the idea of gift giving that I started with. If I buy you a gift for your birthday and I say happy birthday and I put the gift out there you just need to accept it.
Thank you would be nice. Open it. Enjoy it.
I am happy to see you enjoy the gift. And God offers you the gift of eternal life. The Bible calls it the unspeakable gift. You can't even describe it.
Unspeakable. He says here it is. Now if I don't accept that gift can you see how that would be an insult to God? He sent His own son Jesus to spill His blood to purchase you this gift. What greater sacrifice could a father make than to give his son?
And that is what He did for you. Now He says here you go. Receive the gift.
And we say I don't know. I am kind of busy. Yeah I am offering you this gift. Yeah whatever. Can I get back to you on that in a month? A decade?
Maybe on my deathbed? Really? That is an insult to God. You effectively rejected His gift. No. No.
You are putting words in my mouth preacher. I didn't reject it. I said I didn't want it. To not accept it is to reject it.
To not say yes is to say no. Or as Jesus put it, to not be for me is to be against me. Here is the gift. The gift of eternal life.
You need to reach out and accept it. For as many as received Him He gave them the power to become children of God. Do you want to be a child of God? Do you want to go to heaven when you die?
Do you want to find the meaning of life on this earth? It is all in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is just a prayer away. Let's pray. Father speak to the heart of every person here.
Even those that are listening to this. If they don't know You I pray that Your Holy Spirit will convict and convince them of their need for Jesus and help them to come to You and believe in You and receive You into their lives right now. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie, with an important word of prayer. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg would like to help you take that step in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes.
Please do stay with us. You know, Pastor Greg, Jesus Revolution came to theaters right around the time that there was some really wacky weather all across the country. Here in California there was so much snow in the mountains that people were trapped in their homes for days upon days.
And it was that way in many places across the country. I saw a social media post that said, Help! You're trapped at home, but we want to see the movie.
Can you help us? Not, Help! We need food.
Help! We've got to see the movie. And we have some good news for those folks, don't we? Yes, you can see the movie. Listen, you can own the movie. You can watch it as many times as you want because we are now offering the Jesus Revolution film on DVD.
And that means that you can play it whenever you want to play it. And the great thing is don't just watch it for yourself. Show it to your family. Show it to your neighbors. Show it to your friends. Make it an evangelistic outreach because this film is real.
It's gritty. It connects with believer and non-believer alike. Actually, we had some amazing reviews. You know, the audience gave it a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And there's another website called CinemaScore that gave Jesus Revolution an A plus rating.
Now this is just a rating based on the entertainment value of the film and the audience response. So you can have your own copy. You can show it to whoever you want to show it to. But in this special edition of the Jesus Revolution DVD that we're offering you right now, there's a message that I filmed that presents the gospel and it has a prayer at the end that a person can pray to accept Christ. Listen, this is the most effective evangelistic tool we have ever offered in our history. I believe if you show this film to people that don't know the Lord, you will see people come to Christ as a result. In a way, the film does the heavy lifting.
You just gotta get other people to watch it with you. So now you can have your own copy. And I'll send it to you for your gift of any size.
Now, I'm gonna be honest, this resource costs us more than we normally pay for other resources. So I'm gonna ask our listeners to be extra generous because we want to get a copy of this DVD to you. So get your copy of the Jesus Revolution DVD with bonus content for your gift of any size to help us continue to preach the gospel and teach the Word of God.
Yeah, that's right. Our mission statement is knowing Him and making Him known. And we're so thankful for your partnership with us. Listener support is the only way we can continue to bring you these daily studies. So contact us today for your copy of Jesus Revolution on DVD. And we'll include a free streaming code. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 24-7, phone number, 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg, if somebody listening right now knows they need to ask the Lord to forgive them of their sins, could you help them with that right now? You know what, Dave? I'd love to do that. It's an amazing thing to me that over the years, I've heard so many stories of people who have come to know Christ listening to this broadcast. And they'll say things like, I prayed that prayer with you at the end of the program. One guy wrote me and said, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and prayed that prayer and Christ came into my life.
Just incredible. And I'd like to lead you in that same prayer. Look, I don't have some super special prayer. It's just a basic prayer based on scriptural principles of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ.
I mean, if we want to get real technical, the only sinner's prayer, if you will, and we often call this prayer a sinner's prayer, the only real sinner's prayer in the Bible is a guy who just prayed, God be merciful to me a sinner. So I'm going to lead you in a prayer similar to that, but this is a prayer where you will be acknowledging your need for Jesus and putting your faith in him. So listen, if you want to go to heaven when you die, if you want to know that you are a child of God, if you want the Lord to forgive you of your sins, just pray these words if you would. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner and I'm sorry for my sin and I turn from that sin, but I know that you died on the cross of Calvary for my sin and rose again from the dead.
So forgive me, Lord. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. I want you to be my Savior.
I want you to be my friend. I want you to be my God. Thank you for hearing my prayer and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name, I ask this.
Amen. Now I want to help you start growing spiritually, so I have something to send you at no charge. It's my gift to you. It's called the New Believer's Packet, and in it is a copy of the New Testament in a very friendly, understandable translation called the New Living Translation. It also has some notes that I wrote, hundreds of notes actually, that will encourage you in this commitment you've made.
These notes will answer a lot of the questions you probably have right now, and there's some other materials in this packet as well. So order your copy of the New Believer's Packet immediately, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to lead you in that prayer. And I wanted to be the first to say to you, welcome to the family of God. Yeah, and here's how you can get that free New Believer's Growth Packet. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime.
Again, dial 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org and click on Know God. Well, next time, join us as Pastor Greg continues our studies in Romans, with a look at the importance of demonstrating the love of Christ to those around us. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.
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