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. This is the 44th year of doing Harvest Crusades here in Southern California.
This is our first year at the Honda Center. We have done 121 crusades all around the world. And we have had the opportunity to bring the gospel in person to six million people. And best of all, we have seen 600,000 people make a profession of faith to follow Jesus Christ.
Isn't that great? So you know my story. So I was searching. I saw the alcoholic haze of my mother's bad choices. And I knew I didn't want to live that life. But then I made some bad choices myself.
I got into drugs. And it wasn't long until I had concluded, I'm only 17 at this point, but I concluded I don't want the life of my mother's generation. I don't want the life I've been living.
It was sort of like a process of elimination. I knew what I didn't want to do. But what did I want? Why was I on this earth?
Why did I exist? And I was going to a school, Harbor High School in Newport Beach. I transferred over there and four people from Harbor High just clapped back there. And so when I transferred on this campus, one of my druggy friends, because I was using drugs then, said, Greg, really be careful. There's a lot of Jesus freaks on this campus. There's Jesus freaks everywhere. And I said, I said, the last thing you will ever see is Greg Laurie become a Jesus free.
Famous last words, right? But here's what happened. I was walking across my high school campus and I saw a group of Christians sitting in a circle singing songs to Jesus.
They were simple songs, maybe like four chords in the song. But there was something there that I thought, that's real. I want what they have. I never thought of knowing God in a personal way. And it opened my heart up. And tonight, for you that are a visitor, especially if you're not a believer yet, I'm especially glad you're here. In many ways, this night is here for you, okay? You are our special guest of honor.
And I'm hoping what you will experience is something similar to what I experienced many years ago. That you will sense God's presence in this place. Because Jesus said when two or more are gathered together in my name, I'm there in the midst of them. Jesus Christ is in the Honda Center tonight.
He's here. Jesus Christ is going to change lives tonight. Listen to me. Jesus Christ is going to change your life tonight if you will open your heart. Let's pray for a moment. Now, Lord, quiet our hearts as we think about the most important issues of life.
This life, the meaning of it, the afterlife, where we will spend it. Speak to us now, we pray, from Scripture, for we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen. The title of my message is Jesus and You. You know, we have a big crowd here tonight. Thousands more are watching, literally all around the world. But when God looks at a crowd, He sees an individual. Jesus sees you.
Jesus cares about you. You know, it is a funny thing. People are so enamored with superheroes. Did you know over three billion dollars of our hard earned money has been spent on superhero movies from all the studios out there? And here is the thing. I hate to break this to you. These superheroes, they are not real.
That was kind of a Joe Biden moment there. They are not real. I know Aquaman can breathe underwater and Wonder Woman has superhuman strength and the Wolverine can heal rapidly from injury, though he is a manicurous worst nightmare. Imagine giving a mani and a pedi to Wolverine. The Hulk, he has superhuman power. You just have to get him mad and super green. But they are fictional.
They are not real. But there was a man who walked on our planet who had unlimited power. He didn't breathe underwater.
He walked on the water. And his name was Jesus Christ. And he is the King of Kings. And he is the Lord of Lords. And he is in this place right now. He is here with us. You know God, God can seem so unapproachable. He is so powerful.
He is so mysterious. But Jesus was God walking among us. I heard a story about a little boy who was scared one night and he called up from his bedroom to his father. Daddy, Daddy, I am scared. The father said, Son, you are okay.
God is with you. And then the little boy said, But Daddy, right now I need someone with skin on. Jesus was God with skin on. Jesus was not just a good man. Jesus was the God man. Jesus was God spelling himself out in a language we could understand. God had come near.
God had a face. You know we like to celebrate certain people. If you are a powerful person on social media you have millions of followers. The guest of honor at a celebration is called the man or woman of the year. Time magazine every year picks the person of the year.
And every ten years they pick the person of the decade. But there is only one person that literally divides human history in half. And that is Jesus Christ.
There has never been anyone like him. And we are fascinated by him. Seventy-seven percent of American teenagers, according to one survey said, want to know more about Jesus. Three-quarters of millennials say they are searching for a purpose in life. Listen, you have come to the right place because I want to talk to you tonight about Jesus and you.
And I want to start with this. I know you have heard it before, but I have got to say it people. God loves you. Jesus Christ loves you.
He really does. You say, oh but Greg he doesn't know me. Oh actually he knows you very well. Jesus knows you better than you know yourself.
He knows every detail about your life. And did you know that not only does he love you, but he has a special unique plan for your life. God is not mad at you. God is mad about you. Here is what God says in one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29-11. God says, I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord.
Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Now if God had simply said, I know this singular thought I once had about you for a fleeting moment, I would be happy with that. But he says, I know the thoughts, plural more than one, that I think towards you. And then we think, yeah but what kind of thoughts are they?
They are good thoughts. God says, thoughts of peace and not of evil. He loves you. He has a plan for your life. And listen to this.
God's plan for you is better than your plan for yourself. It really is. It really is. I heard about a little boy and his father who went into a hardware store. And as they were checking out there was a big jar full of candy. And the hardware store owner said to the little boy, son grab a handful of candy.
It is free. The little boy didn't grab it. He just kind of looked up at his dad. Hardware store owner again said, son get a handful of that candy.
It is free. Still the boy wouldn't take it. He just looked up at his dad. Finally his dad reached in, grabbed a handful of candy and he got in the car with his little boy. And he said, son why didn't you grab the free candy? And the little boy said, because dad your hand is bigger than mine. God's plan for you is bigger than your plan for yourself.
It is really amazing. And he loves you and has a purpose for you. And I want to look at a story in the Bible about a woman who was down and out. A woman who messed her life up. A woman who was living immorally and got caught in the act of sin.
Got caught in the act of adultery. Now in case you don't know what adultery is. That is sex outside of marriage.
The only place that God will bless sex is in a marriage relationship you see. So that is sexual sin. And I heard about a little boy that was in Sunday school. And the teacher talked about adultery. And as he was driving home he said to his mom, Mom the teacher said we should not commit adultery. What does that even mean? And the mother said, that means you should not plow another man's field. Okay just leave it at that. She didn't know what to say.
Right? But this woman was caught in the act. But look at what Jesus did for her. I am reading from John chapter 8. As Jesus was speaking the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. Teacher they said to Jesus, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
The law of Moses says she should be stoned to death. What do you say? They were trying to trap Him. Saying something they could use against Him.
Listen to this. Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger. They were demanding an answer. He stood up again and said, alright let the one that is among you who has never sinned cast the first stone.
Then He stooped down again and He wrote in the dust. And when the accuser saw this they left from the oldest to the youngest. And then there was left just that woman and Jesus. And Jesus turns to her and says, woman where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you? She said, no one Lord. And Jesus said, neither do I.
Go and sin no more. Isn't that a great story? Love that story. So this woman is caught having sex. A bunch of religious dudes known as the scribes and Pharisees catch her in the act.
Who knows? Maybe they even set her up. And it was really a trap for Jesus and she is thrown on the ground in front of Him. And Jesus starts writing in this hand. What do you think He wrote? Tic Tac Toe?
Your move. Maybe a little cartoon? I don't think so. We don't know what He wrote but maybe He wrote, you shall not commit adultery. And then wrote someone's name next to it like Caleb. Then looked over at Caleb. And then maybe wrote another commandment and looked over at that other guy.
Hey Josh you broke that one didn't you? And they left. I have to go. I have a roast in the oven.
You know let's go. They left from the oldest to the youngest and all that is left is just this woman and Jesus. And He looks at her and He said, where did all of your accusers go? Now it is interesting because we read Jesus looked at her and the word look means He looked right through her. Have you ever had anyone look right through you?
Let me restate the question. Do you have a mother? Maybe you are up past curfew. Mom says, where have you been?
Nowhere Mom. Look at me. Look at me. And then you start confessing things you didn't even do.
Right? But Jesus looked through her but it was not a look of anger. It was a look of love.
And here is a really amazing thing. He says, woman where are your accusers? And the word He uses for woman is a term of respect. In fact it is the same word He used to describe His own mother as He was hanging on the cross.
When looking down He saw her there. He said, woman behold your son. It is like saying to a woman lady or ma'am. It is a term of respect.
Now listen. This girl had been called a lot of things in life. But she had never been addressed this way.
But this is why Jesus called her that. He didn't see her for what she was. He saw her for what she could become. You see?
You know you see a failure. God sees your potential. You see the past.
He sees the future. And then these words, go and sin no more. Go and sin no more.
Now you think, wait. When did this woman become a believer? I think in the moment He dismissed her accusers she said, I believe in Jesus. You know how long it takes to become a Christian? Not very long.
Sometimes people say, you know I am in the process of converting to Christianity. It doesn't take long. It doesn't take a year. It doesn't take a month. It doesn't take a week. It doesn't take a day.
It doesn't even take an hour. It can happen just like that. In a flash. In a moment. You can go from non-belief to belief.
You really can. I think it has happened for some of you already. You are thinking preacher get done with your stinking sermon so I can become a Christian.
Right? Because it is a move of God's Spirit on your heart. And maybe that has already happened for you. And Jesus says, go and sin no more. It is implicit in this statement where He is really saying, don't keep living in this lifestyle. Okay. I am forgiving you. But don't live this way anymore.
Listen. God loves you just as you are. But He doesn't want to leave you this way. He wants to change you. He really does.
The Bible says, if any man be in Christ he is an altogether different kind of person. Old things that passed away behold everything becomes fresh and new. Right? I love it when it rains. Because everyone gets a free car wash. And the birds come out and maybe you will see a beautiful rainbow. And that is what happens when you become a Christian. It is like you go from black and white to color. You go from death to life. And in your future you go from hell to heaven. That is what it means to be a Christian. You say, but Craig I am really messed up.
I have done a lot of horrible things. You can put your past behind you tonight and become a new person if you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Because He died on the cross for all of your sins. And He rose again from the dead. And He is here right now standing at the door of your life and He is knocking.
And He is saying if you will hear His voice and open the door He will come in. So I want to talk to you about one other guy before I close. So we talked about this immoral woman. Now let's talk about this religious man. He is identified as the rich young ruler. We don't know a lot about him except that he climbed his little corporate ladder very quickly. He was very successful. He came up to Jesus and said, good teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life? He probably had a tricked out BMW chariot.
Custom wheels lowered. Holding a latte. A lavender latte. What is a lavender?
Where did this lavender come from? Good teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said, well you know the commandments. Don't steal. Don't kill.
Don't commit adultery. Oh yes the guy says, I have done these ever since I have been a little kid. Jesus said, have you? Well I will tell you what buddy. Why don't you take all of your stuff, get rid of it, give it away and come and follow me and you will have eternal life.
Isn't that interesting? Jesus never said that to anybody else. Because Jesus could see that in this guy's life his stuff was more important to him than God. Listen everybody worships something. Some people worship things. Some people worship relationships. Some people worship a career. And some people worship God. And I wonder who is your God tonight?
You have a God. And there might be something that is keeping you away from Jesus. And I am telling you right now whatever you give up to follow Jesus will be more than made up to you. To someone struggling with drugs. Jesus might say, take your drugs and flush them down the toilet and follow me. Well could I sell them? No that is called drug dealing.
No. Get rid of them. I am struggling with alcohol. Yeah pour it down the toilet too. Put it all on the toilet.
Make sure you flush it. Someone might be in a relationship right that is pulling them away from God. A girl.
A guy. They don't want you to follow Jesus Christ. Maybe Jesus would say, you know what you are going to have to break off that relationship and follow me. I wonder if there is someone listening to me right now that would say, I would really like to follow Jesus but I wonder what the person sitting next to me would think if I did that. The person sitting next to you is thinking, I would really like to follow Jesus but what would happen to the person next to me if I did. Who cares? Really who cares?
One day you will stand before God all by yourself. And this man was wealthy. We think wealth is going to solve all of our problems.
He found wealth early in life as well. We all watch this tragic story of the Titan submersible. Where these people got in this tiny little miniature submarine to go two miles plus down to view the wreckage of Titanic. And we all know that on their way down they had what was described as a catastrophic implosion.
This thing was the size of a minivan using a video controller, a video game controller to guide it. You think, why would a person get into that thing? Among the people that were in there are a couple of billionaires. One was a British billionaire, age 58, who made his private fortune selling personal jets.
He holds three Guinness World Records for past extreme trips. Why would you do this? And a well-known psychologist whose clients include some of the world's wealthiest people said, like any other drug, sensation-seeking creates a tolerance level in the brain. We need to feel more. You might start off making a million dollars, but then you need two million, and then you take more risks. People say, if I skid in this rocket ship and go into space, it may cost me $500,000. I want to do that, or I will go to the depths of the sea.
Yeah, I want to do that. That's not where the answer is. Listen, the psalmist says, if I climb to the sky, you're there. If I go to the depths of the ocean, you're there. You'll be there waiting for me. What you're looking for is Jesus Christ. He's right here.
He's right here right now. We have never had more distractions in our world than we have today, and most of them have one of these in our pocket, the cell phone. I read a headline the other day. Screens are zapping the life out of teens. It's the new Great Depression. Since the rise of social media, one article says, depression and feelings of hopelessness have skyrocketed among teens. Nearly half of tweens and teenagers say they agree with these phrases, I do not enjoy life, and my life is not useful. That's nearly twice as many as said that same thing a decade ago. Teen depression and suicide are on the rise.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among young Americans. Listen, the answer is not in tech. The answer is not in money. The answer is not in fame or more followers on social media. The answer is in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Listen to me.
I would add one other thing about this rich young ruler. He was religious, and religion can keep you from Jesus. Let me say something that might surprise you. I think it is possible that when it is all said and done, religion may keep more people away from God than all of the other sins and vices put together.
It is true. Because, you know, when you are doing certain things, you know, maybe it is a sin, maybe you do not, but you are living a life you are not proud of. But when you are religious, you are so, hey man, I do not need that, I am a religious person. You might be saying, but Greg, are not you religious?
I hope not. I do not want to be religious because I think religious people are just flat out weird. I really do. I do not think religion made them weird. I think they were weird to start with and then they just got religious.
That is all. They are just weird people. And the problem is weird people never know they are weird, but they are. I am not interested in being a religious person. I am not talking to you tonight about religion. I am talking to you tonight about a relationship with Jesus Christ. But, you know, a religious person, they will say, well I go to church.
So I am good. Do you really go to church? I am a CEO Christian.
What is a CEO Christian? Christmas and Easter only. But I am not so sure about Christmas this year. Maybe just Easter.
We will see. There are people like that. But religion can keep you from God because you are self-righteous. You need to realize you are a sinner that needs a Savior. Years ago I was with my son Jonathan. He came up a little bit earlier. And he was a little guy and I was taking him out surfing. And so I am kind of keeping him above the water helping him to catch waves. And all of a sudden I got caught in a rip tie.
But here is the problem. I am only a few feet from the shore but somehow I am in this rip tie. I am getting pulled out and I am holding him aloft trying to keep his head above water.
And I am thinking this is ridiculous. I am so close to the shore. I can't call up for help. And there is a lifeguard looking at me. I thought I am holding him up.
I am starting to take in some water. And then she comes down from the lifeguard stand and she is running toward me. I am like oh no.
No. I don't want to be saved. I am okay. And she starts swimming toward me and I am going oh no. And then suddenly I got my footing. I said I am okay.
She waved. I said thank you. But that is how we can be. I don't want to be saved. I don't need to be saved. Hey I was caught in a stinking rip tie.
Bottom line I needed some help. You are caught in something worse than a rip tie. You are caught in sin and there is only one person who can save you. And that is Jesus Christ.
He is the only one. Clean living won't get you to heaven because you are not clean enough. Good works won't get you to heaven because you have not done enough. Only Jesus Christ can give you that hope and that change and that purpose you have been looking for. So let me close. What do you need to do to come into this relationship with God?
Number one. You have to admit you are a sinner. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Every one of us have broken God's commandments. Every one of us have fallen short of God's standards. Not one of us have kept those commandments. The word sin in the Bible means to not only cross a line but it means to fall short of a goal.
We do both. We are all sinners. But the good news is the Bible says why would we get sinners? Christ died for us. So I have to realize I am a sinner.
Number two. I need to recognize Christ died on the cross for me. See that was His plan from the very beginning. Nails did not hold Jesus to that cross 2,000 years ago. Love did. Love for you.
Love for me. Jesus said, As I said earlier God loves you. He died there for you.
If you had been the only person on planet earth Jesus would have gone to the cross and suffered and died for you. And no He did suffer. He loves you so much it hurts. They drove spikes through His hands and His feet. They tore His back open with a Roman whip. They put a crown of thorns upon His head and He bled and suffered and died for the sin of all the world. But He bled and suffered and died for your sin.
Because He loves you. I love the way the apostle Paul put it when he said, He loved me and He gave Himself for me. Jesus loves you and gave Himself for you. Then you must repent of your sin. The Bible says God has commanded people everywhere to repent. The word repent means to change your direction. It is a military term.
It means like an about face. So instead of running away from God you run toward God. You turn from that sin. You are sorry for that sin.
And you change. And then you must receive Christ into your life. Jesus must come and be your Savior and your Lord and only you can ask Him to come in.
I can't do that for you. Your parents can't do that for you. Your friends that may have brought you here tonight can't do that for you. You have to say Jesus I need you. Come into my life. Be my Savior. Be my Lord. And He will do that for you.
And then you must do it publicly. And in a moment I am going to ask you to do what over 600,000 people have done over the years of our Harvest Crusades. In a moment I am going to ask you to get up out of your seat and come down on the floor all around this stage and make your public stand for Jesus Christ. Hey Greg why are you at the Honda Center this year and not Angel Stadium?
People have asked me. Well because Angel Stadium didn't want us to walk on the field this year. They said you can have your event but you can't have people walk on the field because of the baseball games etc. I said well then we are going somewhere else because we like to call people down to make that public stand to follow Christ. Maybe they will change their mind and we will go back there someday.
But I am good for now. So you can make that public stand to follow Christ. Jesus said if you will acknowledge Me before people I will acknowledge you before the Father and the angels in heaven.
But then He said if you deny Me before people I will deny you before the Father and the angels. So I am going to ask you to make a public stand in just a few moments. And lastly you must do it now. You must do it now.
Because the Bible says today is the day of salvation. You might say well Greg I will come back tomorrow night. Well you can. Get here early. We had to turn some people away tonight.
So you get a seat. And I hope you will come back but listen don't wait until tomorrow night. Do it right now. There is not a better moment to give your life to Jesus than right here right now wherever you are.
And you won't regret it. I remember so clearly the day I gave my life to the Lord over 50 years ago. And as I prayed the prayer asking Jesus to come into my life I thought to myself this isn't going to work for me. Because I am not the religious type.
I was very cynical. But I am so glad to say God isn't looking for the religious type. He is looking for the sinner type. And that means you and I qualify.
Right. And I prayed that prayer and something happened to me. Jesus came into my life and something is going to happen for you. You say well Greg I will clean my life up and come to Christ. No don't clean your life up.
Come to Christ and He will clean your life up. You just come as you are tonight. You come as you are.
Thank you. So we are going to pray and then I am going to invite you to come down on this floor all around this stage and make your public stand to follow Jesus Christ. And when you all get here I will lead you in a prayer.
You may never have another opportunity like this tonight. Let's pray. Now Lord I pray that your Holy Spirit will convict and convince every person here.
Every person watching. Every person listening of their need for Jesus and help them to come to you and believe. We commit them to you now and we ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
Listen. Do you want your sin forgiven? Do you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven? Do you want to find the purpose and meaning of your life? Are you ready to say yes to Jesus Christ?
If so I want you to get up out of your seat. Make your way into the nearest aisle and come down here on the floor and make your public stand to follow Christ. Come on down now. You come down. If you are on the top level it is going to take you a little bit longer.
So you on the top level you make your way down. We will wait until you all get here. You are not too young to come to Christ. You are not too old to come to Christ. You are not too good to come to Christ. You are not too bad to come to Christ. You come.
Listen for a moment. Jesus told a story to show us what God is like. We sometimes call it the parable of the prodigal son. It is the story of a man who had two sons.
One of the sons said lose paraphrase. Dad I am sick of your rules and regulations. I want to go live my life.
I want my portion of the inheritance that is coming to me. So he took that money and went to a distant place and blew all his money on sinful things. One day that boy came to his senses and he thought this is insane. I need to just go back to my father and say father I am sorry.
I have sinned. I am not even worthy to be called your son anymore. He began to make the journey home. Meanwhile back at the ranch the dad missed his son. He looked down that long road every day in hope for the return of his son. And one day he saw a familiar silhouette coming his direction. And he squinted and said that is my son. He got up from his chair and began to run toward his son. And the boy probably thought dad is so ticked off at me he can't wait to beat me. But the father ran to the son and threw his arms around him and said let's rejoice. This my son who is dead is alive again. He who was lost is found.
And they had a party. That is how God feels toward you. You know who told us that story?
Jesus. Jesus told us that story to show us what God is like. He longs for our return. Maybe there is somebody here tonight that walked with the Lord as a young boy or a young girl. You had a relationship with him but you have drifted away. You have sort of pushed God out of your life.
Maybe you are facing the consequences of that bad decision. But the father is calling you home again tonight. It is time to come home. It is time to return to God. And he welcomes you with open arms.
You just must come. You pray this prayer. God will hear you. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. So you pray this prayer out loud after me. This is where you are asking Christ to come into your life.
Mean it from your heart. God will hear you. Let's all bow our heads and pray. Pray this out loud after me. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner. But I know that you are the Savior. Who died on the cross for my sin.
And rose again from the dead. I am sorry for my sin. I repent of my sin.
I choose to follow Jesus. From this night forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. And answering this prayer.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Amen.
Amen. Hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to Harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally go to Harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 06:01:40 / 2023-07-08 06:15:21 / 14