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The Teenager Who Changed the World | A Fresh Prescription For Life

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2023 3:00 am

The Teenager Who Changed the World | A Fresh Prescription For Life

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 4, 2023 3:00 am

Doesn’t it seem like some people on social media are just looking for a fight? If something displeases them, they attack. And then someone else attacks right back. Has it come to that? Is that the new norm for human interaction? Glad you’re along today on A NEW BEGINNING as Pastor Greg Laurie shows us a better way...a higher way. We’ll see God shows us a fresh prescription for life, demonstrated in the lives of some remarkable people who rose above.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners .

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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. It's a time of stress, short tempers, and insecurity. Pastor Greg Laurie points us to Joseph as inspiration for the way we should live. We're in a culture that does not value forgiveness today. We're uptight, we're angry, we're very prone to sue, we're a very litigious culture. We have road rage, we have cyberbullying, and we prize revenge and pay back as virtues. But Joseph shows us a better way, the way of forgiveness. Doesn't it seem like some people on social media are just looking for a fight?

If something displeases them, they attack, and then someone else attacks right back. Has it come to that? Is that the new norm for human interaction? We're glad you're along today on A New Beginning as Pastor Greg Laurie shows us a better way, a higher way.

We'll see God shows us a fresh prescription for life, demonstrated in the lives of some remarkable people who rose above. You know, we live in a culture today in search of real heroes. I don't even know if we know what a hero is anymore. You know, we use the term very loosely. We have a hero sandwich.

You can start there. Well, I kind of like those, by the way. And if someone can, you know, dunk a basketball, well, they're a sports hero or play eight chords, maybe only four, on an electric guitar. They're a guitar hero. Now, those are fine things to do, but there's nothing heroic about those things. I think we live in a culture that has a lot of celebrities but very few heroes.

One person summed it up this way. The hero is known for achievements. The celebrity is known for well-knownness. The hero reveals the possibilities of human nature. The celebrity reveals the possibilities of the press and the media. Celebrities are people who make news, but heroes are people who make history. Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities.

I like that one line in particular. Celebrities are people who make news, but heroes are people who make history. That is certainly what we have before us in this particular story. We have a young man named Joseph who was a true hero, and he changed his world. There's a lot of things we can learn from young Joseph.

One of them is how to overcome adversity. He had the deck stacked against him. His life showed very little promise. He was actually the 12th of 13th children, kind of a spoiled young man, given to visions of grandeur. He was a teenager. He liked to sleep in, but God gave to him dreams. In fact, in the beginning his dreams got him into trouble, but in the end other people's dreams got him out of trouble. In the story of Joseph we discover how we can overcome envy, how we can face adversity, how we can resist sexual temptation and have faith in the promises of God.

But the most significant takeaway I think in the life of Joseph is how to forgive those who have horribly wronged you. And you know we're in a culture that does not value forgiveness today. We're uptight. We're angry. We're very prone to sue. We're a very litigious culture. We have road rage.

We have cyber bullying, and we prize revenge and pay back as virtues. But Joseph shows us a better way. The way of forgiveness. And all that he went through he was able to say to his brothers who betrayed him, and we'll get to that in a moment, it was not you who sent me here but God. If Joseph were to have a life first, this first hadn't been written when he was alive because this is the book of Genesis, but if he had a life first it would have surely been Romans 8 28.

Which says, so we know that all things work together for good to those that love God and are they called according to his purpose. And by the way if anyone could have had an excuse for churning out bad it was Joseph. I mean he lived in the middle of a family dominated by lying, deceit, immorality, manipulation, even murder. He could have blamed his mom and dad for all of the problems of his life. He could have played the victim card big time.

And for 17 years he put up with this nonsense. Yet amazingly he turned out to be a very godly young man with a sterling character. So if you live in a messed up dysfunctional home take heart.

Because it was really bad for Joseph and he was able to come through it. You know I look at my own life and I think, why did I live that life in particular? Why was I dealt this particular hand? But I can look back on my life now as a kid.

You know with an alcoholic mom married and divorced seven times and all these boyfriends in between. And I think what an insane life I lived. Actually it's funny my friends all envied me because I had no restrictions.

And my mom did not care about my grades. And I was able to just live as I wanted. And every night I went out and ate what I wanted to eat. And I happened to go to a restaurant and order the same thing every night. Hamburger, french fries, vanilla shake.

Next night hamburger, french fries, vanilla shake. And after a while I wanted normalcy. I would go over to my friend's house and eat bad food just to be in a more stable family environment. But the reason I think God let me go through all this stuff is that it gave me a heart for kids and young people.

And what they are facing. I lived in a world I didn't want to live in. But the Lord got hold of me. And my life changed at 17. And Joseph's life changed at 17 as well. There are 14 chapters in the book of Genesis dedicated to the story of Joseph. I am only going to touch on his story in this message.

And I recommend that you go back and read it for yourself. The fact is Joseph's story occupies more space in the book of Genesis than any other person. More space than Adam or Noah or Abraham or Isaac or his own father Jacob. You can basically divide Joseph's life up into three sections. His start. His struggle. And his success. His start was basically birth to 17 years while he was growing up.

He was the son of Jacob's true love Rachel. And he was hated by his brothers. And that antagonism and hostility toward him fueled by envy was beginning to brew. Then there was his struggle from age 17 to 30 where he was elevated and then falsely accused of rape and actually served prison time. But the Lord was preparing him for what was yet ahead. And then success.

That would be age 30 to death. And he shines in this section as he was blessed by God in every way and extended undeserved forgiveness to his brother. So let's let's start with him as a kid. Okay so I already told you he had a bunch of brothers. He was favored by his father.

His dad doted on him. Even giving him a special coat. Now maybe you've heard it called the coat of many colors.

That's the King James translation. Actually what it was was sort of a long sleeve tunic. Something that you would wear maybe to a wonderful event while his brothers probably had outfits and cut off sleeves or working in the hot sun. And old Joseph would show up in his super cool coat and kind of walk around them looking at them. And they were very envious. Why doesn't he have to work out here like the rest of us? And then to make matters worse he rats out his brothers.

He goes home and tells on them to his dad. And they're resenting them more and more every day. So much so they think let's just kill them. Wow. Really?

Yes. They decided they wanted to kill their young brother. And they were about to do it. But they changed their mind when a group of Midianite slave traders were traveling by and they sold their brother for 20 pieces of silver. So now he's purchased by a man named Potiphar. Potiphar was a very powerful man. He was actually the head of sort of the secret service of the pharaoh.

This is a man that could have you executed at will. And Potiphar brought him into his house as a slave. But Joseph was so responsible. So hard working. So full of integrity that as Potiphar gave him more and more responsibilities he ultimately put him in charge of his entire estate. Said boy you just run it.

You're doing such a great job. But Potiphar had a really psycho wife. Her name was Mrs. Robinson. No that's you. That's a movie.

Forget it. It's an old cultural point. But she was like Mrs. Robinson.

If you know the movie I'm talking about. She was older. Probably attractive I suppose. And I know Joseph was very good looking because the Bible specifically says of him he was well built and handsome. Comes from the Hebrew studido which is stud.

No I'm kidding. But he was a good looking guy. If the Bible said someone was good looking you can be sure they were good looking. And so she looked at this very handsome muscular young man and she was far from subtle. Jesus basically said why don't you have sex with me right now.

And he was like no way. And he kept his distance from her but she persisted day in and day out. And then one time she had all the servants leave the house. So it was just her and Joseph. And she grabbed him and pulled him down on the bed.

And the Bible says that he ran out of that house as fast as he could. You know sometimes when you're getting tempted that's the best thing to do. You know you're staying there saying oh God just give me strength right now. I'm in this hotel room with this girl and I'm getting tempted.

Get out of the hotel room you idiot. No I'm just praying for strength. No you need to pray that your brain works. And then you need to pray that your hand works and turns the knob and walks out of the door because you shouldn't be there in the first place. A lot of times you're praying oh Lord help me in this place.

Why are you in that place? And Joseph knew he needed to get out of that place. That's where the Bible says flee youthful lust and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. There's a New Living translation puts it run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. By the way that verse is not just to young people.

It's to all people. It says youthful lust. You can be old and still have youthful lust right. So he ran from her which was the right thing to do because he was a godly young man.

And what does she do? She falsely accuses him of rape and Potiphar sends him to prison. By the way I think Potiphar knew Joseph was innocent but he had to live with this psycho cougar chick so he went along with it.

So that brings us to the next stage of Joseph's life as he is in prison. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hearing about listeners who find Jesus because of the ministry of harvest is so encouraging. Pastor Greg I was saved as a five-year-old little girl while listening to preach the gospel. It was 1995 at Angel Stadium and I knew even at that age that I needed to make my way down for the altar call.

It's a day I will never forget. Even down to the Harvest Crusade counselor who prayed with me and my parents. I am now serving Jesus every day and walking out my calling. I just watched your movie Jesus Revolution and cried watching your story unfold. I'm so grateful that you accepted the call to Jesus all those years ago. Thank you Pastor Greg.

How have these studies in God's word touched your life? If you have a story to share why not call us and tell us about it. Call 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well Pastor Greg is introducing us to a biblical hero today Joseph from Genesis chapter 41. We're seeing his integrity in spite of earth-shaking trials and troubles. How easily Joseph could have been so discouraged. How easily he could have said to God Lord I can't take this anymore. First I'm sold by my brothers into slavery and then this woman tries to entice me and I resist her enticements as your word tells me to and then she lies about me and now I'm in prison.

This isn't fair and it wasn't fair. But yet the Bible never tells us that Joseph said anything of the kind. In fact he just carried on because Joseph had his dream. God gave him a dream when he was a young man and in his dream he knew he was going to be placed in a position of influence and prominence and when he told his brothers about it it just ticked them off even more. Maybe God's giving you a dream.

Maybe a sense of where you're going to go in your future and other people laugh at you or tear you down and you just you hang on to your dream if God has given you one. You know I heard a story about a crab fisherman who had a bucket full of crabs but no lid. And a friend said to him why don't you have a lid on your bucket of crabs? Won't they get out? He says oh no problem.

The moment one crab tries to escape the others reach up and pull them back down. There's people like that aren't there? You know it's it's easy maybe to offer a little sympathy to someone who's suffering. But if someone gets something wonderful or has something wonderful happen to them now envy starts to kick in and you want to pull them down to where you are. And so here's Joseph.

It makes no sense. He could have felt like God had forgotten him. But the Bible gives us one very important detail.

Genesis 39 21 it says the Lord was with Joseph. So sitting there in the dungeon the Lord was with him. Listen I'd rather be in a dungeon with God than anywhere else without him. I'd rather be in a lion's den with God than anywhere else without him.

I'd rather be in a storm with Jesus on board my boat than anywhere else without him. Maybe you feel like you're in a dungeon right now. Maybe it's a bad marriage. Maybe it's a really difficult job. Maybe it's a horrible sermon you're listening to right now. I'm joking okay.

Maybe it's an maybe it's an illness. Or maybe it's a literal cell. And I know no one's in a prison in the place I'm speaking.

But people watch us in all kinds of interesting places. And I get letters from people who are incarcerated. So it could be someone listening to me right now in a literal cell. I think of my friend Michael Franzese who served time in prison because he was a member of the Colombo crime family. And he wouldn't rat out his friends. And so they they sent him to solitary confinement. And a prison guard gave to him a copy of the scripture. And he had a little radio.

And he told me he used to listen to me on the radio when he was in this horrible prison in solitary confinement. So you never know who you're going to reach with the Word of God. But God was preparing Joseph for what was ahead. Meanwhile over in Egypt in the court of the Pharaoh the most powerful man on the planet had a very unusual dream. Pharaoh dreamt that he was standing by the Nile River. And out of the river came seven healthy fat cows gazing among the reeds. And after that came seven other cows who were ugly and gaunt.

And they ate up the seven healthy cows. Pharaoh thought I knew I shouldn't have had that pizza with pepperoni last night. But seriously he was having a dream that was predicting the future of Egypt and he woke up in a panic. What does this dream mean? So he calls in all of his magicians and people that are supposed to interpret dreams for him and nobody was able to interpret it.

They're clueless. And I left one detail out. Really important thing. When Joseph was in the dungeon the king's butler and the king's baker joined him in his cell. They both had troubling dreams and Joseph interpreted them for them. And then the baker was being released back to serve the king. And Joseph said remember your old buddy Joseph who interpreted your dream. When you get out of here the baker said absolutely. And he forgot all about Joseph.

So suddenly the baker remembers wait sir there is a man I met in a prison cell who was able to interpret my dream. So now Joseph is brought up to the court of the Pharaoh. And that is where we start Genesis 41.

That was the introduction by the way. Genesis 41 verse 14. Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once.

He was brought hastily from the dungeon. After a quick shave and a change of clothes he went in and stood in Pharaoh's presence. I had a dream last night Pharaoh told him and none of these men can tell me what it means but I heard that you can interpret dreams and that's why I've called for you. Joseph boldly responds. Genesis 41 16. It is beyond my power to do this but God will tell you what it means and he will set you at ease. Oh he was bold wasn't he? He's going to tell the Pharaoh now what this dream is all about.

Not only tell him the meaning of the dream he's going to tell him the dream. He says okay Pharaoh this is what's going on. Those seven cows that are ugly and gaunt eating the other cows here's what it means. You're going to have a time of famine. You're not going to have enough food for your kingdom. So you need to start setting food aside now for when the famine comes. And if you do this you'll have enough food to get you through the hard times.

And you need to put someone over the food supply as you're starting to put it together. All the magicians are saying me me me and the Pharaoh says I want you son. And all of a sudden Joseph who was just the night before in a dungeon is now the second most powerful man in the world ruling over the food supply of Egypt. Unbelievable turn of events. And if the story ended here it would have been an amazing one.

But instead it culminates with one of the most amazing demonstrations of forgiveness ever extended. So fast forward many years. Time has passed. Joseph looks like a completely different guy. He doesn't have the long hair and the beard of the Hebrew. He looks like an Egyptian. He walks like an Egyptian. He has cool Egyptian eyeliner and does those little moves.

I don't know. You know at least that's the way they look on the walls. And he didn't look anything like himself anymore. And what happened was the famine came just as Joseph predicted. And so meanwhile back home with the family they're all hungry.

And they hear that back in Egypt or over in Egypt they have a lot of food. So the family of Joseph goes to get food from him. And they show up in his court and he looks at them and recognizes his brothers. But they don't recognize him. So he starts peppering them with questions about what's going on.

And ask questions that only a brother would know. And then this amazing scene unfolds Genesis 45. I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Starting in verse one. Joseph couldn't stand it any longer. Out all of you he cries in the attendance. He wanted to be alone with his brothers. Then he broke down and wept aloud and his sobs could be heard throughout the palace. And the news was quickly carried to Pharaoh's palace. And then Joseph said, I am Joseph. Is my father still alive? But his brothers were speechless.

I mean imagine that moment. I am Joseph. And they're thinking we are dead, dead, dead, dead, dead. You're Joseph?

Life is going to end for us right now. They were rendered speechless. They were stunned to realize Joseph was standing there in front of them. Come over here he said.

They came closer and he said, I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don't be angry with yourselves that you did this to me. For God did it.

Underline that. Don't be angry with yourselves for what you did to me. For God did it. And sent me here ahead to preserve your lives.

Stop there. What gave Joseph the grace to make a statement like that? This could have been the ultimate revenge story. If this was a movie it all would have gone into slow motion as he killed each brother. Killing each one in a different way than he killed the one before.

And we would have said yes. That's not what happens. Instead he forgives all of them. Pastor Greg Laurie with a great story of forgiveness today from the life of Joseph. And obviously this study isn't finished. There's more to come here on A New Beginning.

It's a study titled The Teenager Who Changed the World. Well Pastor Greg there are a lot of people who don't know the Lord and they feel their life has been so troubled that maybe the Lord wouldn't want to know them. But God's grace is bigger than our sin. And that's a message that comes through loud and clear in a new DVD we're making available. Yeah it really does. And the title of that DVD is Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon. Now as you may recall I wrote a book by the same title which you might want to order.

It's a great book. And then we made it into a first rate documentary film. Incredible production value done by the same team that brought you Jesus Revolution. Beautifully done cinematic interviews with people that knew Johnny like Marty Stewart. Others that were influenced by Johnny like Tim McGraw, Winona Judd, Cheryl Crowe. And also you hear from members of Johnny's own family including his sister Joanna Cash Yeats and his son John Carter Cash and others.

I was able to bring a perspective on Johnny's life as well. And so we want to send you this incredible DVD that tells a story of redemption. And it brings hope.

And maybe it's your story or maybe it's someone you know. It's their story and they need to see this film. And now for the first time it's available for you to have. For good.

For keeps. To share with others. You could even give the DVD away if you'd like to someone and download the film to your phone or your computer or your tablet because we also provide you with a streaming code. And one other thing I would mention is there's bonus content on this DVD you'll not find anywhere else. Now you can find this film on the Apple platform on the Amazon platform but they don't have this bonus content. And this bonus content includes a message that I gave on how to come to Jesus Christ sort of wrapped around the story of Johnny Cash. So let us send you Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon on DVD complete with streaming code and bonus content for your gift of any size.

Now let me say this. We bring these resources to you to be a blessing but also to give you an opportunity to invest in the work of the kingdom of God. Here at Harvest Ministries we want to teach God's word but we also want to call people to Christ. And if you've been a listener for long you will know that we often give an invitation for people to come to the Lord. And did you know that thousands of people come to Jesus every year listening to this radio broadcast? So when you invest in what we're doing financially you play a part in that.

You share in the fruit of that. So be generous when you send your gift to get your copy of Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon. And in advance let me say thank you.

Yeah and it's easy to do. Just give us a call and we'll be glad to send it your way. So thank you for your investment in keeping these daily studies coming your way. Just dial 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7.

Again that's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or just go online to harvest.org.

Get your copy of Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. Well next time more insight from the life of Joseph about the value and importance of forgiveness. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life share your story leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-04 05:28:02 / 2023-08-04 05:38:24 / 10

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