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What I Would Tell My Younger Self | Embracing Change

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2023 3:00 am

What I Would Tell My Younger Self | Embracing Change

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 13, 2023 3:00 am

Have you noticed how our perspective changes in life? Some of us hated certain vegetables when we were kids. And now? Well, we may still hate those vegetables but that’s not the point! The point is our perspective changes. Right? We eat vegetables ‘cause they’re good for us. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us realize that a changing perspective is good evidence that we’re maturing. And today we’ll see how we can embrace and enhance that maturing process.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. And here's the thing you discover in time. Your pain can be effectively turned to gain because what you have gone through was not designed to destroy you, but to develop you. Have you noticed how our perspective changes in life? Some of us hated certain vegetables when we were kids, and now, well, we may still hate those vegetables, but that's not the point. The point is our perspective changes, right?

We eat vegetables because they're good for us. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us realize that a changing perspective is good evidence that we're maturing. And today, we'll see how we can embrace and enhance that maturing process.

This is the day, the day when life begins. The title of this special message is What I Would Tell My Younger Self. What would I say to a young Greg as an older Greg?

What advice would I give myself? What things would I tell young Greg to avoid? What things would I tell young Greg to do?

Well, there's the obvious answers. I would tell young Greg, brush your teeth every day, boy, because you do not want to have to spend as much time at the dentist as older Greg has. Of course, I would tell younger Greg, wear sunscreen. I was a blonde kid, out at the beach a lot.

I don't think I hardly ever wore sunscreen, and I've had more than one trip to the dermatologist, so I'd certainly give that advice. Maybe I would say to a young Greg, you know when Star Wars comes out and all those figures are in the original packaging? Don't open those. Save those, because you'll be able to sell those for a lot of money later. I think that's true of original Barbie dolls in their packaging. I just read the other day that an original copy of The Legend of Zelda video game sold for, get this, $411,000.

So I guess I would say, young Greg, go find a few copies of The Legend of Zelda, because they'll be worth half a million one day, but don't take it out of the original packaging. Now these are silly things, things that don't matter all that much, but I want to talk about things that really do matter, what I would say to a younger me, and in effect, what I'm saying to young people right now. Let me give you a little bit of advice. Maybe you don't have a mom and a dad that are doing this for you, or a grandfather. Let me be your dad for a few minutes, or your grandfather, and say things to you that you need said to you as a younger person.

This first one may be surprising, but I'm going to start with this. Whatever you're going through, it's going to be okay. Whatever you're going through, it's going to be okay. I know when you're young and you're experiencing things for the first time, life can seem kind of scary. You're wondering about what you're going to do with your life, where you're going to go, who you're going to marry, what career path you're going to choose, and then maybe something bad happens to you. You have a huge setback. You break up with your boyfriend or your girlfriend, and it almost seems like your world has just ended. Listen, it's going to be okay.

You're going to get through this. I look at photos of my younger self. By the way, I just rediscovered these really old photos of me as a little boy.

I believe they were taken when I was living in New Jersey. I was around six or seven years old. I look at this little guy, and knowing now what I know now, I know that little guy is going to go through a lot of suffering. His mother would effectively abandon him. He would never have a father growing up. He would be passed around from aunts and uncles. He would spend a considerable period of time in military school. Life would not make sense to him. Sometimes he would be up all night wondering when his mother was going to come home, and she wouldn't come home, and he'd have to get himself ready for school and take a lot of responsibility on as a little kid. But here's what I would say. God has his hand on you.

God is going to watch over you. I mentioned I was passed around to family members, and I did spend a bit of time with my grandparents. That was probably one of the most stable times in my life because they functioned as parents, but they were parents from another century. They were quite old when I was living with them, and they believed in old-fashioned values, but fortunately, they believed in old-fashioned food too, starting with fried chicken. By the way, when we had fried chicken, we didn't just go to the market and buy chicken like normal people. My grandfather would kill a live chicken, cut its head off.

I remember as a little kid watching him do it one time. He took the chicken. He put it on a tree stump. He took out the hatchet or the ax, I should say.

Boom! Off comes the head, and the body is running around, spurt out blood. As I recall, it started running toward me, and I'm thinking, how does the chicken body know where to go? I felt like the little chicken head laying there was saying, go straight, turn right, turn right, whatever.

It traumatized me. I still break out in a cold sweat when I go buy Chick-fil-A. Not really, but fresh chicken, mashed potatoes made from scratch, black-eyed peas, so many incredible things she would make every night. But her crowning achievement was her biscuit.

This was a biscuit unlike any other I've had any place. So it was good. It was stable. And I remember we would sit in the front room of my grandparents' house. They each had sort of a La-Z-Boy type chair, and I'd sit in a little stool in the middle. And I remember we watched Billy Graham. And how was I to know as a little boy that I would one day meet him and actually become friends with him? My grandparents had a little painting of the face of Jesus over the furnace.

It was a floor furnace. And I remember I would look at that picture of Jesus for hours thinking about him. There was something about him that interested me. How was I to know that I would come into a relationship with him?

And he would change my life forever. So despite the hardship I went through as a little boy, I was able to react to it in a different way. Because at the age of 17 I put my faith in Jesus Christ.

Listen to this. You don't decide what hand you will be dealt in life. Some of you are in a stable home with mom and dad raising you in a wonderful way. Some of you are from a broken home.

In fact, probably more of you are from a broken home. And you are facing an uncertain future. You don't get to pick what hand is dealt to you in life, but you decide how you will react to it.

And here's the thing you discover in time. No matter how bad your upbringing is, or how bad the experiences are that you go through, your pain can be effectively turned to gain. God can take your setbacks and turn them into setups. Your tests can become a testimony because what you have gone through was not designed to destroy you, but to develop you.

To develop you so you will be a different person. And I have been able to take the pain of my past and use it as a tool to help people who are going through similar pain. The apostle Paul speaks about comforting with the comfort that we ourselves have been comforted with. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Sometimes in the stories we hear from listeners, we weep at what they've been through. But we rejoice that they found hope in Christ.

Listen. After I lost my grandmother, I kind of fell apart. I've been married and divorced, have two wonderful daughters from my first marriage, and now have seven beautiful grandchildren. But it was during my second marriage that we had some really tough times financially and eventually went through bankruptcy. Around that time we met up with some old friends and discovered crystal meth.

It was the beginning of the end. We did crystal meth continuously for a year. At one point I had almost a $550 a day habit. One day I was sitting in my apartment alone. My girls didn't want to be around me.

I was separated from my ex again and just lost it. I fell on my knees and I started praying to God, asking Him to deliver me from the prison I'd created for myself. And I'll never forget what happened. All of a sudden it felt like a million pound weight was lifted off of me. And this dark one room apartment that only had one window suddenly became so bright. I stood up and I just had this feeling of such joy and peace in my heart.

And I knew it was going to be all right. I began listening to our local Christian radio station and heard Pastor Greg preach for the first time, and I was hooked. The way he spoke of being delivered from drugs and drinking, just like me, I thought now there's a guy I can relate to. So I heard him mention his website, and I watched every single video on there, probably more than once, filled a couple of notebooks with notes from his sermons, and also got baptized in the river right behind my house. Glory be to God for lifting me up and forgiving me. It's my dream to one day come to a Harvest Crusade and meet Pastor Greg.

I've been totally clean for almost eight years now. Thank you, Jesus. How has God's Word changed your life?

And how have these studies played a part? Would you let Pastor Greg know? Drop him an email and tell him your story. His email address is simply gregatharvest.org.

Again, gregatharvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg is getting very personal today, letting us in on those things he would tell his younger self. Good wisdom coming our way today. I read just the other day that the majority of Gen Z has high levels of anxiety and stress. Let me say something to my younger viewers right now. I know it's harder for you than it was for us when we were growing up. I know older people will say things like, you know, when I was a child, it was so much harder. No, it's harder for you guys.

One of the reasons it's harder is many of you are coming from broken homes. Another reason it's harder is because everything has been escalated. In my day, I might get beat up at school. In your day, you might get shot in school.

The drugs are much more serious and much harder. And of course, you have social media that amplifies everything and has changed things dramatically. I also read that Generation Z are afraid of the future. And one third of this generation struggle with suicidal thoughts. Am I talking to somebody right now who has contemplated suicide?

Maybe you've even attempted to take your own life. I want you to know something. I want you to know that you are loved. I want you to know that you are wanted. I want you to know you're loved by more people than you could ever imagine. And I also want you to know that God has a special plan for your life. You matter.

We need you. Don't contemplate ending your life. I just watched a documentary film called Roadrunner. It's about the life of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain first kind of broke out with his book that he wrote called Kitchen Confidential. Then he started working in television and had a very successful show on CNN called Parts Unknown and it took him around the world meeting all kinds of people tasting the most exotic foods and sort of the life that many people would only dream of. It's almost like this film Roadrunner was designed to show why suicide is the worst possible solution. Because they interviewed many people that really cared about Anthony Bourdain and how much they missed him and how much they loved him and how devastated.

And in some cases traumatized they were by him taking his own life. Bourdain actually had a scene filmed where he's with a psychiatrist and they're having a discussion together and to the psychiatrist he says, I would like to be happier. I would like to be calmer.

I'd like to be able to relax. I'd like to be able to look out the window and say, life is good. And the psychiatrist replies, well you don't do that? You can't look out the window and say, life is good? And Bourdain replies, no I can't. And then the psychiatrist says to him, you need to start thinking, do you want to change anything?

And Anthony Bourdain responds, I think it's too late for that. Listen, it's never too late to change. I don't know what trajectory your life is going in right now.

I don't know what bad decisions maybe you've made at this moment. But it's never too late to change. And it's not just changing the way you feel.

You need to change the way you think. Christ can change the course of your life. Listen, just as surely as there is a God in heaven who loves you, there is a devil that's headed to hell who hates you. And Jesus summed up the contrast when he said in John 10, the thief, speaking of Satan, comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But in contrast Jesus said, but I have come that you might have life.

And that more abundantly. So there's your choice. Life in a relationship with God. Death outside of a relationship with God. Don't let the devil whisper in your ear that you should take your life.

The Bible says he's a liar and he's a father of lies. Sometimes people are apprehensive about giving their life to Jesus because they think, well, it's going to be misery and rules and regulations. Au contraire. That's French for snails with garlic.

No, that's escargot. To the contrary, God's plan for you is better than your plans for yourself. God himself says in Jeremiah 29, 11, I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Let me just stop right here and ask this question. Would you like to fill that hole inside of your heart? Would you like to have all of your sins forgiven? Would you like to have a fresh start right here, right now?

Here's what you need to do. You need to realize that God loved you so much. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for you 2,000 years ago. If you will turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus, Christ will come into your life and he can change the course of your life, not to mention your eternal destination from hell to heaven. If you would like Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you would like him to forgive you of your sin, why don't we just stop for a moment and why don't you just pray this prayer with me? Just pray, Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I know you are the Savior and I need you in my life. Forgive me of all of my sin.

I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. And second, let us help you get started off right. We want to send you Pastor Greg's New Believer's Bible. It contains hundreds of helps with the New Believer in mind.

It will address some of the questions you might have and lay a good foundation for your faith. We'll send it to you free of charge. Just ask for the New Believer's Bible as you call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300.

Our mailing address is In New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. You know, Pastor Greg, you've been reaching out with the gospel for a long time now. And we often hear from people who found the Lord way back in the early days of your ministry.

In fact, listen to this. We feel grateful that you accepted the call to Jesus all those years ago. Thank you, Pastor Greg.

Wow, I love that. Five years old. You know, a lot of times we think, oh, the kids don't understand. Oh, they understand.

They understand a whole lot more than you think they do. And a commitment can be made to Christ at an early age that will last a lifetime, as shown in what we just heard from this lady writing about how she came to Christ. I remember I was talking to James Dobson once and I was interviewing him and I said, Dr. Dobson, when did you become a Christian? I think he said when I was around four years old.

And I thought, wow, really? That was your moment of conversion? I mean, it's so funny because we think, oh, what kind of a testimony does a four-year-old have?

I mean, were they struggling with their addiction to cookies or wanting too many toys or being too selfish? But here's the thing. Here's our testimony. If you're five or if you're 55, you're lost and then you're found.

Your eyes are opened and you come into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. You know, Dave, I'm amazed at how many times I get letters from folks that say, we listened to A New Beginning on the way to school or as we're driving around. And the parents will say, and my children have come to the Lord listening as well. So that's why I always try to illustrate my messages, why I use humor in my messages, because I always think of those little kids that might be listening in on what we're saying. In fact, they're listening right now, so, hey, kids, how you doing?

We love you and this is for you too. So let me talk to your mom and dad or your grandparents for just a moment and say let's do everything we can to reach this younger generation. By the way, we've done something we're very excited about that we're going to announce in the first of this year, but we are going to get into animation. As you may know, I used to be a cartoonist. If you saw the Jesus Revolution film, you saw that my character, Greg, was always drawing and that was very true. So I have this little character.

His name is Ben Bornagain and he has a dog named Yellow Dog who talks. It's a cartoon. You can do that in cartoons. And so we have animated Ben Bornagain and Yellow Dog. And this is going to be a cartoon that will be entertaining. It's going to be fun, lots of gags and jokes to keep the attention of the little ones, but then it has a very direct gospel message complete with a prayer that a little kid could pray to ask Christ to come into their life. So if you follow me on social media, you'll see little things I'm going to release, but in the beginning of this year, you're going to be able to see the animated version of that living water track that I drew that was featured in the Jesus Revolution film and be introduced to the cartoon adventures of Ben Bornagain and Yellow Dog. But listen, if you believe in reaching this next generation, if you believe that people need to hear about Jesus Christ, I'm going to ask you to bring a generous year-end gift to us here at A New Beginning Harvest Ministries. And in doing so, you're hoping to reach those little five-year-olds and those 55-year-olds and those 85-year-olds and everyone in between because everyone needs to hear the gospel.

So be generous and invest in the future with the only message that can change the human heart, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yeah, that's right. And it's easy to get in touch with us. Just call 1-800-821-3300. We're here 24-7 to take your call.

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

And while you're online with us, why not begin receiving Pastor Greg's daily devotions via email every day? They're free of charge. We'll send them to the email address you provide for us.

And when they arrive, you can read them or, with one click, listen to the audio version. Sign up today free of charge at harvest.org. Hey everybody, I want to encourage you to check out the new Harvest Plus app. It's on Roku, Apple TV, and Google Play, among others, and you can stream incredible content on all major platforms for free. You're going to find live events, our evangelistic films like A Rush of Hope, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon, and our newest film, Fame. You can also stream our feature film, Jesus Revolution, as well as the entire library of the Kingdom Story Company films. Plus, our TV programs, our podcast, Harvest at Home, and a lot more.

Stream it all on any device for free using the new Harvest Plus app. Well, next time, Pastor Greg continues his message called, What I Would Tell My Younger Self, an insight on how we can avoid the scourge of worry and commit to living a life of honesty and integrity. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-13 05:22:30 / 2023-12-13 05:31:34 / 9

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