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What I Would Tell My Younger Self | Precepts to Live By

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 18, 2023 3:00 am

What I Would Tell My Younger Self | Precepts to Live By

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 18, 2023 3:00 am

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Whether you’re an electrician or a chef, an auto mechanic or a roofer, chances are you served some sort of apprenticeship. You learned the trade from someone with a few years under his or her tool belt. Well the Lord has a similar plan for how believers can pass knowledge from older to younger. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie shares the kinds of precepts that we should be passing on. 

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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. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how discipleship is an important part of God's plan for passing insight and wisdom from older believers to younger believers. So if you're a younger believer, find an older believer you can learn from. Whether you're an electrician or a chef, an auto mechanic or a roofer, chances are you serve some sort of apprenticeship.

You learn the trade from someone with a few years under his or her tool belt. Well, the Lord has a similar plan for how believers can pass knowledge from older to younger. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shares the kinds of precepts that we should be passing on.

If you missed the first 14 precepts in this thoughtful message, get a replay at harvest.org. Hey, if you have a Bible, why don't you grab it and turn to 2 Timothy chapter 4 and the title of this special message is what I would tell my younger self. Advice I would give to anyone, young people, but older people as well. I would say, young Greg, put God first in your life. Put God first in your life. This of course starts with asking Christ to come into your life, but then it means following Him. Jesus summed it up this way in Matthew 633, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Now what was He talking about when He said all these things?

Jesus said, don't be like the non-believers. All they think about is what they're going to wear, what they're going to drink, what they're going to eat. But I say to you, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and these things will be added to you. And we're obsessed with all those things.

What we'll eat, what we'll drink, what we'll wear, where we'll go, what we'll drive, where we will work, where we will live. These are not bad things by the way to think about. But Jesus is saying, don't make those the focus of your life. Put God first in your life. Seek first the kingdom of God.

What does that mean? The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of Christ in your life. See one day we'll go to heaven and enter into the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God will come to earth. But also when the Bible tells us to seek it first, it means just put Jesus first. Think about God's will when you make those decisions. Don't put money first. Don't put career first. Don't put politics first. Don't even put ministry first. Put Jesus first and He will take care of you and life. That's where I would start.

Here's another thing an older Greg would say to a younger Greg. Read the Bible every day. And I pretty much followed that advice, thankfully. And I hope many of you are following it as well. Because sometimes I think Christians as they grow in their faith, think well I don't need to read the Bible as much as I used to.

Now listen. You need to read the Bible every single day. You should start the day with it.

You should end the day with it. In Psalm 1 it says, happy is the man or the woman who doesn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. It says, his delight is in the word of the Lord and in it does he meditate day and night. Then it goes on to say he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.

His leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper. Happy is that man. You want to be a happy man. You want to be a happy woman. Read the word of God.

It says meditate in it. Listen to this. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the Bible you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. I am going to repeat that. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the word of God you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. So read the word. Treasure the word.

Memorize the word. I have never met a strong Christian who is not full of scripture. Here is another thing. Tell others about Jesus and then disciple them.

This is called the Great Commission. Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit and lo I am with you even to the end of the age. Jesus is saying he will be with the person who does this in a special way. It means that we look for opportunities to initiate conversations about Christ. To the best of our ability we seek to lead people to the Lord and then we disciple them.

You say what does that even mean? It means you take them under your wing and you help them get up on their feet spiritually. Here is why discipling a new believer is important for the new believer as well as for the old believer. The older believer stabilizes the younger believer and the younger believer energizes the older believer. So you know when you have been going to church for 10, 15, 20 years I don't know what you do after the service but maybe you start critiquing things. Did you see what she was wearing?

Oh man can you believe how loud the music was? And that sermon seemed a little too long. You know you kind of gripe and complain maybe. But let's say you have a brand new believer with you. They just accepted Christ two weeks ago.

They are in that bloom of first love. I guarantee you are not going to be critiquing the sermon or critiquing the church because the new believer will say, you know the pastor said this and I have never heard that before so you will find yourself elaborating on it. Do you understand how that is helping you as well as it is helping them? But see a lot of us don't do this. You know we are not sharing the truth. We are hoarding the truth.

And we just think about ourselves. But a true mark of spiritual maturity is when we get our eyes off of ourselves and start thinking of others. But then there is a joy of sharing because Jesus said it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. Share your faith. Seek to disciple others.

And here is another one. Spend time with older godly people. Sometimes when you are young you just want to hang around young people. I remember when I was a brand new Christian I was 17. I knew a lot of people my own age. But I went out of my way to find older people to hang around.

You know why? I thought what do these other young people know? I don't think they know much more than I know. So I met people that were older like Pastor Chuck Smith, his wife Kay Smith, an associate pastor there at the church he pastored Calvary Chapel named Pastor Romaine. I spent time talking to them.

You know why? I didn't have a dad growing up. I didn't have a mom growing up. I needed an older person to help me figure life out.

To give me some life hacks if you will. And they did that. They spent time with me. I didn't just listen to them speak. I had meals with them and did fun things with them and got to see what a Christian looks like up close and personal. Especially an older more mature believer. A little bit later on in my life I became friends with a great British preacher Alan Redpath who wrote a lot of amazing commentaries. And of course I became friends with Billy and Ruth Graham. Being with these godly people impacted me. Find godly people you can be with. So if you are an older believer find a younger believer you can bring under your wing. If you are a younger believer find an older believer you can learn from.

Paul says to Timothy, teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. See we are in a race as Christians. And this race is the beginning, middle, and end. I expect that I am toward the end of my race.

I am certainly not at the beginning of it. And this is a relay race. And my job in this race is not to hold on to the baton forever.

I have to hand it on to the next runner to carry it forward. We need to do the same. And we need to share these truths if you are older with younger people. God told Moses to teach these truths to his children when they sit down, when they lie down, when they walk, when they get up and they go to bed. In other words just integrate this truth into the life of other people throughout life in general.

Listen to this. World view for young people is formed between the ages of 18 months and the age of 13. Those are the most critical years to pour truth into the life of a younger person. Find a younger person and do that.

And if you are a younger person get someone to help you with that. Here is my final point which is simply this. Don't give too many points when you are saying what an older you would say to a younger you. The last point is this. Finish your race well. I mentioned we are in a race.

A race of life. Paul says many people are in the race. Run that you may win. We all want to win.

We all are running for the gold. You know we want to do the best we can with the life that God has given us. And there will come a moment when we have our last meal and we give our last statement. And then we are done.

We breathe our last breath. Hopefully we can say along with the Apostle Paul. And this of course is found in 2 Timothy 4. I fought the good fight. I kept the faith. I finished the course. Henceforth there is laid before me a crown of righteousness. Which the Lord the righteous judge will give to me in that day and not to me only.

But to all who love his appearing. You don't know when the end of your race will come. My son's race ended at 33. And we used to race on the beach by the way.

Him and I. He was a great runner Christopher. But somehow I could beat him for many years even though he was a good runner. He was a long distance runner.

I was a sprinter. So I would challenge him to a race. I would always have the race favor me. I would pick a rock up the beach. I would say, let's race to the rock. And your market said go.

Well it would favor me because I am a sprinter. And I would always beat him. And one day we were walking along the beach. I said, let's race to that rock.

You ready? And off we go. And he not only beat me. He really beat me.

And I think that he has gone to heaven before me. He beat me in the race. You think, well I have a long ways to run this race and live this life. Maybe I will get right with God when I am in my 80's or 90's.

No. Your race may be coming to an end more quickly than you planned for. So always be able to say, I fought the good fight. I kept the faith. I finished the course.

Run this race well. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We love hearing from our listeners.

Whether it's a short word or they take some time to tell us what's going on with them. Hi. I was watching Jesus Revolution and stopped at the point where the actor who played Greg said his name was Greg Laurie.

I rewound it to make sure I heard it correctly. Then I googled it and wow. I had no idea that was you. And I also did not know that you had a hard life like I did. I honestly only know you as the guy I get devotions from in my email. I was surprised and thankful. Do you have a comment to share with Pastor Greg? If so, call him and tell him about it. The number is 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well today Pastor Greg is passing along advice to those younger in the faith and really to all of us. And he recalls getting some counsel from his mentor, Pastor Chuck Smith. I asked him this question. Chuck, what would an older Chuck say to a younger Chuck?

What advice would you give yourself? And Chuck's response was simply, hold the course. I wasn't sure what that meant. I said, what do you mean hold the course? You mean like we're in the race of life and you just hang in there and keep running? He said, that's it. Hold the course.

That's what he did by the way. He held the course into his mid 80s before the Lord called him home. I say to you seasoned saints, you that have been walking with the Lord for some time, hold your course.

Keep running this race because you never know when the race will end. I was with Alice Cooper a little earlier this week and of course you probably know who Alice Cooper is. He's a famed rock star at one moment. He was the most famous and successful rock star in all of the world. His name he was given was Vincent Fournier. And as a young man he got into a little rock band.

They were called the Spiders. And they later changed their name to Alice Cooper. And of course he was known for spectacle and for almost being like a dark figure.

But in reality a lot of it was an act. At one time Vincent Fournier started turning into the character Alice Cooper. Almost like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He started becoming this character and he was drinking. He became an alcoholic and then he became a drug addict.

But here's the amazing thing you may not know about Alice Cooper. Is he's the son of a pastor. And he was running from God. He described himself to me in an interview I did with him as the prodigal running from God. And he went so far that people thought he'll never get right with God.

This guy is so evil he told me they were destroying copies of his record on the 700 Club. But God wasn't done with Vincent. He wasn't done with Alice. And he got a hold of him.

Alice was actually overdosing on cocaine. He had a rock of cocaine the size of a softball. And he was hallucinating. And he looked in the mirror and he saw what looked like blood coming out of his eyes. And he cried out to God. And he took that rock of cocaine and flushed it down the toilet.

And God heard his prayer and turned him around. And he's been walking with the Lord clean and sober for many years now. The only addiction he seems to have today is an addiction to golf.

He loves to get out on the course. I think that's an acceptable addiction so to speak. But the point is Alice speaks out about his faith in Jesus Christ right now.

Reminding us that no one is beyond the reach of God. I've talked a lot about younger people. Let me talk to someone who is a little older. Maybe you've made some bad decisions. Maybe you've done some things and you would say it's too late for me.

It's never too late for you. God can turn your life around. God can forgive you of your sin. God can refresh you and replenish you and revive you. But you must turn to Him.

Let me do an invitation of a different kind right now. An invitation to prodigal sons and daughters out there who like Alice Cooper have been running from God. But listen. God has not forgotten about you. God loves you. And God will accept you and forgive you. We talk about the prodigal son. You remember that story in the Bible.

A boy runs away from his father. Ruins his life. Loses everything that he has. Comes back in shame. Returning to his father. And Jesus who told the story of the father when he saw him at a distance. Ran to him.

Threw his arms around him. And rejoiced and said this my son who is dead is alive again. When he was lost is found. You wonder how would God treat me if I returned to Him. He would forgive you. Abraham Lincoln after the end of the Civil War was asked how they should treat the rebellious southerners. And he said treat them as if they had never left.

The idea is God will treat you as if you have never left. He will forgive you because on the cross Jesus took your sin 2,000 years ago. He paid it in full. It wasn't a partial payment. It was a complete payment. And that is why he uttered the words it is finished. It is completed.

It is done. You just need to come and say God forgive me. Are you a prodigal son or daughter? Have you been running from God? Maybe it is time to return to Him. I am going to pray a simple prayer. If you would like to recommit your life to Jesus Christ you can do it right here right now.

Let's pray. Pray these words Lord Jesus. I have been a prodigal. I know it is right. But I have been running from You. But I am so thankful You love me and You will forgive me. Lord I return to You now. I recommit my life to You now.

I choose to follow You from this moment forward. Thank You for hearing my prayer and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name I ask this.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer today here on A New Beginning. We hope you will get in touch with us and let us know about the decision you have made today.

Whether you are coming to the Lord for the first time or coming back to the Lord, let us know how God has spoken to you. We would like to send you an important resource to help you build a strong foundation of faith as you go forward. We would like to send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. We will send it free of charge and it will help you as you take your next steps. Just ask for it as you call 1-800-821-3300. You can reach us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300.

Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. If you missed any part of Pastor Greg's extended length message called, What I Would Tell My Younger Self, you can get a replay at harvest.org. In the presentation he offered 17 guidelines for Christian growth and we've covered them all over the last four programs.

So be sure to hear what you missed at harvest.org. Pastor Greg, you pointed out before that the first word of the Great Commission is one of the most important words, GO. And we've sort of adopted that as a main theme as we move into 2024. But in reality, the difference between GO and, wait a minute, is often the resources we have available to get moving.

It often just gets down to math, doesn't it? Exactly Dave, in fact, stop and think about it, spell the word gospel, G-O-S-P-E-L. So the first two letters in gospel are GO.

Yeah, you know, you can't drive a car without putting gas in the tank or if you have an electric car without charging it, right? So you need fuel to go forward and we need fuel here too. You see, as we look at each year and opportunities to maybe expand this ministry to reach other people, we look at the resources we have, we look at budgets just like you do with all the things that you deal with in your business or in your home, and we want to be responsible because we're very careful to pay all of our bills on time and be good stewards over what God has given us. But when people give generously to us, that gives us a little, how shall we put it, a war chest or some extra fuel to stay with our existing metaphor to reach new people. So I'm asking some of you to prayerfully consider giving toward us financially so we can respond to the many opportunities that come our way. Look, the great commission is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The great thing about Christian radio and podcasting is you reach unexpected people in unexpected places with an unexpected message. And I love to give appeals for people to come to Christ as well. As you know, if you've ever listened to this program before, you know it's not uncommon for me to come at the end of the program and say, hey, would you like to accept Christ?

You can do it right now. Just pray this prayer with me. And you know what? Every year, thousands of people pray that prayer and they let us know. Then there are the ones that never even contact us that pray that prayer. I run into them when I'm out and about, oh, I prayed with you when I was driving down the freeway and I'll say, did you ever contact us?

No, but I've been walking with the Lord for years now. So it's great, you know, because it's just sowing seed. You know, it's interesting that the word broadcast means to sow seed, to broadly cast seed. And this is exactly as it was done in Bible times.

They would just take the seed and throw it out and it would go in good ground and sometimes ground embedded with weeds and sometimes ground that had stones in it, but they just threw the seed out. And it's amazing how we're able to do that here in a new beginning. So help us continue to cast that seed. Help us to continue to broadcast this message. And I'm going to ask you to give generously to us here as we come to the end of this year so we can continue to reach more people with the life-changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yeah, that's right. Your gift couldn't come at a more strategic time. And you can take care of all the details easily when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here around the clock to take your call. And again, the number 1-800-821-3300.

Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to 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 brings a powerful step-by-step study on how to follow the Lord's plans for a more successful and rewarding prayer life. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-18 05:16:00 / 2023-12-18 05:25:52 / 10

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