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Evangelism Jesus-Style | Practical Tips for Sharing the Gospel

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2024 3:00 am

Evangelism Jesus-Style | Practical Tips for Sharing the Gospel

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 6, 2024 3:00 am

God has built into us a hunger for Him . . . it’s an insatiable longing that nothing else can fill. And He’s given believers a pivotal message—the Gospel message—that has the power to bring people to Him. The ingredients are there. It just needs our willingness to share that message. Are you willing to be used that way? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us a number of practical principles to help us share that life-giving message more effectively and confidently.

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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 gregatharvest.org. Again, it's gregatharvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. In A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out it's everyone's privilege. God has built into us a hunger for Him. It's an insatiable longing that nothing else can fill. And He's given believers a pivotal message, the gospel message that has the power to bring people to Him. The ingredients are there. It just needs our willingness to share that message.

Are you willing to be used that way? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us a number of practical principles to help us share that life-giving message more effectively and confidently. One of the most effective ways you can share the gospel is through your personal testimony. Everybody has a testimony, your personal story. We read of those courageous believers in the book of Revelation that overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.

Now granted, some testimonies are more dramatic than others. But listen, not everyone was in the mafia. Not everybody was an atheist. Maybe you were just living a nice moral life. But you needed Jesus too, didn't you? That's a testimony. See, someone may not relate to the hardcore gangbang testimony or the drug addict testimony or the alcoholic testimony, but they'll relate to you because you would say, I was living a good life. I tried to be a moral person.

I reached all of the goals I set in life, but there was something missing and I realized I needed Jesus. That's a testimony. That'll preach. Let me tell you your testimony. Here it is. Once you were blind, but now you see. That's it.

It's the same for everyone. So when you share your testimony, this is a way to build a bridge. And I'll usually start with my testimony. Let me tell you about what my life was about before.

And I describe it and I use my story to lead to his story. Ultimately the objective is to get them to the gospel. You say, what is the gospel? I should be able to point to any person in this room and say, give me the gospel in three minutes or less. You should be able to stand up without warning at a moment's notice and be able to articulate the essential gospel message. And sometimes we overcomplicate it.

We use verbiage that people don't understand. So just to simplify it, here's the gospel. Again the word gospel means good news. Before I can appreciate the good news, I have to know the bad news.

I said this already. That bad news is I'm a sinner. I've broken God's commandments. I've fallen short of his standards. There's nothing I can do to fix that. But the good news is 2,000 years ago Christ came to this earth, was born in Bethlehem, and died on the cross for my sin. He came to pay a debt he did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay. If I will turn from my sin and receive Christ into my life, I can be forgiven and go to heaven and now find a meaningful and purposeful life that he has for me. It's very simple.

We should be able to articulate that message. How many of you saw the Jesus Revolution movie? Well, if you saw the film you have a sense of my life.

I'll give you a couple details that are not in the film. So my mother, a beautiful woman, literally a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe, and she was married and divorced seven times, and she was a raging alcoholic. She was beautiful. How else would I be so handsome? It was not a joke. I don't know why you laughed. A little hurtful, frankly.

No, it was a joke. Okay, so she's 70 and she looks like she's 90. She drank and she smoked every day. Her kidneys were failing.

She was getting dialysis three times a week. And it was always so hard to talk to my mom about the Lord because she was raised in a Christian home and rebelled against it. And so whenever I'd bring this subject up she would say, I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to talk about it.

And so it was frustrating to me. I'm preaching the gospel all around the world. I've had the ability to pray and lead people to Christ, and my own mother is still a non-believer. And so one day I'm driving to church and the Lord speaks to my heart, go talk to your mother today. Oh, it's so awkward. Go talk to your mother today. So I call my wife. I'm going to go talk to my mom.

Pray for me. So I go over to her house and she's sitting at the table there in her kitchen. I walked in. Hi, mom.

What are you doing here? I wanted to come by and talk to you today. So I sat down. I said, mom, I want to talk to you today about your soul. She said, I don't want to talk about it.

I said, today we're going to talk about it. And I was direct with her. And after, as a result of that conversation, my mother made a recommitment to Christ. You know, I'm so glad I did it. I'm so glad I did it. I want to tell you one more story from my earlier years.

I had a full-time ministry evangelizing my mother's old husbands. I was able to reconnect with my father, Oscar Laurie. So in the movie, if you saw Jesus Revolution, you see Greg is always drawing a little tree and the word Rapool a lot. And that's the family crest of the Laurie family. And it means it buds afresh.

It's the idea of a tree that was cut down that begins to go back again. So Oscar Laurie, not my biological father, but the only man my mother married whoever treated me as a father should treat a son. He loved me. He took an interest in me. He adopted me. And he gave me his name. And my mother abruptly left him. I was getting out of school.

The car was loaded up. And I said, what's going on? She says, we're leaving. I said, where are we going? She said, to Hawaii. I said, where's dad?

She said, he's not coming. And I arrived in Hawaii and met her new husband who was very abusive and almost killed her. My mother left him, but Oscar. So I wanted to reconnect with him. So I'm a young man now and I'm a young pastor and I think I want to try to talk to him. So I had been asked to speak in New York City and that's where we lived and we were together and my mom was married to him. And so I did make contact with him.

I got him on the phone. I called his office. She said, law office of Oscar Laurie.

He was an attorney. And I said, yes, I would like to speak with Oscar Laurie. She said, well, what is your name? I said, Greg Laurie. She said, how do you spell your last name?

I said, the same way he spells his. This is his son. So he comes on the phone shortly after that. Greg, so good to hear from you. Hey, dad.

Kind of awkward to call him that. I hadn't seen him for like 16 years. Hey, dad, I would like to see you. I'm going to be in New York. He goes, come and spend the weekend with me. We would love to see you. And I said, well, I don't want to impose because he had remarried, had sons and no, come and spend the weekend with us.

Okay. So I spoke in Central Park and got on a train and I get off the train and there's my dad. It was like I went back in time.

He looked just like I remembered him. And so that night we caught up and I told him all of the things that had happened to me in my life. So we had dinner and he married a wonderful lady named Barbara who was Italian and was an amazing cook.

I love Italian food. After a great meal of spaghetti and meatballs and garlic bread and all the fixings, Barbara, my dad's wife, says to me, Greg, tell me how you became a Christian and how you became a pastor. So I began to share my testimony and there sits my wife and my son Christopher and Barbara and my dad. And Barbara's listening, nodding, oh, that's amazing. On the other side of the table, my dad's sitting there. He has his hands up to his face like this. He's just looking at me, not reacting. I felt like I'm in a courtroom and he's the judge. No reaction.

Just looking at me. So after we were done, I thought, okay, that didn't go over so well with him. And I'm getting ready to go to bed and he says, Greg, can you walk with me in the morning? I left out a very important detail.

My father had some heart problems and blacked out at the steering wheel and drove into a post and almost died. So now he's on heart medication and he has to exercise and walk every morning. So he says, will you walk with me in the morning? And I said, okay. So he get knock on my door. It's six o'clock in the morning, New York time, three o'clock in the morning, California time. And so I stumble outside with him.

It's very brisk, you know, and we're walking. And Oscar, my dad says, Greg, I was listening very carefully to what you said last night. I said, right. And he said, and I want to accept Jesus Christ into my life right now. Boy, whoa. Wake up call.

Like a triple espresso. What? I want to accept Jesus Christ into my life right now. Understand, my dad was like an intellectual. He loved to read history books.

Very sharp, very bright, intelligent man. I said, I thought maybe he didn't understand what I said. Well, dad, let me go over that one more time, what it means to accept Christ. I go over it again. He goes, yes, I want to do that right now. What do I need to do? I said, and we're walking the whole time we're walking. He says, what do I need to do? He, I said, well, we need to pray.

He said, okay. He drops to his knees. This is not an emotional man.

It's a very reserved gentleman. He's on his knees. So I get down on my knees.

I wasn't going to get on my knees, but he's on his knees. I lead him in this prayer. He prays this prayer, to accept Christ into his life. After we're done praying, he says, Greg, pray for my heart. Pray that God heals my heart. Okay, let's pray. So I prayed, Lord, heal my dad's heart.

And we stand him. He goes, Greg, my doctor's office is right over here. Let's go over there. I want to tell him I've accepted Jesus and he's healed my heart.

I'm like, whoa. Dad, I don't know if he healed your heart. Well, let's go see him. And so we walk over to his doctor's office, a nice Jewish gentleman.

My dad walks in. Doc, this is my son, Greg Laurie. He's a preacher. I just accepted Jesus and my heart is healed. The doctor is like, now Oscar, we need to run some tests on you first. And they run tests on him. And guess what? God healed his heart.

God gave him 15 more years. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. 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. 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, today we're in Spokane, Washington, enjoying a message from Pastor Greg titled Evangelism Jesus Style. He offers insight on getting past the pain and disappointment we encounter in life. One of the best ways to deal with traumas from your past is, is first of all, forgive people. Well, they don't deserve it. No, you don't deserve it either.

Okay. The Bible says forgive as God in Christ has forgiven you. See, when you forgive a person, you set a prisoner free yourself. You're the prisoner of unforgiveness. So forgive. I had to forgive my mom. Forgive some of these guys she married. But sharing the gospel was a great way to do it.

But here's my point. Forgive and try to share the gospel with people, even people who have hurt you. Leave your comfort zone. Go and do something unexpected.

Reach an unexpected person in an unexpected place with an unexpected message, which is the gospel. And not all of these guys came to the Lord. I mentioned one guy that my mom married. When she left Oscar and moved to Hawaii, this guy was the worst. He was abusive, horrible, almost killed her. I'm in Hawaii preaching and someone says, your dad is really close to dying.

Maybe you should go talk to him. Oh, and I would like to tell you, I was able to lead this man. His name was Al. I wish I could tell you I led this man to the Lord, but he was as hard in the later years as he was in his earlier years. I told him all about Jesus, what Christ had done for me. And he just looked at me like, yeah, so what? And I said, and I'm preaching across the street here in this park right over here. You can walk there from here.

It's called the Waikiki Shell. Will you come and hear me? He says, no. Look, my job is not to convert people, nor is it yours. I have no ability to convert a person. People sometimes will ask me, what is the one thing you can say to a non-believer that will cause them to believe? It's as though they think evangelists have this little secret message. Okay, I don't usually share this with people, but say this, and they'll believe.

I don't have anything like that. I'm just like you. We're all the same. But I know there's power in the gospel. I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes. So have confidence in that message. Your job, my job, our job is to share it. Jesus says, no one comes to the Father unless I draw him. So it has to be a work of the Spirit. So I shared with Oscar, he believes.

I share with Al, he doesn't believe. Everyone's different, but just do your job and leave the results in the hands of God. On that final day when we stand before Jesus, it's not about success, it's about faithfulness. It's about doing what you were called to do. Jesus will not say, well done, good and successful servant.

He'll say, well done, good and what? Faithful servant. So just be faithful and into your world. Go into all of your world and preach the gospel.

And I'll tell you one of the greatest joys I know next to being a Christian is having the privilege of leading someone to Christ. So we're gonna close now in prayer, and I'm gonna ask you to make a commitment to be available to God. But I'm gonna warn you now, but I'm gonna ask you to pray. I suggest you don't pray if you don't mean it. Because if you pray the prayer I'm gonna lead you in, I'm an evangelist, I like to lead people in prayers, okay? So if you pray this prayer that I'm about to lead you in, mean it, and don't be surprised if God doesn't call on you before the day is over. It opens up that little door. Just something, it seems random, coincidental.

It's not coincidence, it's providence. God's in control of your life. So this prayer will lead you in, which is a prayer of commitment and availability to God. It's something you should mean before you pray it. Because God is not looking for ability, He's looking for availability.

He does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. So really what He's looking for is for a man or a woman to say, here I am Lord, send me. Not here I am Lord, send him.

Or send her. Here I am Lord, send me. So I'm gonna lead you in this prayer. Pray it if you mean it.

Let's pray. Pray these words, Lord Jesus. You've called me to go into all the world and preach the gospel. I want to do this Lord. Here I am Lord, send me. Open up doors of opportunity.

Give me a boldness like I've never known before. To leave my comfort zone and engage people with the gospel. Use me for your glory. In Jesus name I pray. Now Father I pray for everyone here, myself included. We just said, here I am Lord, send me.

The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. He told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would raise up laborers into the harvest. We're here Lord. We want to be bold, but Lord will be honest. Sometimes we're afraid and we're embarrassed and we're timid, but we should be bold with this message of the gospel. So Lord use us, fill us with your Holy Spirit, give us a compassion and a burden for people that do not yet know you. And Lord, yes, use us to lead people into your kingdom. We commit ourselves to you now, and we ask all of this in Jesus name. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an encouraging message to thousands of people gathered in Spokane, Washington for the Be Bold for Jesus Evangelism Conference. Good insight for all of us today here on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg, we'd be remiss if we didn't follow through and give an opportunity for someone to enter into a relationship with the Lord right now.

That's right. What would you say to the person who wants to do that? What I would say is he's only a prayer way, which means if you will call upon the name of the Lord right now through prayer, he will hear your prayer and answer your prayer. Listen, if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that you go to heaven when you die, just pray this prayer right now after me. Just pray, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now, and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord, as my God and my friend. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Amen. And listen, if you have just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and have meant those words sincerely, the Lord has forgiven your sins, and we want to welcome you into the family of God. And we want to help you get started living this new life. Let us send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible.

It's been read by millions of people, and they've enjoyed the scores of helps for new believers and the easy-to-understand translation. So get in touch for your free copy of the New Believers Bible. Call us at 1-800-821-3300.

We can take that call any time, 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Pastor Greg, let's talk about the adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. Okay. Now, I heard James Dobson say that kids build confidence if they're encouraged to develop a talent of some kind.

If they're really good at athletics or singing or something, that helps them hold their head up. Yes. Did your artistic talent give you that kind of anchor? Yeah, I would say so because people love cartoons, and they always want me to draw them.

Will you draw me? And a caricature is an exaggerated version of a person. So if someone's ears are a little bit big, you make them far larger or other features, you exaggerate them, and it's meant to elicit a laugh. So some people are easier to caricature than others.

Sometimes I'll be out with my wife, and I'll say, that guy is just waiting to be caricatured. You know, it's something that people are very entertained by, especially children. You know, when I meet a child and I want to build a bridge to a child, I'll just draw a cartoon. They're just immediately impressed, and it's a great way to communicate with them, and I'll talk to them about what the cartoon character is thinking and saying, and it's something that really engages children. But I find that people of all ages love animation.

You know, there's something about it that just captures our imagination. Of course, graphic novels are very big right now among people of all ages, and we've had a huge, huge return in Renaissance in animation overall. So I thought this is a good time to get into this space with the message of the gospel. As people know, you know, we do evangelistic events that we call Harvest Crusades, and then we've done films like Jesus Revolution and our evangelistic documentaries like Johnny Cash or Redemption of an American Icon or Stephen McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon or our film A Rush of Hope. But I thought, what about animation? We could reach a whole new audience, especially children, and it's using humor. So this might surprise you when I tell you what my objective is. Number one, when we started these animated cartoons, my first objective was to make them entertaining and funny. He said, oh no, Greg, they should be gospel-centric.

Listen, they are, but they have to fit in the medium. If you make a bad film, no one cares about your message. You have to do it well. Same with music. You want people to hear your message.

It has to be a good song. So my feeling is whatever we do, we want to do it with excellence and with artistic integrity. So number one, we wanted them to be funny, entertaining, and be a real cartoon. But then at the same time, we wanted to get the gospel in it and sort of sneak up on people a little bit so they engage with Ben Born Again. That's a play on words in case you missed it. Ben Born Again, as in I've been born again. So Ben Born Again, and he has this dog. Now, this dog has had many names over the years. I've been drawing him since I was around 10 years old. I once called him Herman the dog, and then he became, oh my goodness, I think he was T-Bone again. I didn't really like that name. Someone else came up with it.

And then I just thought, you know what? He's a dog. He's yellow. Let's just call him Yellow Dog. In fact, here's just a little teaser where Ben Born Again tells Yellow Dog how he got his name.

Check this out. Ah, sorry. I forgot to introduce you to my buddy, Yellow Dog. Yellow Dog? Why did you even name me that?

Dude, because you're yellow and you are a dog. It's a cool name. Oh, I see. So there you have it.

Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. And we're very excited now to bring these animated cartoons to you to watch with your kids, to watch with your grandkids. And you can be certain of this. They'll be entertaining. They'll be engaging.

The kids will laugh. But they have gospel truth in them. And some deal with topics that are very important from a biblical perspective.

We read some very well-known Bible stories. But then there's some wacky, funny things that happen to Ben and his dog. You see, Yellow Dog is always getting himself into trouble. And so Ben has to explain things to him and help them through these things.

And so the people might connect to Yellow Dog. And Ben is sort of the narrator. He's the one that, he's the voice of reason. He's there to articulate the gospel. So if there was a straight man and a funny man, Ben's a straight man.

And Yellow Dog, he's there for the laughs and the exploration and the journey of it all, trying to figure it out. Well, it's a great concept. And you'll love seeing this for yourself. And that's why we're so excited to say that the very first episode is out now. You can view it right now for free at our new Harvest Plus app and also at our website, harvest.org. It's a high-quality Christian animated cartoon that your kids or grandkids will love. It's part of our mission to take the gospel to as many people as we can and to use new innovative ways to spread that message.

Thank you for your support of this important goal. We hope you might prayerfully help us right now so we can produce even more episodes of The Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog. And Pastor Greg wants to thank you tangibly with a redesigned copy of The Living Water Tract in comic book form. That's the art piece Pastor Greg designed that got the whole thing started years ago.

So let us hear from you. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg launches a new series in the book of Joshua called Living in the Land of Promises. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. 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 / 2024-02-10 13:54:58 / 2024-02-10 14:05:40 / 11

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