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Faith 101 | Back to Basics

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 29, 2024 3:00 am

Faith 101 | Back to Basics

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 29, 2024 3:00 am

A pilot said, “the basics of aviation are really quite simple. You push the control stick forward and the houses get real big; you pull it back and the houses get real small.” But imagine if a pilot did lose track of the basics—can’t remember what those switches do, or even why they’re important. Well, today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us with a refresher course on the basics of the Christian faith. It’s a good reminder of the fundamentals that’ll keep us all from crashing and burning.

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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 supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. Sometimes we lose sight of the basics. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us shore up the foundation of our walk with the Lord. We'll see our lives suffer when we overlook the fundamentals. We can find ourselves being defeated. We find ourselves falling back into old sins that we thought were a part of our past. And that's because we've lost sight of the basics. So let's go back to the very beginning.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Bible. A pilot said the basics of aviation are really quite simple. You push the control stick forward and the houses get real big. You pull it back and the houses get real small. But imagine if a pilot did lose track of the basics. Can't remember what those switches do or even why they're important. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us with a refresher course on the basics of the Christian faith.

It's a good reminder of the fundamentals that will keep us all from crashing and burning. I heard about two friends that ran into each other on the street. They hadn't seen each other for a while. So the one guy said to his buddy, man, you look very sad, like you're on the verge of tears.

What's wrong? And the sad guy said, well, as it turns out, I had an uncle die recently and he left me $40,000. His friend said, well, that's pretty amazing. The guy says, you don't understand, two weeks ago, my cousin died, who I never even knew, and they left me $85,000 free and clear. His buddy said, man, that's a lot of money. You should be very happy. The guy says, no, wait.

Then I had a distant aunt die and she left me half a million dollars. His friend said, I'm a little confused as to why you're sad. And then his friend said, well, this week, nothing. He was missing the point. And I think a lot of times as Christians, we miss the point. And by that I mean we don't stop and think about all that God has done for us. Do you realize how much God has done for you if you've put your faith in Jesus? The Bible says he's justified us.

Now it's a big word. We may not understand it. It means that God has taken your sin and he has removed it and he has forgotten it and he has placed the righteousness of Christ into your spiritual bank account, so to speak, which means that now you stand right before God. And it also means that God sees you as a new person in him. Old things passed away. All things become new. Your sin is forgiven.

Your eternal future is secure. And sometimes I think we forget about that. So in light of that fact, should we not want to grow spiritually? You know, the Bible says we love him because he first loved us.

But let me ask this question. Why is it that some people seem to grow more spiritually than other people do? I heard about a father that was talking with his daughter and her eight-year-old friend Kristen about birthdays. So Kristen's birthday was March 30th and the dad's was March 27th. And the father said, you know what, Kristen? Our birthdays are only three days apart. And she looked at this full-grown adult man and she said, yeah, but it seems like you grew faster than I did.

Right? So why do some people seem to grow faster spiritually than others? Why does some blossom and bloom and go on to do great things for God and others crash and burn? You might be surprised by my answer. It is really up to the individual. You decide if you are going to grow spiritually.

You decide if you are not going to grow spiritually. Jesus gave us a parable that we sometimes call the Parable of the Sower. I think you could also call it the Parable of the Soils. It is a story about a sower that went out to sow seed. And back in those days they just took seed and randomly threw it to the wind and it landed where it landed. So Jesus said, some seed fell on crown that was embedded with rocks and it shot up quickly and had no root and withered in the sun. Some seed fell among thorns and the thorns choked out the seed. Some seed fell on the roadside and the birds came and ate it.

And some seed found receptive soil and took root and became fruitful. So He said basically this is how we react to the Word of God. You know you share the gospel with some people and they are like the seed that went on the roadside and the birds come and get it. You tell them about Jesus. It doesn't penetrate their heart or their mind.

They reject it outright. You know the birds. They hang out at places like McDonald's or In-N-Out Burger and before a fry event hits the ground they swoop down and get it. Or the seagulls. By the way I hate seagulls. They are the worst bird of all time. But anyway the seagulls will steal your lunch. They will steal your children if you allow them.

They will steal your dogs even if they are those little yuppie dogs. But here is the thing. The birds come and take it away. Some people hear the Word of God.

It doesn't impact them. But then Jesus talked about seed that was sown on ground filled with thorns or weeds. He said, These are they that hear the Word of God but the cares of this life choke it out. Then there are those that shoot up quickly in the sun but because they have not rooted in the soil they wither quickly. These are people that hear the Word of God. Maybe they profess to be believers and have a burst of excitement.

Then they fall away. But then He said, The seed on the receptive soil these are they that hear the Word of God and receive it. Listen. You determine if you are going to be receptive soil. You determine if you are going to grow spiritually. And I bring this up because some people will say something along the lines of, Well I tried the whole Christianity thing and it didn't work for me. Give me a break.

Jesus Christ will change any person that comes to Him. If it didn't work for you that is not on Jesus. Sorry friend. That is on you. That would be like somebody saying, Oh yeah I tried the whole eating thing. You know I ate three meals a day. Even snacks in between.

But I am over that. I am not into eating anymore. Well if you are not into eating anymore you won't be into living either. You need to eat to live. And so if you did not grow spiritually it is because you did not apply yourself.

Listen. God has given you everything you need to grow as a Christian. We are told in 1 Peter 1.3, His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who has called us for His own glory and goodness.

If you want to grow spiritually you will grow spiritually. In the book of Philippians chapter 2 verse 12 it says, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. It doesn't say work for your own salvation. It says work out your own salvation. It means live it out. Play it out.

It is the idea of going into a mine and finding the gold that is in there. God has given you everything you need. You need to work it out. You don't work for your salvation but you do work out your salvation. As Saint John and Saint Paul once said, we can work it out.

Actually that is John Lennon and Paul McCartney. That was a joke. Forget it. Ok so listen to this. You need to take what God has given you and let it develop in your life. A commentator from years ago Alexander McLaren made this statement quote, He that has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scripture in his hands has all he needs.

Let me repeat that. He that has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scripture in his hands has all he needs. So here we are. Faith 101. It is a crash course on the things that matter in the Christian life. Things that you never outgrow. Things you never move beyond. Disciplines we must maintain from the beginning to the end of our life as a follower of Jesus on this planet. Here is principle number one if you are taking notes. And I hope you are. If you want to be a growing Christian you must read, study, and love the Word of God.

Let me say that again. If you want to be a growing Christian you must read, study, and love the Word of God. Joshua 1.8 says this, The book of the law, which is a reference really to Scripture, shall not depart from your mouth. You shall meditate in it day and night and observe to do all that is written in it. Then you will have your way prosperous and you will have good success. A growing believer will be a lover of the Word of God. In Psalm 119 it says, Oh how I love your word Lord. Your words are true.

But sometimes we lose sight of the basics. It was July of 1961. And 38 members of the Green Bay Packers football team were gathered together for the first day of training camp. The previous season had been devastated because they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. And so coach Vince Lombardi stood before the team and he held up a football and he said, Gentlemen this is a football. Why was he saying that?

He was saying it starts here. And from that moment on Vince Lombardi took these professional players to the basics of the game of football. He treated them as though they were blank slates and had never heard these things before. He taught them the things they needed to know. Things like blocking and tackling.

Passing and catching and all the other basics. And six months later the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 37 to 0 and won the NFL championship. Ok so that can happen to us as Christians. We can find ourselves being defeated.

We can find ourselves losing instead of gaining ground. We find ourselves falling back into old sins that we thought were a part of our past. And that is because we have lost sight of the basics. So let's go back to the very beginning. Ladies and gentlemen this is a Bible. This is a Bible. And everything you need to know about God is found in the pages of the Bible. If you want to know God you need to open, read, study, and apply what is taught in the Bible.

Listen to this. Success or failure in the Christian life is determined by how much of the word of God you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. 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 Fain. 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 Pastor Greg is offering a good reminder of the basics of the faith today in a new series called Faith 101 a crash course on the Christian life. Let's continue. Earlier we read that passage in Joshua where he talked about meditating on the word of God. Now when we use the word meditation don't think of eastern meditation. In eastern meditation one empties their mind. But in biblical meditation one fills their mind with the word of God. The idea of meditating is chewing something over. Thinking it over. Pondering it over. You know sometimes someone will say I read 10 chapters of the Bible today.

That's great. What were they about? I have no idea but I read 10 chapters. No listen it is not enough to just read. You need to comprehend what it is saying. We need to be hungry for the word of God. Chew your food. I don't know about you but I am a person who eats three meals a day. And I usually want breakfast around 5.30 to 6. I get it pretty early. Then I have lunch at around 11. And then I have dinner around 5.

And when I say around I mean pretty much at 5 at 11 and at 5.30 to 6. And it is like clockwork every single day. Now my wife in contrast will not eat breakfast. And she won't even be aware it is lunch time. I will say Kathy it is almost lunch time. It is? I am like I have been thinking about lunch for like an hour.

I have been thinking about lunch since 10 o'clock and she is like amazed that lunch time just happened. I don't think that way. My stomach reminds me. I think if you are hungry it is a sign that you are healthy.

Right? So in the same way a healthy spiritual person will be a hungry spiritual person. There will be a person that longs for and loves the word of God.

1 Peter 3 says, like newborn babes craves pure spiritual milk that you may grow up in your salvation. Now I know you all think I hate cats. I have already told you I hate seagulls. I am going to stand by that statement. I really don't hate cats. I just don't love them.

But there are exceptions. There is a cat in my neighborhood. His name is Hopkins.

It is a cool cat. He goes from house to house. Everybody feeds him. So this morning I got up and Hopkins is walking around in our house and my wife Kathy says, Greg give Hopkins some milk. So I go over and I pull out a little bowl and I pour some milk into the bowl and I set it down in front of Hopkins.

He took like two licks and then walked off probably to get food from some other neighbor. And I am thinking, wait I just poured all that milk in a bowl for you. And that is how some of us are.

Yeah we desire the sincere milk of the word but a couple of licks and we are good. And off we go. No. Finish the serving. Dig in deeper.

Continue in the Word of God. And I don't know about you but when I don't eat I get hangry. You know. I get irritable. But I find that a meal can change everything. Just one good meal.

And take a child for instance. When a little baby is crying there is usually two reasons. Number one they are hungry. Number two maybe they need a nap. Oh by the way I found that works for me too. I am hungry.

Or maybe I need a nap. But it is the same is true of God's Word. It says over in Jeremiah 15 16 when your words came Lord I ate them and they were my joy. They were my heart's delight.

See it is oh I love your Word and I consume your Word. I have a grandson named Christopher and he is really into reptiles. And so I bought him an anole lizard. Now sometimes these lizards are called chameleons because they change color.

But actually they are not technically chameleons. That is another creature altogether. But the anole is a great little pet. And I gave him one.

And he had it for a couple of weeks. And then he decided he would just let the anole go. Now they are raised in captivity.

And so these little lizards really don't know the way around out there or how to take care of themselves. And so what happened was the anole disappeared and his dad Jonathan my son thought well we will never see that anole again. But three weeks later he was in his garage and there was what looked like the dead anole. He was looking skeletal.

Just laying on the ground. Jonathan thought oh no that poor lizard. And he went to pick it up and it sort of jumped. So this thing was still alive. So Jonathan gave him a couple of crickets, sprayed him with water, and this anole came back to life.

And now he is doing very well. But my point of this is if you are feeling down and listless spiritually eat some crickets. No.

Seriously. You need the Word of God. That is why you are feeling lethargic.

That is why you are feeling down. That is why your life has been flooded with fear and anxiety because you have forgotten what the Bible says. And that is why you need to spend time in the Word of God each and every day. Martin Luther made this statement about the Bible and I quote, The Bible is alive. It speaks to me. It has feet.

It runs after me. And that is what God wants to happen in your life. As you open the Word it will speak to your heart. Well as I mentioned this is a new series that we are doing called Faith 101. A crash course on the basics of the Christian life.

Things that sometimes we lose sight of. You know when we started our church almost 50 years ago I started by teaching through the Bible. And we are still doing that today because we know how important the Word of God is in the lives of people. And we founded our church on the principles of Acts chapter 2 verses 42 to 47.

So I would like you to read those with me if you would right now. Now by the way before I read them this happened on the heels of the birth of the church. This is what happened after the day of Pentecost when the church was born. The Holy Spirit was poured out on believers the Bible tells us. And now this is what the church did in the aftermath of that. And this is what the church should be doing today to stay strong spiritually. Acts 2 42. Those that gladly received His Word were baptized. And that day 3,000 souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and the breaking of bread and in doctrine and fellowship and prayers.

Now drop down to verse 46. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.

So I have summed this up in an acronym. W-E-L-L. W for they were a worshiping church. E they were an evangelizing church. L number one they were a learning church. And L number two they were a loving church. I will deal with those other principles later.

Let me just focus on this one. They were a learning church. Verse 42. They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship and the breaking of bread and prayers. This phrase continued steadfastly speaks of a passion.

It speaks of people that were really engaged. You know we need anointed preaching today for sure. But I think we also need anointed listening. Giving your attention with intention. Paying attention. Jesus would often say he that has ears to hear let him hear.

If we were to update that it might go along these lines. Listen up. Pay attention because we are sharing with you the word of God. Great reminders today on the foundational precepts of the faith. Pastor Greg Laurie with a study called Faith 101 today here on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg important counsel on walking with the Lord today and a good insight on Christian living. But maybe there's somebody listening who isn't sure that they are a Christian.

What would you say to them? I would say that God is just a prayer away. You know it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. Frankly it doesn't even take hours.

It can happen so quickly. It just starts with you saying to God I know I'm a sinner. I know that you love me. I know that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sin and pay for those sins and then to rise again from the dead and I want him to come into my life. So here's my question to you.

Have you done that yet? Because Jesus who did die on that cross and rose again from the dead three days later is alive and standing at the door of your life right now and he's knocking and he's saying if you'll hear my voice and open the door I will come in. Why don't you just stop whatever it is you're doing and pray this prayer with me. Say Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner but I know that you are the savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin and I turn from it now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. I ask all of this in Jesus name.

Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer the Bible promises that God has heard your prayer and has answered that prayer. The Bible says that we will confess our sin. He's faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So God bless you.

You've made the right decision. The decision to follow Jesus Christ. Yeah yeah that's right and listen as you begin to live this new life we want to send you something to help you get started off right. It's Pastor Greg's New Believer's Bible. It's an easy to understand translation plus hundreds and hundreds of study helps especially for those who are new to the faith. It'll answer many of the questions you may have. So get in touch for the New Believer's Bible.

We'll send it to you free of any charge. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300 again 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click on Know God. Well 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 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 something that really engages children. But I find that people of all ages love animation and we've had a huge huge return and 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 Steve 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 in 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 what I think he was uh T-Bone again. Uh I didn't really like that name someone else came up with it and then I just said 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 uh Ben Born Again tells yellow dog how he got his name.

Check this out. Oh 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 retell 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 uh the people might connect to yellow dog and Ben is sort of the narrator he's the one that though 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 today is our last opportunity to mention this so get in touch right away you can call us at 1-800-821-3300 we can take your call anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or go online to harvest.org well next time pastor greg brings us more insight on the value of god's word and arming us and preparing us for spiritual battle join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher greg lorry hey everybody thanks for listening to a new beginning this is a podcast made possible by harvest partners so for more content that can help you know god and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a harvest partner just go to harvest.org
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-29 05:15:32 / 2024-02-29 05:26:50 / 11

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