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God's Purpose for Us | Wonder or Wander? It's Your Choice.

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 13, 2024 3:00 am

God's Purpose for Us | Wonder or Wander? It's Your Choice.

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 13, 2024 3:00 am

If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there? It seems some people are in permanent wander mode. They’re drifting. But those who live for the Lord continually encounter the wonder of God. Wonder . . . or wander? The choice is up to us. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps connect us with the plan and purpose of God. We’re in the opening message of a study series in the book of Genesis. We’re considering God’s plan from the very beginning.

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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 if young adults report experiencing little or no purpose or meaning in their lives. Is that a description of you?

Here's what you need to know. God has a plan and a purpose just for you. If you don't know where you're going, how do you know when you get there? It seems some people are in permanent wander mode.

They're drifting. But those who live for the Lord continually encounter the wonder of God. Wonder or wander?

The choice is up to us. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps connect us with the plan and purpose of God. We're in the opening message of a study series in the book of Genesis.

We're considering God's plan from the very beginning. So I heard about an older man who was speaking to a younger man. And this young man was a law student. And so the older gentleman asked the younger guy, hey, what do you want to do when you graduate?

And he said, well, I'd like to get, you know, a position with a law firm and make some good money. And the older man said, okay, then what? And then the guy said, well, I'd like to get married and have some children and eventually get a good home to live in. The older man said, right, then what? Well, then I would like to maybe vacation, you know, a little bit more and eventually travel around the world with my wife. Okay, then what?

Well, I guess I would like to pass my money on to my children so they could live a life as comfortable as I've been able to live. The older man said, okay, then what? Well, then I guess I die. The older man said, then what? Then what? You know, we can spend our entire life chasing nothing. It's been said if you aim at nothing, you're bound to hit it. And there's a lot of people who are walking aimlessly through life with no real meaning or purpose.

I'll tell you then what? Then comes eternity. So think about this. God created us for a purpose and on purpose. God created you on purpose and for a purpose. There is a purpose for your life. But I read a survey recently that said 58% of young adults report experiencing little or no purpose or meaning in their lives. Is that a description of you?

Here's what you need to know. God has a plan and a purpose just for you. It said of David in Acts chapter 13, he served God's purpose in his generation and then he fell asleep, which is another way of saying he died. So you have a life. You're going to live on this earth, as do I. And we're here to serve a purpose. So my question for you is, are you serving that purpose that God has for you?

You say, well, I'm not sure. What should that purpose be? The apostle Paul had it right when he said, my determined purpose in life is to know him and become progressively more deeply and intimately acquainted with him. That's his purpose and that should be our purpose as well.

And so as we look at these things together, we want to make sure we're fulfilling our purpose to do what we're supposed to do. Now this is a phone. How many of you have these phones? You have a phone?

I don't know. This is an iPhone. Maybe you have an Android phone. I'm sorry about that, but no, it's okay.

Whatever. So we have this phone. So what is it made for? Well, I've found that it really is great for skimming on the surface of the water. I've been able to get about eight bounces out of my iPhone.

I also found it's a fantastic doorstop. Hold the door open with my iPhone. I even scooped up after the dog the other day with my iPhone. Well, of course I don't do any of these things because that's not what it's made for. What is the iPhone made for? It's made to waste our time and suck all of the joy out of our life. Let's use it for its intended purpose.

No, seriously, it can be a tool. Hopefully we use it for what it is made for, and that's what we want to do with our lives as well. And we find God's purpose for us in this first book of the Bible. God created mankind in His image. He made us in His image. We're not a highly evolved life form.

We're not evolving from animals. We're uniquely created and made by God Himself. We are His image bearer.

That's not true of any other created thing. Genesis 1 26. God said, let us make man in our image according to our likeness.

Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image. In the image of God, He created him male and female. He created them. Then He blessed them and said, be fruitful and multiply.

Fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living thing that moves on the earth. It's amazing to look at God's creation and thank God for that creation. But there's no one higher than the creation of humanity. After this, God rested. Go to Genesis 2. By the way, I can't get to every verse in Genesis 1 and 2, so I encourage you to dig in deeper on your own and read ahead.

Genesis 2 verse 1. Then the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them and on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made and He rested on the seventh day from all of the work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He had rested from all the work which He had created and made.

We'll stop there. So God did not rest because He was tired. That's why we rest. God rests because He was done. It was completed. It was accomplished.

In fact, it's a word that is used here for rest, the Hebrew word Shabbat where we translate it to Sabbath and it simply means cease. God's done. I'm finished.

There's a similar word in the New Testament that is used and it is spoken by Jesus as He hangs on the cross of Calvary where He uttered seven significant statements. And among those statements was the single word Tetelestai. And the word Tetelestai is translated it is finished. What was finished? His work was finished. He had accomplished what He had come to do, to die on the cross for the sin of the world. And it was accomplished. It was completed. It is finished. And our salvation is finished. Once you believe in Jesus Christ you don't have to work for your salvation. It's a gift to you from God. So you can rest from the weight of sin and you can rest from your fears as well in the hand of God who created all things.

Listen to this. This almighty God, this all powerful God, this all loving God can certainly handle whatever we throw at Him. And we should throw our problems at Him. 1 Peter 5 says, cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you.

Now that's interesting that we're cast as in cast your cares means to hurl or to throw violently. Like throw your problems on to Jesus. And we all have problems don't we? We all have anxieties.

We all have things that keep us up at night. Cast them on Christ. In fact that word cast your cares upon Him is only used one other time in the New Testament. And that's speaking of when they took that donkey and put their garments on it and Jesus rode it into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

So in effect here's what the Bible is saying. Cast your cares on Jesus as though He if you will was your beast of burden carrying your problems for you. Let Jesus take your burdens. Let Him take your trash. You know I don't know about how it works in your home but in our home I take the trash out. And I have little cans with wheels and now in California we have 25 separate trash cans. You know okay this is the recyclable things and this is the other things what is it the landfill and I stand there with these little bags.

I don't know which one I think I'm confused are they going to arrest me if I get it wrong? And then the trash man shows up and I'm so glad he shows up because he takes my trash and if I forget one week that trash starts piling up. The same can be true of life. Your trash can pile up. Your problems can pile up.

Your anxieties can pile up. Your sins can pile up. Hurl them on Jesus. Throw them violently if you will on Jesus.

I don't want this stuff in my life. Years ago we were in Hawaii as a matter of fact and there was a little restaurant we went to on the island of Oahu called Eggs and Things. If you're ever in Oahu go have breakfast at Eggs and Things you'll thank me later. But we would go very early every morning to beat the crowds and it just so happened when we would walk over there that the trash man would be cruising by with this truck picking up the trash cans and put them in the back of the trash truck. And Jonathan was just the littlest guy at that point. I was carrying him up on my shoulders and he got very excited when he saw the trash man. And he would point at it and say, my man, my man. And he actually said, my man.

Okay. And the next day we went there and the trash truck shows up again. Little Jonathan's pointing, my man, my man.

I turned to Kathy. Maybe Jonathan will be a trash man when he grows up. I don't know. But here's your man. It's Jesus. He says, let me take your trash. Let me take your anxieties, casting all your care upon him for he cares for you. Throw it on Jesus. The God who created the heavens and the earth. The God who brought something out of nothing.

The God who created you will bear it for you. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment. Well, today we're giving some thought to the plan and purpose God has for each of our lives. Pastor Greg continues. God can bring a genesis in your life. Again, Genesis means beginning. God can bring a new beginning in your life. He can make all things new. We've all done things we regret.

We've all said things we wish we had not said. But God can change that if we come to him and bring our lives to him. Here's the thing to consider as we close this message.

To me, this is a real mind boggler. This almighty God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, this God who has a name for every star, the God who brought this magnificent creation out of nothing, cares about you and he loves you. David was watching over his flock of sheep one day, one night actually, and he wrote this down in Psalm 8. When I look at the night sky and I see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you set in place, what are mortals that you should think about them?

What are human beings that you should care for them? Have you ever just laid out and looked up into the sky? You have to find a spot where you can actually see the stars. But as you look up there, you just think, wow, the God who made all of this cares about me. He knows every star by name.

He knows every bird that falls to the ground. He knows every thought that we think and he's thinking about me. As David wrote in Psalm 109, I'm poor and needy, yet you think of me. In Psalm 40, we read the Psalm and say, many, O Lord, are your wonderful works what you've done, and your thoughts toward us cannot be counted.

If I were to speak of them, they're more than you could number. I love that. God's thinking about you. God cares about you. And think about Jeremiah 29, 11, of course, where I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope.

Let me come back to that question I raised earlier. Why did God create me? What is the purpose of my life? What is the meaning of my life?

I heard about a father that was driving his daughter for the first day of middle school, and he thought it was time to start talking to her about some deep subjects. So he turned to her and he said, honey, what is the meaning of life? And she said, the meaning of my life is to please mom. And the dad said, well, what about dad? She said, the meaning of your life is to please mom, too.

Pretty good answer. Because the Bible says if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. The Bible doesn't say that, but it's got some truth there. No, but the meaning of my life is to please God. The meaning of my life is to know God. The meaning of my life is to glorify God.

I said earlier, he said eternity in my heart. I'm wired to worship. I was made to have a relationship with God. Of course, that was all lost in the Garden of Eden. And we'll talk about that next time on Adam and Eve. Hate of that forbidden fruit.

But the point is simply this. I can know God because Christ died for my sin. He came and walked among us as a man.

Died on the cross and rose again from the dead. And now he stands at the door of our heart and he knocks. And he says, if you'll hear his voice and open the door, I will come in.

You know, coming back to animals again. There's some crazy little bird in my backyard. And I don't know what's going on in this bird brain of his. But there's one little window in our room and he always says, tapping at the window. I hear this little tap, tap, tap.

Hey, look, there's that bird. He doesn't go to any other window. He's just tapping at the window. I don't know what he wants, why he taps in that window. He's like, behold, I stand at the window and tap.

Tap, tap, tap. There he is, crazy bird. He wants in, well, Jesus stands at the door of your heart, if you will, and he knocks. But you have to open that door and let him come in.

And he will reveal the purpose of your life. Maybe you've chased after the things this world offers and you've found them empty. You've tried everything it has. You've tried toilet water.

No, you haven't. But some of the things this world offers are worse than that, actually. And we chase after these empty things and we find no meaning.

We find no purpose. Back to that opening illustration. Then what? You reach all your goals. You check all the boxes.

You get the accolades and even more, you have the success. Then what? I'll tell you then what, then ultimately life will come to an end. And then you stand before God. But you don't have to be afraid if you're a Christian. Because if you're a Christian, you can say along with the apostle Paul, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. It doesn't mean that the Christian has a death wish. It doesn't mean we get up in the morning and say, I sure hope I die today. I don't think anyone loves life more than a Christian because we know the Creator. But having said that, we don't have to fear death anymore because we know there's an afterlife. We'll spend it in the presence of God in heaven reunited with loved ones who have died in faith who have preceded us. But until that day, we want our life to count and we want it to matter. And so I ask you, do you have a relationship with God? Walking with Jesus Christ, knowing your sin is forgiven, living in a close relationship with Him.

That's why you were made. Again, as Paul said, my determined purpose in life is to know Him. You may know all about Him.

That doesn't mean you know Him. To know Him is to have Him living inside of you as your Savior and your Lord and your friend and your Master and your God, your Lord. And only you can ask Him to come into your life. So we're going to close in prayer and I'm going to extend an invitation for anyone that wants Jesus Christ to come into their life or anybody that wants to make a recommitment to Him.

Let's all pray. Father, thank You for Your love for us. Thank You for creating us. We're created on purpose, for a purpose.

And that purpose is to know You. And I pray for anybody here or watching wherever they are. If they don't have a relationship with You, let this be the moment they believe. How many of you would say today, I need Jesus.

I don't have Him living in my life. I am actually very afraid to die. I have a big hole in my soul. And I want to find this meaning and purpose you've been talking about today. Pray for me. 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 will go to heaven when you die. Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that You're the Savior who was born in the manger of Bethlehem.

Who died on the cross of Calvary and rose again from the dead. Jesus, come into my life. I choose to follow You now. Be my Savior. Be my Lord. Be my God.

Be my friend. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie with those making a change in their relationship with the Lord today. And as you've listened here on A New Beginning, maybe you prayed that prayer as well. If you meant those words sincerely, then the Lord has heard your prayer and has forgiven your sins.

The Bible says He's faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Let us help you begin to walk with the Lord. Pastor Greg would like to send you his New Believers Bible.

It's a special edition of God's Word with specially designed helps for those who are new to the faith created by Pastor Greg. We'd like to send it to you without charge. Just get in touch and ask for the New Believers Bible. You can call 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or just go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well, it's a great privilege to have Jim Wallace with us today. He's a homicide detective, a cold case detective, and author of the brand new book, The Truth in True Crime, which we're making available.

Jim, thanks so much for joining us. I've got just a plain old detective question for you. Which unsolved case from your years as a detective is the one that sticks with you the most? Well, there's one that really is still unsolved that I worked a lot.

About 18 months in the cold case team. I thought I could bring it to conclusions. It struck me because it was a high school girl who was murdered in her junior year.

I was, I think, a year or two older than her. I knew personally many of the suspects that I was looking at because I wasn't sure if it was another student who did this. We had some partial DNA at the crime scene. Not enough to run in the database, but I could at least compare this partial marker with anybody I could swab. And so I identified what ended up being like 32, I think, 33 potential suspects all over the country.

We flew out, knocked on their doors. Is this a girl with red hair? Yes, the suspect had red hair. And so I thought, well, how many people, like I asked you, name all of your redheaded friends. I'm so shocked that she had this many.

And I thought, okay, this is from, I think, 1981. So I went out and I swabbed everyone. And every single one I swabbed, you know, I usually start this way. I'll usually say, hey, I've got DNA at the crime scene.

I can eliminate you. And that usually, people want to be eliminated as suspects. And so it should provoke from you, oh, great, let's do it. And so I knew if I ever hit somebody who was like, well, I'm not sure I want to talk to a lawyer, I might have something interesting in front of me, right?

Every single one was like, oh, yeah, great, let's do it. And sure enough, none of them were our killer. And I realized that this is a true whodunit. That's one of the things that's harder. It's one thing to work a guy who you know who did it 30 years ago, but you can never make the case. And now you're just trying to make the case stronger. That's one kind of case. It's another kind of case when you have no idea who did it. It's a true whodunit and you're just kind of stabbing in the dark. That's what this case was for us.

And I think it stuck with me because, well, pride is part of it. You don't want to have an unsolved case. It wasn't my original case, so I wouldn't have no obligation to solve it. But I did know, and I've done it so many Dateline cases, that at some point, some clever detective is going to solve it. And then they're going to call me in as the guy who couldn't solve it.

And I'm going to be on the interview on Dateline as the guy who couldn't solve it. So it was a pride issue for me, right? Yeah, but you tried, though. Yeah. So that's part of it.

I'll just be honest. But also I think because she was my age and you're working for victims' families because those folks have given up hope. And that's one of the things we talk about in this book is the value of hope. And that's one of the things that the gospel provides and a sense that these families are suffering because they feel like they're never going to get justice. Well, according to our worldview as Christians, that could never be said. There will be justice.

You're just concerned about when you're going to get justice. But to think that you'll never get it is only true if Christianity is false. But it turns out, Christianity, the gospel offers the one thing that solves every kind of stupid you can think of, including murder stupid. The gospel actually has a solution because it's aiming at the root cause, which is sin. So I think in the end, that's one of the things that you learn as a detective.

Even in the worst cases that change you forever, the solution is still the gospel. These are insights from former detective J. Warner Wallace, now prolific author, and his newest book is called The Truth in True Crime. And we want to make this book available to you for your gift of any size so you can help us continue to bring the gospel to people and teach God's Word. So, well, Russia, you're a copy of The Truth in True Crime.

Dave, tell them more. Yeah, we'll be glad to send this new book your way to thank you for your investment in keeping these daily studies coming your way. Perfect for true crime enthusiasts and anyone interested in exploring the intersection of faith and real-life experiences. Just ask for The Truth in True Crime when you call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to Harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg takes us to the moment God created man and woman. It's a rewarding study of the Lord's plan for marriage. 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 / 2024-05-13 05:30:59 / 2024-05-13 05:41:24 / 10

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