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August 5, 2022 3:00 am
The Lord has many options for reaching us in a time of need. Certainly one of the most obvious and most important is the local church. In a crisis, help may be as close as the church down the street. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us learn from the early Church. As we study the book of Acts today, we’ll see they set the example for reaching out with the care and concern of Jesus Christ and they provide us an opportunity to serve—to give as we have received.
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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 are 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 firstname.lastname@example.org regulatory issues and insurmountable challenges in life are an irresistible invitation to ring them toward sure that we have a big problem to sing the words of the Lord. We start to get a perspective view of God's small problem you have a big problem is your God too small so I'm not seeing him of his weakness was my problem in verse certainly one of the most obvious and most important local church in a crisis may be as close as the church down the street today on a new beginning for Greg Laurie helps us learn from the early church as we study the book of acts was evasive. For example, reaching out with the care and concern may provide us with an opportunity to serve you as we receive your were looking at the birth of the church.
The church that Jesus started the church that Jesus was the only started one organization if you will, what he wants our and it was the church, by the way, the word church means called out one thought about a building is not about a cathedral. The church is one of God's people gathered together because Jesus said when two or more are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them. The church is a place to find accountability. The church is a place to be spiritually fed. The church is a place to hear the word of God. The church is a place to discover and then use your spiritual gifts and the church should be your family because we really are. Your family so let's consider now the story here before us of what the early church look like the church that change the world. The church that was accused of turning the world upside down. I'm reading from acts chapter 2 verses 42 to 47 member reading from the new King James version just to get contact. Remember this is on the heels of the day of Pentecost. So the Holy Spirit is been poured out, and 3000 people have come to believe in Jesus after Simon Peter delivered the inaugural message of the church acts 242 and they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and in prayers and fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles to all who believed were together, they had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, is everyone had me 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 the Lord added to the church daily those that were being say stop there. So what can we learn from this church. If you're taking notes is point number one, they were learning church. There were learning church solemnly apply this to you personally. If you want to be a growing Christian, you need to be a learning Christian. There's always so much more to learn. I've been a Christian while prolonged over 50 years and you know you would think that I know a lot I know some things but I discovered that I have so much still to learn and the apostle Paul. After years of walking with the Lord said, look, I am pressing on because I have not reached perfection pressing on toward the mark and that should be the objective of the attitude of every follower of Jesus Christ. These people were studying the word of God. The fact of the matter. Here in verse 42, when it is continued steadfastly. This speaks of passion. There were living in a first love relationship with Jesus and they had burning heart. Let me ask you this, what are you passionate about.
I mean, seriously, I know the default answer Jesus.
Okay maybe we'll see all that you got your social media, and then I'll see what you're really passionate about what you post most about what you talk most about some people are passionate about the sport and I know a lot, and there's nothing wrong with loving sports and enjoying sports but is your primary passion. Other people are passionate about movies or this new series on Netflix. I have you seen this out. You don't want citizen you know you be talking about whatever. But the moment that topic comes up. They got all fired up other people are passionate about food food everything so you know and that's what fired them up other people. It's politics and they're not even interested in the conversation until you get the politics. Now they come to life. Listen, it's fine.
You have an interest in all of these things but make your primary passion about Jesus Christ that said that said that these other things are bad things, but if one of these things takes the place of Jesus in your passion is channeled in a different direction and actually can be a bad thing. So these people listen they listen to what the word said they continued with passion in the apostles doctrine and that's the way we should be as well. We must come with the desire to hear the word number two. It was a loving church so number one, they were learning church, number two, they were a loving church. Verse 42.
They continued and fellowship. The breaking of bread and prayers and continued to do this together now as we grow in our faith we will want to do it with other believers affect the stronger your vertical fellowship. The stronger the horizontal fellowship by vertical I mean, the closer you are to God. The closer you will be with God's people. And if you're not as close to God as you will need to be, you'll probably want to spend less time around godly people in these first century believers looked out for each other look in verse 44 they met together in one place and shared everything they pull the resources for a time. By the way, this was strictly voluntary. No one is forced to do it, but they did it because they wanted to they helped each other out and we do the same. You see someone that's in need.
Maybe they need food maybe they need close maybe they need encouragement. Maybe they need something else.
We help one another. We don't just pray for each other. They can I do something for you. Can I help you with that need.
This happens all the time, but this is the thing we need to move beyond the phase of our life as a Christian we come to church only to receive in a summer night so I don't get fed here anymore okay will.
How long have you known the Lord. 30 years. Okay maybe want to start learning how to feed yourself buckaroo I mean everything about that time to grow up now. I'm not excusing the pastor the teacher from X positing the word of God to you but maybe you need to start learning how to dig into the Scripture on your own, you know, when my sons were young little boys.
They didn't always like to eat their food. So I had to find creative ways to get them to eat here comes the airplane you done the airplane right at the foot of the heirloom are then the bribes that you take two more bites. I'll give you your dessert. In my case I would say take a monster bites take a monster by the more monster bites okay.
You're good to go. So that's cute when their little kids divided turned to Jonathan today in his 30s and say take a monster by what's something wrong with this picture. Some believers want to be catered to, they want everything to be cut up little bites, nice pieces for them grow up.
Learn to study the word of God and even more recognize that you need to come with an attitude of serving not just being Sir write you/about you. Jesus said the Son of Man did not come to be ministered to but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for others. Listen to this, you're going to find that great happiness and joy comes from serving other people because you have been blessed to be a blessing. Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.
I don't know if you know about this, but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world listen to this. We even have harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours, studying the word of God to join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home@harvest.org will were learning some important principles from the example of the early church pastor Greg is presenting his message called better together. Here's another interesting thing. The early church met house to house look in verse 46 they met house to house breaking bread. This was the first century equivalent of small groups. This is why we have placed such a great focus on getting together in a small group because you're going to be blessed. You can learn more you go to build relationships you're going to receive encouragement, you know, we have found that people were in small groups have less marital problems less need for counseling. Why they have some people already in their life to talk to and they meet with these people on a weekly basis and it makes all the difference in the world.
They were worshiping church. There were learning church. There were a loving church.
They were a worshiping church. Verse 47 praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord added to the church daily those that were being say this is one of the great things about gathering together for worship.
Isn't it great to be thing rather in person all at the same time but you love it were so thankful that we been able to reach a lot more people than we've ever reach in our history online through what we call Harvest at Home but still I love to be in a room with God's people worshiping the Lord because the Lord inhabits the praises of his people, and this is what we do together as a church we worship the Lord know sometimes we don't feel like worshiping were not in the mood, but the Bible doesn't say give thanks to the Lord. When you feel good.
It does give thanks to the Lord because he is good and his mercy endures forever. Right Job had so many calamities will fall him literally in one day. And yet we read in his book of Job worship the Lord and said, naked to my end of this world naked going out blessed be the name of the Lord and look how there's a connection between worship and witness.
Listen to this. If your Bible study and your worship in your fellowship does not make you want to share your faith in something is wrong. This should be the natural overflow of a follower of Jesus, he would a Christian can worship God in times of adversity. It is a powerful testimony to a lost world, when they see your facing cancer or you're facing a layoff at work or you're facing some difficulty and you're still worshiping the Lord in your faith is in fact that's a powerful testimony worship brings things into perspective because sometimes we can come to church and we have a big problem and then as we begin this sing to the Lord and worship the Lord. We start to get perspective because if you have a big God, you have a small problem.
But if you have a big problem is your God too small. This is why the psalmist said magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. What is magnify me and make something larger right so I magnify the Lord. I see him and his greatness and it puts my problem in perspective. That's why Jesus in the Lord's prayer taught us to pray as follows. Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread doesn't start out with our father who art in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread brother. It starts with the exultation of God giving glory to God and I begin to see things properly. CH Spurgeon, the great British preacher made this statement.
I love it. Quote the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night giving perfect peace is not a great thing you understand the sovereignty of God means God is in control. So when you lay your head down on your pillow and you're getting ready to go to sleep and suddenly your mind is filled with worries and anxiety. What about this and what about that I go back to the sovereignty of God. What is that mean, oh God, you're in control.
You have everything in hand and that is a soft pillow.
I lay my head on giving me perfect peace of this was a worshiping church that came together to bring worship to the Lord. One final point they were in evangelistic church. They were in evangelistic church. Verse 47 the Lord added people daily to the church who were being say, the early church is evangelism is not a sporadic or occasional activity. Just as there worship was daily, so was there with this. They had a constant flow of new believers coming into the church. Sometimes churches grow not through new convert growth, but church transfer row right so people gimmick will like our old church. Now we want to come to this church. You can go wherever you want to go but the best kind of growth in this church of the church is when people are coming to Christ and coming into the church.
That's the kind of growth we've had for years of harvest, and we pray continues on why because new believers are the lifeblood of the church you show me a church. It doesn't have a constant flow of new believers coming in now so you would church that is stagnating.
As I've said before, we have a choice. We can evangelize we can fossilized wire new believers important for the church. When we personalize it.
Why is it important to have a new believer in your life because they will energize you and you can stabilize them right because they're full of energy and passion in vim and vigor and I don't even know what vim and vigor are but they have that in the upper they have some weird ideas as I don't know yet and you're full of knowledge and years of walking with the Lord so you can impart that knowledge to them to stabilize them. But at the same time, you can rediscover things against their eyes.
Is there seeing them for the first time the Lord added to the church daily those that were being say that's all we need to do everything we can think of all the people you know you can invite them have them come and join you and pray that they would make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. I went to one of our our small group since last week that my son Jonathan has it was an interesting collection.
It was all guys. So one guy is a jujitsu instructor. Another guy is a real estate agent. Another guy is a barber okay so so were talking about the book of acts, and what it has to say in asking each one how they use their platform and in the jujitsu instructor talk about how he was able to share his faith with his students and then the realtor talk about how he integrated his faith into what he did in the barber to me was the most interesting because I think any time a guy has a blade up to your throat, they might have an advantage on. I told him a joke I heard years ago of a Christian barber.
There was a church and the pastor said you should share your faith and if I will.
I've never really done that so he said the next customer that comes a seamy ominous share the gospel with them so the men sat down and that Barbara put the apron around his neck and he pulled out that straight edge razor what it up to the man's neck and said, friend. Are you ready to meet God.
The guy ran out of the barbershop.
Keep it all cry so don't do that, but I see the barber said the way he does it is he just talks about it, you know, because people for some reason when they're getting their hair caught her. Their hair done. In my case, there's nothing there but they start talking you ever notice that it talking talking so he says what I do is I just talk about how my faith works of my life and how the Lord answer to prayer the other day I said oh you know what you're doing your chummy that make sense jumping is when you put the bait in the water to get the fish to start biting.
So instead of assaulting a person with the gospel, just sort of drop some boots on the water was a big talking about with Jesus has done for you. Listen to this.
The hardest two things about evangelism are getting started, and then closing the deal. Let me put it another way, takeoff and landing. By the way, the most dangerous times of your flight are takeoff and landing.
So if you survive the takeoff you're pretty good to relax a little bit okay and I'm sure your landing will be just fine, but it's getting started. Starting the conversation getting into the conversation and then if the Lord leads you and I emphasize only of the Lord lead you see could close the deal and say would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now. What a joy it is when they say yes, let me just say this final thing. Maybe there somebody here that is joined us in. You don't have Christ living in your life you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven you want to fill that hole in your heart. Do you want your sin forgiven in your guilt removed. Let's all bow our heads father, thank you for your word to us. Thank you for the truth of it and I prefer any that have joined us wherever they are. They don't know you yet Jesus Christ is not living in their heart. Our prayer is that your Holy Spirit will work on them now show them their need for you to draw them to yourself a pastor Greg Laurie and if you like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord today.
Pastor Greg wants to help you do just that it will do so in just a moment before we wrap up today's addition of a new beginning and then we have a wonderful resource to make available to you is the revealing book called Steve McQueen the salvation of an American icon, and a pastor Greg I have a letter I want to read to you, it says I have the most amazing testimony of my husband of 36 years.
He was not a believer and was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer. He told me that he was not going to turn to my God being the Christian that I am my said to myself, God is bigger than you. We did a lot of talking while he was in hospice. I was talking to him about Jesus and the stories in the Bible and I gave him the book on Steve McQueen that you wrote. I believe it was because of that book and the conversations I had with him that he came to Christ. I have the most immeasurable amount of peace because of that it is not goodbye, it see you later as you said before Patrick Dennis God is so good for blessing you to be able to bless me to bless my husband while well that is why I wrote this book to reach an unexpected person in an unexpected place with an unexpected message because people have asked me why would a pastor read a book about Steve McQueen or about Johnny Castor but a bunch of rock stars.
Well, I've always been interested in culture but I'm an evangelist and I want to build bridges to people and I can take these stories as testimonies to reach other people with the gospel. One of the most powerful tools we have in our evangelistic toolbox is our personal story of how we came to faith, but very few people know the story of Steve McQueen, I mean McQueen was the man's man.
He did it all. He did his own stunts rode the motorcycle drove the racecars and when he was off not making the film. It was doing motocross so this guy was living the dream. The women throw themselves at Amia tons of money incredible collection of cars and motorcycles and planes, but there was a big old hole in Steve's heart and it sent him on a surgeon when he was at the very peak of his fame. He walked away from Hollywood, he did know what he was walking away to but he walked away.
But God was setting everything in the place so Steve would be the right guy that he could relate to amending Sammy Mason who was a pilot who would teach Steve how to fly his antique Stearman biplane and it was to those conversations in the cockpit, as Stephen Sammy spent hours together that Steve realized he wanted what Sammy had a relationship with God.
So McQueen made a commitment to follow Christ and then he went on to serve the Lord. But tragically, his life did not go as long as he had hoped and he did get cancer and ultimately he died of it. But before that his faith was strong in his faith was real, but a lot of people haven't heard a story so I wanted to tell the story in this book that I wrote Steve McQueen, the salvation of an American icon, and I would like to send you a copy of this book, I won't charge you for it, but I'll ask for something in exchange I would like you to send the gift of any size whatever you can do now. Some can only send a little that's okay.
Some can send more.
Some can send quite a bit more. That's fantastic. Send what you can and I'll send you and return a copy of this book, Steve McQueen, the salvation of an American icon. Yet we have a copy waiting for you will send it just as soon as we hear from you and thank you for partnering with us in our efforts to teach believers and reach unbelievers. Our mission statement is knowing him and making him known. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We are here around the clock to speak with you. That's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to harvest.org and then the pastor Greg just before we go.
Would you mind praying with the person listening who wants to make a change today in the relationship with the Lord. I'd be happy to Dave you know is you been listening to this today.
Maybe you've heard another voice. By that I mean, you heard me say a few things, but you heard God's voice speak to you deep in the recesses of your heart and it suddenly dawned in you. This is what I need order stated more accurately. This is who I need I need Jesus.
And I want Jesus, but maybe you don't know how to make that connection. Let me help you pray this after me right now if you want Jesus Christ to comedy your life Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sin and I need your forgiveness right now. Would you come in to my heart, my life as Savior, as God as friend. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for calling me and accepting me and for giving me in Jesus name I pray, amen. I know there was a relatively short prayer. Maybe you felt something as you prayed it. Maybe you felt nothing, that doesn't really matter because God's word says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
It doesn't say so. You may think you have it or you may hope you have it of gods in a good mood. No that you can know it and I want you to know if you pray that prayer and minute Jesus Christ, the son of God has come into your life. So congratulations, you're now a Christian now continue to follow the Lord to help you would like to send you some resource materials we call our new believers growth packet it will answer many of the questions you might have and get you started off right in your new relationship with the Lord. So get in touch and ask for it will send it free of charge. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24 seven that's 1-800-821-3300 or write to us at a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or you can just go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. Next time pastor Greg brings a study of the spiritual gifts God makes available to believers see they enable us to do the work he's called us to do join us here in the new beginning pastor and Bible feature regulatory everybody thinks or listening to an beginning this is a podcast made possible by harvest partners. So for more content 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