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September 14, 2022 3:00 am
Sometimes, it can seem as though we’re swimming against the current in our life of faith. If it isn’t opposition and even persecution for what we believe, it’s challenges in health, or finances, or relationships. How do we get through? How have others made it? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points to the Apostle Paul as our inspiration. We’re in the book of Acts considering the trial upon trial Paul faced, but the word of encouragement that pulled him through.
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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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Everybody you're listening to a new beginning, which is a podcast made possible by harvest partners. If this program is impacted you love to hear from you.
So just send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org again it's email@example.com you can learn more about becoming harvest partner by going to harvest.org looking for God's will for your life. Want to know your market coming up today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie points out where to for your concentration is what you're focusing the success your focus should be on faithfulness doing what God is wherever it takes you to a palace or presence of all, I want to know Jesus is with me and I'm in the center of his will that be is the right place and time swimming against the current life of faith is in opposition and even persecution. What we believe its challenges and help finance relationship through other today on a new beginning for Greg Laurie points to the apostle Paul is her inspiration in the book of acts. Considering the trial upon trial the word of encouragement to grab your Bibles and turn chapter 23.
The title of my message is Christ's call to current so maybe I'm talking to somebody right now that is filled with anxiety filled with stress you find yourself depressed. Well, you're not the first child of God. To feel this way that psychologists have coined a new phrase it doomsday anxiety doomsday anxiety which includes quote the fear or worry about the end of the world are life as we know it. Symptoms include chronic nightmares and underlying feeling of fear and obsession with the news or to scrolling through online media that that was an interesting phrase to scrolling you know when you're just scrawling the new sites and all this bad news. It just adds stress to your life. Even the great apostle Paul got down at time so were going to look at what Jesus said and did 5, the apostle Paul in this message and I'm calling Christ's call to courage my last message from the book of acts. It was titled how to live a meaningful life. We saw the apostle Paul saying goodbye to the elders of Ephesus. It was this final message to them and he said I want to finish my race with joy. So he began his journey and he ended up staying with the evangelist Philip where he encountered a very colorful prophet name Al Gibbons who bound himself up and said this is what's going to happen to you Paul if you go to Jerusalem, I like don't go causing acute renal little dramatic, but you get the point.
But I know what you're saying. So your cinema to be arrested and I'm to be put in the chains right yes that's it. Paul don't go. And sure enough when he lands in Jerusalem. He is arrested and he's put in prison and here's what happened here is what the Lord did to encourage his servant asked 23 starting in verse nine, there arose a loud outcry and the scribes of the Pharisees party arose and protested, saying we find no evil against this man, but of the spirit are an angel is spoken to him. Let us not fight against God. Now there arose a great dissension of the commander, fearing that Paul might be pooled to pieces by them command of the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him to the barracks and the following night the Lord stood by him and said, be of good cheer. Paul Reeve testified of me in Jerusalem, and now you can also bear witness in Rome. There, so here's Paul in prison again. I need Paul's middle name could have been trouble. It was always something with him everywhere he went.
It was either a riot or revival there is. There was never a dull day hanging around the apostle Paul, but I think here.
He was probably discouraged.
He was probably feeling down, and it's no wonder reason a Roman dungeon and the Lord says to him all be of good cheer, but actually if we look at the original language, we find a better translation would be, have current that makes a lot more sense. It's a unique phrase that is used multiple times in the Bible, each one showing the different facet of how to find courage in our lives. The first is the story of a man who was a paraplegic. In Matthew nine he was carried by his friends to Jesus and Jesus looks at this guy who is unable to walk and he says to them, be of good courage, your sins are forgiven of the guy was probably thinking while I allocate. I am glad my sins are forgiven, but actually like to walk. That was kind of why I was brought here to you, and there's a protest among the religious leaders who can forgive sins but God alone. I hear what you guys are saying, Jesus says, but just so you know that I the Son of Man have the power to forgive sins I say, your sins are forgiven and get up and walk, and that man got up and walk with Jesus use this phrase be of good courage to him and this is the thing we remember the forgiveness of Christ brought courage to that and we can be crippled by our sense, unable to walk, unable to move. Unable to do anything and we fail, we semi-failure right I should just stop praying. I don't even shouldn't even read the Bible anymore or go to church at that's the devil lying to you.
Jesus says, be of good courage, your sins are forgiven you. Don't miss this points because I know I'm talking to somebody right now is crippled by their sin. You don't have to be anymore.
You can have a fresh start.
This phrase, be of good courage is used of a woman struggling to get to Jesus and crowd of people. She had this physical ailment and she reason of I can touch the come of his garment all be healed and she reaches new and she touches him. Jesus stops and says who just touched me on the fact is everyone a touched who tried to make is this right perceive that power is gone out of me, and there's a woman and he says that her knee good courage. You are made whole. So in this particular case it was his power that gave her courage.
My power is gone out of a lot of times were afraid to share our faith were afraid to speak up for what we believe but there's a promise in the beginning of the book of acts that we all look got together where it says you shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you to be witnesses for me. That same power that was given to the first century, causing them to turn their world upside down is available for us today in the 21st century to turn our world upside down. This power gives courage, number three, the third time this phrase is used is when the disciples on the storm tossed sea of Galilee, and they thought they were going to drown.
And suddenly they see some form coming to them walking on the water and they thought it was a ghost but it wasn't Casper. It was Christ coming to them and what is Jesus say to them, he says, be of good courage, it is me don't be afraid.
So let's review.
His presence gives courage is forgiveness gives courage is power gives courage and then here's another point God knew where Paul was and why he was there that brought courage as well. Paul Jesus is a buddy I know you're here and I'm here with you. I'm sending by your side because Paul probably second-guessing this decision. Sometimes we feel like all God forgotten about me know. Never he always is aware of us and John and Paul's in this jail cell, and I'm sure he would've liked to have just got out of that jail cell by the lady come up to me this morning before the service started because we have a little meeting of our volunteers that serve us just because they love you and they're out there helping you park your car taking care of your children helping you find a seat and all that and so they have a little time with a pray in your little message and afterwards a lady came up and said she has a cousin that's in prison who watches me in prison and so I said let's make a video for and does so maybe this little video and I just said to her cousin. You know Jesus is there with you and he says to be of good courage when you get out of their present walk with the Lord and serve the Lord in and you know maybe I'm talking to somebody who's literally a prison cell right now because people watch us online literally all around the world. Or maybe it's a different kind of prison cell and might be a prison of a hospital bed you wish you could get up and walk out, but you can. But Jesus says hey.
Be courageous. I'm aware of the suffering you're going through. It could be a prison cell of morning you lost a loved one through death. The Lord is with you and he understands what you are facing. Hebrews 416 says we did not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses. He was in all points tested is we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace and obtain mercy to help in time of Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message just a moment, our sins are no match for God's grace listener told us his story of discovering God's grace while watching Pastor Greg Bible teaching on television dear Pastor Greg I grew up going to church with my mother and father.
I excelled as an athlete and as a student, also taking part in mission trips and youth groups.
I was 16 when I first tried smoking weed.
I managed to convince my parents that I was still a good boy will taking mushrooms and LSD.
I was 18 when the hallucinations began. Those choices separated me from my parents, my friends, church from college. My job for restful sleep and ultimately from society in 2010 I was sentenced to five years in prison. The darkness around me. Interestingly, in prison we have our own personal TV in the sale and one of the channels cured your teaching program every day. This was my first encounter with your teaching and I was truly inspired to give me hope. I got out of prison in 2014 in my life is been on an upward trajectory like the prodigal son returned my small hometown church and shame of my face. Everyone knew the Lord's grace was overflowing around me.
I was given a job by a Christian man which to another job in another pursue my dream of architecture I was led to my beautiful wife who teaches first grade at the Christian Academy. We have a beautiful home in hosting a Bible study this upcoming week. The Lord has done great things for me and I pray you will bring my story to a hardened need of hope in a dark place its inspiring hearing of God's grace one hope of you found God and how is Pastor Greg's teaching Midas today Intel is usually send an email to Ray at harvest gone for the testimony of the Lord is done in your life again right to Greg at harvest.whole what were nearing the finale study series in the book of acts. Today's message from Pastor Greg is titled Christ's call to courage.
Now here's another Paul didn't know what was going on in the outside but the fact is, there were 40 men who had taken an oath to not eat or drink until they killed Paul while sometimes. Ignorance is bliss. I'm glad I don't know any plot against my life. I'm glad I don't know of every person that dislikes me and says something about me. I don't know how these things. Frankly, it is good. Paul didn't know this because I would've been a pretty stressful thing to think about 40 guys who had taken an oath and said they wouldn't eat until they killed Paul so you have a bunch of angry murderers. Not a good thing, but he didn't know that the on the military. They have a phrase they use in the phrases it's on a need to know basis so everybody doesn't get to know the same thing. It's certain kind of important information that only some people know God gives us what we need to know on a need to know basis, but here's something Jesus says, be of good courage, Paul verse 11 phrase you testified for me in Jerusalem bear witness in Rome. In other words, Paul is going to get out of this prison cell and you're going to Rome. So here's a take away to Paul. I have a future for you and God has a future for all of us as well. Now Christopher honestly have to say that it didn't seem like a great outcome because ultimately according to church tradition. Paula smarter by beheading after he appeared to Caesar at some point, but we would say that was some kind of failure. What is a failure. What is a success. I suggest to you that things we think our successes right now may be understood is failures later and some things you think are of failure now will turn out to be a success later. Here's what your focus should be an honor and success. Your focus should be on faithfulness using doing what God is told you to do whatever it takes you, imitate you to a palace or prison. So if it takes you to the top read takes you to the bottom. All I want to know is Jesus is with me and I'm in the center of his will, and that for me is the right place to be for all of us to because in that final day the Lord does not say well done good and 6 dB servant, he says, well done, good and what faithful servant. So our objective is to be faithful and obedient to the will of God. Annoyed with this verse a lot but I'm slightly obsessed with it.
Jeremiah 2911 the Lord says 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.
I gave my son Christopher watching his 21st birthday was my watch I gave it to him and I had that verse inscribed on the back of the one, but as you know he died in a tragic automobile accident. I was given a plastic bag after he died with his belongings including his wallet and that watch and I took that watch out of the bag and I looked at it and I looked at that inscription and I thought where's the future and hope now and it would take some time for me to process that and realize that Christopher had run his race.
He had finished his course and he had been faithful and I'm running my race as you are running yours and here's the ultimate future and a hope. It doesn't mean everything is always going to turn out the way we wanted to turn out what it does mean is one day we will be in the presence of God. That's the ultimate future and hope for every Christian.
It's a win-win situation. That's what we want to live our lives to him because we never know when that day will come.
So, be courageous.
The Lord says to Paul and he says it to us as well. Remember what brought courage to Paul Sartre number one. He was not alone. Number two.
God knew where he was and why he was there. Thirdly, God had a future for Paul and as I said God has a future for all of us.
Talking to somebody right now that is gripped with fear and worry. In the words of Jesus to you are. Don't be afraid, be of good courage. I can't think of a greater example of courage and Jesus himself when he went and died on the cross for the sins of humanity. He laid his life down it was Rob physical courage as he endured the beating in the scourging that ultimately the crucifixion, but he also withstood the withering criticism than the harsh treatment and even temporarily been separated from his father as he bore the sin of the world. But here's a verse oppose altogether and applies it in our life.
Hebrews 12 it says we should look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith with the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sat down on the right hand of God, then it says for consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your soul so pure discourage impure worry look to Jesus, remember what he did for you. And remember that he is with you and you are not alone. You feel perplexed and scared. Jesus says, be of good courage.
Don't be afraid, and maybe I'm talking to somebody that doesn't have Jesus in their life right now and that's why it's so hard for you at this moment in time will, of course, Jesus didn't stand that cross the put them in the tomb and he rose again three days later it changed everything they can change. You came out of an empty tomb to fill your empty heart. He stands at the door of your life in the Knox and he says if you'll hear his voice and open the door. He will commit and I want to close by giving you an opportunity that as Christ to come into your pain. Come into your suffering or come in your life that's going relatively well right now that's great.
But sooner or later this life that were all living will come to an end and then there's the afterlife we decide in this life or we will spend the afterlife, so let's all make sure that were ready for heaven and I just flew back to California, but I had to have my ticket my boarding pass and now they scan them and so you go you take your seat assigned to you. You can't just go on any plaintiff to get EC you want to say then you have to go to your assigned seat that is been paid for in the same way God is a place for you in heaven. He says I go to prepare a place for you, but you have to have your ticket so to speak a single, how do you get this ticket. How much of the cost, number one, you can afford it, but it's already been paid for by Jesus when he shed his blood on the cross for you so just take the ticket and take your seat and you will go to your future destination.
And if you're a believer in Jesus at destination is heaven, but I would be telling you the whole truth by then say there's another destination and it's called hell.
God doesn't want anybody to go there. That's why he took such drastic measures by sending his own son to die in our place so we would not have to go to hell so we could go to heaven. We have to accept this gift and if you've never asked Jesus to come in your life you can do it right here right now. Let's pray together. Father I pray for everybody this year, and those that are watching that wherever they are.
If they don't know Jesus. If you don't live in their heart.
Let this be the moment they believe the moment they turn from darkness to light from the power of Satan to the power of God, let this be the moment they believe in Jesus so I pray that you will help them make that decision and as our heads are better were praying, if you want Jesus 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 when it you just pray this prayer after me and you could print out loud if you like you can pray than the quietness of your heart. If you choose to, but just pray this prayer after me now Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died in the cross for me. I turned from my sin and I receive you into my life and I choose to follow you from this moment in Jesus name I gave the pivotal moment. Many who just pray that prayer and if you just prayed with Pastor Greg Laurie and meant those words sincerely we want to welcome you into God's family and hear a new beginning. We want to help you begin growing in your faith letter sent you pastor Greg's new believers growth packet is free of charge if you prayed with him today and it'll help you get started in your relationship with the Lord. Ask for it when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org Pastor Greg. When we look at world events global hostility toward Israel recovering from a worldwide pandemic.
Good talk of new ones contempt for biblical values. It sure seems like the time is right for the Lord to return yes, but many people our age. Remember Pastor saying that back in the 70s.
So what can we learn from your book were making available on Revelation, I think we want to always live our life ready for the Lord's imminent return, he may come tonight. He could come in the year he may come in 10 years, 20 years we don't know when he's coming. I've always avoided any kind of date setting because Jesus says no one knows the day or the hour. However, there are so many passages that tell us to wake up spiritually and to put on the armor of God, because the day of the Lord is coming. It will come. It could come in our lifetime.
It may come after, but no matter what life will come to an end and we will enter eternity. So we want to be ready for that moment. But there are many signs of the times happening right now that I think we should pay attention to the Bible tells us that in the end times. It would be like a woman having labor pains. Now you know when mother is ready to give birth. Her labor pains become more frequent and there closer together and that is exactly the analogy Jesus use when you see these things begin.
The company says look up for your redemption is drawing near.
We've had an increase in many things. The Bible said would be happening.
As an example, the Bible predicted that one day there would be a cashless society. 100 years ago that would've seemed absurd, but today with modern technology with crypto currency with all of the tech that's happening around us, we can see how we could step into that immediately.
The Bible tells us in the last days that there would be a spread of plagues globally.
I think that you could say that this pandemic covered 19 was a plague and that is a sign of the times I could go on and on and things that are happening. The tension in the Middle East and much much more.
As we see these things happen there reminders that Jesus is coming again. I'll tell you what the book of Revelation unlocks this for us, and I've written a book simply called Revelation subtitled a book of promises. This is a thick book.
This is a hardcover book that will be a resource that you can go to again and again and it's getting help make the book of Revelation more understandable to you and you'll begin to understand prep for the first time how to apply these truths in your own life.
Listen, I want to send this book to you for no charge. It's actually for your gift of any size so encouraging you to send something to help us continue to reach out to this radio broadcast a new beginning, and our other outreach efforts, as well as how we proclaim the gospel. This is how we do it you pray for us. You support as you give us the ability to reach new people as our way of saying thanks will send you your copy of this book. Revelation subtitled a book of promises will be glad to get it on its way to you immediately and will also include a custom bookmark. We produced it lays out the timeline of the events of Bible prophecy, the rapture, the second coming, the tribulation, the millennium, she them all displayed in proper order. Very helpful in the bookmark is included when we send you a copy of pastor Greg's book when you send your donation be sure to ask for Revelation, a book of promises you can write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. Our team is standing by around the clock dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org you know there's nothing like hearing the word of God worshiping the Lord together. I will encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home every Saturday and Sunday harvest.org you can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the word of God together. So join us for Harvest at Home and harvest will next time Pastor Greg presents a warning to those who were faking it in the Christian faith is a pivotal study called the almost Christian.
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