The Value of a Soul

I have been asked, “Why do you go out and do Harvest Crusades? Why do you travel to different areas of the country, taking time away from your church and your family to do this? What’s your motive?”

Why do I go out and do this?

Is it the thrill of speaking in front of large crowds? No, I can’t say that’s it because, in many cases, the crowds may be smaller than our combined attendance at Harvest Christian Fellowship on a given Sunday.

Is it the thrill of travel? Absolutely not. The novelty of travel wore off a long time ago.

Is it because it’s a lot of fun? Well, we do have a lot of fun. But it isn’t all fun. In reality, it’s a lot of work.

Jesus told the story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep and one went astray. What did the shepherd do? Did he say, “Win a few, lose a few. Too bad”?

No, he left the 99 and went after that one sheep. You see, God doesn’t just value multitudes; He values individuals. He values the human soul.

Several years ago, my neighbor told me about a man named Roy who lived in our neighborhood. Roy had a very serious heart ailment, and there was nothing more that could be done for him. So he had been discharged from the hospital and was basically sent home to die.

My neighbor said to me, “Roy is not a Christian, but he has been to one of your crusades. Maybe you should try and talk to him.”

One morning, my wife and I were out walking when my neighbor pointed out Roy to us. So we walked over to him and introduced ourselves. As we talked, it became clear that Roy was not a believer. He had a lot of questions.

Every day, we ran into him and would talk a little bit more. Then I gave Roy a copy of one of  my books which presented the gospel message. I encouraged him to take the book home and read it and then asked if we could talk again.

Roy came back the next day and said, “I read your whole book.” He had more questions. We talked a little bit more, but Roy still did not seem ready to make a commitment to Christ.

One morning, as we were having family devotions, I looked out the window. There was Roy, standing in front of our house. He was out on a walk and had stopped to rest, right in front of our house.

Here we were, reading the Bible, and Roy was standing there. I sensed it was time. So I walked outside and said, “Roy, let’s talk a little more.” As we talked, I said, “Roy, I think you need to settle this right now. You need to get right with God. Why don’t you pray right now and give your life to Christ?”

He said, “I’m ready to do that.”

“Great,” I said. So we prayed, and Roy asked the Lord to come into his life.

The next morning, we saw Roy. He had a big smile on his face. He said he had just been singing “Jesus Loves Me.” Every time we saw Roy, it seemed like he had grown a little more.

His son-in-law told me later that Roy went to his whole family and announced, “You are looking at a brand-new Christian right now!”

Some time later, Roy’s son-in-law knocked on our door. He said, “Roy died last night. I wanted to tell you.”

Certainly there was sadness. But there also was the joy of knowing that Roy was in his new body in heaven. I thought to myself, “What if I had been too busy?” We can make up so many excuses. But God had provided me with a wonderful opportunity to talk with Roy.

So why take the time to share the gospel and hold events like the Harvest Crusades? The answer is obvious: it’s the value of a soul.

God values the Roys of the world. He values you. And He values me. Yet in our culture today, we often place the greatest value on that which, for the most part, has no value. Meanwhile, we completely ignore that which has the greatest value.

Is anything worth more than a soul? The answer, obviously, is no. God values the human soul. And so should we.

We Love Hearing from You!

Recently, Pastor Greg received an e-mail from a Harvest Partner that blessed us as we heard firsthand how the ministry was impacting her walk.

Hello Pastor Greg,
I would like to thank you for your faithfulness as a devoted servant of God in Christ Jesus. I am a Harvest Partner and have listened to you for the past 10 years. I have truly experienced lessons of discipleship through your ministry. Thank you for making the word of God plain enough for me to understand and gentle enough for me to obey.

God is doing miraculous things in my life, taking me to new levels. I am now teaching Sunday school at my church (using a bit of your teaching style of course)! As a registered nurse, I am also seeking to use my talents for God’s kingdom through medical missions. I apologize for not thanking you sooner, please credit to my head and not my heart.

Yours in Christ,
Denise

If you also have benefitted by the ministry of Harvest, we would love to hear from you! Comment below.

The Person God Uses

Have you ever wanted to be used by God?

I believe it is a God-given desire to want to serve the Lord. But maybe you’ve wondered what qualifications the Lord looks for in the life of a man or woman that He would use. In the book of Joshua, we can find at least seven principles that apply to the person God uses.

Principle one: God uses people who realize they are weak. In Joshua 1, God told Joshua to “be strong and courageous” a total of three times in four verses. Why? It was probably because He knew Joshua was afraid—and understandably so.

Moses was gone. Now God had raised up Joshua to lead the people of Israel, and he hardly felt adequate for the task.

It isn’t a bad thing to discover that we are weak. In fact, it is quite good. As Warren Wiersbe has said, “You can never be too small for God to use—only too big.”

Principle two: God uses people who are faithful. Joshua had been Moses’ helper, or as the New King James Version puts it, “Moses’ assistant” (see Joshua 1:1). Joshua was the guy who was there to help Moses get the job done.

He had been born in Egypt and, along with Caleb, would be the only Israelite from the great Exodus to survive the wilderness wandering and make it into the Promised Land. Joshua was a faithful man and a worthy successor to Moses.

Principle three: God uses people who study and live by His Word. God told Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night . . . ” (1:8 nkjv). If you want to be used by God, then you need to know the Word of God. “Meditate in it day and night,” God said to Joshua.

The word meditate means, “to ponder, to consider, to contemplate.” This is where you will have the authority when you are used by God.

Principle four: God uses the person who is patient and waits on His timing. Imagine wandering around the wilderness for 40 years, and finally you are on the brink of entering the Promised Land. Then God says, “Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land . . . ’” (1:11 nkjv).

We need to learn to wait on God’s timing, because there is a time and a way to do what God calls us to do.

Principle five: God uses the person who cares about lost souls. There was a lost soul to be saved before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, and her name was Rahab. God would not judge Jericho until Rahab had been reached and told what to do to avoid this judgment that was coming when the Israelites attacked.

God’s heart always is to save people. Every soul is precious to Him. God always cares about individuals, and so should we.

Principle six: God uses the person who sets himself or herself apart. Joshua told the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (3:5 nkjv). The word sanctify means, “to set yourself apart, to live a holy life.”

It comes down to this: if you want to be used by God, then you will want to live a life that is right before Him. You don’t need to be perfect. But you need to be someone who is attempting to live a godly life.

Principle seven: God uses the person who knows how to work with others. A good leader will communicate with and encourage the people he or she works with.

That is what Joshua did. He called the people together and encouraged them. They were about to undertake a very difficult task. It was going to take faith. He was saying to the people, “Hear what God is saying to you, and let’s move forward.”

Joshua was communicating with the people he was leading, and he was encouraging them. If you want to be used by God, then this is what you need to do.

The Bible says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 nkjv). Will you be that person He can use?

Click here to download a PDF of Seven Principles to Be Used card.

An Undeserved Gift

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

Who is on your gift list this Christmas? Usually, we give gifts to family and friends. We want to buy gifts for people we love and people we care about. We tend to give gifts to those who treat us well, people who are kind and considerate to us. And often we will give gifts in return for gifts that we have received. Some of us will even buy gifts for our pets.

However, we generally don’t buy gifts for our enemies, do we? We don’t give a gift to the person who has slandered us in the past year. We don’t give a gift to the irate neighbor who never has a kind word to say. We don’t give a gift to someone who has tried to run us out of business. Nor do we send a gift to the thief who stole the car stereo last month.

But think about this: when God sent Jesus Christ, His Son, and gave us this ultimate gift, He gave it to us while we were still His enemies. The Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We did nothing whatsoever to merit or deserve this gift. In fact, what we really deserve is judgment, because we all have sinned against God. We all have deliberately crossed that line.

The amazing truth of Christmas is that, in spite of our sins, God sent His Son to save us. In that tiny manger in Bethlehem, He gave us an undeserved gift.

Share what receiving God’s undeserved gift of Jesus means to you.

As a Harvest Partner, you join us in helping our generation know God and make Him known.

Because you support Harvest Ministries, you’re investing in the lives of men, women, and young people who will come to know Jesus Christ through our outreach events, radio, television, and online resources.

Your monthly support provides the means to reach the lost, preach the Word, and be a source of relevant Bible teaching around the world. Your partnership also helps us to plan ahead and take advantage of every opportunity God brings our way.

Thank you for being a Harvest Partner!

Sharing His Message

Paul replied . . . “I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”—Acts 26:29

In Acts 26, we find Paul sharing the gospel with King Herod Agrippa and others. We also find some principles that we all can use when sharing our faith:

First, find common ground and build a bridge to your listener. Paul began his defense by saying, “I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, for I know you are an expert on Jewish customs and controversies. Now please listen to me patiently!” This was not flattery on Paul’s part. He was telling the truth. Agrippa was steeped in the ways of the Jews. He knew all about Jewish culture and customs. He could have started by saying, “You are a wicked man, Agrippa. And everyone knows it.” But he didn’t do that. He built a bridge. He was respectful.

Second, use your personal testimony. Paul told Agrippa how he became a follower of Christ. He told his own personal story. There is power in your story, whether it is dramatic or not. Don’t glorify or exaggerate your past. Accuracy is important and so is truthfulness. Don’t boast about what you gave up for God, but what God gave up for you.

Lastly, make Christ the focus. It is not about you. It is about Him. You only tell your story to point to His story. Your testimony is a bridge, not the destination. The destination is Jesus and His story.

When we share, we need to pray that God will open people’s eyes spiritually. There is nothing we can say, that will make a person believe. Conversion is a mystery and it is a work of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t understand why God would use someone as foolish as me or you to articulate His message. But the Holy Spirit can make that message resonate with the listener, if we are simply bold enough to share it.

The Value of a Soul

I have been asked, “Why do you go out and do Harvest Crusades? Why do you travel to different areas of the country, taking time away from your church and your family to do this? What’s your motive?”

Why do I go out and do this?

Is it the thrill of speaking in front of large crowds? No, I can’t say that’s it because, in many cases, the crowds may be smaller than our combined attendance at Harvest Christian Fellowship on a given Sunday.

Is it the thrill of travel? Absolutely not. The novelty of travel wore off a long time ago.

Is it because it’s a lot of fun? Well, we do have a lot of fun. But it isn’t all fun. In reality, it’s a lot of work.

Jesus told the story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep and one went astray. What did the shepherd do? Did he say, “Win a few, lose a few. Too bad”?

No, he left the 99 and went after that one sheep. You see, God doesn’t just value multitudes; He values individuals. He values the human soul.

Several years ago, my neighbor told me about a man named Roy who lived in our neighborhood. Roy had a very serious heart ailment, and there was nothing more that could be done for him. So he had been discharged from the hospital and was basically sent home to die.

My neighbor said to me, “Roy is not a Christian, but he has been to one of your crusades. Maybe you should try to talk to him.”

One morning, my wife and I were out walking when my neighbor pointed out Roy to us. So we walked over to him and introduced ourselves. As we talked, it became clear that Roy was not a believer. He had a lot of questions.

Every day, we ran into him and would talk a little bit more. Then I gave Roy a copy of one of my books, which presents the gospel message. I encouraged him to take the book home and read it and then asked if we could talk again.

Roy came back the next day and said, “I read your whole book.” He had more questions. We talked a little bit more, but Roy still did not seem ready to make a commitment to Christ.

One morning, as we were having family devotions, I looked out the window. There was Roy, standing in front of our house. He was out on a walk and had stopped to rest, right in front of our house.

Here we were, reading the Bible, and Roy was standing there. I sensed it was time. So I walked outside and said, “Roy, let’s talk a little more.” As we talked, I said, “Roy, I think you need to settle this right now. You need to get right with God. Why don’t you pray right now and give your life to Christ?”

He said, “I’m ready to do that.”

“Great,” I said. So we prayed, and Roy asked the Lord to come into his life.

The next morning, we saw Roy. He had a big smile on his face. He said he had just been singing “Jesus Loves Me.” Every time we saw Roy, it seemed like he had grown a little more.

His son-in-law told me later that Roy went to his whole family and announced, “You are looking at a brand-new Christian right now!”

Some time later, Roy’s son-in-law knocked on our door. He said, “Roy died last night. I wanted to tell you.”

Certainly there was sadness. But there also was the joy of knowing that Roy was in his new body in heaven. I thought to myself, “What if I had been too busy?” We can make up so many excuses. But God had provided me with a wonderful opportunity to talk with Roy.

So why take the time to share the gospel and hold events like the Harvest Crusades? The answer is obvious: It’s the value of a soul.

God values the Roys of the world. He values you. And He values me. Yet in our culture today, we often place the greatest value on that which, for the most part, has no value. Meanwhile, we completely ignore that which has the greatest value.

Is anything worth more than a soul? The answer, obviously, is no. God values the human soul. And so should we.

Disciplemaking

“So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.” (Colossians 1:28 NLT)

Jesus commanded us to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19 NLT). But what does that mean? It means that to the best of our ability, being led by the Holy Spirit, we are to invite people to follow Christ. Then we are to help them get on their feet spiritually and help them to start growing and keep moving forward. We want to help them grow up.

Somewhere along the line, however, we have separated evangelism from discipleship, but we see no such distinction in Scripture. The idea is not just to lead people to Christ and then say, “God bless you. See you later.” Rather, it is to help them grow and mature in their faith. New believers need help as they make that commitment to follow the Lord.

New believers are just like new babies, and babies need help. And not only do new believers need help, but they need protection as well. The apostle Paul, writing to new believers in Galatia, said, “Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives” (Galatians 4:19 NLT).

You can’t just turn a baby loose in a house. You have to watch them, because they get themselves into mischief all the time. You have to watch over babies constantly, because they are constantly getting into trouble.

The same is true of new believers. They make a commitment to Christ and are so vulnerable. Old friends will call up and ask them to engage in things they shouldn’t. Old boyfriends or girlfriends will contact them again. Those temptations will come. And you, as an older, more mature believer, need to help them and guide them in that regard so they don’t fall away.

Will you make yourself available to come alongside a new believer and help them to grow in their faith? They won’t be the only one to grow and be blessed!

Share you story below—we would love to hear about your discipleship adventure!

Sharing His Message

In Acts 26, we find Paul sharing the gospel with King Herod Agrippa and others. We also find some principles that we all can use when sharing our faith:

First, find common ground and build a bridge to your listener. Paul began his defense by saying, “I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, for I know you are an expert on Jewish customs and controversies. Now please listen to me patiently!” This was not flattery on Paul’s part. He was telling the truth. Agrippa was steeped in the ways of the Jews. He knew all about Jewish culture and customs. He could have started by saying, “You are a wicked man, Agrippa. And everyone knows it.” But he didn’t do that. He built a bridge. He was respectful.

Second, use your personal testimony. Paul told Agrippa how he became a follower of Christ. He told his own personal story. There is power in your story, whether it is dramatic or not. Don’t glorify or exaggerate your past. Accuracy is important and so is truthfulness. Don’t boast about what you gave up for God, but what God gave up for you.

Lastly, make Christ the focus. It is not about you. It is about Him. You only tell your story to point to His story. Your testimony is a bridge, not the destination. The destination is Jesus and His story.

When we share, we need to pray that God will open people’s eyes spiritually. There is nothing we can say that will make a person believe. Conversion is a mystery and it is a work of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t understand why God would use someone as foolish as me or you to articulate His message. But the Holy Spirit can make that message resonate with the listener, if we are simply bold enough to share it.

If you have the opportunity to come to SoCal Harvest or share the gospel with someone, we would love for you to share your experience in the comments below. May God bless you!