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Are You a Fruitful Christian?

“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” –Matthew 13:23

The concept of bearing fruit is used often in Scripture. In the Gospels, Jesus told the story of a sower who went out to sow seed. The seed fell on various types of ground. Some of the ground was rocky and hard. Other ground was receptive, but weeds choked out the seed.

But there was a portion of ground that was neither rocky nor weedy, and in that soil the seed took root. Jesus said that this was a picture of the different people who hear the gospel. Those who are true believers will bring forth fruit (Luke 8:15).

What is bearing fruit? Essentially, it is becoming like Jesus. Spiritual fruit will show itself in our lives as a change in our character and outlook. As we spend time with Jesus and get to know Him better, His thoughts will become our thoughts. His purpose will become our purpose. We will become like Jesus.

What does spiritual fruit look like?

The Bible gives an excellent description of a life characterized by the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says:

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely (MSG).

Is that what others see in your life? If not, then either you don’t know God or you are living outside of fellowship with Him. If that is the case, then a commitment or a recommitment to Him would be in order. God isn’t asking for a perfect life. But He is asking that this spiritual fruit be a primary characteristic of a life that is lived for Him.

Who Will Go?

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV)

God said in the presence of Isaiah, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” In a sense, God is still asking this question. Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? Will you go? Will you stand in the gap?

If God’s Holy Spirit were to search among us today, I wonder if He would find men or women willing to stand in the gap. Willing to pray. Willing to be available. Willing to reach out to those who do not know Him.

A lot of Christians will say, “I’m too timid. I’m afraid of this and that.” But I think a lot of Christians don’t really have a burden for those who don’t know the Lord. I think if that burden is burning with enough passion, a believer will work through the obstacles.

That is not to say there aren’t things we should learn so we can share our faith more effectively. But if the burden is really there, a believer will go out and do something with it.

The bottom line is that sharing our faith isn’t really a big deal to many of us. This is why it is so important that we have a God-given burden for unbelievers.

I would rather make every mistake to be made in sharing my faith than to never do anything. At least I will hopefully learn something from my mistakes.

But when we do nothing for fear of being rejected or for fear we will not meet with resounding success, we are really missing what God has called us to do.

Do you care enough to share the gospel?

Essentials for Sharing the Gospel

This is a huge month for our ministry with the SoCal Harvest Crusade taking place August 17–19 at Angel Stadium.

If you can make it out and bring a friend, that would be great, but if you cannot make it, you can have your own evangelistic event by sharing the gospel message with someone who doesn’t know the Lord.

Here are some essentials to help guide and encourage you in sharing the Good News!

Essentials for Sharing the Gospel

  1. Be loving. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
  2. Be knowledgeable. “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
  3. Be confident. If you act like you don’t believe what you’re saying, then they won’t believe it either. “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).
  4. Be prayerful. Don’t try to do it on your own. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  5. Be gentle. Be tactful. “Let your gentleness be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5).
  6. Be compassionate. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8).
  7. Be a listener. “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).
  8. Be simple. Don’t complicate the message. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
  9. Be focused. Keep the main thing the main thing. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
  10. 10. Be glorifying. We must give the glory where it is due. “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images” (Isaiah 42:8).

Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Praising God for Harvest America

Wow, what an amazing Harvest America we had Sunday, June 10!

This could not have happened without the faithful and generous support of Harvest Partners like yourself! Here are some of the stats:

  • Stadium attendance: 35,000+
  • Host sites: 6630
  • Host site attendance: 97,700
  • Live unique viewers: 254,000
  • Total professions of faith: 10,286+

Watch a short recap of what happened at Harvest America:

Revival Starts with Prayer

By Greg Laurie

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

There never has been a prayerless revival in history. Revival starts with prayer.

God said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Notice God said, “Pray and seek My face.” We should not only pray, but we also should seek His face. There is a difference. We can pray like this: “Lord, send revival. Amen.” Now let’s get lunch. Or, we can pray, “Lord, we are seeking You. . . . Lord, we are calling out to You. . . . Lord, we are desperate for You. . . . Lord, we need You. Send an awakening to America.” It is effectively a prayer that doesn’t take no for an answer.

Are we being presumptuous when we pray that way? No, because Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7). Another way to translate this would be, “Keep asking, keep seeking, Keep knocking.” Jesus goes on to say, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (verse 8).

When we are praying for revival, we are praying according to the will of God. When we are praying for the salvation of a loved one, we are praying according to the will of God. We need to press forward in our prayers and seek His face, not backing down.

We cannot organize a revival, but we can agonize for one in prayer. Perhaps we can prepare the ground. Better yet, we ought to “preprayer” the ground. Press on.

What Is Revival?

By Greg Laurie

“Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?” —Psalm 85:6 NLT

Some have defined revival as a community saturated with God or an invasion from Heaven.

Richard Owen Roberts said, “Revival is an extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit producing extraordinary results.” And A.W. Tozer defined revival as “that which changes the moral climate of a community.”

Listen, revival is nothing more or less than a new beginning of obedience to God.

It’s a church word, revival. It is not for the nonbeliever. Revival starts with the church and then affects the world. The world does not need revival; the church does. The world needs evangelism.

Evangelism does not bring revival, but revival always brings evangelism.

That is why we are doing Harvest America! We have our marching orders from Jesus to “go into all the world.” Let’s do that together on June 10. Will you participate?

C.H. Spurgeon said, “To be revived is a blessing which can only be enjoyed by those who have some degree of life. Those who have no spiritual life are not, and cannot be, in the strictest sense of the term, subjects of revival.”

So revival should be looked for among the church, and more specifically, it starts with you and me as individuals.

The Appearances of the Risen Christ

To help unfold the events between Christ’s resurrection and ascension, below is a chronology of the ten appearances of the risen Christ as recorded in Scripture.

The First Appearance of the Risen Christ

Christ appears to Mary Magdalene and commissions her to tell the disciples about His soon-coming ascension.

The Place: The Garden Tomb

The Time: Early Easter Morning, While It Was Still Dark

The Scripture: John 20:11–18

 

The Second Appearance of the Risen Christ

On their way to tell the disciples about the Resurrection, Jesus appears to the women and commands them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee.

The Place: A Road Near Jerusalem

The Time: Early Easter Morning

The Scripture: Matthew 28:5–15; Mark 16:2–8; Luke 24:1–11

 

The Third Appearance of the Risen Christ

Cleopas and another disciple encounter Christ without recognizing Him.  When they realize it is Jesus, they go and tell the others.

The Place: The Road to Emmaus

The Time: Easter around Noon

The Scripture: Mark 16:12–13; Luke 24:13–35

 

The Fourth Appearance of the Risen Christ

Cleopas and the other disciple arrive in Jerusalem and are greeted with the news that Christ appeared to the apostle Peter.

The Place: Unknown

The Time: Easter Day

The Scripture: Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5

 

The Fifth Appearance of the Risen Christ

Christ appears to Cleopas and the other disciples, eats with them, teaches them the Scriptures, and tells them to preach to all the nations.

The Place: Behind Locked Doors

The Time: Easter Evening

The Scripture: Luke 24:35–49; John 20:19–23

 

The Sixth Appearance of the Risen Christ

Christ shows Himself to Thomas and the other disciples, providing Thomas the opportunity to see His wounds and believe in Him.

The Place: Behind Locked Doors

The Time: Eight Days after Easter

The Scripture: John 20:24–29

 

The Seventh Appearance of the Risen Christ

Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, John, James, and two other disciples see Jesus while fishing.  There Christ challenges Peter and says, “Follow Me.”

The Place: The Sea of Galilee

The Time: At Dawn, between Easter and the Ascension

The Scripture: John 21:1–25

 

The Eighth Appearance of the Risen Christ

Christ meets the eleven disciples, and perhaps hundreds of others (see 1 Corinthians 15:6), and gives them the Great Commission.

The Place: An Unnamed Mountain

The Time: Between Easter and the Ascension

The Scripture: Matthew 28:16–20

 

The Ninth Appearance of the Risen Christ

Christ appears to the eleven disciples as they were eating, rebukes them, and commands them to preach the Good News to everyone.

The Place: Unknown

The Time: Between Easter and the Ascension

The Scripture: Mark 16:14–18

 

The Tenth Appearance of the Risen Christ

Christ leads the eleven disciples to Bethany on the Mount of Olives, promises them the Holy Spirit and ascends into Heaven.

The Place: The Mount of Olives

The Time: Forty Days after Easter

The Scripture: Luke 24:50–53; Acts 1:4–11

Encouraging Testimony from “A New Beginning” Listeners!

It may have been about 15 years ago I worked full time and my mother (who loved the Lord, God rest her soul) loved to clean house for me. It made her feel needed and wanted. My father had passed away already. He passed one week after their 50th wedding anniversary.

Well, one morning after she had cleaned for me, I woke up to my alarm, which is a radio. I normally listened to a country and western music station. Well that morning I woke up to Harvest Ministries on 1160 am WYLL in Chicago. She had either turned the switch on the radio to AM or turned the station dial just a little while dusting it. She didn’t listen to radio so I know she hadn’t deliberately turned it. Well, I laid there trying to figure out why my C&W station was not on and not sure who I was hearing and I kept listening and liked what I heard.

You made listening about God sound fun and interesting. Then you gave the invitation to accept Christ as my Savior and I said God this must be a sign that the radio station had somehow gotten changed to this Christian station that I had never heard before.

I had always known about Jesus from my mom but not in the way you seemed to be talking about Him. Well I said the prayer and have been a Christian ever since. I told my mom the story days later and she was so happy because she said she always prayed for all her kids to be Christians and God-loving people.

Thanks again and God bless your ministry. I have attended your crusades and I love all the monthly resources you offer. One of the resources I ordered was the video of you visiting the Holy Land. My mom always wanted to go there but was unable to for many reasons so when I shared the video with her she was so thankful for the resource.

God bless you and all your family,
C & L

Press Release for “Steve McQueen: American Icon”

Here’s the official press release for what happened with Steve McQueen: American Icon.

Greg Laurie’s ‘Steve McQueen: American Icon’ Film Goes Toe-to-Toe With Hollywood in World Premiere

In Blockbuster Premiere Night Event, 100,000 People in 800 Sold-Out Theaters across the Country Watched the Little-Known Story of Steve McQueen

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries hit the red carpet Thursday night [September 28] in Newport Beach, CA for the world premiere of his newest film, Steve McQueen: American Icon. Surrounded by friends, castmates, and stuntmen who knew and worked alongside the Hollywood Icon, Laurie, along with director Jon Erwin, celebrated the largely untold story of Steve McQueen’s journey to finding faith.

“It’s a testament to the power of the Gospel that the story of how the ‘King of Cool’ gave his life to Christ, has performed so well all across the nation,” said Laurie. “While we wait for the final numbers to come it, it’s clear that this film, and the real life story behind it, is resonating with people in a very profound way. I’m just very pleased that it’s finally being told to a wider audience,” said Laurie.

Organized by Fathom Events, the film’s world premiere was hosted from coast-to-coast on 800 screens with approximately 100,000 people in attendance. Early indications suggest Steve McQueen: American Icon was among the top grossing films of the evening, even outperforming many of Hollywood largest productions.

During his career, McQueen was the number one movie star in the world. His legendary on-screen exploits and death-defying stunts still inspire an army of modern-day fans who often emulate his fashion and love for cars, motorcycles and racing. “Now his fans have something else, something even cooler, to model off of Steve’s life – his faith in Jesus Christ,” added Laurie.

The film, which documents McQueen’s humble beginnings as well as his meteoric rise to worldwide stardom, also explores his ultimate search for peace and meaning which led to his Christian conversion.

One audience member from Ohio brought a friend to the film premiere who, after watching McQueen’s own faith journey, “accepted Jesus into his heart.” “Thank you for making the movie. It was very moving and I was encouraged to commit myself more to the Lord after seeing the testimonies,” the audience member went on to say.

“Towards the very end of his life, McQueen said that his greatest regret was not being able to tell the world about what Christ had done for him,” said Laurie. “There’s a sense that through the success of this project, we’ve helped bring full circle what God started 40 years ago. I’m thrilled to have played a role in that.”

#1 with a Bullitt!

This spring they actually found it.

Steve McQueen’s iconic 1968 Ford Mustang GT.

Only traces of its original highland green paint job remained as it had sat unnoticed in a backyard in Mexico for years. Collectors had been searching for it for decades.

Of course, this is not just any old ’68 Stang.

This was one of the original cars used in the classic Steve McQueen film Bullitt—a film that defined “cool” for a generation of Americans.

Now, I get it. This wasn’t discovering the Ark of the Covenant or the Ten Commandments, but the discovery stopped me dead in my tracks for two reasons.

First, I own a 1968 Bullitt myself. Not the original, of course, but a very close replica. You can call it my “midlife crisis”! People either “get it” or they don’t. On more than one occasion, when I have parked it in the lot, I will return with two or more admirers (always guys) standing by it with lots of questions.

Secondly, this story was of special interest to me because I’ve just spent a year of my life working on a new biography and documentary of Steve McQueen (with Marshall Terrill).

McQueen was Hollywood’s “King of Cool” for a reason. His legacy lives on in a new generation, as his image is ubiquitous in culture (especially the hipster culture). He also still appears in modern films like the recent remake of The Magnificent Seven. Yet, for most boomers like me, we can’t forget when we saw the original version of The Great Escape, as McQueen played Virgil Hilts in a role that propelled him to super-stardom. Then there’s his role as detective Frank Bullitt. He literally flies his car through the streets of San Francisco in what is regarded by many as the greatest car chase scene in cinematic history. Steve McQueen was not cool because he drove the Bullitt car. The Bullitt car was cool because Steve McQueen drove it.

At the time, Steve McQueen was the number-one movie star in the world, and he is still used as a point of reference for masculinity and “coolness” to this day. He was (and is) the definition of an American icon.

Only in America—with America’s dream—could McQueen transform his hardscrabble beginnings into epic stardom. Yet, until late in his life he struggled to find meaning in life, and he suffered because of it.

It might have been because he was born into a home of an alcoholic mother and a father that left him early in life, but eventually he found himself on the wrong side of the law more than once. Then, as his star began to rise higher and higher, he began to chase harder and harder after every pleasure this planet had to offer.

But notwithstanding all his fame and fortune, a colossal vacuum lived rent-free in Steve McQueen’s heart, a yawning chasm, a lack of purpose rooted in the absence of functional, involved parents. He spent his whole life avoiding his mother and searching for his father—searching for someone or something to stand in for him, someone to love him.

He had the best cars money could buy, the most beautiful women at his beck and call, drugs galore, booze until the well ran dry, and much more.

While still the top movie star on the planet, and with all the money and power in the world, he decided to search for more than this world could offer. That was the story I was interested in, and I chased it till I found it. Everyone knew about McQueen’s Bullitt! But I wanted to find McQueen’s salvation.

McQueen knew he needed God, and he found his way to salvation through Billy Graham’s gospel message. In fact, Billy visited him and gave him his personal New Testament from which he shared with him the teachings of Jesus. Tragically, Steve McQueen found out he had cancer about six months after his conversion.

His newfound faith played a key role in dealing with the hardship that was to come, and he fought with great faith and courage to the very end.

As Steve’s son Chad said in a recent interview, “I think Dad was finding his way to go to the next place. I remember, he would wake me up at seven in the morning to go to church, which never happened before he got ill. So I think he was looking for peace.”

When McQueen died on an operating table in Mexico trying one last time to beat back his cancer. He died clutching Billy Graham’s Bible.

He nearly missed it, but eventually he found what so many others need today, especially at the heights of fame and fortune. He needed faith in God.

This column appeared at the Fox News website.
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/08/steve-mcqueen-salvation-american-icon.html