GREG LAURIE: HOPE IS HOLDING ON

According to Greg Laurie, hope can be defined in an acrostic. H-O-P-E … Holding On with Patient Expectation.

Holding on” is often hard and “with patient expectation” is usually harder. With God doing the holding on, however, Laurie’s life has become a life that epitomizes hope.

Laurie’s life as a child was harder than difficult, and by the time he was seventeen he was more hopeless than hopeful. His mother’s life was filled with alcoholism and seven marriages and divorces. His life was full of being raised in his mother’s dysfunctional instability sometimes and by his grandparents and military school at other times.

Now fast forward… to the present. Today finds Pastor Greg involved in many endeavors, all helping others in some way or another. His changed life was not a random happenstance but planned and directed by the Master Designer. Thankfully Greg made some right choices along the way that accepted God’s having His way. Greg chose to hold on, but more importantly God held on to Greg.

Now Greg Laurie is Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship located in California and Hawaii. It has consistently ranked among the most influential churches in America and has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention for about three years.

At age nineteen his first pastoral role in ministry was leading  Bible study to a group of thirty. God blessed and brought an increase from that first small group to a church with approximately 15,000 to make it one of the largest churches in the country.

Pastor Greg has held Harvest Crusades, his name for evangelistic events, for approximately thirty years. Almost eight million people have been reached by these Crusades in the United States alone.

In 2012 Pastor Greg’s Harvest America first brought internet simulcast live HD video to thousands of locations across America. More than 300,000 Americans attended, and Harvest America ranks as one of the largest gospel presentations ever. The Crusades also expanded internationally to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. An important result is that 506,644 people professed faith in Christ following these events.

Pastor Greg speaks on the nationally syndicated radio program, A New Beginning, on more than 800 radio sources around the world. He also has a weekly television program on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and appears on multiple television news programs as well. Besides working at Harvest Ministries, he has served as an Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer and is a member of the board of directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He received honorary doctorates from Biola University and Azusa Pacific University.

In addition to his many ministry activities, Pastor Greg is an author of more than seventy books. His bibliography includes Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon; Jesus Revolution; Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon; Live Love Fight; Tell Someone; The New Believer’s Bible Hope for Hurting Hearts; and his own story revealed in his autobiography, Lost Boy.

His documentary film, “Lost Boy: The Next Chapter,” and film “Hope for Hurting Hearts,” have won awards at international film festivals. “Steve McQueen: American Icon,” features the true story of the legendary actor coming to salvation in Christ.

Greg’s personal successes include being married to wife Cathe for more than forty years. Together their marriage has been blessed with two sons and five grandchildren.

It is apparent that God has blessed Greg Laurie and his ministry. I am thankful that God uses him to share the blessings that bring faith, hope, and love to our planet. God has transformed his life from a near hopeless childhood to hopeful Christian leadership. Because of God’s transforming power, my own life has been blessed with the same hope that Greg Laurie shares.

I am thankful that God’s hope is apparent in this man’s life. His example reminds me to hold on with expectation when life is difficult. When that becomes too hard, I will thank God that He is holding onto me… to God be the glory!

 

Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  (Joshua 22:5)

Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.  (Psalm 37:3-5)

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”  (Psalm 37:23)

“Serve the Lord with gladness….”  (Psalm 100:2)

And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:26)

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”  (Matthew 25:21)

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  (Romans 8:24, 25)

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect… Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:1,2,11)

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” (Hebrews 6:10)

MAX LUCADO: UNSHAKABLE HOPE

Do you ever feel like your world is shaky even to the point of toppling? Do you face problems that seem beyond your ability to cope? Is your pain more than you can bear? Are “difficult circumstances” an understatement when describing your life?

You may know you need hope but don’t know where to find it. Are you willing to truly seek unshakable hope? If so, continue reading….

“In his new book, UNSHAKABLE HOPE, Max Lucado unpacks 12 of the Bible’s most significant promises, equipping readers to overcome difficult circumstances by staying focused on the hope found in the promises of Scripture rather than dwelling on the problems in front of you. For every problem in life, God has given you a promise.” (Amazon.com)

After 40 years of ministry and more than 130 million books in print, America’s bestselling inspirational author, Max Lucado, has authored UNSHAKABLE HOPE. This New York Best Seller by one of my favorite authors is about living a life built on the promises of God that are found in Scriptures.

I guarantee that having this book on your shelf won’t change your life, but something awesome may happen if you apply God’s promises to your life. This book can help you learn and focus on hope of promises on which to build your life.

Will seriously reading it be worth your time and effort? What have you got to lose when you may turn from hopeless to hopeful? Seems like a no-brainer to me!

COME AS YOU ARE: HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS

Contemporary Christian songs can have lyrics that touch hearts just as traditional hymns have done in years past. One that speaks to me is “Come As You Are” by Crowder.

I noticed that it includes these words: “There’s hope for the hopeless.” (Hopeful truths just jump out at me….) My life has met the Hope referred to in this song. I invite you to find the song, listen with an open heart, and see if it speaks to you.

Even more importantly, I invite you to come to the Hope that is to be found in Jesus Christ. He’s ready, willing, and able to be your hope if you are hopeless. Come to Him now. Come as you are.

Come As You Are

“Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been.
Come, broken hearted,
Let rescue begin.
Come find His mercy.
Oh, sinner, come kneel.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.

So lay down your burdens,
Lay down your shame.
All who are broken,
Lift up your face.
Oh, wanderer, come home.
You’re not too far,
So lay down your hurt,
Lay down your heart.
Come as you are.

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed.
Come sit at the table,
Come taste the grace.
There’s rest for the weary,
Rest that endures.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure.

So lay down your burdens,
Lay down your shame.
All who are broken,
Lift up your face.
Oh, wanderer, come home.
You’re not too far,
So lay down your hurt,
Lay down your heart.
Come as you are,
Come as you are,
Fall in His arms,
Come as you are.
There’s joy for the morning.
Oh, sinner, be still.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.

So lay down your burdens,
Lay down your shame.
All who are broken,
Lift up your face.
Oh, wanderer, come home.
You’re not too far,
So lay down your hurt,
Lay down your heart.
Come as you are,
Come as you are,
Come as you are.”

(Crowder)

Thank you, Crowder, for reminding us that there is no sorrow here on earth that God of heaven cannot heal when we come to Him as we are. That reality can bring hope to a hopeless heart.

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord,
‘Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.'”  (Isaiah 1:18)

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  (Jeremiah 29:13)

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” (St. Thomas More)

HOPEFUL or HOPELESS: HOPE RIGHTLY PLACED

Hope is a good thing. Hope is a needed thing, but it matters in whom or what my hope is placed. I believe it makes all the difference in the world.

Hope misplaced is, well, hopeless. Hope rightly placed results in whatever — or Whomever — hoped for being reached or received.

If my hope lies in something or someone false or even non-existent, will I receive that for which I hope? Of course not! My hope must lie in that which has the ability or capability to fulfill my hope. My hope must be rightly placed.

Perhaps the saddest thing in life is being hopeless. To live without hope is hardly living at all. Hopelessness may be the reason for many suicidal deaths.

How different is the life promised to believers who have chosen to place our hope in Jesus Christ. The difference is abundant living versus hopelessness. (That’s only in this life on earth. It gets even more important in the  afterlife, because the difference is eternal life versus eternal death.)

Jesus said, “…I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Why would anyone choose less when it is so freely offered?

Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, so in Him hope is rightly placed. Hope will not be disappointed when placed in the One whom God gave for that purpose.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) That’s reason for hope!

As Edward Mote, the author of the beloved hymn, “The Solid Rock,” professed in 1834: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness….” Amen!