Weekend musings

We had a great night at our O.C. Bible study with the showing of the newest version of Lost Boy: The Next Chapter.

I am actually taking a break right now, so I wasn’t there at the showing. But some 1,400 people came, saw the film, and heard a testimony from my son Jonathan and a message by my friend Levi Lusko.

BTW, if you want to view the film, you can do so for free by clicking here. It is also available to purchase on DVD for ministry use here.

This Sunday

I will be gone this Sunday, so Levi will be speaking at Harvest at all three morning services.

Levi is only in his 20s, but has been gifted by God as a very effective Bible teacher and evangelist. Only a couple of years ago, he planted a new church in Montana called Fresh Life Church that has exploded in growth and is touching many people.

I know you will be blessed if you tune in to the webcast or hear Levi Lusko in person.

New Web site

A lot of you have responded to the news of our upcoming new Web site rollout, especially the new women’s microsite that will be called Virtue. It won’t be long before both sites are live. I will keep you posted.

A few more thoughts on discipleship

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had just completed a new book on discipleship. Here is another excerpt from it for you to peruse.

Foundational to discipleship is loving God more than anyone or anything else. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). A statement like that sounds shocking. But as we balance this verse with other Scripture, we know clearly Jesus is not commanding the hatred of people, especially members of our own family. Why would God tell us to honor our fathers and mothers and also demand that we hate them? Jesus even told us to “love [our] enemies” (Matt. 5:44), so we need to get the big picture here.

In context, Jesus was not saying we should hate people, per se. Essentially He was saying that we should love God more than anyone or anything else—so much so that our love for those people or things would seem like hatred in comparison.

Jesus was basically saying, “If you want to be my disciple, then love me more than anyone or anything else.” It makes perfect sense when you think about it. If you want to live your Christian life to its fullest, then love Jesus more than anyone or anything else.

People have been kept back from following Jesus by their fear of what others might think.  They know that if they give their life to Christ, they will lose a lot of so-called friends. If they give their life to Christ, it would mean the end of a relationship. If they give their life to Christ, it would cause friction in their home. That is what holds them back. But Jesus says, “If you really want to be my disciple, you must love me more than anyone or anything else.”

Here is what it comes down to: You either will have harmony with God and friction with people, or you will have harmony with people and friction with God. If you are living the way that God wants you to live, then it is going to seriously bother some people. You need to know that. Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets” (Luke 6:26 NIV). If you are really a follower of Jesus Christ and living as you ought to, there are going to be certain people that don’t like you for that reason alone. Don’t be hurt by that. Understand it is par for the course. As Jesus said, “ ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20 NIV).

A disciple loves God more than anyone or anything else.

4 thoughts on “Weekend musings”

  1. Danny says:

    Hello there, Pastor Greg!

    I had been down in the valley for the last week or so. Then I read this post on disciples, as well as the comments made by the godly people. What a blessing! It seems like when we focus too much energy on survival in today’s compromised global economy, the circumstances can easily steal our joy if we forget what is most important: keeping our focus on the Word, and loving God and our fellow man with everything we have.

    Thanks for providing the miraculous forum for those of us that need a booster shot now and then. I am recommitting to a daily Bible reading and prayer.

    My friends in the O.C. tell me that your son Jonathan and Levi did a great job, and that the young people are so excited to have you back in the O.C.! They all love the new Lost Boy film and were very moved by your testimony, as well as Christopher’s sudden departure to heaven. They all feel like a new revival of sorts is not only occurring on Thursday night, but every day! People are so desperate for something, and they need to know that God is really the something they are looking for.

    Thank you!

  2. Becky says:

    It’s amazing how, when we do love God above anything or anyone else, when we are seeking Him, and keeping our minds steadfast on Him, we are able to in turn give others that real, agape love. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the love that loves as God loves, unconditionally. When we fill up on God’s love and stay connected to Him, “the vine,” and seek Him first, we can better love others and see other people from God’s point of view, and not our own! For me, it’s hard to give out what I don’t have.

    “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

  3. Kenny says:

    You know, Greg, I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for 12 years. I can’t say all those years were strong and without blemish, however I always considered you my co-pastor. I came to know the Lord the hard way, much like you.

    Our lives are very similar. Yours was worse in some areas and mine in others, but somewhat the same. You answered the call a lot quicker than I did and it’s possible my head is a little harder than yours. I’m 44 and just now, after being a Christian for more than a decade, I am finally hearing more clearly from the Lord. I lead a Friday night Bible study. It’s been going on for a few months and I can’t get enough of God’s Word in me fast enough. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode.

    I have only said hello to you once. And shortly after accepting the Lord, I came to one of your crusades. I served at the Harvest for two consecutive years after that. That’s really where my story begins, because only this year have I felt reconnected with you. I have always felt like you were somewhat of a mentor to me, even though we have never met. There’s a lot more, I’m sure you can imagine. I just wanted to say, Praise the Lord our God almighty for loving us so much that I’m writing this to you tonight, getting ready for the Friday night Bible study, because it could have easily gone the other way. Love you, Greg. Hope we can talk sometime.

    Your bro in Christ,

  4. Jennifer says:

    I have been a listener for the past 7 years, ever since my younger sister had passed away unexpectedly. I moved to Irvine 8 months ago from M.V. and started attending Calvary Costa Mesa, which I love! I was recently having a chat with my aunt and telling her how I wish Greg’s church wasn’t so far away! Then you showed up here 2 weeks after that conversation. I feel sooo blessed. I live in the apartment buildings across the street and get to enjoy you live finally! When I heard you were coming to Irvine, I was so estatic, but when I found out you were outside my window I was in disbelief! I made flyers and put them around the building to let everyone know you are here! I have never met you, but I have listened for so many years that I feel you are a dear friend. You encourage me and make me laugh and cry. I volunteered a couple times in the children’s ministry; your grandchildren are beautiful! I do have a protective heart for children, but I feel that I need to be spending my time attending your services right now, rather than volunteering. Thank you for being here! Praise the Lord!

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