Greg Laurie — The Pursuit of Happiness
I was born in 1952 in long beach, California. My mother was stunningly beautiful. She was a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe. But she seemed to be trying to find her purpose in life in a relationship with a man. She was married and divorced seven times and had a lot of boyfriends in between. My mom also was a raging alcoholic. When I say an alcoholic I am talking about full blown passed out drunk pretty much every night. So I had to grow up quickly because I in some ways had to be a parent to my own mother. It got me searching for answers at a very early point of my childhood.
I don't remember a lot about what was said that day but a guy got up and spoke and he made this statement. "Jesus said, 'you are either for me or against me.'" I looked around at the other Christians and I thought, "Well I am not one of them. Does that mean that I am against him"? I have always believed in God. Whenever I was in trouble I called out to Jesus. I had seen all of his movies. But I never knew that Jesus could be known in a personal way. That was the day Jesus Christ came into my life. 1970.
The last thing I ever planned on becoming was a preacher. Trust me when I tell you that. But because God became real to me I wanted to share that with others. People who are cynical like I was. People who maybe were raised in broken homes like I was. People who had been chewed up and spit out by this world like I was. If God can use someone like me, he can use anyone. It is the message that is important.
My wife Cathe is my best friend in life. She is my number one counselor. I grow in my love for her really every day. We have been married 39 years. We have two sons. One is on earth and one is in heaven. We have five beautiful grandchildren.
Well for my downtime I like to ride my Harley. I surf when the water is above 70 degrees, there is no one out competing for waves, and I am in the mood, which means rarely. But honestly one of the things I love to do more than anything else is just hang out with my family and play with my grandkids.
Sometimes I think we think of life like a movie. You know maybe it is a tragic story but we will say it is just a movie and the credits roll and we leave the theater. But sometimes tragedy happens in our lives. In real time. It certainly happened to us when our oldest son Christopher died in an automobile accident on July 24, 2008. Pain knocks at every door. Just because I am a preacher it doesn't mean that I get a free pass.
In the midst of this tragedy we have found hope. What is hope? One way to define it is in an acronym. H-o-p-e. Holding on with patient expectation. I have hope that I will see my son again in heaven. That is why I want to give this message to others. Because I believe there is hope in this hopeless world and people need to hear it. You know it has been said, "If you preach to hurting people you will never lack for an audience". I think there are a lot of hurting people that need a message of hope today.