November 11, 2022 : By Ryan Klinker - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Gathered in the Vines Center for Friday’s Convocation, Liberty University students and College for a Weekend (CFAW) guests heard from pastor and author Greg Laurie and his wife, Cathe, about their testimonies as part of America’s “Jesus Revolution” in the 1970s and how today’s generation of young believers can spark yet another spiritual revival.
Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship with campuses in California and Hawaii. Along with his work at Harvest Ministries, Laurie served as the 2013 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer and serves on the board of directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He has authored over 70 books and adapted “Steve McQueen: American Icon” and “Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon” into documentary films.
His latest film project is based on his own faith journey. Working with the Erwin Brothers, the makers of Christian films like “I Can Only Imagine” and “American Underdog,” Lionsgate will be releasing “Jesus Revolution” in February 2023. The film will star Joel Courtney (“The Kissing Booth”) as young Greg Laurie and Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”) as Greg’s mentor, the late Calvary Chapel founding Pastor Chuck Smith. Jonathan Roumie (who plays Jesus in “The Chosen”) will portray hippie evangelist Lonnie Frisbee, and Anna Grace Barlow (Scream, The Never List) will co-star as Cathe Laurie.
Both Greg and Cathe came to Christ as a part of the movement, at a time when Greg said American culture was falling apart. He cited a TIME Magazine cover that came out at the time bearing the question “Is God Dead?” Amid the culture’s calls for political upheaval, God sent something bigger, and Greg Laurie said he believes that our country is in need of it again.
“God intervened and sent a spiritual awakening, really the last great spiritual awakening in America,” he said. “While the culture was calling for a revolution, God sent a spiritual awakening, and I think that’s what we need today. I can’t think of any other time in my lifetime that parallels where we are right now. We don’t need a political revolution, we don’t need a moral revolution, we need another Jesus Revolution.”
The people of the Jesus Revolution were young people who looked like the “hippies” of the time but spoke about Jesus and presented the Gospel in a clear, direct way.“
They shared the simplest Gospel message you could have ever imagined: ‘Turn from your sin, turn from the empty things that are disappointing you and leaving you disillusioned … and turn to God in prayer and repent and follow Him,’” Cathe said. “I saw genuine love and genuine peace and real miracles happening, and I realized that Jesus wasn’t just some historical figure in the past, but He was actually a person who knew me and cared about me and wanted a relationship with me.”
Greg Laurie’s path to Christ came at a rock concert at Pirate’s Cove in Newport Beach, Calif., that featured a Gospel message, which was depicted in a clip from the movie that was shown in Convocation.
“My hope is that when this scene plays in the film … people will pray along with ‘Greg’ and ask Christ to come into their life,” he said.
When Laurie asked Christ for salvation, he said he felt a weight being taken off his body.
“That was the weight of sin and guilt that was being lifted off of my life, and because it was so radical, I felt like I wanted to tell other people about this,” he said. “(I wanted to tell) people like me who are cynical, people like me who have a hard time trusting authority or establishment, people like me that had no faith upbringing, but people like me who are searching for God.”
That led to Laurie devoting his life to ministry, which has now become over 50 years of reaching people with the Gospel. The couple will also be celebrating 50 years of marriage soon.
Greg and Cathe said the need for a revival among Christians today is clear and that it can even begin individually with each person asking God to revive them. However, like the people of the Jesus Revolution, Christians have to be actively telling others about Christ.
“I think what really made this a very special, authentic revival is that every single one us kids that came to faith in the Jesus Movement wanted to tell somebody about what had happened,” Cathe said. “There is such a thing as ‘closet Christians,’ people who have a faith but keep it very private. (But) there is a world that is aching for what we have, the treasure of the Gospel … They need to hear about it.”
Acknowledging that he was speaking in front of 8,000 Liberty students and even more CFAW guests and online viewers, Greg Laurie spurred today’s generation of young Christians to be the ones who ignite the next great revival.
“(You) need to be what we called ‘Jesus people,’” he said. “Radiate Jesus Christ to other people and start there. It should start with us, and it should start with (walking) in a close, passionate relationship with the Lord. God can take messes and turn them into messages. God can take the ruins of our life and make something wonderful out of them. I think we need to come to the Lord and say, ‘Lord, here I am. I don’t have a lot to bring to the table, but I dedicate my life to you. I dedicate my future to you. I dedicate my abilities and my talents and my gifts to you.’ God will hear a prayer like that, and God will answer a prayer like that.”
Friday’s Convocation also included a Veterans Day salute. Before Greg and Cathe Laurie came onstage, the morning featured a video message by Colonel Steve Keith, Ret., the director of Liberty’s Center for Chaplaincy, a presentation of the colors by Liberty ROTC members, singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by School of Music acapella group Shine, and a brief speech by Dr. Tim Lee, chairman of Liberty’s Board of Trustees and a retired U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam.