This book has the best cover, don’t you think? I love it.
I picked this up about a year ago, and it got packed in a box when we moved. I found it while rifling through the box looking for a different book to give someone, and saw this one, pulled it out and said… “yeah! I did want to read this.”
Pastor Greg Laurie has written lots of books over the years. I discovered him through the book “Harvest” by Chuck Smith. Greg’s story was one of the stories in that book, these unlikely guys that the Lord worked in and changed and they are or were pastoring fairly large churches at the time.
A few years later, Greg did a movie of his life, sort of a long form testimony of what the Lord had done. That was called “Lost Boy” and it was very powerful. We used it for an outreach in Ottawa and saw a handful of people come to Christ as a result. There’s one scene near the end of the movie, where Aaron Gillespie is singing Amazing Grace, and people are responding to an invitation. It’s very powerful.
I expected this to be similar.
Surprisingly, this book is more like a history book. It’s true that Greg’s story is part of the book, and there’s elements of his story here that weren’t told in other books or the movie. There’s also parts of Chuck Smith’s story in this book that I haven’t read or heard in other books or recordings.
But, largely, this is an introduction into the world of the 60’s, 70’s and into today. It’s helpful for someone like me, or even younger than I to know what life was like in those days, how chaotic it was, how uncertain it was, and what fundamental and huge changes our society went through.
Those older than I lived through it and I would expect that would remember the events and how they felt as they lived through them.
The overall point is in in the subtitle. That the Lord did this amazing work in these very unlikely people, during a crazy time. And, that’s easy to say, and point to, but I have to say… the details make that vivid.
And, they did a great job with the details. What the Lord did, especially with the cultural context in immediate view, is nothing short of miraculous. It’s encouraging to remember.
“The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them.”https://bible.com/bible/1713/psa.111.2.CSB
Psalms 111:2 CSB
If you’re doubtful that the Lord could do something wonderful in redeeming in our current society, this would be a book that would encourage you. I’d recommend it to you.
If you love God, and love to study what he’s done, this would also be of interest to you.
A couple of final notes, things I thought about while reading this.
I wonder if one of the reasons that this book was written and published when it was, was to help ease the transition of Pastor Greg and his ministry and Harvest Christian Fellowship into the Southern Baptist Convention. I found it interesting how Greg related some of his more charismatic experiences here. I don’t think his position has changed at all. But, I could see where an SBC stalwart would want to know his position and his leanings and Greg helpful answers that through the story.
Also, Ellen Vaughn mentioned in her acknowledgements that she received so many wonderful stories and testimonies from various people from that time as part of her research. She regretted not being able to include them.
I doubt this post will reach her, but if it does, I would love to read those stories. Maybe a follow up book, that just contains more evidence of what God did during that time, would build on the cultural contextual work in this one, and really drive the point home. There’s hope for us today.
Lord, send revival to our churches!