I went to see the movie “Jesus Revolution” a few months ago. It is based on the true story of the greatest revival that has occurred in American history. This revival occurred in the 1970’s. Although the movement hit the entire West Coast and spread throughout the US from there, in part, it was started by Greg Laurie, a young man on a quest for belonging and liberation. Lonnie Frisbee, a charismatic free-spirited preacher, and Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel in California, had a struggling church which was in a slow and steady decline.
Reluctant at first to welcome young, barefoot and underdressed hippies into God’s house, Pastor Chuck began to question himself and what was best for the church and his dwindling congregation. He asked himself many questions; “What will the pillars of the church think of these newcomers?”, “Who is my neighbor” (Luke10:29), “Will existing church members decide with their feet and wallets to leave?”, “How will the church grow and survive?” Finally, he opened the doors of his church and welcomed a steady stream of vibrant youth looking for answers and filling God’s house with exuberant love. A “Jesus Movement” grew and grew into the most powerful spiritual awakening in American history.
Lonnie and his friends brought new music to the church and familiar hymns changed into what we know today as contemporary Christian worship music. Church pews began to fill and the Holy Spirit became real as worshipers invited Him into their lives. Eventually, the worship services spilled out onto the beaches as more and more people came, seeking the love of God and wanting to live more meaningful and purpose-filled lives.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the more recent revival–that occurred this year? 20 students spontaneously began to worship and pray for one another on February 8, 2023 on the campus of Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. They were asked by the campus pastor to “Become the love of God by experiencing the love of God”. The 20 grew into hundreds and then thousands as they were joined by faculty, staff, community members and others from all over the country and world. The auditorium filled to capacity and overflowed with people who were focused, reverent and humble as the stirring of their hearts awakened to God’s spirit. This service went on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the college administrators requested to conclude the service on February 23, 2023, which was also the National Collegiate Day of Prayer.
I was recently asked by someone what I thought started that revival with the young Asbury University college students? My answer was simple. I told them that like these students, people of all ages want to seek the heart of God. Jesus said “Follow me”. That was simple too. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
We can find the Holy Spirit if we seek Him in all of our beautiful mountain communities. If we are willing to ask God a simple, faith-based question, “What do you want from me?”, and if we are willing to listen for His answer and act accordingly, our lives will change for the better. If we want a fresh start, we need to make space in our hearts by taking a step of faith and seeking Jesus.
Are you ready for a change in your life? Do you feel a gentle stirring that is yet unfulfilled? Are you experiencing hardships or difficulties and could use some support? Come join us at Groveland Evangelical Free Church at 10:00 a.m. every Sunday morning and come to our many special gatherings, studies and events. We welcome you!
In Christ’s Service
Pastor Bob Kandels