Today I witnessed courage, love and bravery like I have never seen before in real life. Ever since Thursday, my heart, thoughts and prayers have been centered on Christopher Laurie’s family as they mourn because he is no longer with them and at the same time, celebrate his life and entrance into the Lord’s presence. I found it difficult to study for a message on marriage as my mind constantly kept returning to the approaching funeral. After the first service at fresh life my phone had a text message telling me that Greg Laurie had shown up at Harvest and got up after the worship and through tears spoke about his son.
I couldn’t believe it and immediately logged on to the 9:45 service webcast that had just begun. After a few songs Greg stepped up to the pulpit to thundering applause and a tearful standing ovation and told his flock that there was no where else he wanted to be but at church worshiping the Lord with them. Several of us backstage immediately gathered near the laptop screen and were spellbound as we witnessed a loving father who having lost his son told his church that he “still believed.” And that even though he was going through the most difficult days of his life he was being sustained by the Lord whose strength he has preached about and pointed others to for years. I couldn’t imagine ever being to speak with such fresh and deep wounds but was overcome by the way he was demonstrating to his church an example of how to worship the Lord while there is pain in the offering. Then Greg called up Topher’s younger brother Jonathan who also wanted to speak. I couldn’t believe it, I know for a fact that Jonathan has always been freaked out by public speaking. I have been telling him for several years that I believe the day will come when God will use him as a mouthpiece, and he always just smiles and shakes his head. When he approached the pulpit he courageously spoke of his brothers death, salvation and told everyone that he knew if Christopher could speak he would want everyone to know, “Jesus is real” and that they need to get right with God before they die. He said that if even one person came to know Christ as a result of his brother’s testimony his death would not be in vain. It was beautiful and awesome to watch. I was so proud of him and several of us began to shed tears at the maturity, love and sincerity. Greg then gave an invitation with Jonathan’s hand on his shoulder and many made decisions to receive Christ and have the promise of joining Christopher in heaven.
It was one of the most touching and moving moments I have ever witnessed and though I was in no emotional state to do so, I immediately had to bolt into the pulpit to teach. I have been thinking about it all day and have come to two conclusions:
1. God is using and going to continue to use what seemed to be an insurmountable trial to strengthen Greg as he preaches the gospel unto the ends of the earth. His ministry will only gain momentum through this. 2. What was seen today is only the beginning of how God is going to speak through Jonathan Laurie. God has big plans for the life and ministry of this sweet young man and I for one intend to pray for and encourage him however I can.
I was heartbroken and stunned to find out that my good friend Christopher Laurie died today in a tragic car accident. Christopher is the eldest son of Greg and Cathe Laurie and was an awesome guy and a great friend. We had just been texting back and forth last night and I was completely shocked to hear the news today. He loved Jesus and was such an awesome and sweet guy. This is a picture of him and his wife Brittany and their daughter Stella from their recent visit to Montana. I am so glad he got to come out here a few weeks ago on vacation and hang out when his dad spoke at fresh life. (here he is ripping it up on the wakeboard.) He was a super talented graphic designer whose work always inspired me, I have always been blown away by his creativity and artistic ability. He was genuine, kind, sincere and hilarious and he always made sure to let me know he was praying for me. He was a mac enthusiast and was always the first person I thought of when Apple released a new product or update, in fact the last text-conversation I had with him was about new iPhone applications. He lived his life outside the box, on fire for the Lord, and in love with his family. I will miss him but look forward to seeing him in heaven with Jesus. Please pray for his parents, Greg and Cathe, his wife Brittany, daughter Stella, their child on the way, and his younger brother Jonathan as they go through this difficult time.
You can send the Laurie’s a message of condolence here.
We are getting all the neon at the strand functioning again and adding some fresh life signage to the building, last night we turned the some of the lights on and were checking them out. When it’s all done we will have them on when we are having services, it will be sort of like our version of church bells. Here are some of the guys hanging out after an awesome communion service we had last night. We went through 1 Samuel 8 where Israel asked Samuel for a king and he was hurt and offended. God told him not to worry because it was God they were rejecting not him. I think that when we try and witness to someone and they don’t react well we should remember this lesson, it’s not us that they are rejecting, it’s the Lord. We are just messengers. And even if they are rude or mean to us, we shouldn’t take it personally or lash out.
I have been in a series on the Song of Solomon for 4 weeks now and it has definitely struck a chord. We have focused on Sexual Purity, Who to date (perhaps far more importantly who not to date) , the How of Dating, and this past week we focused on being engaged. As we have been paying attention to what God’s plan for our sex lives looks like it has become very apparent how far off track our culture really is.
The study has seemed to really resonate with people because no matter what stage they are in relationally, there is something for them. I have never felt such a buzz in response to any other subject I have taught on, and the feedback is indicating that we are like a mosquito that has hit an artery. I honestly expected for there to be some controversy generated from a series with a title like this and was prepared for it, but it hasn’t come (yet.) Instead there has been an enormous amount of people thanking us for tackling these topics head on. I have had mothers thanking me and letting me know they dragged their daughters boyfriend to the teachings, couples tell me they were about to move in together and literally came to church and had God change their mind. People have told me they haven’t heard some of these things addressed in church, in a relevant way, their entire lives, and others who have been struggling with sexual sin finally feel free to open up and confess their sin and get prayer. This Sunday a 60+ year old, boyfriend and girlfriend, couple, who had both been widowed before they began dating, came up and told me they decided to not kiss until they are married because, “when you kiss your brains fall out your ears” and that they have been really enjoying the series because it is right where they are at.
Even other pastors seem to have been encouraged by the series. One visiting pastor from out of town told me that he was really blown away because in his 20+ years of ministry in a mega-church had never taught through the book and said when he got home he was going to do it. I remember when I first announced I was going to teach this series a well intentioned friend in ministry tried to talk me out of doing it on Sunday morning, telling me “it just seems more like a midweek book.” My reaction was that chances are the type of people coming sundays and wednesdays are committed and aware of God’s plan for their relationships. What could be better than teach it to the bigger crowd who come out on weekends and may need it more.
We are going to make the first four teachings available to purchase on cd so people can use it as a resource. Many have been asking if they can buy it to send to someone who could benefit from it and I will keep you posted on ordering details.
On Thursday night TBN did a special show on the history of the Jesus Movement. I made sure to tivo it so I could check it out later. It is also available to watch online here. They had Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, and Raul Ries on the show and they showed several clips from Lost Boy: The Documentary. Although I wouldn’t be alive for some time during these days,Fresh Life Church is the fruit of this movement in that it was those impacted in the Jesus Movement that impacted me! I love how during the show Pastor Chuck was asked several different times in several different ways what was the “real” secret to Calvary Chapel and he just kept responding, that it was teaching the Bible and relying on the Holy Spirit. Those things are what the Lord told the early church are the tools for ministry. They have never changed and are still powerful today. The reality is Jesus’ Movement has never stopped!
This Sunday At Fresh Life
Tomorrow I will be continuing our study of the Song of Solomon that I have called Sex and the Scriptures. I will be speaking on the topic of being engaged to be married. My message is called, “Engagement: An Awesome Blossom.” The period of time is so crucial for the relationship to grow and bud as the couple approaches marriage. It is a vital phase where the couple needs to continue to invest in the relationship. Unfortunately, our culture places a much higher emphasis on planning the wedding than preparing for the marriage. But the reality is, the wedding only lasts a few hours while the marriage hopefully will last a lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of Biblical Pre-Marital counseling. It is like taking drivers-ed before just hopping into the drivers seat and heading from LA to New York City. If you have missed any of the studies in this series you can listen to or download them all for free here. I have really been blessed by the enormous positive response to this series so far. Each different focus, from purity before marriage to talking about who to date and who not to date, and last weeks message, on how to date as a Christian has touched a different segment of the body and it has been very cool.
This whole summer emphasis on purity will also be taking me to Albuquerque, New Mexico in a few weeks for the O2 Experience. Please keep this event in your prayers!
Yesterday my family and I went to Glacier National Park. And I have to tell you, we had the most awesome experience because at the side of the road right next to lake McDonald we saw these two moose, a male moose and female moose just chilling next to this sort of creek drinking water looking so Montana. This is what I thought I was gonna see when I moved to Montana. And I haven’t seen a moose before in my whole life and it was amazing and I just thought it was rad. So […] listen
I love summer because I can study for my messages outside. Iced coffee and the Bible make for a great Montana afternoon. The ten pm sunset doesn’t hurt either 🙂
Tomorrow we are continuing our study of the Song of Solomon and the topic is dating. I am calling my message, The right way to date. We will discover some vital components that should be apart of any Godly dating relationship. We can be spared so much heartache and grief by paying attention to the instruction manual God has given for our lives, the Bible.
So here’s a new feature on my blog, where I can record a blog entry from my phone, and it will type it up for me, and send it to my fresh live blog there, and you can read it and then if you click the listen button, you can actually listen to the original recording. Sometimes, the computer will probably do a good job; sometimes, it might be a little funny to read. Hope you guys are having a great day, just havin’ a good time studying for Sunday morning sermon. We’re going through Chapter One still of Song of Solomon. listen