Right now I am backstage at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Night number one is off to a great start. Third Day just played and currently Greg Laurie is preaching on the life of Solomon. He is telling the tens of thousands who have come that there is no lasting happiness to be found on this earth outside of Christ. In a moment he will invite people to respond to the gospel and turn their lives over to Jesus.
This is the 20th anniversary of this outreach in Orange County. 20 years! And though the music and the graphic design has changed over the years, the message hasn’t. The Harvest Cruades are hyper-focused on the cross of Jesus Christ. That is why I am stoked to be apart of them! I’ll be hosting this weekend and am looking forward to seeing the Lord do great things.
The family and I have been on vacation in Southern California for the past few days. I will be hosting Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade at Angels Stadium this weekend but we decided to come out early and catch our breath. For the last few months my schedule has been intense and a little downtime with my three ladies is just what the dr. ordered. I was bummed to miss a skull church service for the first time but I hear our creative arts pastor, Kevin, did a great job teaching in my place and I will definitely grab the podcast. Continue reading…
This weekend I flew to St. Louis, Missouri for Rock the River, a crusade put on by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The program director told me that they were expecting 30,000 but over 65,000 people showed up! I emceed the 7 hour event and had a lot of fun, but by the end I was pretty wiped–the only thing more worn out than my voice was my feet. The bands were great but the reason for the event was the gospel. Three different times through out the day Franklin Graham pointed people to the cross and invited the audience to give their lives to Christ.
I shot some video of the event on my phone between (and once during) segments where I spoke throughout the day and then edited them down on a plane ride today:
Harvest Crusade NYLast night was night #1 of the Harvest Crusade in Long Island, New York. I had a wedding to officiate at on Friday night so I flew all day yesterday and took a cab straight from JFK to the venue and had just an hour to grab a coffee and get my head straight before the night kicked off. The crusade is at a beautiful outdoor Jones Beach, right on the water, which would normally be gorgeous–but it was cloudy and the skies were foreboding–and had everyone a little nervous.
All I can say is that New Yorkers are tough–because in spite of the weather 8,500 people still showed up. And after music from Kutless and POD Greg Laurie delivered a gospel message to a crowd that included more than a few umbrella’s and 647 people responded to the invitation and made decisions for Christ! You can watch the webcast
Tonight there will be music from Lecrae, Jars of Clay, and Delirious. Pray for good weather! Meanwhile at fresh life It is 8am on the east coast and I am going over a message that I will be giving to the Harvest Crusade Team at the devo service in a few minutes. It is 6am in Montana and in a few hours I will also be teaching at the final two of the three weekend services at fresh life. No, I haven’t mastered the art of teleportation–yet—but I recorded the message before I left that will be played. We have done this 4 or 5 times now and it allows us keep up with our series we are going through. Currently I am going through the book of Revelation, in a series called, At Worlds End. I am teaching on the Second Coming of Christ from chapter 19. The image John paints is striking, Christ on a white horse, with a sword coming out of His mouth galloping through the sky on His way to the earth. The title of my message is Air Horse One, and I have to be honest, studying to prepare for that message really rocked my world. The reality is, Christ’s Second Coming will be so epic and glorious, the realization of it’s imminence should impact the way we live today. Martin Luther put it this way, There are only two dates on my calendar: this day and that day. Killer. Gotta go…stay tuned on twitter.
596 people made decisions for Christ last night at the Black Hills Harvest Crusade! Greg gave an awesome message from John 5 called, “Do you want to change your life?” Here is a shot I snapped while Greg was praying with all these people as they called on the name of the Lord. So Rad. Although I love getting to travel with the Harvest team to big cities like Philadelphia, and San Jose–something about being in a smaller area is really special. Because in a city with a population of only 50,000 like Rapid City, the 1,000 plus people that have made commitments thus far is a relatively large percent of the total population. I love the thought that this city is literally being turned upside down by Christ through this weekend! What a pleasure to be apart of it. According to Luke 15:10 even one sinner who repents is enough to light up heaven. The music and energy was great tonight as well.
Here is a shot with Relient K. They put on a good show, and mixed up. During their set they broke into a cover of the theme-song from The Office as an intro to one song, and parodied the Subway 5 dollar footlong jingle–you don’t get much more random than that. One more night to go, excited to see what the Lord will do tonight.
Today was the last night of the Greater Philadelphia Harvest Crusade. I woke up early (still a bit jet-lagged as I have been each morning while on Montana time) to study because I spoke to the whole Harvest team at a Sunday “church” service. I spoke on John 12 where Mary, the sister of Lazarus, worships Jesus. She was criticized for her worship but the Lord said, “she has done what she can.” That is all that God wants from us, I told the crew that has been serving so hard to put on this crusade, no matter what it is we can do. For some it’s webcast, others organizing volunteers, for Greg it’s preaching, but everyone’s contribution is a valuable act of worship. Then it was onto famous Philadelphia blueberry pancakes–I feel like I have gained about 100 pounds on this trip (Philadelphia Cheesesteaks, Cheesescakes, Cream Cheese–it’s all so rich!) I am going to be coming home a much bigger person I am afraid.
I spent much of the afternoon just walking around downtown Philly getting lost in the urban jungle. I had the chance to invite several people to the event as well.
Tonight was the last night of the crusade, but it ended very well. Music by the Katinas and Mercy Me. At our wedding Jennie walked down the aisle to “I can only imagine” so it is always very special to hear it and I was glad they included it in their set. Greg gave a killer gospel message to the 12,000 people in the audience from John 3. He showed how Nicodemus had a 3-fold encounter with Christ–face to face, mind to mind then heart to heart. Through that Nicodemus learned what it meant to be born-again and have the promise of heaven. It was very powerful. At the invitation 1,016 people came forward to indicate that they wanted to turn from their sins and turn to Christ. In all 45,500 attended the three days and there were 3,365 decisions made. One of the local pastors told me something fascinating. In all of Philly’s history this weekend sits in the top 3 largest evangelistic meetings that have ever taken place. The other two that it is up there with are George Whitfields meetings in the 1730’s and BIlly Graham’s Crusade in 1992. That means that this weekend was not only eternally consequential but also historically significant. Very cool! Especially when you remember that Philadelphia is the murder capitol of the country with 400 every year. That means that someone is murdered at a rate of one every 22 hours. What’s more, 6 police officers are murdered every year or one every other month. All in the city of brotherly love!
Praise the Lord that His love was powerfully shown this weekend. I was so stoked to have gotten to be here for it and to host on Friday and Saturday.
I am very excited to get home to see my girls and to start the “At Worlds End” series in Revelation. I haven’t forgotten about my promised blog on the Philly CheeseSteak–I’ll try and get that up during my layover after this next flight!
P.S.–Here is a little vid I grabbed interviewing Bart from Mercy Me backstage:
Night #2 always seems to go smoother and for the Philly Harvest Crusade this was definitely the case. All the technical kinks from the opening night had been dealt with and last night was smooth sailing. The Wachovia Center filled up with a capacity crowd of 19,000 people and unfortunately a few people were turned away (but definitely invited back for Sunday night!) The musical guests were Kutless and Toby Mac with opening worship by the Katinas. There was a ton of energy in the room. During Greg’s powerful message on what it’s really like to be in heaven and hell everyone really seemed to be tracking and 1,374 people, many of whom were young, came forward to make decisions for Christ. All represent many prayers that have been prayed by loving believers for many years no doubt. Here is a little video I shot from the stage right after the invitation (at the time the estimate on the response was ballpark because the cards obviously hadn’t been counted yet.)
Here is a birds-eye photo of the stadium during the invitation that I snagged off of the Harvest Crusades blog, which has tons of photos, videos and articles on it, that gives you some scope of the response. I am so thankful to the Lord that I have the chance to be apart of the awesome ministry he is doing here in Philadelphia. You can watch the archive of the event in a flash video here.