Monday, February 6, 2023

Bring a Friend

 In my last post I outlined three main themes of the revival being portrayed in the movie "The Jesus Revolution".  In the next days I want to elaborate a bit on each.  


Evangelism is the telling of the Good News.  It comes from the Greek word for "Good News", euangel (or something like that).  And of course, the Good News is that God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. That's how Jesus explained it.


Suddenly, young people were hearing the Gospel and believing in Jesus Christ. And their lives were being radically changed. And in a natural, or perhaps better said, supernatural response to their new lives they wanted to share it with their friends. No, not just their friends. With anyone who would listen. The result being hundreds if not thousands of young evangelists went to their homes, their schools, their jobs, their neighborhoods telling the Gospel in a simplistic manner. One of the evidences of a genuine revival must be the natural sharing of the Gospel.


I say "simplistic" because these kids were not theologians (although many, like Greg Laurie would become pastors) and had little if any training on how to share their faith. Yet without the training and grounding in doctrine, God used the simple Gospel mightily. It was as though their sharing of Jesus' love and sacrificial death for mankind was irresistible. So many being caught up in the fervor couldn't be ignored, so others listened, wondering if this was real.  


A teenage artist and newly saved boy there in Orange County, Laurie used his talents and what he understood about the Good News to write/draw a cartoon styled pamphlet called "Living Water". Someone saw it and decided to publish it, and soon it was all over the place.  I can't tell you how many copies I saw floating around at school, and surely I must have given a few away myself.

These new evangelists not only told their stories, but in the "Philip style" invited their friends to check out what was happening in their churches, in Bible studies that sprang up, in free concerts by new Jesus music groups. Most of all I think it was their overflowing joy that caught the attention of others to learn more about Jesus.  


As I shared in my first post in this series, I was "evangelized" by a Jesus freak (I use that phrase because that's what they were called) on my first day of school at Orange High.  "Rick, do you know Jesus?"  And it blew me away.  Someone came up to me, a stranger and dared to ask me such a thing. And like Nathanael in the story in John 1 I marveled at his boldness.


That urge to go and tell caught fire in me. A Christian for 5 years at this point I had never shared my faith with someone outside of my church group. That was too scary a thought. But when I saw it happening by kids much younger in their faith than me and with so much boldness it moved me to take a big step of faith. And before long I was witnessing to a friend at lunch, walking a circuit on Tuesday nights just to stop and share the Gospel with others on the sidewalks of Orange, carrying my Bible to school and sharing my faith story in my public speaking class at school.  Truly I was caught up in this revolution.  And when I preached my first "sermon" to about 40 teens on a Friday night two guys who had been invited by their friends put their faith in Christ.  Trust me, it wasn't because of the preacher. It was part of something bigger.

One of the new songs that came out in those early days of the Jesus people was called "Two Hands". I first heard it sung by The Children of the Day, a sort of folk quartet.  Here it is as recorded by Love Song in 1972. It says it well. Bring a friend.

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