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"Lost Boy" Greg Laurie Shares Story of Struggle and Redemption at Harvest's 19th Annual Southern California Outreach, Aug. 15–17
"If there's redemption for me and my situation, there is redemption for everyone."RIVERSIDE, Calif., July 10, 2008—"If there's redemption for me and my situation, there is redemption for everyone." Greg Laurie's candid words underscore the theme of this year's evangelistic Harvest Crusade events in Anaheim, Aug. 15–17, at Angel Stadium—that God can redeem anyone's past, no matter how shameful or insignificant it may appear.
Laurie, the founder of the 19th annual Harvest Crusades, this year called "Southern California Harvest 2008," and senior pastor of the 12,000-member Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., recently released his autobiography Lost Boy, which tells the story of his rocky upbringing. The son of a father he never knew and an alcoholic mother who was married and divorced seven times, Laurie found an outlet in the rebellious, pessimistic drug culture of his day—smoking pot, dropping acid, and drinking his problems away. But God intervened when he was 17 years old, yielding an innovative, straight-talking evangelist for a new generation.
"It's not hard for me to put myself in a nonbeliever's scuffed shoes," writes Laurie in Lost Boy. "I was full of skepticism and doubt. I did not see myself as the 'religious type.' Thankfully, God doesn’t look for the 'religious type.' He looks for the 'sinner type.' I qualified."
Laurie now sees his troubled past as part of God’s larger plan. "I can see [that] what I went through prepared me for what I do today, and in some ways even equipped me for what I do today."
The Power of Personal Testimony: "We're all lost boys"Building on the power of personal testimony, Southern California Harvest 2008 will offer a number of interactive ways for attendees to explore their own "lost" experiences. Each night, the Harvest events will open with a clip from Lost Boy: The Documentary, and Laurie will tell his story and teach others to do the same. In addition, attendees will be encouraged to log on to www.harvest.org to document their individual journeys toward faith.
"We're all 'lost boys' in one way or another," said Laurie. "But in relationship with Jesus Christ, I've found everything I was looking for. I want to offer people hope that no matter your circumstances God can transform your life."
After reading Lost Boy, one girl told Laurie, "I totally related to it, because nothing has really changed [since then], has it?"
"Every believer's story tells the bigger story of redemption through Christ," said Greg Laurie. "And I'm no different—the whole concept of Harvest came about through God's intervention in my life."
Grammy Winners Headline Southern California Harvest 2008The musicians featured at Southern California Harvest 2008 will include Grammy winners Randy Travis and Michael W. Smith, as well as multi-platinum rock band P.O.D., Leeland, Kutless, The Katinas, Lincoln Brewster, and Crystal Lewis. Saturday night's event will feature Amplify, designed especially for teens and young adults. This year's Amplify is expected to draw a large crowd for P.O.D., Kutless, Leeland, and Lincoln Brewster.
Southern California Harvest 2008 Facts and Figures
- Some 4,000 local volunteers are expected to serve as follow-up workers during the Harvest event, praying with people in attendance.
- Some 90,000 bumper stickers and 500,000 invitations to the Southern California Harvest 2008 will be distributed locally.
- Church youth groups from across Southern California will hand out some 200,000 Amplify invitations to their peers.
Southern California Harvest 2008 Schedule of Events(events are free and open to the public)
|Friday, August 15||7 p.m.|
|Friday evening will feature a message from evangelist Greg Laurie and music from Randy Travis, Leeland, and The Katinas.|
|Saturday, August 16||7 p.m. Amplify (Harvest Youth Event)|
|Amplify, an event designed for youth, will feature P.O.D., Kutless, Leeland, and Lincoln Brewster as well as a message from evangelist Greg Laurie.|
|Sunday, August 17||6 p.m.|
|Sunday evening will feature a message from evangelist Greg Laurie and music from Michael W. Smith, Leeland, The Katinas, and Crystal Lewis.|
The Southern California Harvest 2008 begins at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (gates open at 5:30 p.m.), and 6 p.m. on Sunday night (gates open at 4:30 p.m.), and is free of charge. Angel Stadium charges $10 for parking fees for cars and $20 for buses. Each night of the event will be interpreted in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, and for the first time, Mandarin. Signing for the deaf will be provided.
In addition, Southern California Harvest 2008 will host a food drive during the weekend event to collect food for the homeless in Los Angeles County through the Fred Jordan Mission. Those attending are asked to bring a non-perishable food item.
Since 1990, Harvest events have drawn more than 3.6 million people to events in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, using innovative, high-tech means including live Internet webcasts, video podcasts, and up-to-the-minute blog reports. But each nightly message by Laurie has remained unchanged over the years. Called the "evangelist of the future" by Billy Graham, Laurie draws on Scripture, pop culture, and current events to describe the relevance of faith in today's world.
All three evenings of Southern California Harvest 2008 are free of charge, and will be broadcast live on the internet at www.harvestcrusades.org. Video podcasts and blog accounts of each message will also be available at blog.greglaurie.com.