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Despite a Little Rain, Weekend Harvest With Greg Laurie Outreach Draws Some 17,500 Long Islanders
Some 1,179 Put Faith in Christ During "Harvest 09 at Jones Beach" at Long Island's Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, June 13–14RIVERSIDE, Calif., June 15, 2009—Hundreds of colorful umbrellas dotted the stands at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Saturday night, providing a stark contrast to the gray sky above that drizzled a light rain on the crowd gathered for the first night of "Harvest 09 at Jones Beach," held June 13–14 in Long Island, New York. But a little rain didn't stop Long Islanders from making a strong showing, as some 17,500 people attended the two-night evangelistic outreach to listen to a straightforward message of faith from Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie and music from popular Christian bands like P.O.D., Kutless, Jars of Clay, Delirious, and LaCrae.
More than 170 churches and 1,000 volunteers throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties and beyond worked together to host Harvest 09 at Jones Beach, the first large-scale evangelistic outreach on Long Island since 1990. Harvest 09 at Jones Beach marked the third Harvest outreach in the New York City metro area in the past three years, with more than 21,000 people attending events at Madison Square Garden in 2007 and 2008 combined.
What Do You Live For?Both nights of Harvest 09 at Jones Beach featured a talk from Greg Laurie, who spoke about the meaning of life and eternal decisions in messages entitled "What Do You Live For?" and "Do You Want to Change Your Life?"
"Maybe you came here tonight with suicidal thoughts, or maybe you're trying to figure out your purpose in life," said Laurie. Sharing his personal story, he told the crowd, "I went on a search for meaning in my own life, traveling the country with my mom as she was in all of these relationships with men. By the time I was 17, I felt 70. I realized that the answer wasn't in affluence, drugs and sex. I thought I was too cynical and hard, but I asked myself if it was true. Could God possibly love me?"
Laurie put his faith in God after realizing that the answer to his question was a resounding "yes." He said to those in attendance, "God loves you and has a plan for you, but there's a void and a feeling that there has to be more than you are experiencing. Jesus invites you to know Him—to repent from your sin and receive Christ into your life." By the end of the weekend, some 1,179 people responded to Laurie's invitation to put their faith in Christ.
Thousands of people watched the nightly live Internet broadcasts of the Harvest Crusade at Jones Beach, which are now archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org. Video podcasts and blog accounts of each message are also be available at http://blog.greglaurie.com/.
Greg Laurie, who founded the evangelistic Harvest Crusade events in 1990, also serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in the U.S.
During the past 20 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn more than 3.8 million people to events in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Laurie also serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse.
After holding outreach events in South Dakota and Long Island this year, Harvest with Greg Laurie will return to Anaheim, California (August 14–16) for the 20th annual Southern California Harvest Crusade.