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Drawing 45,500 to Weekend Outreach in Philly, Harvest with Greg Laurie Brings Message of God's Love to City of Brotherly Love
Some 3,365 People Make Profession of Faith in Christ at "Greater Philadelphia Harvest 08" at Wachovia Center, October 3–5RIVERSIDE, Calif., October 6, 2008—In the midst of a week marked by economic turmoil, political rivalry, and the murder of a local police officer, Philadelphians turned out by the thousands this past weekend to hear some good news for a change. Presenting a message of hope and God's love to the City of Brotherly Love, Harvest with Greg Laurie visited Philadelphia, Oct. 3–5, drawing 45,500 people for the Greater Philadelphia Harvest 08 at the Wachovia Center.
More than a year in the making, the Greater Philadelphia Harvest was hosted by 390 local churches from a variety of denominations extending from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Delaware. Some 4,000 volunteers from the hosting churches served as ushers and follow-up workers throughout the weekend. Harvest with Greg Laurie previously visited Philadelphia in 1997, 1998, and 1999, drawing more than 100,000 people to the Wachovia Spectrum (formerly First Union Spectrum).
Each night of the Greater Philadelphia Harvest featured a talk from Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie and music from top name Christian artists including MercyMe, tobyMac, Leeland, Kutless, the Katinas, and Jeremy Camp. Laurie's nightly messages, entitled What Do You Live For?, E-Mail from Eternity, and How to Change for Good, emphasized the brevity of life and the nearness of eternity—topics particularly meaningful to him in light of the recent sudden death of his 33-year-old son, Christopher.
Laurie gave audiences a glimpse into Christopher's life during the Harvest outreach, sharing a video montage and personal stories about the young man whose life exemplified the assurance of salvation found only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. "To hear that your son has died is a parent's worst nightmare. If I didn't have Christ in my life giving me hope, I don't know how I could have gotten through a single day," said Laurie. "But Christopher was ready to meet God. The moment he took his last breath on earth, he took his first breath in heaven."
Speaking to a capacity crowd of 19,000 during the Saturday evening program, Laurie said, I'll never be at peace with death because death is the enemy. But here's the good news. Christ has overcome death because he died on the cross and rose again. Death does not have the final word—God has the final word. When a believer in Jesus Christ dies, he goes immediately into the presence of God."
Over the course of the Greater Philadelphia Harvest outreach, some 3,365 people made professions of faith in Christ. In addition to those in attendance at the Wachovia Center, the Internet broadcast of the Greater Philadelphia Harvest, www.harvest.org, received more than 8,200 hits to the live stream. The Internet broadcasts are archived and available for viewing. 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 19 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.
The final Harvest with Greg Laurie event for 2008 is scheduled at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 19.