Thousands have responded to the Gospel message delivered by evangelist Greg Laurie during the Greater Philadelphia Harvest 08 in light of the uncertainty of a world economy on the verge of meltdown, partisan political wars and even the murder of a local police officer.
“Life is filled with pain, but God can intervene and change you and forgive whatever sin you have committed,” he told the crowds over the weekend. “It’s not about how good or bad you are; it’s about Jesus. If you’ll come to Him, he will forgive you.”
Laurie spoke to a capacity crowd of 19,000 on Saturday night, when he talked of the sudden death of his son, Christopher, 33, a victim of a California traffic accident.
“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,” he said.
“But Christopher was ready to meet God. The moment he took his last breath on earth, he took his first breath in heaven,” 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,” he said.
All three nights of the outreach featured a challenge from the longtime southern California Christian leader:
“Do you have a
personal relationship with Jesus and know that you are going to heaven?
Life is filled with pain, but God can intervene and change you and forgive
whatever sin you have committed. It’s not about how good or bad you are;
it’s about Jesus. If you’ll come to him, He will forgive you.”
The three-night attendance for the events totaled 45,500. It was the result of a year-long effort by the 290 local churches from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Delaware and the 4,000 volunteers who worked on the outreach.
Laurie previously visited Philadelphia with his Harvest outreach in 1997, 1998 and 1999, when he drew more than 100,000.
Each night also featured music from top name
Christian artists including MercyMe, tobyMac, Leeland, Kutless, the Katinas
and Jeremy Camp.
Laurie highlighted the brevity of life, with messages titled: “What Do You Live For?,” “E-Mail from Eternity” and “How to Change for Good.”
Over the course of the outreach, 3,365 people made professions of faith in Christ, and the organization’s website, Harvest.org, got more than 8,200 hits during its live stream of the events.
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
The final Harvest with Laurie event for 2008 is scheduled at Madison
Square Garden in New York City on October 19.
A resident of Huntington Beach, Laurie, served as the art director at the church for the past three years. In addition to his parents, Christopher is survived by his wife, Brittany, daughter, Stella and his brother Jonathan. Christopher and his wife are expecting another daughter in November.
Greg Laurie also is a longtime weekend columnist for WorldNetDaily.