During a week when America struggled to make sense of the hatred and violence perpetrated by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, more than 92,000 people gathered at Angel Stadium of Anaheim this past weekend, Aug. 18 – 20, to hear a message of hope and unity in Christ presented by Pastor Greg Laurie at his annual Southern California Harvest Crusade outreach. Another 46,972 attended the crusade via a live internet broadcast.
Now in its 28th year, the 2017 SoCal Harvest featured a nightly message from Laurie about the hope that can be found in a relationship with Christ, and his Friday-night talk titled "A Second Chance for America" gave mention of current events. The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 19, 2017) wrote, "Laurie began his evening—the highlight of the event—by addressing the racial and political division that's troubled the nation this week. He spoke about the tensions of the 1960s and his own troubled past, doing drugs and being 'filled with hate.'"
"When you become a Christian, those barriers come down," he said. "Racial barriers come down, prejudice comes down."
During his message, Laurie said, "Our country is divided. For a follower of Jesus Christ, there is no place for racism, bigotry or prejudice of any kind. I see these people carrying crosses, wearing swastikas, talking about white supremacy. There is no superior race. We are all part of the human race."
According to a news release from Laura McGowan Communications, Laurie was joined throughout the weekend by top Christian music artists including Crowder, Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Lecrae, Jeremy Camp, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Andy Mineo, American Idol finalist Danny Gokey, NBC's The Voice finalist Brennley Brown and worship leader Phil Wickham.
Lecrae encouraged the audience by saying, "There are people from all over the map here, but you are all beautiful to me...you're a picture of God's creation. If somebody sees you as invisible, it's only because their vision is limited, not your own."
At the heart of each of Laurie's messages during the 2017 SoCal Harvest was an invitation for those in attendance to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. "Deep down inside you're longing for God, you're longing for peace, for the forgiveness of sin," said Laurie to the crowds gathered at Angel Stadium. "God holds the missing peace for you tonight, but you must come to Him and believe. You're a sinner, but the good news is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and paid the price for you."
By the end of the three-night outreach, 10,071 people made decisions of faith, including those in attendance at Angel Stadium and those viewing the live SoCal Harvest program online.
The Sunday evening program concluded with a time of prayer for the nation, followed by a fireworks display over the stadium as Brennley Brown sang, "God Bless America" and was then joined onstage for music by Phil Wickham, Jordin Sparks and Danny Gokey.
Also featured at the 2017 SoCal Harvest was Steve McQueen's "lost" stunt car from the 1968 Hollywood classic, Bullitt, which was on display Saturday. The 1968 Ford Mustang—one of two stunt cars driven by Steve McQueen in the famous film—had been lost for nearly 50 years until it was recently discovered in Mexico and holds particular interest for Laurie, who recently completed a book and a movie about the spiritual life of the iconic actor who died in 1980 from malignant mesothelioma at the age of 50. The movie, Steve McQueen: American Icon, will be shown in theaters nationwide on Sept. 28, 2017 as a one-night Fathom event.
All nights of the 2017 SoCal Harvest were broadcast online, and 46,972 people watched live from 49 countries and in all 50 states. In addition, 209,000 unique views of the Harvest Crusade were reported on Facebook Live. The 2017 SoCal Harvest is archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org.
Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie will hold its next stadium event June 10, 2018, when it brings Harvest America back to the Dallas metroplex.
In addition to founding the Harvest Crusades, Laurie also serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Harvest Christian Fellowship, which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, California, and Maui, Hawaii. He serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
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