When our youngest daughter saw the trailer for this movie, she jokingly asked us if we were being paid any royalties for our story being used in film. Since this movement began over 45 years ago, I would like to give my perspective on it as one of so many who lived through it and was changed forever.
The “Jesus Revolution” movie is a great movie. This is not a cheesy, idealized Christian movie that leaves you thinking, “Does anyone really live and talk like that?” Compared to other movies, it was very well done.
For believers, it carries a very moving message about God doing what He wants, when He wants, with whom He wants. And just like the people we love from Scripture, the Jesus Revolution was glorious, life-changing, and messy.
Since it was taken from Greg Laurie’s book of the same name, Jesus Revolution focuses on what happened in Southern California.
Because Linda and I were there, and in many other places where this was happening simultaneously, I think it is important to know that this same thing was happening in over two dozen cities/regions across the country at the same time, including the first Asbury outpouring in 1970.
But there were no cell phones, internet, social media or 24-hour news channels. None of us knew it was happening in other places. Up and down both coasts. Throughout the Midwest. Even Alaska. Later, we found that it was also happening in several European countries.
As people felt led to travel, news spread quickly that we were not alone in what we were experiencing but that it was indeed becoming a worldwide movement. This is what Billy Graham saw and caused him to declare, “This is truly a Jesus revolution!”
I was the “house pastor” of Harmony House, a Jesus commune in Illinois, when I was only 18 in 1968. A business man had a radical “Damascus road” encounter with Jesus and opened his house every night to any who wanted to talk about the Lord.
Soon the house was packed every night with “hippies,” rich kids, runaways, and nerds. The large basement was turned into tiny bedrooms and many of us moved in.
We started King’s Training Center in 1971 to teach many of these passionate “Jesus Freaks.” Many of those young people became ministers and have now spent their lives as pastors and missionaries. Now we are all old.
Linda and I wept in several parts of the Jesus Revolution as deeply moving memories flooded back. Our band, the King’s Children, played and ministered in that big Calvary Chapel tent and dozens of “Christian coffeehouses” as we traveled around the country in painted “Jesus buses.” Lighterside of Darkness, The Fishnet, Fire Escape, Agape House, His Place, His House, Resurrection House, Love Inn, Potter’s House, and hundreds more in small towns and large cities.
-RACISM IN THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH-
First century Jewish believers were “Spirit-filled,” yet they were still so racist, they refused to share the Gospel with Gentiles for over 10 YEARS after Pentecost! The apostles were still fighting about whether Gentiles could be saved in Acts 15, a dozen years after Jesus said “Go to the whole world.” They didn’t “go,” they were pushed out by persecution. (Acts 8:1)
Clearly weaknesses like these and the tendency to categorize people, even Christians, hadn't changed much by the time hippies came off the street and flooded into churches in the 70s and it still exists today.
We should be eternally grateful that we have a “High priest who understands our weaknesses.” (Heb. 4:15) Because we all have them!
Lonnie Frisbee played a major role in the movie, as well he should. Lonnie was very important in Southern California during those early days. He was a sincere, naive young hippie who, in his simplicity, was used by the Lord in far more amazing ways than portrayed in the movie.
And, he struggled with weakness, just like Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul and all of us, if we will admit it. Lonnie was not only used by the Lord, he was used by many leaders but fathered by none. It is sadly true that he was “used up and thrown away.”
Though he was very instrumental in the starting of Calvary Chapel churches, Vineyard, and several other church networks in Europe and Africa, virtually all of them refused to acknowledge his contribution and literally wrote him out of their official history.
When given the chance to mention Lonnie’s huge contribution to the Vineyard churches in his book “Power Evangelism” John Wimber refers to Lonnie as simply ”a young man.” Nothing more.
These leaders were not bad people. They just all had their weaknesses and one of them was pride. They didn’t want to be embarrassed by Lonnie’s weakness.
You wouldn’t know it from the movie but Chuck Smith had a son who was also a pastor but didn’t agree with how Lonnie was treated. So they just didn’t put his character in the movie.
For a much better understanding of Lonnie’s impact and struggles, you might want to watch, “Lonnie Frisbee- the Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher.” He was more committed to Jesus than many gifted people but he never, ever used his gifting to get money like so many others. And, he struggled with a weakness, a sin, that even today, many believers view as far worse than their own weakness. His struggle with same-sex desires was a continual battle until he went to be with Jesus in 1993. Lonnie died from aids.
None of this detracts from the powerful impact of the movie!! It makes it far more real. And it should help us all understand that God uses people just like us, with all our different hang ups and weaknesses. Life should be all about Him and the movie makes that very clear.
“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Cor 4:7
The Goal? RELATIONSHIP
The Result? TRANSFORMATION!
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in John 4, He knew about her 5 ex-husbands and live-in boyfriend. These things were considered far worse in the first century than they are now. But He didn’t demand that she change her bad behavior.
He spoke to her about the Father, His love for her and His desire to have a real relationship with her. Apparently He knew that if she came into real relationship with the Father, He would deal with her destructive behavior.
The eternal issue has always been coming into relationship with the Father who loves the whole world and putting our trust in His life-changing power!
The Goal? Relationship!
The Result? Transformation!
As believers living in a world of seemingly constant turmoil, how should we feel and what should we do?
First, learn from history. Far, far worse things have happened and the Church of Jesus has continued to advance.
Second, do not get your interpretation of biblical prophesy from the daily news. People who do have ALWAYS been wrong. And if you could, what good would it do? It wouldn’t change a thing.
Third, pray for peace.
Last, and most importantly, take your cue from Jesus and His disciples.
After detailing the terrible things that were coming after He left, (Matt 24) Jesus said two very important things to His disciples.
—“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
—“Matthew 28:18-20 NIV  … “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
OUR MISSION HAS NOT CHANGED:
Live in His peace and make disciples!!
This is a photo of our oldest daughter Lori. Her company, JustAnswer.com, has a large division in Ukraine and part of Lori's job is to manage a team of direct reports there. She has traveled to Ukraine and bonded deeply with these amazing people. JustAnswer has been paying and coordinating to move any of their employees out of the war zones in Kyiv and Lviv to safer areas or out of Ukraine entirely. But most have chosen to stay and fight. We are both heartbroken that they have to make this choice at all and yet we are in awe of their strength and bravery.
Our 5 year old granddaughter, Alli, standing in front of the Ukrainian flag she painted, and wearing a traditional Vyshyvanka Lori brought back from Lviv. Vyshyvanka is a symbol of independence, history and culture for the Ukrainian people.
I recently received the following question from our AskMark page:
As human beings we are born into sin nature and will sin within our lifetime. Once being born again we are then free from sin and have triumph over sin and death. Paul in Romans chapter 6:11-14 goes on to even talk about how sin should no longer be our master... the ultimate question I have is this... is a sinless life once being born again and not of our own strength what we should ultimately strive for? Since Jesus lived a perfect sinless life and we are instructed to try and become more like His image?
Thank you asking this as it is a common question among passionate believers. It’s also the area that brings the most condemnation because it deals with one of the many subjects that are best defined by the phrase “Already, but not yet.” For example, many verses say- we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. We have been made blameless in Christ and we will be made blameless at His coming. We have been made perfect and we are being perfected, etc. God can speak this way because He sees us already done AND He sees us in the process of this life. (See Hebrews 4:13-16)
First, we must get our definitions right so that we mean what they meant...
Several people have written us in our AskMark page asking if we believe this current crisis is God’s judgment for the increasing evil in our nation. Mark responds with insight into judgment and God’s patience.
I greatly appreciate your questions, especially at this trying time in our current (and temporary) situation. I grieve over our lack of understanding, as believers, of God’s great patience and the purpose of it. How quick we are to look at troubling circumstances as God’s punishment for evil, even hope for it. The early church went through far, far worst circumstances under the iron-fisted rule of Rome and some believed that God was “late” in sending His judgment upon the evil empire.
Peter wrote to correct their view of judgment and patience:
2 Peter 3:3-4- First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."
Peter goes on to explain the reason for God’s patience:
While driving through the Ozarks for a rare day of fly fishing on my favorite trout stream, I read this on a church sign:
“Search God's Word for Promises that Match Your Requests;
and then Remind Him of What He Promised.”
I probably should have just kept my mind on the prospect of a great day on the trout stream, but I seem to be powerless to overlook my tendency to read things some people say about God and His word, and then think to myself, “Huh?”
Is this really how we are supposed to feed ourselves on God's living, life-giving Word?
Are we really supposed to decide all the things we would like for God to give us and then look for out-of-context "proof texts" to justify our asking for them?
Is it wise for me to think of myself as the one who should be reminding the Sovereign God of what I think He has “promised”?
Does He have a memory problem such that He needs us to remind Him of what He inspired people to write in His name??
“God, will you please create in me a clean heart?”
Prophecies and Proclamations of Faith - Are They Trustworthy?
In the last few days, there have been prophetic declarations that believers should “have no fear because the cure will come in a few days.” On the other hand, one world renowned faith teacher declared, “Any fear of the coronavirus will cause you to get the virus because of your unbelief.” So, what are we to believe?
The Bible is filled with both faith and wisdom, and they are not contradictory. In this time of worldwide panic AND justifiable concern, believers need to be an example of both. It seems clear to me God’s Word teaches us that wisdom is taking sane precautions and faith is trusting Him for the final outcome. As believers, shouldn’t we do both and be an example to the world?
We Have Many New Covenant Examples to Follow:
When Paul made his last visit to the Temple, the other apostles told him there was great anger in Jerusalem towards him and some had sworn to kill him. Paul decided to take a few other men and go to the Temple to make Jewish vows to calm the crowd. Paul knew this didn’t add to his relationship with God but considered it wisdom. As a result, he was arrested and eventually ended up in a Roman prison. Rather than regret, he often wrote that his “chains” were furthering the Gospel and told his friends to never be ashamed of his imprisonment. Wisdom and trust that God will use the outcome for good.
Question from our AskMark Page:
I see verses referring to the "character of God", "the nature of God". Would you explain what these mean?
In fact, it is the most important question for a person to ask about God, and answer correctly, based on what He has said and not on human logic. Everything depends on whether God is trustworthy, whether He tells the truth. Our eternal lives depend on His truthfulness; His trustworthiness. So, our eternal lives depend on understanding His character; His nature.
In traditional theology, God’s character or nature, is generally defined as:
-Omniscient- “all knowing”
-Omnipotent- “all powerful”
-Omnipresent- “everywhere at all times”
Although these academic words help us understand certain things about Him and what He can do, they fall short of really helping us understand Him, how He feels, how He longs to relate to us, and how He wants us to relate to Him.
AskMark Question From Alaska: In your sermon, you said ‘God cannot be disappointed in us...that would be illogical because He already knows our future.’ According to the NIV God does have regrets and logically this means He can be disappointed. What are your thoughts on the matter? If God can have regrets and therefore be disappointed in those He has appointed, does this mean God makes mistakes as well?
The short answer is: No, God is not disappointed when His children mess up, God does not have regrets, meaning He never wishes He had done something differently, and He cannot change mind or His nature.
However, this short answer is not nearly enough. Truth cannot be based on my opinion or anyone else’s, but His. And this question is far, far too important to simply give an opinion. This question speaks directly to the eternal nature of God and why we can depend on Him completely, wholeheartedly, and throughout eternity.
To answer this based on biblical truth, we must dig deeper. We must look at both how words are defined and what God says about Himself. So now for the necessary, much longer answer.
(I am well-known for my very long answers to short questions. 😊)
1- Understanding how words are used in Scripture.
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology.
God frequently speaks in Scripture using anthropomorphic human terms that we can understand. God is a spirit. As such, He does not have hands or feet or wings though some verses use these terms so we can understand. Yet, He is infinitely more complex in His emotions than we can possibly imagine. God is fully capable of feeling “sorry” for the people He loves while fulling knowing what would happen long before it does. And as the eternal God who knows all things, “the end from the beginning,” He is never surprised and would never choose to do anything differently.
Mark Drake is an internationally known author, teacher and leader. He focuses on equipping leaders around the world in New Covenant Grace.