Credit: Introspective Pics
City of Angels
Few people consider Los Angeles a city of the 'angels,' but on the eve of the tCredit: Introspective Picsenth anniversary of 9/11, Los Angeles lived-up to its name. An enormous crowd gathered at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, September 10, 2011. But instead of watching a sporting event and singing "Take me out to the ballgame," the crowd was assembled that evening to hear the Gospel. With the enthusiasm of college students at a football game; children, teens and adults waited for the program to commence by participating in the 'wave' and shouting back and forth "We love Jesus, yes we do! We love Jesus, how about you?!"
Time for Harvest
Harvest Crusades has been an evangelistic outreach organization since 1990.The group has reached out to people in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. A first for Dodger Stadium, the Harvest Crusades were welcomed with open arms by Angelinos.
Musical groups included The Katinas, Kirk Franklin, Jeremy Camp, and Chris Tomlin.
Credit: Introspective Pics Credit: Introspective Pics
Credit: Introspective Pics
A candlelight memorial was held in remembrance of 9/11 and Pastor Chuck Smith, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the founder of Calvary Chapel, lead the group in a prayer.Credit: Introspective Pics
Speaking at the event was Greg Laurie, Evangelist and Senior Pastor of The harvest Ministries in Riverside, California. Laurie, whose adult son died in an automobile accident in 2008, was interviewed by Christian television station TBS and said "I know that He [God] has control of all circumstances that surround my life as a Christian and I know that one day in Heaven I will have all my questions answered. I've even seen it; at times since our great tragedy with our son going to be with the Lord, we’ve seen how God has used it. A night like this is a result of that because it causes me to address a topic of pain and suffering like I've never have before. It's not easy but it's something I feel compelled to do. You know one thing I've determined is I'm not going to waste my pain; I've gone through hardship, I'm going through it. God has been with me therefore I want other people to know God will be with them as well. Trust me when I tell you, if it wasn’t true, if He didn’t come through for me in my hour of need I would have given up preaching, that would have been the end of the story. But He did come through for me and He does come through for me and I know that He'll come through for you. So, we're here to help these people, we want to bring a message of hope in a very hopeless world and say that Christ is here for you if you’ll let Him into your life."
Pastor Laurie began his sermon with a tribute to those who died on 9/11, saying "9/11 [was] not only a day of tragedy, but a day of heroism! First responders did an amazing job; as people rushed out of the burning towers, courageous firefighters rushed in…Then a new war on terror began and we have seen thousands of Americans lay their lives down in defense of our country…in Iraq and Afghanistan and to all of you we want to say tonight thank you for what you have done for our Country."
"When a tragedy like 9/11 happens, the first thing that comes to our mind is 'why?' Why would God allow such a thing to take place? Why would God allow a tsunami or an earthquake, why would God allow a person that we know to get cancer? Why would God allow a child to be born with a disability? Why would God allow a young man in the prime of his life to die in an automobile accident? A poll was taken and the question was asked 'If you could ask God one question and know that you would receive an answer, what would you ask?' And the most common response was 'Why is there pain and suffering in the world.' We look back at the tragedy of 9/11; God did not do that, wicked people did that and that's because mankind is wicked. Man is not basically good…The Bible says 'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God'(Rom 3:23). We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners! It comes naturally…"
"Death is gonna knock at every single door, no one is exempt. It could happen to any of us…the statistics on death are quite impressive; one out of every one person will die. In a hundred years no one in this stadium will be alive… you can't escape death. The Bible says 'It is appointed for man to die once, but after this the judgment' (Hebrews 9:27). Worldwide, 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, 11,000 every hour; 250,000 people enter eternity every single day…"
"Understand that as I speak to you tonight, I’m not speaking from an ivory tower of theological theory. I am a man in pain, speaking to people in pain…My son Christopher, age 33, died in an automobile accident in 2008. I've been a pastor for many years and I've gone to visit many people who've lost loved ones including children and I've always tried to say the right words and tried to bring a measure of comfort to them. But I remember thinking to myself, 'I hope this never happens to me, because if it did, I don’t think I could handle it.' But it did happen to me. When I heard the news, it was like time stood still, it was like all of the air in the room was sucked out. I couldn't believe this was actually happening, I was numb, [and] I was in deep pain. I don’t know if I'll ever get over it, but let me say this; thought it was the most painful moment of my life…I want to tell you also that God was with us in our darkest hour and He got us through it and I want to bring a measure of hope to you tonight. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m not saying there’s not deep sadness, I grieve and I miss him deeply. I wish it had been me instead of him; any father would gladly trade places and go to heaven instead of their son or daughter; we shed many tears. But the Bible says 'We do not grieve as those that have no hope.' We have hope. What is the hope? I know I will see my son again in heaven because he put his faith in Christ and I put my faith in Christ, we'll be reunited. Do you have that hope?"
"Only those who are prepared to die are really ready to live. Here are the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians, chapter one, 'For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain' (Philippians 1:21). See we have Christ in our life that’s where the life comes from, but we also know as believers that life on earth is not all there is. CS Lewis said '…If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is, I was made for another world…'"
Credit: Introspective Pics"All roads lead to God, whatever you believe, whatever your religion; whether you're fervent in your faith. [If] you're an outright atheist that road will lead you to God. Yes, it's true you'll die and you will stand before God almighty one day, there's no getting away from it. But only one road leads to Heaven and that's Jesus Christ! You say, well that's your opinion. No, it's God's opinion because Jesus says in John 14: 6 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. He's the only way. I'm not talking about a religion, believe it or not I do not consider myself a religious person and guess what, I don't want to become a religious person! I’m talking about a relationship with God through Christ; as He comes and lives inside of you. Jesus says 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock and if you'll hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.' You must receive Christ into your life. Jesus said 'you’re either for me or against me.'"
Laurie injected some lighter moments in his sermon, saying the following; "Credit: Introspective PicsThere’s an inscription on a tombstone in England with these words 'Pause now stranger as you pass by as you are now, so once was I, as I am now so you will be, so prepare for death and follow me.' Someone reading that inscription was overheard to say 'To follow you is not my intent until I know which way you went!'"
Regarding aging, Laurie said the following; "These bodies are breaking down, these bodies don't last forever. The tell tale signs you’re getting old: When your knees buckle but your belt won't; when 'Happy Hour' is a nap; when you straighten the wrinkles in your socks and then you discover you're not wearing socks; when someone calls you at 9 o'clock in the evening and says 'Did I wake you?'; when your teeth and you don't sleep together anymore."
Professions of Faith
When the sermon concluded, Pastor Laurie invited the crowd to walk on to the field to pray and ask Jesus to become their Lord and Savior. The crowd responded with over 5,000 making decisions for Christ. So many people that the Fire Marshall said they'd reached the maximum amount of people allowed on the field and Laurie told the crowd that this had never happen in a crusade before "We made history at Dodger Stadium tonight."
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