(Photo: Harvest Ministries)
Evangelist Greg Laurie marks his 24th year of bringing his large-scale Harvest Crusade events to Orange County on Friday, and the Southern California pastor said he is as excited as he's ever been about bringing the gospel to thousands in attendance and online.
"You might be surprised to know that speaking at these Crusades year after year never gets old to me," Laurie told The Christian Post via email Thursday. "I love to preach the gospel and I love to see how it impacts the lives of people, for time and eternity."
Laurie, who will be the featured speaker for three consecutive nights at Angel Stadium of Anaheim ending on Sunday, said that he knows very well that because of the large number of people attending, chances are high that some people will be facing their eternal destiny before the end of the year.
"Speaking of eternity, I am always aware of the fact that there are some people that will come this year who will pass into eternity before the year is out," Laurie said. "I recently received a message on my Facebook page from a woman who lives in the Bay Area. Harvest America (our nationwide outreach last year that reached some 200,000 people in live attendance) was shown at her church.
"Her young son, Jonathan, went forward to make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. The next day, he complained of severe headache, and by the next Wednesday, he was in heaven. I think of people of all ages who need to hear the gospel so they too can have the hope of heaven. That is what I look forward to: telling them how to get to heaven."
With a trademark ability to present a clear gospel message in a culturally relevant format, drawing on the latest in current events, contemporary Christian music, and technology, Laurie's Harvest events have drawn more than 4.7 million people to stadiums and arenas around the world since 1990.
Laurie also serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Harvest Christian Fellowship, which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, Calif. He also serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"When I was a boy, I used to deliver newspapers," he writes. "I would load up my Schwinn Stingray bicycle with my newspaper bags and do my route. I got fairly good at getting that paper close to the door.
"Things have not changed all that much; I am still a delivery boy. But now I am not just giving any news, but the Good News. My job is not to make the news or write the news, but rather to deliver it. I have a message to deliver at Angel Stadium this weekend."
Musicians performing at the 2013 SoCal Harvest include: six-time Grammy Award-winner TobyMac and American Idol finalist Colton Dixon on Friday; rock band Flyleaf and Australian group for King & Country on Saturday; and multi-platinum-selling rock band Third Day and singer/songwriter and San Diego native Phil Wickham on Sunday.
Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander patriarch of A&E's popular show Duck Dynasty, is scheduled to be interviewed by Laurie on Sunday at the event.
"Duck Dynasty has become a cultural phenomenon in our country," Laurie told CP. "So many of us have come to know and love the Robertson family. But many do not know the back story.
"There was a time when Phil Robertson was on the verge of losing his marriage altogether. His commitment to Christ changed the course of his life, and then his family. I want to talk to him about that in particular."
The 2013 SoCal Harvest will be broadcast live via the Internet at www.harvest.org. Video podcasts and blog accounts of each message will also be made available at http://blog.greglaurie.com/, as well as "behind the scenes" updates from Greg Laurie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greglaurie and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/harvest.greglaurie.