Some 29,000 people kicked off the 20th Southern California Harvest Crusade Friday night with a lesson on a billionaire who discovered all the pleasures of the world could never satisfy him.
His name was Solomon, a king who lived hundreds of years ago, evangelist Greg Laurie told thousands at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. He was mad for pleasure and was the guy who tried it all. But the conclusion he came to was that everything was meaningless.
"He was trying to live life without God, chasing after everything this world had to offer," Laurie explained. But Solomon realized "there's nothing this world offers that will satisfy a person who's created to know God."
Naming current celebrities such as Madonna and American Idol's Simon Cowell, Laurie illustrated the same sentiment of emptiness is felt today.
"Is Simon Cowell, this wealthy, powerful, successful man, a happy man? In [an] interview, he says 'I get in very dark moods for no reason ... I get to points where I think I'm never going to be happy. Someone said to me recently you're like a human buffet table. Everyone comes and takes something from you and at the end there's nothing left.'"
"There's nothing new under the sun," the 56-year-old evangelist said. "Hundreds of years ago Solomon said it. In yesterday's newspaper, a Hollywood celebrity said it."
Addressing the thousands in the brightly-lit stadium who may be searching for happiness, meaning and purpose, Laurie told them the answer is found in a relationship with God.
Relaying the conclusion Solomon came to, as revealed in the Old Testament, Laurie told them that the bottom line is to fear God, do what He says, and realize He knows what He's talking about.
Urging crusade attendees not to waste their life, the Southern California evangelist invited them to come forward and accept that Christ died for their sins.
"God's not looking for the religious type. He's looking for the sinner type," he said. "No one is beyond the reach of God."
Nearly 3,000 people made professions of faith in Christ that night.
This year's Harvest Crusade in Anaheim marks the 20th year of Southern California crusade evangelism for Laurie. The three-day crusade will culminate Sunday evening with a celebration and a down-to-earth-talk about heaven.