- (Photo: Havest)
- (Photo: Harvest)
- (Photo: Havest)
The Harvest Crusades made history Sunday night, breaking the 4 million mark of persons reached.
Some 50,000 people filled Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., to capacity to hear evangelist Greg Laurie talk about heaven and to celebrate the ministry's 20th year of crusade evangelism in Southern California. Another 5,000 were turned away at the gate.
"You know, people have asked me what has been the highlight of the Harvest Crusades for me over the last 20 years," Laurie said as he addressed an enthusiastic crowd. "I've recounted some experiences ... but I have to amend that. I would say tonight is the highlight for me ... because tonight we just broke our record.
"We have reached in person ... 4 million people."
Along with the large attendance at the stadium, thousands more joined the crusade on the Internet and on their iPhones. This was the first time live streaming was available for iPhone and iPod Touch users.
It was the final night of the three-day Harvest Crusade which, for the first time, packed the stadium two nights in a row. And for Laurie, it was like "a slice of heaven."
"This is just a preview of things to come," the well-known evangelist, dressed in his signature black button-up shirt, said.
Joining Laurie on stage on the special night were his family and Pastors Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.
"I don't know why you think you came here tonight, but you're not here by accident," Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life, said in a familiar statement. "A thousand years before you were born, God knew you would be here tonight."
More than 4,500 people made decisions for Christ on Sunday, bringing the total number of professions over the three nights to 11,969 and over the last two decades to 329,572.
"What can I say? To God be the glory," Laurie said. "This is the power of the Gospel. This should encourage us all to never be ashamed of the Gospel or embarrassed about our faith. These are people that are ready to believe, people that want to know the answer."
After 20 consecutive years of preaching the Gospel in a large venue in Southern California, Laurie explained that continues to hold the crusades because he is a man under order.
"I have a Commander-in-Chief called Jesus," he recently wrote in a devotional. "He has commanded me to go into all the world and preach the Gospel."
"We have the solution to humanity's problems," he added. "We have the way for people to know God. If we only apply that in our own lives and keep it to ourselves and never tell others, then certainly that is falling short of what God would want."
On Sunday, the long-time evangelist told people how to get to heaven and what heaven will be like.
Heaven, he assured, is a real place for real people. It's a prepared place for prepared people, he added.
"Why would we reject a gift like eternal life? It's the only gift that keeps on giving."
Making sure he told the complete story, Laurie also reminded listeners that there is also a hell.
"God doesn't send people to hell. If you end up in hell you'll have no one to blame but yourself. The last thing God wants is for you to spend eternity separated from Him."
Encouraging the thousands to make their life count, Laurie invited them to choose spending eternity with Jesus.
The anniversary event concluded with a fireworks show and worship led by Chris Tomlin. In total, 126,000 people attended the historic crusade.