Harvest Crusade Finishes Year with Over 16,000 Professions of Faith

October 22, 2008 at 4:57 am Leave a comment

harvest-crusade-new-york.jpgWhile 2008 will be remembered by more than 16,000 people as the year in
which they committed or recommitted their lives to Christ through one
of this year’s three Harvest Crusades, the lead pastor behind the
evangelistic events will also remember it as one of the hardest years
in his life.

“Of course, this has been the hardest year of my life because this
is the year that my son, Christopher, died,” said Laurie before heading
into the last Harvest Crusade of 2008 on Sunday.

The prominent evangelist’s 33-year-old son died in a car
accident on July 24 on his way to Harvest Christian Fellowship in
Riverside, Calif., Laurie’s 15,000-member church.

“I hate to even say that, but it’s true,” Laurie stated. “But
in another sense, of course, he’s more alive than he’s ever been – in
Heaven.”

Since the tragedy, many say Laurie’s messages have hit deeper
into the hearts of the attendees of this year’s Harvest events, which
organizers say reached around 167,000.

“I’ve heard of stories of a lot of people who have come to
Christ specifically because Christopher’s unexpected departure sort of
woke them up,” Laurie reported, “that a young man so full of life, so
strong, so talented, only 33-years old, could suddenly be called to
Heaven.”

“And I think it’s a wakeup call to younger people,” he
continued, “’cause, you know, kids seem to think they’ll live forever.
When we get older, we know we won’t, but when you’re young, you think
‘Oh, I have years ahead.’ It’s a wakeup call for a lot of people.”

On Sunday, Laurie told some 13,000 people who attended the New
York Harvest at Madison Square Garden not to think of him as a pastor,
but as a regular guy.

“I’m just a father who misses his son,” he said, “but I’m a
person who found that God’s strength was there for me during the lowest
moment of my life.”

“If I didn’t have Christ in my life, I don’t know how I could
bear it,” he testified. “But because I am a Christian and because
Christopher is a Christian, I know I will see him again.”

As he did earlier this year in Anaheim and Philadelphia – the
sites of the first two Harvest Crusades for this year – Laurie
illustrated Sunday the unpredictable nature of life but also the
guaranteed gift that comes afterward to those who put their faith in
Jesus Christ.

“Christopher is in Heaven tonight. Not because he is my son, but because he became God’s son,” the megachurch
pastor proclaimed. “There is no more important decision you will ever
make than to put your faith in Jesus Christ, because it literally has
life or death consequences attached to it.”

More than 130 New York and New Jersey churches worked together
over the past year to host the New York Harvest, following up a 2007
preview rally at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, which drew 9,000
people.

The Sunday evening Harvest outreach opened with a prayer from
New York pastor A.R. Barnard, followed by music from popular Christian
artists MercyMe, Relient K, and the Katinas, as well as a 300-member
community-wide choir.

The highlight of the evening, as is with each Harvest Crusade,
is the message delivered by Laurie, who has preached to more than 3.8
million people over the past 19 years through Harvest Crusades held in
the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In addition to those in attendance at the Harvest events,
Internet broadcasts of the events have been viewed by hundreds of
thousands. This year’s broadcasts of the Southern California Harvest
and the Greater Philadelphia Harvest received more than 45,000 hits to
the live stream.

At the end of Sunday’s evening program, some 1,380 people
stepped forward to make a profession of faith in Christ and were met
with prayer counselors who ministered and prayed with them.

Prior to the event, Laurie testified how the results of each
evangelistic crusade have given him strength in a year of tragedy and
mourning.

“One of the things that has given me strength, of course, is
knowing that I’ll see him (Christopher) again,” he said, “but it’s also
in seeing the fruit that has come this year.”

Next year, Harvest Crusades will kick off with a three-night event in Rapid City, S.D., in May.

Greg Laurie founded the evangelistic Harvest events in 1990 and
serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside,
Calif., one of the largest churches in the U.S. Laurie also serves on
the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
and Samaritan’s Purse.

Source: Christian Post

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