I went with my wife and her friend (and her friend) to my first Harvest Crusade in Anaheim last night. It was a pleasure to hear Greg Laurie live and in person, as my wife and I have listened to him on the radio for quite some time now. It was a rather impressive showing with many enthusiastic worshipers entering in to the music of Third Day, Gungor, and David Crowder.
A 180 Turn Around
Greg told us the story of how, as a rebellious teenager, he thought that there was no way he would ever become a Christian. Especially in high school since that would be “social suicide”, he conveyed. But, to make a long story short he went to a meeting of his peers -who happened to be Christians, he was a causal bystander- and at the end was convicted that he was at enmity with God, and thus became born again. What stood out most to me in his message is when he said that sometimes to figure out what is right, you have to first figure out what is wrong. I can relate to that entirely as for many years I was doing all the wrong things, perhaps subconsciously checking off the list of things that I should not do. I was the one who had to do to know “X, Y, and Z” was not a good idea i. e. sin though such understanding took years for realization, rather than just someone telling me so. Yes, for me, I knew a lot of the wrong first before I could even conceive to the right.
After he was done, he had an alter call for those to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. A friend of ours (my wife’s friend’s friend, are we tongue tied yet?) was a worker at the event and asked us if we wanted to go down to the field. At first I was thinking that perhaps going forward was only for those that weren’t Christians. I do admit that as being a huge baseball fan, I wanted to walk on that grass. How selfish of me right? After being down there for awhile I realized the major sin that I was committing, was that as a Dodger fan, I was leaving my first love and traveling down the road of apostasy. All jokes aside -and bad ones at that- we met two women who were new believers, one had just gotten saved that night, and they were looking for a good church to get plugged into. They also asked for some guidance on baptism, as they were looking to get baptized. Subsequently we prayed over them to receive guidance and direction from God on where to call home, spiritually speaking. I have plans to email them for follow up.
Caught Off Guard
After some time we starting making our way out of the stadium. As we were exiting towards the parking lot, there were some workers that were holding up literature -that they had confiscated- warning us of people who were handling out publications, individuals that were not part of the event. I went into apologist overdrive scanning the crowd to see if I could find where the source was. It didn’t take too long and we found the individuals who were distributing the material. They were trying to diffuse our suspicion of who they were by saying: “don’t worry guys we’re not a cult; we’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Mormons” etc and I was about to add to their list “we’re not Seventh Day Adventists either” but I got a check and decided not to say that. Within minutes we found out that they were indeed SDA’s!
The funny thing about running into SDA’s, is that, my wife’s friend told us only an hour earlier before the crusade that she has a lot of family who hound her about becoming an SDA like they are. Oh the timing of such a conversation. We spent about a half hour doing “Bible ping pong” over whether we are the soul or that we have a soul. On a side note, I felt like I was debating with a Jehovah’s Witness for a moment. They do share roots however, perhaps we can call them brothers or cousins. You could tell that the girl who we were conversing with was nervous, and in such that she began to regurgitate her more than apparent formulated (and memorized, cults often memorize their propaganda and formulated answers verbatim) mini sermon. After a time, one of the other Harvest workers took her aside and they prayed together. We planted a seed, I pray it grows.