Two years after the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks for a Super Bowl ring at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, evangelist Greg Laurie is kicking off what he calls the “Super Bowl of evangelism” on Sunday, when he will be hosting the revival event and delivering a powerful Gospel message to tens of thousands.
In stark contrast to singer Katy Perry’s anti-family halftime performance two years ago, this year’s Christian outreach, which is dubbed “the nation’s largest one-day evangelistic outreach,” will feature numerous popular Christian musical talent topping the charts, including today’s best-known artists and performers voted for by millions of Americans on The Voice and American Idol.
“The show will feature performances from The Voice star Brennley Brown, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Christian bands MercyMe and NEEDTOBREATHE, contemporary Christian musician Phil Wickham and Christian rapper Trip Lee,” The Christian Post (CP) announced. “The night will be capped off by a sermon and call to profess faith in Christ from the 64-year-old Laurie.”
Super Bowl in June
Laurie, who has taken his world-famous Harvest Crusades across the world to share the Gospel with hundreds of thousands for decades, wants to see Americans tuning in to the powerful life-changing and miraculous work of Jesus Christ on Sundays – instead of being devoted to watching NFL players competing weekly on the Sabbath on the gridiron.
"Super Bowl Sunday – which for many now is a religious holiday – is a day when many of us watch a football game on TV,” Laurie told CP in an interview this week. “It is something we all do across the country at the same time. There will be Super Bowl parties where you will invite people over to your home and then watch the game.”
The renowned author – whose event will also reach the masses not able to attend via telecast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and by livestreaming on Harvest America's website – would like to see his outreach score a touchdown for Jesus Christ in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans tuning in to the Gospel message.
"I use that as a picture to describe what Harvest America is," Laurie explained. "Yes, it happens in one place — Phoenix, Arizona — but the reason we call it Harvest America is there are thousands of host sites around the nation in places ranging from church sanctuaries to movie theaters to open fields to front rooms. We ask everyone simultaneously to watch this event as it happens live in Arizona."
Last year, the annual event hosted by Laurie – who serves as the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California – drew in a Super Bowl-sized crowd just a few hundred miles to the east of this year’s gathering.
“Harvest America 2016 was hosted at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and was attended by over 82,000 people while an estimated 180,000 people across the world watched the event at 7,000 different simulcast hosting locations,” CP’s Samuel Smith informed. “An estimated 25,000 people made professions of faith at the end of the night.”
End Times upon us
Calling 2017 “the year of Good News,” Laurie stressed that with all of the moral decline in the United States, Americans are in dire need of a “spiritual awakening,” noting that the world is approaching the Last Days.
"I think that right now, there is a real anxiety in many people – there is a fear in the air," Laurie expressed to CP. "Recently, I read that the No. 1 phrase typed in the Google search engine was 'Is World War III near?' because of a nation like North Korea threatening to nuke us in doing missile tests. I think that people are agitated – they are concerned, they are wondering [about] the answers to those age-old questions. I think we need to be there with answers from the Bible."
He touched on this topic last month, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un intensified his nuclear threat against the United States.
"As you know, the conflict with this rogue nation has escalated dramatically in recent days and even hours," Laurie shared on a Facebook video in May, as reported by OneNewsNow.
He brought up the very likely possibility of the rogue nation providing nuclear weaponry to the Islamic terrorist-harboring nation of Iran – which calls America “The Great Satan” – also noting that Kim’s nuclear threat against the U.S. is much more than just blowing off steam … one that must not be taken lightly.
Besides global conflicts setting the stage for an End Times scenario depicted in the Bible, Laurie stressed how the moral decline in the U.S. – as it embraces virtually every kind of immoral behavior described in the Bible, from homosexuality, to same-sex “marriage,” to abortion – is leading up to God’s imminent final judgment … and soon.
"As we have gotten away from that [biblical] virtue and those moral absolutes because we have gotten away from God's Word and we have gotten away from God Himself, we have a nation in need, a nation in crisis, a nation where the family is breaking down, a nation where we have riots in our streets and racial unrest," the Christian leader pointed out to CP. "The answer is we need another spiritual awakening."
Just as people get together at churches and homes across America for Super Bowl parties, he wants people to hear God’s Word tomorrow – whether relaxing at home or out and about.
"When I am calling people to Christ in the University of Phoenix Stadium, I will be calling them to Christ wherever you are," Laurie explained about the event that is a partnership between Harvest America and the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board's (NAMB) Crossover Phoenix 2017 – an outreach event where believers will be trained and equipped to evangelize people on the streets of Phoenix.
"They felt like they needed an event – sort of a catalyst to wrap it around," Laurie said about NAMB. "I thought it was a perfect fit. We – like NAMB and the SBC – are passionate about evangelism and about calling people to Christ and so we agreed."
On Friday, hundreds of Christians were preparing to get the Word out across the sun-scorched 100-degree Arizona desert.
"We are hands-on involved in training, and we do a lot of this sort of thing," he continued. "We train people and take them out in the streets all year long. So, this is in our wheelhouse. This is a perfect cooperative effort between Harvest Ministries and NAMB because we all have the same objectives."
Not sure about how the new evangelistic effort will affect the Sunday outreach at the stadium, Laurie is just excited that God’s Word will be heating up the hearts of so many in the middle of the Grand Canyon State.
"People are coming in from around the country, and they are being trained in sharing their faith,” Laurie announced. “They are going to go out and engage people. Even if people don't come to the event itself, the fact that we are sending people out into the community to talk to people about their faith is – in itself – a really great thing. The fact that we are coordinating with the crusade itself is an even better thing."
Pledge of allegiance – to God
Laurie recently posted an online pledge for Americans to get on board with God’s agenda to reach lost souls across America, as he says the End Times is already upon the world.
“I think in our particular time in America, when we have so many divisions – divisions on racial lines, divisions along political lines, divisions along so many lines – that it's very important for followers of Jesus to stand up for what we believe is Good News in a bad world,” the acclaimed global evangelist stated on Harvest America’s website. “[This] is a declaration to make 2017 ‘The Year of Good News.’"
He pointed out the signs relayed through the media that America is indeed in a downward spiral.
“In a time of fake news, distracting news, divisive news, disorderly news, and, sometimes, depressing news, we – as Christians and as leaders – want to recommit ourselves to making sure that the Good News of Jesus cuts through it all,” Laurie added. “Our message is the Good News that God loved us so much, He sent His Son to this Earth on a rescue mission. Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and rose again from the grave.”
The preacher from Southern California is calling for a spiritual healing to unite societies with the love of Jesus Christ.
“We need a national miracle to heal our political, racial, and cultural divisions, and that miracle is found in the power of Jesus to change our hearts,” he continued on his site’s call to action. “Therefore, we commit to preach louder than our nation's politics, and we aim to make the message of Jesus Christ transcend the monopoly of our media. We confess our only hope of unity is on the level ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus, and our only hope of healing is in the victory achieved through His empty tomb.”
Defying the argument made by many liberal theologians that the Bible was not written for contemporary society, the evangelist argues that God’s Word is as strong and relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago.
“The Gospel is the timeless, God-honored, God-ordained message that can change a human heart for time and eternity,” Laurie concluded his calling. “We accept Jesus' command to proclaim His message, wherever we are, to whomever we are around. Because 2017 is such a critical year for America, it must become the Year of Good News.”
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