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Lost Boy: Pastor Greg’s Personal Story

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 6, 2021 3:00 am

Lost Boy: Pastor Greg’s Personal Story

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 6, 2021 3:00 am

In this episode, Pastor Greg Laurie shares his personal testimony of coming to Christ. Growing up in an unstable household, Greg turned to alcohol and drug use but couldn’t find what he was looking for in life—until something happened on his high school campus. 

Originally produced and aired for radio, this program recounts how Pastor Greg first encountered the Jesus Movement and came to the Lord during this incredible time. You’ll hear him describe his initial experiences on becoming a Christian as well as some humorous moments along the way.

Accompanied by various sound bites and different testimonies, producer Dave Spiker helps us navigate through these years as the interviewer. You’ll hear the true story of a life completely changed by God, showing that when God steps into an awful story, He can make something awfully good out of it!

Read more about this era in Pastor Greg book, Jesus Revolution, available to you for your gift of any size when you support this podcast. Just go to harvest.org/give. 

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Everybody Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the glory podcast and my objective is to deliver hopefully compelling practical insights and faith culture and current events. From a biblical perspective to find out more about our ministry. Just go to our website harvest.org so thanks for joining me for this podcast is all that you and through you know with your mom neglecting you having find your own way. All the drinking year all the fighting did you know what was missing in your life or the hour that you had a just become kind of an alternate normal in the Charlene's household and your life was wacky but deep down inside I thought it was going to get better and I was an optimist and I would even say something of a romantic, strangely enough, and by romantic I mean I thought there was going to be a better life, a better world and things are going to improve. One day I just didn't know when optimist and I think is the word pastor Greg's wife Kathy. You would think a kid like that which is the discouraged and feel like life you just dealt in a really bad hand in our all the rest that eat there.

In the instant was this incredible bright outlook on life but always had a sense that my life was going to change, and it was going to get better. I just didn't know how or when and in this I was sort of coming to the point where I ultimately give my like the Lord it was like process of elimination I was trying all these things of the world had to offer. Next thing you know there I am with a drink in one hand a cigarette in the other party and with the getting in a big way. The second is in this my mom's life is so lifelike that I never wanted to live, how to end up here so I decided I should change my life.

So around this time the whole know the 60s drug thing is in full swing and and you know in in a whole generation of young people are rebelling against the upbringing they've had. And then they're saying the drugs will expand your consciousness and so I tried marijuana and I was hoping that I could sort of change my life. I wanted to be a different person didn't see it as just another substance to abuse. I don't know that I really was a substance abuser in that I was addicted to any drug. I was trying to find some kind of answer. It was relatively easy for me to let go of drugs.

Once I came to faith. I was actually thinking. Believe it or not through drugs. I would somehow find the answers to life and so by turning from alcohol to drugs. It wasn't like I was going from just one deviant lifestyle to another. In my mind at that time. But know this is going to enlighten me.

Or so I thought well of course you know it didn't like me at all. That one thing was true, it may be more aware I became more aware of how miserable and empty. I was in so through my drug experimentation, smoking pot and then ultimately trying LSD, which was sort of like the next level as it would be described at that time I thought it was Debbie really turned on that it was gonna now know all the mysteries of the universe and in the it did nothing of the kind it. My life is just going down the tubes. In fact, one time some friends of mine were in a car.

We went on down to Laguna Beach in Southern California to buy a whole bunch of marijuana up front load of marijuana and we had it in the trunk and we were going to sell it. We were gonna smoke at all ourselves and as we were in the cars in the back my friend was driving he lost control of the car was raining that night to begin the fishtail in and where nearly 1 of the cliffs there in Laguna and I thought I'm in a die like tomorrow drug dealer Diane Saul spent and LB Ward and June Cleaver having their morning coffee and chomping on their toasting serves him right that deviance and remember sitting there thinking I don't want to die like this and actually offered up a little prayer to God and I said God if you're real get me out of this. If you get me out of this. I promise I'll serve you.

God caused that car to get straightened out.

We didn't get into a wreck.

We can go off any cliff and I to think God CNX crisis. I begin to smoke more pot, I took LSD on the weekends. This is not a prolonged period of time for but for a number of months and I saw all of my creative juices being drained out of me, what, where I have one set of pretty good sense of humor. It was just was almost like it was gone. I was becoming just a shell just does just that aimless stupid kid who just thought about getting high after school I saw what was going to my friends.

I knew it was the wrong path and an action come to the conclusion I'm leaving this lifestyle.

I am in walk away from it, to turn my back on drugs, but I just don't know where to go because I thought I don't want to get into the whole social scene it can it done that. I went out and was went out for the football team hanging around with the cute cheerleaders party and on the weekends it done that seem to want to do that scene done the whole druggie thing now, it didn't make my life any better. It just made it worse so warm I get to go. Now you know what one of my supposed to be what I do and this is only kind of the context of a high school mind understand you know my options are limited. I don't know that much yet, and I and so it was again, as I said earlier process of elimination. It's not here it's not there. There's something out there. There's something good there's something sure there's something noble. I mentioned that as you read in the book. My mom rebelled against her religious upbringing.

I rebelled against his sin and it drove me to find something pure in good and noble out there, but I just didn't know were to find it. Well let's let's talk about how you did find it. You were a kid that spent a lot of time on the streets Newport Beach. It was the kind of the burgeoning time of the Jesus movement and you write in the book that the UC bluff and some of these kids out there sharing their faith on the streets around Newport Beach. Yes, did you ever have any encounters with them, yes. An interesting thing.

I at that time, I would hang around the Newport and I was in my little drug phase. At that point and I would go down and hang on this article. The funds are just pleasure kids a congregate that lean up against the wall at a pretty good tough look on my face. At that point and in I would lean up against the wall hearing it over my eyes. Use your imagination have no hair now but you still pretty good at a hair cigarette hanging out of my mouth. You know, looking tough and I remember I would see the Christians out there handing out there little tracks, and religious literature and they had these little Bibles they would have that there were tiny little red Bibles that have verses printed in them and I member. They would walk up to me I would watch them talk to other people in a remember thinking to myself, come talk to me you're really thinking while I wanted someone to talk to me but it was too proud to go and say talk to me but it was in come talk to me and they would walk up to me, look at me kind of gingerly thrust the little booklet into my hands and back away.

You know, sleep on a friend of you yeah they bought into my fake tough guy Prasanna. It was an act, what, what if they would've come up to you what were you wanting to to debated with them or were you really looking for what they they were offering and I think I would've been pretty receptive. Actually, Dave, because I never threw any of these things away.

I would take them and I would shove them in my pocket like I didn't care. But the point is, I shove them in my pocket. I didn't throw them in the trash and I went home and I would empty my pockets and I would put them in a drawer. Every religious item.

People gave me whatever track and there might be a Christian it might be one of the cults that were out handing out the materials I saved everything in a drawer every now and then I take this drawer out and dump it on my bed and I'd sit there and read through these materials and I try to figure them out. I wanted to know the meaning of life, and I thought one of these little booklets. One of these little pamphlets might have the answer but I could make a rhyme or reason. I needed someone to explain it to me know the Bible tells a story of a man who came from Ethiopia searching for God he didn't find God in Jerusalem at that time, but he did obtain a copy of school of Isaiah that he was reading from when the Lord directed Philip the apostle to go to him and share the gospel and that Philip said you understand what you're reading and the man said how can I unless someone shows me the way. That's right, was that I had all this stuff I needed someone to show me the way. What does this mean what you think your your your your view of God was at that point, did you have a kind of a realization that there was a God, what would you think of Jesus and those times I always believed in God. I going to church with my grandparents as a little boy I found it boring. I daydreamed a lot do cartoons on the little church bulletin, but there was a picture of Jesus.

My grandmother had on the wall and and I would look at it and it's up picture many would be familiar with it. Jesus is sort of turning away is not looking at you in the picture and I would look at Jesus and you know I think you seem like a pretty wonderful guy and I hear stories about him and whenever there was a movie about Jesus in television. I'd watch it all the way through. So King of Kings came on the greatest story ever told or been her I would watch it and I was always deeply moved by the story of Jesus Christ. But the thing I didn't like about a story was how we You know someone should rewrite the story and take out the part where he dies to series doing miracles and giving these great teachings and whether the after going Bad idea.

They should just you know ended differently, and I always admire Jesus from a distance. What I knew of him and, quite frankly, whenever I was in a moment of crisis and I called out to God I didn't call out Buddha or Krishna. I said Jesus I knew Jesus was out there somewhere. I just didn't know exactly where and I didn't know he could be known in a personal way, but I believe he existed. I was fast forward a little bit. You're on your high school campus and there's a certain girl that captures your attention. She kinda plays a role as far as the catalyst tube to bring you into contact with the gospel. Yes. Well let me just backtrack for a moment to show you where I was out at this point I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired I gone through the whole little drinking, social phase, a Guenther the whole drug scene okay process of elimination, the answer is not of these things.

Where is the answer.

I don't know, put it somewhere and so I'm in mega search mode. At this point in my life and walking across my high school campus one day and I I see this girl and I don't know really why I was drawn to her because you want to see she was in the most beautiful girl ever seen. She was cute but there was something about her that was different and I looked during the wow will who's that girl and one day she was talking with one of my friends this is my moment.

I went to walk up there, turn on the charm.

So I went walking right up there in conversation. I'm standing waiting for a break.

I'm kinda looking at her and looking at him and I look down at your textbook for class and gender notebook and then she has all know all know one of those black leather covers and ribbons coming out of the bottom. Jesus three. What a waste of a perfectly girl I thought duly respected Jesus Christ with these kids on campus we call the Jesus freaks. We thought they were all collectively nuts and my friends even warned me and we have a lot of Jesus freaks in this campus. Greg stay away from them. She had been going to court of high school I was a local celebrity there I was a cartoonist for the school paper, but I left that life and I transferred to another high school because I wanted to become a different person and I wanted to become like this hippie guy this this guy who's tuned in this guy that is deep and thoughtful and and I would do it through drugs in the drug scene at Harbor high school at that time was really strong, stronger than it was a more high school and in the administration seem to turn a blind eye to it and but also on Harbor high school there was a heavy-duty revival that was taking place of Christians that we are Christians accorded a more high school but not like there were at Harbor high school. These were out front overt Jesus freaks as we call them what Bible studies on the front lawn. So my friends morning when I transferred in. Watch out for the Jesus freaks. I said oh yeah as if I'm meant to become a Jesus range and I like laughing at the thought of it because these people are into me. Here's what these people are. These people are idiots that they don't think for themselves. They are our people that are sort of like brainwashed and and I want nothing to do with them because I'm an independent guy on the Senate because of my upbringing.

No one's gonna tell me what to do. I'm thinking so I am like the last guy who's ever going to become a Christian on that level. Things changed because I meet this girl and I think what you note, she seems like a normal girl.

She doesn't seem crazy and the reason I thought this was him I would see the Jesus except for class on the school bell would ring the little notebooks in the Bible, and then only been in class for 40 minute fit although I'm so you know I'd watch a Jesus freak drop their notebook another pages and go find a wing from the constant hope praise the Lord together there such a I think.

But then I started piecing things together and if, and only the second kid on this girl.

She seems like a normal girl. These Jesus freaks. They are weird but I'll give this to him.

They do seem happy new. They are happy.

Could it be that these people have something know of course not, you know what I was for the first time entertaining the thought okay just entertaining the thought that it would not even have entertained me all month earlier and this girl I wanted to get to know her but I introduced myself to her and said hello and so I think was a day or two afterwards. Walking across my high school campus, and I actually heard there was a guy that was selling some drugs and I wanted to buy some drugs for the weekend so I wasn't completely out of the drug thing yet but but I knew it was in the answer, but I was still in it. Still, and I'm walking along and I see the Christians. The Jesus freaks singing songs on the front lawn of my high school campus go there. They are, and then I saw her sitting with them and I thought, although she is with them know you know what I wanted to sit down here right now. Phenomena can eavesdrop in their conversation and figure out why this is all wrong. So I was far from being open to the gospel. I sat down close enough where I could hear what they were saying, but not so close will look like I was in the group because that's like social suicide okay in high school campus Sunday service in their listening, eavesdropping and watching them sing their songs about God and thinking you know that there are weird but they do seem happy and here there was couple problems now couple of the guys at work now Jesus freaks used to be my buddies from elementary school. I knew the way they used to be one of them. I done drugs with now. I saw the change in his life.

Wow. Okay, he's actually a pretty normal guy. Maybe there's something to it.

I don't know what but you know course, I could never become one of these people even if I wanted to. Even if it's true, I would never qualify him too cynical and too hard. I'm to. I'm just not the right guy.

That's all.

And so I I'm watching them thinking these thoughts for the first time in my life, thinking the thoughts of knowing God in a personal way.

The idea that God could be known was was was apparent to me because of the lives they were living.

I believe they knew God, I was not disputing this any longer I got from thinking they were idiots to okay I will concede they know God, but I could never become one of them so that's where I was at my thinking so is a guy that there was there and he stood up and found that his name was Lonnie Frisby.

He was a youth pastor from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.

He has long shoulderlength hair parted in the middle in a beard, and frankly, he looks like Jesus. At least the Jesus from the movies I'd seen Deacon look like the Jesus from the painting in my grandmother's house, you know, and he stands up any even his sureties wearing the shirt that almost looks like a robe a little bit and has loose sleeves on it and he opens up the Bible and starts preaching and in its I'm stunned by it because he sees sharing things from the Bible and in its making sense to me. I'm relating to this guy being kind of a hippie kid myself and I don't remember what much of what he said but is this one statement when he said Jesus said you either for me or against me with me or opposed to me.

I looked it to him and I looked around at the other Christians and I thought you know what these people have something. Then I thought my against Jesus. No why would I want to be against Jesus.

He's always come through for me whenever a call for him in crisis.

He's got me out of the mess I'm in. Could it be that I'm against Jesus. One would be against Jesus. I mean I actually thought I believed in Jesus on my own way, but I didn't know what that meant. Yet.

And then he said if you want to accept Jesus Christ right now.

You'll get up and come forward and and kids were actually standing up and walking forward. This is lunch time in high school to accept Christ. Tonight I hung my head down like and I thought to myself there's no way I could do this I would like to do this.

I really would like to do this but I can't do it.

There's no way. Next thing I know I don't even remember going up there I was standing up there and I remember praying this prayer and even as I'm praying the prime thinking there is no way this could work for me. God will not accept someone like me and afterward done with the prayer. I member out one person next to me is laughing with joy another person is weeping uncontrollably and I felt nothing, nothing, and I thought that figures God rejected me, felt like it did hadn't jelled. We didn't take care that I wasn't the religious type, I would. I'm not the kind that will ever become a Christian. It just won't work for me but I also did sense as though a huge burden had been lifted from me.

It was a distinct sensation is the long-awaited been taken off of my shoulder. I later read were Jesus said, come on, and me all ye that labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Casting all your care upon him for he cares for you. The Bible says. I believe at that moment, God lifted the guilt.

I'd been carrying my whole life for my sin but I didn't quite understand it yet, but I prayed the prayer but I wasn't even sure if it was real, and then the school bell rings which means it's time for lunch to end and and as I'm walking away stunned knowing something to happen to me but not quite sure what that girl that I've been following comes running up to me, throws her arms around me and says, praise the Lord brother bless you, and I thought hey Christianity this is good okay will walk us to the next few hours that they then school gets out who's the first person you told about this new I didn't tell anybody until anybody know.

I kept it to myself. I didn't know what to think of it I was processing that still become a Jesus moment to carry a Bible publicly. Now I can't do that cool dog you see Greg Laurie is the guy that mocks people you don't mock me. I'm up you I'm a professional mocker I can help your mom and honing my skills here on the become Christian.

As a matter of fact I we went that weekend to go smoke some pot and trip around and in the two men you know and we were going to go to the Ortega mountains and the and I went with my friends and and we were all together and in one of mess me if I wanted to drop some acid which was the vernacular of the day for ingest, LSD, and strangely, I said no I don't want to do that.

Don't do that. I don't want to be by myself and so I walked up with a little bad full of marijuana in a little pipe, and I don't think about what happened to be something to happen to me, but I'm not sure what I want to found Little Rock and them sit in on this rock and in filling up this little pipe get ready to smoke it. I actually remember that hearing an audible voice, but I remember that same sensation that seem to want to call it a feeling because it was much more real than that, but it was like that impression that voice which I believe was the Lord that it spoke to me only hours before my campus when I accepted Christ I member hearing what I believe is the Lord say to me, you don't need that anymore and I thought okay God actually said okay God I'll make a deal with you and did not pray at if you're real I'll give this all up. But you have to make yourself real to me because I'm over the really hard time with this and I took my little bad and I pitched it and I threw my pipe and incident, to try. I'm in a given an effort and so that weekend I went back to school on Monday and I found the little group of Christians and I started going to their meetings. I member I was walking along the campus and some guy who would recognize it from one of the many jelled alchemy across a lot brother hey how you don't. I don't okay I didn't grow up with my mom never hug my mom never said I love so I cringed when someone hug this guy complete figure all okay. I really house you will call the Bible like when I'm holding my this is like a really big Bible and it was this really dressed in a leather but had popsicle sticks glued together in the shape of her craw try to take the Bible.

I had a jacket and I Bible is the pocket as I could I hide this thing somewhere. Publicly going to visit my friend for a long time. I went over to one of their homes and we usually go to lunch then we can love the lunch class and I went over there and then see me for a while and I Bible in my pocket walking with this so there was a plan around the little green read my Bible within the plan. I was a really cool witness for Christ.

So I walked in this room and my credit file. Don't know where we in the Holy Spirit is speaking to my heart. Anything you tell them about me and you want to know I want to get loaded where the front door opens up holding my five within the house by pulling up the Bible with every I look at the Bible, and every eye.

There was a so I recounted that what I will praise the Lord. Brother Gray now know 35 lightning everybody Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast and to learn more about harvest ministries. Please subscribe and consider supporting this show. Just go to harvest.org. By the way, if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God. Go to know God.org that's key NOW GLD.org


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