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Greg Laurie on Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus | Part 1

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2022 3:00 am

Greg Laurie on Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus | Part 1

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 6, 2022 3:00 am

Today on a special edition of A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie is here to talk about the insights he shares in a brand new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Today's episode of a new beginning is brought to you by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn and while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith today on the new pastor Greg Laurie look of the lives of famous musicians who self-destructed finds the answer. Christ is the answer for everyone using a rockstar is the answer for the unknown person is the answer for the billionaire is the answer for the person doesn't have two pennies to rub together is the answer for every man, every woman, every boy, every girl Christ is long tradition, beginning pastor Greg Laurie is here with us today to talk about the insights he shares in a brand-new book, Lyndon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus subtitled the spiritual biography of rock 'n' roll. The first thing people may notice about the title.

Pastor Greg is that the name of Jesus is included among some seemingly dissimilar names Skilling John Lennon Alice Cooper salt like a civil service exam.

Pick the one that doesn't belong. Well, go to the Bible and look at Jesus and Nicodemus, Jesus and Zacchaeus, Jesus and the woman of the well. Jesus and the woman caught in the act of adultery. It fits because my point is take these iconic people and I want to tell you about their spiritual journeys that the spiritual biography of rock 'n' roll and it has some surprising revelations about maybe your favorite pop or rock star things you did not know about them specifically in the area of their search for God, for instance, take John Lennon. Of course we all remember his famous statement when he said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Let me just address him for a moment to a generation. The people at that moment in time. There was some truth of that and I would include myself as a young person because I knew nothing of Jesus but I knew everything about the Beatles and Linda went on to try to explain it. Say well if I would've said television is more popular than Jesus, there would have been this controversy or uproar, but things changed in the life of John Lennon after he made that statement and we explore those things in the book.

No, I'm not suggesting John Lennon was a Christian at the end of his life, but I have to point this out. There was a moment in time when John Lennon made a profession of faith to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Not only that he recorded two gospel songs that you can find online.

If you search for them now. It was not a long-lasting thing but it was very big to him. He wrote about it extensively in his diary, but then he seemed to fall away from that. But in some ways toward the end of his life, which was a very tragic and you see that he mentioned some of those things again so here's my point. John Lennon made a profession of faith.

Earlier in his life.

He was tragically gunned down in New York City by Mark David Chapman. He was conscious after he was shot he was being driven to the hospital and the police officer driving him said do you know who you are and Lennon replied yes I do if he was conscious and aware if John Lennon called out the Jesus Christ in the final moments of this life, would his prayer have been heard.

The answer is yes, we think of the thief on the cross, who said the Jesus Lord, remember me when you come in your kingdom and Jesus said, truly, truly, I save you today you will be with me in paradise. I wrote this book to give encouragement and hope to people out there who will read it, who have a loved one that is not a Christian.

They don't seem like they would ever become a Christian. It might be your husband or wife or your mom or your dad or your son or your daughter or a coworker or a friend and you will see in this book as you explore the lives of those who have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. In many cases been the T-shirt that they climbed the top of the mountain and there was nothing there so shouldn't surprise us that these people are searching for a deeper meaning in life is see when you are thinking if only I was rich. If only I was famous of only I had a record or if only I filled you know a stadium with a bunch of people chanting my name, I would be happy. These people of experience that they know that's not the answer. So many of them have gone on a deep search for God so there's a lot here that may surprise you now. At first blush.

It's interesting that a pastor is writing a book about rock 'n' roll rock musicians seems like an unlikely pairing. Let me just say that I've always loved music. I've always loved rock 'n' roll. To quote the great theologian Joan Jett.

I love rock 'n' roll. And so I've always been aware of rock of always listen the rhonchi I kinda became aware of it more as a young man watching the Beatles, but in this book. This is not glorifying rock music or rock musicians. This is a book that is exploring the lives of people that have basically experienced everything this world has to offer and it found it empty. It's sort of a modern version of the story of Solomon, who had everything this world offers and then he concluded it was all emptiness. It was like she seen the wind. It was like a bubble that bursts and so you know when you climb to the top of the mountain and you been all that and a bag of chips went when you been on a lunchbox or on a T-shirt or people you don't have your poster hung in their room. You realize how empty all of that is so. I explore these stories. One fascinating section of the book is about the so-called 27 club ever heard about that. These are artists who are very well known who all tragically died at the age of 27 Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 so did Janis Joplin.

You have to put Jim Morrison in there as well.

Fast-forward a number of years and you put Amy Winehouse in there along with Kurt Cobain. People that had it all and yet died. At the very young age of 27 so I sort of showed the birth of rock the growth of rock. The pinnacle of rock in the 60s and 70s and then the just complete collapse of so many of these iconic people. But then, I explore the lives of those rock stars who have come to Jesus Christ and are following him people I've got to know personally like Dion to Mucci of DM and the Beaumont Ritchie purée of the Buffalo Springfield and Pogo and Alice Cooper who I've interviewed multiple times.

This is a guy that is experienced all that this world has to offer and is found it empty and I was following Jesus Christ, you know, I'm not sure how we can relate to the lives of these musicians and rock stars. Yeah, I tried to imagine what it must be like to be extremely famous you know where we can even go to the grocery store without a mob developing. You can open your blinds for fear of paparazzi with telephoto lenses and and that's the point you make in the book. These music stars have a lot of stuff but they have a lot of stress to yes they really do. I mean, it's been said careful what you wish for you might get it. And these are people that got what they wish for. And then it even went beyond their wildest dreams. But the problem is the dreams in many cases, turned into a horrible nightmare. You know, when you look at the founders of rock if you will. Are they call them the millionaire quartet Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis call Perkins. They were all produced by a man named Sam Phillips who had Sun records. These guys came from abject poverty. In some cases there were just country boys, all of them was sort of the gospel foundation, all of them were taken the church as young men and of course they all rebelled against it, but interestingly, every one of those founders ultimately came to realize they needed to turn to Jesus.

Elvis struggled through the years. He often sang gospel songs. There's a lot of fascinating revelations about Elvis Presley.

In this book Lennon Dylan Allison Jesus Jerry Lee Lewis is the only one alive still.

Of the four, but in recent interviews. He's talked about his need to get right with God and of course Johnny Cash became very strong in his faith.

I wrote a whole book about him. As a matter of fact called Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon and then finally Carl Perkins who wrote blue suede shoes and other great songs. He was a raging alcoholic and actually came to the Lord while he was on tour with Johnny Cash and took his bottle of booze and threw it into the ocean and committed his life to Christ and serve the Lord for the final years of his life. So yeah, these guys experienced it.

In some cases girls experienced it and saw the emptiness of it. So this is a very honest book so I start the book with these words, W3 surprises when we get to heaven. Number one. Some of the people we thought would be there won't be there.

Number two. Some of the people we never thought would be there will be there surprise number three you will be there.

So these are some of the people you never thought would be there will be there because no one is beyond the reach of God will were talking with Pastor Greg Laurie about his new book called Lennon Dylan Allison Jesus Pastor Greg your book is very balanced in its look at at artists who flamed out and artists whose career caught fire and an artist who became on fire for Christ. You know you mentioned Bob Dylan, who released three albums with Christian content, but has been sort of an enigma that no one can quite figure out. Yes Bob Dylan is surely an enigma.

He always has been, and I suspect he always will be.

Dylan is beyond just a musician. Dylan is iconic he influence over the other artists.

Most notably, the Beatles, John Lennon admitted that a number of the songs he wrote were modeled after Bob Dylan songs Jimi Hendrix recorded Bob Dylan. The birds recorded Bob Dylan. He was such a man of influence and that's why it was such a shock to everyone. When Bob Dylan came out with a record that was called slow train coming and spoke boldly about his faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that Bob Dylan had a genuine conversion and for many fans of rock. It was the rock version of the conversion of Paul on the Damascus Road. Dylan went on to record three beautiful gospel records and I happen to think that slow train coming was some of the finest work he had ever done, but anyway in his concert. She started talking about his faith in Jesus Christ.

Effectively Dylan was preaching eyewitnesses firsthand.

Kathy, my wife and I went down to Santa Monica saw him there in concert. It was not a full room and there were people yelling out again play the old songs we don't want to hear this and Dylan was actually trying to articulate his faith. So after his third gospel record. He just stopped talking about it. So some people concluded he didn't believe it anymore and that he had walked away from it and in fact returned to his Jewish roots because they could not believe that he could be a Jewish man, following Jesus Christ. Well, I don't see any indication in my deep dive into the life and career of Dylan that would indicate to me that he has abandon his faith. One of his more recent records, which is a collection of Christmas songs of somebody interviewing them said it almost sounds like you believe the words of the songs and the way you sing them in Dylan's response was all I do. So I think that Bob Dylan is what I would call a work in progress. You know there are people that curse God rebelled against God. Never acknowledge God and you can pretty safely say that as a nonbeliever, but they're not beyond hope and he should keep praying for them. But then there are some of made a profession of faith. They seem to have had a lapse of the fallen but don't write them off so quickly. I call them a work in progress.

Then there are others who have made a profession of faith and are still walking with the Lord. Case in point did the mood she made a commitment to Christ years ago and he still walking with Jesus Christ today Alice Cooper.

I was really addicted to drugs and alcohol in his life is going downhill fast. He could have so easily been another statistic of a rock star dying of an overdose, but he made a commitment to Christ. He got clean and sober and he is been walking with the Lord for well over 30 years now so I explore many more stories of rock stars and we get into some of the current artist today who made professions of faith as well. Like Kanye West and Justin Bieber and others, and so we need to be praying for these iconic rock stars who have had so much success and pray that God gets hold of them and also pray that the Lord would cause them to use their massive platforms for his glory and talk about Jesus Christ, but I wrote this book to show you sort of a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to have the kind of success also to show you the challenges they face the temptations they have to deal with, but also the power of God to transform people that have hit rock bottom. Most notably, Alice Cooper, Alice Cooper. At one point in his life was the number one rock star in the world and he became so involved with drugs, specifically cocaine. It looked like surely he was going to overdose his wife Cheryl left him. He told me this personally.

She left him.

He had rock of cocaine. The size of a softball. He put his wife's dresses over the window so no one could see in his house and he started to snort that rock of cocaine and he became so out of it. He looked in the mirror and there was blood coming out of his eyes. Alice said to me. I'm not sure if it was a hallucination or if it was actually happen, but I knew I was going to die and he said, and it was at that moment, I called out to God and God heard my prayer and transformed him and then when you talk to Alice Cooper today. You can't believe he lived that life be such a transformed person. Let me ask you in researching the book in writing the book. Why do you suppose rock stars and for that matter. Celebrities of all different stripes. Why do they seem to self-destruct so often.

I think a lot of these folks are our damaged goods and so many of them come from broken homes, so many of them come from horrible backgrounds or they come from horrible poverty or something else and and they want to be noticed. They want their life to matter.

They want their life to have meaning and and I think there's actually searching for fulfillment through fame and fortune their thinking. If I can one day be famous if I could one day live in a mansion if I can 1 Day Dr. a Rolls-Royce or Ferrari or whatever it is that I one day had people chanting my name that would bring happiness and of course that's not true and they climbed to the top of the mountain and they find out there's nothing there so I think many of them are really just on a search for the meaning of life, but they're born with the talent as a singer as an actor as a performer of some kind and so many of them rocketed quickly to the top and then is like the worst thing that can happen when you don't have a support structure to help you deal with all that adulation, fame and success in all that money you make. I mean, I know it's a cliché when we read the stories of these folks said just spend money like crazy and they find themselves bankrupt and then trouble will be there not prepared for that kind of a life they just like to sing or are they like the performer they like to do something else and then they have this incredible success that can be absolutely. In many cases devastating to them. Let me read something from your book. If I may set in a in a section talking about prints and you write contrary to popular belief, adversity is not the greatest test of character overnight success is just ask Dez Dickerson was princes dazzling lead guitarist from 78 to 83. He said this fame was like. This vertical takeoff and suddenly there are more people around you all. We have roadies now all we have bodyguards now and are there for a reason to. We experience many riots. We couldn't walk down the street. They had to cordon off the floor of our hotel. What that does to your head is beyond description and what it does to the human psyche is a whole other thing. There's this internal mechanism that unconsciously begins to take form in your equilibrium get so skewed that you find yourself doing and saying things that are you get this you become your own press release thought that was very telling you that's very insightful and that's written by someone who knows what they're talking about and think about prints himself a mean this in incredibly talented man died of a drug overdose.

I mean so many have died of drug overdoses. You would've thought that Prince would've said he my friend Michael Jackson died this way.

Hey Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died this way he Chester Bennington died this way. He actually took his own life. I don't want to die that way but that's exactly how he died and I think people take drugs to numb the pain because they just don't know how to live with this altered state of reality.

They find themselves, and they need Jesus. And I think so many people look to these rock stars saying oh I wish I was them know you'd you should not wish you were them but you have your challenges you have your pressures and really Christ is the answer for everyone, is the answer for the rockstar. He is the answer for the unknown person. He is the answer for the billionaire.

He's the answer for the person that doesn't have two pennies to rub together.

He's the answer for every man, every woman, every boy, every girl every person so I've written this book to say no one is beyond the reach of God. Don't stop praying.

Don't give up on these people you know I think about electronic dance music DJ of Vici's real name was Kimberling of e.g. had global success. Thousands of people would come to his rave concert and thought he was the greatest thing ever. Vici was a young man who according to his parents was searching for peace in the meaning of life. Tragically, he began to drink extensively in his liver was failing and the doctor told me of the cease-and-desist from drinking or you would die. He still a very young guy and then he made somewhat of a recovery and retired from his career and then ended up taking his own life in the worst way imaginable, but I think a lot of these guys are searching for peace and meaning. Why are they here on this earth. And really, we all are. When you get down to it, except these people have had all the successes world offers and of realized how empty it is, I explore the lives of a lot of rock stars past, present, and ones that are emerging on the scene right now so it's not just about rock music. It just about this. Don't take the wrong course in life don't think that things will fill that void in your life or a career will do it, or success will do it, or sex will do it, or any other thing.

What you really want what you really need is a relationship with God and we have a lot of rock stars that we talked to for this book and we interviewed that will tell you that from personal experience. As always Christ is the answer.

That's right. And by the way, if you want to know more about entering into a relationship with Christ. Click on the words know but were talking with Pastor Greg Laurie today here on a new beginning about his brand-new book, Lennon Dylan, Alice and Jesus.

He surveys the lives of several dozen of the musicians and singers that most of us would know very well and shows us their lives ultimately rose or fell on whether they knew the Lord and the evidence is overwhelming.

It's a fascinating book for anyone, but especially music fans and especially those who think their lives would be so much happier if they only had this or that money your name a big mansion their dream car, whatever it may be. It's inside they won't get from the culture or social media.

Let us send you a copy of this new book, Lennon Dylan, Alice and Jesus. The subtitle is the spiritual biography of rock 'n' roll will send it to say thank you for your investment right now investment in keeping Pastor Greg's insights coming your way each day. An investment in reaching out with the gospel. As we do. Just a couple of weeks ago in Boise, Idaho. So thank you for your partnership. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24 seven phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to you know there's nothing like hearing the word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I will encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home every Saturday and Sunday you join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the word of God together.

So join us for Harvest at Home and harvest when next I Pastor Greg brings us more insight on the lessons we can learn from the insight she shares in his new book, in fact, here's just a sample. They had it all. They had massive success global thing you know they had private jets and Bentleys and mentions and yachts and you name it they had it, but they saw that wasn't the answer. Christ is the answer. No, God may bless you with success. God may bless you with fame. God may bless you with other things but don't make that the sole purpose of living. Here's what the apostle Paul said he said the live is Christ. For some people if they were honest they would say to live is possessions. Their motto would be he who dies with the most toys wins. I would just add to that he who dies of the most toys wins… Nothing.

Another might say for me to live is success well yes you can have success but Jesus said, what is it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.

Somebody else might say I live for this other thing right. Put God first mortgage encouragement coming next time.

Join us here on a new beginning. Pastor and Bible teacher will buy harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to become harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith

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