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Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. If you know your name will make you happy, you're going to be very disappointed when you reach that pinnacle and find it is not the answer. Christ is the answer. And we're so glad you're joining us today here on A New Beginning. It's a special edition of the broadcast as Pastor Greg Laurie is here in the studio with us for the full half hour. We're discussing the research that led to his new book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus.
It's a fascinating read, and we'll let you know how to get the book for yourself a little later. Pastor Greg, first question. What is it that drives your interest in cultural icons, especially in the music industry? I've always been a fan of pop culture, always been interested in it, and you have to understand that God has called me to be an evangelist. An evangelist builds bridges to the culture he lives in or she lives in. Take Paul on Mars Hill, recorded in Acts 17. At that time, Athens was the cultural and intellectual center of the planet. It also was a city that had thousands of altars erected to various idols, various gods that they worshiped. So Paul went sightseeing and took in the sights and sounds of Athens, and the Bible says his spirit was disturbed. And so he got up in front of the people in the town square there, effectively the Areopagus, and began to speak to them, but it's interesting how he started. He said, men of Athens, I perceive that you are spiritual.
One translation says religious. We might say today, I see you're into spirituality. Then Paul quoted their own poets to build a bridge to the message that was based on the gospel. So I take this concept and I use it in my preaching. I'll often start one of my evangelistic messages that I would do at one of our events that we call Harvest Crusades, and I might start by quoting a movie star, quoting a rock star, quoting a billionaire, saying something that lines up with what the Bible tells us as an example.
I would quote actor Jim Carrey, who would say, I wish everyone could be rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of so they would realize that's not the answer. Now I'm not basing my message on what actors or rock stars say, but I use that to build a bridge to my listener, and then I tell them what the Bible says. Okay, so now, shift gears over to this book I've written titled Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. So I'm exploring the lives of these people who have had it all, who've been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt, and in some cases have been the t-shirt, and I'm showing through their lives that the things this culture offers are not really gonna meet the deepest needs of our life.
Success isn't gonna do it, a new record isn't gonna do it, global fame isn't gonna do it, a bunch of cars or a mansion, that won't do it, a bunch of girls, that won't do it. No, they need Jesus, and I tell the stories of those that found the answer they were looking for and became believers. People like Richie Furet, Kerry Livgren of Kansas, Alice Cooper, Dion Demucci of Dion and the Belmont, Roger McGuinn of the Birds, and many others. And then I also tell the tragic stories of those that did not find the answer and how their lives ended, like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse and Chester Bennington, and the list just goes on. So it's a book that shows what happens when you make the right and the wrong choices, but ultimately it's a book that I think will offer hope and say to you, there is no one that you know that is beyond the reach of God. Let me ask you, in researching the book and 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 damaged goods. 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 they want to be noticed, they want their life to matter, they want their life to have meaning. And I think they're actually searching for fulfillment through fame and fortune. They're thinking if I could one day be famous, if I could one day live in a mansion, if I could one day drive a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari or whatever it is, if I one day had people chanting my name, that would bring happiness. And of course, that's not true.
And they climb 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 a talent as a singer, as an actor, as a performer of some kind. And so many of them rocket quickly to the top, and that 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, and all that money you make. I mean, I know it's a cliche when we read the stories of these folks that just spend money like crazy and they find themselves bankrupt and in trouble. Well, they're not prepared for that kind of a life.
They just like to sing or they like to perform or they like to do something else. And then they have this incredible success that can be absolutely, in many cases, devastating to them. You know, some might look at all the trouble that secular music artists get into and say, yeah, that's why I don't even listen to that crowd anymore. But often, their struggles are common struggles, and there are some things we can learn from them. Isn't that right?
Oh, sure. These are just people. When the day is done and they go behind the closed doors of where they live, they're just regular people like you and I are. They have the same struggles, they have the same insecurities, they have the same questions. And just because they have all these things doesn't mean that they're happy.
In fact, that's why so many of them turn to drugs or other things, because they're not finding the fulfillment in the things they may have thought they would find fulfillment in. A lady wrote a book talking about hitting the high note, and she referenced different people who had great success in their careers, like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. And she said the reason they turned to drugs is because they couldn't hit the high note anymore. And by that, she was not speaking of literally hitting a high note, but they couldn't maintain that level of excitement and euphoria that they may have experienced when it first started for them. You sort of adjust to that.
You become acclimated to that. So then you say, what is the next high note? What's the next accomplishment?
What is the next mountain to conquer? Then you conquer that. Then you say, what's the next thing to do? What's the next car I should drive or what's the next house I should live in or houses I should buy or yacht I should have?
Then you accomplish that. And on and on it goes. And it's just empty, empty, empty. The Bible says there's nothing new under the sun.
It was Malcolm Muggeridge who once said, all news is old news happening to new people. And you would think that rock stars would look at the lives of other rock stars who have crashed and burned and say, I'm not going to do that, but yet so many of them do. So it's a story of people who are searching, but many of them have found the Lord.
Tragically, many of them have not found the Lord. So this book looks at both sides of that and what happens with the decisions you make in life. I think, though, ultimately it will be a very encouraging book for you to not give up praying for people you know that are not yet believers.
And listen, this would be an excellent book to give to anyone you know who is not a believer, but they're a fan of rock music because I think this book will really speak to them. You know, some of the people you talk about in the book obviously have already passed on. Which one of them is at the top of the list of who you'd like to meet and have a conversation with if that were possible?
Yeah, that's a really good question. I wish, oh my, there's so many, so many. I think of Janis Joplin, very talented young lady, harassed, made fun of when she was a young girl, extraordinarily talented, died so young, 27. I wish I could have sat down with her and said, Janis, God loves you, and even if others don't love you as they ought to, you are loved by the Lord and He has a plan and a purpose for your life. I wish I could have sat down with John Lennon and said, John, you need to just follow Jesus. You've made a profession of faith in Him.
Now you need to just grow in your faith spiritually and continue on to discover all that God has in store for you. I wish I could have sat down with Jimi Hendrix, in my opinion, the greatest guitar player who ever lived, by accounts of people that knew him. He was a kind person. He was a humble person.
But he was a man who was searching as well. And I just wish I could have told these people that there's a God in heaven who loved them and had a plan for their life. I wish I could tell them that their life matters and so many people care so deeply about them. And I can't tell them that, unfortunately. But I can talk to people who are alive today who maybe are despondent, who maybe have thought about taking their lives, some who have even attempted to take their lives and say, look, this is not the way you want to go.
Here's the way you want to go. You want to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and discover His plan for your life and get to know Him. And then you'll have that happiness and that peace that you've longed for throughout your entire life. Hi, Pastor Greg, I want to thank you for everything you do. If it wasn't for your messages, I honestly believe my husband and I would no longer be married.
It's been difficult as my husband is in the military and we have a special needs child. One night when I was about to leave him, he begged me to stay and watch your marriage sermons on YouTube. And so I did. Now, when we go to bed, we still watch your sermon videos, but we don't use them to fall asleep, of course. There's a lot I've obviously left out, but I hope one day we can talk in person. In March, we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary because of God and you. Thank you and God bless. How encouraging that Pastor Greg's teachings in God's word has helped to save this marriage. Do you have a story to share? If so, would you let us know? Tell us your story by calling 1-866-871-1144.
Again, that's 866-871-1144. Well, we're speaking with Pastor Greg today about his new book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. You know, Pastor Greg, a lot of the ground you cover in this new book is centered around the 60s and 70s. That unique era in American history, which you also address in your upcoming movie, Jesus Revolution.
That's right. How does this book fit in with the larger projects you've been working on? Well, I've always been a fan of music. I like movies. I like television. You know, I like all of these things.
I'm interested in them. But I also want to bring Christ to people in these worlds. That's why we make movies. We've done films like A Rush of Hope, which reached millions of people. We're making a new movie right now that we're actually calling Fame. And in that film, I interview Alice Cooper, Daryl Strawberry, and others, people who have had the great success in life and have found that's not the answer, but Christ is the answer. So all of these projects I work on from A Rush of Hope or this upcoming feature film, Jesus Revolution, are bridges.
Bridges to walk over and tell stories. You know, it's interesting. I think the time we're living in right now really parallels 1970, the late 60s, early 70s. We have turmoil in the world. We have the threat of war. We've had race riots in our street. We've had the effects of drug use.
We've had the rise of crime. All things we were experiencing in the late 60s and early 70s. It's even funny to me as I see young people today who have rediscovered vinyl and they're playing these old records we used to listen to the first time. You see kids hanging out in hipster coffee shops wearing Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd designs on their shirt or talking about The Beatles as though they're a current band.
It's hilarious. So there is a cultural connection. And I think when we make this film, Jesus Revolution, which is basically set in 1970 and 71, it will speak to a generation alive today.
It will connect to them because we were dealing with a lot of the same issues they're dealing with right now. So I'm looking to build bridges. That's why I write books like Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus or I make movies like A Rush of Hope and Fame and Jesus Revolution and we have our events in stadiums and arenas because we want to reach people that don't know the Lord. Jesus did not say the whole world should go to church, but he did say the church should go to the whole world. I want to go to where people are and reach unexpected people in unexpected places in unexpected ways with a gospel that can change their life. Well, Pastor Greg, what are you hoping the reader takes away from this book, again called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus? I hope they take away this simple thought. No one is beyond the reach of God. I don't care how famous they are.
I don't care how powerful they are or what they've accomplished. Everyone needs Jesus. There's something to keep in mind. Everybody is empty. The Bible says that the creation was made subject to emptiness, that's King James 4, there's sort of a hole in our life.
The Bible says God has put eternity in our hearts, which means we're on a search for God. Listen, you may see a person drive by in a Rolls Royce, they're empty. Another person drives by in a Prius, they're empty. One person has a beautiful home, they're empty.
Someone has a simple little shack they live in, they're empty. Everybody's empty. Number two, everybody's lonely. No matter how many fans you have or how many friends you think you have or how many followers you have on social media, you're lonely. And really there's a loneliness in your heart for God himself. Thirdly, everyone's afraid to die. Oh, I know some people say, oh, I'm looking forward to dying.
No, they're not. They're afraid to die. And lastly, I would say everybody just needs Jesus.
So rock stars, movie stars, billionaires, unknown people, people that can't play two chords and a guitar, everybody needs Jesus. So this book shows that those who've been there and done that and bought the t-shirt have still found that's not the answer. And some of them made wrong decisions and reaped the consequences.
Some of them made right decisions and got on the road that leads to life and started following Jesus Christ. So my hope is when you read this book, you'll say, this gives me hope for my son or daughter. This gives me hope for my husband or wife. This gives me hope for that crazy neighbor that's always giving me a hard time.
Oh, this gives me hope for my boss or my coworker or my friends from my past. But also I would encourage you, this would be a great book after you've read it to share with someone that's not yet a believer. At the end of the book, as always, I present the gospel and I even have a prayer that a person can pray to accept Jesus Christ. Let's talk to somebody who may be listening right now, maybe a young person who really, really, really wants to be famous or wealthy or adored by a stadium full of adoring fans. You know, so many young people want to be a TikTok sensation or a YouTube influencer.
Drawing on the insight in this new book, what's your message to them? Well, so many of these artists of days gone by that have become iconic didn't have social media in their day. But they had it all. They had massive success, global fame.
You know, they had private jets and Bentleys and mansions and yachts and you name it, they had it. But they saw that wasn't the answer. And I think of stories I've read even recently of young influencers, young people who have had great success on social media platforms and have taken their own lives. And it just doesn't make any sense to us, but in a way it makes total sense because if you think that fame or having more followers or having more people know your name will make you happy, you're going to be very disappointed when you reach that pinnacle and find it is not the answer. So what I want to say to those folks is Christ is the answer. Now 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 to 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 with the most toys wins, dot, dot, dot, nothing. Another might say for me to live is success. Well yes, you can have success, but Jesus said what is the profit, a man, if he gains a whole world and loses his own soul. Somebody else might say I live for this other thing, live for Christ. Put God first. Jesus said seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
In context, he was talking about what you eat or what you drink or what you wear. God will take care of all of the needs of your life, but don't make those things the focus of your life. Make Christ the focus of your life. And if you do, you'll find the meaning of life.
Yeah, yeah, that's right. And listen, if you'd like to know more about having a relationship with the Lord, just go to our website, harvest.org, and click the words Know God. Now there's a lot more of this important insight in Pastor Greg's brand new book called Lennon, Dillon, Alice, and Jesus.
Can we send a copy your way? It's our thank you gift for those who can partner with us right now. Your investment helps keep Pastor Greg's insights coming to you here on A New Beginning. And they also help us reach out with the gospel through our large evangelistic outreaches such as Boise Harvest a few weeks ago.
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If not, let's take care of that right now. You can sign up today free of charge at harvest.org. And you'll receive a daily inspirational thought from God's word each day in your inbox. Again, go to harvest.org. Hey everybody, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home?
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Now stay with us. Something fun is coming up. A while back, Pastor Greg stopped by our Listener Services Center and posed as one of our operators. You'll hear what happened in just a moment. But looking ahead next time, Pastor Greg launches a series in the fascinating book of Nehemiah.
It's a book filled with insights on leadership, the power of prayer, and how we're all called to the work of the kingdom. That's ahead next time. The other day, Pastor Greg went to our Listener Services area to have some fun. Hey everyone, a little behind the scenes thing here where I'm going to answer a couple of calls and mess with people's minds and see if I can get them to insult Greg Laurie.
That's my objective. Thank you for calling Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie. How can I help you? Hi, I was calling to see if you guys have my updated address because I have not been receiving my materials, my monthly materials. Yeah, you know, actually the reason for that is that's intentional because Greg Laurie himself asked us to not send you material. Yeah, and really personally, I don't like the guy. I don't know why he's on the air. He's a wonderful guy. No, really, hey, you don't know what he's really like. He does mean pranks. Sometimes he messes with the mailing list.
He probably did it, but I'm going to try to make it right because you seem like a nice lady. Oh, thank you. Actually, this is Greg Laurie, so I'm just answering your call for fun. This is Greg Laurie?
It is. Oh, hi. It is such a pleasure to talk to you. Nice to talk to you too. Where are you calling from?
North Carolina. Oh, good. Mr. Lloyd, can I just tell you one thing?
Yes. I have learned so much. I have listened to your ministry for five years. I have not missed a morning, and I have learned more from listening to your ministry than I have my entire life, that now I enrolled in Liberty Christian University to become a Christian counselor, and I have learned so much listening to you, and you have become such a blessing in my life. I can tell you. Well, that's great.
That's a great university, Liberty, as well. We'll get your right address, and I'm going to sign a book and send it to you as well for being so nice with my obnoxiousness. No, thank you, and thank you for teaching me and so many people. You are such a blessing. Thank you. God bless you. God bless you too. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. You just never know who's going to pick up the phone, but we do hope you'll stay in touch and stay on your toes. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
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