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What Makes Jesus Revolution Different w/Tim DeMoss

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2023 3:30 pm

What Makes Jesus Revolution Different w/Tim DeMoss

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 18, 2023 3:30 pm

Pastor Greg Laurie joins Tim DeMoss to discuss Jesus Revolution. You’ll hear everything from what inspired the film to Greg’s favorite part of it. Plus, some behind the scenes information. 

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JESUS REVOLUTION is in theaters everywhere February 24, 2023. Catch an early screening February 22. Get tickets: https://jesusrevolution.movie/ 

This interview originally aired on the Tim DeMoss Show (WFIL)

Support the show: https://harvest.org/support

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. How you doing? Tim, I'm great.

How are you doing there in Philly? Lovely. We're getting ready for a Super Bowl, you know? Excellent. Excellent.

And we're also getting ready for the release of Jesus' Revolution, the film part. Of course, the book has been out. Originally, you wrote the book a few years back. Is that right? I did, yes.

A number of years ago, actually. Okay. And then the film itself, Jesus' Revolution, How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation, and How He Can Do It Again Today, certainly speaks to the message of the film. So take the floor, if you would, a little bit, and just talk about the film and what it's like to go from the book part, obviously, to on the screen.

Right. Well, the book I wrote with Ellen Vaughan, an excellent writer, and we told the story of what happened in the last great spiritual awakening in America. So it gives you the backdrop of the times, a lot of detail. But the film's different. It's a feature film.

It's not a documentary. And it's based on the story of my life and my wife Kathy's life, how we met. So it's a love story between two young people and their teens still. And then it's a story about how two unlikely people came together, an older pastor with a struggling church named Chuck Smith, a hippie evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee. And so the whole counterculture thing was happening. And Chuck really wanted nothing to do with these young kids. He thought they all needed to get a haircut and get a job.

But his wife, Kay, had a heart and a burden for them. And so Chuck met this hippie evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee. And it was like nitro met glycerin. It was this explosion as a result that happened in Chuck's church. And I came to Christ a few months after they met and the revival was happening at Calvary Chapel.

And then I walked right in the middle of it. So it tells the story of all these people. And this movie has a lot of twists and turns and surprises. It's not your typical Christian movie. I think there's more gospel in it than any Christian movie I've ever said. But there's less cliches in it.

And it feels more like real life. And I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised. I think they'll laugh out loud. There's quite a bit of comedy in it.

I think they'll shed a tear or two. There's some very moving moments. And as I said, there's the gospel in it where I think people could watch this film and make a commitment to Christ as a result of seeing it.

So I'm hoping that my Christian friends out there that are listening will buy two tickets, one for themselves and one for a friend who's not a Christian. It opens on February 22nd, kind of a sneak opening, sneak peek if you will, and then officially on February 24th at a theater near you. Yeah, I actually Googled it a little bit. And it really is in a bunch of theaters already scheduled for that 22nd of February showing.

So that's a good thing. Yeah, jesusrevolutionmovie.com online too. How easy or hard might it be to quote unquote follow the story? Because there really is a lot going on, including spiritually, culturally and all of that. Oh, it's very easy to follow because the filmmaker John Irwin, you know, he just did a masterful job of directing this. And you're on a ride, you know, you're on the ride of your life, of the lives of other people of my life, of my tumultuous childhood with my mother who was married and divorced seven times and was an alcoholic and how I had to kind of take care of her.

I was like more the adult in the relationship than the ride of Kathy's life. My wife-to-be who was searching for meaning and purpose through drugs and other things and saw her sister almost overdose on drugs and then Chuck Smith, the struggling pastor trying to figure out, you know, how to see his church grow and then Lonnie Frisbee, this unlikely pair. So all these stories are woven together in a beautiful and powerful way. And I think that people are going to, I think you're going to be entertained. Okay, this is, it's not like a sermon. It's an entertaining film, but it has so much truth in it.

And because of this, I think it will disarm people. I think Christians, and I know this for a fact, because so many people have seen it and test audiences, are very moved by this and it causes them to pray, Lord, we want to see a revival in our generation. But I also find it connects really powerfully with younger people and even non-believers. And so it shows a loving church. It shows young people coming to Christ and wanting to reach out with this message. And it's about Jesus people. You know, we need Jesus people today.

So often Christians are known for what they're against rather than what they're for. And so this is a powerful, relevant message for today's world. Yeah, and that's a great clarification because I think what you're saying is obviously you want the historical part to match and the set looks beautiful. From the trailers, I've seen like it's amazing how authentic it looks, but it really isn't just about what happened back then.

It's a very strong message for now, maybe more than ever. Well, I think so because I think that, you know, I'm 70 now, so I look back in all the decades and there's no decade that is more closely like the time we're living in now than the late 60s, early 70s. Not the 80s, not the 90s, not the early 2000s. There's a parallel between these two times. And we see so many of the issues that we were facing being faced by young people today. And so I think that it's going to feel very current. It's not like a time capsule. It's not like, oh, that just feels old and dated.

It feels like this could be happening right now. The sheep without a shepherd scene, which I saw a trailer for a little bit of a clip, was very powerful. I mean, I don't know if you have any particular parts of the film that really also gripped you.

Of course, it's about your life. But is there any particular part of the film that really surprised you a little bit, how it translated from the book to the screen? Yeah, I would say the scene when my character is baptized. That's right at the halfway point of the film. And you're following this young man, Greg, and his struggles. And now he's closed off from the world and is looking for meaning and purpose, looking for love, really. And then he's exposed to the gospel and he believes. And then he's baptized. And the scene, the way John Irwin filmed it, John's the director.

And when you see Greg go in that water, it's just so powerful. And many people feel it's the most powerful moment in the entire film. And I think, you know, it's hard to portray conversion on a screen. And when we were working on this film, I said, John, we've got to do something that no one has done before with showing what it's like for a person to accept Jesus. We've got to get the language right. We've got to get the look right.

Because every time I see it, I always feel like it's a little off. And I really feel the way this was done, it feels very authentic, very real, as though you're experiencing a real event. And I think God was really at work on that day we were shooting those baptism scenes, because a lot of the people who are in the film, they're extras, right? They come and they play the role of a person being baptized.

A number of them were actually accepting Christ and getting baptized for real. And I think what was happening on that day translates into the film. And that's why it feels so like this is happening, this isn't just acting. So Joel Courtney plays you, right? Your character. Yeah. Did you guys, I'm guessing there was some good conversation for him to study you, and you give him the real-time feedback about this is what it was like for me and all that?

Yeah, absolutely. I spent a lot of time with Joel Courtney and with Jonathan Rumi, who plays Jesus on The Chosen. I'm playing the role of Lonnie because I knew Lonnie very well. And then, of course, with Kelsey Grammer, I'm playing the role of Chuck Smith. And Kathy, my wife, spent time with Anna Grace Barlow, who plays her in the film.

And then Kimberly Williams Paisley plays the role of my mother. So I was able to really tell them, give them details, right, for their performances. Because actors, you know, they're like sponges. They absorb information and then they run it through their skill set of acting.

And really, in many ways, becoming that person they're portraying. And I was so impressed with what these actors did with these roles and how real they made it feel. And there were times when I was watching it being shot in Alabama and in California. I felt like I was having, to use the 60s term, a flashback. It was like, oh, wow, this feels so much like it was. I bet. That must be crazy. But then you know, obviously, it's hitting.

You know, and that's exactly the feeling you're looking for. That's something, just one thing that's also kind of fun. In addition to the 22nd of February, Jesus Revolution, the movie having that soft opening.

And then the 24th of February, even wider spread. If folks are NASCAR fans, I understand they're going to, if they're watching on Fox, they may actually see Jeffrey Earnhardt's car with the Jesus Revolution car. That's right. So Jeffrey Earnhardt, he's driving, it's for Forever Lawn, a company that makes astroturf. And so they've generously allowed us to put our Jesus Revolution movie graphics on the car. So it's a Jesus Revolution car and it looks super cool. And I posted about it on my social media.

People follow me. But I hope Jeffrey wins, you know, but it'll be out there and people can see it for themselves. A good little reminder that the film is coming out. Let me see a word about February 22nd. So that particular night, we filmed an eight-minute presentation of the gospel that is unique to that night only. So if you were to get tickets to go see it on February 22nd, you can know that the gospel would be presented complete with a prayer and a person could pray and accept Christ into their life. So that is the perfect night to take a non-believer to. And if you can't make it, then go by all means February 24th and on it's going to be released in 2700 theaters across the United States. But that February 22nd date would be a great night to take someone who doesn't know Christ yet to the movie with you. And I think you might see them accept the Lord. Just to clarify, they would also follow the credits or at what point would that be shown? Do you know? Yeah, right after the credits roll, that part would come on the screen. So don't get up and go anywhere.

Right, don't go anywhere. What are your main hopes personally when you think about all the work that went into this for, I guess it's been a number of years, what is your, when you step back, a big picture view of this, what is your heart's cry for this film? Well, I would say two things. I would hope that it would inspire a generation to say, Lord, do it again. You know, in Scripture we read, will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?

And I've had many people say this. We've shown it to test audiences, thousands of people at this point. And this is the message you hear, they're saying, we want to see this again. You know, it's been said, the fame of revival spreads the flame of revival. So as we're telling a true revival story, I think it resonates. And it's very, you know, you get really emotionally connected to these characters.

And so you're kind of on the journey with them, feeling it for yourself. And so I'm praying that people would say, we want to see a spiritual awakening again. And number two, I'm praying that people will accept Christ.

This is one of the most, how do I put this? It's not your typical Christian movie. It's not tidy, it's not perfect. It shows flawed people being changed by Christ. It shows our shortcomings, our weaknesses, but it also has very strong gospel moments in it. Where I think there's enough in this story on the screen, where a person can understand how to accept Christ. But it's not heavy-handed, and it doesn't feel preachy, because it's a story, it's a true story. So it's done artistically, but also done powerfully. And there's a moment in the film where Greg prays, you know, Joe Courtney playing me, prays and asks Christ to come into his life.

And it's a powerful, genuine moment that I think will really resonate with people watching it. Have you, over the years, when I think about all the things you've, and as the world has expanded and changed, how have you found trying to keep the main thing the main thing, despite having all the new places to put it? It's a blessing, I'm sure, but also probably a challenge to make sure you stay fresh and connected with the Lord. Yeah, you know, the message never changes, but culture changes.

Sometimes the questions people ask are changing. Sometimes preachers are answering questions no one is asking, and we're not answering the ones that are being asked. So I tried to stay connected to culture, understand what's happening around me, and then show the power and relevance of the gospel. My job is not to make the gospel relevant. The gospel is relevant. It always will be relevant. The Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.

So my job, if you will, is to let the lion out of the cage. It's just to show how Christ can still change lives. And I think this movie is a great tool to tell the story in a new way, you know, because there's something about a film that disarms us and moves us in a different way than a sermon will. And I mean, I spend my life writing and delivering sermons, and obviously I'm a believer in that. That's what we do at our radio broadcast there on your station, you know, all the time.

But having said that, there's something about art, and I like to call it weaponized art. And by that I mean it's beautiful, it's well done, it's professional, but weaponized meaning the gospel is in it. And so this is a great new way to reach people. You know, we were early adopters of live streaming services back in the early 90s, but now here we are living in a new time. And I think a great new frontier for Christians to use is storytelling through film, and using streaming platforms, using film outlets, theaters, etc., to tell our story.

It's the equivalent of giving our testimony. And I think there's an audience that's so tired of, you know, all the films that have such horrible messages in them that are so destructive in so many ways, or just all the special effects and the CG, you just get tired of it. And you want to just see a story that moves you, and that's what this film does. By the way, knowing how much you love music, you know, the books I know we had you on, I think we had the Lennon, Dylan, Alice, Jesus book out not too long ago, and other things like that. The music from this era, was it kind of fun, I mean a fun time for you to also, as an aspect, because music is super powerful, obviously, as far as Jesus Revolution film goes. Yeah, the music plays a major role in this film, and you know, you have to license this music, you can't just play it.

You have to get permission, you have to pay fees and all that, so that was all done to the film company, but I love it because I think it's great music. I mean, I like rock music, and I like, in particular, you know, 60s rock music. So that's in the film, and it really punctuates the moments and the scenes. So it really, you know, connects to the time. But it's funny because today so many young people are listening to that old music. They've even rediscovered vinyl, and you'll see kids running around today with, you know, Led Zeppelin t-shirts, Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, etc. So it's like a whole generation has rediscovered that music, so that's why I think the film has sort of a current feel to it. Yeah, that's great.

I want to respect your time. I just wanted to ask you, because we are featuring A New Beginning all during the month of March, if you just take a sec when you look back with regard to the path, the radio aspect, if you time-lined it, what led to there being a radio ministry in the first place? Well, I think when we started out doing radio, we just wanted to take what we had, teaching the Word of God, seeing it change lives to a broader audience.

And we've been so blessed over the years to see it expand to, you know, well over a thousand stations across the world. And, you know, I get the letters or the emails or comments on my social media pages of people who tell me how their lives were changed listening to the radio. You know, radio is a very intimate medium. It's different than television.

It's different than looking at things on your phone. And I feel like you develop a relationship with your listener, and I love it. I'm a huge fan of Christian radio, and so I listen to it all the time. And I believe that what we're offering is unique in that, you know, there's a lot of great Bible teaching programs on the air right now on your station and other stations. But what we offer that maybe is a little bit unique is we give gospel invitations, and we throw the net, where we invite people to come to Christ. And, you know, we have thousands of people respond to those invitations every year, because, you know, I read a stat that 25% plus of the listeners to Christian radio are non-Christians.

It's like they're eavesdropping on our conversation. So I feel like, hey, let's invite them to Christ. And so we've been pretty proactive with that, and we've seen great response. And so I hope that the folks that are listening now will understand that A New Beginning can be a tool that they can use to reach out to non-believers, as well as something they can listen to for their own spiritual benefit.

Amen. If I can wrap with this little quick trio of questions. One is encouragement for pastors. One is a life verse, if you have a life verse. And also, thirdly, how people can pray for you.

Oh, thank you. Okay, well, to pastors, I would say, you know, what you do is so important, being a shepherd over a flock, and it's so often unappreciated or underappreciated. And I think of the passage that says, Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season you'll reap if you faint not. So don't give up.

Hang in there. Keep your eyes on Jesus. You know, you do what you do for the Lord. We serve God by serving his people. So thank you for what you do, and please keep doing it. You are needed now more than ever. I would say a life verse would be, I have many.

A lot of it depends on what my situation is. One I often default to is Jeremiah 29-11, where God says, I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. And I love that verse because God says, I'm thinking about you, and I am not having a single thought about you. I have many thoughts about you. But we think, well, what kind of thoughts are they?

Are they negative thoughts? No, God says, to give you a future and a hope. God is in control of your life, and he will guide you through your life. And you need to trust in that and know that even when things don't make sense in life, he can cause all things to work together for good to those that love him.

Amen. And pray for you. How can people pray for you? Well, you know, I think people can pray for me that God will continue to guide me and show me what to do, perhaps what not to do. Opportunities open up.

You want to be responsive. And pray that the Lord gives me his wisdom, that he empowers me with his Spirit, and that whatever good comes out of my life will be for his glory. Amen. Lord, I just want to pray right now for Pastor Greg. I thank you for him and for his taking time today.

Pray you'd refresh him and his marriage and his family and the things he just mentioned also you'd bring those to fruition too for your glory and for your blessing on this Jesus revolution film too. Amen. Amen. Thank you. It's my privilege to talk to you. Thank you for taking time today. God bless you. God bless you too. Bye now.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-18 16:22:52 / 2023-02-18 16:31:55 / 9

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