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Top 5 Lessons From 'Jesus Revolution'

November 25, 2019
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He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” - Mark 16:15

We are all called to share God’s abundant love with the world. But sharing the gospel, having faith conversation, evangelism, whatever you want to call it, can be intimidating for many of us.

As believers, watching the movie ‘Jesus Revolution’ is more than an entertaining experience. There is so much for us to learn through this incredible true story.

‘Jesus Revolution’ is based on a book with the same title and takes place in the late 1960s. It is the true story of the rise of the Jesus Movement through the eyes of three of its most influential leaders, Chuck Smith, Lonnie Frisbee, and young Greg Laurie.

Personally, my dad was saved through the Jesus movement in the mid-70s. By then, the movement had been around for almost two decades and deeply impacted church culture around North America, Europe, and Central America. It greatly influenced my experience in the church growing up and how I think about Christianity today.

Watching ‘Jesus Revolution’ stirred my spirit and ignited my soul. It showcased the heart of the movement and provided incredible lessons that can still be applied by believers today.

Here are 5 lessons from ‘Jesus Revolution.’

Lesson #1 from ‘Jesus Revolution’ - There is Power in Desperation

When Lonnie and Chuck first meet in the movie, Chuck, a traditional pastor, is uncomfortable having a hippie in his home. But, his daughter convinces him to listen to Lonnie’s story.

Lonnie had been hungry for truth for a long time and sought it through drugs. God stepped in and opened his eyes at the peak of his desperation. That desire led him to meet God and, through Lonnie’s desperation, God was able to provide the answers he was searching for.

People are hungry for truth, love, purpose, and belonging. If you look closely at the people around you, you’ll see they are often looking for the right things, just in all the wrong places. God’s presence contains everything they are searching for and more.

So instead of looking at how people behave, look at why they behave that way. Ask God to reveal what they’re desperate for.

Lesson #2 from ‘Jesus Revolution’ - Sit with Them in The Rain

One of the most beautiful moments in the movie is when Lonnie meets Greg in the rain. Greg was a young man in pain, searching for answers through drugs like Lonnie once had. After a horrific drug trip, a panicked Greg runs through the rain. He falls to the ground, succumbing to a terrifying panic attack.

Lonnie appears beside him, completely calm, and attempts to help Greg calm down. He doesn’t preach to Greg or offer to pray for him. Lonnie just sits there, speaking simple truths to a confused young man.

It didn’t seem like much, but it started Greg’s journey to find God’s heart. After several events, Greg finds the answers he’d been searching for and gets baptized. Later, we find out that Lonnie continued to pray for Greg after that encounter in the rain. A simple action, but it was what Greg needed.

Loving people is the most powerful form of evangelism. Lonnie saw a young man in pain and was present with him. He listened to God’s heart and looked for how God was moving in Greg’s life. He didn’t say anything crazy or have all the answers. He simply stayed present and relayed God’s message at that moment.

This interaction proves that evangelism doesn’t need to look a specific way. You don’t need all the answers, just be present and connect with them. God will do the rest.

Look for moments when you can “sit in the rain” with someone.

Related podcast: Check out our conversation with Lo Miller

Lesson #3 from ‘Jesus Revolution’ - It’s Not About You

As Chuck’s wife wisely says in the movie, “Don’t be so arrogant that you think God can’t work through your failures.”

You are a flawed human. We all are! But that doesn’t mean God can’t or won’t move through you.

We see it throughout the Bible. Moses had a speech impediment, David murdered a man and stole his wife, and Peter lied about knowing Jesus to avoid being killed. Yet they all made it into the big book.

God does some of His best work through flawed humans.

Secondly, evangelism is about helping people find their own faith in Jesus, not yours. God’s love is free and unconditional, and we must choose to let it in. All you can do is open the door and give them the choice. From there, it’s between them and God.

So let go of the pressure to do it all perfectly. You open the door, and the rest is up to them and God.

Related Post: What Jesus Teaches Us About Having Faith Conversations

Lesson #4 from ‘Jesus Revolution’ - The Church is Family

Young Greg is hungry for family, which he finds in the community of believers. He finds a brother in Lonnie and a father figure in Chuck. Finding God’s love in that community of people gives him a sense of belonging and purpose that he never experienced before.

Family is who the church is meant to be. Countries can be divided but there should be hope, love, and freedom inside the church.

At the movie’s beginning, we see Chuck’s congregation uncomfortable with having hippies in the church. When Chuck stopped being uncomfortable, he opened the doors to outcasts. He humbled himself and directed them toward the shepherd. As a result, hundreds and thousands of hungry young people found their way to salvation.

People are ready and hungry, but can only walk through the doors opened to them. Instead of rejecting the outcasts and separating ourselves from the broken, we as a church family need to open our doors (both metaphorically and physically) to others..

Does your church feel like family?

Lesson #5 from ‘Jesus Revolution’ - Speak to Them in a Language They Understand

Chuck opened the church doors to hippies. He and Lonnie spoke to them in a language they understood. That doesn’t mean they changed the gospel to better appeal to hippies. They recognized that the truth was simple and available to everyone.

Far too often, we as humans try to over-complicate the truth. A million voices are trying to tell us what to believe, which can be overwhelming. But the truth is simple. To reach people where they are and speak to their hunger, you need to speak simple truths in a language they understand. Even Jesus used parables, a method people understood.

Having a faith conversation doesn’t need to be complicated. Meet them where they are and demonstrate the simple truth of the gospel. God’s love is uncomplicated and powerful.

Root yourself in the simple truth of the gospel and allow yourself to meet people where they are.

Trust God and His Truth

‘Jesus Revolution’ teaches us that God is bigger than any one person. It resulted from thousands of desperate men and women discovering the simple truth that God is good, He loves them, and He has saved them.

To quote my dad, “You have to look at every individual and recognize that no matter who they are, they are looking for something. They are sheep without a shepherd. They are looking for open doors.”

We can open those doors. It’s not complicated. Just be present and connect with them where they are at. Look for how God is moving and allow them to find their path to God.  

What stood out the most for you in the movie? Let us know your thoughts!

Related Post: 20 Bible Verses About God's Love


As believers, we can learn from past faith movements. Here are the top 5 lessons learned from 'Jesus Revolution,' the movie.

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