Written by cycleguy on September 21st, 2020

I was born in 1952 (that puts me at a soon-to-be 68 for those counting. October 9 to be exact. Money accepted. 🙂 )  so I was in my teen years in 1965-1970. I wasn’t very world savvy (translation: not at all) so I knew very little about what was going on in Vietnam. I did not follow the hippie movement; Haight-Ashbury; LSD and the pharmacy; Nixon; Woodstock; Altamont; nor any of the movement called the Jesus Movement (JM). My music at the time was Tommy James and the Shondells, Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, mostly bubblegum music. But then Tommy James did Crimson and Clover and Crystal Blue Persuasion (still my all-time #1 song). My senses began picking up vibes of another world. I began working and heard about Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Still I had not heard of the JM or the Jesus People. I came from a pretty conservative church. I knew of the One Way sign and once flashed it to a military vehicle in front of us and promptly got back a middle finger. I’m not sure if he thought I was giving him one or if he was letting me know what he thought of Jesus. A rude awakening for sure. I had never heard of Larry Norman, Barry McGuire Chuck Girard and Love Song, or any of the other seminal artists in what was then a fledgling Christian music genre. And I for sure had never heard of Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel, or one of Chuck’s protege’s, Greg Laurie. Too bad. But even then that was West Coast and I lived in PA.

This book, Jesus Revolution, by Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn was a great way to do an interstate tour through a state route roadway. I learned about Greg’s early involvement in drugs and the counterculture, but also with JM/JP after God got a hold of his life. But I also learned far more. I love history and man this book gives a breezy, Clif Notes version of the JM. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane-a lane I have no memory of…except some of the world events (which I now know about). But I loved hearing about history and how the JM intersected the world; how Chuck Smith opened his neat ‘n tidy church to the young hippies who were seeking meaning to their emptiness. Chuck pointed them to Jesus. One of those burned out people was Greg Laurie. It was fun reading of Greg’s “rise” from a 17 y/o hippie to preaching at Riverside (an effort blessed and encouraged by Chuck) at the age of 19. God began to use Greg to where they eventually had to begin meeting at the Riverside Municipal Building with no A/C! It was nicknamed the Riverside Municipal Microwave Oven.

This book included stories of Greg; his marriage to Cathe (which is about 8 months shorter than mine); his “rise” as a pastor; his influence in people’s lives; the tragic and untimely death of his son, Christopher, in a car accident; the renewal of his son, Jonathan as a result of the accident; his Harvest Crusades and his move back to Orange County to start a church. It also included some great round-ups of world events during the ’60s-’79.

This was a wonderful book!! If you like history, especially contemporary church history, you will want to get this book. You will not be sorry. It makes me want to read more about the JM and more of Pastor Greg’s books.  And just to be clear: this is not a book going on and on about how great Greg Laurie is. I suspect he would eschew that in the highest order.

Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. I would absolutely love to read this book as I, too, love history and learning about how the church grew through the Jesus Movement. I’m definitely adding it to my wish-list,
    Oh, and fantastic sermon yesterday, Bill! I always come away feeling refreshed and inspired. 🙂

    • cycleguy says:

      I would be willing to send it to you whenever you are ready to read it. And thanks for the kind words. It hit a little close to home for me. Long story.

  2. Great recommendation. I just bought a copy and added to my stack.


  3. Psm says:

    Sounds like a book o would enjoy reading. Thanks for the review, Bill.

  4. Lisa notes says:

    This does sound like a great book. Thanks for the recommendation. I’m always encouraged by true life stories of believers who have been through hard times yet still have their faith when all is said and done.

  5. I am about to finish the other book you recommended by Jason Romano, Live to Forgive. I started a post about how it affected me thinking I would have it done by now. But there is so much emotion that the book brought up, I may have to read it again before I can write on it. It certainly helped me as I think about my book. There is so much that I could identify with in Jason book, the emotions of living with an alcoholic father. This book sounds like a good one too.

    • cycleguy says:

      i think it is a powerful book Betty. Even though my father was not an alcoholic I certainly can see where his upbringing sure influenced him in many ways. Unfortunately, he is gone. But I’m glad I recommended a book that resonated in you.