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                In the summer of 1967, over a 100,000 young people put flowers in their hair (San Francisco, Be Sure to Wear Flowers in your Hair), loaded themselves into a VW van with at least one guitar, and made the trek to the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco. These young men and women had rejected the consumerism that their parents had embraced, and looked longingly into the promise that lots of drugs and sex would free them from the chains that their parents had become enslaved in. They were ready to “turn on, tune in, and drop out” as the writer Timothy Leary encouraged them to do. Popular culture would refer tot his time as “The Summer of Love” and these people would be called “hippies.”

                Unfortunately, many found out that San Francisco was not the utopia they were searching for. There were no places to stay or sleep, not enough food to eat, the drugs were causing them to crash hard, the STD’s were hurting, and they were not as welcome as they thought they would be. Crime skyrocketed, and laws were passed to criminalize much of their behavior. By the end of the summer, many of these young people packed up their belongings and returned from whence they came.

                A part of the “Summer of Love” that is often missing from the pages of history is a revival moment that started with these hippies. Many Christians saw the hurting and suffering of these young folks, and instead of looking down at them because they looked different, they chose to share the Gospel with them. The freedom that Jesus offered turned out to be exactly what they were looking for without the letdown the drugs and alcohol always had. The young men and women did not cut their hair, put on shoes, change their clothes, or change their taste in music, but their lives changed forever. They became known first as “Jesus People”, and then later mockingly called “Jesus Freaks”. Much like the early followers in Antioch who were supposedly insulted by the term “Christian” but embraced it, these young people proudly accepted and proclaimed themselves to be Jesus Freaks. Their movement was called the Jesus Movement. It is estimated that over 250,000 people gave their lives to Jesus at that time. Time Magazine even had a cover story about them. Their style of music would inspire what we know today as Contemporary Christian Music and the praise and worship songs we sing.

                The Jesus People of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s is considered by many as the last great revival that this country has had. These people, who were not always welcome in many churches, spread the gospel of Jesus across this country and even into Europe. As they initially traveled west, I doubt many people thought that they would change the world in a positive way, yet they did. One lesson from them that we can take today is that God can use anyone to spark a deep change in our land.

                The reality is that it does not take much for a revival to begin. God showed Solomon what was necessary to see this happen. He told him after Solomon had built him a temple. God said,”  and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). All we need to do is humble ourselves, pray, seek God, and turn from our evil ways. At that point, God will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land. We do our part, then God does his.

                One of my great desires for this year at Shallow Well is to see a great revival occur. I want to see people freed from the bondage of sin, families restored, lives changed, and our church explode with people. I would love to see our alter flooded with people and prayers. I would love to see people saved every week and we baptize regularly. I want every pew packed with people hungry to learn more about God. How amazing would it be if we had to start a second service to accommodate all the people? I know that this might be a little uncomfortable for some. The thought of change scares you. To you I ask, isn’t rescuing one soul from hell worth a little discomfort? Many of you share the same desire I have. To you I ask, what part do you need to take in seeing this happen? Have you done what God requires of you in 2 Chronicles? Are you sharing and inviting?

                I truly believe that God wants to do something amazing here. If I did not believe that, I would not be here. I would love for some future generation to tell the story of Shallow Well as a motivation. I believe this can happen if we want it to. Will you join me this year in making this happen by being a 2 Chronicle believer and follower?

MJ

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