In the 1970’s, The Lord powerfully poured out His Spirit across the nation of America in such a mighty way that it was known as The Jesus Movement to many who witnessed it. This mighty move of God had such a tremendous impact that its effects are still being felt in America and across the nations of the world to this day. Charles Simpson was one of those who not only witnessed The Jesus Movement, but he was a part of it. Those who were in the world knew it was The Jesus Movement, but those who were in the Lord at that time, knew it as The Charismatic Renewal Movement. It’s one thing to have an opinion about something that happened, but it’s another reality to sit down and listen to those who actually experienced it. Greg was so incredibly grateful to be able to sit down with Charles Simpson and hear his perspective of what the Lord did during those unforgettable moments. As a spiritual father to Greg, Ken Sumrall talks about those moments when he was “compelled by the Lord” as when “God grabs you by the scruff of the neck and says, ‘you better do this thing’”. That’s exactly how Greg felt to have that meeting with Charles Simpson. It was so crucially important. After Greg was able have this incredibly interview with Charles Simpson, the Lord spoke to Greg in a dream and said, “It’s going to be the 1970’s again”. Initially he was very sad about that reality because many of the events that transpired in the 1970’s was horrific. But, amidst those moments, it was a powerful, sovereign move of God.
So, what does it look like when a sovereign move of God begins to manifest in your nation? God begins to get a hold of people in all walks of life, even professional baseball players. When Albie Pearson was young, he went to Aimee Semple McPherson’s Four Square Church. As he got older, he was a professional baseball player for three different teams. During that time, he was the short MLB player. While on an active MLB roster, the Lord speaks to Albie, “you can never play another game for another team, you’re on My Team”. When recalling the tremendous testimonies of the Jesus Movement, Bill Johnson and Lou Engle recount this incredible story. Albie didn’t realize just how significant that moment was as he still decided to play the next game. As Lou Engle shares, “he slides into third base and breaks his back.” You can imagine the excruciating pain that Albie Pearson is experiencing at this moment. The Lord speaks to Albie again, “they’re going to come to your door, sovereignly, to pray”. Hippies just started coming to Albie’s door to pray over and over. As Lou Engle describes it, “it was sovereign evangelism by God”. This is what a sovereign move of God looks at. All these years later Albie Pearson is still ministering for the Lord with the Father’s Heart Ranch. So many people are used to toting heavy water in their daily routine of drudgery. Sometimes you have to do that, but not when a sovereign move of God.
As the story goes, Bob Weiner was one of those young men who was sovereignly led by the Spirit of God to show up at Albie Pearson’s door to pray for him. Just as how the Lord moved in Albie Pearson’s life, the Lord did the same in Bob Weiner’s life as he is still ministering for the Lord today. Bob Weiner founded Maranatha Campus Ministries, with over 150 campuses, and has trained over 50,000 youth in Russia for ministry. He is known for a rapid church planting movement. When people were coming to the Lord so incredibly, he would point people to be water baptized in bathtubs! When God moves suddenly, and powerfully, like He did in the Jesus Movement, the “way church was done” just goes out the window. What God did and what God is about to do again isn’t going to fit into a building.
Founder of International House of Prayer-Kansas City, Mike Bickle, went through a time in his younger years while at University of Missouri, where he felt it was his duty to minister to 10 people every day. One particular night while laying in bed, he realized that he only witnessed to 9, or less than his 10, so he stomped out his dorm room and told one more person before heading back to bed. It’s not like that. It’s God Himself that draws people to Himself. On the flip side, we can also see how a culture is affected when there is a lack of the Spirit of God moving upon an entire generation. Looking around today, where is the Presence of God? Where is the oil? When the Holy Spirit is not moving, we can clearly see the results of not having a Sovereign Move of God. Across all areas of culture, there is an increasingly noticeable presence of darkness in the land. There’s a demonic move of darkness moving over the globe. If you don’t think is affecting the Church, think again. In a recent Barna Group Study, nearly 50% of pastors said they would leave pastoring if they could find another vocation. One third of those who used to attend church have disengaged since 2020 and two out of every five pastors are seriously planning on leaving the ministry. Truth of the matter is that the ministry is not a vocation. It is a call from God, an assignment giving by Jesus for His Church, unless the Lord didn’t call them. These are God’s people. We cannot simply leave them when things get difficult and trying. Jesus says that a shepherd (Pastor) that leaves his flock, members, when danger comes is a hireling and not a true shepherd. When they abandoned God’s people, God’s people (the shepherd’s sheep) are attacked, scattered and many destroyed.
This is exactly how it was in the 1960’s and approaching the 1970’s. It was a real difficult environment. There was immense tragedy taking place in our nation. Suddenly, God began to pour out His presence and that was the only thing that people were looking for! During the days of The Jesus Movement, Kathryn Kuhlman was a woman who was anointed mightily by the Spirit of the Lord to share the Gospel. She was so committed to share the Gospel to as many as she could encounter, that she would sleep in chicken coups in order to do whatever it took to be where she needed to be. She recognized that she was witnessing and a part of a sovereign move of God. Greg shared how he had read about Kathryn Kuhlman’s journey and ministry in God’s Generals by Robert Liardon.
During those days, Kathryn Kuhlman also had her own television show where she would share the Gospel and interview people. On one particular episode, she was talking with Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, and a spiritual father to many thousands of young people who were coming to Christ in the Jesus Movement who called him “Daddy Chuck”. While many across the nation were witnessing this sudden presence of God was taking the nation of America by surprise, people thought it was a “fad”. It was this particular opinion that Kathryn Kulman asks Chuck Smith about, “and millions are wondering whether it’s just a fad, or whether they’re just on another kick.” As Chuck Smith replies, “If it is a fad, it began, like I said, 2,000 years ago you know.” Chuck Smith continues to talk about the indescribable testimony of what the Lord was doing in their midst.
“The beauty, the glory of the whole experience as the beaches just lined with thousands of people singing the choruses and praising the Lord, then walking out into the water and bearing the pass, and then when they realize that all of the past is gone; that it’s all been buried, that God has absolutely nothing against them. The slate is clean. It’s a brand-new life now with Jesus. Not only that, even as the Spirit descended upon Jesus after His baptism, their hearts are open and they just receive the power of God’s Spirit to live that new life that the Lord wants them to live. And it’s indescribable.”
If we have any question about the fruit of Chuck Smith’s life, all we have to do is look at the many who are still faithfully serving the Lord today. Chuck Smith was a man that loved people and he loved the Word of God. It was the Word of God that strictly taught from when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people. This was definitely not a fad! Isnt’ it amazing how quickly people can become critical of a precious move of God!
We cannot be caught up in being critical of such a mighty move of God. People who were hippies one day, burning their draft cards and throwing Molotov cocktails at police one day, were being radically saved by the power of the Holy Spirit and following Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God the next day. God is still the same, yesterday, today, and forever. “It’s going to be the 1970’s again”. When we look at America, and the nations of the world, do we not see the same spirit of rebellion marching in the streets today burning down buildings, hating authority and rejecting God and America? If God, did it then, He is fully able to do the same thing again in our generation. Those in Antifa today, can be walking with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God tomorrow! Can you see it! Do you believe God for it? God can do these miraculous things IN A DAY!
Chuck Smith was a spiritual father to so many in this generation. This is what Paul was writing about in 1 Corinthians 4:15-17, “Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” When Kathryn Kuhlman interview Chuck Smith on her show, she highlights how so many people waste their lives on insignificant things. But, for Chuck, he poured himself into an entire generation, “literally thousands and thousands of teenagers call you Daddy Chuck”. This is so beautiful! Chuck Smith was such a beautiful man to imitate. You want to live your life under someone that continually teaches the Word of God.
Chuck Smith talks about his journey in The Jesus Movement by recalling the days when they had to move to a new building due to the increasing size of the crowds, and while preaching the Gospel hippies just started to come in and sit on the floor, listening to his message. “I was there teaching and suddenly things got real quiet and I looked up, and here were all of these young hippies coming in and sitting on the floor”. What was so beautiful about these moments is how these new incoming hippies started showing up to help with whatever building project was taking place under Chuck Smith’s leadership. At first, he didn’t have the best perspective of these hippies. As he describes it, “my attitude was, dirty hippies, why don’t you get a bath, go out and get a job and make something of their lives… you’d see them stoned, on drugs, and so forth and I had a very negative reaction towards all of that”. Interestingly enough, it was his wife, Kay Smith, whose heart was soft and broken towards these hippies. It was her brokenness towards these hippies that started to soften Chuck Smith’s heart towards them as well. You see, Chuck and Kay had their own kids who were the same ages as these hippies in their community. If they didn’t reach them for Christ, their kids could easily end up in the crowds of hippies that they were seeing in their streets. Kay Smith would insist on driving to the beach with Chuck so that they could reach these hippies. Upon arriving at the beach, Chuck would be grumbling, sitting in the car next to his wife. “I would be mumbling about, ‘why don’t they make something of their lives, dirty kids and all’, and I’d turn over, and she’d be weeping”. Their daughter was reminded of her mother’s desire to want to know why these hippies were living the way that they were. One instance, she headed to the Laguna Beach Hotel, to leave their children in the car, in order to share the Gospel with some hippies. “It was the Holy Spirit that put this on my mom’s heart. She began to pray and God began to answer her prayer, and started bringing these hippies into the Church”. Chuck Smith began to notice what the Lord was doing in their midst and he made up his mind to follow the Lord in whatever he was doing. As their daughter recalls Chuck’s words, “I didn’t want to direct the Holy Spirit. I just wanted to find out how the Holy Spirit was moving and get in the boat, and move with Him.” This is what it’s all about. There was such a brokenness for these young people to know the love of Jesus, and to reach them with the Gospel. Chuck Smith began to understand what these young people were looking for, and he had the answer. “Their search was for love and their search was for peace, and what better message than the message of Christ. It’s a message of love. It’s a message of peace. And so they just took to it, you know like ducks taking to water…” In order for the lost to come to Jesus, we have to go out and be amongst those who don’t know Him so that they can hear and know of the One who does love them. Maybe the Lord is going to move in such a sovereign, and powerful way, that is going to remove the veil of darkness that is over their eyes so that they can see and understand their need for Jesus!
Can you imagine how many souls would have been lost in that generation if Kay Smith had not cried out to the Lord for His burden for the young people in their own hometown? Because she cried out, thousands upon thousands of souls came to Christ, and are still walking with the Lord today. This is a God think as God will place on someone’s heart to begin to intercede for a people and that is what He did with Kay Smith. We have to have God’s heart for the lost in our generation. Imagine how many souls can be impacted in our generation if we cry out to God and ask Him to break our hearts and give us His burden for today’s generation even if we have to lean in and push through the wounds that we may have experienced in this life. By the way, that is the only way to push in because we’ve all been wounded.
Greg recalls being at a unity meeting where pastors were talking about coming together in unity. While the meeting was taking place, Greg asked the question in regards to this historical racism that was present in certain denominations in the 1960’s, “wasn’t it your denomination that didn’t accept his theirs” because of their race? Interestingly enough, after asking that simple question, it shut down the entire conversation. The reality was, unity really wasn’t the topic. What was going on at that time was that people who professed to be Christians back in the 1960’s and before, were saying, ‘you can’t come in my church because their race’. 1 John 4:20 clearly states, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” Think about it. During World War II, in Adolf Hitler’s Germany, people professing to be Christians, German state church, were rejecting Jews from being able to attend their churches in the same way, that historically the “church” was doing to African Americans, black Christians. The exciting reality is that, when the Holy Spirit began to move in the Jesus Movement, He began to deal with this sin of hating your brother and sister in the church. When Charles Simpson was pastoring a Church in Mobile, Alabama, his congregation was primarily white. But when the Lord began to pour out His Spirit, the Church began to be mostly African Americans, and he was totally okay with it. “This is what God wants to do”. God breaks down the color walls that we put up in our minds because He loves everybody! This was not God’s plan. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said that the most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning at 11 o’clock in the morning. There is segregation in America because there is segregation in the Church. The Church is supposed to be the ones letting everyone know that everyone can come to Jesus! Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated for standing up for truth! We cannot overlook the pain and brokenness that was taking place during these moments in history. But God! God moved amidst all this pain and brokenness, and poured out His Spirit, sweeping across the entire nation! It was a sovereign move of God!
When we look around at the events taking place in America, there is constant division and pain. This is the working of the adversary. This is the devil’s plan because he knows his days are coming to an end, and Jesus is coming back soon! We are in the last days. That is for certain! In past moves of God, they may have carried on for decades at a time. With the way things are looking today, this last move of God’s Spirit may be a suddenly! A rapid explosion of God’s Sovereign presence to bring in as many souls as possible before the Second Coming of Christ. If you feel so bogged and overtaken in your daily life, just looking for another opportunity to escape into the myriad of insignificant entertainment that is easily accessible at your fingertips. The engineers decide these technologies KNOW THIS! God is OUTSIDE of media. Think about it! In the Jesus Movement, people were all over the streets, on the beach, and God was moving! That’s where Chuck Smith would go. He would go to the beach and preach for hours, and people would listen, for hours.
You don’t have to be distracted or find escape in media. You can press through all the distractions and heaviness, and seek after the face of the Lord. God has clearly said, “it’s going to be the 1970’s again”, and He confirmed it. We can either focus on the devastating things that took place in the 1970’s, or we can focus on the miraculous movement of God and decide in our hearts that we will be a part of this great coming move of God’s Spirit! As Tommy Tenney says in his book The God Chasers, “God has this idea that Church is about Him”. Think about that. Is your experience of church about, programs and organizations, or is about Him? The enemy is doing everything he can to cause people to walk away form God. This is a purging that is taking place. The same thing happened to Jesus when He simply preached the truth to all of those who were listening. As John 6:66 reveals, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” After the people turned and left, Jesus didn’t move. Instead He turned to His disciples and asked them the following question in John 6:67, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.” They knew there was nowhere else to go and it was Jesus who had the keys to their future, to eternal life. Jesus is the answer! This is not a religious experience. Understand the Creator of the Universe loves YOU and He wants a relationship with YOU! If God has called you to Himself, and called you to connect and relate to His body, don’t be surprised when the devil attacks with every imaginable attack to get you to leave your place. Hold on to God! You need to stay there! Yes, this is a very difficult season right now. Many people are leaving the Church right now. It may be smaller compared to previous days, but the Church is going to be stronger. Be encouraged today knowing that the Lord loves you. He has an awesome and mighty plan for your life. He wants YOU to be a part of this mighty coming move of His presence.