It was 1968. Family tragedy had caused my mom to move us to another little town and from the only school and friends I’d known since 2nd grade; I was now in 11th grade. I came to the new school with a chip on my shoulder and an attitude that could cut glass. In time, I gathered a few friends and pursued a path of drinking, drag racing, and partying. I was an angry teenager to say the least…my poor mom.
In the spring of 1970, right before my high school graduation, my little brother, Dean, brought a tall, lanky young man to the house to get a soda. They had been playing basketball. My life was about to change dramatically. Little did I know that a movement that started in California, called the “Jesus Movement” or the “Jesus Revolution” that was sweeping across the nation was now influencing this little town in central Illinois. I heard the Gospel and the message of salvation for the first time and I made a radical commitment to Jesus. I was so excited to find out that I could know I was going to heaven! The tall, lanky young man…well, he became my husband 6 months later. Randy and I were swept up into ministry, which I knew absolutely nothing about. Fifty-three years later, the influence from that movement is still bearing fruit in my life and countless others. It’s my story.
The impact of these kinds of movements or revivals are monumental, historical events that transcend generations. We should continue to look for and expect continued moves of God as a means to impact people all over the world for Jesus! Reports are everywhere that this is happening right now across the nation and other nations as well. Don’t stand back with a we’ll see attitude. Jump in and participate. The world is hungry to hear the truth. The message of the Gospel must continue to go forth and each generation needs to feel the responsibility to influence their generation.
My theme song or mantra back then and continues to be, is the chorus we all sang exuberantly, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back…no turning back!” Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to go see the newly released movie, The Jesus Revolution; it will stir your heart and light a fire of evangelism and missions fresh and new.