This article appeared online at on Monday, March 20, 2023:  

After exploding out of the blocks during its opening weekend less than a month ago, Jesus Revolution — a film depicting the Jesus movement in Southern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s — continues to set records. Initial estimates that first weekend were that the film, starring Kelsey Grammar and Jonathan Roumie (who plays Jesus in The Chosen), might generate $6 or $7 million in revenues. Instead, opening weekend saw the film garner over $15 million in revenues.

As of last Friday, the film had passed $45 million, making it Lionsgate's most successful film since the Covid lockdowns. Pastor Greg Laurie, a primary beneficiary of the Jesus movement who now serves as senior pastor for Harvest Christian Fellowship (which, with four campuses, enjoys a weekly attendance of nearly 15,000 worshipers), told Fox & Friends Weekend: “The timing of this [film] is incredible, and I believe God's hand has been on it from the beginning.”

The film is based on Laurie's book of the same title, in which he takes readers on his remarkable life's journey. In 1973, at age 19, Laurie, under the wing of Pastor Chuck Smith, was given the opportunity to teach a Bible study to 30 people. From this group, Laurie's ministry grew to become one of the largest churches in the country.

In 1990 he founded Harvest Crusades, and in 2013 served as national chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. In 2017, then-President invited him to give a message at his inauguration. Laurie has written more than 70 books and hosts a radio program, “A New Beginning,” syndicated on more than 1,100 radio stations worldwide.

And Smith's ministry (he died in 2013) continues to impact believers around the world. His Calvary Chapel has grown to include more than 1,800 churches worldwide.

The timing is exquisite. The film opened on February 24, just two weeks after the Asbury revival began in Wilmore, Kentucky. That revival was augmented by the celebration of the Collegiate Day of Prayer, and radiated outward from there, touching students and others across the planet.

America is no stranger to surprise visits of the Holy Spirit. The nation's first revival — the Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s — was prompted by poignant preaching by Jonathan Edwards (“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”) and George Whitefield.

America's Second Great Awakening, beginning in the early 1800s, lasted five decades. The Third Great Awakening began in the late 1800s, driven by preachers such as Dwight L. Moody.

The Fourth Great Awakening likely began with the preaching of evangelist Bill Graham in the early 1950s, and culminated in the Jesus movement of the late 1960s, celebrated in Jesus Revolution.

Historians may be conflicted about when these revivals began and ended, but one startling stands out: God is at work in surprising ways, including turning a small, low-budget film about an obscure pastor and some California hippies finding Jesus into a blockbuster.

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