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  • Writer's pictureDub

Nostalgia and Hope

Updated: Mar 21

1970 art
Jesus Freak

As someone that was around in the 1970’s, recent events have awakened feelings of nostalgia and hope that have long laid dormant in me. I have been reminded of a time when, “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” Those words accurately express my experience, but they are not my words. It is what the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, said of his own experience with Jesus. Like Wesley I too experienced a profound spiritual awakening. He writes, “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”


Me too, Johnny. Me too.


John Wesley’s experience occurred in 1738. Mine happened in 1970 when I was fifteen years old. It was the beginning of a long, strange, and often wonderful journey of discovery and relationship with Jesus and His people that continues to this day.


Nostalgia


Those early years were remarkable in so many ways. I was entering my sophomore year in high school. This initial experience marked not only my life, but the lives of so many others in my hometown, El Dorado, AR. Almost everyone I knew became a follower of Jesus around the same time. There was a term for our kind. Jesus freaks. That was us. We didn’t find it offensive. My closest friends and I started a band, writing and performing both original and popular Jesus Music. This may seem strange today, but radio broadcasts and popular song charts were filled with songs about Jesus. It was officially a social movement. You may have heard of it.



Last year my wife and I went to see the movie, Jesus Revolution. It captures a particular moment in time that was part of the larger story of what was happening in the nation and the world. In the original Night Court TV show, now being reimagined a generation later, one of the characters says to the crusty bailiff played by Selma Diamond, “Quite a story, huh?” She replied in her trademark deadpan manner as recorded in this audio clip.



Pam and I still sometimes use this quote as an inside joke. It's the way I felt about the Jesus Revolution movie, because the real story actually is a part of me; not just my experience at the time, but a big part of who I am today.


Another Move Of God


The nostalgia the movie awakened in me occurred at the same time a similar move of God was happening at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. It wasn't the first time. As Religion Unplugged reported, “On Feb. 3, 1970, a revival erupted at what was then Asbury College. That one, too, began at a morning chapel service. It lasted 185 hours nonstop. Intermittently, it continued for weeks. Ultimately it spread across the United States and to other countries.”


What began in 1970 for me and so many others actually lasted through three years of high school, perhaps culminating with Explo ’72, a Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) event that drew more than 80,000 college and high school students to the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas, Texas.


Jesus Music
Some of Sunday's Children

During my high school years my friends and I met together as often as possible for Bible study, prayer, music, and to share the Good News with others. Our band, Sunday’s Children, traveled in a VW van, and played in several states for open air meetings, music festivals, for church groups, and at Christian coffee house gatherings, a carryover from the 60’s. We’d play and sing original and popular Jesus music and share the Gospel. During those years many more young people like us came to Christ. We experienced the presence and the love of God in powerful and sometimes miraculous ways. We loved Jesus and we loved people. Without really knowing it we were fulfilling the Great Commandment of the Bible.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39


It has now been over 50 years and I’ve never been able to get over what God did for me and my friends or the feelings that are associated with it and with them. It was literally divine. I wish everyone could have such a remarkable experience with Jesus and His people. It dramatically changed my life and the lives of millions of others. Ever since, I have desperately longed for everyone to be able to experience and feel the presence and the deep love of Jesus as we did. Perhaps God is stirring that way again now. We’ll see.


Hope


One thing I do know is that the next move of God will not be exactly the same as before. This is a different generation, with different needs, facing different challenges. But God’s love never changes, nor does His way of saving people from their own sins and the evils of the world around them. The answer is Jesus. It always has been since He came to earth the first time.


Jesus is the only Way to God the Father. He is the Truth in a world filled with lies and deception. Only He can give people real Life that is worth living, both now and forever. I know this from experience. I wish everyone did. The Bible promises that one day He will visibly return to Earth, and everyone will finally see and acknowledge Jesus for who He is. I hope and pray it happens sooner than later. Before then, we need another big move of God.


As we learned to say in the 70’s, Maranatha! Which means, “O Lord, come.” Yes, Jesus. Please. Come now. It’s time.


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