The Jesus People Revival
Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee conduct a beach service
and mass baptism at Corona Del Mar beach.

Jesus People Revival Video:
YouTube Version

A Fresh Introduction Regarding Lonnie Frisbee
Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen the world's foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world's weak things to shame the strong. God has chosen the world's insignificant and despised things —the things viewed as nothing—so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29

There is a lot of interest in Lonnie Frisbee at the moment and rightly so. The Jesus Revolution movie portrays Lonnie as an evangelist that was used powerfully by the Lord in the Jesus People Revival , which indeed he was. In fact, Chuck Smith said: “Lonnie was the first evangelist of the Jesus People Revival.” And he remained the most notable evangelist of that revival as well.

However, he didn’t fit the status quo of the typical American evangelist in any way whatsoever. He never did large fund-raising campaigns like most American evangelists are known for—in fact, he refused to even take up an offering afterwards when the Holy Spirit had moved—as he in no way wanted to prostitute nor pollute the work of the Holy Spirit! Our friend John Ruttkay said: “Lonnie was always actually very pure and ethical in this area regarding finances,” which is an area that has been pretty widely abused and misused throughout the Body of Christ and has been plagued by scandal by many evangelists in the not-too-distant past!

Even though Lonnie was an admirer of Katherine Kuhlman and was impacted personally by her ministry and anointing, he didn’t copy her style, like playing soft piano music when he ministered or prayed for people. Instead, he insisted on being himself and staying “naturally supernatural” something he also sought to teach us personally when he was mentoring us, and we’re still in that learning curve of walking out so much of what he imparted and shared with us.

Lonnie was unlike the typical American evangelists in pretty much every way. Instead of the usual three-piece suit donned by many American evangelists of that era, Lonnie wore his hippie garb accompanied in his early days by a deerskin cape that had a picture of Jesus drawn on the back—some say it was actually a picture of Lonnie made to look like Jesus—it’s debatable!

In those early days of his ministry, he used to throw his cape over those he prayed for who were overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit and fell to the floor, and he’d cover them with his cape. He was glad when they got touched by the Holy Spirit and sometimes exclaimed: “Oh yeah, the ministry is getting good!” Other leaders would sometimes cringe uneasily at Lonnie’s Pentecostal and Charismatic enthusiasm, but instead of making him cool things down, it egged him on even more due to that bit of hippy counterculture rebelliousness he still carried. “Gotta let the old dudes know I’m not into conformity.”

As seen in the movie Jesus Revolution, Lonnie was often misunderstood because he wanted to follow the Holy Spirit and didn’t want to just stay in a routine with going through the motions in every single church service. He felt that constantly doing that could get stale and was one of the reasons people get bored at church. His view was that the gifts of the Spirit are there for us as the Body of Christ, and the Priesthood of all Believers to make church an exciting adventure! In fact, John Wimber started saying, after coming into an understanding of the importance of the gifts of the Spirit: “Hey, this is great, we all get to play, and we all get to do the stuff.”

People getting slain in the Spirit was one aspect of his ministry imparted from Katherine Kuhlman, where those touched and overcome by the Spirit in her meetings would sometimes fall over.

Lonnie would laugh while reflecting back on these events, and share insights on the ups and downs he went through in his years of ministry, as we sat and listened to him share his stories.

We were blessed to hang out with him during his latter period of life after his time as the catalytic revivalist in both Calvary and the Vineyard. During the time we got to spend with him, he was basically organically mentoring and discipling us. My wife Mercedes and myself, and some others, were blessed to hang around with him during the last three and a half years of his life. It was an important time helping us prepare for our own ministry later, as Lonnie shared and dispensed lots of wisdom and insight and impartation unto us. Reflecting on it later, I was thinking what an awesome privilege it was, in spite of some of the persecution it cost us at times. And how cool is that! It worked out to be a biblical measure of time like with Jesus mentoring his own disciples.

These are some reflections on Lonnie and the Jesus Movement and Beyond that I wrote out sometime after that season of hanging out with Lonnie:

There have been many publications looking back on “The Summer of Love” a couple of years ago, as it was its 50-year anniversary. The Summer of Love marked the Hippie Movement as something that had left the fringes and permeated and entered into mainstream society in American culture back then.

Though the American culture was experiencing disconcerting shifts back then, it is important as a Christian to reflect upon the revival that arose and broke out some fifty years ago in the middle of that cultural shift, a revival that came to be known as the Jesus People Revival.

Right in the middle of the cultural milieu that was the Hippie Movement, where young people were dropping out of mainstream society to seek something deeper but instead found dead ends in free love and drugs, God brought forth one of the biggest revivals in modern American history.

Most mainstream churches were just burying their heads in their hands and praying for the rapture to come soon, as they lamented the slide of modern culture into all-out degradation. However, God was, like so many times in history past, working behind the scenes to spring forth a powerful movement that would lead many to salvation and new life. He raised up actual missionaries right from within the Hippie Movement itself towards the wayward movement of hippies who were dropping out of society. 

Enter Lonnie Frisbee, a man used by God in ways that boggle the mind. Testimony after testimony of those who knew, met, encountered or interacted with him, tell of lives changed dramatically towards knowing Christ and serving Him and being filled with God’s Spirit. The conversions of people that were connected with Lonnie often had people becoming committed to following Christ completely, and often entering ministry themselves. That type of repeated impact through a singular individual is just simply unusual and extraordinary.

In fact, so vibrant was his memory still, that more than a decade after his death, when a documentary of his life played at the Newport Film Festival it was the most popular film in the whole festival. It had sold out with a line around the block shortly upon its opening, and outsold a mainstream Hollywood movie which also debuted at that same festival.

Frisbee is also an important study within the discipline and thought of Missiology: The study of Christian mission work and practice throughout the centuries. When I did my Master’s Degree at Fuller Theological Seminary, I studied the famed missionary Hudson Taylor who ventured deep into inland China, learning from the Scriptures and the study of Paul the Apostle that he must adopt the language, style, thought and dress of the Chinese to effectively reach the Chinese. In the same way, Frisbee’s outreach to the hippies was made all the more effective because of his similar ability to identify with them by being a hippie himself and knowing the dress, language, and having intimate knowledge of the subculture. 

And yet, just as Taylor was roundly criticized and slandered by the religious community of his day for doing this, but is now seen all these years later as one of the most insightful and biblically illuminated men of his day to understand this, likewise, Frisbee’s insistence on remaining a hippie to reach the hippies earned him nothing but the same kind of scorn and rejection as well from the larger religious community, never being perceived as actually a missionary to a subculture by tradition-bound holders of the status quo; this, along with his unbending stance on the need for Pentecostal power to be central in all he did, only added to the scorn heaped on him as well.  (It should be remembered that the Pentecostal movement was reviled and excoriated by many mainstream Christian leaders in America for many decades, that negative attitude directed towards it was still prevalent in the era when all this was happening.)

At the same time, Lonnie was a man with obvious weaknesses, flaws, and shortcomings, things that he seemed to be constantly dealing and struggling with. 

God indeed chooses the weak things of the world to shame the wise! This is what the Word of God tells us. It is truly perplexing that we should be so surprised when we actually see it happening in our own lifetime right before our very eyes. 

Here then is a story not of human might or power, but of God’s Spirit moving upon and through a weak human vessel who simply said “Yes, Lord” to God's call, and consequently was used by God in ways that truly do boggle the mind. It is not at all unlike the stories that fill the pages of Scripture: one of blessing and grace, but also of failings and frailty. 

Ultimately though, it is about Christ’s glorious redemptive power. It is the story of the Lord who never leaves nor forsakes His own, even in the face of bitter wrestling with their own human flaws. It is about that unconditional love of Jesus who will not abandon His own in spite of all their weakness and shortcomings.

The Scripture: “He chose the foolish things to confound the wise” truly comes to life here as Frisbee, though often overlooked, actually became one of the main players in that awakening that arose seemingly out of nowhere and which later became known as the Jesus People Revival, one of modern America’s biggest revivals.

In Retrospect: The end of Lonnie’s life

We were there for the end of Lonnie’s life and it was very redemptive. The mysterious ways of the Lord who somehow turns a cruel crucifixion into eternal salvation, for those who will simply believe, never ceases. Likewise, that mysterious grace never ceased working in Lonnie’s situation, not even in the lowest moments.

Elijah the Old Testament prophet is a good reference point in this. Elijah was used powerfully by God in many ways and experienced a great victory in defeating the false prophets of Baal. Yet, shortly after this victory, he falls into a complete spiritual and emotional tailspin when the demonic spiritual warfare from Jezebel’s threats against the Lord’s anointed overcome him.

While on his way from Beersheba to Horeb, Elijah spiritually and emotionally crashes and falls into fear and becomes self-destructive and suicidal and starts praying for the Lord to take his life (1Kings 19:1-5).

Elijah was restored, by the mercy of the Lord, but was given a new task now: The preparing and anointing of the next generation who will go on after him and minister. He still continued to minister but must also prepare others now.

Likewise, Lonnie came into an emotional and spiritual crisis and became self-destructive and was overcome by the darkness and the bitterness that began eating away at his soul, this after some great victories in the Body of Christ, having been the Lord’s catalytic minister for two great revivals that gave rise to both the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard movements, along with doing so much mission work overseas and other ministry over the years as well.

He stumbled but God restored him, and Lonnie refocused with the new task of preparing those who would minister after he was gone. Just because it wasn’t in the headlines doesn’t mean he didn’t continue on with the will of God after his stumbles, in fact Lonnie kept doing lots of ministry until the very end.

Like Elijah after some of his greatest victories, Lonnie also stumbled as the darkness snuck its way in. He started becoming bitter towards the people and movements who he had been used by the Lord to impact so vitally. Lonnie said he felt that they failed to acknowledge the impact his ministry had on them.

Whatever rationalizations one might use to eliminate someone from their history, we must remember that the Bible never removes a single character out of its pages because they had flaws, or weaknesses , or stumbled. Just think of Jonah, Elijah, or Sampson, just to name a few! You know it could be that we are all weak and fleshly sometimes, leaders and lay people alike, and all of us are saved only by grace, and all of us make mistakes. Billy Graham was the only minister to go and visit the infamously defrocked televangelist Jim Bakker in prison who fell due to a financial and moral scandal. When asked in an interview why he went, Graham said: “Because I understand the weakness of our still remaining sinful nature and the corruption of our broken fallen flesh even as born again believers. Except for the grace of God there go I.”

Unfortunately, Lonnie let bitterness get into his heart; he already had wounds of rejection and other issues he had never dealt with, like being beaten mercilessly by his father early on and being molested as a young boy by a male babysitter. But he had never dealt with these issues, until the last few years of his life that is, because he said that there was no way, nor safe place, for him to do so. Furthermore, he said that he realized later that he was around people from a generation whose way of dealing with this stuff was to bury it and sweep it under the rug.

Fuller Theological Seminary, where I graduated from, is also a leader in the field of Christian Psychology. The growing field of Christian Psychology now understands that if someone has this type of severe trauma and abuse in their background and doesn’t ever deal with it, it is likely to result in a crash and crisis at some point!

After some stumbles along the way, Lonnie came into a very healing and redemptive time in the last few years of his life and began experiencing inner healing and processing his issues, including asking forgiveness and extending forgiveness to those he felt had hurt him.

Lonnie had garnered important lessons out of his time of being used in revivals, as well as his struggles, and he was excited to share his insights with us. We learned lessons from both his blessings and victories as well as his struggles and stumbles. There is an old saying: “You often learn more from your failures than your victories.”

Lonnie regularly reminded us personally: “Do not let bitterness get a hold of your heart. If it does, bring it to the Lord and let him do a work of healing in your life. I did not, and I let the bitterness fester, then the weakness of the flesh—our broken sinful nature—rose up and caught me unaware, and the darkness suddenly swept in and pulled me down and I stumbled, it cost me dearly!”

However, after a short time licking his wounds while out in the wilderness, he returned to the Lord and repented. He re-embraced his calling with force and a new focus and honed in to his calling like a laser (more on that another time).

He became committed to just one thing: to spend the rest of his time here on earth doing God’s will, every day, for the rest of his life.

He had a paradigm shift due to the crisis he had experienced and did not care any longer about fame, money, the size of meetings, nor popularity.  Lonnie said, “These things are so fleeting and so superficial and yet we in the Body of Christ get so easily caught up and enamored with this nonsense. These things are so worldly, yet we believers so foolishly hold them in such esteem, to the consternation of the Lord.”

In his renewed focus during his last years, he was now committed to doing God’s will, whether there was just one person in his meetings or one hundred.

He regularly said: “The size of meetings does not matter to me anymore. It’s all about doing God’s will.”  Then, with a loud shout in his delivery to make the point as strong as possible, he’d declare: “Never drop the will of God! I did and it cost me. Never, ever, let go of God’s will for your life!”

Amongst a few other things, he felt he must now pour into those who God had gathered around him to prepare them, as those who would continue on after he passed, with their own ministries.

We were blessed through a series of divine appointments to connect with Lonnie during this time. For me, Bryan, it was actually a reconnection: I had first encountered him in my early days at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa when he was on his second stint there after coming back from Florida, and then later at a Bible study in Orange where he first prayed for me. Soon after, I was radically baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, when Lonnie prayed for me in the back room in their meeting place at the Canyon High School Gym.

God connected me and my wife Mercedes to Lonnie personally, through a series of divine appointments, into a time of blessed friendship in his last years. We were hanging out with Lonnie and attending his meetings and retreats and conferences and going on ministry trips, which turned into an organic time of discipleship and mentoring for us. As well as going to all the meetings Lonnie was doing, we only lived about 2 miles from him in Corona Del Mar and he lived right across from the ferry on Balboa Peninsula. So we could just jump on our bicycles and ride down Bayside to Balboa Island and then take the ferry across the channel and get to his place rather quickly. So we were hanging out with him all the time.

There were also a handful of others who had been drawn to him. We all became friends and hung out together, as well as becoming his ragtag assistance crew, helping him out with things during that time. Some of those I remember were: Eric Janssen, David Sloane, Dennis Evans, Steve Zarit, Stan Frisbee, Roger and Roxanne Sachs, James Keough-Gore and Maureen Gore, Darrell and Evie Ballman, Heidi Halsall, and Sid Smith, amongst others, whose names may have escaped me for the moment (sorry if I forgot to mention someone…)

In this unique time of organic discipling and mentoring that lasted roughly three and a half years, Lonnie shared wisdom and insight from his ministry years and experiences, and prayed, prophesied, and imparted many things to us that set the course for our own lives and ministry!

Lonnie kept doing regular ongoing meetings until the end, many in conjunction with Set Free and Freedom Crusade which were also called “Righteous Parties"by Set Free. At these meetings he preached, taught from the Bible, shared lessons from his years in ministry, as well as sharing lots of Holy Ghost stories. There was all kinds of other ministry that he did in those last three and a half years including some ministry trips we took with him.

Set Free was a place of healing for Lonnie. Pastor Phil Aguilar a Harley-Davidson, chopper-riding biker, a one per-center and fellow outcast to respectable middle-class society, identified with Lonnie the wild ole hippie very easily. He welcomed him, embraced him, and stuck with him until the end, as did we.

Lonnie also was doing regular retreats and conferences out in Palm Springs, including occasional hikes up Tahquitz Canyon, where he had his first radical supernatural encounter with Jesus and the revelation of his ministry to come back in his hippie days. In fact, Lonnie and I were hiking up the Canyon one day, at one of his retreats, and had a radical divine encounter as we both found two different pieces of the same Bible laying in the sand. I ended up getting a face full of sand when Lonnie started prophesying over me when I found the second part of the Bible shortly after he found the first half, and I fell under the power of the Holy Spirit.

Later on, I listened in closely when Lonnie was in his final days, when he picked up his Bible and quoted from Paul, applying it to himself shortly before he passed away: “I’ve run the race, I have finished the course, I’ve done everything God has called me to do. I’m satisfied that I have done the will of God with all of the life that I had left in me.”

I thought “Wow! How many can say that so confidently right before they die…?” The last few years of his life were actually competely and fully's how things work in the Kingdom of God, even failure is turned around for blessing and redemption.

I had the honor of being a pallbearer at his funeral. While helping carry his casket into a packed Crystal Cathedral, I thought: Man, Lonnie did more in one short lifetime: ministry, revivals, missionary work, catalytic involvement in two major movements, and on and on, more than most people could even think to do if they were given five lives to live.

God indeed uses the weak and foolish things to shame the wise and that no one may boast before Him.
1 Cor: 1:26-29

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Cor 4:7

Check out a few special words from our friends as well as a prophetic endorsement from a mutual friend of ours and Lonnie's, Pastor David Sloane.

Some points of interest in
Lonnie Frisbee’s role
in the birth of the
Jesus People Revival
and the Third Wave Revival

  • Frisbee rededicates his life to Christ in San Francisco and begins to do street evangelism with others in different areas including the Haight Ashbury district where hippies congregate.
  • The “Living Room” becomes a Christian coffee house outreach in the middle of the Hippie movement's epicenter on Haight Ashbury in San Francisco.
  • Lonnie joins the House of Acts Christian house in Novato and lives there doing outreaches and living in community.
  • Feeling led by the Holy Spirit, Frisbee later hitchhikes down the coast to Southern California where he eventually has a divine appointment with a Pentecostal Foursquare preacher named Chuck Smith.
  • Frisbee moves into Chuck Smith’s house for a time but begins bringing home so many wayward youth there that they often had to sleep in the bathtub because there was no place else to put them, and so they decide to launch a community house called the “House of Miracles.”
  • The community house begins to grow as does the church it is connected with called Calvary Chapel, of which Chuck Smith is the pastor and where Frisbee is the star evangelist, as well as being the one who is bringing in most of the young people who are now flooding the church, a church Smith spent years trying to get to grow but couldn’t until Frisbee showed up.
  • While doing campus evangelism at Newport Harbor High School, a rebellious young Greg Laurie comes out to mock the freak hippie evangelist (Frisbee) and instead is rebuked by Frisbee. Laurie is bowled over by power from on high, is converted and becomes a Christian.
  • Greg Laurie spends approximately five years being discipled by Lonnie and copies him in every way, even down to dressing exactly as he does in hippie garb with fringes on his jacket. Laurie later becomes one of the most recognizable evangelists in the nation.
  • Mike Macintosh wanders into a meeting Frisbee is doing, freaked out of his mind from Vietnam and drugs and claiming he is missing half of his head. He is converted under the preaching of Frisbee and instantly healed of his unstable and insane mental condition. He later becomes pastor of one of the biggest churches in the country, Horizon Church in San Diego.
  • Calvary Chapel, The House of Miracles, and the Blue Top Motel become epicenters of Christian spiritual activity and renewal as the Jesus People movement spreads over the country and into other parts of the world.
  • Frisbee spends some time in other movements for a short period of time and then heads to South Africa to do mission work for a season.
  • Frisbee later has a divine appointment with a pastor named John Wimber who leads Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda. Wimber invites Frisbee to share his testimony at a Sunday Mothers’ Day service. The Holy Spirit is poured out in radical power as Frisbee ministers and invites the Holy Spirit’s presence into the meeting. Signs and wonders begin to break out in the church that day, including when young people who didn’t believe in tongues begin to speak in tongues as they are overcome by the Spirit.
  • Wimber, shocked and overwhelmed by what he calls his “first power encounter,” seeks God if this is from Him. He receives a call from another Calvary Chapel pastor named Tom Stipe in the middle of the night with a word from God: “John, the Lord says this is of Me.” Wimber moves forward with the work of the Spirit and becomes in time an international leader of renewal as signs and wonders follow regularly that Mothers’ Day outpouring and bring forth a full revival.
  • Frisbee begins to minister regularly in the back room prayer times after the services at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda where miracles continue taking place.
  • Wimber and Frisbee lead a team to South Africa and Europe where explosive outpourings of the Spirit’s power take place as they minister amongst different churches and settings, drawing marked attention to their ministry and giving it international acclaim.
  • Wimber whose notoriety and visibility is growing to where he is becoming a well-recognized Christian leader in his own right is asked to leave the Calvary Chapel movement and aligns his church with Ken Gulliksen’s (another former Calvary Chapel pastor) churches called the Vineyard and goes on to become its main leader. He teaches and does conferences on the importance of healing, power evangelism, and signs and wonders, which are themes that clearly show Frisbee's influence on the Vineyard as Frisbee is the one who introduced Wimber to his first Power Encounter as evidenced by John Wimber himself in his book Power Evangelism.

    Watch Jesus People Revival Video:
    YouTube Version

    For further study (audio programs):
    --Lonnie Frisbee and the
    Birth of the Calvary Chapel Movement

    --Lonnie Frisbee and the
  • Birth of the Vineyard Movement

My Christian life was impacted by Lonnie Frisbee's ministry from my earlieast days as a believer

Lonnie Frisbee and Jill Austin
praying for Bryan Marleaux

Some important moments in my journey:

  • First Encounters at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa

Acid Trippers and Hippie Crash Pads

  • Baptized in the Holy Spirit

Outpouring in the High School Gym

  • Divine Encounter in Taquitz

Hiking with the Frizz leads to a divine encounter

  • Bryan's Testimony

Bryan shares about his journey of coming to Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

We also have some Holy Ghost Stories in some books including:

Roger Sachs' recent books on Lonnie Frisbee as well as other books. Check out this link to have a look.

In Book 3: Set Free, you can find us on pages 97, 147-157, 159-171, 224 and 265.

In Book 2: The Great Commission, you can find us in the Endorsements as well as on pages 222-223.

Lonnie and Bryan getting in a picture while hanging out at a house meeting where Lonnie talked about passing on the baton and carrying on with all that the Lord imparted in these meetings:
"Keep your eyes on the prize!"


A Quick Biblical Grid to Aid in Understanding in How the Lord Uses Weak Vessels with Flaws all Throughout the Scriptures

A little Bible study on God’s constant use of flawed figures both in the Bible and through history helps to aid in understanding that this story of God using someone like Frisbee with obvious weaknesses is nothing new.

Throughout the Bible we find these type of themes: Abraham, though he is considered the father of Israel, of many nations and of justification by faith, has a tendency to lie when things get sticky.

Moses commits murder and ends up as a refugee, reluctantly leading Israel out of Egypt and supposedly into the promised land, and yet Moses himself never actually goes in, forbidden by God for once again transgressing against Him.

Samson, though uniquely anointed by God, can’t overcome his addiction to the wrong women in his life, including a prostitute, the very thing that later becomes his demise.

Saul is also anointed and defeats armies, bringing the little and unremarkable nation of Israel up to the kind of world status it has never known before, but in the end he disobeys God so badly he is removed from the kingship.

His successor David is a man after God’s own heart and wildly successful in his many exploits, and yet he just can’t stay out of trouble and commits adultery and murder. David’s mistress and now wife Bathsheba, becomes the mother of Israel’s next king.

Solomon, who just as his father before him, though also successful in politics and leadership, is undermined by his addiction to an astonishing amount of foreign wives and the idols they bring into the picture.

Once again, this out of control problem causes great tragedy. The kingdom splits and ultimately falls apart due to these seeds planted over time. The lives of the kings of both Judah and Israel read mostly like a Shakespearean tragedy, with only a few exceptions.

Moreover, certain prophets seem quite reluctant to do their job, like Amos who clearly states he wasn’t looking to be in this line of work but was basically drafted in by God.

Or Jeremiah, who is so unenamored at what God calls him to do that he says he wishes he had never been born.

Or Jonah, who goes even further with the same attitude by running away from the Lord and his work, and having to be detained by a whale until he is redirected back towards his commission.

Even more so in the New Testament is there a strong display of not only God using the weak things to shame the wise but also a rebuke of those from the religious community that think somehow they are above the frailties that plague common man with his inherited sinful feet of clay. We are after-all all fallen sinners:

We see in the New Testament Jesus coming to the aid and helping a woman caught in adultery while rebuking the religious leaders for their hypocrisy (1).

Christ invites Himself over for lunch to the house of a tax collector—the most hated people in Israel, seen as absolute traitors—named Zacchaeus to the shock of the religious establishment (2).

He warmly receives oil poured upon His feet by a prostitute while a Pharisee, a religious leader of the day, looks on in astonished horror, thinking that if Jesus were indeed a prophet He would certainly know what kind of woman was touching Him, and consequently would put a stop to it. The scenario ends with Jesus letting it be known in no uncertain terms that her sins are forgiven due to her faith and she has received salvation, to the shock of those looking on (3).

On another occasion, He mocks a proud Pharisee who boastfully prays about his own righteousness, as one who is standing on the faulty ground of his own merits, while He upholds a tax collector as one who is actually justified before God for seeking His mercy (4).

Christ’s story of the prodigal son shows the backslidden son restored and renewed in the end, while the older brother who stayed at home is portrayed as the one in error because of his arrogant misguided anger at his younger brother while he stands on his own merits (5).

A Roman Centurion is lauded for his great faith while Israel is rebuked for its lack of the same (6).

Children are welcomed and we are told we must become like them to see the Kingdom (7).

And on and on it goes in the Gospels as the lowly and weak are lifted up (8) while the proud and self-sufficient are cast down as arrogant hypocrites and fools (9).

Likewise, Christ’s choice of disciples to the human eye is far from a recipe for a success-driven way to win friends and influence people, as He puts together a ragtag motley crew to do His bidding upon His departure: A tax collector named Matthew; a couple of fishermen named Peter and Andrew, who belonged to the lower rung on the social totem pole; John and James who were constantly trying to push themselves forward as preeminent and first—the very opposite thing Christ is seeking to teach them—while Jesus's treasurer named Judas steals from the ministry fund and later betrays Him.

Peter denies His Lord to a little slave girl, this after seeing the dead raised and Jesus walk on water and everything else he witnessed Christ do. He is later rebuked again by Paul for disobeying the Lord's direct command to him about fully receiving and welcoming the Gentiles
into Christ's Kingdom (Galatians 2:11-21).

John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark, abandons Paul and Barnabas on the mission field, which results in the split between Paul and Barnabas as they argue over the situation and can’t find resolution.

The rest of the cast of Apostles and their careers are obviously so unremarkable you never hear their names again, except on occasion, like with Thomas who needs much further convincing to believe in the resurrection.

Thus, it is men with flaws and weaknesses God uses, and dramatically at that in spite of their shortcomings, to display His power. The apostle Paul says we have this treasure in jars of clay (weak human vessels) so that this all-surpassing power may be evident that it is from God and not us.

Hopefully we can see here that God is not in the business and never has been of using perfect people.

Though our eyes may be clouded by the deceptive religiosity all around us these days, the Living Word of God can clear out our vision and disabuse us of such grossly inaccurate ideas.

There are no plaster saints, they only exist in museums as statues whose flaws have been removed. The reality in Scripture is much different. Nor are there perfect disciples, for all have sinned.

A Christian, as Martin Luther puts it, is nothing more than a sinner who has received Christ and His forgiveness.

Thus, the Bible never exempts us from the ongoing struggles of people who have been saved by God’s mercy, or from the ongoing battles that those who serve Him must overcome.

The Bible doesn’t try and “protect” us from people God chose and used who had issues and problems in their lives. There is no fear in its pages that our faith will be crushed and ruined if we see someone who, though powerfully used by God, turns out to be a mere mortal, a human being with feet of clay. In fact that is the resounding message we hear throughout its pages.

Human beings, on the other hand, are another story altogether. They constantly think they have to defend and protect the Almighty, Most High, Sovereign Lord’s reputation and will even eliminate from the real history people who might be less than presentable in their own skewed view of things.

Once again, to reiterate the point, here then is a story not of human might or power but of God’s Spirit moving upon and through a weak human vessel who simply said “Yes, Lord” to God's call, and consequently was used by God in ways that boggle the mind. It is not at all unlike the stories we see in the pages of Scripture: one of blessing and grace but also of failings and frailty.

Ultimately though, it is about Christ’s glorious redemptive power. It is the story of the Lord who never leaves nor forsakes His own, even in the face of bitter wrestling with their own human flaws. It is about that unconditional love of Jesus who will not abandon His own in spite of all their weakness and shortcomings.

Our video as well as our article here, are just a short, feeble attempt to tell a little bit of that story and could hardly be considered comprehensive. They are, however, another small piece in the puzzle to help fill in a story that has been omitted from the pages of recent history for far too long.

Footnotes 1. John 8:1-11 2. Luke 19:1-10 3. Luke 7:36-50 4. Luke 18:9-14 5. Luke 15: 11-32 6.Matt.8:5-13 7.Mark 10:13-16 8.Matt.11:25-30 9.Matt.23:5-39

Clockwise, from top left: Lonnie baptizing a young girl at Corona Del Mar beach. Preaching at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa -Photo from Life Magazine. Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda meeting at Canyon High School Gym which later became known as the Anaheim Vineyard. Lonnie meeting Billy Graham. Chuck Smith praying over Lonnie. Mass Baptism at Corona Del Mar Beach with Lonnie and Chuck leading the service.