Is God Stirring Up a New Jesus People Movement in Our Day?

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Shawn Akers

On April 6, 2022, I headed down to a beach I rarely visit but is known as a historic well of revival in Southern California.

One of the last times I visited Pirate’s Cove was during the COVID lockdown. My friend, Jessi Green, with Saturate Global, was hosting a revival meeting there on August 7, 2020. On that day, many people were baptized in the Pacific Ocean just like so many new believers were in the height of the Jesus Movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

On my latest visit to Pirate’s Cove, the day before launching my next online School of Revival, I thought I would enjoy a secluded, mid-week quiet time with God. To my surprise, when I walked down the stairs toward the parking lot, I noticed it was filled with media trucks, tents and people bustling around. Then, when I got to the overlook, I saw that the cove had been turned into a movie set. My curiosity led me further to investigate.

When I got to the sand, it felt like I was transported to the early 1970s. I was surrounded by hippies!

When the crew broke for lunch, I approached someone to learn more about what they were filming. I knew I was in a significant well of revival where legendary Lonnie Frisbee baptized people during the Jesus People Movement and wondered if this movie was going to re-tell his story. It turned out I was talking with one of the film’s directors and writers, Jon Erwin. Erwin was so kind to stop and chat with me for a bit. He told me the movie they were shooting, titled Jesus Revolution, does in fact include Lonnie.

Growing up in Southern California in the Vineyard movement led by the late John Wimber, I often heard stories about a hippie evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee who had helped birth the Jesus People Movement and had influenced the early Vineyard. One story stood out: Mother’s Day in 1980 Frisbee was invited to speak at the Anaheim Vineyard for the first time. He welcomed the Holy Spirit to come in power.

It is said that when he lifted his hands up in a V-shape, people fell out in the Spirit in the same direction as his hands. Something broke open that day and there was a radical release of the Holy Spirit that has shaped our movement to this day. I consider myself so blessed to have grown up in and continue to live in the momentum and ripple effects of one hippie preacher’s “yes” to be yielded to the Holy Spirit. I was thrilled to discover his story would be featured in a major movie.

As I was talking with Erwin, Greg Laurie walked up, and Jon introduced me to him. Laurie is pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and played a significant role in the Jesus People Movement himself. He was greatly impacted by Frisbee and had also been present at many of the historic baptisms that took place at Pirate’s Cove. I found out later that the movie is largely based around Laurie’s story.

Before I left that day, I gave Jon and Greg copies of one of my books on the Azusa Street Revival because it tells the story of other deep apostolic wells of revival here in Southern California. When Jon received my book, he noticed that the subtitle of Ignite Azusa: Positioning for a New JESUS REVOLUTION had the exact name of their movie in it! I hadn’t realized that at the time I gave him the book. Before I left, Jon invited me to come back the next day to be an extra.

So, there I was, a Southern Californian revival historian at a well of revival simply in awe of what was unfolding before my eyes. When I returned the next day, now as an extra, I saw Jonathan Roumie, who plays Lonnie Frisbee in the film (and Jesus in The Chosen). He was doing a recreation of the baptism scenes. As they filmed, I could feel the presence of God on the set.

It felt authentic as if people were really getting baptized. I prayed, God do it again! Let the synergy of these anointed saints re-digging this well of revival catalyze a new Jesus Revolution in our day!

It was amazing to see how God brought together just the right people at just the right time to recover this important and often misunderstood story. The timing of this film is prophetic especially in a time where cancel culture has become more prevalent. Lonnie’s contribution to the body of Christ needs to be shared. It provides hope for us that God can and will use anyone, regardless of their faults, who gives a yielded yes to be led by the Holy Spirit. I am so grateful that this film is celebrating his legacy and honoring his impact to the body of Christ.

Seeing this revival story captured on film feels significant. Could it be a divine prophecy that once again God wants to move through this generation in an incredible way? Might God be stirring up a new Jesus revolution in our day?

He did it once before; He can do it again. Maybe, just maybe, if we have eyes to see, we might even recognize that it’s already begun. {eoa}

Jennifer A. Miskov is Founding Director of School of Revival and Writing in the Glory / /

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