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Louis Zamperini is coming to Harvest Orange County tonight!

May 26th, 2011 Posted in sermons

I will have the privilege  of interviewing him.

The service starts at 7:00 pm, PST. It will be webcast live at www.harvest.org

Here is the rest of his amazing story that I wrote about in my last post:

Altogether, Louis spent 47 days in the South Pacific before he was found and sent to a POW camp. There he experienced torture that is unthinkable, and one guard, who was nicknamed “The Bird” was especially cruel to Louis. He knew Zamperini was an Olympic runner, so he was especially harsh—beating him daily and leaving him unconscious.

The war finally ended and Louis was a man risen from the dead. He married, but then his life began to unravel. Tormented by flashbacks of his torture from The Bird, he descended into a spiral of alcoholism. He dedicated his life to returning to Japan in order to find and kill The Bird.

Every night he dreamed of this cruel guard attacking him and would wake up in a cold sweat. One night Louis had a dream of choking The Bird to death and awoke to find his hands around the neck of his horrified and choking wife. It got so bad, his wife decided to divorce him.

But someone invited her to go to a tent that had been set up for a visiting evangelist. It was 1949, and that evangelist’s name was Billy Graham. Louis’s wife accepted Christ that night and decided to not divorce Louis and pressed him to come hear Billy Graham speak.

Louis resisted but finally went. He bolted out when Billy gave the invitation, but returned another night, after more pressure, and wanted to leave when Billy again gave the invitation. Then Louis Zamperini came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and remembered something he had said to God. When he was on the life raft, in the middle of the Pacific, he said, “God, spare my life through the war, and I’ll seek You and serve You.”

Louis kept thinking, “I came back from the war alive, and I never even thought about those prayers. I never tried to keep one prayer.”

Louis went forward at Billy’s invitation and gave his life to Jesus Christ. In an interview, he said, “I got off my knees and somehow I knew I was through getting drunk. I knew it. I also knew that I forgave all my guards including The Bird. I think proof of that is I had nightmares every night about The Bird since the war. I haven’t had a nightmare since the night I made my decision for Christ—1949 till now!”

That is some kind of a miracle. The young boy, who grew up always wanting to get even, came full circle. He forgave all of his guards, including The Bird. He traveled to Japan, visiting many of those guards in prison, shared his testimony, and led a number of them to Christ.

He has spent the rest of his life telling others to forgive. Louis is now 94 and living in Los Angeles and they are making a movie about his life.

10 Responses to “Louis Zamperini is coming to Harvest Orange County tonight!”

  1. Sandy says:

    I went to see Louis Thursday night, May 26th, Wow! What an amazing life story this man has lived. The place was packed to the rafters, people were on the edge of their seats listening while Greg interviewed him. Louis has lived many lives, as Greg said. If this man can turn his life around with God, I believe that any man or woman can also turn their life around. What a blessing.

  2. Tanja says:

    wow! Does it say it in the book somewhere that he is a Christian or was it not included in order to not ‘offend’ the non-christian population?

  3. David says:

    forgive, and ye shall be forgiven

  4. mike says:

    What an amazing experience last night! How can you not walk away and not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart tugging at you to forgive those who have wronged you. Great job with the interview Pastor Greg! Great job to Louie the “Trojan” contiue to “Fight On!”

  5. Monica says:

    Watched from home on line and it was amazing! I loved hearing and learning from one who has walked with the Lord for so long and can share soooo much wisdom with us! We have sooo much to learn from our elders!!! Thank you for keeping us filled up with great encouragement and wisdom from God!!!

  6. nico ramirez says:

    I got excited when i heard Louis Z. coming to Harvest. i first heard of Louis on a talk radio 640 am @ 6:00 a.m. , he was sharing his testimony and the gospel on a secular talk radio show with a host who makes fun of people’s faith but this time he was amazed at Louis’s life. It was awesome hearing the the Lord being glorified on that show.

  7. Jesse Michaels says:

    Greg,
    You wrote a book called “Why Believe” As an author you might not realize the impact. I was saved a long time ago. My biggest fear is when I am talking to someone and screw up because I said something wrong and they don’t get because I failed. Pages 170-171 shows what I mean. What if I didn’t say it correctly and it went other direction because I didn’t say something correctly.That little book you wrote makes it so much easier.
    Thank You

  8. Chris says:

    Praise God! Can’t wait what a blessing

  9. Christina H. says:

    so will the interview be webcast live tonight? We had been told it was not going to happen. I would love it if it is webcast!!!

  10. Marilyn says:

    Louis Zamperini is my husband’s cousin. We will be attending the meeting tonight..my husband hasn’t been with me to church for the whole of our 26 years of marriage. Please pray that he comes to this and is touched by Jesus through his cousin’s lifestory. Thank you Greg for this opportunity of a life-time!

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