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Lonnie Frisbee and the Wounds of the Heart

4 months ago · By J.D. King · 1 Min Read

In the early 1970s, an accomplished young evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee began ministering at Calvary Chapel in Southern California. Coming out of the counter-culture movement, he was affectionately called the “hippy preacher,” Lonnie actively operated in the gifts of the Spirit, enabling Cavalry Chapel to increase from 50 to over 2000 in less than a year. This became the central hub of the Jesus People Movement.

Several seasons later, Frisbee was invited to speak at John Wimber’s upstart congregation in Yorba Linda, California. On that Sunday evening service, the power of the Holy Spirit came down upon the congregation. People collapsed all over the building, and everything was disrupted. Suddenly a remarkable revival took place that would spark the international Vineyard movement.

Although Frisbee was extraordinarily gifted, he was also flawed. As a child, he was abused by members of his family. Because of this, he constantly struggled with the pull of homosexuality.

Ignoring deep, unmentionable wounds, Frisbee tried to push through. Most of the time it worked, but periodically it didn’t. When one doesn't resolve underlying issues, they often have a way of resurfacing.

After prolonged stretches of victory, Frisbee would fall into sin. It was an unfortunate cycle of repentance, restoration, and then a plunge into darkness all over again. Lonnie had a tremendous gifting but was unable to address the deeper issues of the heart.

In 1993, after slipping into sin once more, he contracted the aids virus. Not long afterward, he died. At his funeral, friends stood up and speculated about what might have happened if this “Samson” had found another way. Many believed that this was a catastrophe that did not have to take place.

I pray that you don’t follow in the footsteps of Lonnie. Prayerfully wrestle with your deepest scars! It would be a tragedy if everything that you're called to accomplish was undermined because of neglected matters of the soul.

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