In all honesty, I am already afraid I will not do this post justice. So I apologize ahead of time if I am not able to articulate the depth of my respect and gratefulness for his life and ministry.
I was 9 or 10 when I heard him preach for the first time. My dad had turned on the television, which didn’t get turned on very often in the Frank home growing up, so I knew it had to be pretty important for my dad to be so excited. He flipped though the few channels we had until he found it. I vividly remember being absolutely mesmerized by the crowd of people waiting to hear him speak; I had never seen so many bodies in one location before. But I was convinced of one thing, anyone that had THAT many “friends” must be pretty important. I was thrilled to be part of this!
I’ll never forget how he preached that night. He was full of conviction, full of energy, and full of URGENCY. He wanted us to understand how desperately we needed to accept the gift God has given us through His one and only son, Jesus Christ. He told us that Jesus loved us beyond our understanding and not to leave that night without making a decision.
And you better believe I was going to do EXACTLY what he said. I knew I had already asked Jesus in my heart when I was five, but just in case I had left something out, I was going to do it again. Thousands of people were giving their lives to Jesus and walking down to the front of the stadium with “Just as I Am” playing softly in the background.
It was at that moment, my dad told me he also gave his heart to Jesus at a Billy Graham crusade. What? God had used this man to save my daddy; how could I NOT love him?
I am now 42 years old, and STILL just as amazed as I was when I was young, by the impact and influence this man had on so many lives. And here are three things we can learn from the man we all know as “America’s Pastor”.
SIMPLICITY OF MESSAGE
An invitation. An urgency to act. Saving Grace. Redeeming Love. These were the themes of Rev. Billy Graham’s life. He knew he had been called to reach as many people as he could with the love of Jesus Christ; he urged us to accept the free gift and then run and tell as many people as we could! Every message I ever heard him teach could be understood by young children, yet powerful enough to move the hearts of presidents. For a person like me who was not blessed with the mind of an astronaut, I appreciate that more and more every day.
HE “SHOWED UP”
All of us know what it’s like to go through difficult times and tragedies in our lives. Whether it’s fighting cancer, dealing with the death of a loved one, divorce, health issue with a child or spouse, financial concerns, these times always make us think about what is TRUELY important in life. We also remember who was willing to stand with us through the nightmare of it all, even though it wasn’t going to be easy.
We never forget the people who “showed up”.
I realized this cherished quality in Rev. Billy Graham. He was willing to “show up” to places that many other evangelists or elites wouldn’t step foot in; he “showed up” to areas of war and devastation, places of segregation, poverty and sickness. He never forgot the “forgotten” of the world. This spoke volumes to me; it still does. And it always will.
GOD’S AGENDA… WAS HIS ONLY AGENDA
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Spreading the “good news” of this verse was his ONLY agenda. How refreshing! His only concern was pleasing the God who had saved him, and telling as many people as he could about it.
That. Was. It.
Because he wasn’t trying to please lobbyists or keep approval ratings up, his ministry was unstained by scandals and political entanglements. He knew there was a calling higher than politics and he wanted to rest there. Democrats… Republicans…Independents, it didn’t matter to Billy; he was a friend and trusted advisor to ALL because he stood for God’s answer to the situation, not a political side. Does it get more beautiful than this?
So in honor of a faithful servant of the Living God, I urge you today to think about his unwavering words.
If you KNOW that something is missing in your life, and you want to personally come into a relationship with the God who loves you enough to have sent His ONE AND ONLY son to save you from your sins, you’ve come to the right place. His precious son’s name is Jesus Christ. He will give you new purpose in life, hope for the future, and eternal life with Him in heaven.
So how do you do this?
Ask Jesus to come into your heart and become Lord of your life!
Admit that you’re a sinner and in need of a savior.
Tell Him you understand that he sent Jesus to pay the price that you could never pay on the cross and ask Him to forgive your sins.
Praise Him…because your sins are forgiven and your burdens are lifted!
Saved. Eternally. Period.
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it, I shall be more alive than I am now; I will have just changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” –Billy Graham