The Man Billy Graham - I
Wednesday, February 21 2018
The world-renowned and much loved Billy Graham, famed Christian evangelist for almost an entire century, died today at 99 years of age.
The news brought tears of both sadness and joy to my heart and eyes. A great man of God is no longer here with us on earth to anchor us and to inspire us in our faith. But his influence and legacy, according to many historians, was and is "monumental" - and no doubt he will continue to be a "guiding light" of the truth of Jesus Christ for years to come. And of course, Billy Graham's joy is now complete: he is finally in the presence of the Saviour and Lord he so loved and served his entire life!
So: who was BILLY GRAHAM? How do you write a summary about a man and a life that impacted the entire world?
Here: a talk I gave in Shalom Church back in May of 2014...
In his famous evangelistic crusades, Billy Graham has preached to more than 215 million people in more than 185 countries; hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, videos, movies and the internet.
He has advised the last 12 presidents of the United States and innumerable kings from all nations.
He has written more than 30 books.
He was married to Ruth Bell for 64 years, until the year 2007 when she passed away; they had 5 children, 19 grand-children and many great-grand-children.
For over 70 years, he has been one of the most respected and influential Christian leaders of all times.
In his more than 70 years of ministry as an evangelist, his message has never changed: even today, at 95 years of age, he continues to share a message of hope and salvation, of love and forgiveness only in the person of JESUS CHRIST.
He himself has said: “My only purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”
But Billy Graham was not always such a self-assured and charismatic man – a man powerful in the Word of God and in preaching…
He was born and raised on a dairy farm in North Carolina, in the United States. When he reached his adolescent years, the only dream he had for his life was to become a famous baseball player. His parents were Christian believers, but for Billy having or not having faith was simply not very important to him in those years.
One day in 1934, when he was 16 years old, sitting at the dining room table with his family and some friends, and discussing the itinerant evangelists of the day, Billy declared that there were two things he would never be in life: an undertaker and a preacher. At that time, little did he yet know the unimaginable purposes and plans that God had in store for him.
* A pause in the story … Dear friend: never say that you will never be or do such and such in life. Very possibly God will have exactly what you have said will never be, come to be. Just like in Billy Graham’s life: he who never wanted to be a preacher, ended up becoming the greatest preacher of the 20th century.
That same evening in the year 1934, Billy Graham ended up going to an evangelistic crusade where the famous Dr. Mordecai Fowler Ham was to preach. He felt almost obliged to go because of a friend’s invitation, and entered the tent very sceptical, quite bored and half-mockingly. But that night changed Billy Graham’s life forever.
The evangelist began the meeting crying out: “I have important news for you tonight, news that you may not like, news that will make you stop and think:
You can’t work your way into heaven.
You can’t beg your way into heaven.
You can’t buy your way into heaven.
You can’t bribe your way into heaven.
You can’t climb your way into heaven.
All your best efforts, all of them, are like filthy rags in the presence of Almighty God. We are all imperfect. We are all sinners in the eyes of the Lord.”
Then, he fixed his eyes on Billy Graham, and cried out: “Son, what brought you here tonight? Your own two feet? Hahaha! No! 2000 years before you were born, God planned for you to be here tonight!” Then he spoke of the emptiness that Billy had in his heart, an emptiness that nothing and no one could fill, and certainly not Billy himself. And then, he spoke of the good news of the love of the Lord JESUS CHRIST for him. And he said: “Remember this, young man: if you follow Jesus, He will never leave you and never forsake you. Never!”
And with those words that evening, Billy Graham opened the door of his heart and of his entire life to Jesus, and never again did he look back.
* Another pause in the story … Dear friend: it does not matter how you got to this page or to this reflection – maybe empty inside as well, maybe sceptical, maybe bored, maybe mockingly. Just remember: “If you follow Jesus, He will never leave you and never forsake you. Never!” Just like in Billy Graham’s life: he who wanted nothing to do with Jesus even though he felt empty inside and was looking for something more significant to dedicate his life to, ended up giving his heart to Jesus and the direction of the rest of his life was changed and transformed.
Romans 10:9-10 says: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
I invite you to watch the video THE CROSS with Billy Graham at 95 years of age as the preacher. You will never again be the same! Watch it here at this link:
Tomorrow, here in www.reflectionsforliving.com: THE MAN BILLY GRAHAM – II.
- Surely The Arm of the Lord Is Not Too Short To Save
- The Rubber Band
- From My Mothers Womb
- And God Separated
- The Man Billy Graham - His Legacy
- The Man Billy Graham - II
- And God Said... And It Was So
- Not Enough
- Spilled Suitcases and Scattered Seeds
- Where Joy and Sorrow Meet
- A Sacred Refuge Is Your Name
- And His Name Shall Be Called...
- What King Is This?
- He Has Visited His People
- In The Fullness of Time
- What Man Is This?
- What Child Is This?
- What Babe Is This?
- 1 John 3:16