The Man Billy Graham - II

The Man Billy Graham - II



Thursday, February 22 2018

 

If you have not read The Man Billy Graham - I yet, I invite you to do so at the following link before continuing on here:

 

So: who was BILLY GRAHAM? How do you write a summary about a man and a life that impacted the entire world?

 

Here: the continuation of a talk I gave in Shalom Church back in May of 2014...

 

Soon after that signficant night in 1934 when Billy Graham gave his heart and his life to Jesus, in 1936 he left home to begin his further studies at Bob Jones University in Cleveland, Tennessee; and later, in 1937, he headed to the Florida Bible Institute in Tampa, where alongside learning Bible and theology for a few years, God worked powerfully in his character and in his giftedness.

 

One day, one of his professors challenged him to preach to a group of men. Never in his life had he preached. He prepared his sermon, and for days practiced it in front of the mirror, in the shower, in front of his friends, even in front of … Well, picture this scene!

 

One day, he stopped on the landing of one of the staircases of the Bible Institute, stood before a wall full of hunted animal heads, and “preached” to them: “What’s stoppin’ ya’? Will ya’ be saved? And you? And you? (pointing to one head after another) ………. Well, if ya’ burn in hell, ya’ don’t blame me – you were warned! ………. All right, fine, I may have crossed the line. I’ll let God decide who goes to heaven and hell.” A caretaker standing at the foot of the staircase heard him and began to chuckle; and when Billy asked him what he thought, he willingly offered his opinion regarding the “sermon” that Billy had “preached” to the animal heads. He said that he had heard many excellent preachers in all his days at the Institute, and all of them had one thing in common: talent, lots of talent. And then he concluded: “Trust me when I say this, son, you ain’t got it! Hahahahaha!”

 

When the day to preach to the men arrived, Billy Graham almost didn’t make it into the church building, he was simply too nervous and anxious. Finally he did go in, and preached a truly disastrous sermon. It was too long, too fast, and too boring. But even so, when he had finished, the professor who had invited him to speak put his arm around Billy’s shoulders and said: “Billy, I can’t wait to see what God has in mind for you! ... And I mean that in a good way!”

 

But those kind words of affirmation and hope were some of the few that Billy Graham received in his early years of study and ministry. Initially, he was not at all an eloquent preacher, although something about him always impressed people: his sincerity. One young lady that Billy was interested in told him one day that she was not at all interested in him, because she was really only wanting to date and marry a man who would go far and who would make something special of his life – and Billy was definitely NOT going to go far and would NOT make anything special of his life. Another day, an executive behind a desk yelled at him: “Young man, you will never, never, NEVER amount to anything! Do you hear me, son? All that you have in your future is failure! Failure! And more failure!” Billy Graham himself even confessed one day: “Maybe I’m just not cut out for this…”

 

* Another pause in our story … Dear friend: have you heard the same? do you believe the same? You have NO talent – you are NOT going to go far in life – you are NOT going to do anything special in your life – you will NEVER amount to anything – your future holds NOTHING but failure. Friend: don’t believe these lies. Just like in Billy Graham’s life, God knows the thoughts and the purposes He has for you, and they are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

No: definitely the purposes and the plans of God for Billy Graham’s life had nothing to do with mediocrity or with failure. At 95 years of age, after having served God for more than 70 years as the most well-known, most highly-respected and most influential evangelist of the 20th century, Billy said:

 

“When I began preaching many years ago, it was not with any thoughts that I would be preaching to large audiences. God has done this!”

 

And again: “Of all the things that I’ve seen and heard, there is only one message that can change people’s lives and hearts: THE CROSS OF CHRIST. I know that many will react to this message, but it is the truth. And with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth. Friend: God loves you, and is willing to forgive you of all your sins.” He said that he understood that, for some, the cross is offensive because it confronts people, but it’s a confrontation all of us must face. People don’t want to hear that they are sinners, they don’t like that the cross doesn’t suggest but demands a new life-style, becoming a new person. But the fact that they don’t like it, that they perceive it to be offensive – doesn’t take anything away from its being true. “There is only one message that can change people’s lives and hearts: THE CROSS OF CHRIST.”

 

During his years of theological studies, Billy worked as a Fuller Brush salesman. He would go from door to door, knock, and when the door opened, with a smile from ear to ear he would say:

 

“Good morning, ma’am. My name is Billy Graham. And I’m here to change your life!”

 

It wasn’t with Fuller Brushes, of course, but with the timeless message of love and forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ, that Billy Graham truly did end up being used by God to change the lives of many, many, many people all over the world.

 

Dear friend: if God could do it with Billy Graham, He can do it with you too. It doesn’t matter where you have come from, it doesn’t matter what your life has been like up until now, if you sincerely give your heart and your life to Jesus Christ, He can do amazing things with you, and He can use your life to change the lives of many people for good. Don’t doubt it! In spite of all the obstacles that Billy Graham initially faced, he didn’t doubt. He went far and made something special of his life. If he was able to do it, you can too! Believe it!

 

Tomorrow, here in www.reflectionsforliving.com:

THE MAN BILLY GRAHAM – HIS LEGACY.



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