Like many of you, I’m very sad about Billy Graham passing away. Those who are younger will probably not have the familiar connection with him like some of us older folks have, but nonetheless, I’m sure his books and recordings will continue having a beneficial impact on future generations.
Throughout my childhood, I remember my parents always dialed in our old TV to watch Billy Graham evangelistic crusades, and even though as a typical child I thought church services were somewhat boring I would still sit and listen. In fact, I may not have realized it at the time, but I’m convinced his messages had a positive effect on my spiritual calling and helped influence me into a life of ministry. Here is one of his more popular statements, “Being a Christian is more than just an instant conversion, it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Jesus.”
He had such a mesmerizing voice and would speak with such passion that you could not help but feel this was a truth that was being relayed from Heaven. I believe his sense of urgency along with expounding the ever-important subject about Jesus being crucified and where we are going to spend eternity caused his audience to be riveted to their seats. I recall when my grandparents would come to visit and if Billy Graham was on, my dad would tune in as his parents also appreciated Mr. Graham’s ministry. My grandmother would pull out her handkerchief and every now and then she would wipe a tear from her eye. I did not understand what was going on at the time but after I grew up I realized she was being blessed and moved deep within her soul.
In the church where I grew up, we had prayer altars around the stage, and everyone was invited to come and kneel down. It was common to see them weep. Some would cry because of a crisis and some were repenting and asking forgiveness, and yet others were often filled with joy. I believe this is a wonderful and natural reaction. As we sense God’s presence we can express how grateful we are for who He is.
The determination to find a special place to meet with God and fall on our knees before Him can open our spiritual eyes to how much we desperately need Him. We need more messages about yielding our will and inviting Christ to be the Lord of our life as Mr. Graham would always point out.
At the funeral, Franklin Graham presented this quote from his father, “No matter what your problem is, if you and I could sit down and talk, I would want to tell you one great truth: God loves you, and He can make a difference in your life if you will let Him. God loves you so much that He sent His Son into the world to die for your sins. When we open our hearts to Christ, He forgives our sins and comes to live within us by the Holy Spirit. He also gives us strength for the present and hope for the future.”
It’s estimated that in his lifetime Billy Graham preached to live audiences totaling over 215 million people in 185 countries. This along with his books and resources is more than anyone else has ever relayed the gospel of Jesus. He knew what God wanted to say and was used as a vessel of honor to demonstrate the authority of God’s Word. Billy Graham was not perfect and I’m not trying to portray him as a saint, but it’s obvious he truly loved people and had a burden to make sure everyone knew about salvation and eternal life. He was an ordinary man that God used to accomplish an extraordinary mission! It’s never the charismatic personality, intelligence or ability of humans that can change another person, but rather it’s the power of divine truth that convicts the conscience and allows God to transform a life. The opportunity for you to be forgiven and to accept the Lord is available right now as I close with this last quote, “God proved His love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
DR. BILLY HOLLAND lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author and community chaplain. To learn about his free CD offer, visit billyhollandministries.com.