Several weeks ago God called home one of His choice servants in Evangelist Billy Graham. Ninety nine years old and now in the presence of the One whom he loved and called others to follow.
I can remember as a boy when Billy Graham crusades would air on prime time television, it would bump off any other program. His recognizable voice and accent, the clear message from God’s Word, the Gospel presently clearly would then be followed by an invitation to come forward and receive Christ as your Savior.
As a young boy growing up in Dayton, mom and dad took us I believe in the 60’s to Columbus where he preached and we heard testimony That is another aspect of his crusades that stayed consistent. He always had guests, celebrities, athletes, or actors come and share their testimony of faith in Christ. They were never long, but you could tell, they had been asked to share a brief word for the Lord and how they came to Christ. One of my favorites comes from the 1987 crusade in Columbia, S.C. It is special because I am a basketball fan and my favorite player was “Pistol” Pete Maravich. If you visit on this link, you can hear this nine minute testimony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5s6xIZfQtQ The following year, God called Pete to Heaven at the age of 40.
We took the Church to Indianapolis to Hoosier dome for a Crusade and several years ago we were in involved in the Cincinnati Crusade at Paul Brown Stadium. It was a blessing to be a counselor and we also had folks involved in the follow up process.
In these turbulent days, and even in his declining health, Billy Graham’s presence gave us preachers and Christians a sense of security. His physical meetings with many presidents and world leaders indicate the respect that people had for him His integrity in ministry and the “Modesto Manifesto” (Guidelines that he and his ministry would follow) served him well.
The news will ask the question, “Who will be the next Billy Graham?” There will never be another Billy Graham, but as a preacher of the gospel there are many who will continue to preach the same gospel and invite people to come to Jesus. We must not waiver, and may we be found as faithful as America’s Pastor.
Years ago he was asked, “If you could ask the Lord one thing, what would it be?” His response, “Why me?”
Each message concluded with “Just As I am.” Pastors and preachers in Preble County, may we be found faithful and continue to carry the torch that has burned for so many years and continues to shine today.
Thank you Lord for raising up, using, and blessing Billy Graham. We are grateful.
Dr. Greg F. Jackson, Senior Pastor
Camden First Southern Baptist Church