Billy Graham went home to be with the Lord today at the age of 99.
In 2002 my wife Casey and I had the opportunity to hear Billy Graham speak at Texas Stadium. We were not there with a particlular church, or with a group, it was just us two—young, married, and relatively new to being on fire for Jesus. The event that night was free, so as you can imagine, the stadium was completely full. There was even a large number of people outside of the stadium, not able to come in. But the event staff had set up screens and audio outside so that everyone who came could see and hear. At one point during the evening Pastor Graham graciously recognized and thanked all of the people who are outside. When he did, those outside of Texas Stadium began to roar with cheers and applause so loud it could easily be heard by those of sitting on the inside. It was really cool to hear their enthusiasm. And of course, Pastor Graham preached the Word, and droves of people responded by making professions of faith in Christ. It was all very moving, to say the least. I remember Billy Graham seemed so down to earth, he put all the focus on Jesus, and he simply presented The Gospel. Those are all things I still deeply admire and aspire to do myself.
As we left the event that night, I remember being so excited to see what God was doing. I felt like I’d just watched my faith family grow in numbers and in depth. Casey and I stopped at one of the merchandise tents that were set up outside selling resources. I bought a paperback handbook, that served as a topical reference manual for helping people deal with different struggles. Each topic had some insight for that specific struggle and Bible verses to point people too. I felt like I was holding pure gold. At the time I didn’t know that I would or even could be in vocational ministry. But I did know that I desperately wanted to help people see that Jesus is the answer to our struggles. I still want to do that!
That night was a special night for Casey and I. Pastor Graham encouraged our faith, gave us an awesome example, and better equipped us to help others. I’m just one of countless number of people he blessed!
Thank you, Pastor Graham, for your faithfulness in fulfilling your call, and blessing so many, including me.
🎶Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!🎶