Today is Billy Graham’s birthday. He is 98 years old now. I love it when I hear his children speak of him and call him “Daddy.” It is such a loving term to call one’s father.
Today I read an article by one of Graham’s grandsons. It was a sweet tribute to his grandfather and tells a sweet, poignant story of getting to cut into a line of people waiting to see Graham. A security guard had held the grandson back but when Graham saw the child out of the corner of his eye, he turned, smiled, and held his arm out for the child to come. That, folks, is what happens in family. That, folks, is also an act of grace.
What was your first recollection of Billy Graham? I remember watching, or trying to watch, a citywide crusade on television and my mother made me turn it off. She may have tried to squelch the Holy Spirit, but she did not succeed. Soon after that experience, another teenager in high school invited me to attend a Sunday School class. It was a fall contest to get visitors. This visitor turned to Christ in repentance the following winter.
Maybe some of you, like me, were turned away from Billy Graham because a certain fundamental group did not like the “easy-believism” tactics of the city crusades. Graham invited main-line denominations into his crusades and that was criticized too. Regardless of the criticisms Bev Shea kept singing, Tedd Smith kept playing the piano, and Graham kept preaching. When I go back to listen to his sermons now, they were doctrinally sound messages. God blesses His Holy Word.
Billy Graham’s name and message endure. It is amazing to me how many people have been influenced to follow Christ because of him. Baseball’s great second baseman for the New York Yankees, Bobby Richardson, is a great example. On this blog somewhere you will find a book review of his called Impact Player. Sadly, there could have been so many more than the already thousands, maybe millions who have been influenced. People, like my mother, who switched the channel and forbid me to watch is just one example of a bad choice. Fortunately, less than two months before her death, my mother came to know Christ as her personal Savior. She was a decent person. She was a sincere person. She was sincerely wrong. Someday I’ll write about her conversion story.
Reader, if you do not know the Christ that Billy Graham preached about, find out—now! Read John chapter 3 and you will see how to be truly born again. Let our loving, gentle, good Shepherd bring you into His flock. If you have question, please comment. I can answer.