(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)
Five Things You Can Learn From Billy Graham’s Life
By Selma Komisky
I question how many millennials and children growing up today in this generation are familiar with ,or even know who Billy Graham is. This great man of God passed away on February 21, 2018 at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. At one time, ‘Billy Graham’ was a household name, and whenever his ‘crusades’ were televised, people would always watch. He took priority over anything else that was on TV. Now, people consider him just a “little old man” whose story is of no interest. How times have changed! Well, I’m so disappointed in the lack of national exposure they gave this godly evangelist, today I’d like to take some time to pay homage on a true hero of the faith.
In turn, I’d like to share five things you could learn about who Billy Graham…
An article in Christianity Today (which Billy Graham co-founded with his father-in-law, Dr. L. Nelson Bell) states the following:
“During his life, Graham preached in person to more than 100 million people and to millions more via television, satellite, and film. Nearly 3 million have responded to his invitation to ‘accept Jesus into their heart’ at the end of his sermons. He proclaimed the Gospel to more persons than any other preacher in history. In the process, Graham became “America’s Pastor,” participating in presidential inaugurations and speaking during national crises such as the memorial services following the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks. “He became the friend and confidante of popes and presidents, queens and dictators. He is known as a pioneer in the use of new technologies to preach the Gospel, from radio and television to films and the internet. Graham wrote over 30 books, and many of them were on the best-seller lists for months.”
He had humble beginnings. Billy grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina yet he remained humble yet preached to millions including presidents and influential dignitaries. A humble Southern Baptist minister not wanting to be referred as reverend Graham but preferred Billy. He was a good husband and father to five children and to all his grandchildren. His son Franklyn quoted, He’s the same at home as the Billy you saw in the crusades preaching .There weren’t two Billy Grahams”. He lived like the Gospel he preached.
In an interview with U.S. News and World Report in 1988, Billy Graham had this to say,
“Well, of course, if you are in the New Testament, I would say the Gospels. The Gospel of John is what I have preached the most because it is filled with stories. You know Jesus taught by using stories and I like to use stories to illustrate what I am saying. The fifteenth chapter of Luke which is the story of the prodigal son. The love of the father. How God loves us no matter what we do, where we go, how we live, He loves us. And I can’t get over the love and mercy and grace of God. Every day I marvel at it, that God could love me, Billy Graham, with all my failures and weaknesses.”
Jesus is our Focal Point
He never wanted the praise or attention but wanted people to concentrate on Jesus. At rallies you heard Billy tell the crowds, “The Bible says…” He knew who his Savior Jesus Christ was and always pointed to Him.
Graham Knew His True Home (Heaven)
In New York, he spoke with a national magazine about death. “Do I fear death No! I look forward to death , with great anticipation. I am looking forward to seeing God face to face. And that could happen any day.”
– Billy Graham (Newsweek, July 4, 2005)
Graham had a burden for the lost and unsaved and wanted all to know about Jesus and Heaven. He wanted us to know that we would give an account to God. The Bible says we all have sinned (Romans 3:23).
God Loves You!
Billy would always affirm and assure others. He always opened with, “God loves you! No matter what your problem was…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 Jesus into the world to die for our sins. When we open our hearts to Christ, He forgives our sins and comes to live within us by His Holy Spirit. He also gives us strength for the present and hope for the future.”
Message of Hope
Graham believed the Bible is the infallible word of God. He always quoted Scripture especially on the cross (John 3:16). Graham’s signature classic old time hymn (“Just as I Am,” By Charlotte Elliott) would play throughout sold out stadium arenas all around the world as Billy would invite people to make a commitment to Christ. Hundreds of moving people would come down the aisle to the point where the preacher would be waiting to receive them.
Graham passionately preached to 185 countries all around the world. Graham left this earth at 99 years old making such an impact for Gods kingdom. There will never be an evangelist like him. Let’s catch the vision and continue to tell someone how much Jesus loves them today.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”
– Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)