Billy Graham shares possible final messagePublished 10:56am Monday, November 4, 2013
On Nov. 7, Billy Graham will celebrate his 95th birthday. The evangelist, who has preached around the world to stadium-sized crowds for more than 60 years, will preach again in homes across the country.
This month marks the beginning of the “My Hope America with Billy Graham” campaign that “combines the impact of video with the power of personal relationships as believers share their faith with their neighbors,” according to www.myhopeamerica.org.
The video series features messages that Graham recorded during his ministry, as well as spiritual journeys shared by other people. It’s designed for small groups to view online, download or order a DVD. In conjunction with the video series, Graham’s latest book, The Reason for My Hope: Salvation, will be released.
During a recent interview with Christianity Today, Graham commented, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Master. I have repented of my sin, turned my life over to Christ, and seek daily to obey his Holy Word. I am his follower. Before my conversion on Nov. 1, 1934, which I tell of in the book, I always thought myself a Christian. It wasn’t until I was confronted and convicted of my sin that I realized that Christ makes a difference in the lives of those who not only claim his name but obey his Word.”
Graham goes on to say, “What really matters is how God sees me. He isn’t concerned with labels; he is concerned about the state of man’s soul. The Bible tells me that I am first a sinner. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ (Rom. 3:23) But because of the saving grace Jesus has extended to me, and my repentance of sin, I am his child – having been saved by the blood of my Savior on the cross. At that moment, I entered into a life-changing relationship with him.”
Christians have a message of hope to share with people. You never know how your personal witness will impact someone else.
In 1858, Edward Kimball went to a Boston shoe shop to witness to a clerk named Dwight L. Moody, who left the store a new person and eventually became the most prominent evangelist in America.
In 1873, Moody traveled to Liverpool, England, for a series of crusades. Moody visited a church pastored by a scholar named F.B. Meyer and invited Meyer to come preach in our country. At a Bible conference, Meyer challenged the crowds, “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?”
His question changed the life of a struggling young minister named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman, who encouraged a professional baseball player named Billy Sunday to preach the gospel. Following a revival that Billy Sunday preached in Charlotte, N.C., a group of men converted during Sunday’s services organized a city-wide revival years later with evangelist Mordecai Hamm. During this revival in 1934, Billy Graham received Christ as his savior.
Nearing the end of his life, Graham says, “With all my heart I want to leave you with the truth that He (God) loves you and wants to forgive you of your sins.”
Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.