Pastor's Pondering


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Honoring Billy Graham

by Pastor Duane Mabee on March 2, 2018
On February 21, 2018 at 7:46 a.m., Evangelist Billy Graham closed his eyes on earth and opened them in heaven to see His Savior face to face.  He was 99. As you well know, Billy Graham spent a lifetime introducing people to Jesus Christ. 
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association estimates that in his lifetime Graham preached to nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, with “hundreds of millions more” viewing him on television, video, 
film, and webcasts.  “My one purpose in life,” Graham said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.” 
A cartoon appeared in our local paper recently that summarized Billy Graham’s impact well.  Graham was pictured standing before St. Peter at the gates of heaven.  Behind the gates, crowds line the streets of heaven as far as can be seen, and Peter tells Dr. Graham, “There are thousands of people here who want to say, ‘Thank you.’”  
Billy Graham also had a history with Chattanooga.  His first integrated crusade was in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1953.  After the ropes cordoning off the black section of the auditorium were removed, Graham told the ushers who threatened to put them back up, “Either these ropes stay down or you can go on and have the revival without me.”  From then on, Graham permanently adopted the policy of holding only integrated revivals.  Preaching in Johannesburg in 1973, Graham said, “Christ belongs to all people.  He belongs to the whole world
.…  I reject any creed based on hate…  Christianity is not a white man’s religion, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black.”  
Graham’s influence will be deeply missed.  He commanded the respect of people from all races, religions, political persuasions, and walks of life.  He spoke the gospel clearly, consistently, and with integrity.  
Graham modeled a compelling way to live the Christian life and to introduce people to our Savior.  The question that remains for us now is, will we follow his lead?  Though we may never speak to 2 million people, we can influence those around us.  Will we live the Christ life with integrity and share the simple gospel with passion and clarity the way that he did?  That would be the best way to honor a man like Billy Graham.