I haven’t weighed in with any thoughts or reflections on the passing of Billy Graham.
I don’t have any impacting stories from my youth beyond the fact that my mom loved listening to his crusades and, as a child, I didn’t.
They were long and boring and the staticky sound and the panning of the audience and the urging to call the number just didn’t resonate in my immature mind.
I respected him and knew he was a powerful preacher, but the significance of what he did was lost on a child who grew up sitting on the pew of a church every Sunday, leaning against her dad’s arm and waiting patiently for the sour ball candy he would pull out of that suit coat pocket once the sermon started to keep his wiggly, talkative daughter quiet for a while.
Revivals were not a part of our reality, just a thing my mom would have on the TV and so I never paid much attention to it all.
It didn’t help that she told me more than once if I, or Billy Graham, ever did anything to disappoint her, she would lose all faith in humanity.
I was pretty sure Billy was solid, but the pressure on me was intense and I may have resented his ease at maintaining sainthood in her eyes….
I have read some of his books now and books written by his children
As an adult I was always thankful to hear he had visited with the President of our nation and I have certainly been impacted by the legacy of mantle passed on to his daughter Anne.
I can hear her dad’s voice whether she is speaking or writing and have sat up a little straighter in my spiritual chair at her urgings to respond and repent and live a more genuine, sincere faith walk.
However this weekend, I discovered a channel on our XM radio that was playing his sermons on a loop.
And I confess I may have concocted reasons to be out and about just so I could listen to him.
I finally get what my mom got.
He simply spoke the Gospel.
Over and over.
And it never gets old.
He wasn’t politically correct or ashamed or afraid.
He wasn’t boasting of himself.
He pleaded with an entire world to believe that there is only one way to Life and that is through the Author of Life – Jesus Christ.
He acknowledged that some would receive, some would delay and some would outright reject the message.
And while you can tell it broke his heart, he didn’t alter the message in order to manipulate the outcome.
He told us all simply what God told us through His Son.
We have all missed the mark.
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
And the only way to be reconciled to Him is through receiving Jesus Christ as the One Perfect Sacrifice that is acceptable to God.
I love how he states repeatedly that we don’t have to fully understand it or be able to explain it…we believe by faith.
I am so thankful for this message that echoes out through all time and eternity.
For Christ died for all…that all who would receive Him would have eternal Life.
I just read a quote this morning from Oswald Chambers…
Take a rapid survey – have we been nourishing the lives of people in the understanding of Jesus, or has our aim been to maintain our particular deposit of doctrine? “Divine loyalty,” says Jesus, “is that you feed My sheep in the knowledge of Me, not feed them with your doctrine.” (John 21:15-17 reference)…The Discipline of Divine Loyalty is not that I am true to a doctrine, but so true to Jesus that other people are nourished in the knowledge. from August 31 Still Higher for His Highest
I did not hear doctrine from Billy Graham.
I heard the Gospel.
He nourished us in the understanding of Jesus Christ, our LORD and Savior.
And it challenges me, in an age that would silence me because I am a Christian, to speak simply what Jesus has taught me.
I pray to finish out my days speaking the truth … the TRUTH…in love, humility and the same grace that has been extended to one such as me <3