2018-03-07 / Community

Billy Graham

- On Feb. 21 a well-known

Southern Baptist minister -died. His name was Billy nGraham. He was 99 years old. For many Americans he was a household name and recognized internationally daround the world. ynta My curiosity was roused as I observed the outpouring of love many folks had for this man. I wondered what it nfe. was that made such an impression on people. I discovered I didn’t really know very much about him! His biography covers a broad spectrum of relationships he ef had with people from U.S.

Presidents to the poorest ht pauper and those in prison.

He is the fourth person in

U.S. history to lie in honor at

- the United States dssy Capitol

Rotunda in Washington,

D.C. He was affectionately called “America’s Pastor” by many.

As I started doing some research -- about this man, loved by so many, there were

,many interesting things to learn- about this man who workedas tirelessly to bring lost

Holsinger Holsinger -the gospel to a and dying world. e The simple testimony of his life is that hegssh loved Jesus Christ and wanted everyone to know

Him. By the time you are finished reading the brief facts I found about his life I think d5- you will conclude with me that he made an impact in many lives for the cause nnok-of Christ.

When Graham was a young lad he liked to read.

Tarzan books were among his favorites. He developed own version of d.his the

Tarzan yell and scared both horses and drivers! According e to his father, the Tarzan

.yell led him to become a -minister!

- Another interesting tidbit thatnse greatly impacted his life is something that happened when he was 14. Prohibition ended. His father forced eehim and his sister Katherine to drink beer until they got sick. This created such an aversion that Graham and lhis sister avoided drugs dsy and alcohol the rest of their lives! A bit unorthodox perhaps, but effective!

At the age of 16 he went with one of the workers on their farm to see evangelist y

Mordecai Ham. He was converted during these revival meetings. He went on to -Bob Jones College but became ; nnn- discouraged in the course work and legalistic approach. Professors encouraged him to use his voice for the Lord because ;“he had a voice that pulls.” d,

He transferred to the

Florida Bible Institute in


1937 and preached his first o sermon at the Bostwick ; n-Baptist Church nearby. He was ordained in 1939 by a group of Southern Baptist clergymen at Peniel Baptist

Church in Palatka, Fla. He graduated from Wheaton

College in Illinois in 1943.

While he was at Wheaton he decided to accept the

Bible as the infallible Word of God. This was something he had wrestled with for quite awhile. He also married Ruth Bell in August

1943. They had five children and were married for almost

64 years. All of their children are involved in various organizations that minister to the many needs of others.

Initially, Graham wanted to be an army chaplain but a bout with the mumps ruined that! After he recuperated he was hired as a full-time evangelist for the newly formed Youth For Christ. He held more than 400 crusades in 185 countries. At one revival in Seoul, South Korea, more than one million people came to a single service!

Crusades could last several days or weeks. During crusades Graham preached the gospel and invited people to come forward. These people were called inquirers and when they came forward they would talk one-on-one with a counselor and ask questions and receive prayer. This was also referred to as an “altar call.”

Often the inquirers were given the Gospel of John or a Bible Study Booklet and encouraged to join a local church. During this time when people came forward the song “Just As I Am” would be played. This song was sung at his funeral.

Because of his crusades,

Graham preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone in the history of Christianity. It is believed that more than 3.2 million people responded to the invitation to accept Christ as their personal Savior during the crusades he held.

He spoke many times at the Urbana Student Missions Conference where he challenged students to make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. He often quoted a phrase during these sermons that went like this: “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets!” He spoke at other college campuses as well.

In 1950 Graham started the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. This organization founded many endeavors including “My Hope With Billy Graham” in 2013, the largest outreach in history. It encouraged members to spread the gospel in small group meetings after they watched a video message by Graham. The Billy Graham Crusades started in 1947 and ran until his retirement in 2005.

Graham was friends with many people! He saw the civil rights movement and shared the pulpit on many occasions with Martin Luther King Jr. He said, “The ground at the foot of the cross is level!”

He is the only minister to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1991 he held his largest event in the United States on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park with over 250,000 people in attendance.

In 1998 he gave a TED talk.

He was invited to lead a service at the Washington National Cathedral after the attacks of 9/11.

Politics came secondary for Graham. He said in later years that Jesus did not have a political party. He had a personal audience and was a spiritual adviser to many sitting U.S. presidents from Harry Truman to Barak Obama and was a close confidant and friend of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Queen Elizabeth II had a friendly relationship with Graham and often invited him to special events.

He was well known for the “Billy Graham Rule;” which came out of his practice of not spending time alone with any woman other than his wife. He discouraged his daughters from going to college and thought women should be wives and mothers and homemakers. He believed homosexuality to be a sin and was against same sex marriage.

Graham was frequently honored by surveys. He consistently ranked among the most admired persons in the world. He has been on Gallup’s Top 10 “Most Admired Man” list 61 times and held the highest rank of any person since the list began in 1948! He was awarded many other awards too numerous to mention. There have been songs written for him and by him. Movies have been made about his life. He has written numerous best-selling books. He wrote an advice column called “My Answer” that appeared in newspapers for more than 60 years.

It is easy to see why one biographer stated that Billy Graham is “among the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th century!” Several ministers I know went to hear him speak on various occasions.

It makes me think about what God has given me to do. About what God has given you to do. The only question that remains is this: Are you doing what He has given you to do?

Affirmation for today:

“Here am I! Lord, send me!!!”

FYI: Meandering Melodies Books 1, 2, 3, & 4 are available at Grandma’s Cupboard in Rossville and The Homestead in Lafayette and Remington. Weekly articles are on Meandering Melodies Facebook page, too. Call Susan to order at (765) 427- 6296. Email Susan at susan.holsinger@gmail.com or mail to: 7690 W. 700 S. Rossville, IN 46065.

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