Dr Billy Graham was influential in so many lives during his 70+ years of ministry. Many will be shedding tears at this time at his passing. But for many they will be tears of gratitude that he laboured and they were a fruit of his ministry. What a ministry he had!
I remember in the 90’s being at a minister’s meeting in Birmingham. There were maybe 200 ministers and church leaders present. The person at the front was talking about Billy Graham and asked anyone who had come to faith in Christ through the ministry of Dr Billy Graham to put their hand up. As I looked around it seemed that half the room had their hands raised. That gives an indication of the impact Dr Billy Graham’s ministry had on the United Kingdom. But Dr Graham had a worldwide ministry and so that can be repeated in country after country around the Globe.
Special memories for me are attending the football stadiums at Anfield Liverpool, Main Road Manchester, and one of the Sheffield football club when Dr Billy Graham held his Crusades there. I still sense the power of God when I hear the music of Just as I am and see again in my mind the long lines of people getting out of their seats to walk towards the platform as a sign they want to receive Christ as Saviour. I was at Bible College when Dr Billy Graham took a series of meetings at Earls Court in London and was privileged to be part of a team invited to observe what he was doing and have lectures each day. His hearts was to multiple the work he was doing by training other in evangelism
The real legacy of Billy Graham is every single life that has been changed through his ministry. One such person is Rev Ian Bell who is a member of the Revelation TV Bible Study team. I asked Ian to tell his story …
At the age of 15 I was invited by a friend to attend a relay of the Billy Graham Earls Court Crusade at our local cinema. I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home and rarely attended church so I did not know what to expect. However, as soon as I entered the auditorium I felt something special, which later I discovered to be the presence of God. I remember praying, ‘God if you are real please speak to me’. What I remember particularly about the service was the powerful singing, people seemed to believe what they were singing.
When Billy Graham got up to speak I immediately felt that God was speaking directly to me, so much so my whole body felt like it was shaking. At the end of the sermon Dr Graham invited those who wished to receive Christ as saviour ‘to get out of your seat’ and walk to the front. I remember struggling, I knew if I responded I would have to walk past a lot of school friends. After what seemed like an eternity, I gave up the struggle and literally ran to to the front and gave my life to Christ.
That was 51 years ago and it was the best decision of my life. I thank God for the ministry of Billy Graham. When I heard that he had died I don’t mind admitting I shed a little tear. It was the end of a great era. Those of us who attended the Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusades were privileged to experience something very special and unique. Billy Graham has now gone to his reward and I am confident that when he met Jesus, his Lord said to him, ‘Well done you good and faithful servant’.
The last few years I have needed to attend several meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina. Each time I have gone I have made a point of visiting the Dr Billy Graham Library that is there. When you do the tour depicting Dr Graham’s story, it starts with an animated cow as a reminder that Dr Graham was a country boy at heart. He started life on the farm helping his parents. He went on to become an international statesman, an evangelist who could fill stadiums across the world. Billy Graham won’t want to be remembered as someone special, unique, a world leader, confidante of Presidents and Prime Minsters, and all the other adjectives that will be used about him. He will simply want to be remembered as someone who loved God, believed his Word, and shared it with others.
Dr Billy Graham, we honour you and thank you for your work for the Kingdom.
On behalf of all of all at Revelation TV