The death of Billy Graham today has caused me to reflect on how this man impacted me and the moments where our lives intersected. One of the special privileges that the Lord gave me was to serve personally with Billy Graham on two occasions:
- During my undergrad years at UNC Chapel Hill, Billy Graham came to speak at a lecture series in 1982 that a number of campus ministries had planned. One event that served as an impetus for this lecture series was the death of his nephew, Sandy Ford, Leighton Ford’s son. Sandy was a contagious Christian who impacted many lives in his short 21 years, including mine.
- I was asked to lead the worship for a gathering of Christian students and faculty who were preparing and praying for this series. This initial gathering of believers took place at Memorial Hall in 1982.
- On another occasion, I will never forget watching a feeble man struggling with Parkinson’s Disease ascend the stairs to a podium and listening to him energetically and boldly proclaim the gospel to a packed house at River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1991. His messages were broadcast all over the Spanish speaking world at the time. What struck me that week was how evidently the Spirit of God had anointed this country boy from North Carolina to powerfully proclaim the gospel.
- On both occasions, I was deeply impacted by how unashamed he was of the simple gospel of grace and how committed he was to living a life of integrity.
O Lord, be pleased to raise up a new generation of men and women like Billy and Ruth Bell Graham and revive us again that your people might rejoice in you (Psalm 85:6)!
After the Lord Jesus greeted Billy, I wonder how many others greeted him in heaven with hearts full of gratitude for leading them to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I bet there is a lot of rejoicing in heaven today, but that is true every day because in the Lord’s presence “there is fullness of joy; at his right hand are pleasures forevermore!” (Psalm 16:11)
The below link is a tribute by FoxNews to the life, legacy, and ministry of Billy Graham.