Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 21, 2018

On Billy Graham

For the past eight decades, Billy Graham has been one of the most prominent figures on the world’s spiritual landscape. His televised crusades gave him a platform to share the good news of Jesus Christ with millions. Graham’s distinctive voice, clear speaking style, and personal integrity attracted untold numbers of people to listen to what he had to say.


Personal integrity mattered to Graham. In the late 1940s, Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, and Grady Wilson met at a farm outside Modesto, California. These men prayed together and pledged themselves to a high level of moral accountability in a document that became known as the Modesto Manifesto.

The commitment of Graham and his team to financial and moral integrity as well as remaining honest and positive served them well. When other evangelists got themselves tangled up in sexual or financial scandals, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association continued to demonstrate the highest levels of integrity. The association was never marked by scandal.

It’s no wonder that God used Graham and his team to share the gospel with upwards of 210 million people in more than 185 countries — more than any other person in the history of Christianity. His life added credibility to his words. Graham’s messages always focused on Jesus and the transforming power of the gospel.

When I look back and connect the dots of my own spiritual journey, Billy Graham is a part of my own story of coming to faith in Christ. He piqued my interest in the gospel and my curiosity about heaven and how to know that you are going to heaven. But what about Graham’s own spiritual journey?

In 1879, Evangelist D.L. Moody preached in England and awakened the evangelistic zeal in the heart of Frederick B. Meyer, pastor of a small church. F.B. Meyer preached on an American campus and a student named J. Wilbur Chapman gave his life to Christ.

Chapman was engaged in YMCA work and employed Billy Sunday, a former baseball player, to do evangelistic work. Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina. Afterward, a group of local men were so enthusiastic that they planned another evangelistic campaign and invited Mordecai Hamm to preach.

In the revival led by Hamm, a young man named William Graham heard the gospel and gave his life to Christ. The rest is history. Millions in the world today can trace their respective spiritual lineages back to Billy Graham, myself included.


Today, Billy Graham died of natural causes at his home in Montreat, North Carolina at the age of ninety-nine. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Dr. Graham to see Jesus face to face — and for him to have been met by the millions who embraced Jesus and are now in heaven as a result of his ministry. I will be forever grateful for Billy Graham and how God used him to impact my life and spiritual journey.


Responses

  1. God bless Billy, and God bless you Mr. Garcia. I think there is dancing in heaven today, but Earth has lost a great warrior. Luckily he left many well-trained troops, you included, to teach the next generation, and out of one of those will come the next Billy Graham. You have done, and will do your part, and are part of the chain that connects the two, so keep up the faith. Hard to imagine what it will be like to hear God say “well done, my good and faithful servant”, but you will.

    • Good words, Rush. Thanks. And thanks for your friendship and encouragement.

  2. It is neat how you traced Graham’s spiritual roots. I wrote about DL Moody in my devotional book Sure Mercies: Hope for the Suffering. He was led to the Lord by his Sun. School teacher who was led by God to visit him at his uncle’s shoestore where he worked. His teacher asked him point blank if he would receive Christ and he said yes Look at all the others who came to Christ as a result,like a ripple in the ocean spreading forward.

    I feel like America has suffered a huge loss in Rev. Graham’s passing. I saw him speak at a Campus Crusade conference in Kansas City in 1983 and was moved by his talk about the Horsemen of the Acopalypse.

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    • Appreciate your comment. Thanks for sharing.


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