Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).
I don't remember when I first heard of Billy Graham (BG). He was a part of my childhood and teenage years and remains a part of my life. It seems that I have always known him.
I most remember BG for his television broadcasts. As a boy I would sit at rapt attention as he preached. The number of people who responded to his sermons amazed me. I love the way Dr. Graham has always shared the gospel with such simplicity. I appreciate the passion in which he presented the message. I enjoyed the music, especially George Beverley Shea singing I'd Rather Have Jesus. I still remember the announcer asking the television audience to write to Billy Graham, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The announcer would then say That's all the address you will need. I tried it out. I wrote to Billy Graham. A few weeks later I received a letter, some Bible study materials, and Decision magazine. I received a copy of a book entitled The New Topical Textbook. I still have that book. Inside I wrote, From Billy Gharm (sp).
I have another book, Book of Bible Lists that came from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). My brother Andrew gave that book to me when he was about 10 years old. He also was greatly influenced by Billy Graham. I seem to remember sending five dollars to Billy Graham Ministries. For several years (I think) Decision kept arriving at P.O. Box 89 Crawfordville, GA. I looked forward to it.
I thank God for Billy Graham.
I am thankful that the crusades. I am thankful that Dr. Graham preached passionately and simply the gospel of Christ. I am thankful that Graham lived a life above reproach. I am thankful for the generosity of his ministry. I am thankful that the Lord has preserved his life these 95 years and that even now, Rev. Graham is calling people to come to Christ. I am thankful for the two opportunities that I had attend a BG crusade in Atlanta.
We sang Just As I Am in church yesterday. Memories flooded my heart as I thought of those childhood years when my parents would gather us around the television to watch Billy Graham. I thought of the crusade choir and vast congregation singing that hymn. I was thankful. I am thankful that for all who will come to Christ, just as they are, that God will receive and change them. Christ changed my life. One of the people that he used was Billy Graham. I am eternally thankful.