Catalyst 08: Franklin Graham and Billy Graham
A highlight of the day, in a very different way, was the presentation of the Catalyst Lifetime Achievement Award to Billy Graham. It’s hard to overstate the impact Billy Graham has made on our world: any words you use to describe his incredible ministry still fall far short of the reality. They showed a retrospective video of Graham’s ministry and then his son, Franklin Graham, came up to accept the award on behalf of his father. Andy Stanley, in presenting the award, made a statement that caught my attention. “Because of the internet and technology,” he said, “It is unlikely that any other person will ever speak in front of as large a live audience presenting the gospel again in the history of the earth.” Wow. Well done, Reverent Graham.
Franklin’s session detailed his Samaritan’s Purse ministry and the various ways God has used them. A touching moment came when Leila (not sure of spelling…it wasn’t given to us) came up to thank him for the shoebox Samaritan’s Purse had given her while she was a refugee from Bosnia in 1993. Because of that simple gift she found Jesus and a new life. Now she coordinates sending hundreds of thousands of boxes all over the world. We all had shoe boxes under our seat, and Samaritan’s Purse had a tent set up for us to stuff the boxes with goodies and include a note to the recipient.
A couple of interesting points from Franklin Graham’s message:
- We aren’t here o have a good time. That’s not why we are on this earth. We are here to bring glory to God. So figure out how you are going to do that.
- There is real, literal power in the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Don’t underestimate the message.
- When you invite someone into a relationship with Christ, it isn’t your invitation, it’s Christ’s. You can relax and let God do with it what he will.
- All I have done is to find out what God had for my life, then do it to the best of my ability.
In this postmodern age, it was a good reminder that God has worked down through history in every age. Now, on the brink of this transition, He works through all the worldviews because it is — after all — His world. Franklin closed with a story from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which he now runs. With a surplus of cash from his father’s lifetime ministry, Graham decided on a worldwide television campaign. They trained counselors all over the world, and then invited them to bring people into their homes to watch the message on television with them. The hosts were then prepared to lead people into relationship with Christ at the end. In India alone they had 800,000 homes open for this campaign. While Graham did not feel he should give out the final number of people who entered into that relationship, he did say that nearly ever home had at least one person in it. Wow again. Well done.
Finally, we have an opportunity! The Reverend Billy Graham turns 90 this year. If you or one of those near to you had their life impacted by this amazing man, they have set up a website to send a birthday greeting and message to him. Franklin even said you will get a response back.
Happy Birthday, Reverend Graham!