Jesus, Billy Graham and me

 

Today we have learned that evangelist Billy Graham has left this life for the next at the age of 99.  He is no longer struggling with earth’s pains and suffering but has traded these in for heaven’s glory. He has surely had a grand homecoming and is now reunited with his beloved wife Ruth and is with his Savior whom he has proclaimed so faithfully. It is for Billy a time of great gain. We should remember, however, to keep his family and friends in prayer for this is a time of great loss for them.

There is so much that can be said about Graham. Over the hours and days and weeks to come, his accomplishments and influence will be rehearsed and celebrated and rightfully so. He was not just America’s pastor he was an evangelist to the world. He, through his God-given message, touched Presidents, Governors, Senators, Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens, and Dictators. What an amazing life the Lord gave him.

He also touched me. Billy Graham was not just the evangelist to the world but he was also one of  God’s instruments in bringing me to Christ.  I’m eternally grateful for Him and his ministry.  In fact, his ministry reaches deep into my life and my family.

In September of 1973  I was 14 years old and beginning High School. I was on the verge of making some less than great decisions regarding my life. In that context there came to our house “Decision Magazine”, a publication of Billy Graham Ministries. We never subscribed to it. I think we got it by “accident”.  It changed my heart and life.

Billy Graham 3

As I read the magazine I came across an article by Graham on the Second Coming of Christ and our need for Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. His words rattled me. I had been to church but had never quite heard it like this. The Bible passages He quoted convicted me. It bothered me so much that I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Within a week I sought out a football coach who I knew was “religious”. He watered the seed that Billy Graham had planted and I personally accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. What I mean by that is that I acknowledged my sin and sinfulness and thus my need for a Savior.  I believed that Christ was who He said He was. I placed my faith and trust in His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of my sins and my eternal destiny. I gave my heart  to Him. I experienced and still experience what it means to be saved and to know for sure one will go to heaven when they leave this life — just like Billy Graham.

The influence of Billy Graham on me didn’t stop there. Shortly after become a Christ follower I was starving for literature to read on the Christian life to supplement my Bible reading. On one of his nationally televised broadcasts Graham offered the book, The World, the Flesh and the Devil by Harold Lindsell free of charge. I had to send for it and when it arrived eight weeks later I devoured it. That book was the first Christian book in my library. I still have it today some forty-three years later.

Through my early years as a Christian I often watched Billy Graham’s national evangelistic broadcasts and was greatly encouraged by them. I was always overwhelmed with joy as the choir sang “Just I Am” and 1000′ s came to Christ. It was a very special day when I learned that my father-in- law had come to Christ at a Baltimore Billy Graham Crusade.

As a college student I showed his films at a local juvenile detention center and saw young women and men come to Christ through them. As an Associate Pastor in Blacksburg, Virginia I helped with the film ministry of the Billy Graham Association and saw people come to Christ through the film “Caught” which was shown in theaters. As a Senior Pastor in NYC, I have been privileged to participate in the two crusades held here since my arrival (1991 and 2005). Though we didn’t see the great move of God that occurred during the 16 week 1957 Crusade in Madison Square Garden none the less God moved. We brought our neighbors and friends and saw some of them walk the aisles to come to Christ. In addition, none of us should forget his words at the National Cathedral soon after 9/11.

I am, of course, grateful for Graham’s worldwide ministry, but for me it has been more personal. When I leave this world and go to heaven it will be in part because of the work of Billy Graham.  Myself and millions of others are eternally indebted to him.

Billy, we are your joy and rejoicing. Thanks. See ya soon!

Blessings

Dave Watson

Visit: https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/billy-graham-center/

https://billygrahamlibrary.org/

 

 

 

Lenten Devotional – Day 8

50 Days with Jesus in the Upper Room

Day 8 – Wednesday, February 21, 2018

 

Today’s Assignment – Read John 13 and do the following

 

  1. Write a three or four sentence summary of the chapter.

 

 

 

  1. Give the whole chapter a title.

 

 

 

  1. Give each section below a one or two word title

 

John 13:1-3 – __________________________

 

John 13:4-11 -__________________________

 

John 13:12-17 – _________________________

 

John 13:18-30 -_________________________

 

John 13: 31-38 – ________________________

 

 

Today’s Quote: “In these remaining chapters before His crucifixion, the record looks at Jesus’ devoting Himself to His own disciples.” – Dr. John MacArthur

 

This Week’s Memory Verse – If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. – John 13:14

 

So?…..What’s it to me? – As a result of today’s study I will…

Good stuff

FOom “Leadership Promises for Every Day: A Daily Devotional” by John C. Maxwell –

“1 SAMUEL 17 : 37 Consider David in his battle with Goliath. Why was he able to stand against the giant when the army of Israel pulled back in fear? Here’s how David did it: 1. His perspective differed from others. He saw an opportunity. 2. His methods differed from others. He decided to use proven weapons that he knew would work. 3. His conviction differed from others. He heard Goliath’s threats against the God of Israel and knew God could beat him. 4. His vision differed from others. He wanted to make Yahweh known to the world as the most powerful God on earth. 5. His experience differed from others. He brought to the battlefield past victories over a lion and bear, not months of paralyzing fear. 6. His attitude differed from others. He saw Goliath not as a threat too big to hit, but a target too big to miss. The Maxwell Leadership Bible FEBRUARY 21 GROWTH = CHANGE Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ROMANS 12 : 2 Just about anyone would agree that growing is a good thing, but relatively few people actually dedicate themselves to the process. Why? Because growth requires change, and change is hard for most people. But the truth is that without change, growth is impossible. Most people fight against change, especially when it affects them personally. As novelist Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” The ironic thing is that change is inevitable. Everybody has to deal with it in their lives. On the other hand, growth is optional. You can choose to grow or to fight it. But know this: people unwilling to grow will never reach their potential. Making the change from being an occasional learner to someone dedicated to personal growth is tough. It goes against the grain of the way most people live. Most people celebrate when they receive their diploma or degree and say to themselves, “Thank goodness that’s over. I’m done with studying.” But that kind of thinking doesn’t take you any higher than average. Your”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/8xBIZKx

Lenten Devotional – Day 7

50 Days with Jesus in the Upper Room

Day 7 – Tuesday, February 20, 2018

 

Today’s Assignment – Read John 17 and fill in the chart below:

 

  1. To whom is Jesus speaking?

 

 

 

 

  1. Why is Jesus saying what he is saying to them?

 

 

 

 

  1. How do Jesus’ disciples respond to what Jesus said?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Quote: “Many times His enemies had been unable to take Him because His hour had not come. But now the time had arrived for the Lord to be put to death” – Dr. William McDonald

 

 

 

This Week’s Memory Verse: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own”

– John 13:1

 

 

So?…..What’s it to me? – As a result of today’s study I will…

Lenten Devotional Day 6

50 Days with Jesus in the Upper Room

Day 6 – Monday, February 19, 2018

 

Today’s Assignment – Read John 16 and fill in the chart below.

 

 

  1. To whom is Jesus speaking?

 

 

 

 

  1. Why is Jesus saying what he is saying to them?

 

 

 

 

  1. How do Jesus’ disciples respond to what Jesus said?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Quote: “The disciples may have wondered why Jesus was telling them about the world’s hatred and persecution. Jesus, anticipating this question, indicated that expecting trouble beforehand would help them remain in the path of God’s will.”

– Dr. Edwin A. Blum

 

This Week’s Memory Verse: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own.”

– John 13:1

 

 

So?…..What’s it to me? – As a result of today’s study I will…

Lenten Devotional Day 5

50 Days with Jesus in the Upper Room

Day 5 – Sunday, February 18, 2018

 

Today’s Assignment – Read John 15 and fill in the chart below.

 

 

  1. To whom is Jesus speaking?

 

 

 

 

  1. Why is Jesus saying what he is saying to them?

 

 

 

 

  1. How do Jesus’ disciples respond to what Jesus said?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Quote: “As Jesus and His disciples leave the Upper Room and move toward the Garden of Gethsemane they pass the temple. Here one of the chief ornaments is a “golden vine with a cluster as large as a man.”  This decoration becomes the basis of a visual parable.” – Dr. Roger L. Fredrikson

 

This Week’s Memory Verse: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that  His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own.”

– John 13:1

 

 

So?…..What’s it to me? – As a result of today’s study I will…