I can remember as a boy when Billy Graham crusades would air on prime time television and it would bump off any other program. His recognizable voice and accent, the clear message from God's Word, the Gospel presently clearly followed by an invitation to get up and come forward and receive Christ as your Savior.
As a young boy in Dayton, mom and dad took us I believe in the 60's to Columbus where he preached and we heard testimony. That is another aspect of his crusades that stayed consistent. He always had guests, celebrities, athletes, actors, come and share their testimony of faith in Christ. They were never long, but you could tell, they had been asked to share a brief word for the Lord. One of my favorites comes from the 1987 crusade in Columbia, S.C. It is special because I am a basketball fan and my favorite player was "Pistol" Pete Maravich. If you click on this link, you can hear this nine minute testimony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5s6xIZfQtQ The following year, God called Pete to Heaven at the age of forty.
We took the Church to Indianapolis to Hoosier dome for a Crusade and several years ago we were in involved in the Cincinnati Crusade at Paul Brown Stadium. It was a blessing to be a counselor and we also had folks involved in the follow up process.
Even in these turbulent days, and even in his declining health, Billy Graham's presence gave us preachers and Christians a sense of security. He physical meetings with many presidents and world leaders indicate the respect that people had for him His integrity in ministry and the "Modesto Manifesto" (Guidelines that he and his ministry would follow) served him well.
The news will ask the question, "Who will be the next Billy Graham?" There will never be another Billy Graham, but as a preacher of the gospel there are many who will continue to preach the same Gospel and invite people to come to Jesus. We must not waiver, and may we be found faithful as America's Pastor.
Years ago he was asked, "If you could ask the Lord one thing, what would it be?'' His response, "Why me?"
Each message concluded with "Just As I am." May we carry the torch that has burned for so many years. May the Lord give strength to his family as the nation watches next week. May many more come to Christ as the Gospel is preached.
Thank you Lord for raising up, using, and blessing Billy Graham. We are grateful.