February 23, 2018 | by: Rev. John Hartman | 0 comments
Posted in: Children & Family
With the news of Billy Graham’s death this week at the age of 99, much of the focus has been on his long life as an evangelist. The impact he has had on millions of people across the globe as a messenger of the good news of Jesus Christ is something that we may never see again. It is estimated that he preached in person to more than 215 million people. He wrote books, devotionals, and had a profound influence on national and world leaders. Many of us invited Billy Graham into our living rooms through his televised crusades over the years. To put it in terms of today, I would say that Billy Graham was an icon.
Back on September 7, 1991, while in my last year at Princeton Seminary, I went with some church members from Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains, New Jersey to a Billy Graham Crusade at the Meadowlands. It was a beautiful evening of worship and music, prayer, and other special speakers. And then Billy Graham came and did what Billy Graham had done so faithfully for all those years. He preached a practical, nuts and bolts sermon on God’s eternal love, and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.
I remember Billy’s sermon, because built into that core message was that of the issue of “Time.” How do we spend our time? How much time do we have left? He talked about not just chronological time (1, 2, 3, 4 . . .), but more importantly the Greek word for time being the word, “Kairos,” which means the “opportune time.” And then, he extended the invitation to everyone who believed that the “time” had come for them to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and to come forward. Scores of people made their way to the front, and the people in the arena all sang that familiar hymn, “Just As I Am, Without One Plea.” It is a night I will never forget, as I was struck by someone who God was using so powerfully to introduce them to faith in Jesus Christ. I hope that night has made me a better communicator of the gospel, and I hope that it has helped stir in me a passion to invite people to know Jesus Christ, our Savior, and to use our “time” wisely in knowing him and making him known.
Quote of the Week:
“God never takes away something from your life without replacing it with something better.” Billy Graham
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