Billy Graham: 1918-2018
I trust you are doing well and looking forward to the Lord's Day.
I was awakened early Wednesday morning by my cell phone ringing. It was my older brother David calling from Chicago. He said, "Did you hear the news: Billy Graham died!" He said I'd always called him and told him about people from Dallas Seminary who had died - and he wanted to beat me with the news about Billy Graham. The Hornok brothers are a competitive bunch!
I'd never met Billy Graham, but for obvious reasons, you feel like you know him. He was rightly called "America's Pastor." I remember watching his crusades on our black and white TV screen in the late 1950's and 1960's. Growing up in Utah, it was exciting to see his crusades televised. Billy Graham was preaching the same gospel we were preaching. He was one of us.
When Connie and I lived in Tulsa I would preach Sundays at a small Bible church on the Oklahoma-Arkansas border a little more than an hour from our home. Rebroadcasts of Billy Graham's radio program, "The Hour of Decision" would be on a Christian radio station. Frequently we listened to his simple yet compelling gospel message. A message that never changed and was as powerful as ever.
I've met many people who've shared with me that they became Christians listening to or watching Billy Graham on radio or TV. Once when we were on vacation with my Mom and Dad in their motor home we were traveling to Oregon and Washington. We spent the night at a camp site in Idaho. Our daughter Darci was in Junior High and while we prepared supper, Dad and Darci went around the campsite passing out tracks. Dad said, "Darci, let's go pass out some tracks!" Later that night, while we were around the camp fire a couple came over to join us. As they walked up the husband said, "Are there any Christians here?" It was all a set up - Dad and Darci met some fellow believers and Dad invited them to join us and told them to ask that question. During the course of the evening I asked how they became Christians living in Idaho. They said, "Watching Billy Graham on TV!" Their story can be repeated many times over.
With the death of Billy Graham the world has lost a great man and leader. The church has lost one of its greatest evangelists of all times. We were blessed to have heard him, been part of his ministry and seen his impact first hand.
See you Sunday!
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