Who Was Billy Graham?

Billy Graham was an evangelist at revival meetings, and on radio and television for over 40 years.

Religious figure and Christian evangelist Billy Graham was preaching at an L.A. revival and was a guest on Stuart Hamblen’s radio show in 1949. The publicity made Graham a superstar and he began broadcasting his sermons globally. Though detractors criticized Graham for being too liberal, one Time reporter dubbed him “the Pope of Protestant America.” Graham retired in 2005 and later died at his North Carolina home on February 21, 2018, at age 99.

Early Life

William Franklin Graham, Jr. was born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina, to parents William and Morrow Graham. Graham was the first of four children raised on the family’s dairy farm in Charlotte. In hindsight, there was little indication that Graham would one day preach the Christian gospel to as many as 215 million people in live audiences over 185 countries. Graham has been credited with preaching to more individuals than anyone else in history, not counting the additional millions he has addressed through radio, television and the written word.

While Graham’s parents were strict Calvinists, it would be an unfamiliar traveling evangelist who would set Graham on a profound spiritual path. At the age of 16, Graham attended a series of revival meetings run by evangelist Mordecai Ham. Despite the fact that Graham was a well-behaved adolescent, Ham’s sermons on sin spoke to young Graham. After high school, Graham moved to Tennessee to enroll in the conservative Christian school, Bob Jones College. However, he felt disconnected from the school’s rigid doctrine and soon transferred to the Florida Bible Institute. While in Florida, Graham joined a Southern Baptist Convention church, where he was ordained in 1939.

After graduating from the Florida Bible Institute with a bachelor’s in theology, Graham moved to Illinois and enrolled at Wheaton College for further spiritual training. He also met his future wife, Ruth McCue Bell, at this time. Bell was the daughter of a missionary and lived with her family in China until she turned 17. After graduating with a bachelor’s in anthropology, Graham and Bell were married on August 13, 1943. They would eventually raise five children together.

Superstar Preacher

Graham briefly pastored the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, before leaving to join Youth for Christ, an evangelical missionary group that spoke to returning servicemen and young people about God. In 1947, Graham became president of Northwestern Schools, a group of Christian schools in Minnesota. In 1948, he resigned from Youth for Christ and focused on Northwestern Schools until 1952, when he resigned to concentrate on preaching.

It did not take long for people to identify with Graham’s charismatic and heartfelt gospel sermons. In 1949, a group called “Christ for Greater Los Angeles” invited Graham to preach at their L.A. revival. When radio personality Stuart Hamblen had Graham on his radio show, word of the revival spread. The publicity filled Graham’s tents and extended the revival for an additional five weeks. At the urging of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, papers around the nation covered Graham’s revival meetings closely.

As a consequence, Graham became a Christian superstar. Sociologically it is believed that Graham’s success was directly related to the cultural climate of post-WWII America. Graham spoke out against the evils of Communism—one of the biggest fears threatening the American consciousness. In a 1954 interview, Graham stated, “Either communism must die, or Christianity must die, because it is actually a battle between Christ and anti-Christ.” With the advent of nuclear weapons and the demonstrated fragility of life, people turned to spirituality for comfort, and Graham illuminated their path.

Thus, Graham helped bind together a vulnerable nation through a religious revival. By glazing over the finer details of Christianity and focusing on more moderate doctrines, Graham made evangelism enticing, non-threatening, even easy — and the media made his messages accessible to the masses.

Televangelist

To expand and maintain a professional ministry, Graham and his colleagues eventually incorporated the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Graham began broadcasting his sermons over the radio during a Christian show called Songs in the Night. Once a week he also hosted a program called The Hour of Decision, a program ABC initially transmitted to 150 stations before reaching its peak of 1,200 stations across America.

Eventually, this program was converted into a television show which ran for three years. The success of Graham’s radio and television programs speak to his role as a Christian media visionary. Graham used the media as a means for spreading the gospel of Christ, allowing him to access millions of people around the globe.

With Graham’s success, BGEA opened numerous international offices and started publishing periodicals, records, tapes, films and books. BGEA also accepted invitations from religious figures around the world to hold evangelical “crusades.” Scouts would be sent to these cities to reserve a venue, organize volunteer choirs and arrange speakers. At the end of these events, audience members would be invited to commit to Christ and meet with volunteer counselors.

Anxiety

Philippians 4 V 1 – 9 New International Version 

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.Related image

Final Exhortations

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Hide me now

Under your wings

Cover me

Within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar

I will soar with you above the storm

Father you are king over the flood

I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul

In Christ alone

Know his power

In quietness and trust

Sharing

2 Corinthians 9:13 13

Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

It’s true what this video says We do have gift to share to everyone. The beauty of it is that everyone’s gift is different from the person next to you.

In the reading above we are reminded that Paul tells the people of Corinth because you have proved yourselves  others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ,

Whilst sharing things puts us in Gods favour, we mustn’t forget the most important thing to share is the Gospel.

Being renewed day by day

 

2 Corinthians 4 New International Version 

Present Weakness and Resurrection Life

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this Image result for Corinthians 4 16 -17treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side,but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak,14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.