Rev. Dr. Billy Graham Dies

Another Godly Man Passes Away

Rev. Dr. Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99. He truly was “America’s Pastor.”Picture of Dr. Graham

I don’t think we will see as godly a man as Dr. Graham again in my lifetime. His message was clear and to the point: Jesus came, died, rose again, and asks each individual to repent of their sins and receive him by faith as one’s only Lord and Savior. He proclaimed this message powerfully and with a gracious southern accent.

I heard Dr. Graham speak live several times. Once, many years ago at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida, I took a group of young people to see him and hear his salvation message. The stadium was so packed that even though we arrived an hour before the crusade we had to watch the whole event in the parking lot through a huge projection screen. Back then that was high-tech stuff—watching a live event via a jumbotron was an event in and of itself. More people attended that revival meeting than attended a Superbowl!

Dr. Graham’s body will be taken from Asheville to Charlotte today at 11:25 am, Saturday, in a procession expected to take 3 ½ hours and ending at the Billy Graham Library at 2:20 PM.House and Barn at the Library

His body will lie in repose Monday and Tuesday (Feb 26, 27) in his Charlotte home where Graham grew up, which was moved from its original location to the grounds of the Billy Graham Library. To view the closed casket of such a powerful spiritual leader as Dr. Graham is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Library will be closed until March 5th, so you’ll have to schedule visiting it for a later time.

There will be no on-site public parking during this period of lie in repose at the Library. All public parking will be accommodated at the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center located at 7100 Forest Point Blvd., (just off I-77) a few miles from the Billy Graham Library and at the Charlotte Business Valet, Lot 2 at 5807 Wilkinson Blvd. Complimentary public shuttle buses will run continually from these lots to and from the Graham Family Homeplace. The shuttles will run from 8 AM to 9:30 PM. The last shuttle will depart the parking lot 30 minutes before the public lie in repose closes. You can find a public visitation guide on the Library’s website here.

Ruth and Billy grave siteA private funeral service will be held on Friday, March 2nd. Mr. Graham will be buried beside his wife, Ruth, at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the Prayer Garden, on the northeast side of the Billy Graham Library.The funeral is private so you won’t be able to attend. However, the grave site will be made available to the public shortly after his internment.

President Trump tweeted last Wednesday, soon after Dr. Graham’s passing was reported, “The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.” I can’t think of anyone living today that I would like to honor after their death than such a godly and humble man as Dr. Graham. In many ways, he has been a model for me as a young minister, especially his high moral commitment to financial integrity and faithfulness to his wife (Ruth).

We need to pray that God will raise up another who can win the hearts and minds of our nation and who can gain the attention of millions all over the world encouraging them to confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I thank God for blessing our nation with such a leader who was not ashamed of the gospel or to bring the name of Jesus to the highest authorities of power around the globe (Rom 1:16).

Presuming on Grace; Mocking Forgiveness

A gospel presentation on how someone is redeemed (three of three)

When we open the door of our hearts Jesus comes in. He has been there knocking for some time. I didn’t respond to the first calling to confess Jesus as Lord. But, by God’s grace, he remained at the door continually knocking until I finally surrendered my will to his and opened the door.Picture of the crown of thorns

The image of conversion ends with a promise (Rev 3:19-20). If anybody hears the knock (the voice of God’s Spirit) and opens the door (favorably responds to the call to repent and believe) then Jesus promises to come in.

Three things happen at conversion, 1) Jesus comes in, 2) he eats with you, and 3) you eat with him. The metaphor of sharing a meal together is the ultimate picture in ancient times of having a close friendship with another person.

Presuming on Grace; Mocking Forgiveness

A gospel presentation on how someone is redeemed (two of three)

Previously, we discussed how God opens our ears to hear him knocking on the door of our hearts and how he enables us to get up and answer the door (Rev 3:19-20). This indicates that salvation is a sovereign, gracious, and loving act of God. Picture of the crown of thorns

When I was a young teen life was good. Sports was a large part of my life, as were friendships. My life appeared full, fun, and endless. God’s was calling me to himself, but I was too busy to hear that call. He was knocking on the door of my heart, however, the busy activities of a young man were knocking more loudly and distracting me from any sense of my spiritual emptiness.

Presuming on Grace; Mocking Forgiveness

A gospel presentation on how someone is redeemed (one of three)

As a young teenager, I sensed a divine calling to acknowledge Jesus Christ as my Creator God and Savior. At the time it hadn’t sunk in exactly what that meant and I didn’t fully understand what had happened to me after I made a profession of faith. Several decades later, as I reflect on that youthful experience, what happened and what it meant to be redeemed has become clearer. I now more fully, but not completely, understand how a person is redeemed. Based on one of the most popular verses in the Bible used to call individuals to saving faith, we can learn how a person is converted.Picture of the crown of thorns

John, in his vision of heaven, used the metaphor of Jesus knocking on a door to describe entrance into heaven. “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:19-20 ESV).

Six Tools for Mining Gold From Sermons

How to hear from God even if the sermon is uninspiring (three of three)

Have you agonized through a bad sermon? Does God use inexperienced or poor communicators to preach his Word? What can you do when your pastor is having an off day and the sermon doesn’t speak to you?  On different occasions, we have all heard a preacher speak and say very little of value. Here is the third installment of a three-part resource article that might make the difference between enjoying a sermon and simply tolerating it.Preacher with hat and bible

Everyone has personal interest and hobbies that excite them. It’s hard to hide your passions. And it only takes a few moments to learn who a person is and what they like. Each person has a different set of natural desires and the combinations of passions are as endless as there are different individuals. The variety of passions for life is what makes people interesting. Our passions fuel our actions.

Six Tools for Mining Gold From Sermons

How to hear from God even if the sermon is uninspiring (two of three)

One Sunday morning I left my sermon notes on my desk at home. That wasn’t the worst part. I didn’t realize my sermon notes were missing until, in the middle of the service, I stood at the pulpit and began preaching! Initially, I hesitated to preach. What was I to say? How can I remember the content of the sermon?Preacher with hat and bible

As an additional blow to my ego, after the sermon, more people mentioned to me that today’s sermon was my best. What had happened? Without my notes, I was forced to stick closely to the biblical text. I couldn’t remember every point I wanted to make, but I could remember the basic outline because it followed the text. The main point of the text was preached, I gave a few illustrations, focused on God’s redemptive actions, and closed with thoughts on knowing how God engages our lives and how his saving power directs us in glorifying him. I had escaped my worst preaching fear–preaching impromptu.

Global Hymn Sing

How can you participate in this worship experience?

Sunday, February 25, Global Hymn SingGlobal Hymn Sing notice

On Sunday, February 25 there will be over 400,000 people from 2,300 churches in 55 countries singing the great hymn “Jesus Shall Reign” as an act of unity in God’s mission. This is the third year the Global Hymn Sing has organized this event.

Check out their website below to find out how you and your congregation can participate. There you will find a three-minute information video by Keith Getty about the event and a beautiful video rendition of the song in English. Keith and Kristyn Getty along with Ed Cash perform the song and the video is stunning.

Free sheet music and other resources are available on the website too. Everything on the website is free for churches to use.

As of February 13, 439,298 people have committed to singing this song throughout the world. Wow! Isn’t that amazing to think that the entire globe will be singing praise to Christ our Lord. There is also a global map showing every congregation that has signed up to participate. There are “dots” all over the world!

Click here to view the information video. If you scroll down you can watch the music video rendition of the hymn.

Six Tools for Mining Gold From Sermons

How to hear from God even if the sermon is uninspiring (one of three)

The sermon is regularly the highlight of a worship service. Worship services are designed around the sermon’s content and theme. We attend hoping to hear a good message and leave inspired. If the sermon was good then the worship service was worth attending. If the sermon was bad, well hopefully, it wasn’t a total waste of time.Street preacher with hat and bible

Good sermons are important because people are looking for direction for the coming week. They come to church hoping to hear from God through the message. They want to find meaning and purpose in either the past week’s events or the coming week’s activities. Unfortunately, it’s possible to leave the church finding little or no direction, challenge, or motivation. We didn’t or couldn’t connect with the sermon. It didn’t make an impact.