Nov 8, 2017

Happy 99th Birthday Billy Graham! ~ St. Mark

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The year was 1976.  Excited, I waited alongside Dad with about 50 other equally-excited ministry workers.  All of us were smartly outfitted in white shirts, suits and ties, as if we were awaiting royalty.  All of us had been invited to this important "Motown" organizing meeting by the BGEA.  Although this happened decades ago in nearby Detroit, Michigan, it was a moment that has embedded itself in my mind forever.  We'd also listened to Beverly Shea, his soloist for years on the TV.   As a family we'd played his vinyl records until they were scratchy.  Billy Graham, George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows - What a faithful team they were!  Three handsome men absolutely on fire for God!  But this was it!;  ...any minute he would enter the room and we would finally see and meet him personally!

Billy Graham had my absolute & utmost respect.  His effectiveness for Christ, his integrity, the things he stood for & his boldness in witness for Christ were unparalleled!  He could quickly draw you in with the power of his words and leave you significantly challenged.  He was and is legendary! He was the benchmark in the christian world setting the standards for decades to come.  My dad as a minister of the gospel just over the Michigan border, had been invited to represent our church with a number of other area pastors.  They promised to pray and support the upcoming area Billy Graham Crusade.

Billy Graham was the world's greatest evangelist, even surpassing the Apostle Paul and his ability to reach his generation!  

I was only 19 years old, and the youngest person in the room then, but I had been following his ministry since I was young enough to remember.  In those days, his large crusades even preempted regularly scheduled TV and radio programming.

A hush fell over the room as he humbly walked in flashing his smile and protected by a security detail; He stood just several feet from me. 

What can I say?  I was "moved" to say the least; what an inspiration he was to me.  He thanked & encouraged us for supporting his upcoming crusade and led us in prayer, calling on God to change people's hearts and accept Christ's Salvation when they attended the Crusade.  After this short meeting, his security people led him out.  I later learned that they were apparently protecting him from threats to his life and wisely taking all precautions.

I was left speechless, ... I had just met Billy Graham in person.

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Billy Graham was 99 years old yesterday!  
Happy Birthday!~ St Mark

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