A Tribute to Billy Graham
In 1972, when I was 12 years old, I went with my parents to hear Billy Graham preach at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. On the platform with him was Coach Tom Landry, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, and Joe Namath! It was quite a gathering!
In our home, Billy Graham was a revered name. My parents prayed for his ministry. We bought his books. We watched his crusades on television. My parents taught us to respect him and pray for him.
I can’t remember not knowing who Billy Graham was. He has been a fixture in my life for my entire life. I have always loved and respected him. I never met him personally. Even though I never met him, he has served as a mentor to me my entire ministry life.
He is revered in my home now. Cindy made her decision to follow Jesus while she was listening to Billy Graham preach. She was a nine-year old little girl growing up in Mississippi at the time. She has always loved him.
While I was pastoring in Garland, we showed a Billy Graham film in our church on a Sunday night. At the conclusion of the movie, Billy Graham came on and offered an invitation. He said, “Your Pastor will be standing at the front of your church if you would like to receive Christ as your Savior. Just walk forward and tell your Pastor what you want to do.” I was standing at the front of our church – and our daughter, Hannah, came walking forward. She said, “I want to do what that man just said!”
So, Billy Graham is a much-loved man in our home.
In fact, Billy Graham is a much-loved man in millions of homes. He has preached to over a quarter of a billion people! Who knows how many others have listened on radio or television through the years? His ministry has spanned our globe and spanned the generations.
I love the fact that he never changed his message. He was always committed to the proclamation of the Gospel. He never wavered. Praise God for his unwavering commitment to preach the Gospel to the world. His life and ministry has changed the world.
While I mourn his passing – I celebrate his life. I am a better preacher and person because of him. I will always respect him and his integrity. I continue to be inspired by his faithfulness to God and to the call of God on his life.
Thank you, Billy Graham!