Peggy Noonan once said that the most profound things are said the simplest. We say, “I love you.” Deep, moving, covenantal, eternal. Simple.
For most of the Twentieth Century one man, Billy Graham, said the most profound things, over and over: “God loves you; repent and believe; For God so loved the world…; turn to Christ today; don’t leave until you have said, ‘Lord I am a sinner and need Jesus. Come to Him today. The buses will wait, you come and give your life to Christ. There may never be another day for you to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.”
I was reminded of those simple words, the good words, those most profound words, this week, as my family and I toured the Billy Graham Library. We toured at night, during Advent, which is a great time to visit what I truly believe is a national treasure. My son who works as a high school intern there urged us to come. “Dad, this is better than most museums we have been to.” He was right. I was deeply moved. As we took the tour from “Billy Frank’s” days as a dairy farm boy in Charlotte, to his growing up at Chalmers Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church, to the turning point night at the Mordecai Ham tent meeting, and through his college days, his first and only pastorate, and then the monumental Los Angeles crusade and on through the familiar sites of Billy Graham with presidents, Billy Graham on television, Billy Graham debating (ever so gently) Phil Donohue and Woody Allen and sharing Christ with Johnny Carson, Billy Graham preaching to the Queen and Billy Graham preaching in Communist nations (joining Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II to bring down the “Iron Curtain”), to the iconic moment of a new generation, Billy Graham, in the pulpit of the National Cathedral, praying for a stunned nation after 9/11, I am sure I felt what most others felt: awe, inspiration, and one more thing. I felt that there is power in the simple things, the good things. In this case, there is power in a simple Gospel message of God’s love in sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins on the cross and rise again. I felt again that stirring in my own soul, the stirring that I felt when I heard the Gospel from Aunt Eva, when I heard Dr. Kennedy explain grace to me, when I heard Pastor Bob exposit the Scriptures, and when I heard, deep in my soul, the call to go and preach the unsearchable riches of Christ myself, undeserving as I was and am of such an honor.
I left and told my family that this was not only a time of renewing my appreciation for how God can use one man who will surrender his life to Christ, but a time of renewal in my own life. It is a time to re-calibrate back to the day when I was called to share Christ with others. It is a time of renewal to the ministry of personal evangelism. It is a time of renewal to preach the simple things, the good things of God to as many people as I can. Life and ministry is not about me, it is about Christ. It is about Christ for a world of lost sinners in need. It is about coming to Him, “Just as I am without one plea.” It is about the simple things, the good things.
- Billy GrahamTurns 93 (foxnews.com)
- Are You a Faithful Witness? – John 1.19-51 (michaelmilton.org)
- When God Calls: Genesis 12:1-2 (michaelmilton.org)
- Appointed to His Service – The Gospel as the Foundation for Christian Ministry (albertmohler.com)
- Christmas, Creeds, and Preaching (Carl Trueman) (reformation21.org)
- What Christmas is Really All About (michaelmilton.org)
- Preaching during the Christmas Season (Sean Lucas) (reformation21.org)
- Christmas and the faith and courage to live — or die (Carl Trueman) (reformation21.org)
- A Song for the First Sunday in Advent as I go Preaching (michaelmilton.org)
- Billy Graham’s son says father is recovering well (seattletimes.nwsource.com)