Lately I have been thinking a lot about Billy Graham. He's had a huge impact on so many lives. I remember listening to him on the old TV in our den. (that didn't have a remote back then and you had to actually GET UP off the couch to change the channel... yes I'm THAT old ;) I can't remember if I actually went to a Crusade, I think we did, but I know my parents went a couple times. But I was thinking about him the day before we all heard the news of his passing. (Which may be when he DID pass... that's kind of strange now that I think about it) The reason he's been on my mind is because I have been really struggling with what my WORDS and my heart SPEAK forth. This verse in Ecclesiastes 5:2 is what I honestly have to check myself ALL the time on: "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart." I think of Billy Graham as someone who had this as his prayer.
This morning I watched as Billy Graham was honored by our President in the Capital Rotunda and I heard the story that started it all. It moved be beyond tears because it was all about the POWER of Prayer.
You see in 1934 Billy Graham's father let a group of business men from their town in NC use part of their farm (I'm going to believe it was their barn) as a GATHERING PLACE to come together for a day of prayer. These business men prayed for their town, their businesses,
They prayed a powerful prayer that was an unbelievably BOLD prayer.
They prayed that the Lord would raise up someone to preach the GOSPEL to the ENDS OF THE WORLD from their town!!
Billy Graham was only 15 years old at that time.
But it is safe to say that prayer was answered in a BIG way, through the son of the man who allowed that day of prayer to take place in a GATHERING PLACE on his land.
That may not get your waterworks going, but it does BIG TIME for me.
As you well know by now, if you come to my blog, we as a family are "pulling up roots" and moving to Colorado because we feel the Lord has called us to build a Gathering Place. I can't help but hear that story and get on my knees. To pray that we pray BOLD prayers like that for this next generation! I WANT prayers spoken, lives moved, and hearts drawn near to the Lord on our land!
Let me back track a little though and be an open book with you. I've been having little doubts creep in along the way about us moving. How are we going to DO THIS? How are we going to AFFORD THIS? What is this really going to LOOK LIKE?
Yes, we have definitely heard the voice of God through His Word, through people, through promptings. Yes, doors have been opening all along the way. It has been an INCREDIBLE time of hearing and seeing signs. So I KNOW that He is truly moving us. I guess I'm just having doubts about what this is supposed to look like? What is this Gathering Place all about...
So what are these fears about? I'm not sure but I think I'm seeing that there are two reasons for these doubts.
#1 is FEAR.
The doubt is not that I think it's not the right path for us going forward. It's the fear of rejection, the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown. Yes, if I'm laying it all out there to see, it's fear that comes in and messes with me.
#2 is the enemy.
He doesn't want this to happen. Plain and simple. When we step out in faith to do the will of God, he doesn't like that. I'll share more on these two things in a coming blog post, so I will leave this here for now. And as a side note: If you have any words to speak on this I'd love to hear them. I could use wisdom here...
Lately I've been caught up on WORDS. Oh... you already know that though... :)
It's just that in this social media day and age... words are everywhere! Words of wisdom, words of hate. Words of encouragement, words of pride. More words that we can digest. And in all of that, I wonder what are MY words saying? Will I follow the crowd, will I be fearful to speak up for what I believe? Will I hurt someone with my words or will I be an encourager?
The last couple weeks we have been going through the "I AM" statements in church. It's made me think:
Do we follow the crowd or do we follow Jesus?
John 6:68 says: "To whom shall we go? You have the WORDS of eternal life."Like Peter says to Jesus... You are LIFE. Why would we want to go anywhere else? Why would we want to follow anyone else? Your WORDS are life.
And it makes me think about Billy Graham. The morning I found out about his passing I wrote this in my journal:
"Yesterday Billy Graham was called home. What a giant of the faith and yet the most humble of men. It reminds me of Jesus' words in Mark 10 where Jesus talks about serving others. "Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as ransom for many."
I think of how Billy lived his life... it's exactly what I've been trying to understand... How to live like THAT? A humble servant of the Lord, going about the "business" of sharing God's LOVE:
My thoughts lately have been struggling with this... how do you speak God's truth to all? How do you speak God's truths with love... without judgement? How do you speak God's truths and show grace to people who have such opposing ideas/views on life? How do you show kindness to those who laugh and mock you for your beliefs?
Billy Graham was able to do all those things! He had the answer...
And I think I finally figured it out too. Luke 9 says it. In verses 23-26 is says: "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses himself?" We have to fight this FEAR (that is not from God) and live a life that IS only for God. Simply for Jesus. I am not ashamed of the gospel. So if we live without fear of rejection, fear of hate or fear of loss, we move into a space that says: "God has given us the answer to LIFE... through His Word and the Holy Spirit." Why would we NOT want to help heal a hurting world? Like Kathy Lee Gifford said this morning, "Would you keep the cure to cancer hidden if you found it? No! Then if we as believers have the answer to life everlasting, why would we keep it hidden?"
That I think is how Billy Graham was able to keep the foundation of a faithful life. He didn't care if the people he humbly and simply shared his faith with were rich or poor, democrats or republicans, red, yellow, black or white, or even what religion they were raised up in.
He had a cure for death... and it was simply Jesus and the Gospel message!
Because it is such GOOD NEWS.
Last week was "I am the Light of the World" in our series at church. There is SO much in that statement and it was so interesting to realize that God's first words spoken to man are about light. (Gen. 1:1-5 "Let there be Light") All the way through the Bible is talks about the Light vs. the darkness. It is a battle... Good vs. Evil. (Just like all those movies we see with the superhero's saving the world) All through the Bible we see God bringing Light into the darkness, Jesus coming to save us from the darkness. Jesus BEING the Light of the World, and then calling those who believe to be the light of the world. And then even to the very end in Revelations 21:23 where is says: "for the glory of God gives light..."
God's LOVE brings LIGHT to the whole WORLD.
John 3:16 "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him."
God LOVES you. He sent His SON because of LOVE. Not to condemn... but to show just how great and wide His LOVE is.
I hope you feel that today. I hope you KNOW that today. If not, please email me or message me because that's what I want to make sure you "get" from this blog post today! We have victory over the darkness in this world through Jesus, and we are called to shine that light.
It may be a tiny ember that you have...or a tiny mustard seed... and that is OK. Like our pastor said at the end of the service, "Even if you're a tiny little ember, God is over here willing to stoke that fire and grow your flame." I love that.
So I guess all this has answered my questions. (and I have to remind myself of this when the enemy tries to confuse me or tries to diminish what God is calling us to do)
Our GATHERING PLACE is to be a light to the world about the GOOD NEWS...
that God LOVES You.
Look at this barn below. It's the beautiful barn that sits on Billy Graham's land. I wonder how many BOLD prayers have been prayed right there? How many people have been raised up to go spread the GOOD NEWS to the ends of the world...
Look at this barn. It's the beautiful barn that sits on Billy Graham's land. I wonder how many BOLD prayers have been prayed right there? How many people have been raised up to go spread the GOOD NEWS to the ends of the world...
Love the cross as a window to bring in the LIGHT.
It reminds me of the stained glass you see in church windows letting the light in. Our pastor put it this way:
Jesus is like that light. When He is inside of us we are like that stained glass and His beautiful glory shines through us.
We may need to have a stained glass window in our barn...
I hope you have a great day and know how much God loves you. Would love to hear any of your Billy Graham stories. I'm sure he has impacted your life in some way. And if not... go listen to him preach and then you will see why he touched so many lives. I'm sure there's some on YouTube or you can find them here.