I am praising God for the “E” word this week. You know, the one that not many “church people” talk about frequently. Evangelism. There I’ve said it. It used to be spoken of frequently. People would rejoice upon hearing that someone had received Christ as their Savior and Lord, and repented of their sins. They would come alongside that new disciple and help them grow in the Lord. Lives were transformed as God became their center.
The gospel was shared and invitations were given frequently at church services, events, and one on one to accept the call of Christ upon one’s life. Yes, this practice may have been abused by some, but that doesn’t mean it should be discontinued. However, many Christian churches today belittle “altar calls” and “invitations,” not wanting to repeat the mistakes of those that went before. Do not misread me here. I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of arm-twisting, or fear inducing, manipulating pleas to one’s emotions, utilized in the past or present by some counterfeit preachers, and designed to add numbers to their roster of “conquests.”
That being said, I don’t believe for one moment, that we should not issue an invitation to receive Christ, and neither does Billy Graham, thankfully. He and his staff have stood strong through the years and always given invitations, even amidst their critics’ claims that many who went forward were their own staff. The truth is, some were, and that was never anything they tried to hide. Each one even wore staff ID tags. They, indeed, were counselors going forward to talk with the people. Kudos to you, Billy Graham, for never shrinking from what God called you to do! And praise God for each and every soul that has heard the gospel through your ministry and answered the call of Christ on his/her life. And God bless all those who have participated in the follow-up ministry that you made available to them in their own residential areas. Thanks for never, ever, “leaving” anyone at the altar.
In Billy’s latter years, his son, Franklin has faithfully carried on the ministry begun by his dad so many years ago. On Thursday, November 7, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will hold a special televised Crusade. This is what they say about the event.
“My Hope with Billy Graham is a massive effort to reach people across the United States and Canada with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Following a simple biblical model, My Hope with Billy Graham combines the reach and excitement of a nationwide media event with the power of personal relationships. Under the guidance of their local pastors, Christians across these two countries will open their homes to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors using different media programs featuring Billy Graham, dynamic music, and testimonies. Like the Apostle Matthew, some will invite their guests into their homes to learn about Jesus using prime time television, while others will gather at a coffee shop or the park to watch the program on a tablet or smartphone.”
The broadcasts will air on TBN Thursday, Nov. 7 at 8 PM, and on the FOX News channel at 10 PM.
My Hope originally launched in 2002. Since that time, more than 4.4 million Christians have served as My Hope hosts: They’ve been encouraged, trained, and given the opportunity to tell others about the change Christ has made in their lives. At the conclusion of the My Hope broadcasts, hosts share their personal testimonies and invite their guests to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. Hallelujah!
“Jesus said . . . Don’t you have a saying, “It’s still four months until the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Let’s pray for the harvest!
So when was the last time you heard of someone repenting of their sins and coming to Christ? If you have to think about it for too long, it’s been way too long. Jesus has promised to return one day and take us to be with Him in Paradise. Will you be taking anyone with you?
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14,15) Thank you, Rev. Billy Graham, for your beautiful, beautiful feet!
That’s the view from here . . .