From the Desk of Billy Graham:
All of us care a great deal about our country. The intensity of opinions and feelings during the long political campaign showed the depth of that concern.
Now with the votes counted, it is important to remember that whether we are personally pleased with the outcome or not, God wants us to pray for those chosen to be our leaders—at the national, state, and local levels. The Bible urges us to do so with both respect and thanksgiving (see 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Timothy 2:1–3).
We must also remember that no election will ever solve America’s most basic problems. That is because the trouble, at its root, is in the human heart, and the only path to true restoration—for a person or for a nation—is through repentance. The Bible says, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19–20, ESV).
Only the Gospel, God’s Good News, has the power to change lives, heal hearts, and restore a nation.
I want that to happen in America, and I know you want that as well. I turned 94 on the day after the election. Although my age and health have limited me physically in recent years, I plan to spend the next 12 months, if God permits, doing all that I am able to do in helping to carry out a fresh vision God has given us—a vision to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every possible place in America by the time of my 95th birthday. It’s called My Hope, and I pray that you will partner with us.
In the days of the Prophet Jeremiah, God commanded His people to “seek the peace and prosperity” of the land where He had placed them and to “pray to the Lord for it” (Jeremiah 29:7, NIV). I ask you to join me in committing the next 52 weeks to faithful, even fervent, prayer for this land in which we live. You can start by making a list of people you know personally who need Jesus Christ and then begin praying regularly for them, individually by name.
Pray also for your neighborhood and your city, asking God to bring men, women, teens, and children—people from your own community—to Himself during the next 12 months. And pray along with me for the nation, asking God for mercy on America and for a great spiritual awakening.
My son Franklin is spearheading this vision and outreach, working in partnership with thousands of churches across every state in the country (ask your pastor if your church plans to take part). Franklin will be sending you more details on how this will work through the coming months and how you can participate.
At the climax of My Hope one year from now, if God enables me, I want to call the entire nation to repentance and lasting hope in Jesus Christ. The message I give will be presented in a fresh format, different from preaching at a Crusade, but the same Gospel. I believe we will see God work in a mighty way.
It is my passionate, heartfelt desire to see God change hearts and lives in every community in America, and I pray He will stir the same desire in you.
Will you join Franklin and me in this bold venture?
May God bless you,
There is a story of a woman in England who came to her vicar with a troubled conscience. The vicar knew her to be a habitual gossip—she had maligned nearly everyone in the village. “How can I make amends?” she pleaded. The vicar said, “If you want to make peace with your conscience, take a bag of goose feathers and drop one on the porch of each one you have slandered.” When she had done so, she came back to the vicar and said, “Is that all?” “No,” said the wise old minister, “you must go now and gather up every feather and bring them all back to me.” After a long time the woman returned without a single feather. “The wind has blown them all away,” she said. “My good woman,” said the vicar, “so it is with gossip. Unkind words are easily dropped, but we can never take them back again.”
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Ps 19.14).
Billy Graham, in his book “Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well” (pp. 1-2, Thomas Nelson), he writes:
Growing old has been the greatest surprise of my life. The young live for the here and now. Thinking ahead seems to be in the form of dreams that promise fairy-tale endings. Though I am nearing ninety-three, it doesn’t seem so long ago that I was one of those dreamers, filled with great expectation, planning a life that Continue reading
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This verse makes it clear God loves people. Regardless of who they are or what they have done, God loved them enough to send Jesus to die for them. When we see people who act differently than we do as Christians, we need to remember God’s desire that none perish and then share with them the good news of Jesus Christ.
In Russell Moore’s article “The Next Billy Graham Might Be Drunk Right Now,” we are given a perfect example of why it is important to be about making disciples. You never know what is going to become of the person to whom you are witnessing. Dr. Moore’s blog should also encourage us when we are not seeing a lot of decisions. If we are faithful to plant the seed of the gospel, God will see that it produces fruit.
I think this is the best article I have read in 2012, so I hope you enjoy “The Next Billy Graham Might Be Drunk Right Now.”
Whenever I start to get discouraged about the future of the church, I remember a conversation I had a few years ago with evangelical theologian Carl F. H. Henry on what would turn out to be his last visit to Southern Seminary before his death.
Several of us were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, about so much doctrinal vacuity, vapid preaching, non-existent discipleship. We asked Dr. Henry if he saw any hope in the coming generation of evangelicals.
And I will never forget his reply.
“Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic,” he said. “Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans.”
“Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?” he asked us. “Who knew that God would raise up a C.S. Lewis, a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith.”
Of course, the same principle applied to Henry himself. Who knew that God would raise up a newspaperman from a nominally Lutheran family to defend the Scriptures for generations of conservative evangelicals?
The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynist, profanity-spewing hip-hop artist right now. The next Billy Graham might be passed out drunk in a fraternity house right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be making posters for a Gay Pride March right now. The next Mother Teresa might be managing an abortion clinic right now.
But the Spirit of God can turn all that around. And seems to delight to do so. The new birth doesn’t just transform lives, creating repentance and faith; it also provides new leadership to the church, and fulfills Jesus’ promise to gift his church with everything needed for her onward march through space and time (Eph. 4:8-16).
After all, while Phillip was leading the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ, Saul of Tarsus was still a murderer.
Most of the church in any generation comes along through the slow, patient discipleship of the next generation. But just to keep us from thinking Christianity is evolutionary and “natural” (or, to use Dr. Henry’s term “genetic”), Jesus shocks his church with leadership that seems to come like a Big Bang out of nowhere.
Whenever I’m tempted to despair about the shape of American Christianity, I’m reminded that Jesus never promised the triumph of the American church; he promised the triumph of the church. Most of the church, in heaven and on earth, isn’t American. Maybe the hope of the American church is right now in Nigeria or Laos or Indonesia.
Jesus will be King, and his church will flourish. And he’ll do it in the way he chooses, by exalting the humble and humbling the exalted, and by transforming cowards and thieves and murderers into the cornerstones of his New City.
And, be kind to that atheist in front of you on the highway, the one who just shot you an obscene gesture. He might be the one who evangelizes your grandchildren.
Click here to read more by Dr. Russell Moore.