Last week Jennie and I were given the opportunity to meet Billy Graham. We traveled to his mountainside home in North Carolina and were honored to sit down in his kitchen and spend some time with him. I’m not kidding when I say that there is not a single person on earth that I would be more excited to meet and talk to. He has preached the gospel to more people than anyone in human history. Hundreds and hundreds of millions have heard the good news because of him. Amazing.
Yet through all the historic crusades, counseling presidents, heads of state, and being considered, year after year, one of the most influential people alive, he has remained humble and driven by the simple desire to focus all the attention on the man in the glory — Jesus Christ. Even more amazing. He grew up the son of a dairy farmer and is a testimony to what God can do through a life that is fully yielded to Him and to His word.
As a young pastor and evangelist I have been greatly impacted by him. I vividly remember getting to attend one of his crusades for the first time. It was on my birthday my sophomore year of high school and I was thrilled to hear him preach in person. All these years later I still watch his messages regularly. It is part of my Skull Church warmup routine. I have many memories of sitting with Alivia and Lenya on those mornings watching grainy, vintage black and white footage that was shot at some of the historic crusades. His booming voice coming through the ages as fiery and powerful today as it was when it was first recorded.
Billy is 94 years old. He has fought the good fight for many, many decades — and he continues to still. He just finished writing a book on the subject of salvation that will release soon. While we were there he was picking out the cover. His beloved wife Ruth, who is a heroine to Jennie, is in Heaven. It was a joy for us to not only talk about Fresh Life and our desire to follow in his footsteps through preaching the gospel at Skull Church events, but to reflect on the hope of the resurrection, the reality of Heaven and the joys awaiting us that Lenya and Ruth are experiencing now. It was very special and an experience that I will treasure all my days. The opportunity for us to meet him came just before Lenya went to Heaven. We leapt at the chance at the time, and it meant even more to us in light of her sudden departure.
I am so thankful to Wil Graham, Billy’s grandson, who is an evangelist and a man of God and has become a great friend. He hosted us at their training center, The Cove, showed us all around Montreat, N.C. and told us so many amazing stories about “Daddy Bill.” It was a joy for our family to spend time with him, his lovely wife Kendra and their kids.
If you are ever in North Carolina, you for sure need to visit the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. It tells the story of what God has done through his life and ministry. It is very well done and so inspiring.