Get Ready to Rejoice

As a little girl, when Billy Graham was on television, the whole family sat and watched.  I really do not remember anything he said but I remember watching the Altar calls to the hymn, “Just As I Am”.  Through the years, one thing that always stood out to me was how Billy Graham watched his reputation.  He would never be alone with a woman other than his wife.  If he was on an elevator and a woman got on, he got off.  He wanted to make sure he was a good representative for Jesus.  Also, he always said, “the Bible says” when he quoted Scripture.  He wanted you to know these words were God’s authority, not man’s.

When I heard that his son, Franklin Graham, will be in Wilmington on October 5, I was so excited!  Then I was even more excited when I learned the Franklin Graham Decision America Tar Heel State Tour will have a prayer meeting at Pine Valley United Methodist Church!  Last night my mom and I went to Leland to the counselor training to learn to pray with those who are making the decision for Jesus Christ.  I went knowing that I will be out of town on October 5 but also knowing I could learn something.  The team equips you to effectively share your faith with others both in daily life and as counselors during the event.  I was so excited by the time I left that I filled out my volunteer form because I am going to volunteer at one of the six crusades in NC!  Franklin, as the team calls him (and they refer to Billy Graham as Mr. Graham) told us that women pray with women and men pray with men.  No exceptions.  They cannot afford for someone to make an accusation that is a distraction from God!  Also, Franklin says “the Bible says” before each Scripture reading!

My tears started in the first five minutes - now if you know me, I cry easily but these were tears of joy!  The Franklin Graham team wanted us to see when the prayer counselors go forward and what we are to do.  So the video started at the end of the crusade - just like I remembered as a child!  Franklin, who looks more and more like his father, was doing an Altar call.  Of course, the hymn “Just As I Am” was playing.  He would tell people if they did not know if they were going to Heaven to come forward.  If they were not 100% sure they were going to Heaven to come forward.  This went on for a while.  He explained why they should come forward and make a public commitment.  Every time he said something we saw people going forward by the droves.  And what touched me was to hear the crowd cheering for them!  Every time Franklin said something and more people came forward the crowd would cheer louder and louder!  The crowd was so excited.  The Christians were so excited as they encouraged the nonbelievers to go forward and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! It still chokes me up.  WOW!  Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

There is no better description of becoming a Christian than in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  A second birth is needed.  Obviously we have our physical birth and then we need a spiritual birth.  2 Corinthians 5:19, “...that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We are Christ’s representatives - His ambassadors.  We do not represent ourselves. We represent Jesus.  

Everyone seeks peace - just like the droves of people going forward at the crusade.  Peace can only be found in a relationship with God.  We have an opportunity to be part of something so wonderful for Jesus Christ.  They need people to serve in many ways whether being on the promotional team or serving on site.  We all need to be in prayer for this event.  The Billy Graham Evangelical Association is asking us to pray for laborers.  Matthew 9:38, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Luke 10:2, “He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  God said if we do that it will not come back void.  Isaiah 55:11, “...so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent.”

At the end of the evening, someone asked about security at this event and the team shared a story from a recent crusade.  When the prayer counselors were being briefed and getting ready to pray right before the event started, they noticed a handful of protestors.  They prayed that the protestors might feel God’s love.  The evening began with Jeremy Camp singing, “Overcome”.  All of a sudden they noticed that a few of the protestors had left.  By the last verse the last protestor rolled up his poster and left!  We were reminded of David taking up his lyre and evil not residing where worship is.  (1 Samuel 16:23) 

Being a part of this Decision America Tar Heel State Tour is just another way to see what God is doing!  1 Timothy 2:4, “...who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Luke 15:7, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  Get ready to rejoice!

Learn more about the Tour and check out how to volunteer at: http://nc.billygraham.org. The tour will stop in Wilmington on October 5. Pine Valley UMC will host a prayer service for the tour on September 9 from 7 to 8:30pm.