Happy Birthday, Billy Graham!
Happy Birthday, Billy Graham! by Alan Scott
Rev. Billy Graham turns 99 years old this week (November 7th).
From time to time you can still catch a vintage Billy Graham crusade on a few Christian television networks. Personally, I like the replays shot in black and white from an era long since passed. He was young, full of vigor and energy that filled sports arenas and stadiums for some 67 years. His sermons were straight forward, street level with one message, “Christ and Him crucified.”
As I was growing up the outstanding fact most remembered was his ability to have the president’s ear, no matter who was in the White House. He often would be called for consultation during difficult decisions from each administration. No doubt, he was a man whom God placed for such a time as this.
If you should catch some old Billy Graham crusades online or on television, keep watch for some of your favorite CCM Classic artists. Rev. Graham was a firm believer in reaching the current generation often left behind by some churches and ministers. During the 60s, when the hippie and flower-power movement grew across the country, Billy Graham felt a deep compassion for this generation in obvious search of peace and justice. He admits he saw a sea of youth the church often pushed away because of their looks, their anti-war protests, their music and songwriters. While many would push them aside concerning outreach, Billy Graham pulled them in closer to the Gospel, inviting them to come to the crusades with those famous words, “Don’t wait. Come as you are.” And they did just that.
Billy Graham understood how each generation needed to be reached. One brilliant way was to line-up CCM artists right next to him on stage; some of which, during those days, could not be booked for local conservative church services. He took flak from many of his fellow ministers for his decision in those early days, and even saw some pull their support. However, Rev. Graham would rather obey God’s calling than man’s (The Apostle Paul would identify). CCM history was made as Billy Graham partnered with CCM artists like the Imperials, Cynthia Clawson, Truth, Evie, and Michael W. Smith. Through the decades, many more artists shared their music just before the great George Beverly Shea took the podium.
Thank you, Billy Graham, for loving us that much.
“I didn’t fill the stadium, God did.” – Billy Graham
In His Grip
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