Christians Worldwide Celebrate the Life of Billy Graham

Franklin and Billy Graham
Franklin and Billy Graham (Wikimedia Commons)

Prominent evangelist Billy Graham died Wednesday morning at 99.

As news circulated the globe, Christians took to social media to celebrate the life of one of the most influential men in the world.

Here's what they are saying.

 

 




Vernon Brewer, World Help's president and founder

Today, my family and I mourn the passing of a great man of God, the Rev. Billy Graham. Easily one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, he touched the lives of millions through his unparalleled career as an evangelist. Yet, to me, Billy Graham's evangelism in action, his work to alleviate poverty, hunger and suffering, has been just as profound of a legacy. Modern-day humanitarian aid would not be the same without Billy Graham. Many of us in the humanitarian community were inspired by him to serve others, dream big and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.

Billy Graham might be known for calling people to be born again and for inspiring a generation of preachers and evangelists; but who knows how many humanitarians have been born from his example?

The world will dearly miss the Rev. Billy Graham, but his legacy and impact will live on through those who take on his mantle and go to the places no one else will go to deliver eternal hope and immediate help to those in need.

Jay Lowder, evangelist, author and founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries

Billy Graham was a statesman for the Christian faith, who embodied humility, authenticity and dedication to God's word. While he had the ear of worldwide leaders and notable celebrities, his goal was never to impress but to influence. After spending time with Mr Graham during his Philadelphia crusade, I became acutely aware how He approached every individual with the same care, compassion and loving attitude while striving each day to emulate the ultimate example of Christ.

While Mr. Graham leaves behind a great and abundant legacy, which may never fully be known on this side of heaven, one of his truest legacies is the people, like myself, who are now following in his footstep to preach the Gospel message of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

I am forever grateful for Mr. Graham's impact on my life, not only professionally as an evangelist, having modeled my own ministry after his, but also personally, which is evident by my son and his namesake, Graham.

David JeremiahNew York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated TV and radio host

Romans 10:9 declares that 'if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.' Countless millions of souls all around the world know this glorious truth of the Gospel because Rev. Billy Graham told them. I thank God for the life and ministry of this man to whom so many of us pastors, ministers and church leaders have long admired and whose example has inspired so many others to spend their lives in service to Jesus. While it is fitting to mourn the passing of such a man, we must also remember what Rev. Graham spent his life preaching. While his earthly shell may have died, he is alive and well, crowned with splendor with the King of Kings at this very moment. Today, after 99 years of a life well lived, we rejoice that this child of God is reunited with his Father in Heaven.

Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Dallas Baptist

I was heartbroken to hear of the passing of Billy Graham, but glad for him because he's finally where he longed to be: home in heaven. Like Billy, I know that the moment he closed his eyes in death, he awoke in the presence of the God he served so faithfully, and I'm convinced he heard these words, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'

When I think of Billy Graham and his life, four things immediately come to mind. First, next to the apostle Paul, Billy Graham was the greatest evangelist the world has ever known. He preached the gospel message in a way that anyone could comprehend it, and millions of people around the world were converted through his ministry. Think of the incomparable value of one soul — now multiply that value millions upon millions of times. That's the impact of Billy Graham.

Second, I think of the impact Billy Graham had on First Baptist Dallas, on my family and on me. Billy Graham was a member of our First Baptist Church Dallas for more than 50 years until he joined a church close to his home several years ago. In fact, my mother joined First Baptist Dallas the same day Billy Graham did back in the 1950s. She said to my father, "If it's good enough for Billy Graham, it is good enough for me." She was saved at a Billy Graham crusade in 1954 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas before I was born. Simply put, I am a Christian today and pastor of First Baptist Dallas because of Billy Graham.

Third, I think of Billy Graham's unfeigned and boundless love for people. Once, when he was preaching at First Baptist Dallas, I told him before the service that my barber and his family were attending, and I had been praying that they would all become Christians. I asked Dr. Graham if he would write them a note before the service began. He wrote a brief note on a card to my barber that said, "I'm praying for you tonight to become a Christian. Billy Graham." When Dr. Graham extended the invitation that night, my barber and his family were the first to come down the aisle.

Fourth, I think of the example Billy Graham set for integrity over the long haul. Unlike many other celebrity evangelists, he was never involved or even charged with any moral or financial misdeeds. He was beyond reproach which is one reason God used him in such an unusual way.

When journalists ask me what Billy Graham would say to those who have heard the news of his passing, I tell them that I know for sure what he would say for the message of his life was the message of John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'

Matthew Crouch, Chairman of the Trinity Broadcasting Network

On behalf of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Laurie and I send our love and prayers to the family and ministry of Dr. Billy Graham as this humble, one-of-a-kind servant of God has finished his earthly mission and taken his place with Christ and the saints of the ages.

Billy Graham will go down in history as the greatest evangelist of all time.

On a personal level, as a teenager working Billy Graham's Reno, Nevada event — and later his 1985 California Anaheim Stadium event in my early 20's — I saw Billy Graham as larger than life. I still do, but at that time I could not have been more impressed had the Apostle Paul and the sitting President of the United States both walked into the greenroom after my first event working as a young cameraman.

Beyond the thousands who gave their hearts to the Lord in those stadiums and on television (Reno was the first time Christian television worked together, with both TBN and then CBN covering the event live), what made an unforgettable impression on me was that Billy made me feel like the most important person in the room when we shook hands — a room full of dignitaries. He was without a doubt one of the most gracious human beings I'd ever been privileged to meet.

Over the years, my family's relationship with Dr. Graham grew closer and closer in the common vision we all shared: to see individuals and families around the world transformed through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In my mother's final days, she would often travel to Billy's mountain home, share a meal and read the Bible to him. This happened numerous times, and they became extremely close in their twilight years.

In his final public days, I was honored to serve on the executive committee for Billy Graham's last stadium events held in Los Angeles and New York City, a committee chaired by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer and Dr. Jack Hayford. Once again, Dr. Graham was as kind to me as he was the first time he met that young cameraman.

Only eternity will reveal the fruit borne by Billy Graham's untiring, life-long pursuit of souls for Christ. He was a friend and confidant to ministry leaders and presidents, 20-something cameramen, and everyone in between fortunate enough to have known him. And for countless individuals across the earth, he helped unlock the door of heaven. Today we honor his remarkable life and unmatched Kingdom legacy.

We will update this story throughout the day. Please check back for more.


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