The death of Reverend Billy Graham last week rocked those in the Christian community as the evangelist reached hundreds of millions through his ministerial work.
During a service at the Washington Rotunda on Wednesday, thousands of people gathered to show their respects and to thank the Graham family for the impact “America’s Pastor” had on their lives. Similarly, hundreds of others from all walks of life gathered at the private funeral service at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Many of those in attendance shared with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, how Billy Graham drastically altered their lives.
Check it out, via BGEA:
Kathie Lee Gifford, NBC Today –
“Whatever I was doing, wherever I was in the whole world, I would have been here. Because he meant everything to me. … He preached to millions, but he was kind to me, just one woman.
“Any time something would happen in my life that was in the tabloids or in the papers in a terrible, horrible way, the first phone call I would get every single time would be Billy. And sometimes he wasn’t even in America. And he would call, I don’t even know how he found out, and he would say, ‘Kathie, hi honey, this is Billy. Can I pray with you?’ And he would pray for me. The public Billy was no different from the private one. The man lived his faith. I’ll have eternal life because Billy was faithful to his calling.
“He left home so many times to spread the Gospel. Every time I fly into Asheville [near where he lived], I look at that gorgeous land down there and think, ‘How would Billy feel, coming home from all his trips from around the world? It must’ve made his heart soar to know he would see Ruth and his children.’ Talk about sacrificing your own life for the benefit of the Gospel. He did it. We can’t even put in words what he sacrificed in terms of his own health, and maybe even his own happiness to be faithful to the call of God. He was the finest man I ever knew.”
Steven Curtis Chapman, singer-songwriter said, “[Graham] was always looking for that opportunity. How can I reach people ultimately to present the message to them?” –
After participating in a Crusade in the early ’90s, Steven Curtis Chapman overheard Billy Graham saying he could’ve been clearer on his sermon points. “Even to the very end, he was purposeful and passionate and concerned—deeply concerned that his message was being communicated clearly. I love that about him.”
Pastor Rick Warren –
“He took me under his wing, and that began a 40-year mentoring long before I started Saddleback Church. When I was in my 20s, he taught me how to preach. But in my 30s, when I started Saddleback Church, it was more about learning from his character. A 60-year ministry with no major scandal, that is an accomplishment of amazing proportions. Billy put into place, early, some parameters like in the Modesto Manifesto [a four-point declaration of Biblical integrity], which at Saddleback, we just copied. We just took that manifesto and made it for Saddleback, and it’s protected us now for almost 40 years.”
Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor –
“Our family got saved in the ’70s because my mom had been watching the Billy Graham Crusades on TV. She came to the Lord and she brought the rest of the family along. So he means the world and eternity to me. His simple message transcended generations, politics, denominational divides. There’s no one like him.”
Rev. Billy Kim, interpreter for Billy Graham in Korea –
“During the Seoul Crusade, my family went every night. At the final meeting, with an estimated 1.1 million people in attendance, all of my children dedicated their life to serve the Lord. The church I pastored at that time was a mere 300. Now, after your Crusade, it’s more than 20,000 members. We have more churches and missionaries in our region, all because you came to preach the Word to our people.”
Bill Newman, Australian evangelist –
“It kind of chokes you up today when you think of the tremendous life he’s lived and the inspiration to evangelists all over the world. As we look around us today, we see people coming from so many places because they love Billy Graham. They love him because of his integrity, his quality of life, but the fact that he just preaches the simple essence of the Gospel, and that’s why we’ve been able to bring so many nations together, so many churches together. He’s been faithful to the Gospel all these years. He’s been that example to us of integrity. He’s been a wonderful example of what we should be as evangelists.”
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, said, “It opened up the globe to me. He changed my life. In fact, my own ministry that we now have was birthed in Amsterdam in ’83 after I saw what could be done if you honor God as a proclaimer of Christ.”
Rev. Sami Dagher, a church planter in the Middle East, said, “When we talk about Billy Graham in the Middle East, we describe him like this: He is a faithful man. He is faithful for the Word of God. He has never preached his own opinion or his ideas or philosophy. But he preached the Word of God.”
Rev. Gerald Durley –
“If you had to summarize Billy Graham from [the African American] community, it would be honesty, openness, transparency and humility. I think his legacy has to be focusing on the power of Jesus Christ and not about political persuasion, not about gender, not about race, not about whether you’re an immigrant or a non-immigrant, but understanding Christ loves us.
“A lot of people come to your city and think they have the answer for you. He listened. He listened, and he asked, ‘Well what could I do? Is this the best way to do it?’ Even though he’d been in millions of places and met millions of people, he listened and he took it in and he fed it back. That’s what a true leader is about. He did not try to have the answer because every community is different. It was never about Billy Graham. It was always about Jesus Christ working through Billy Graham.”
Click here for how how more attendees responded.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.