Tag Archive | Billy Graham

What Difference Will It Make?

Warrior 2Legacy.

We hear that word a lot. From pastors and preachers to politicians and presidents, people want to know what difference they’ve made in the world. The legacy of a good person may be filled with multiple success stories and many lives changed for the better, with the positive effects of that life evident for generations to come (ie: Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Jonas Salk, etc.). Other, more notorious, historical figures leave a legacy of pain, destruction, and sorrow in their wake (ie: Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, etc).

It reminds me of a quote from the movie Gladiator. General Maximus was speaking to his troops when he said…

“What we do in life echoes through eternity.”

To put it another way, I like these words the unlikely angel Clarence Odbody said to George Bailey in the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life…

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to leave a Godly legacy…

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. ~ Proverbs 13:22

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts. ~ Psalms 145:4

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them
when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way,
when you lie down, and when you rise up. ~ Deut. 6:5-7

GB1

So maybe you are thinking, “What I do doesn’t matter.” If that is your thought, then I urge you to consider…

Edward Kimball.

In the 1850’s, while living in Massachusetts, Edward taught a Sunday school class of teenage boys (no easy feat, to be sure). While visiting a shoe store, he led a young clerk to faith in Christ — a young clerk named…

Dwight L. Moody.

Image result for D L MoodyD. L. Moody became a world-changing evangelist. During the Civil War, he ministered to both Union and Confederate soldiers. As founder of the Moody Church and the Moody Bible Institute, his voice and message were heard throughout the nineteenth-century world, in particular by…

Frederick Meyer.

Frederick (F.B.) was mentored by Moody, and went on to have his own nation-wide ministry; a ministry that touched the life of…

J. Wilbur Chapman.

Wilbur was a college student when he accepted Christ at a Meyer meeting. He became a world-renowned evangelist, preaching all over the world; extensively throughout Asia and Australia, and all over the United States. One of his meetings was attended by a young professional baseball player named…

Image result for Billy SundayBilly Sunday.

Billy’s life was changed at that Chapman meeting. He accepted the love of Jesus, and began preaching the Gospel across America. This former baseball-player-turned-fiery-evangelist preached to over 100 million people, not the least of whom was…

Mordecai Ham.

Saved under the ministry of Billy Sunday, Mordecai Ham saw over 300,000 people make professions of faith during his ministry. In November of 1934, Ham preached a crusade in Charlotte, NC. During one of the meetings, a young, lanky fellow by the name of Billy Frank accepted Christ as his Savior. Billy Frank went on to be a minister of the Gospel, preaching to an estimated 2.2 billion people across the globe. While some people in the Charlotte area knew him as Billy Frank, the rest of the world knows him better as…

Billy Graham bw photo, April 11, 1966.jpgBilly Graham.

The ministry of these men, whose ministries combined have seen billions come to faith in Christ, all started because a man named Edward Kimball allowed himself to be used by God to teach Sunday School to a group of rowdy teenage boys in Massachusetts.

So who are you reaching out to with your life? How are you being salt and light in a world that so desperately needs good influences? What kind word or witness can you share today with one person that may affect hundreds (or thousands) in years to come?

Really, you are the only one who can answer those questions. Maybe the idea that you could influence masses of people scares the daylights out of you. If so, just remember this little secret…

Don’t go about it trying to change the world. Just determine to influence one life at a time, and let God do the rest.

So, what difference will it make?

Time will tell, and Heaven will testify.

Hope for a “Lost” Generation

MLK Lives QuoteOne has only to watch the news for a few minutes to realize we, as a “civilized people”, are in great peril. As the world focuses on the threats facing our world on a broad scale (terrorism, radical Islam, North Korea, Russia, etc.), the unravelling of the fabric of our society on a local level flies “under the radar.” The seeming collusion of a left-wing media and liberal Hollywood have created the “talking points” of what is acceptable and politically correct, and what will not be tolerated.

While cities like Detroit, St. Louis, and Memphis are besieged by violence, we are told that the greatest threat facing us is “climate change”.

While escalating terror attacks against our allies across the globe are marginalized by our leaders, accusations of racism and anti-police rhetoric are carelessly bandied about by those in authority – with deadly consequences.

While more and more over-reaching regulations are proposed in the name of “public safety,” common sense and “unpopular” laws have become the casualties of those who would try to fundamentally change the core Judeo-Christian values of our nation.

LL ArmThese actions do not take place without consequences — intentional or not. The underlying message being sent is that lives (black, white, or otherwise) don’t matter, that morality is subjective, and that, if one disagrees with certain laws, it is acceptable to ignore and/or violate those laws as long as “diversity” is the goal.

I – for one – have not given up on America. However, in order for us to see a brighter future, we must return to the faith of our past. The Church must draw a “line in the sand” and take a stand for truth and righteousness. It is time that we stop living cowed in the corner of society, and honestly, passionately, and intelligently speak life into this culture of decay and death. Here are a few common-sense ways we can start that conversation…

Stop mis-labeling the problem.

If a person goes into the hospital with all of the symptoms of appendicitis, referring to that person’s condition as an ear infection will do little to treat the problem, and could possibly cost them their life. When we fail to properly label what is wrong with society, we do nothing to cure its ills, and run the risk of doing irreparable damage to the conscience of our Nation. As believers, we stand on the unchangeable, living Word of God. In 1 Peter 3:14-16, the apostle Peter admonishes us…

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

Calling “sin” by its proper name is not politically correct in our society, but is necessary in diagnosing what is ailing us.

Abortion is not a “woman’s choice”… it’s sin.
Homosexuality is not an “alternate lifestyle”… it’s sin.
Adultery is not an “open lifestyle”… it’s sin.
Pornography is not “adult entertainment”… it’s sin.
Political corruption is not “the price of doing business”… it’s sin.

It’s not my label, or your label… it’s God’s definition. He made the rules, and He set the standards. As believers in Christ, we must be honest and faithful to His Word. However, we must also be sure to go beyond just pointing out the problems; we must share the reason for our hope, and offer a solution… the love of Jesus that has the power to change hearts, heal minds, and save souls.

Parents: Anyone can be your child’s friend; only YOU can be your child’s parent.

We have a generation rising that has the potential for either great good or great harm. While I do see good and decent young people being raised up, I also see a lot who are reckless, thoughtless, and out-of-control. There was recently a case in Texas of a 16-year old young man who got drunk, got behind the wheel of a pickup truck, and killed four people (also injuring two others). During his trial, a witness was put on the stand who testified that the boy was the victim of affluenza — which could be defined as “being the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits or boundaries.” This tragic story can be repeated over and over again… parents who set no boundaries for children who grow into young people with no concern for right and wrong, and no regard for the consequences of their thoughtless and careless acts.

Family mealIn Proverbs 22:6, we read…

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

That’s pretty good advice from the person considered to be the wisest man who ever lived. Parents need to stop delegating God-given responsibility of raising their children to schools, recreation centers, and churches, and start being the voices of wisdom, protection, instruction, and discipline that God intended them to be.

Church: Start being salt and light again.

Over these past many decades, the Church has become known more for what we are against than what we are for. In the ’50’s and ’60’s, we took stands against things like technology, only to later discover it was neither good nor evil, but actually had great value in the spreading of the Gospel. While the Cold War raged in the ’70’s, and we seemed on the brink of nuclear catastrophe, the Church was more concerned about the length of men’s hair, the length of women’s skirts, the “Ju-ju beat” in contemporary Christian music, and a plethora of other things that did little to bring souls into the Kingdom, and even less to open up a dialogue with a world on the fast-track to Hell. One thing (of many) I respect about Rev. Billy Graham, and now his son Franklin, is that, when confronted with a question about a social issue, political controversy, or cultural hot-topic, he always steers the conversation back to the Cross of Christ, and mankind’s need for a Savior.

Jesus called us to be salt and light in Matthew 5:13-16…

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Do I think we should be like the world, and participate in sin for the sake of getting along and finding common ground? By no means. But we must be very careful in rightly-dividing the Word of God so as not to turn our personal preferences into God’s providence. We must let the world see the love of Christ in us, and be known for the God we love, Who changes lives, and not just be known for the petty and insignificant things we are against. Being a Christian will always put us at odds with a world that hates Him. However, the love of Christ in us — shown in practical ways — is what will silence the critics, bring healing and love to those who have lost all hope, and open the ears and hearts of the hungry, hurting, and desperate.

Remember that All Lives Matter.

All Lives MatterIn the wake of the tragic stories of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the mantra “Black Lives Matter” spread like wildfire. The fact is that ALL lives matter. But how can we say with any conviction that any lives matter when we have allowed the wholesale slaughter of the innocent in our nation? How can we be so hypocritical as to bemoan the tragic deaths of a handful of individuals when, from 1973 to January of 2014, estimates of the number of aborted children have topped 50 million? To put it into perspective, this would be the equivalent of wiping out the populations of the following states combined: Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Utah, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming.

We must stop sending these mixed messages. If all lives matter, then we must put an end to this hypocrisy by putting an end to the holocaust of abortion in our nation. Then, and only then, can we put a serious emphasis on the value of ALL lives, and begin to heal the racial and gender rifts that are tearing our nation apart.

 There was a popular show on television called “Lost“, in which the characters were survivors of a plane crash on a remote island. As the series progressed, however, the level of danger and peril grew, and the island was more than it appeared to be on the surface. As I look into our society, I see a generation that is lost in the deception of self-interest, unaware of an enemy that is operating below the surface, feeding the fires of an ideology and mindset that are putting us as a nation more and more at odds with a Holy God. It’s time for the Church to step up and be the voice of truth, compassion, and hope that our world is crying out for.Blessed

Freedom’s Holy Light

Lady LibertyA sailor was on his way out of Algeria aboard a ship that contained a sick missionary. Right before the missionary died, he pointed his hand toward the distant horizon and spoke prophetically: “There lies a land there where the seas wash. There is a native people there that have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

When the sailor finally arrived home, he told his son – and later his grandson – what the missionary had told him. When the grandson grew older, he also became a sailor. He remembered the old missionary’s words, and wrote many letters and diary entries expressing his desire to see the inhabitants of that land convert to Christianity.

The land the missionary spoke of was America.

The sailor’s grandson was Cristoforo Colombo, or as we know him, Christopher Columbus.

KS77810From the very beginning, our nation had, at it’s very core, a foundation centered on faith in God. While liberals and history revisionists would like to erase every mention of God from the history books, there is no denying the reliance our Founding Fathers placed on The Almighty. Don’t believe me? Listen to them, in their own words…

“The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United…”
~ John Adams, 2nd U.S. President

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever…” ~ Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President

“Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgments for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good.”~ James Monroe, 5th U.S. President

“The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth.” ~ John Quincy Adams, 6th U.S. President

I could go on and on… and on.

The 4th verse of the song My Country, ‘Tis of Thee sums up the prayers and petitions of these great men appropriately…

KS77849

Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

Freedom’s Holy Light still burns brightly in America…

That Holy Light which was ignited in the hearts of her Founders, kindled by the dreams of her citizens, fueled by the blood of her soldiers, and sustained in the hearts of her children. It was the Holy Flame that burned brightly during two Great Awakenings, at the Cane Ridge Revival, the Finney Awakening, in the streetlamps of Azusa Street, and in the eyes of Billy Sunday and Billy Graham. It is that Guiding Light of God’s love that guided the Pilgrims to the shores of New England, kept freedom’s dream alive in the cold of Valley Forge, illuminated the heart of Abraham Lincoln during the dark nights of the Civil War, was the fire of freedom in the face of imperialism following December 7, 1941, and was the light of hope in the darkness of September 11, 2001.

It was the fire that blazed in the forge from whence came
the timeless inscription on the Liberty Bell:

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
~ Leviticus 25:10

So… let freedom ring.

Let the sound of freedom be heard in the cries of repentance of the people of God. Let the church rise and once again be the vessel that unashamedly bears the message of forgiveness and hope that the world needs to hear.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ~ II Corinthians 3:17

No amount of legislation or Supreme Court rulings will change America… only the cross of Jesus can bring real change.

No amount of political correctness will change a single heart… only the love of Jesus can turn a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

No amount of wealth-redistribution can force an ounce of compassion… only identifying with the tears of Jesus can break our hearts for a dying world.

It’s time for we as American Christians to wake up, get up, and go. It’s time for us to get on our knees and pray for a breakthrough… in the White House, the Statehouse, the schoolhouse, and the churchhouse. It’s time for us to be salt and light, look the world squarely in the face and say, “This is going to sting, but THIS is the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s time for us to BE the revival we have been praying for, and put our lives out there for that which He gave up His life. It’s time for us to stop asking for God to bless America, but for we as Americans to start blessing Him – through obedience, sacrifice, and holiness.

On this July 4th, I leave you with the words of President George Washington, from his Inaugural Address of 1789:

“In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States.” KS77759

May America bless God once again.

“I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” ~ Psalm 34:1