"My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God,
which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ." --Billy Graham
Evangelist Billy Graham took Christ literally when He said in Mark 16:15,
"Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
Mr. Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences
than anyone else in history nearly 215 million people in more than 185Â
countries and territoriesâ€”through various meetings, including Mission
World and Global Mission. Hundreds of millions more have been reached
through television, video, film, and webcasts.
Since the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade vaulted Mr. Graham into the public
eye, he has led hundreds of thousands of individuals to make personal
decisions to live for Christ, which is the main thrust of his ministry.
Born November 7, 1918, four days before the Armistice ended World War I,
Mr. Graham was reared on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. Growing
up during the Depression, he learned the value of hard work on the family farm,
but he also found time to spend many hours in the hayloft reading books on a
wide variety of subjects.
In the fall of 1934, at age 15, Mr. Graham made a personal commitment to Christ
through the ministry of Mordecai Ham, a traveling evangelist, who visited Charlotte
for a series of revival meetings.
Ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention, Mr. Graham received a solid foundation in the Scriptures at Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College in Florida). In 1943 he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and married fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a missionary surgeon, who spent the first 17 years of her life in China.
After graduating from college, Mr. Graham pastored the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, before joining Youth for Christ, an organization founded for ministry to youth and servicemen during World War II. He preached throughout the United States and in Europe in the immediate post war era, emerging as a rising young evangelist.
The Los Angeles Crusade in 1949 launched Mr. Graham into international prominence. Scheduled for three weeks, the meetings were extended to more than eight weeks, with overflow crowds filling a tent erected downtown each night.
Edward Kimball was determined to win his Sunday school class to Christ. A teenager named Dwight Moody tended to fall asleep on Sundays, but Kimball, undeterred, set out to reach him at work. His heart was pounding as he entered the store where the young man worked. â€œI put my hand on his shoulder, and as I leaned over I placed my foot upon a shoebox. I asked him to come to Christ. But Kimball left thinking he had botched the job. Moody, however, left the store that day a new person and eventually became the most prominent evangelist in America.
On June 17, 1873, Moody arrived in Liverpool, England, for a series of crusades. The meetings went poorly at first, but then the dam burst and blessings began flowing. Moody visited a Baptist chapel pastored by a scholarly man named F. B. Meyer, who at first disdained the Americans unlettered preaching. But Meyer was soon transfixed and transformed by Moodys message.
At Moodys invitation, Meyer toured America. At Northfield Bible Conference, he challenged the crowds saying, If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing That remark changed the life of a struggling young minister named J. Wilber Chapman.
Chapman proceeded to become a powerful traveling evangelist in the early 1900s, and he recruited a converted baseball player named Billy Sunday. Under Chapmans eye, Sunday became one of the most spectacular evangelists in American history. His campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina, produced a group of converts who continued praying for another such visitation of the Spirit. In 1934 they invited evangelist Mordecai Ham to conduct a citywide crusade. On October 8th Ham, discouraged, wrote a prayer to God on the stationery of his Charlotte hotel: Lord, give us a Pentecost here. Pour out thy Spirit tomorrow.
His prayer was answered beyond his dreams when a Central High School student named Billy Graham gave his heart to Jesus. Continue Reading...