Today I was saddened to hear of the death of great giant of the faith, Dr Billy Graham. Dr. Graham set a standard for practice and faith that has impacted millions of people all over the globe. He was a many of honesty, integrity, spiritual maturity and great faith. Most of all Dr. Graham was a man of the Word of God and of prayer.
I had the privilege to meet Dr. Graham and Ruth, his wife, many years ago. In fact, I was given the privilege to be seated with the Graham's at a dear friend's wedding. Sally's father was T.W. Wilson a long-time associate of Dr. Graham. I had broken my leg and was unable to stand so Jerry and Sally sat me at the table with the Graham's.
Being somewhat overwhelmed and in awe of my table guests, I did as any young pastor would do, I asked questions. I asked Dr. Graham what one thing I should know as a pastor. His replied without hesitation, "Always preach so that the six-year-old on the front row understands, and I promise the PH.D. in the back will get it." We talked of the simplicity of the Gospel. He shared with me that I must always take care of my family and never let ministry take the place of God, my wife or children. Dr. Graham told me the two greatest things I could do for my ministry, my family and myself was to pray daily and study God's Word. He shared insights about protecting the ministry. That night I earned a seminary education in just an hour or so. It was a tremendous evening that I have never forgotten.
I have been truly blessed to have met Dr. Billy Graham and Ruth personally. They made me feel as family. They set a standard that all of us try to achieve.
South Elm honored me for my 20th anniversary and sent my family and I to Kansas City, MO to one of Dr. Graham's last crusades. Older, somewhat feeble and having to have someone stand by his side to help hold him up, Dr. Graham spoke seven minutes, and several thousand people came forward to accept Jesus. What an experience. On the way home in that airplane I asked my children what they thought. Olivia thought for a minute and thinking about the service said, "Maybe if you didn't preach so long you would have several thousand people come to know the Lord." It wasn't the first crusade I got to take my kids to but it was our last.
I have so many stories I could tell of Dr. Graham and his family, but I will simply say, "never has there been another like him and there will never be anyone like Dr. Graham." Praise God for the life and ministry of Dr. Billy Graham!