Bob Withers: Billy Graham plans one more outreach
Evangelist Billy Graham, who has preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people in person than anyone else in history during his 60-year career, plans to deliver one more message to America despite his frail health.
Graham, 94, suffers from several maladies and has round-the-clock care at his Montreat, N.C., home. But he still has a burden for Americans who don't know the Lord, and he's doing something about it.
"My Hope America" is a project modeled after the biblical Matthew's approach to winning souls for Christ. Instead of taking Jesus to his corrupt tax-collector friends, he threw a banquet for Jesus in his home and invited all those friends to come and meet the Savior.
"During my lifetime, I've had the privilege of seeing God move across America in powerful ways, and yet we have seen our nation steadily sliding into moral and spiritual ruin," Graham says. "As I approach my 95th birthday, I believe that unless God sends a sweeping revival, America as we have known it -- a nation rooted in biblical values -- will be a thing of the past."
Graham is inviting congregations of all denominations to develop relationships with people who haven't received Jesus as Savior and invite them into their homes to see a special telecast on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 -- his aforementioned 95th birthday -- to hear him preach and hopefully respond to his appeal to claim the Savior's atonement for their sins themselves.
He is asking participants to tell their guests in three minutes or less what their lives were like before they were saved, the circumstances of their conversion, and what their lives have been like since. Training materials are available from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.
"Today, around 60 percent of Americans don't attend church regularly," Graham says. "Among young people in our churches, half think that many religions can lead to eternal life."
He adds that since 1990, the number of people who specifically identify themselves as atheists or agnostics has more than tripled.
"That's why I believe 'My Hope America' is crucial," he says. "It could be our last chance to see our country turn back to God."
Graham's sermon will air on Nov. 7 whether he is on earth or in heaven. He's taping it, a little at a time, at his home, "Little Piney Cove," as his health permits. The program will include stock footage of his preaching over the years as well as the new material, and will be shown several times on selected television channels during the first week of November. It also will be available on a DVD and online.
For more information, call (877) 7MY-HOPE (769-4673) or go to www.MyHopeWithBillyGraham.org.
Bob Withers, a retired reporter and copy editor for The Herald-Dispatch, is pastor of Seventh Avenue Baptist Church in Huntington.
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