March 9, 2018
THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD by Sharon Collings, Administrative Director
“Drop! Kneel down under your desk with your hands clutched around your head and neck!”
Those were the instructions elementary school children were given in the 50’s and 60’s during air raid drills to prepare them in case of a nuclear attack. I wonder, did anyone really believe that would make any difference?
Sometimes I find myself nostalgically reflecting back on the 50’s and 60’s and remembering them somewhat idealistically. Was it really a safer world back then? The reality is the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil unrest and riots in the streets of our major cities and the Vietnam War demonstrate it really wasn’t safer at all.
Rev. Billy Graham launched his evangelistic crusades during this period in history. His death and funeral last week has brought worldwide attention to his lifework: preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Oh what power that Gospel message, presented by a willing, faithful servant of Jesus Christ, has made.
Billy shared the story of how he gave his life to Christ one evening at an evangelistic crusade in the late 1940’s. Afterwards, he prayed to God, telling Him that he would do whatever He wanted him to do and he would go wherever He wanted him to go. Little did he know where his journey would take him and how he would be used by God to change the world through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are some examples:
- Billy was the first Christian to preach behind the iron curtain after World War II, culminating in great gatherings in Budapest in 1989, Moscow in 1992, North Korea in 1992 and Beijing in 1993. I heard an interview where someone asked Billy why he did it. There was much controversy surrounding him at the time. Billy answered, “I know there are many people who need to have a chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus.” What a courageous man of God! I wonder how God might have used him to bring down the Berlin Wall…
- While preaching in the South in the 50’s, Billy discovered that there were ropes put up separating the whites (in the front) from the blacks (in the back). He could not tolerate such injustice and announced he would not preach to the crowd of thousands unless they removed the ropes. The ushers refused, so he walked down the isle and removed the ropes himself. I heard President Clinton telling this story. He said at the end of the crusade, black and white people came down the isles together, holding hands, tears running down their checks as they gave their lives to Christ. President Clinton said it was the beginning of the end of segregation in his home state.
- Billy Graham has counseled every president since President Truman! He met President Trump before his presidential run. I wonder how God might have used Billy as an influence during each of these president’s hour of need?
Do you believe the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change your world? Maybe God is speaking to you now, inviting you to accept Him into your life as your Lord and Savior. He has the power to change you and give you eternal life.
Maybe God is whispering to you to surrender and say to Him as Billy did, “I’ll do what You want me to do. I’ll go where You want me to go.” Who knows what adventure lies ahead as you surrender yourself to Him.
Here is part of Billy’s last message:
“Some day you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life.” John 3:16