Billy Graham and my early story of faith

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Billy Graham died on April 21, 2018 and on that day I was in the hospital on my worst day fighting a nasty blood infection. Found out later I was fighting for more than my health.

Later on that day I recall through the haze hearing on a nearby TV that Billy Graham had passed away. Billy Graham was gone.  He had made an impact on my life, not the least of which was that as a pastor he taught me that simple sermons could be good sermons. I have worked to keep my sermons fairly simple all these years.

But he was called and anointed of God (Forgive me for using such an old word as anointed, but it fits.) for this work to which he was called.

I saw him preach in person once in my life, and it was amazing. God spoke through him right to me.

Some time ago I wrote down the following. I include it here to add to my story and how God met with me in a new way, through the good preacher.

Each of us has his or her own very personal story.
I was born into a christian home and I remember as a child when I asked Jesus into my heart.

It was a very intentional act and God was faithful to me as a child.

Through my years of childhood, God was always near, in my home and upbringing.
There were never any dramatic changes from darkness to light for me.

As I grew into my teen years I became really frustrated with depression and trying to make my own way in this life, I began to make choices that led me away from God.

Anger grew, with my parents and school and I made choices to skip classes and steal and, yeah.

I began to try to deal with it by becoming very busy, leading groups in church and school, working part time, volunteering in the community. And all those things just made me angrier.

My parents tried to help, with strong punishment. The effect of that made me more angrier with them. But it also began to open a crack in my spirit that led me to start to look at how far I’d come.

How far I’d moved from God.
I was angry with him because he wasn’t answering the prayers I was praying.

My teens were pretty much about darkness and depression. Despair was there too.

I wasn’t great at schoolwork. Didn’t fit in at school for these reasons, and it made me really angry why I was made that way.

By the end of grade 11 I was a mess, inside and out.

I remember my parents planned a weekend in Edmonton that summer.  Billy Graham was preaching there for a week and my folks wanted to see him.

So we came out from Saskatoon and heard the good brother preach on Friday and Saturday night. But it was something about the Sunday afternoon preaching that finally reached my angry heart.

August 17 1980 as a 17 year old, I finally gave up my agenda, my anger, my will, for Christ's.

And certainly though it hasn’t been all easy or pie in the sky, it has been good. He has been good.

I have been saved from the dangers of myself, my sin, my anger, my darkness, my lostness.

Saved to a new life. A new birth.

Video of Billy Graham at Edmonton, August 17, 1980

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