Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm a Mess

Like my title declares, I'm a mess!

As I logged into my computer this morning feeling fully persuaded as to what I would share with you today, I made the "mistake" of checking Facebook first.  A sweet friend had posted the link to "The Cross - Billy Graham's Message to America."  Last evening I had tried to view it on-line but was unable to get the link to work.  I was eager to see if this recording would play.

Literally within seconds I was in tears and basically cried my way through the entire thirty minutes.

Friends, Rev Billy Graham will always, always hold a special place in my heart.  For one reason, I remember attending Billy Graham Crusades as a child.  I recall the fun of the bus trip into Toronto every night.  I fondly remember the "Greeters" who tried to keep crowd control.  Our family even brought chocolates to one Irish gentleman who every evening entertained us in the line-up outside the gates as we waited to take our seating.

Another wonderful experience at one Crusade was the opportunity to meet and visit with Evie Tornquist (now Karlsson).  My sister and I had knit an afghan for her.  At a Mayor's Breakfast, my dad had spoken to Leighton Ford who at that time was Associate Evangelist with the Billy Graham Association.  Dr. Ford in turn had spoken with Evie.  Imagine the surprise when our home phone rang and it was Evie herself inviting us over to her hotel room!  That plan didn't work as we were too far away at the time, but later that week we did indeed meet Evie at the Crusade grounds about an hour before the conference was scheduled to begin.  The home movies and pictures are still a treasure to this day.  With the event being held in an outdoor stadium, Evie actually used the afghan we made her to cover her legs when a lake breeze began to blow.

However, that still isn't the reason why I love Rev. Billy Graham so much.  It wasn't about attending a conference or association with Evie.  It was about my daddy accepting Jesus.  You see, years ago, a young man running from the Lord, literally hiding in a cornfield so he wouldn't have to attend church, finally responded to an invitation to attend a Billy Graham Crusade.  It was that night that my daddy surrendered his life to Jesus.

Rev. Billy Graham was instrumental in my heritage of faith.  I think of him fondly as a grandfather in love.  The moment the video started to play, I started to cry.  My daddy always reminded me of Billy Graham.  Oh, my dad didn't speak to thousands and millions of people at one time, but he faithfully shared the Gospel every Sunday in churches big and small.  With each request to speak the denomination changed, but like Rev. Graham, my daddy's message never did.  Although different in many ways, these two men always preached Jesus, as Max Lucado writes about the Apostles, not for the lack of another topic, but because they couldn't exhaust this one.

Oh Lord, I miss my daddy so much.  Has it only been four months since he went home to be with You?  Father thank You for using "grandpa Graham" to guide daddy to You.  I have such an amazing godly heritage.  I know the day I hear that Rev. Graham's life on this earth has ended, it will be a difficult day.  Another one of the good guys will be gone, but I know my daddy will be with many others waiting to welcome him into the presence of heaven.

Rev. Billy Graham...thank you.

If any of you have not had opportunity to watch this thrilling video, filmed partly at the Graham home, please take the time to do so now.  I'm including the video with this post.  At the age of 95 Rev. Graham's message is as clear and Spirit filled as it ever was before.  As he says in concluding, "I've given my life, not to a dead Christ, but to a living Christ."  Yes, Jesus is alive, and He's waiting for you.

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Cheri Bunch said...

This is so beautiful, Joy! My grandbabies are on their way to my house, so I will have to watch the video later. I have heard so much about it. Can't wait. Have you been to the BG museum in Charlotte? I is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.
Praying for your hurting heart. My heart pangs with memories of when I lost my dad. It is one of the deepest sorrows I have ever lived through. Praying with empathy.
Sending hugs and love.

Laura Boggess said...

Oh, Joy, what sweet memories you have. I haven't seen that message from Rev. Graham, but I know how he can pull us into deep places. I'm so sorry for the missing of your dad. Praying God's blessed comfort to you, dear friend.

And I'm so glad to see you writing here again. I'm always behind, but have been wanting to stop by and give you my love. Love to you!

Tracy L said...

Thanks for posting this video! I wanted to watch last night but wasn't able to and forgot to tape it. I think of how lucky you are to have been raised in a family of strong faith. What roots that must have given you. I have sort of grown in faith over the years and have always wonder what it would have been like to have had Jesus from day one.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I cried through it as well.

Anonymous said...

I cried a few times myself. It was a wonderful production and I pray untold numbers come to Christ because of it. I had no idea that your Daddy was saved at a Graham crusade. What a beautiful story and a wonderful legacy. God bless you, my friend.