Yet the message is the same as always. As we faithfully proclaim the Gospel and lift up the cross, thousands of young people are responding the old-fashioned way–by repenting of their sins and trusting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Rock the River has attracted countless teens and young adults who are caught up in the world and have little or no connection with a church, much less the Bible. They are connected with each other, however, through technology like Facebook and Twitter, where one person can get the attention of hundreds or even thousands. As they respond to the Gospel, we are encouraging them to share their newfound faith with their friends.
Just like my generation, today’s young people talk about changing the world for the better. I don’t want them to repeat the mistakes of the baby boomers who failed to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”
(Matthew 6:33). Forty years later, you can see where that approach has gotten us: greed, filth, lies, addiction and all kinds of moral and social problems. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” It has never been more important for us to reach young people with the message of the cross and help them build a biblical foundation for their lives.
At the end of August, I also preached in Bogotá, Colombia, wrapping up a busy summer for the BGEA. In a span of seven weekends that started with Rock the River, we held major evangelistic events in five cities with a total population of more than 15 million people.
After Rock the River, Bogotá seems vastly different in terms of culture, language and geography. Colombia is struggling to break the grip of the drug cartels, and this is the first time in decades that it has been possible to conduct a citywide Crusade in the capital city.
However, the Gospel means as much in the highlands of Colombia as it does in the heartland of America. The heart of every man is “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9), and the only way anyone can be forgiven and reconciled to God is through the cross of Jesus Christ.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel by every effective means. Rock the River has introduced us to an entirely new audience. At the same time, we are pressing forward with conventional Crusades, the My Hope evangelistic television outreach and other time-tested ways to reach people who need to know the truth about God’s redeeming love.
As John Newton said toward the end of his grace-filled life, “I am a great sinner, but Jesus is a great Savior.” Amen.