Among other moving musical features, the last night of the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope Villahermosa started with the Festival choir’s performance of the Hallelujah Chorus.
But tonight Franklin Graham reminded the crowd at Tabasco Park that anyone could say “Hallelujah” or go through the motions of praising God outwardly.
It’s not the outward expression of religion that sets a person apart; it’s an inward change, being born again.
“But why do we have to be born again?” Franklin Graham asked the crowd of more than 31,000 people. “It’s because we’re sinners, and we need a new life and a new Spirit.”
Hundreds of people sensed their need for a new life tonight in Villahermosa.
A family of four walked forward at the invitation to give their lives to Jesus Christ: a father, mother, and two children, ages 12 and 10.
The father said that he felt something move inside him tonight, and he knew it was time to come forward. “I want to have Jesus in my heart,” he said.
Another group walked up to the podium: two young men, ages 26 and 27. Nobody invited them to attend the Festival. They heard about it on the radio and decided to go together because it sounded like fun, and it was free.
And now these two friends are followers of Jesus Christ. With wide smiles and arms around each other’s shoulders, they are excited about the chance for a new start.
Another young man, just 16-years-old, knew that he needed to reconcile himself with God tonight. He knew about Christ, but he had not been committed to faith. He was afraid that God wouldn’t forgive him for the wrong things that he had done.
But grace is the free gift of God, to all who confess faith in Jesus Christ.
“He who believes in Jesus is not condemned,” Franklin Graham said tonight. And this young man was convinced he had a chance to live anew.
One counselor said, “I’m excited about the words of Franklin Graham because it’s simple. He didn’t use complex words to make people understand. He just said something simple, stories that most people know or might know, and it just goes straight to the heart of the people.”
Praying for a Family of Faith
Yesinia, a young woman from Villahermosa, knows the power of a simple message. Her mother came to faith in Jesus Christ at the 1981 Billy Graham Crusade in Villahermosa.
After the Crusade, Yesinia’s mother used Operation Andrew for years. Operation Andrew is a simple strategy where she wrote down the names of her unsaved friends and family, and committed to pray for them every day.
Yesinia became a believer at a young age, but her older brothers, Freddy, Antonio, and Sergio, did not believe in God. Yesinia’s mother kept praying. It was a simple gesture. Then the results came: All three brothers committed their lives to Christ in 2000 at a service where they heard a Gospel message.
By this time, however, Freddy, Antonio, and Sergio all had wives and children of their own, entire families who did not believe in God. So the three brothers started Operation Andrew lists and kept praying for their wives and children, 20 people in all.
Friday night, when Franklin Graham invited people to walk forward to the platform to make a declaration of faith, 20 members of Yesinia’s family got up out of their seats. All of the family of Yesinia’s three brothers independently decided to ask Christ into their hearts!
Yesinia has prayed for this day with her mother and brothers for years. The spark of salvation that changed Yesinia’s mother in 1981 kept burning until God brought a flame of faith to the whole family 27 years later.
By the third night of the Festival of Hope, thousands of people have been born again and given a chance to start over with Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives.
The only thing to say now is Hallelujah.