Franklin Graham Shares His Heart for East Tennessee

By   •   April 25, 2008

Q – This city has been praying for a long time for this event. What are your hopes for the weekend?

FG: I hope that God will answer each and every prayer. I know that the people of Knoxville have been praying for their unsaved family and friends – and I know they will bring them to the events. I just pray that as I preach, God will use His word, His Gospel, to pierce the hearts of those who don’t know Christ. And I pray that there will be a great flood of men and women who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ this weekend.

Q – Your dad was here in 1970 and your son was here several months ago. How special is it from a family perspective for you to be here?

FG: I was here with my father in 1970 in the crowd watching him preach. This is a great city. To be able to come back and now have a crusade here is a wonderful opportunity. It is special because many of the people who were involved with inviting us to come, many of them came to faith in Jesus Christ during my father’s crusade here in 1970.

We prayed this morning with our staff that there are many who come out of this meeting who will be the next generation of church leaders and community leaders. And maybe my son or maybe my grandson will come back here someday and preach again.

Q – Bo Shafer, who is the local executive chair for this Festival, came to the Lord in 1970, is that correct?

FG: Yes

Q – You pick several cities worldwide each year. Why Knoxville?

FG: The invitation from the local churches and Christian community to come here was such a strong invitation. You look out of the window of this hotel over the campus [of the University of Tennessee] – there are hundreds and hundreds of kids on the street and I want to reach them. They are getting ready to graduate or go on with their life and they have no idea there is a God who loves them and cares for them, or that God has a plan for their lives.

Kids come to a campus like this and they get involved in drugs and sex and they do things they shouldn’t do. There is an emptiness and a vacuum in their life. I want them to know that God loves them and will forgive them, cleanse them and give them a new heart. He’ll reveal His plan and purpose for their life. They have life in front of them and I want them to know it and find it.

Q – You have some great musical acts for that generation – Toby Mac and others. Is that one of the reasons you try to get popular groups for the event?

FG: I think everyone likes music. I like music! I listen to it all the time. We have at least 6 Dove Award recipients here this weekend, so we’ll have a lot of great music. It will be packed and I am hoping it does help. I want the people, especially students, to know this Festival is for them.

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