It’s been more than 40 years since Faith Law took a bus from West Virginia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a Billy Graham Crusade. At 12 years old, she accepted Christ there in 1968.
On Saturday she found herself in the Steel City again, this time for the Three Rivers Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham.
There, she huddled with two teen girls who were nervous about where they stood with God. They were about the same age Law was during that life-changing Crusade, and she was thrilled to lead them to Christ.
In fact, everyone onstage in Saturday’s Festival was loud and clear about the One who saved them.
More than 8,000 people filled the CONSOL Energy Center for the Festival’s second day, featuring rappers Lecrae and Tedashii, rock band We as Human and Pittsburgh’s own Lacey Sturm. More than 10,000 others from over 80 countries watched the event around the world through a live web stream.
“I want you to have fun, but I want you to keep the main thing the main thing … and my main thing is Jesus,” Tedashii said.
While the night was full of rock and hip-hop, Jesus remained at the center as hundreds of youth crowded in front of the stage to hear songs about redemption, God’s endless love and finding freedom in Christ.
“The grief of this world does not diminish the glory that (God) has,” he told a captivated crowd.
By the time Franklin Graham took the stage to preach on Mark 10—about surrendering one’s life to follow Christ—many in the audience were ready to take that step.
“Will you choose tonight to put your faith and trust in the One who shed His blood for you?” he asked.
People poured out of their seats to come forward—many of them children and teens—and after they said a collective prayer, the ones left in the stands erupted in loud applause. Hundreds made decisions on Saturday night, with over half 18 and younger.
“When you prayed that prayer just then,” Franklin Graham told those before him, “(God) pressed the delete button.” He erased your sins, he added.
Around the arena, trained youth counselors explained the Gospel to their peers. Other counselors had a few more years under their belts.
One quiet, middle-aged man who came forward found counselor Richard Webb.
“He just felt it was time,” Webb said. The man’s wife is a Christian, and after Saturday’s message, he decided to make the same commitment to Jesus Christ. The man grew more comfortable with Webb as they spoke, and the pair will stay in touch as the man grows in his faith.
“I don’t want it to end,” Webb, a Pittsburgh resident, said about the Festival. He hopes “that the city comes back to God” and that this three-day event will continue encouraging his friends and neighbors to do so.
“One thing you’ll never regret is laying your life down and letting Jesus increase,” Lecrae said onstage Saturday. Lecrae closed the Festival with a high-energy performance in front of thousands of jumping, hyped-up young people, boldly proclaiming Christ as his Lord and Rescuer.
It’s not always easy to give up selfish desires and follow Christ, Lecrae told them, but it’s so worth it.
“I’m giving up some things,” he said, “but I am gaining everything.”
The Three Rivers Festival of Hope continues Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Watch live at BillyGraham.org/Live for performances by Michael W. Smith, the Charlie Daniels Band, Aaron Shust and more.