‘You Just Have to Receive It as a Free Gift’

By   •   October 2, 2021

Will Graham on stage
“There’s nothing you can do that God can’t forgive,” Will Graham addressed an attentive crowd in Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena for the first night of the Iowa Celebration with Will Graham.
crowd in Iowa
Hundreds were in attendance, flocking to Iowa’s capital city from small towns and cities across the state.
volunteers praying
A group of volunteers prayed in the arena before the event began. An outreach like this can only happen with the help of willing counselors, ushers and local pastors giving up their weekends to serve God. “I’m just called to be a servant,” said Raymond, who volunteered Friday night.
CeCe Winans singing
When the first notes of the night from CeCe Winans sounded in the arena, people came forward to worship in front of the stage. “I want to encourage you tonight to believe,” said the Grammy Award winning Gospel singer. Winans reminded the Friday crowd that God has the power to move mountains in their lives.
woman singing
“We speak to a God who does the impossible,” CeCe Winans said before singing her song, “Believe For It.” Many in the audience raised their arms in joyful worship to God.
girl on mom's shoulders
This young girl had the perfect perch on her mother’s shoulders.
Aaron Shust playing guitar
Aaron Shust and his band then took the stage to help prepare the hearts of those attending the Gospel-centered event. A friend to Will Graham, Shust has played at Billy Graham Evangelistic Association events all around the world.
Will Graham preaching
Will Graham told a story from Matthew 27 about a man named Barabbas—a thief, murderer and liar. The Romans had a tradition to release one prisoner during the Passover. The crowd had the option to release the Son of God or this criminal. “Barabbas!” the crowd cried. And Jesus, the perfect Son of God was sent to die on the cross instead.
“We’re Barabbas,” Will Graham told the crowd. Each one of us is broken by sin—just like Barabbas. “That’s why Jesus sent His Son into the world to take your place.”
The largest city in Iowa, Des Moines sits in the center of the state, surrounded by acres of farmland.
It’s harvest time. Farmers are slowly driving through corn fields, harvesting the summer's yield. Iowa’s rich soil produces more corn than any other state in the nation. Over 2 billion bushels of corn are produced every year.
Will Graham opened his message with a shout out to the Deaf audience. In the back of the arena, an interpreter translated the evangelist’s words into sign language. Read more about BGEA’s ministry to the Deaf community.
The power of Christ to forgive sin brought many to the front, and Will Graham led them in a prayer to commit their lives to Christ.
Annabelle and her two older sisters—Brianna and Bianca—drove two hours to come to Friday's event. Encouraged by her sisters, Annabelle prayed to accept Christ. “It was my decision to go up there, and I’m really glad I did,” she said. “It makes me feel more connected to God.” Please pray more people make this all-important decision as the Iowa Celebration continues Saturday and Sunday.