During the past ten years of his crusade ministry, evangelist Billy Graham has made a special effort to reach out to young people, dedicating one evening at each crusade specifically to speak to teenagers. The Saturday night event at his historic Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade in June 2005 saw a continuation of this practice, and is the focus of the next Billy Graham special airing nationwide January 14-22.
Using examples from U2’s Bono, Star Wars, Blender magazine, and even a quote from Madonna, Graham speaks the language of the youth to let them know that Jesus loves them and has a plan for their lives.
In this special Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham and sister of Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, will share her thoughts with the viewing audience. “People need a greater purpose to live for than just themselves,” says Lotz. “That awareness of need and that awareness of spiritual poverty drives them to the cross.”
The broadcast will feature testimonies from people familiar to young and old alike. The stories highlighted in the program include:Long before “Walk the Line” hit theaters, music legend Johnny Cash lived a hard life ruled by barbiturates and amphetamines. Ultimately the pain caused by drugs and other trials in life led him to reclaim the faith of his youth. A close friend of Billy Graham’s and a regular at crusades, Johnny knew that he wasn’t perfect, and that was part of his appeal and his ministry to others. “It’s been a long road,” said Johnny from the crusade stage. “There were times that it was a wide crowded road and a confused road with a lot of pain and trouble.” His knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ helped Johnny to conquer the painful misuse of drugs. “I just wanted to say in case anybody had any doubt that I’m a Christian, and I’m awfully proud to say so.” Travis Cabral was an instant success in the world of competitive skiing. He started skiing at six, won the U.S. National Championships in freestyle mogul skiing at 15, and was the youngest person ever to be named to the U.S. Ski Team. After becoming the youngest ever freestyle skiing world champion at only 19 years of age, Travis had reached the pinnacle of his sport. However, he soon realized that being number one doesn’t bring peace. “Through my whole life I did not know anything about Jesus Christ. Now He is my Lord and Savior, and for me accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior filled that hole and gave me peace.” Carolina Panthers Kicker John Kasay, the last original member of the 1995 inaugural Panthers squad, has always been driven to be at the top. “I was always struggling, always striving, trying to reach the next goal. To beat the next person. To be the best,” says John. But even after reaching those goals, he realized it wasn’t enough. “There’s a huge emptiness. A large void. I’ve done all these things. I’ve accomplished all these things, but for what?” During his senior year as the kicker for the Georgia Bulldogs, John gave his life to Jesus Christ. “I didn’t have the fireworks. I didn’t have this vision from on high. It was a still, quiet calmness that I’d never had before in my life.”This television special will also feature crusade music from the late Johnny Cash, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Marcos Witt.
Local dates, times and stations for the program may be found at www.billygraham.org.