Will Graham didn’t wake up Friday morning thinking he would be talking about the people of Japan Friday night at the Charlotte Bobcats’ Faith and Family night.
“Those people who woke up in Japan this morning didn’t wake up thinking that would be their last day on Earth,” Graham told a crowd of 3,500, who stayed after the Bobcats’ NBA victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It’s sad to see what people worked their whole life for get wiped away,” Graham said earlier about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands in Japan. “It kind of reminds me of how temporary life can be. That’s why we have to plan for eternity.”
And that was the message Graham, the grandson of Billy Graham, delivered on Friday night at Time-Warner Cable Arena.
Time for a U-Turn
Graham began his talk with a story about a drive recently on the I-20 Interstate in Alabama, where he decided he didn’t need the help of his GPS.
After all, listening to a GPS can be a pain. And he knew exactly where he was going. Only to realize almost an hour too late that he had been traveling the wrong direction and missed a meeting.
“I was too proud to use the GPS,” said Graham, who spoke out of Proverbs. “Some of us are on the wrong road in life. Just like I had to get off highway 20 and make a U-turn, some of you need to make a U-turn in your life.”
The biggest hurdle or obstacle is realizing you’re on the wrong path and doing something about it.
“You have to change directions and that’s the problem,” he said. “Tonight, you can make that choice to get off that road you’re on and come back to God. But the only way to come to God is through Jesus Christ.”
Graham talked about how the world likes to tell us that there are many different roads that lead to God.
“We all took different roads to get to this building tonight,” said Graham, who preceded a short concert by Christian musician Todd Agnew. “Some of us came down from Greensboro on I-85. Some came from the north on I-77. Some came from just around the corner. But there’s only one road to God and that’s through His son Jesus Christ.”
Graham invited anyone who had not made a decision to accept Christ as their Savior to not wait another day and the aisles were quickly stirring.
“This invitation is for no one else,” he said. “This invitation is for you.”
Graham, who spoke at the 2009 Faith and Family night with Barlow Girl, was praying the Lord Almighty would simply use his words to call people to himself in this unique event. “I just pray God will call people by name.”
Charlotte feels like home
Graham, who lives near Asheville as the assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, and grew up on a farm in Boone, N.C., is always excited about speaking in Charlotte, which feels like a second home. His first Celebration in the U.S. was in Gastonia, N.C., a few miles west of Charlotte, in 2006.
“It’s always fun to come to Charlotte,” Graham said. “Charlotte is home for our ministry (BGEA). It’s a wonderful place to come. Great people down here. Great churches. I have a lot of family here. A lot of cousins and second cousins.”
Fresh off a trip to India, Graham is in the midst of one of the busiest stretches in his life, with trips to the Philippines and Australia coming up, followed by the Jersey Shore Will Graham Celebration at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove on May 20-22.
“This is probably the busiest 5-month stretch I’ve ever had.”