Billy Graham’s Birthday All About ‘The Cross’

By   •   November 7, 2013

Billy Graham 95th Birthday

A 95th birthday party sounded nice.

But when Billy Graham was asked about plans for such a landmark celebration, the world-renowned evangelist raised an eyebrow to his close friend and pastor.

“Would anyone want to come to my party?” Don Wilton shared Mr. Graham’s concern Thursday night.  “And he said this from the bottom of his heart.”

“He’s afraid people have forgotten who he is,” Franklin Graham said.

Billy GrahamClearly, that was not the case on Thursday at the Grove Park Inn. More than 800 honored Mr. Graham’s 95 years of life, including Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch, with dozens of media members clamoring for just one more glimpse of the “Pastor to the Presidents.”

And on a day where all eyes were on his 95th birthday and his new message was airing in primetime on FOX News, Mr. Graham wanted his celebration focused on one thing:

The cross.

“He’s the most humble man you’ll ever know,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said. “He knows it’s not about him. It’s about the cross.”

The evening began with a showing of “The Cross,” a 30-minute My Hope America short film, featuring a Gospel message that Mr. Graham has passionately wanted to preach for the past three years, along with life-changing stories from musicians Lecrae and Lacey Sturm.

Franklin Graham became the night’s “Matthew” host, giving a short testimony about how he waited 22 years before realizing he “was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” and extended the same invitation to accept Christ.

The evening program wrapped up with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin sharing about her mother making a decision to follow Jesus through a televised Billy Graham Crusade, which impacted her entire family for Christ.

“Billy Graham has been able to articulate this message more than anyone else,” Palin said. “He reminds us that Jesus is the only answer.”

FOX News host Greta Van Susteren finished off the night by leading a cupcake-and-candle-infused “Happy Birthday” group singing, bringing up Michael W. Smith, Lecrae, Lacey Sturm, Kathie Lee Gifford and Ricky Skaggs for musical harmony. She offered a personal gift to Mr. Graham “by not singing” herself.

Mr. Graham then addressed the crowd twice at the end of the program. First, to thank his ministry partner and dear friend, Cliff Barrows, “for all that you have meant to me through all these years.”  The second, to recognize his grandson, Edward Graham, an Army Major. “We’re so proud of you,” he said.

Billy Graham Rupert MurdochWill Graham, vice president of BGEA, is proud of his grandfather, whose ministry is still active, long past the normal retirement age.

“He realizes the calling that God gave him is for his whole life,” Will Graham said. “It’s not just for 60 years.”

Very few know this better than Cliff Barrows, 90, who has been a ministry partner with Mr. Graham for more than 60 years, and took one more opportunity to thank his dear friend.

“I thank God for every remembrance of you,” said Mr. Barrows, his voice crackling. “And I praise God for the journey we’ve had …

“With all my heart.”

Click here for local and national TV listings of “The Cross.”

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  1. Cely says:

    Rev. Graham,I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ during the 1977 Manila Crusade and BGEA had been so faithful in sending me the Decision magazines which God used to help me grow in the Christian faith. Thank you for your example .

  2. Messay says:

    Thank you, Mr. Graham from the bottom of my heart! Happy Birthday!

  3. Krinkisda says:

    Rev. Billy GrahamI can never stop thanking God to have blessed you to bring hope and faith to people's life. Especially, the Ministry of Samaritan's Purse is shining upon children's life. Happy 95th Birthday Rev. Billy Graham!

  4. Happy Birthday says:

    Happy delighted Birthday We are all special in Gods Eyes.I Loved when I got time to watch you. I watched your TV programs a lot as I grew up to. You are still a wonderful person Billy

  5. Diana says:

    Dear Billy Graham, Happy Birthday! I still remember the first time I saw the first shoe boxes in my country, Colombia, several years ago. The Lord used you to lead many of my friends to the Him. You have been a blessing for everybody. God bless you.

  6. Kim says:

    Happy Birthday, Rev. Billy Graham. May God continue to bless you and give you peace. Thank you for your faithfulness in the Lord and to be a example for His children to follow. You indeed fed His sheep. I pray I meet you one day.

  7. Karen says:

    Thank you Billy Graham for saying YES to Jesus,a life in full surrender boldly proclaiming the Gospel. I am so grateful for your teaching in my life, and for the message of Love and Hope and Jesus' Love on the cross that you share with such passion!

  8. Rochelle says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Graham. I grew up watching your crusade with my great grandfather, Grampy from the age of 8 years old. Today at 51 I've had the privilege to open my home up to women to watch The Cross. What a blessing you have been for His name

  9. Michelle says:

    God bless you, Mr. Graham. I am greatly encouraged by your enduring faithfulness to God, God's call on your life, and to the gospel of Jesus Christ. You will always be remembered:-)

  10. Shirle Ann says:

    Thank you Billy Graham for all you shared on Jesus and the Cross. I was happy to have been at one of your Crusades in Milwaukee Wisconsin. You have been a man of God and I sure love you and your wonderful family. Blessings for continued good health.