Franklin Graham: There’s Nothing More Thrilling Than Watching People Respond to Jesus

By   •   June 29, 2015

Dear Friend,

“The gospel of Christ … is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NKJV). There is nothing more thrilling to me as a preacher of the Gospel than, after giving an invitation, to stand and watch people make their way forward to respond to Jesus Christ. I see the faces, and I thank God for what He is doing in each heart at that moment. If you have given and prayed for our work, this is the wonderful fruit.

I was in Jacksonville, Florida, at the end of May to preach the Gospel at an evangelistic Crusade in Veterans Memorial Arena. Thousands heard God’s Word there each night, and many left their seats at the invitation, ready to give their lives to the Savior in repentance and faith. On the first night, a woman who was openly weeping pressed to the front. A counselor met her and began listening while she poured out her story, interrupted every few sentences with sobbing.

She had been on drugs for years, had been abused and victimized in many ways, and said she had done so many wrong things that she feared God could never forgive her, much less love and accept her. A young music artist who performs at many of our Crusades, Lacey Sturm, noticed the woman’s look of desperation and left the platform to join the counselor in talking with her. Lacey has her own testimony of hopelessness and desperation, and then forgiveness, redemption and transformation through Jesus Christ. As the three talked and the Holy Spirit worked, the woman’s heart opened to God’s love and compassion. She spoke to the Lord in her own words with deep repentance and newfound faith, receiving forgiveness for all her sin. The look on her face changed completely. Lacey and the counselor prayed with her, shared Scripture with her and encouraged her. Afterward, the counselor made sure to get contact information for follow-up.

God changed many other lives in that arena as well, but what He did during the Crusade was not confined to the arena or even to Jacksonville. The Bible says, “Give attention, you peoples from afar … that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:1, 6, ESV), and that’s exactly what happened. Using the latest Internet technology, each night of the Crusade was live streamed—made available for anyone to view on a computer, tablet or smartphone almost anywhere on earth. God drew tens of thousands of people across the United States and 128 other countries to log on and watch.

A young man in Iraq watched the live stream and sensed that God was speaking truth to him deep in his heart. He began an online exchange with one of our counselors this way: “I will be so happy if my Lord Jesus Christ accept me as one of His followers. Is it possible if I was born as Muslim?”

After assurances from the counselor, the young man gave his life to the Savior and has continued to stay in touch. More than a thousand other people have let us know they took the same step as a result of what God did in their hearts while they watched and listened. We offer them online follow-up and strongly encourage them, wherever possible, to connect with a local Bible-centered church.

This is, of course, not the first time we have used technology to reach people far away with the message of the Gospel—over the last 65 years, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always taken advantage of cutting-edge technology to reach as many people as possible with God’s Good News. The Bible says that repentance and forgiveness in the Name of Jesus Christ is promised not only to us, but also to “all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself” (Acts 2:39, NASB). We praise Him for allowing us to see that promise in action yet again, this time during the Jacksonville Crusade.

I recently returned from the war-torn country of Ukraine, where we held a Crusade in the city of Lviv. Located near Ukraine’s western border, the city was once part of Poland but was annexed into Ukraine by the Russians at the end of World War II. Today many see the city as one of Ukraine’s leading cultural centers. The people of Lviv, like all Ukrainians, live with anxiety and instability caused by ongoing fighting with separatist groups and continued threats and pressure from Russia. Evangelical churches there, though small, are committed and energetic, and they asked us to come preach the Gospel. They need our prayers. Pray also for all who responded to the Gospel as a result of the Crusade.

Immediately after Lviv, I traveled to the Faroe Islands, a Scandinavian archipelago far out in the North Atlantic Ocean between Denmark and Iceland. In 2013, I led a Crusade in Iceland, and afterward churches from the Faroe Islands invited us to come there as well. The island territory, which is associated with Denmark, has had a Christian presence since 999 A.D., and the vast majority of the population today consider themselves Christians. For many of them, however, the Christian label is primarily a historical and cultural identity. Pray for the islanders who heard the Gospel during our visit and pray for a revival of faith throughout the ancient communities of this North Atlantic territory.

Today in America, we see a growing hostility toward God from every corner. I would be grateful for your prayers as we make preparations for next year’s Decision America Tour to all 50 states.

Later this summer I will preach the life-changing message of the Gospel at Crusades in Birmingham, Alabama, and then Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. My oldest son, Will, just preached at an evangelistic Celebration in Arusha, Tanzania. Later this year, he’ll share the Good News in Huntington, West Virginia. God uses your prayers and gifts to make an eternal difference in people’s lives, bringing hope to lost and hurting hearts across our own nation and around the world. We are grateful for you and cannot do this work without you.

May God richly bless you,

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham Signature