New Hampshire residents would say they have a lot of it.
The state takes pride in its motto “Live Free or Die” and currently stands as the second-freest state in the U.S.—only recently losing its No. 1 title. This according to the Cato Institute’s latest study of state policies and inclusiveness.
But as Franklin Graham said during his third Decision America Northeast Tour event on Thursday—ever-changing laws aren’t what make us free.
“We have to go by God’s laws; His standards,” Franklin said. “We’re blinded by the devil who deceives us. He wants to lure us into sin.”
Promises of fun, excitement and a life without limits may seem OK, “But [eventually] it leads to hopelessness.”
That hopelessness is on full display in Manchester, where drug abuse and homelessness are a growing problem.
Despite the statistics, New Hampshire’s Christians aren’t giving up. And as hundreds of people walked forward during the invitation to accept Christ Thursday night, it was clear—God is answering their prayers.
‘I Put Him in Rehab’
Scott, a Decision America prayer volunteer at the Manchester event, moved to the area two years ago after hearing about the spiritual need in New Hampshire.
“There’s a deep hopelessness. Addiction is terrible,” he said. “People live out in tents not far from here.”
Scott’s family attended the 2016 Decision America rally at the state Capitol. And his brother Jeff now helps lead homeless outreach in Manchester through a ministry called Harmony Home.
As Franklin gave the invitation to accept Christ, the brothers spotted two young men walking forward: one of them in tears and the other, Jeff recognized.
“Santos,” Jeff said. “I put him in rehab.”
Santos, a young, Congolese refugee, came to the Harmony Home several months ago looking for help. He wanted to get over his drinking problem.
“Everyone looked up to him,” Jeff recalled. “And I told him, ‘If you will take a step in faith, others will follow.’
During rehab, “He got hit with the power of Jesus.”
Now, Santos was walking with a friend who needed to know Jesus, too.
“He took your lies to the cross. He took your immorality to the cross. He took every sin to the cross,” Franklin’s voice rang out at Gill Stadium. “And if you’re willing to accept that and put your trust in Him, He’ll forgive you tonight.”
Santos’ friend made a decision for Christ. But both Jeff and Scott know the lifestyle change won’t come easy. It hasn’t for Santos.
“You can’t go back to that!” Jeff said to Santos, giving him a nudge.
“I know he’s back to drinking,” Jeff later explained. “But I [also] know a seed was planted.
“We’ve claimed him for the kingdom. I totally believe he will be restored.”
A Ripple Effect
Santos’ struggle is one many of Thursday night’s new believers may find themselves facing. It’s hard to break chains that have kept you bound for so long.
But with God, all things are possible.
“God came up with a plan. He sent His Son,” Franklin told the crowd. “Jesus was buried for our sins. He took them to the grave.”
No doubt, Jeff will follow up with Santos and his friend to remind them of this truth—they don’t have to live in sin anymore.
“Hopefully these cards that will be passed to the local pastors will [lead to connection],” Scott added. “That will create a ripple effect not just for that person, but their families will change, [too].”
Join in praying for those who decided to follow Jesus in Manchester, New Hampshire, and for the churches who will help disciple them. Next, the Decision America Northeast Tour heads to Springfield, Massachusetts. Tonight’s event will stream live at BillyGraham.org/Live.