Texas is reeling from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on our nation’s southeastern coast.
The devastation these powerful storms bring is hard to fathom, with heartache and damage comparable to the immense destruction that Hurricane Katrina brought to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area in 2005. My heart goes out to the millions of people who are enduring tragedy. We ask you to join us in praying for them.
In Texas, we quickly deployed crisis-trained chaplains from our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to provide emotional and spiritual care to people shaken by fear and loss. The chaplains began ministering to people at emergency aid centers and in shelters, praying with them, listening to their stories, and encouraging them. People don’t know what to do—many have lost their homes, their businesses. Many have lost everything they’ve worked for their whole lives, and they are numb. They need hope and to know that God loves them. And they urgently need prayer.
We have over 350 crisis-trained chaplains already in Texas or ready to come as authorities allow us farther into disaster zones. They will continue bringing the compassion and healing love of Jesus Christ to shattered lives and communities in South Texas and other affected areas for many weeks or even months.
Texas is the second-largest state in America, and I plan to spend much of October focused on going to seven cities across the state on what we are calling Decision Texas: The Lone Star Tour. Those plans were made long before the hurricane, and they are as vital as ever.
I went to college in Texas many years ago. This great state has Christianity rooted in its heritage, but its people face the same problems that are now affecting the entire country—godless secularism has been forcefully gaining influence, and Biblical values are opposed more and more aggressively in the media and culture. I’ve never seen so much venom as there is in our society today, even in Washington. Our only hope for the future is God.
A huge majority of people in Texas, like Americans in general, say they believe in God—and in Heaven. But far too many have never faced the truth that believing in the existence of God, by itself, is not enough. “Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19, NKJV).
The Bible makes it abundantly clear—eternal salvation requires “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). The Bible says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). That is the truth we preach at all our evangelistic events.
Jesus Christ declared the urgency of the message when He proclaimed, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). I do not know how much time we have left, but I feel a great urgency as we prepare for this Texas tour. Will you stand with me in prayer? Every person who hears and receives the Gospel is a life saved and transformed for all eternity. Nothing could matter more.
We thank God that each time we preach “the word of truth, the gospel of … salvation” (Ephesians 1:13), God opens hearts and draws people to repentance and faith. To God be the glory!
At each stop on the Decision Texas tour, I will call on people to stand together for our nation. We will pray for America, and I’ll ask those who are gathered to pray with me for the president and vice president of the United States, for other national and local leaders, and for our law enforcement officers. We will also stand to confess the sins of our nation and silently confess our own personal sins to God, asking His forgiveness. This is so important. America needs prayer in so many ways.
Will you pray for people suffering right now from the effects of Hurricane Harvey? In addition, I would appreciate your prayers as we go to Texas in October to preach, mostly in areas outside the disaster zones. Many churches in the state have told us they are excited about the tour. One pastor said he is grateful for every opportunity to share Jesus Christ with people in his city who don’t ever come to a church. “Our city needs the Gospel and the hope and peace it brings.”
Join us in asking God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as He calls prodigals home and draws many lost people to the Savior. If you live in Texas, I hope you will plan to attend and that you will bring your friends and encourage others to come.
May God richly bless you,