The classic Mississippi heat and humidity couldn’t tamp down the excitement Thursday, as some 215 Christian and civic leaders from Clinton and beyond joined together on the campus of historic Mississippi College.
They were there to praise God and help officially launch the Central Mississippi Will Graham Celebration.
The three-day Celebration will be held March 28-30, 2014, in the domed A. E. Wood Coliseum, next door to where Thursday’s gathering was held.
Clinton, Miss., Mayor Phil Fisher, who is also serving as the Celebration’s executive team leader, said it’s time for central Mississippi to pause and think about faith.
“With the world in such confusion and disarray, as people struggle with difficult family and financial issues, with everyone so hurried and busy, we all need a time to stop and reflect,” Fisher said. “A time to hear the teachings of Christ and reassess our priorities. We need the inspiration to look at our faith and within ourselves in order to live a life centered in Christ and not the trappings of the world.”
Later, Will Graham took the stage to share his heart about a variety of subjects, including his grandfather, 94-year-old evangelist Billy Graham. Many in the assembled audience remembered one or both of the elder Graham’s Crusades in nearby Jackson, Miss., in 1952 and 1975.
But, Will’s main focus was on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the importance of prayer.
“When I come, I’m going to preach from the Bible. There’s power in the Word of God,” Will said. “It’s the power of God unto Salvation. We’re going to come here and make the Gospel known, and give people the opportunity to respond.
“I can’t change anybody’s life. We’re going to invite them to the One that can change their life.”
He then challenged the assembly to pray for him, for the Celebration, and for their friends and neighbors over the next several months.
“The most important thing we can do is pray, pray, pray,” he said. “This can’t be done in human effort. If it’s done in human effort, it’s to no avail. But if this is in the power of God, it will forever change this community. Prayer is what moves the Hand of God. Please pray.”
After a time of prayer – as people around the hall stood one at a time to call out to God – Pastor Jimmy Burse, co-leader of the Celebration Pastors Committee, closed with a final prayer.
“God, we’re going to see Christ show up and show out and perform in such an awesome way,” Burse said. “If we lift You up, Your Word has already declared that You will draw all men unto You.”
The next several months will include a variety of preparatory meetings and training events. For more information on the Central Mississippi Will Graham Celebration, visit the Celebration website and follow the event via social media on Facebook and Twitter.