Only God can change the heart.
Franklin Graham has repeated those words at just about every stop of his Lone Star Tour across Texas. The prayer events started earlier this month and ended Thursday night in Longview.
Each rally has been about acknowledging our need for God—crying out to Him in prayer, asking for forgiveness and turning from sin.
In Longview, that message came full circle for Franklin Graham, who attended LeTourneau College just up the road from the Maude Cobb Convention Center where more than 9,300 came to hear him preach Thursday night.
“I was not the best student and after a couple of years, I got kicked out,” he said of the well known story he shares in his autobiography.
“I deserved to get kicked out. They should have kicked me out much earlier!” he chuckled.
“But it was really a spiritual issue. I was running from God. I didn’t want God in my life.”
Now, he shares God’s Word around the world—an ironic turn of events that many in the crowd could relate to.
“There are probably some of you here tonight. Maybe you’re in that same position that I was in,” Franklin said. “I want you to know God loves you.
“God’s got a plan and purpose for your life.”
Changed for Good
It took Nikkolas just about hitting rock bottom before that truth resonated.
With a drug-addicted mom and a family involved in gangs, he was adopted as a toddler. He gave his life to Christ at 14, but soon “fell off the track.”
Running the streets got him kicked out of his adoptive parents’ home, then selling drugs forced his grandparents to put him out too.
“I was hopping from house to house, sleeping on couches,” he recalled. “One night I was sleeping on a park bench in front of First Baptist [with nothing left].”
Nikkolas now attends that church. He’s also in the process of completing a one-year program with House of Disciples, a Christian recovery center for the homeless and those struggling with addiction.
“It got me to the point where I am today, just trying to straighten up, sober up and get closer to God,” he said before giving Crowder a big cheer as he came on stage to perform.
Nikkolas’s friend Dustin is also in the program.
Dustin, who’s from Tennessee, started dealing drugs and eventually ended up in prison. In 2015, after being released, he’d had enough.
“I came all the way out here to Texas to change my life and give it to God because He can do great things.”
Thursday, they found themselves at the Decision Texas stop in Longview, continuing to step closer to God.
“If just one person tonight, just one sinner tonight repents and turns from their sin … let me tell you tonight will be worth it!” Franklin Graham told the crowd.
By the end of the night, more than 500 either at the venue or watching live online had made a decision for Christ.
Take Up Your Cross
Gripping a wooden cross more than twice his size, Gary Don Holley beamed with joy as people walked forward.
Prostitutes, drug dealers, gangbangers. He’s ministered to them all. That’s why seeing a crowd full of changed folks like Nikkolas and Dustin made his heart glad.
“I was that guy. I never thought I’d measure up to Christ,” Gary explained.
“People are hurt. There’s a lot of hurt sheep. But there’s healing in Christ our Lord.”
And that’s what The Lone Star Tour with Franklin Graham has been about: finding healing for a nation and its people through Jesus.
“It’s about coming to an end of yourself,” Gary said. “Taking up our cross, dying daily and losing our lives so that we have life.”
Praise God for the tens of thousands who attended one of the seven stops on The Lone Star Tour with Franklin Graham. Continue to pray with BGEA for those in positions of authority, as well as for the hundreds who made decisions for Christ at a Texas prayer rally this month.