We are who we are, and it’s good that we are, but change may be needed

by | May 10, 2018 7:57 am

Less than a week after the joyful experience of hearing, seeing and visiting with Larnelle, Sammie and I joined thousands of others in Johnson City for a celebration. Will Graham was scheduled to preach a crusade. Will is the grandson of the late Billy Graham and the son of Franklin Graham, current president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse.

Parking in a fast-filling parking lot behind Liberty Bell Middle School, we huffed and puffed as we hiked up the hill to Freedom Hall. By the time we arrived at the entrance, the Lord has already spoken to me.

In a still small voice, He said, “Steve, you need to drop a few pounds and get more exercise.”

OK, I’ll confess. I do have some insulation that I don’t really need. But I do park in the last row of the parking lot, and I do take the stairs – sometimes.

Will is the executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove and associate evangelist of BGEA.

The last time I attended a Billy Graham Crusade, in person, Billy preached. Larnelle sang. So did Bev Shea. Cliff Barrows led the choir. This was different. Instead of soloists there were bands. A praise team led the contemporary songs sung by the congregation. The words were projected onto screens, and there was no choir.

And Will neither looks nor sounds like his granddaddy, Billy Graham, but that’s OK. He’s NOT William Franklin Graham Jr. (Billy Frank); nor is he William Franklin Graham III (Franklin); Will is William Franklin Graham IV – HE’S WILL! And that’s a good thing.

There will never be another Billy Graham. No one, in the history of ever, has preached to as many people as Billy Graham. There have been great preachers, and there are probably a few yet to be born, but just one Billy Graham. Yes, I know there are others with that name, but only one was THE Billy Graham.

Only one Franklin Graham has been used of God in   missionary work, outreach, feeding the hungry, rebuilding after disasters, and doing all the other “stuff” that Samaritan’s Purse does. Samaritan’s Purse is modestly identified by Wikipedia and other sources as “an international Christian relief organization.” Truth be told, Samaritan’s Purse does more good than many governments do – and without nearly the “baggage.”

But Will is Will – not Billy or Franklin or anyone else. The same can be said of every person that ever lived. We are all different. Each of us has been “…fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14), and from God’s viewpoint, each of us is important.

God has a plan for you and for me. Isn’t that exciting? You   are special to God! When we commit ourselves to Him, He changes us and guides us to places where only you and I can serve. We do need to be changed “…into His likeness…”, and as we follow Him, He brings about change; but you’re still you, and I’m still me.

That night, at the Tri-Cities Will Graham Celebration,   hundreds of people “came forward” to receive Christ. Each of those people is a precious individual, and Christ will surely work to change them for His glory.

I know He’s still working on me, and I’m not just referring to my weight, either.

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