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Billy Graham- America Salutes You
America has had its great share of renowned preachers, missionaries and evangelists but none can hold a candle to the Reverend Billy Graham. His influence is worldwide but for Americans his life and ministry have been both influential and a matter of pride. That is, we are proud of him, our native son, our pastor at large, our voice of hope in the turbulent and changing American landscape.
He has preached the message that is heralded by every believer across all denominational lines. That message is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. One is bound to ponder, why if it is the same message that all our churches put forward, how has Billy Graham succeeded in its promulgation more than any of the churches? The answer is no secret. Graham stayed on course for over six decades; he stuck to the simple but profound message of the gospel. He did not swerve to take part in the new twists and emphasis that we all seem so hungry for, like the prosperity gospel, the dominion teachings, or any other new kid on the block kind of movement. His steadiness is not only his success but it is perhaps one of the greatest lessons America will ever be taught. From Hula Hoops to Elvis to hippies to cabbage patch dolls, beanie babies,MTV, and God knows what is next, Graham has held the course. Americans have a reputation throughout the world for their short attention spans. And we have earned it. But when we are in real trouble, facing attack or threats from without, we don't seek advice from the guy leisurely standing in the party with a dry martini in his hand. We always turn our ears to the steadiest voice we can find. Few Americans would disagree that Graham has been one of the voices.
Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life, but Graham gave us an up front example of it for over a half century. Joel Osteen gave us Your Best Life Now, as Graham showed us his best life continuously for a generation. Tim LaHaye warned us not to be Left Behind, while Graham gave us the details of the evacuation route year by year by year. Hal Lindsey gave us the Late Great Planet Earth, as Billy Graham preached of the doorway out of the coming calamities.
We have been blessed with Edwards, Whitefield and Billy Sunday just to name a few, but who will replace Billy Graham after he is gone? Sadly, at this moment in our history the answer is probably, no one. Even sadder is the thought that we may be left to the cotton candy gospel, the prosperity preachers and the pop Christianity proponents that now seem so woefully pervasive on the media. What is touted as Christian diversity provides only more confusion to the lost soul who is looking for a sure word of salvation. Perhaps the best prayer is now truly, God help us.
As this era of Grahams ministry comes to its inevitable close it may be hard to know what to expect next. Two things are known and must not be overlooked. One is that we can carry the lesson of Graham's persistence and steadiness on in our own lives. The other is that we must salute Billy Graham with the respect and honor due a true soldier of the cross.
Rev Bresciani is the leader of a non-denominational ministry in the New Orleans area. He has written many articles over the past thirty years in such periodicals as Guideposts and Catholic Digest. He is the author of two books available on Amazon.com, Alibris, Barnes and Noble and many other places. Rev Bresciani wrote, Hook Line and Sinker or What has Your Church Been Teaching You, published by PublishAmerica of Baltimore MD. He also wrote a book about to be released by Xulon Press entitled An American Prophet and His Message, Questions and Answers on the Second Coming of Christ. Rev Bresciani has his own site at, http://americanprophet.org
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