Tag Archives: Billy Graham

A Message from Will Graham: Pastor Appreciation Month

By Will Graham:

It is continually humbling to be compared – and even mentioned in the same sentence – as the wonderful man of God that I call Daddy Bill, my grandfather Billy Graham. But many people may not know one key aspect of ministry that both my grandfather and I share: we both started our ministries as pastors of local churches.

When my grandfather was a student at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., he served as part-time pastor of an area church. Then, as he finished his studies, he became pastor of a church in Western Springs, Ill.  He wrote in his autobiography that he was so enthusiastic that he accepted the call without even asking my grandmother, to whom he was engaged!

My path to the local church took a similar route, except that I had absolutely, positively zero desire to be a pastor. As I became a student at Liberty University, I spoke with my dad about my major, and he suggested that I focus on Bible and Business. “No matter what you do later in life, those two areas will serve you well,” he told me.

I took his advice, and – as a young student – I fell in love with the Bible. I became a sponge, soaking up all the wisdom I could possibly gather from my professors. I grew to see the Bible not as a collection of stories, but as one continuous narrative of God’s love for us from Genesis to Revelation.

Despite this passion for God’s Word and the burden I felt to tell others of His love for them, I still fought the idea of ever being a pastor of a church. I didn’t want it! To me, pastors were underappreciated and underpaid. They were stuck dealing with unwinnable situations in interpersonal and interchurch conflicts and were often told everything they were doing wrong (not what they were doing right).

Yes, I even went so far as to tell God, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll go wherever you want me to go and do whatever you want me to do, but I’m not going to be a pastor.” Looking back, this little statement certainly fits the old saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

I went on from Liberty to seminary at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, and it was there that Pastor Ron Rowe of Bay Leaf Baptist Church convinced me that – even though I didn’t want to be a pastor – it would still be good for me to get experience in a local church. He pointed out that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) always develops good relationships with churches where they are holding outreaches, and this experience would give me another perspective if I did end up as a part of the organization that bears my grandfather’s name.

His argument made sense to me, and I became an intern at Bay Leaf. Eventually I became the pastor of Bay Leaf’s church plant, Wakefield Baptist Church.

My friends, I loved it! It was one of the greatest honors of my life to lead that church plant and minister to the wonderful folks there. When the time came for God to call me to my evangelistic ministry and position with BGEA, I didn’t want to go. I wept openly because I didn’t want to leave, but when God directs your path, you follow. That’s one thing I learned through the process.

So, why am I sharing this whole story with you? It’s Pastor Appreciation Month, and I want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to support and encourage the pastor of your church. “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:1–13, NIV).

Whether your pastor entered the local mission field enthusiastically like my grandfather, or reluctantly like me, his calling is not one to be taken lightly. On any given day, your pastor is – with God’s help – guiding a flock that is dealing with depression, infighting, spiritual warfare, budget issues, divorce, lost jobs, deaths, and life-threatening diseases. And that’s in addition to all the other aspects of the role, like sermons, weddings, evangelism, programs for all ages, and community outreach.

Here are several questions for you to consider this month: Are you encouraging your pastor? Are you praying for your pastor? Are you seeking to build him up and not tear him down? Are you showing love and grace and support to your pastor’s spouse and family in order to make his job easier both at work and at home?

We all need to be held accountable and offered guidance at times, but is your criticism constructive and are you engaging your pastor in love and respect?

My friends, I ask you to please examine yourself and consider honestly your answers to the questions above. If you recognize that you are not being as supportive as you can be, start by praying for your pastor and let God direct your path from there. Make sure your pastor – and his family – know how much you appreciate him this month. And don’t let that encouragement end on October 31. Your pastor needs encouragement year-round, just like you and I do.

Considering giving a Cove gift certificate to show your appreciation to your pastor?  For more information or to to purchase, call 1-800-950-2092 .

Will Graham is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel under the banner of BGEA. Will has spoken to audiences around the world. He graduated from Liberty University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and in 2001 graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. Will and his wife, Kendra, have three children. He currently serves as executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.

An Evening at The Cove with Marty Goetz

On October 20th, modern day psalmist, Marty Goetz, takes the stage at The Cove.  Long before he was known for his beautiful music, a 13-year-old Marty stood at the bimah of Cleveland’s Temple on the Heights for his bar mitzvah and solemnly sang the ancient worlds of the Torah.  Some 20 years later, Marty would be found singing to God at Billy Graham’s Rally in Central Park. 

Marty’s songs are scriptures beautifully set to music, leaving listeners spiritually moved, inspired and educated. With melodic and fresh acoustical/classic arrangements, Marty Goetz has the ability to lead you into a place of true intimacy with God.

Read on as Marty describes his experience at The Cove. 

By Marty Goetz

On the wall in a room where I often stay, when playing and singing at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, hangs a plaque which reads: “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15)

Life at The Cove is like that; a veritable feast for the soul! (For the body, as well; the food is fantastic!) From the moment you enter the grounds, the beauty of the place envelops you, inviting you to a time of rest, refreshment and spiritual restoration.  Everyone who works there is a servant of the Lord, treating you as if you were the most important person on earth.  Your every need is attended to with care and a prayer and a smile, and all you have to do is enjoy your stay. 

As if that were not enough, you have the pleasure of sitting at the feet of the finest Bible expositors this world has to offer.  The teaching sessions are inspiring and impacting, leading to personal reflection and interaction with others who are there to grow in their relationship with Jesus. 

My wife, Jennifer, and I have been blessed to participate in the work of the Billy Graham Training Center these past many years.  What a privilege for us to have had the opportunity to meet Dr. Billy and Ruth Graham and their family.  We are continually amazed that God would allow us to partner with Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea in some of the special events offered by this ministry that is truly, a ‘heaven on earth’. 

Often, when leading worship, I play the piano with my shoes removed.  Some have asked if, by doing that, I am implying that I am on ‘holy ground’.  Well, to be honest, I simply prefer playing that way, but… when I’m at The Cove….it happens to be true!
———-
Don’t miss your chance to join Marty for an Evening at The Cove on Saturday, October 20
th.  Overnight lodging is available at applicable rates and includes breakfast the following morning.  To register click here or call 1-800-950-2092. 

Come see us! Fall Saturday Hours for the Chapel at The Cove …

“There are two gorgeous chapels in eastern America.  One is at Duke University and the other is here at The Cove.”  Billy Graham

The Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitor’s Center is nestled on the 1,200 acre property of The Cove, The Billy Graham Training Center, in the mountains of Asheville, NC.  Take a free tour or enjoy a few minutes alone for prayer and reflection in the elegant simplicity of this beautiful place.

The building is constructed using blue granite stone hand hewn by local craftsmen and is furnished with antique pews from the Royal London Society for the Blind, a 400-year old pulpit from the Church of England and handcrafted wrought iron chandeliers. 

Our Visitor’s Center includes an “Ambassador for God Around the World—Billy Graham” display and a tour guide will share interesting facts about the ministry. 

The Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitor’s Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  We are also open on Saturdays in the Fall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (October 6 – November 17, 2012).  The Cove is closed to visitors during most major holidays and other special occasions.  Admission is free.  Come see us!      

Would you like to meet a few of the wonderful tour guides at The Chatlos Memorial Chapel?  Watch here as Rip, Wanda and Dawne share their experience volunteering at The Cove. 

Click here for more information or to view photos of the Chapel.   

Click here for a schedule of Cove seminar, leadership training, senior adult events, personal spiritual retreat and concert dates.   

A Tribute to Ruth Bell Graham from Her Grandson Will

Will Graham, Executive Director at The Cove, the son of Franklin and Jane Graham and the grandson of Ruth and Billy Graham, penned this tribute to the enduring love between his grandparents. Five years after Ruth’s passing on June 14, 2007, we join Will in remembering this godly woman’s legacy.

It’s such a gift to have grandparents who impart profound truth without even trying, living in such a way that the lessons are impossible to ignore.

by Will Graham

“I always thought it would get easier with time, but it hasn’t. I miss her more now than
ever,” my grandfather, Billy Graham, shared as he talked about my grandmother, Ruth, who passed away in 2007. His booming voice, heard by millions around the world on TV, radio, and in person, now escapes as little more than a whisper.

Daddy Bill loves Tai Tai (the affectionate nicknames that we grandkids have for them). I guess one should probably say “loved” since she is no longer living here on earth, but that wouldn’t be accurate. He loves her with a love that cannot be destroyed by the physical separation of mortal death.

For more than 60 years as he traveled the world sharing a message of hope to the masses, she was his strength and inspiration on the home front, a practical joker who could make a princess and a beggar feel equally comfortable in the same room. He would refer to her as the greatest Christian he had ever known and comment that she knew the Bible far better than he did. She helped to prepare and equip him to go out and accomplish what he was called to do.

In my grandparent’s home, my grandmother—who had suffered years of declining health—had a room where she spent much of her time. It was where she slept and where she  studied the Bible. Several translations were spread across a large desk, all featuring big margins for taking notes. This room was also where she ultimately slipped into eternity.

My grandfather still stops as he makes his way past to look into her room, as though he might find her sitting up in bed with the mischievous grin and quick-witted comments that she carried until her final day on earth.

As he looks into that room, my grandfather still sees a simple woven wreath of Jerusalem thorns hanging on the wall amidst family photos. Directly across from it is the bed where my grandmother courageously faced the debilitating pain that followed her for years.

She would never complain about the pain, though you would occasionally see her bright eyes wince and her teeth grit. Rather than lamenting, she would point up to those thorns, similar to the sharp, long blades that were formed into the crown that Jesus wore at His crucifixion. “If He endured so much for me,” she would say, “I have nothing to complain about.”

It’s such a gift to have grandparents who impart profound truth without even trying, living in such a way that the lessons are impossible to ignore. Daddy Bill and Tai Tai have taught me so much about life, love and even pain and death, and I will be forever thankful for both of them.

Will Graham will be speaking at The Cove on June 29-July 1 in a seminar titled, When The Shadows Speak.  You can register by calling 1-800-950-2092 or visit our website by clicking here.

Billy Graham on Prayer

Billy Graham

Prayer is not using God; it is more often to get us in a position where God can use us.

I watched the deckhands on the great liner United States as they docked that ship in New York Harbor.

First, they threw out a rope to the men on the dock.

Then, inside the boat the great motors went to work and pulled on the great cable.

But of course the pier wasn’t pulled out to the ship; the ship was moved snugly up to the pier.

Prayer is the rope that pulls God and man together.

But it doesn’t pull God down to us; it pulls us up to Him.

Will Graham Teaching on Leviticus

Will Graham, grandson of The Cove’s founders, Billy and Ruth Graham, will be teaching on Leviticus later this month.

Over the last 24 years at The Cove, The Book of Leviticus has yet to be taught, until now. Listen as Will explains why he chose to teach on this Old Testament Book.


To register for Will’s seminar titled, “When the Shadows Speak” on June 29-July 1 click here or call 1-800-950-2092 and reserve your spot today.

Service, Sacrifice and Freedom

In honor of Memorial Day, we are featuring excerpts from two Billy Graham books, in which he describes the impact of his ministry to soldiers on the front lines of the Korean War.

From I Saw Your Sons at War

Seated here I can close my eyes, and for the moment shut out these familiar scenes of home.  Then I can hear again the roar of artillery…see the utter devastation of the Korean countryside…see the homeless orphan children crying for food and warmth in the chill of a Korean winter.

I can see also the American GIs standing on a snow-covered, wind-swept hillside to hear the Gospel, and then go back to the trenches…see some of those same GI’s in a front  line MASH hospital (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital), dying, and as they die,  hear them talk about home in Arkansas…Oregon…Minnesota…Vermont.

And when I open my eyes, and it hardly seems possible, for here the only planes we ever see here are friendly passenger planes, headed north to Washington…or south to Charlotte, and Atlanta.

It seems unbelievable that just weeks ago I walked amid the complete destruction which is the aftermath of a modern bombing and artillery barrage.

And though the entire trip seems so remote and far away now that I am home, I know this, that my visit to Korea was the greatest experience of my ministry. Nothing has ever made such a profound, and I pray, lasting impression on my Christian life.

From Just As I Am

My first sermon on the front lines saw me on a newly built platform graced by a painting done by a soldier forty miles away. Troops had carried the painting (which depicted Christ watching over an exhausted soldier) to us overnight, and it stood next  to me as I preached.

I did not use humor or stories to break the ice that night. I dove right into the Gospel, and
hundreds responded. I felt the Spirit of God in that meeting.

Men of every rank came forward, many in tears—and they were rough, rugged men—to receive Christ.

In a field hospital about a mile behind the front lines on Christmas Eve, we went from bed to bed, bringing greetings and trying to encourage the wounded.

One young man was so mangled that he lay face down on a canvas-and-steel contraption. A doctor whispered to me, “I doubt he’ll ever walk again.”

“Mr. Graham, can I see your face?” asked the young man. “We’ve all been praying for you and looking forward to your coming. I won’t be able to be at the service.” So I lay on the floor beneath him and looked up into his hollow eyes, still stunned with his fate. I prayed with him.

“Sir,” said the young man to General Jenkins, who was escorting me, “I fought for you, but I’ve never seen you. Could I see your face?” The general got down on all fours, slid under that bed as best he could, and talked with the young man. I saw a tear fall from the soldier onto the general’s cheek.

When we walked from the bleeding, broken dying men of that hospital into the crisp, clean, thirty-below-zero air of Christmas Eve, I felt sadder, older, and more aware of the needs and suffering not only in Asia, but also in the entire world.

Billy Graham My Answer Columns for Memorial Day

Our son is planning to enlist in the military in a few months. I know we’re supposed to
believe God will take care of him, but right now we’ve got a bad case of nerves and our fears are a lot stronger than our faith. How can we get over this?
Read Mr. Graham’s Answer »

My husband is serving with the military overseas, and I can’t begin to tell you how difficult
it’s been for our children and me. How can we get through this? I pray all the time, but it’s still very hard.
Read Mr. Graham’s Answer »

I prayed a lot while I was on duty in Iraq and I made all sorts of promises to God about the
way I’d live if He got me out of there alive. Well, He did, but I’ve been back about six months now, and I’m ashamed to say I have not followed through on my promises. How can I do better?
Read Mr. Graham’s Answer »

 

Billy Graham: A Tribute to His Mother

“Of all the people I have ever known, she had the greatest influence on me,” Billy Graham said of his mother, Morrow.

Writing in Just As I Am, Billy shared several stories that point to the important role his mother played in shaping his life.

As we prepare to honor mothers this Sunday, check out what he had to say in the autobiography and also at the May 11, 2003, San Diego Crusade.

“In many Crusades over the years,” wrote Billy, “I have devoted at least one message to the subject of the family. In my Depression-era growing-up years, I suppose we Grahams on our North Carolina dairy farm bore some resemblance to the fictional Walton family on television. It’s easy to feel nostalgic about simpler times, but they obviously were not easier times. Nor were they necessarily happier times.

“What we did have back then was family solidarity. We really cared about each other, and we liked to do things together. Jesus’ word picture of a hen gathering her brood under her wing fits my mother. She saw to it that we gathered frequently and regularly—and not just around the dinner table or in front of the radio for favorite broadcasts. She gathered us around herself and my father to listen to Bible stories, to join in family prayers, and to share a sense of the presence of God.”

On August 14, 1981, Morrow Graham quietly left this earth in her sleep and entered Heaven.

“When word came,” said Billy, “I wept and yet rejoiced at the same time. Of all the people I have ever known, she had the greatest influence on me. I am sure one reason that the Lord has directed and safeguarded me, as well as Ruth and the children, through the years was the prayers of my mother and father.”

Speaking on Mother’s Day 2003, Billy told the audience in San Diego that his mother was a farm woman. “She and my father didn’t have much education … But my mother was a woman of God. She always had devotions with us, she always prayed with us, she always loved us, and did so many things, as I look back now, out of the way. And she and my father, when I was in Bible school, they would go up to a room upstairs and kneel down every morning at 10 o’clock to pray for their son in Bible school.”

PHOTO shows Billy Graham and his mother.

Will Graham Keeping Vision of ‘Granddaddy’

By Trevor Freeze

As Will Graham travels the globe preaching the Gospel, he loves the ability to stay in touch with the latest technology, but as new director of The Billy Graham Training Center, nothing can replace digging into the Word of God.

In a world ruled by technology, it’s the perfect getaway.

The mountaintop retreat known as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove is one of those rare places you can go and completely disconnect from life.

And reconnect with God.

Somewhere in that tension where the speed of technology meets the screeching halt of unwinding is the challenge that’s in front of its new director, Will Graham — grandson of The Cove’s founders, Billy and Ruth Graham.

“It was always (Billy Graham’s) vision to be a place to get away and get into God’s Word,” Will Graham said to a roomful of local and Christian media outlets recently. “I want to continue what my granddaddy started. And use technology to further that.”

Currently, the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, N.C., — founded in 1988 — has extended its reach by streaming sessions live videos over the Internet to a worldwide audience. The Cove’s website is cutting edge with virtual tours, interactive floor plans and Googlemap plug-ins.

And the Cove experience has also gotten a little techy as visitors can use GPS units to find one of 315 prayer pillars, which are scattered around the 1,200-acre campus.

Flanked with an iPad and iPhone and a well-worn black leather Bible, Will Graham is armed and ready for whatever life brings his way.

He’ll be the first to tell you he’s not an Apple pitchman — quickly interjecting “I wish I had bought their stock” — but he’s seen the power of new innovations while traveling the world preaching the Gospel.

Keeping in touch with his wife Kendra and his three kids — CJ, Rachel and Quinn — has never been so easy, even when he’s delivering the Good News on the other side of the globe. “I don’t know who the man was who invited Skype, but it’s amazing,” Graham said.

Throw in updates on Twitter, Facetime and Apple TV… “I can send them a picture — hey, look kids, I’m riding on a kangaroo,” Graham quips. “You can take a picture with your phone and it shows up on your TV at home.”

And in no time, Graham is back at home, playing Wii with his son or watching the stars with his daughter’s new telescope. Graham recently returned from preaching to nearly 10,000 at Celebrations — his version of a Billy Graham Crusade — on back-to-back weekends in Texas. Before that he was sharing Christ in the Seven Sister States of India. Next month, he’ll be evangelizing in Australia.

It’s hard for Graham not to feel homesick.

“I tell you, I love being around my wife,” Graham said about the hardest part of being an international evangelist. “If I put God first when I’m gone for two weeks or three weeks, I believe God is going to make that one week I’m home feel like a month.”

And when he’s home, he regularly visits his famous “granddaddy” just up the road, at his Montreat, N.C., home often times on Sunday after attending the early service.

“By the time I get there, I can usually sit with him and watch his pastor on TV,” said Will Graham, son of Franklin Graham, the president and CEO of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

Growing up, Graham remembers aspiring to follow in the evangelistic footsteps of his father and grandfather: “I wanted to be someone who flew around and told people about Jesus.”

And now that he’s doing just that at age 37, he still looks for advice on how to effectively minister the Gospel.

His “granddaddy” has dispensed a few pearls of wisdom over the years, including the three most important parts of ministry —”pray, pray and pray” — along with his biggest regret: “I wish I would’ve taken less speaking engagements. And studied the Bible more.”

There is an unusual mix of familiarity and reverence when Will Graham talks about his grandfather.

“People tell me, ‘You sound like your granddaddy,’ ” said Graham, featured in last month’s People magazine article. “I don’t try to sound like my granddaddy, but when you grow up 60 miles apart in the same neck of the woods, you end up sounding alike.”

The obvious comparison is that both are evangelists, but many see similarities in the heart they have for people. Before joining The Cove as assistant director, Graham was a pastor for six years at Wakefield Baptist Church in Wake Forest, N.C.

“I love my granddaddy,” Graham said. “Anytime I can be associated with him in the same sentence, it’s an honor.”

Will Graham will hold a special seminar called “When the Shadows Speak” June 29-July 1.  Space is still available – click here and reserve yours today.