Tag Archives: Will Graham

Will Graham to Preach the Gospel in China

By Will Graham
Executive Director, The Cove

In 1916, a young American doctor named L. Nelson Bell and his wife arrived in what is now known as Huai’an, China.  He would spend the next 25 years as a Presbyterian medical missionary, raising his family in the medical compound and offering healing of both the body and soul. He’d tend to people’s wounds, while never neglecting to also share the hope of Jesus.

Over the course of their quarter-century in China, the Bells would bear four children: Rosa, Virginia, Clayton, and my grandmother, Ruth.

Bell family China small
The Bell family in China

My great-grandfather spent years sowing the seeds of the Gospel in China, but – frankly – did not get the opportunity to see much of a harvest.  Despite his years in missionary service there, precious few found their eternal hope in Jesus through his efforts.

However, his sacrificial work cultivated the ground and he is still warmly remembered in that city.  Many in Huai’an still consider my grandmother, who was born there, to be Chinese; to be family.

Billy and Ruth Graham in front of her childhood home in Huai an China
Billy and Ruth Graham in front of her childhood home in Huai’an, China.

My great-grandparents and my grandmother are all in Heaven now, but they would be thrilled to know that I will be returning to Huai’an next week, not just to visit the place of my grandmother’s birth, but to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In addition, I’ll also hold a pair of Gospel celebrations in the city of Wuxi.

The Christian faith is growing quickly now in China, and doors are opening for the Gospel.  I’m visiting at the invitation of the Jiangsu Province Christian Council with the approval of the Chinese government.  They’ve been very hospitable, kind and easy to work with.

I anticipate that this trip will be a blessing, but also a very emotional time.  To visit a grandparent’s place of birth in a foreign land is an amazing opportunity as it is, but to carry on the legacy of my family is an even greater honor.  My great-grandparents and my grandmother loved – dearly loved – the people of China, and now I will be able to share with them how they can find their hope and purpose in Jesus.

Please pray with me that the work begun by my great-grandparents nearly 100 years ago would bear amazing fruit over the coming days.  Pray that the children and grandchildren of those same people to whom my great-grandfather ministered would hear clearly the call of the Holy Spirit on their lives.  Above all, pray that Jesus Christ would glorified and many would surrender to Him!

You can find Will Graham on the following social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Free Lodging at The Cove in 2015

PILGRIMS INN
One of our lovely rooms inn rooms.
Plan to stay for FREE in one of our cozy inn rooms for 2015! We are offering six 3-day seminars with free lodging  at The Cove this year.

Just register and pay the program fee of $284 per person (meals included) and your two nights of lodging are completely free.

Take a look at the seminars listed below to decide which you would like to attend, give us a call at 1-800-950-2092 to register.  We look forward to serving you on your visit to The Cove in 2015! 

Jonah: The Prophet Who Hated Success (Lodging for this seminar is full at time of publishing this post.)
with Larry Crabb, February 27- March 1, 2015
When God’s instructions make no sense, either we tremble and trust or resist and run.

Believing Big- God’s Blueprint for Supernatural Outcomes
with Ron Hutchcraft, March 16-18, 2015
The little-traveled book of Ezra is a mirror of our times— Come and discover this often overlooked but powerful road map of how God moves in our lives including divine interventions, standing when others are retreating and reigniting your passion for Jesus.

The Cause: Strengthen Your Faith for College!
with Sean McDowell, July 10-12, 2015
Come learn how to defend your faith confidently, yet respectfully, with biblical truth supported by scientific facts and historical evidence.

When People Whine, a Prophet Prays, and God Speaks
with Will Graham, August 7-9, 2015
Better understand why we often lose our focus on Him when the future looks uncertain and take confidence in how He always provides a way for our return to the safety of His provision.

Finding Power for Life
with Jonathan Falwell, August 11-13, 2015
Come take a life-changing look at the power of God’s presence, the power of prayer, the power of God’s purpose, and the power of the Gospel’s proclamation. Surrender to His Lordship and live victoriously in His Spirit.

Seasons of the Soul: Overcoming Trials and Dealing with Tension
with Pedro Garcia, August 21-23, 2015
Come find lasting comfort in God’s Word through the wisdom of His prophets and the stories of His kings. Gain perspective-changing insight into hardship and how God uses it for your good and His glory.

Pilgrim inn

View of Pilgrims Inn

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The Billy Graham Training Center at Dusk

Not able to make it?  Tell a friend or family member.  This would be a nice opportunity to introduce The Cove to your loved ones!

Visit our website here for a complete listing of all 2015 events.

 

The Power of Christ in Louis Zamperini’s Life

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

Several decades ago, an Olympian turned soldier survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, journeyed at sea in a small raft for 47 days, and was finally thrown into a Japanese prison camp; a place where he probably should have died of starvation and constant torture.

This man – Louis Zamperini – beat the odds and made it home. His incredible tale of determination, bravery and survival is excellently portrayed in the feature film “Unbroken,” which is in theaters this week.

There’s an interesting challenge when it comes to movies, though. There are only so many minutes to go around and you can’t tell everything about a man’s life in the space allowed, especially someone like Louis who lived through so many incredible experiences.

The name “Unbroken” definitely fits for the hero who returned victoriously from war, but something happened to Louis when he was back in the U.S., something that isn’t shown in the film.

You see, he survived, but Louis was not unbroken when he came home. Rather, by his own admission, he struggled with alcoholism as he attempted to overcome the memories of his experiences. He was inflicted with horrible nightmares of “The Bird,” the brutal guard who mercilessly antagonized and beat him in the prison camp. At one point Louis woke in the middle of the night from a vivid dream to find himself strangling his wife, envisioning her as his captor.

Louis’ world was spiraling out of control, and his marriage and life were falling apart. He was, indeed, broken.

If this was the end of the story, it would likely be a grim one, but something else happened. Jesus Christ grabbed hold of Louis and changed his life forever, for eternity!

In 1949, a young evangelist named Billy Graham – my grandfather – held a Crusade in a tent at the corners of Washington and Hill streets in the city of Los Angeles. Louis’ wife went to one of the meetings and committed her life to Christ. She returned home and told her husband that she was no longer planning to divorce him because of the decision she had just made in following Jesus. She asked him to come with her to hear Billy Graham the next night.

Louis did go to hear my grandfather, and – ultimately – remembered the promise he’d made to God when he was adrift in the ocean, when he promised to serve Him if allowed to survive.

Billy Graham and Louis Zamperini
Louis Zamperini and Billy Graham first met at the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade. This picture was taken over 60 years later in 2011 at Billy Graham’s home in Montreat, NC.

Louis walked forward, committed his life to Christ, and allowed Him to mend the broken pieces of his life. The nightmares and the thirst for alcohol were gone. His marriage was restored. He was even able to forgive “The Bird.”

I never personally met Mr. Zamperini. I wish I had, but he passed away earlier this year. He was to be the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, and – even though he’s gone home to be with Jesus – the parade is still honoring his life and legacy. I’m very humbled to represent my grandfather and his role in Louis’ life on the City of Torrance float, which is dedicated to their hometown hero.

Perhaps you aren’t a war hero. You are likely not an Olympian. In remembering Louis, however, I’d like to ask you – the reader – a question. Is your life broken, like Louis’ was when he returned from war? Are you battling against things that are out of your control, captive to sin and pain? If so, I believe that Jesus can do for you what He did for Louis some 65 years ago. He can set you free, and make you unbroken! I invite you to visit www.PeaceWithGod.net to learn more.

On Christmas day, Dec. 25, 2014 the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association released a half-hour documentary telling the rest of Louis Zamperini’s story, the part that is left untold in the major Hollywood production of “Unbroken.” Watch the program at www.BillyGraham.tv, and order a DVD copy by giving a gift of any amount to the BGEA at www.BillyGraham.org/unbroken

A Word of Thanks From Will Graham

Dear Friends,

We have much to be thankful for this year at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. We’ve been blessed beyond measure, and we are grateful to God and to each of you for that.

Autum shot 2

Over the past several months at The Cove, we’ve had outstanding speakers who have shared with us clear and inspiring truths from the Word of God. Attendees at the seminars have commented to us that they felt the presence of God in this place, and their faith was deepened and enriched through the teaching here. They’ve left feeling more equipped than ever to walk in righteousness and reach those around them who need to hear of the hope of the Savior.

This is exactly what my grandparents, Billy and Ruth Graham, envisioned when they built this beautiful place, and I know that my grandfather is moved when he hears of what is happening here.

In addition to the seminars, we’ve had several concerts with nationally-known musicians who take time out of their busy schedules to stop in for an intimate performance at The Cove. Thousands have taken advantage of these events – called An Evening at The Cove.

One of the most moving events that has taken place this year was the National Law Enforcement Retreat in October, sponsored by the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. Police officers from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom took time away from their very stressful duties to learn how to deal with the emotional and spiritual challenges they and their families endure on a daily basis. This was a wonderful time of ministry. Men and women who have seen and lived through things most of us could never even imagine, were able to let their guard down and pray, worship and heal together. Marriages were reconciled and families strengthened.

As we approach the end of November, we’re now looking forward to one of the prettiest times of the year: Christmas at The Cove. We hope you’ll have an opportunity to visit us in the coming days to see the beautiful decorations and take in some of the exciting events and sing-alongs on the schedule in the waning weeks of 2014.

cove creche
The beautiful creche at The Cove.

My friends, at Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful for you. Each of us who have the blessing of working at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove realizes every day the importance of your prayers and support. None of what I’ve just mentioned would be possible without you and God’s blessings. We are eternally grateful.

May you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas!

Will Graham
Executive Director, The Cove

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Click here to visit our website.

Join Will Graham As He Teaches on the Book of 1 Samuel

1samuel

By Will Graham 

Epic battles, the prophesied deaths of an entire family, the earthly embodiment of the holiness and presence of God carried away by captors, a nation judged by the Lord – Nobody can say that 1 Samuel 4 lacks action and drama!

Last year at The Cove, I hosted a seminar in which we began the process of working through the entire book of 1 Samuel, verse by verse. We progressed through the first three chapters of 1 Samuel, and things were looking pretty good for Israel. Samuel was being used by God in incredible ways as the Word of the Lord went across the entire nation. We’re told that God did not let a single word of Samuel’s “hit the ground.” In other words, everything Samuel said on behalf of God was impactful and came to be because he only spoke when and what God told him to speak.

Now, when things are going really well, doesn’t it always feel like something negative must be lurking around the corner? You’re on the peak of the mountain, but you’re still surrounded by valleys of darkness. When we return to 1 Samuel for my seminar in August of this year, that’s where we’ll find Israel. Things are turning bad.

You see, God had already spoken against the priest Eli and his family in chapter three, saying He would do something so amazing it would make “ears tingle” in judgment of the sin in the house of Eli, particularly with his two sons.

That fateful day of judgment came in chapter four as the Israelite army went out to battle the Philistines. The battle raged, the Israelites were defeated and lost 4,000 men.

While the soldiers of Israel were tending their wounds and trying to figure out why they suffered such great losses, they had an idea. They would send for the Ark of the Covenant. It was almost like they were treating the presence of God as a magic box that would guarantee military success.

So Eli’s sons took the Ark of the Covenant from the temple into the battlefield, and – in fact – the mere presence of the Ark and the thunderous roar it drew from the Israeli camp did initially intimidate the Philistines. However, they readied themselves for battle.

When the fighting was over, 30,000 soldiers from Israel, as well as Eli’s two sons, were dead. Worse, the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. It was a dark, dark day for Israel as the judgment of God fell upon it.

We’re told that Eli was anxiously waiting for word about the Ark; not about his sons, but about the Ark of the Covenant. A weary survivor ran back to Eli and told him his sons were dead and the Ark was captured. When he heard this, Eli – who we’re told was old and heavy – fell out of his chair, broke his neck and died.

His pregnant daughter-in-law, upon hearing that Eli and her husband had died, went into labor and gave birth to a son. The life began to slip from her as well due to complications from the birth, but with her last breath she named her son Ichabod, saying “The glory of God has departed from Israel.”

I know, this is some pretty heavy stuff, but have you ever noticed that we learn more about the love and hope of God as we go through hardship? I believe that will be the case with the lessons we’ll draw from the next few chapters of 1 Samuel.

We’ll look at parenting, for instance. Eli had two sons who were lost in sin, but he didn’t do anything to discipline them and bring them back to God. He’d speak against his sons, but he didn’t deter them. In some ways, he had become as bad as them. He had his choice of meat in the temple and had become spiritually lazy. We’ll look at being a good example for your children and grandchildren.

We’ll also look at the idea of Ichabod. What’s Ichabod in your life? In what ways does it feel like God has departed from you, and how can you get the glory of the Lord back in your life as it was in Israel before God’s judgment on the nation and the family of Eli.

And, of course, we’ll look at the holiness of God. You see, God’s judgment is real, and His holiness is not a joke. When idols were placed in front of the Ark of the Covenant, they fell and physically broke. When people touched the Ark, they died. In fact, the Philistines couldn’t even keep the Ark of the Covenant – their great trophy from battle – because God inflicted their people with tumors just for being near it and possessing it.

There is power in the holiness of God, and this seminar will be an opportunity to hear the Word of the Lord, allow it to work in your life, let it take root and turn you back to Him. We’ll see that God’s love for us compels Him to chase us, even through our own wickedness.

And, spoiler alert, by the time we get to the end of the seminar, the Ark will be back in Israel…

God bless you, my friends –I hope to see you in August!

Click here to register for Will’s seminar at The Cove August 15-17, 2014.

Watch here as Will shares his excitement on teaching from 1 Samuel. 

A Moment in History That Changed Billy Graham’s Life Forever

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director and grandson of Billy Graham

On a daily basis I’m blessed with memories and stories of the many ways God chose to use my grandfather to reach people around the world over the course of many decades. Nearly everywhere I go people stop to tell me about how entire families and generations were impacted by his ministry. It’s humbling.

What many people may not know is that it almost didn’t happen. Everything we know of the ministry of Billy Graham from the late 1940s on – the massive stadium events, the evangelistic movies, the radio programs, the counseling of presidents and kings – hinged on a singular moment in history that took place at the California retreat center of Forest Home.

I visited Forest Home last year to get a fresh perspective on my grandfather’s story, and I’m returning there next week to speak at their annual Summer Family Camp.

As such, now seemed like the right time to share the story of the evangelist named Billy Graham, a discouraged young man searching for answers and direction in his life, unsure of God’s plan for him.

At the mid-point of the 20th century, he had already been an evangelist with Youth For Christ and had preached across Europe in the aftermath of World War II. He had held his first “Billy Graham Crusades” in places like Charlotte, N.C, and Grand Rapids, Mich. He was also the president of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn., the youngest college president in the country.

Not everything had gone as planned, however. His crusade in Altoona, Pa., had been – in his own words – “a flop.” It was spiritually difficult and he felt things had gone poorly, and it left him questioning whether or not evangelism should be his focus.

At the same time, a very good friend and contemporary of my grandfather’s, a man named Charles Templeton, had begun challenging my granddaddy’s way of thinking. Mr. Templeton, who had preached with Youth For Christ as well, had gone on to study at Princeton, where he began to believe that the Bible was flawed and that academia – not Jesus – was the answer to life’s problems. He tried to convince my grandfather that his way of thinking was outdated and the Bible couldn’t be trusted.

My grandfather had more questions than answers.

As a young man in his early-30s, all of these things were swirling in his mind when he traveled to California in 1949. Should he invest fully in the college, which he knew meant seeking further education for himself? At the time Northwestern wasn’t accredited, and for it to become so he – as president – would need to get an advanced degree, which would require taking several years off from preaching.

Should he leave the school and follow the calling of an evangelist, even though Altoona had gone so poorly?

Did he even believe the Bible from which he was preaching, or should he follow Templeton in questioning its validity? 

It was at this time that my discouraged grandfather reluctantly accepted the invitation of Henrietta Mears to visit and speak at a Christian retreat center called Forest Home. Mears had worked at First Baptist Church in Minneapolis for Pastor Riley, who was also my grandfather’s predecessor at Northwestern, and she was a very well-known and godly woman. She would end up having a huge impact in Hollywood, Calif., as she served as the director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. She took grief for inviting him to speak because he was not part of the camp’s denomination, but God had a plan in all of this.

As I toured Forest Home last year, it moved me greatly to walk the paths that my grandfather walked as he struggled with the Lord, and ultimately had the experience that would change the course of his ministry and the eternities of millions.

You see, while he was at Forest Home, he spent a great deal of time studying the Bible, and he kept seeing the same phrase pop up. “Thus sayeth the Lord… Thus sayeth the Lord…” While my grandfather had always accepted in his head the authority of the Scripture, this became the turning point as he realized in his heart that God’s Word is divinely inspired, eternal and powerful!

Forest Home Bible on Tree Stump smallOne night at Forest Home, he walked out into the woods and set his Bible on a stump – more an altar than a pulpit – and he cried out: “O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution. There are many seeming contradictions. There are some areas in it that do not seem to correlate with modern science. I can’t answer some of the philosophical and psychological questions Chuck and others are raising.”

And then, my grandfather fell to his knees and the Holy Spirit moved in him as he said, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word!”*

My granddaddy wrote in his autobiography that as he stood up his eyes stung with tears, but he felt the power and presence of God in a way he hadn’t in months. “A major bridge had been crossed,” he said.

Forest Home pic Billy on mountain smallThe resulting change did not go unnoticed. The next day my granddaddy spoke at Forest Home, and 400 people made a commitment to Christ. Henrietta Mears remarked that he “preached with authority” that she hadn’t seen before from him.

This was August 1949, and mere weeks later Billy Graham would go on to hold the historic 1949 Los Angeles Crusade in the tent erected on the corner of Washington and Hill Streets. That outreach was scheduled to last three weeks, and ended up going for eight weeks as people packed the “Canvas Cathedral” and media outlets nationwide began talking about the upstart evangelist.

Because of that moment kneeling by a stump at Forest Home, I get to hear stories of lives changed through my grandfather’s ministry. Because of that moment, my father and I are invited around the world to share the same hope of Christ that my grandfather preached in Los Angeles and hundreds of other locations both near and far. That moment not only changed Billy Graham’s ministry. It impacted eternity.

*Just As I Am, Billy Graham, 1997
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Click here for information on Will Graham’s seminar at The Cove Agust 15-17, 2014.

Easter Message from Will Graham

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director (and grandson of Billy Graham) 

Often as we think about the sacrifice of Jesus, we tend to focus on the unbearable physical pain He endured. We’re told that He was hit, flogged nearly to the point of death, and had a crown of thorns driven into His scalp. He was made to carry His own cross. Nails were punched through His hands and feet before He was hoisted into the air to suffocate in one of the most inhumane and cruel forms of capital punishment ever devised.

4-1-Glory-in-the-CrossMy friends, it’s hard to not focus on the pain He endured for us. But, as we look at this Easter, I want you to consider another way Jesus was made to suffer in the moments before His crucifixion. Consider the emotional pain Christ endured as those who were closest to Him turned their backs.

Jesus personally chose 12 disciples whom He poured himself into. These men were almost His earthly family, surrounding Him, learning from Him, and serving in His ministry. They were what we may refer to as Jesus’ “inner circle.”

Jesus loved them, and yet He knew – long before they did, in fact – that a couple of these men would publicly betray Him.

Judas, of course, is the one that comes instantly to mind. After all, it was his betrayal of Jesus that ultimately led to the crucifixion. We’re told in Luke 22 that “Satan entered into Judas…” (ESV).  John 13:2 says “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” (ESV). Judas went to the chief priests and officers, accepted a payment from them and then actively plotted how to betray Jesus into their hands when there wouldn’t be a crowd around Him.

Judas’ treachery was the ultimate betrayal, directly resulting in a sham trial and the agony of the cross. But I wonder if the second betrayal might not have hurt just as much as the first.

Along with James and John, Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends whom He chose to be a witness to key moments in Jesus’ earthly ministry. For instance, Peter was there for Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain and at Gethsemane on the eve of Christ’s sacrifice.

Peter’s denial of Jesus – which, according to Mark, Jesus foretold prior to leaving for Gethsemane – must have stung deeply. As Jesus was being beaten and ridiculed (Mark 14:65), Peter was busy distancing himself from Christ (Mark 14:66-72). Three times people approached Peter to ask him if he was associated with Jesus, and three times Peter denied Him, even going so far as to “…invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I do not know this man of whom you speak.’” (Mark 14:71, ESV).

At a time when Jesus was being accused and beaten, His friends turned their backs on Him. What emotional pain this must have caused, even as Jesus knew it was coming and understood that it had to be!

Maybe you’re reading this, and it sounds a little too familiar. Maybe you have friends or family members who have turned their backs on you, or perhaps – like Judas – they were instrumental in causing the suffering you are now enduring. Maybe you’re struggling through pain and despair, and the people you thought you could depend on have disappeared. Maybe you’ve been hurt by others in the church. Bodily pain hurts physically, but emotional pain slices directly to your soul.

My friends, I’m here to tell you that people will let you down. People will turn their backs on you and cause you pain. But here’s the key – Jesus was forsaken, betrayed and crucified, but He conquered all of that! People are imperfect, but Christ is risen and will not let you down!

The Bible tells us not to put our faith into men or princes. Instead, this Easter place your eternity in the One Who endured scorn, pain, and – yes – betrayal from His friends, so that you may have a hope that extends far beyond the pitfalls and pains of this world.

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Click here to share the Gospel this Easter season using Billy Graham’s program, The Cross.

Billy Graham Turns 95 — Grandson Shares Lesson Learned

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

Wil and Billy Graham 2013 smallThere are many things that a grandfather can leave for his grandson. For instance, the grandson may carry his grandfather’s looks, legacy or worldview. He may even receive his possessions.

For me, when I sit and contemplate my grandfather, Billy Graham, I think that one of the greatest gifts he has given me in his twilight years is something more subtle. He’s given me a lesson.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he writes an inspirational sentence that most of us know well: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7, ESV). I can’t help but think about that verse when I think about my grandfather.

You see, this wonderful and godly man who turns 95 this week – not just loved by me, his grandson, but loved by so many around the world –is constantly teaching me an amazing lesson, and that lesson is how to finish well.

For six decades he traveled the world telling people in 185 countries and territories across six continents about the love and hope that can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the course of his ministry, marathons of preaching blended together to the point where he was on the road for months at a time. He’d hold events that lasted week-after-week, just to pick up and begin another outreach soon after.

My grandfather did all of this for one simple reason: he had a love and a burden for people, and has always desperately wanted them to know the same hope for eternity that he has.

About eight-and-a-half years ago, in June 2005, my grandfather held the last of his iconic Billy Graham Crusades. At 86 years of age, he took the stage on three blistering hot days at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., to preach his final event.

He could have gone home after that and spent his remaining days contemplating a life well spent. Maybe – if his body was strong enough – he could have returned to some of those distant locations where he preached as a younger man, but this time for leisure and enjoyment.

But he’s never really done either of those things. Why? It’s because that burden and burning that God put in his heart more than a half-century ago still rages today. Though his body has weakened, his passion for the Gospel has not.

For this reason, after his “retirement,” he has gone on to preach at a couple of my father’s events (including one in New Orleans following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina); he has written multiple books; and he has prepared a new message to share. This message, titled “The Cross,” has already been recorded and is being released this week as the focal point of a massive ministry outreach called My Hope America with Billy Graham.

To me, my grandfather’s urgency to preach the Gospel one more time to a lost and dying world is the definition of “finishing well,” and it’s such a blessing and lesson.

While many of us know the verse I mentioned above, it’s also worth looking at the verses surrounding it, 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (ESV). “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

One day my grandfather’s “time of departure” will come. Until then, we’re cherishing him and the lessons he continues to teach us. He’s fighting the good fight, he’s finishing the race, and he’s keeping the faith.  He’s ready for eternity. He’s finishing well.

Click here to check your local television listings so you can watch Billy Graham’s final message, The Cross.

An Invitation from Will Graham

By Will Graham,

Will Graham Those of you who follow my ministry know that one of the things that drives me the most is my love for the Bible. Not just the New Testament, which is glorious and full of hope, but the Old Testament as well. When we just focus on the New Testament, we miss so much history and context, and we only see a portion of what God is telling us. So much in the Old Testament informs what we read in the New Testament.

Given that, I bet you won’t be surprised to hear me say that I am extremely excited to lead a seminar at The Cove in October, focusing on the book of 1st Samuel.

I’m preparing to do something that we’ve never done before in the 25 year history of The Cove, and that is work through an entire book of the Bible over the course of multiple years. Sure, we’ve had seminars that have covered entire books – Jonah and 3rd John, for instance – in one setting, but for our study of 1st Samuel we will work through the book deeply and deliberately and we will take as long as needed.

I have a game plan, and an idea of how far we’ll get during the first seminar, but I’m also ready to be redirected if I feel God’s leading that we need to speed up or slow down. And, boy, am I ready to go!

There are two things that I find really interesting about 1st Samuel. The first is simply the person of Samuel. The Bible says “the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1st Samuel 3:19, NKJV). In other words, God didn’t allow him to say anything that didn’t come to be. Samuel is an amazing person and leader to study and from whom we can learn much.

Secondly, 1st Samuel takes place during a very unique time in the history of Israel. At this point, Israel is in the Promised Land, and when Joshua died there was no heir apparent. They chose judges such as Samson and Gideon to handle local issues.

Samuel was the last of those judges, and his focus was much more national in scope. He oversaw the transition of Israel from the realm of judges to the leadership of kings, and anointed the first two kings of Israel – Saul and David – with God’s direction. The kingship of Israel is a major theme throughout the Bible, and it all began in 1st Samuel. (It wasn’t always a clean and pretty thing, either!)

In the seminar we’ll look at the warnings that Samuel gave the Israelites as they demanded a kingship, and we’ll look at Saul – a man who looked the part (we’re told in chapter 9 that he was taller and more handsome than anybody) but was a colossal flop. As we proceed we’ll also look at David, God’s man, who would be the greatest king of Israel.

Can you tell I’m excited? I hope that you’ll make plans to join me. If you can only come one year, I pray it will be a blessing to you. If you can come back year after year, that would be a lot of fun too! Let’s just look forward to spending some time together learning about a few of the most historic leaders in the Old Testament and see what God has in store for us in the process.

Blessings to you!

To register for Will Graham’s seminar titled, Second Guessing God’s Plan, on October 7-9, 2013, click here or call 1-800-950-2092.