His life was singly focused. His theme was constant. His message was simple. He never wavered. Sounds like Jesus, doesn't it?
Wherever Billy Graham went, whomever he spoke to - presidents or crowds filling stadiums - he had one truth he emphasized. Here it is in his own words: "I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, He died on a cross, He rose again, and He asked us to repent of our sins and receive Him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness for all of our sins."
It is impossible to know how many lives he impacted. On social media today hundreds of people are recounting their personal experiences with this humble man who kept to his calling. They may never have seen Rev. Graham in person, but his message changed their lives.
Kirk Dearman, long-time worship leader for The Journey, took a poem by Linda Ellis and put it to music. It's called The Dash.
Among many thousands, perhaps millions, I, too, have my testimony of Billy Graham's Dash. It was 1972, and Conlee and I were brand new Christians. I had heard of Billy Graham, of course, but paid little attention to him and had never heard him speak.
We had invited Leanne Payne (the woman who introduced us to Jesus) to our home for dinner. She was so excited because she said a Billy Graham Crusade was going to be on television and she wanted to watch it with us. We sat, mostly out of respect for our guest, and watched the whole crusade after dinner. For the first time I identified with his message. I was painfully immature in the Spirit, but I recognized the One he spoke about with such passion. It was much more interesting than I expected. At the end, as was his custom, Rev. Graham invited everyone to pray with him. Leanne took our hands and led us to the floor, saying, "We must pray, too."
We knelt, praying a sinner's prayer I had just prayed about two weeks before for the first time. But there was an anointing through the electronic transmission of his prayer that touched my soul. I would not have thought that possible. I was prepared to observe, not participate. Jesus touched my heart and solidified what I had done previously.
Later, we asked Leanne why it was necessary to pray the same prayer again since we had already done it recently. Her answer was profound. "Oh, we must pray that prayer at every opportunity, affirming the great gift Jesus has given for us. We do it now in thanksgiving."
Thank you, two dear saints now in Heaven - Rev. Billy Graham and Leanne Payne! You both lived your Dash to the fullest!