I was sixteen years old when I boarded a bus with my family to Anfield Football Stadium in Liverpool, just a few miles from our home in Chester. The anticipation built as we headed towards the stadium and excitedly travelled to hear the American Evangelist Billy Graham in 1984. I’d given my life to Jesus at the tender age of four in 1971 and my family were Christians, but it was an experience I will never forget. Thirty thousand of us worshipped Jesus together, led by a huge choir (of which my dad was a part) and then Billy Graham got up to speak.
Billy Graham at Anfield Football Stadium, Liverpool in 1984
It didn’t seem to be a dynamic message that he preached, although of course the message of the good news of what Jesus did on the cross was dynamic! But you know what I mean – he wasn’t a particularly charismatic preacher. However, when he invited people to come forward and submit their lives to Jesus, I was astonished to see people from every row of the stadium get out of their seats and work their way down to the field where they stood in their thousands, confessed their sins and invited Jesus into their hearts.
My mother attended Billy Graham’s first ever UK crusade in 1954
Today I heard that Billy Graham has gone to be with his friend, saviour and his Lord Jesus. We honour him for all that he did in fulfilling God’s call on his life right until the end. He leaves such a legacy and will not be forgotten.
I believe the passing of Billy Graham marks the closing of one era and the beginning of something new. Already this year we have witnessed a spiritual shift into a new season and Dr Graham’s passing at this time is all part of this. I shared on my recent Video diary #4 about 2018 being a time to ‘Arise and Shine’ and to go public with the message of the good news of Jesus, demonstrating His power and releasing the light in the darkness like never before. I shared how he is commissioning and sending us to reach those who are searching and to really ‘go for it’ this year. Just like the Lord said to Joshua: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross over into the land I have promised you….. Be bold and courageous for the Lord your God is with you!” (see Joshua 1), I believe He is saying the same to us now. The previous season has past. The season of one or two well known evangelists reaching the masses is no longer the main way to reach those hungry for God. He wants to pour out His Spirit through you, He wants to commission and empower you to demonstrate the Kingdom of God like never before. People are waiting for you.
That’s why Rob and I spend so much of our time running workshops and schools, making online training programmes and activating people in the supernatural power of Jesus. The Lord has called us to give up everything we were doing and to demonstrate His power through creative ways, such as our Spirit Lifestyle parties and roadshows. This is a new day. God has been preparing you for this time. You are right on time. Get activated, follow the Holy Spirit and have a go. This is a brand new season, so leave the disappointments of the past and go for it! You’ll be amazed by what God does through you.