Billy Graham Goes To Heaven

The most famous evangelist in our era has gone home to the Lord. What an awesome influence for good this man has had over his 99 years of life.

Ed Stetzer reflects on this life:

Reflections on the Passing of Rev. Billy Graham, One of the Greatest Christian Heroes of Our Time

Ed Stetzer, who holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair at Wheaton College (Billy Graham’s alma mater), shares his thoughts. |
Reflections on the Passing of Rev. Billy Graham, One of the Greatest Christian Heroes of Our Time

Image: Billy Graham Center Archives

Eighty million people. That’s the number of people that Rev. Billy Graham is thought to have preached the gospel to during his years of active ministry. This doesn’t include those who heard via radio or film. Millions have come to faith in Christ as a result of his commitment to his Savior and his pursuit of the call of God on his life. He has held the position ofone of the most admired people in America more than any other individual.

Billy Graham was beloved by both Christians and non-Christians, admired by those who love Jesus and those who have rejected Him. And with his passing today, we are at a loss for words in many ways.

His impact on modern Global Christianity is unparalleled. And yet His life calling was one of simple obedience. “My one purpose in life,” Rev. Graham once said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”

In the Billy Graham Center, where I work, we have an entire section devoted to the life and ministry of Rev. Graham. On the walls are panoramic pictures of him at Crusades, him with his family, him on magazines, and perhaps most importantly, him praying to the God he loved so dearly.

These walls tell the story of Rev. Graham, from the time he was born in 1918 and through his latter days. Having walked through these sections many times, it is hard to believe he is now face to face with the One he told millions about.

William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr., the eldest of four children, was born on November 7, 1918, near Charlotte, North Carolina. He grew up on a dairy farm, and at the age of 16 went to visit evangelist Mordecai Ham. He trusted in Jesus at one of Ham’s revivals. Graham attended Florida Bible College, where he received his call to ministry, and later Wheaton College, where he met his future wife, Ruth Bell, the daughter of a medical missionary. The couple had five children.

While attending Wheaton College, Graham became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and later served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, after which he took over the radio program “Songs in the Night” from his friend and fellow evangelist Torrey Johnson. In 1947, at the age of 30, Graham was named as President of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis. He served in that position until 1952. During this time he became the first full-time evangelist with Youth for Christ and in 1949 held a crusade in Los Angeles, which launched him into national prominence.

Over his ministry career, Rev. Graham held over 400 crusades in 185 cities. He also spoke at InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Mission Conference nine times.

In 1950, Rev. Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

It is nearly impossible for me to imagine the welcome he is receiving in heaven, the “well done” spoken directly to him from the One he spent his life telling others about.

As an Evangelical leader, and now holding my position as head of the Center that bears Rev. Graham’s name, it is hard for me to put into words how I feel and respond knowing that he has passed into heaven.

Thankfulness and extreme gratitudetop my list—gratitude that he rarely lost sight of his true calling to proclaim Christ to a lost and hurting world. Rev. Graham was on a mission to tell people about our Savior so much so that he once said, “I’ll preach until there is no breath left in my body. I was called by God, and until God tells me to retire, I cannot. Whatever strength I have, whatever time God lets me have, is going to be dedicated to doing the work of an evangelist, as long as I live.”

Awe and admirationcome in a close second. Rev. Graham was a man who knew what was important. His God, his family, his friends. He didn’t waver in the face of numerous opportunities to be esteemed and lifted high in the sight of man. He didn’t cower in speaking the name of Jesus at all times, in all ways, to all who would hear. His singular vision to see our world know Jesus is nearly unparalleled.

Read the rest of the article here

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Ben Lim: “The Suddenlies of God are Upon Us…Because of Years of Preparation”

This is  a powerful message of how God’s “suddenlies” are preceded by faithful prayer and humble worship

From The Elijah List, Ben Lim writes:

Ben Lim: “The Suddenlies of God are Upon Us…Because of Years of Preparation”

The spirit of suddenlies is a spirit of power and promotion. However, it doesn’t just happen suddenly. It happens at a cost. It happens at a time of being connected with the Savior. Suddenlies happen, not because it’s a spontaneous happening. They happen rather because there’s been a divine preparation in the heavens and in the natural for this phenomenon. Though it may seem sudden, it actually isn’t. Though many be surprised at how sudden your promotion is, the Lord isn’t. Most of the time, the person who is experiencing the spirit of suddenlies does so because he/she has been pressing and tarrying into the very subject and matters for years.

What wisdom! Don’t be surprised when you see God’s people suddenly promoted as if it just happened overnight…oftentimes they’ve been toiling and sowing for years, hidden, humble and paying a great cost. BUT then suddenly…God promotes them!

There is a spirit of suddenlies that is overtaking the Earth. The whole Earth is being swept up in outrageous, fascinating and overwhelming creativity. The whole world is being taken away into new dimensions of God’s glory. Not only is this a spirit of acceleration, but this is the spirit of God’s suddenlies. This is the doing of the Lord.

The spirit of suddenlies is a spirit of power and promotion. However, it doesn’t just happen suddenly. It happens at a cost. It happens at a time of being connected with the Savior. Suddenlies happen, not because it’s a spontaneous happening. They happen rather because there’s been a divine preparation in the heavens and in the natural for this phenomenon. Though it may seem sudden, it actually isn’t. Though many be surprised at how sudden your promotion is, the Lord isn’t. Most of the time, the person who is experiencing the spirit of suddenlies does so because he/she has been pressing and tarrying into the very subject and matters for years.

We must put a high value on our prayer life, otherwise, we will not step into suddenly moments of miraculous manifestations.

Sometimes we step into a suddenly moment, not because we’ve pressed in, but because of the sacrifice that was paid by our fathers and mothers. It’s almost like stepping into a vacuum and being shifted up into glory. All you have to do is show up and things happen. All you have to do is open up your mouth and things shift. Because there’s a sound, movement and frequency inside of you, all you have to do is release it and in Jesus’ name things seem to suddenly happen!

The Evangelist

How many times does the world-famous evangelist come into town and sweep up scores of souls? However, most people will know that it wasn’t just the coming of the evangelist, but it was also the preparation of the intercessors that ploughed through. It wasn’t just the hard work of the evangelist who preached the Gospel of salvation, but it was also the prayer warriors who prayed blood, sweat, and tears that tilled the hard ground for glory!

You cannot have the spirit of suddenlies unless you’ve laid yourself down in the spirit of intercession. Your intercession leads you to your inheritance. Your intercession aligns you with your destiny. Your prayer life connects you to your suddenly moments!

Most people will only see the seasons of fruit and flowers blooming and blossoming. But most will rarely see and know the cold winter nights of toil and pain. Most will see the sparks of revival and testimonies, while not even recognizing the many years of rejection, pain, hatred and agonizing prayer that one had to go through.

There is so much more than what meets the eye. Things don’t just happen on the Earth because God wills it. Things happen because His Church and prophets decree it and declare it. Things are established not by accidents nor by coincidences, but because of divine actions that are aligned with Heaven. When you are aligned with the heart of Heaven, you will experience its manifestation here on Earth. Most people will call this a sudden explosion, when in reality, there’s been a shaft ready to ignite…that’s been kept shut for years!

Prayer Activates Miracles and Glory!

There was a great revivalist, who was known as Charles Finney. He was noted to be the father of Modern Revivalism. He is also known as the leading minister and voice of the Second Great Awakening in United States. He would see masses of conversions and altars being thronged with crowds crying out in repentance. His ministry was mainly based around the areas of New York state. (Photo via Unsplash)

This man and his ministry would hardly be nothing, if it wasn’t for the humble and hidden intercessor, known as Father Nash. It is quoted: [1] “While Finney was preaching to the masses and seeing remarkable conversions, a humble man was prostrate in a house nearby, in intensive prayer for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The story of the almost unknown Daniel Nash is the story of a very powerful prayer ministry. So important was Nash to Finney, that, a few weeks after Nash’s death, Finney went back to an ordinary pastoral ministry.”

This is a very familiar story that is recounted many times: [1] “Finney recounts one episode; “When I came to a town to start revival, a lady contacted me. She said, ‘Brother Finney, do you know a Father Nash? He and two other men have been staying with me for the last three days, but they haven’t eaten anything. I heard them groaning, so I looked in and saw them prostrate. They have been lying like that for three days. I thought something terrible must have happened, but I was afraid to go in and didn’t know what to do. Could you please come and see if they are all right?’ No, that’s unnecessary, I said. They are only travailing in prayer.”

[1]”Nash didn’t just pray before Finney came. While Finney was preaching, Nash and other intercessors were in a separate room, praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the preacher.”

Where are the prayer warriors who will toil with agony in the Garden of Gethsemane? Where are the intercessors that will cry sweats of blood with Jesus in declaring, “Father not My will, but Yours?”

Third Great Awakening

Everybody is talking about the Great Awakening, but where are the Father Nashes? Where are the humble and hidden prayer warriors who will give the last seven years of their lives, to praying for the man of God and his ministry? We must put a high value on our prayer life, otherwise, we will not step into suddenly moments of miraculous manifestations. Don’t neglect the tumultuous Father Nashes who prepared the way for Charles Finney. Don’t neglect the John the Baptists in the wilderness preparing the way! You cannot have one without the other.

Suddenlies Change Everything!

You cannot have the spirit of suddenlies unless you’ve laid yourself down in the spirit of intercession.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4 NKJV)

Right before this passage, we see that the apostles and disciples were gathered in the Upper Room for a period of ten days. This outpouring of the Holy Ghost didn’t just happen out of nowhere but it happened after days of tarrying. It happened after the air and the atmosphere was ripe with an open Heaven! It is said that the Believers were gathered in one accord for a period of ten days! Ten days they were stuck in the Upper Room, praying and tarrying.

In order to step into the spirit of suddenlies, here are three pointers that will keep you in the place of readiness and preparation for the Spirit’s sweeping:

1. Prayer

Your suddenly moments are always defined by a period and process of prayer. Your prayer life will always produce an atmosphere for suddenlies. Your obedience will always align your heart for sudden moments of glory.

2. Pay the Price

It was during this ten day period, that the Believers in the Upper Room lessened from 500 to 120! There were many who left because they could not take the heat. Many wanted the blessing but not many were willing to wait. Don’t give up your sudden moments because you’re tired of waiting. Keep waiting, keep pressing in, and continue to count the cost. Don’t give up your moments of miracles for a measly bowl of soup. Continue to prepare yourself for the more of the Lord. (Photo via Pixabay)

3. Heart Posture

The Bible says in Acts 1:1, that they were all in one accord. This is total oneness and, rather, total union. There was not a thing divided in their minds and in their hearts. Your heart posture will position you for greater glory. Your heart posture will position you for your suddenly moments. Once your heart becomes one with God, all of Heaven will be poured out. There must be a spirit of unity within you and within your organization before the blessings flow. Unity and oneness and alignment with Heaven releases suddenly moments in the Lord.

I pray that the spirit of suddenlies will overtake you in this coming season. I pray that you will step into moments of suddenlies that will transform you and your being like never before. Suddenly there came a rushing wind and tongues of fire upon the people…suddenly! Get ready for your suddenlies in Jesus’ name! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)

[1] (Quotes taken from Daniel Nash – God’s Secret Weapon on Jesus.org.uk)

Ben Lim, Senior Pastor
His Way Life Church

Email: benjaminlim6@gmail.com
Website: www.B100lim.org

Church is Framily

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Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

At the start of each year various groups propose the “Word of the Year”. The winner in Australia was a bit of an abstruse term, “milkshake duck”, which you will have to look up for yourself if you are interested.

A word that was mentioned a bit also was framily. Framily is a group of friends who become close and know each other like a family- or at least a more ideal version of family than is the reality for many people.

What a great word to describe the church! Most of us are not related biologically but we choose to do life together.

Churches have common goals and a central focus- that’s a framily.

We care for one another and help each other- that’s a framily

We like to hang out together- that’s a framily.

Maybe the idea of family carried too much baggage for some people to relate to. But we can all be framily together.

And that other church across town, maybe we can be framily with them too.

And those people who are a bit weird and live in that part of town might like to be framily with us and Jesus. Maybe we could invite them to join the party.

Framily- what a great word!

Always Looking Out.

I have had some thoughts today about what the church should be. It was sparked by some friends saying of other members of their church that they just want it to be a safe and comfortable place for their children and now their grandchildren.

The church is meant to be a place of equipping, training and maturing so that those who are christians are able to go out and share the Good News of Jesus with their neighbours. Church, in that sense, isn’t only a place to be comfortable. Sometimes we need to offer healing and emotional care, but that is a part of a much larger process of equipping people to know the love of God in order to share that love with others.

This afternoon I saw a police car, two ambulances, a fire truck and the Volunteer Rescue Association truck all flying out of town with sirens blaring. Clearly some kind of terrible incident has occurred that has summoned these people out of the comfort of their buildings at the peak of a hot and dry day.

They would be no use to anyone if these people stayed in their facilities, training and practising for an incident but never attended the real accidents taking place around them.

Imagine a hospital operating at peak efficiency but never admitting patients.

The church can be like this- is often like this. We choose a congregation on the basis of the nice preaching, the children’s ministry, the music. We listen to endless exhortations on sharing our faith, attend workshops on healing or supernatural ministry. But we never put those things into practice in our daily life.

It’s not the beauty of our worship services or the authenticity of our cell groups that matters.

It’s about taking the Christ we worship on Sunday and letting Him into our lives on Monday to allow Him to heal and redeem the broken people in our neighbourhood.

Here is a question for you (well, two questions really). What was last Sunday’s sermon about? What are you going to do this week to put it into practice?

If we just did that each week the world would be a much better place for having experienced God’s people doing God’s work in the power of God’s Spirit.

 

Rude Mother Fails To Put Baby On Silent Mode Before Church Service

From “Babylon Bee”

Rude Mother Fails To Put Baby On Silent Mode Before Church Service

 

WILMAR, MN—New mother Tatiana Olson is being called rude and obnoxious for failing to put her baby on silent mode before entering the church service at Generations Church during Sunday’s service.

The woman’s infant cried several times during the service, interrupting the proceedings and demonstrating the reason for the church’s strict rules on using a newborn’s silent mode before coming into the church.

“It’s just inconsiderate. We even post notices in the foyer asking mothers to be sure to put their babies on silent mode before being seated,” head deacon Lucas Carlisle said Wednesday. “We’re here to be the body of Christ to one another, and we can’t do that when your baby interrupts our carefully crafted show.”

The mother was finally asked to leave and find “one of those weird churches that welcomes children,” according to sources.

Faith In The Midst of Opposition

From Open Doors comes this powerful story of one mans’s faith and the impact his witness had on the men who had come to kill him

Samson, Central Asia

Samson
Image: 
Samson holding a Bible. 

We had arrived at another registered, but very much under the radar, church in Central Asia. We met Samson, he looked like a wrestler – in his early 50’s but lean and strong. As we sat on the floor broke bread and sipped tea, Samson began to share his testimony.

This is – without a doubt – one of the craziest stories I’ve heard from my time at Open Doors.

One Sunday night they came at 2am to kill him.

Eight people with machine guns and knives. They said, “Come with us.” Samson could not see their faces as they were wearing black head coverings that only left their eyes visible.

Samson told his wife, “My friends have come and I’ll be back in the morning. When you hear my voice then open the door.”

Samson’s wife locked the door and Samson went with them. They took him to a garbage tip.

They said, “Today is the last day for you. Jesus is not a God he will not save you.”

The Mujahedeen came and grabbed his hair and pulled his head back placing a knife on his throat. They asked Samson, “What do you want to say?”

Samson replied, “Jesus loves you and I forgive you.”

They asked him, “Do you accept Islam?”

And he said, “No I’ve found the truth, the creator of earth, heaven and all mankind. People created religion. You [God] created holy work. Please reveal Your work to my brothers here, salvation, protection for their children, and let them know that my blood is not on their hands. Please bless their families and I forgive them. Amen.”

The Mujahideen (Islamic extremists) screamed at him, “Are you a fool? We want to kill you. And you are blessing our families! Go home, we will come again and take you.”

Two weeks later thirty people and two Mujahideen’s came back.

They said, “We want to talk! We are those that wanted to kill you.”

And Samson replied, “If you want to kill me now please give me five minutes. I have been working so much I didn’t get time to hug my children. I will not tell them you are going to kill me. I will come back.”

They said, “We are not going to kill you.”

The two Mujahideen standing at the front said the 30 men behind them were their army, “As the leaders we are the ones who kill our victims.”

They proceeded to tell Samson how 24 heads of the army would retreat to the hills during the day and come down at night into the town.

Recently 24 leaders came down from the mountains at night and walked into an ambush set up by the government.

The two leaders at the front of the group told how they laid on the ground with bullets flying over from all four sides. They couldn’t raise their heads or they would get shot.

One of the leaders said, “While we were lying there we saw you and you came to us and said, ‘Throw yourself into the water and you will survive,’ and the two of us jumped into the water and we survived. The 22 other leaders were killed.”

They asked Samson, “How did you manage to come to us? And why weren’t you shot?”

Samson replied, “I was not there but my God sent an angel who looked like me because I am his servant. He did it for you to come to me to tell you Jesus loves you, died for you and can give you salvation.”

The man said to Samson, “I will never fight again.” They threw open their arms and said to the soldiers, “This Christian speaks truth. I will accept Jesus.”

Messy Christmas

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Last Sunday we had our “Messy Christmas” celebration, the latest edition of our Messy Church services.

Messy Church started in England as a way to bridge the gap between ageing congregations and the families in their  neighbourhood. We’ve tweaked the concept a little, and it is just a brilliant  way to make special worship events for the whole family. We are planning to take the Messy Church format to various places around town as an evangelism project.

The theme was “Jesus Is My Superhero” which featured a play in which Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman hear rumours of a new superhero in town who threatend to take away their jobs.  The play was inspired by this meme:

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We included craft activities, Christmas Tree decoration and even science experiments relating to sound, because of the ways God spoke to people in the Christmas story.

We finished with lunch together, because a shared meal is central to the Messy Church experience.

It might be a month or two before we revisit Messy Church. We have school holidays next month and Family Camp in February. But we will be doing it before Easter!