(Jerusalem, Israel) -- The Associated Press is reporting that the Rev. Billy Graham -- a humble giant of the Christian faith -- has been called home to be with the Lord.
He was 99.
Please keep his family and staff in prayer as they process his loss, and simultaneously set into motion long-prepared memorial service plans.
Let’s also thank our Father in heaven for using this farmer's son from rural North Carolina to boldly proclaim the Gospel to more people face to face than any other person in human history. He preached in stadiums and arenas to more than 200 million people, as well as to tens of millions of more souls via radio, TV, film, books and other forms of media.
Rev. Graham had a profound impact on my own life and faith, as I known he had on many of you. I first had the honor to meet him in the spring of 1989 when I worked on the evangelistic campaign he was conducting at Syracuse University, and worked closely with him and his team organizing a special Q&A forum he conducted for S.U. students after the tragic downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which had 38 Syracuse students on board.
More recently, just a few years ago, Anne Graham Lotz invited me to come to Montreat, North Carolina, to teach the Scriptures at The Cove retreat center, and to meet with and pray for the aging servant of the Lord. It was a very special and deeply moving time.
I pray now that even in his passing, his memorial service will be used by the Lord to proclaim the good news of God's amazing grace and love to hundreds of millions -- maybe billions -- more people in the U.S. and around the world. So many still need to hear the simple truth of the Jewish Messiah who came to teach and love and suffer and die on the cross, and yet to rise again on the third day, all in fulfillment of the Hebrew prophets. So many still need to know that the Messiah has come to give forgiveness and eternal and abundant life to anyone who will repent and call on the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved.
May he not only be remembered, but may his example be followed humbly and boldly.
(photo: Rev. Graham with my pastor, Dr. T.E. Koshy, and myself at a reception for student leaders at Syracuse University in April 1989)