I had the good fortune in the mid-1980's to attend one of his revivals back home in Virginia. My mother was a devoted follower of the Crusade, routinely donated to the cause, and asked me if I would take her to the event which was coming to town. She was slowing down by that time in life and needed someone to escort her to see and listen to a man who she trusted completely. She had been a long time devotee and had much in demand VIP tickets and I told her I would gladly go, that I loved Dr. Graham as well and would enjoy his message and the date was set. On the day in question, we arrived early, presented her tickets to an usher, and he led us to the VIP seats, placing us in the seventh row. Later, when Billy came out with the choir and entire entourage, when he tested the sound system just before starting, I looked up and was amazed at what I saw. He had eyes filled with compassion but ones that could look like you were the only person in the audience. He smiled and then opened the service. The message was grand, the music was beautiful, and the combination of his powerful words with glorious music brought a tear to my eye. I thought of my favorite aunt, Sylvia, who taught me Sunday school in the summers and drilled the message into me well. And I also thought of how much more superb the revival was to see this world renowned preacher close up and personal. He showed passion, love, concern, joy, anguish and even fear, but those emotions were used to present a powerful message which touched me directly. So, when he called for those who were troubled to come forward as the singing of the hymn began, I asked Mom if she minded me going forward and would she like to go to. She said no, she would just sit and wait for me and then said she was happy I had been so touched. I went forward with tears in my eyes and prayed. I prayed that I would be a better man and that God would shine His grace on Mom, who was showing signs of her age. I was given some materials and a farewell prayer and then returned to my chair, took her arm and we departed. I stopped at her home and we had a cup of coffee, then kissed her good night and headed to my home and family. And the experience and the tender feeling and joy that I felt that night will always linger and I've always been glad that I was there.
So, what more is the message I want to impart, and what does it tell me about life, faith and the importance of God? Well, it's this. In a large coliseum of some ten thousand all were gathered to hear the word of God. There were doctors, lawyers, judges, businessmen, shipyard workers, men, women, young and old, some dressed for success and some maybe even out of work. But God doesn't care for he loves us all regardless of our status or wealth. And we were all gathered together for the same purpose. To learn more, to enrich ourselves and experience one wonderful thing, It was all about increasing our faith in God and directing ourselves toward Jesus, His son. It was invigorating and enriching and we all were unified at that very moment. God can do that for all of us, because we don't have to be powerful or famous. He wants me Just as I Am, and he wants you, too. And all you have to do is open your heart and you will want Him too. God bless you all and may the Spirit rise up and consume you on this Sunday Morning Coming Down.