Christian Music Community Mourns the Loss of Reverend Billy Graham
Graham, 99, died this morning at his North Carolina home
Posted: February 21, 2018, 5:00 PM | Category:General Artist Tags: Source: Staff Reports CL
Today the world is mourning the loss of Reverend Billy Graham, one of the best known Christian evangelists of the last century and a minister to the masses. The spiritual influencer of millions, 99, passed away this morning at his home in Montreat, N.C. In addition to extensive media coverage and many leaders around the world voicing their appreciation for the life of Dr. Graham, his death and the "gospel of Jesus Christ" have been trending topics on social media today. Singer/songwriter Jimmy Needham shared his admiration for the Reverend, saying "What a testament to this man's life that even in his death he is causing the gospel to trend. Grateful for Billy Graham today, and grateful to see an example of preserving to the end."
Alongside Needham, many other Christian music artists have weighed in with memories and comments on Graham's impact today. "Imagine the massive celebration there must have been in Heaven when this man went home!...and think of all the people who will be joining him there because they heard him share the Gospel! Billy Graham was one of the best examples of a good and faithful servant that I've seen in my lifetime," Josh Havens of The Afters shared. "Billy's Home. He's experiencing the realization of the Hope he loved to share with all people. Pray with us for his family who remain. We grieve their precious loss with them," Aaron Shust wrote. Natalie Grant added her thoughts on his passing, saying "I can't even begin to imagine this homecoming... but I am weeping and smiling at the same time just thinking about it."
"The impact and legacy of Billy Graham is immeasurable. There is perhaps no person who conveyed the love, grace and saving power of Jesus Christ so eloquently as Mr. Graham. You know a lot about a person by the life they live but you know more about them by the way their family loves them. I am friends with his grandson Will, and he is one of the most kindhearted people I know. Every time we talk, he talks about how much he loves his grandfather and how much he has shaped the man he is today," reflects Jason Crabb. Praise and worship artist Don Moen also shared his story of impact: "I was privileged to minister with Billy Graham many years ago at his South African crusade in Johannesburg. But my greatest memory is the fact that my father in law (an Amish man) somehow heard Billy Graham preaching the simple message of salvation on a transistor radio (forbidden in the Amish) in 1959. He knelt down in a field and gave his life to Christ. His words, 'the sky got bluer, the trees and grass got greener.' Because of that moment, the entire family was saved, including my sweet Laura!"
"The world has lost today a friend of the lost, a bearer of hope, and a voice crying in the wilderness, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.' The silencing of this strong voice is a call to all Believers to step up with integrity and compassion to fill the void left by this great pastor to the world," Bill & Gloria Gaither shared. Click below to view a beautiful tribute video created by the Gaither Music team.
MercyMe's Bart Millard also took to social media to share a touching story of his personal interaction with Billy: "MercyMe had the privilege of playing at his last 3 crusades. The one at the Rose bowl in Pasadena stands out the most. My 2 yr old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about a week before, and I struggled with wanting to stay with my son rather than heading to Pasadena. We informed Dr. Graham's people of my dilemma, and they totally supported my decision to stay home. Then we got a call back asking if I'd be willing to have a plane fly to Texas and get me because Dr Graham wanted to 'hug my neck and pray for my son.' I looked at my wife who said 'You've got to go!' So off I went. When we got to the Rose bowl, we were lead to a covered tent on one side of the stage and, like the 100,000 people in the stands...waited. We watched Dr. Graham's security team congregate on the opposite side of the stage. I remember thinking 'I flew this whole way and they're bringing him in from the other side?' Then all of a sudden, from behind us, a voice said 'Sometimes you've got to create a distraction to get a second to yourself.' And there he was. This spiritual giant. It didn't matter how frail he was at that point in his life. To me, he stood 10 ft tall. He shook all of our hands, then placed his hand on the back of my neck, pulled me close and started praying over my son's life. I don't remember everything he prayed, I was too overwhelmed with what was taking place. But I'll never forget when he finished praying and looked up at me, he had tears in his eyes. WHAT?!? This man who has prayed for who knows how many people in his lifetime was moved to tears over my son?!? I will cherish that moment as long as I live. I then walked on stage, sang "imagine" walked off stage, headed back to the plane and was back with my son just after midnight. Of all the amazing things Dr. Billy Graham has done for the kingdom of God, nothing will resonate more with me than that single moment. Thank you God for Billy Graham. And I rejoice knowing, after so many years of faithfulness, he is now truly seeing as Christ sees."
Michael W. Smith added to the conversation with his appreciation for Graham: "I knew it was coming....we all knew it was coming. Billy was 99 and his health had been declining for years. And I knew from my visits with him that he longed to be with his Creator and he longed to be reunited with his beloved Ruth. But, even given that, I was devastated when I got the news this morning that my good friend Billy Graham had breathed his last breath here on earth. He welcomed me on his stage countless times. Each and every Crusade was so special. But more than anything -- I cherished the friendship we developed. Friend, mentor, counselor, hero, leader, example, pastor -- -- he was so many things to me -- -- making the impact of his passing such a deep hurt. At the same time -- I know Billy would be questioning why we grieve. Because he is now in paradise. He is face to face with the Jesus he so loved and served so well.I bet his mansion is actually a log cabin -- not that different than the one he and Ruth called "home" in the North Carolina mountains. I'm pretty sure it has a couple rocking chairs for he and Ruth and an endless line of heavens residents lined up to thank him for introducing them to Jesus.I will miss Billy -- the same way Debbie and I have missed Ruth. But I rejoice in the promise that we will someday be together in heaven."
Stay tuned to social media today as more artists share their remembrances and comments on Rev. Billy Graham's death, and keep his family in prayer as they grieve such a hard loss.