What were you doing on 18th May 1984 at 9pm? I was at Bristol City’s football ground (Ashton Gate) listening to Billy Graham preach a sermon on the most well-known verse in the whole of the Bible - John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
This morning I talked with my oldest daughter (who is 10) about that night in 1984 when I was 10 as I listened and responded to the gospel shared by Billy Graham. I have changed quite a bit but that message of God sending his son in the world to be MY saviour and giving ME the gift of eternal life has not changed.
I am aware that the world around me has changed phenomenally. In 1984 you would have to listen to the news on the tv or radio to find out about the death of someone well known and an obituary wouldn’t appear until the next morning in the newspaper.
Yesterday I had a beep in my pocket and it was breaking news to report that Billy Graham had died aged 99 and then within 2 minutes people were posting messages on twitter and then within 20 minutes people had posted their own obituary on their blog.
At 10 I knew something of my sin and my need of a saviour and now at (cough) 44 I am far more aware of my sin and my greater need of a saviour.
It is 34 years since I heard the gospel, left my seat to walk down those steps onto the football field and pray that prayer of commitment – time flies! In another 34 years I will be 78 (God willing) and I can rest assured that Jesus who has led me through life will lead me through death, whenever that time comes.
Yesterday Billy Graham went to be with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This is what he once said "Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God."
I love those words and for me this morning it is a reminder of what life and death is all about. It’s all about Jesus - loving and living for him. Thank you God for sending Billy, but more importantly thank you God for sending Jesus!