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Monday, 20 April 2015

Billy Graham

EARLY LIFE

Billy Graham was born on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, 1918. His mother and father Morrow Coffey and William Franklin Graham managed the farm. Both parents were devout Christians.

In 1933 Billy's father forced Graham and his sister Catherine to drink beer until they vomited. This made them hate alcohol for the rest of their lives.

Graham was converted in 1934 during a revival meeting in Charlotte led by local evangelist Mordecai Ham.

Billy Graham became a Fuller Brush salesman during the summer after high school. He was considered the best Fuller Brush salesman in North Carolina.

After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936 Graham went to Bob Jones College. Graham found the schoolwork and rules hard and the following year he transferred to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida).

Graham later transferred to Wheaton College and in 1943, graduated from Wheaton in Illinois with a degree in anthropology.

MINISTRY

Billy Graham got his first opportunity to preach in 1937 when his teacher John Minder unexpectedly assigned him the Easter evening sermon. Graham tried to get out of it, saying he was unprepared, but Minder persisted. Desperately nervous, Graham raced through four memorized sermons, originally 45 minutes each, in eight minutes.


While he was at college, Graham would often take a canoe to a little island in the river. On that island he would practice preaching to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps.

At Wheaton College, Graham decided to take the Bible as the perfect Word of God. He accepted this as truth at the Forest Home Christian camp, southeast of the Big Bear area in Southern California. A memorial is there showing where Graham first made this choice.

In 1947, at the age of 30, Graham was hired as president of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota—at the time, the youngest person to serve as a sitting president of any US college or university. Graham served as the president from 1948 to 1952.

Graham was hired as the first full-time evangelist of the new Youth for Christ (YFC), co-founded by Torrey Johnson and the Canadian evangelist Charles Templeton.

In 1949 Graham scheduled a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles, for which he erected circus tents in a parking lot. The crusade drew record crowds and after being originally scheduled for three weeks the missions proved so successful that they have continued for almost two months.  Graham became a national figure with heavy coverage from the wire services and national magazines.


At a Jackson, Mississippi, revival in 1952, Graham removed the ropes that separated black and white sections of his audience.

When the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. rose to prominence, Graham became a close ally.

In 1955 a reporter asked Billy Graham how he accounts for his success. Billy replied “The only explanation I know is God.” “But why did God choose you?” asked the reporter. Billy’s reply was“When I get to Heaven, that’s the first question I’m going to ask him.”

Suffering from failing health, Billy Graham begun his last North American crusade in New York in 2005. He has bought his message to more than 185 countries and over 210 million people.

WRITING

Graham has written a number of books, many of which have have become bestsellers. Angels: God's Secret Agents, for instance,  had sales of 1 million copies within 90 days after release and How to Be Born Again was said to have made publishing history with its first printing of 800,000 copies

He founded the long-running Christianity Today magazine — one of the most influential publications in the evangelical sphere.

PERSONAL LIFE

Graham married Wheaton classmate Ruth Bell (1920–2007) two months after graduating on August 13, 1943. Ruth said that Billy wanted to please God more than any man she had ever met.

Ruth's parents were Presbyterian missionaries in China. Her father, L. Nelson Bell, was a general surgeon there.

After marriage, they lived in a log cabin that Ruth had made.

Graham and his wife had five children together:

Virginia Leftwich (Gigi) Graham (born 1945; an inspirational speaker and author).
Anne Graham Lotz (born 1948; runs AnGeL ministries).
Ruth Graham (born 1950; founder and president of Ruth Graham & Friends, leads conferences throughout America).
Franklin Graham (born 1952), who serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and as president and CEO of international relief organization, Samaritan's Purse.
Nelson Edman Graham (born 1958; a pastor who runs East Gates Ministries International, which distributes Christian literature in China).

Ruth Graham died on June 14, 2007, at the age of 87. The Grahams were married for 64 years.


In politics, Graham was a member of the Democratic Party, but changed to Republican during the presidency of his friend Richard Nixon. He is no party member, because he says that Jesus did not have a political party.

HONORS AND LEGACY

Graham has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In fact, Graham was the 1,000th person to have a star installed.

He received an honorary knighthood by Sir Christopher Meyer at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 2001.

The Billy Graham Library is a popular museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, near his hometown. The 40,000-square-foot library and museum opened its doors in 2007.

Sources Newsmax.com, Christianity.com, Wikipedia 

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