Billy Graham 1918-2018

I had the privilege of seeing Billy Graham preach at a packed Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati in the summer of 2002. I had just graduated from college with a Bible degree and was preparing to enter seminary later that Fall.

The timing was perfect. As I was training to be a pastor and teacher, God allowed me to witness this lion of a preacher whom God had used to change the lives of millions of people around the globe.

Cincinnati had been reeling from race-related riots when Graham came that summer. He spoke to the issue directly, saying that racial injustice was a “moral and spiritual issue” since God made us and loves us all equally, regardless of the color of our skin (Cincinnati Enquirer, 2002).

Here at the things that struck me most about Billy Graham and have had a lasting impact on how I go about ministry:

  1. Simplicity with Clarity – Billy kept it simple. He preached the Gospel. But it wasn’t watered down. He spoke of the deep theology of God in such a way that a child could understand it. And that method penetrates deep into the heart of my own calling to teach the Bible to children.
  2. Character and Integrity – Billy was a world-famous preacher for 60 years and maintained integrity both financially and in his marriage. He was known to have avoided any situation that would put him in the room alone with a woman other than his wife.

In this tribute to Billy from his organization, they point out that Billy didn’t really die yesterday (according to his own words). He simply changed his address…


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Dr. Jesse Joyner travels nationwide as a speaker and entertainer. His primary role is that of a performing juggler spreading joy and the love of learning to family and kids events. H earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids - the perfect number for juggling children.

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