Billy Graham left an indelible mark on me.
“I can still see him in his iconic rocking chair, Bible on his lap, sitting beneath the great wooden beams of his porch.” by Dan T. Cathy
I can still see the large group of people listening to him speak at the Ponce de Leon Stadium. Their mesmerized faces saying it all.
I can still see him walking across the Fulton County Stadium in the early 70’s arm-in-arm with Tom Cousins. That was the last time he’d speak at that stadium.
Many years later I had the distinct honor to attend Billy’s 90th birthday celebration. After listening to singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith tell me how he would visit Billy and play songs for him, I wondered if I could take my trumpet and a few Chick-fil-A sandwiches up to his Montrealhome and play a few hymns for him.
NOTE: As a youth and before I was an avid reader of biographies, and the two most influential were on Dr. R. G. Lee, A CHOSEN VESSEL, and Billy Graham: the personal story of the man, his message, and his mission by Stanley High published in 1956. Of course I leaned more to Dr. Lee as my pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church, who with the church and deacons licensed me to preach and the same weekend on leave from Naval Aviation duties at Pax River Maryland performed the wedding ceremony in 1957. My wife of 59 years, Emma Ann Steelman Phelps McMichael was a member at Bellevue all the 4 years of her RN training at Baptist Memorial Hospital, Memphis. Ann while we were dating at Bellevue gave me a copy of the great book of sermons by Dr. Lee called BREAD FROM BELLEVUE OVEN, the most memorable sermon of which was “The Menace of Mediocrity” that certainly describe the SBC today, :”When wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.”
While many of us were shocked to learn that he became a millionaire, there is no doubt that God chose to use him to reach millions for Christ all over the world, and as Dr. Lee wrote in my copy of CHOSEN VESSEL the words, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man that really reads, studies, and knows the Bible.” That from Dr. Lee, the former President of the SBC and world traveler with his famous message PAYDAY SOMEDAY, certainly described Billy Graham.
Pay Day – Someday by Dr. R. G. Lee https://youtu.be/_BZepT-czgU