(February 21) This morning, celebrated preacher Billy Graham at the age of 99. News of his passing has impacted much of the Christian community, including many of the artists who knew and were inspired by the beloved leader.
Here are a few of the few reflections from Michael W. Smith, Jason Crabb and Don Moen…
Michael W. Smith
“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.”
Tribute to Billy Graham
at the GMA Dove Awards in 1996
“I was able to be with and perform for Billy Graham during his Farewell Crusade in NYC, thanks to Jim & Carol Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and their choir. If the Bible was still being written, I feel like that moment would have been in it – thousands came to know Christ that day. It was one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of.
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. I love this family so very much.
I just performed at Billy Graham Training Center’s The Cove on Sunday night and Will shared a story about a new film that is coming out and the thing he was so excited about was that he was playing his grandfather in the film.
This morning, when I heard the news, I texted Will to convey my condolences. Will responded with a quote from his grandfather: “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.”
That about sums it up.”
“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!”