With the Kauai Celebration with Will Graham just around the corner on May 3 to 5, it seems like a good time to take a look at the 2013 Chicken Soup for the Soul book by Steve and Amy Newmark, “Billy Graham &Me: 101 Inspiring Personal Stories from Presidents, Pastors, Performers, and Other People Who Know Him Well.”
This book gives you insight as to the impact Billy Graham had on some pretty important people. This was a man respected by everyone. He is considered perhaps America’s greatest and most effective evangelist, preaching to millions in his career before he passed away last year at the age of 99.
His grandson, Will Graham, also a pastor, will be on Kauai the first weekend in May to lead the crusade at Vidinha Stadium that many are hoping will be the start of a Christian revival here.
In “Billy Graham &Me,” we learn just how highly regarded this man was to so many, and why. It’s hard not to think there must have been something special — and anointing — about Billy Graham that made him one of this country’s most beloved figures who sat down with leaders worldwide.
The stories in “Billy Graham &Me” best reflect his influence in ways that only a man of his grace and humility could have.
Barack Obama, this country’s 44th president, wrote about his visit to Billy Graham’s mountaintop home in North Carolina when he was on vacation with his family. He got a chance to pray with and for Billy Graham.
“And the fact that I would ever be on top of a mountain, saying a prayer for Billy Graham — a man whose faith had changed the world and that had sustained him through triumphs and tragedies, and movements and milestones – that simple fact humbled me to my core.”
Journalist Dan Rather had this to say:
“This man is inspiring. I think that even if a person has no interest in the message Billy Graham preaches, or is an atheist or of a different religion, he or she would still find him inspiring because he has been steadfast, knowing who he is, believing strongly that he is fulfilling his destiny.”
Al Gore, 45th vice president of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winner, wrote:
“I have met many people of great power and celebrity during the course of my lifetime; yet, there has always been a special quality about Billy Graham. Billy’s love for God which he says must extend to all people — to all of God’s creatures, and to the world that He has provided so that we may live in faith, health and harmony — is a message that he preached to million across the planet — regardless of race, culture, nationality, ideology or religion.”
If you’re looking for inspiration, for motivation, for something to brighten your day and lift your spirits, “Billy Graham &Me,” is the book for you. It is not overly preachy, but it does make clear what Graham believed, why he believed it, and how those beliefs guided his every step. You will get an idea, at the least, of his impact that continues today.
Billy Graham, by the way, was asked to write a final word for the book. He did. In part, here is what he wrote:
“I am humbled by the gracious comments the contributors to this book have made about our ministry — although only God deserves the credit for any impact it has had. I am not a great man — but I do serve a great God, and I give Him all the glory for whatever my associates and I have been able to accomplish over the years.”
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.