Franklin Graham - BillyGraham.org - (Apr 28, 2021)
"Though our nation drifts further away from the Bible, we can stand on the certainty of His promises and keep sharing His truth. Later this fall, I am planning to preach the Good News in eight cities along the historic US Route 66, which is nicknamed the Main Street of America. We're calling this the "Route 66 God Loves You Tour." Please pray for these opportunities to share the Gospel through the heart of America."
[BillyGraham.org] Dear Friend, When a society embraces godlessness, it results in anarchy—people taking the law into their own hands. The Lord warned in His Word to not embrace a lifestyle of "everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes" (Deuteronomy 12:8, ESV). Instead, Moses told God's people to "be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever" (Deuteronomy 12:28, ESV). If we choose to reject the ways of God, we will reap devastating consequences. (Image source: BGEA)
Few understand this better than our nation's law enforcement. These brave men and women have a dangerous job, and they're always looking over their shoulders—on duty or off. Tragically, fatal officer-involved shootings are all too common today, and the need to minister to them has never been greater. In March, we hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Retreat in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, attended by more than 200 couples—free of charge. My son Edward and other speakers assured them of our love and support and pointed them to Biblical truth and the hope we have in the Lord. One police officer who attended from Seattle shared, "I think events like these are so important, because police officers need to be strengthened and encouraged now more than ever. They feel the challenges of the job … the evil that we face. Right now, many officers don't feel the same level of support, which absolutely accumulates on them. So, in order to not be isolated, in order to be strengthened and encouraged, we need events like these to be able to come together, to be able to rest, recover, and renew in Christ." Another shared, "I came wanting to be edified and poured into, and I got it! I received Scripture that I can tie back to my department and then to the public as I serve them and interact with them. It's very exciting." We have scheduled two more retreats for later this year at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C., and we are planning Law Enforcement Appreciation dinners in various locations across the country, including the hotspots of Seattle and Portland in May. Please pray that God would move in the hearts of many through these opportunities. When I was younger, it was not uncommon to hear people say, "I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it." As a nation, we fundamentally believed in liberty—in freedom of religion, speech, and thought. Today, however, a radical movement is racing across our country, the United Kingdom, and many other nations, to censor and erase anyone or anything that a vocal minority finds offensive. This "woke" movement has no problem with blatant forms of sin being displayed publicly on television and the internet. But they want to ban expressions from people who embrace traditional views of morality, family, and religion. This "cancel culture" doesn't allow for free speech. When they find a sports team, a politician, or an entertainer who stands for Biblical values, they immediately want to silence and remove them. We experienced this in Blackpool, England, when a small but influential group of activists protested our 2018 Lancashire Festival of Hope, where I was going to be preaching the Gospel. When LGBT activists piled on Twitter, complaining about the evangelistic event because they disagree with my convictions about marriage, they pressured the local bus company to remove our ads from their vehicles. After the Festival, we filed a case in the court system to fight this injustice. We praise God that a judge in the United Kingdom recently ruled the Blackpool Borough Council and Blackpool Transportation Services Limited had discriminated against us. It was a strong and clear rebuke. Ruling overwhelmingly on our side, the judge said that Blackpool "had a wholesale disregard" for the Festival's right to freedom of expression while at the same time giving obvious preference to the rights and views of the LGBT community. She said that sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage do not make the people or organizations who hold those views "extremist." This is a huge win in the battle against "cancel culture." This helps every Christian and church in the UK, confirming what we already knew to be true: All believers have the right to openly share God's truth—including the Gospel itself—in the public square without being discriminated against, threatened, or punished by those who want to keep them quiet. It is essential for America and the West to continue to stand up for religious liberty, which includes the rights to assemble and to speak and act on our Biblical convictions. We cannot allow the cancel culture movement to silence the Church. We must remain faithful in this season to be "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15, ESV) as God gives the opportunity. A recent Gallup poll showed that less than half of Americans belong to a religious group. The percentage fell from 70% in 1999 to 47% in 2020—including some who once called themselves Christian. More and more of our citizens live their lives without regular interaction, encouragement, and instruction from God's Word through a local body of Believers.
Though our nation drifts further away from the Bible, we can stand on the certainty of His promises and keep sharing His truth. Later this fall, I am planning to preach the Good News in eight cities along the historic US Route 66, which is nicknamed the Main Street of America. We're calling this the "Route 66 God Loves You Tour." Please pray for these opportunities to share the Gospel through the heart of America. (Image source: BGEA) My son Will hosted a live telecast on Good Friday from the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC He shared the Gospel with more than 40,000 viewers, and we praise God that over 400 people indicated they made decisions for Jesus Christ. Alyson* was one of those who responded to the Good Friday invitation online. She shared, "I 100% want to accept Jesus as my Savior and have Him in my life." For months, she has been reading the New Testament daily, wanting to know if God was real and what He wanted from her. When Alyson called in to speak with a volunteer about Christ's sacrifice for our sins, she called on the Lord for salvation and is now connected to our online interactive discipleship course to help her grow in her new faith. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains recently deployed to Alabama following devastating tornadoes—and to Boulder, Colorado, after a shooting at a grocery store. After ministering one morning at the memorial site in Boulder, chaplains stopped for a fast-food lunch. Noticing a young man looking at them, they approached him and asked if they could eat with him. Jack* agreed and told them of his father's recent death from cancer and his mother's struggle with mental illness. Jack said he wanted to know God better, and this opened the door for our chaplains to share the hope of Jesus Christ. Jack told them he wanted to pray to repent of his sins and receive Christ into his life. The chaplains rejoiced with him and planned a time to meet again to give him his own Bible—and introduce him to a local pastor. We praise God for changed lives like this one!... *Names changed to protect privacy.