#IAmGoing Weekend Reading

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The one thing Billy Graham would want us to remember: Bruce Ashford

Early Wednesday morning, the Rev. Billy Graham passed away at age 99 at his home in Montreat, N.C.

In response to the news of his passing, national and international leaders simultaneously grieved his death and celebrated his life. And for good reason.

He should be remembered for his global reach, having preached live to approximately 215 million people in more than 185 countries or territories, and via television and radio to hundreds of millions more.

He should be remembered for his personal influence, having met and prayed with every U. S. president from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama, and having preached at funeral services for Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

He should be remembered for the way his ministry spanned across many of America’s public divides. Graham was recognized by many Americans—Republican and Democrat, black and white, North and South—as “America’s pastor.” …Read More.

Thank You, Billy Graham: Chuck Lawless

I never had the privilege of meeting Billy Graham, but his ministry marks my life. He was the first crusade evangelist I ever heard speak when I was a teenage believer, and many were the nights I watched him preach the Word on television. The clarity of his message and the passion of his heart made me long to tell the old, old story as often as I could.

Then, I had the honor of serving as the second dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. When I moved from Southern to the International Mission Board, Southern gave me the above painting of Dr. Graham and a framed letter of congratulations from him. I’m most humbled to have both hanging in our home office.

There’s so much I could thank Billy Graham for today, and others have written much more powerful tributes to him than I ever could. Here’s what I’m most grateful for, though: he ended well.

Thank You, Billy Graham: Thom Rainer

Like many of you, I am deeply saddened to hear news of the death of Billy Graham today. He was a friend, a colleague, and mentor to me, and I will miss him dearly.

When reports of his declining health made headlines recently, I reflected on a trip I took with Nellie Jo to visit with Mr. Graham at his home in Montreat, North Carolina in the fall of 2009. Though it was not my first time to meet with the famed evangelist, this visit seemed especially poignant at the time. Perhaps the poignancy of the moment related to the visit in his home. I had never been to the mountaintop cabin that he and his family called home for so many years.

It was my first visit with Mr. Graham since his beloved Ruth had passed away two years prior. Her photos and keepsakes were visible throughout the home. This visit was certainly different for that reason. Still again, my time with Billy Graham was poignant because he was in his twilight years. He knew it. So did I. Sadly, this would be my last visit with him. …Read More.

Learning Theology and Engaging Others… in Service to the Great Commission: Trevin Wax

The best way to understand your culture is to leave it, at least for a while.

For me, it took being out of American society for five years to understand certain aspects of the culture in which I was raised. Whenever I returned home from doing mission work in Romania, I noticed things I had never seen before: a way of life I had never questioned because I had always assumed this is the way everything is.

Cross-cultural mission work opens your eyes not only to new and unfamiliar cultures, but also to the place you came from. You begin to realize that hundreds of preferences, practices, and systems you had always assumed were “normal” are strange and abnormal to people across the world. I support well-planned and well-executed short-term and long-term mission trips because cross-cultural ministry not only bears fruit in other parts of the world, but can also make us more effective when we return home. …Read More.