Some 800 people, including politicians, entertainers and evangelical leaders, will descend on the Omni Grove Park Inn Thursday night to honor the Rev. Billy Graham. One of the most influential people on the planet, Graham has preached to millions and counseled a long line of U.S. presidents. He’s a living legend. He turns 95 today.
On the guest list tonight, in no particular order: Christian evangelical pastor Rick Warren; N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory; N.C. House Speaker Tom Tillis; Cliff Barrows, Graham’s former music director and an original member of his inner circle; country and bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs; and Michael W. Smith, a star contemporary Christian singer.
Although Graham retired from preaching publicly in 2005, his career in the pulpit saw him become among the most high-profile religious leaders of the 20th century, a man who counseled presidents and whose message, in person and via broadcast media, is estimated to have reached billions of people worldwide.
It was President George H.W. Bush who tagged Graham “America’s pastor.” Graham served as a spiritual adviser to the man in the White House beginning with Democrat Harry Truman and lasting through Republican George W. Bush.
Billy Graham’s birthday will also mark the launch of the broadcast of “My Hope America with Billy Graham,” a nationwide effort to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The outreach is designed for Christians, whether they be a pastor, ministry leader, or lay person, to invite guests and host a viewing in a chosen venue, possibly even a home.
The TV broadcast, and its DVD version, will carry Billy Graham’s new message “The Cross,” filmed from his North Carolina home. It will be released on about 120 television stations across the country.
The program is likely to be the largest evangelistic event in U.S. history. “We have about 25,000 churches participating in the programming,” Franklin was quoted as saying.
I’ll bring you more later tonight on the event. Follow me as I deliver twitter updates @ashevegas.
Interesting that Franklin stated on WLOS that “daddy is a life-long Democrat”…
yet he (Franklin) felt the need to stud the guest list with “G-no-P” falling stars…
Could not agree more.
It’s pretty sad to see the old man paraded around like a stuffed tiger to line his son’s pockets.
Let us know if Billy speaks while Franklin drinks a glass of water.
Happy Birthday to Billy Graham