Month: February 2020

Billy Graham Library: in a word, it was “great”

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From the Hampton Inn in Belmont, North Carolina, my daughter and I made our way some 20 minutes by car that Monday morning, likely – and eager – to be among the very first parties admitted to the popular tourist site upon its doors opening at 9:30.

My journal account written 24 hours later – again in the car, headed back home to Birmingham – goes like this:

“Monday morning, [my sister] Jane joined us for lobby breakfast at our hotel in Belmont before going to call on her elderly in-laws in the same town. Dawn and I toured the Billy Graham library/museum/replica home place near the Charlotte airport! I’ve been wanting to go there ever since Heather Watters said she’d taken the tour and had really liked it.

“In a word, it was great! So glad we went! Points of interest/inspiration/pleasure include:

  • Lush and bright green grass surrounding the buildings – even in winter!
  • The Old Rugged Cross playing softly at entrance/exit.
  • Being first through the doorway to the home place at 9:30 a.m.
  • A pretty Haviland china set on display – but, glued down so the pattern name could not be learned. I am on a quest to identify the name from the photos I took.
  • ‘Seafoam green’ wall colors in the home – so pretty! [That’s the color name told to us; I definitely think the actual color leaned more aqua than some search results are showing.]
  • Inspiring and intriguing exhibits, videos, history throughout the Journey of Faith tour! Both Dawn and I got teary-eyed multiple times as we ‘relived’ excerpts of Dr. Graham’s preaching from the crusade pulpit and heard testimonies of those who were reached with the gospel during his ministry. My personal connections there include:

\\Having been to a crusade once in Norfolk, Virginia (November 1974, according to online accounts How handy to find that!)
\\I heard him speak in chapel at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982 (December 8, 1982, according to a YouTube video I am now finding. It shows Dr. Roy Honeycutt, seminary President (looking young!) at the podium with Dr. Graham seated behind. So cool! I just told Dawn that if the camera had panned the attendees I might be visible. [It did pan, over a packed house. I later scanned those frames but did not find me. However, I did see a young woman whose 1980s big, permed hair and huge glasses frames could have been mine…] Dawn and I listened to that chapel sermon as we drove – a happy circumstance for reasons including that we’d missed church and our own pastor’s sermon on Sunday while traveling.
\\Years of listening to record albums by “Cliff Barrows and the Gang” with songs like The Restless Ones movie title theme, His Sheep Am I, The Numbers Song, He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills, and more! [journal drawings of emojis representing heart, music note, & guitar]

  • Book store/gift shop: Dawn purchased a softcover volume of Billy Graham quotes on hope and on other topics. I bought a hardcover book about his New York City 2005 crusade including texts of three sermons delivered then.
  • Graham Brothers Dairy restaurant on premises – roomy dining area; tasty North Carolina style BBQ sandwich and sliced apples for me; chicken salad sandwich and vanilla milkshake for Dawn.
  • No admission fee.
  • Prayer Room next to the gift shop. Attending employee asked a female staffer named Gloria to pray with us. We requested prayer for my aunt then in the hospital, for her family, and for our safe return to Alabama.
  • We completed guest feedback surveys in return for a cloth carry bag apiece that contains The Message Lives On DVD and other literature.
  • I took some 40+ photos to remember the tour by and/or to post on social media.

“I took down the following two Graham quotes during the tour and e-mailed them to myself on the spot:
From a crusade sermon
‘Our faith in Jesus Christ is based on fact, not on feeling. When you feel nothing, He may be closer to you than at any other time.’ (That may not be verbatim, but it is very close.)
From a television interview
In answer to a direct question from Greta von Susteren, December 20, 2010:
‘If I had it to do over again, I would accept fewer speaking engagements and I would meditate and pray more.’ He clarified he did not mean he would preach at fewer crusades, but would agree to fewer engagements for lecturing and such.

“His statement on this wish of redo coincides with his words of counsel on at Southern Seminary in 1982 to us theologians, preachers, and Christian educators in training, emphasizing the brevity of time and the resulting importance of using time well. I told Dawn as we listened to that chapel address in the car this morning that this advice gives me validation in that introspective and private spiritual activity continues to attract, motivate, encourage, and inspire me at least as much as study time in large-group weekly gatherings at church or in small-group Bible study does. In my solitary times of hymn reading, Bible reading, reflection, journaling, and prayer, I often record insights, observations, and opinions that may make their way into a social media or blog post. However, I doubt that any such message ever resonates with any reader as much as it does with me.

“At any rate, Dr.* Graham seems to have been recommending perhaps a 75/25 ratio of ‘input’ to ‘output’ in terms of preparation before delivery in a preaching or teaching or writing situation. From his 1982 chapel address, within a segment about the persecuted Church in other nations: ‘Where the pressure is the greatest, that is the deepest walk with God. We need men and women who walk with God. And, if you do that, you, too, can finish the work that God gave you to do.’

“And this preparation before delivery surely applies to one-on-one encounters during which a Christian may share or be asked questions about faith matters! To study and adore and learn and absorb and abide is the type of faith activity to prioritize (remember Mary and Martha in Luke chapter 10)… because, without that, it’s much more likely our efforts to reach others will be frustrated, will fall short, will not happen, or…worst of all…will prove us hypocritical.”

Thus ends my journal entry about the Billy Graham Library written Tuesday, February 18, 2020

*Doctor was a title the renowned evangelist was very humble about having in front of his name. One of the funny jokes he told us seminarians that day in chapel was about a hunting dog named Preacher that had been a great animal in his designed role for a long time. However, a change occurred and it was explained this way by one of the dog’s owners: “Yes, Preacher used to be a good dog, but one day somebody came along and called him Doctor, and he hasn’t been of any use since!”

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Someone, please identify this Haviland Limoges design!

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Youth for Christ logo on podium under a tent replicating a scene germinal to Dr. Graham’s call into crusade evangelism

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