There is a God and He Loves You

The world received news that early Wednesday morning God called the Reverend Billy Graham home. A giant of the faith whose sharing of the Gospel to over 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades is unparalleled in modern times. Truthfully, only Jesus’ ministry reached more people.

Whereas God used Paul to spread the Gospel through the written Word, He clearly used Graham to spread the Gospel through the spoken Word. Graham shared biblical truth and the Good News of Jesus all over planet Earth. Through his evangelistic rallies, Reverend Graham exposed people to the saving work of Jesus in more than 185 countries. He delivered the message of a loving God who gave His son so that all who believed in Him might experience eternal life. Graham did this through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books. He is known to be a humble and gracious man whose private walk matched his public talk. While it is unlikely that there will ever be another evangelist to reach hearers with the Gospel in the magnitude Reverend Graham did will certainly reap the fruit from the seeds of faith he faithfully sowed for generations to come.

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“I guarantee that you can know peace with God, peace of soul, peace of mind, and joy such as you have never experienced.”
– Billy Graham

Steps To Peace

The good news is, that although the Lord has called this faithful minister of the Word home, the message of love and hope that Reverend Graham preached remains as true today as yesterday and it will remain true tomorrow. There is a God and He loves you.

We live in a world full of hurt and heartache. Honestly, apart from Jesus Christ, no man is fully equipped to change the brokenness of this life. Only with Christ and Christ alone can you and I be saved.

You and I are born sinners, separated from a holy God who loves us immensely. In fact, God loved us so much that He gave His son as an atoning sacrifice to pay the debt for our sins and pave a path of reconciliation to Him for us. Scripture makes clear that anyone who calls Jesus by name, recognizing Him as their Lord and Savior, will receive the gift of eternal life—-life in the presence of God, forever.

I have no doubt that God welcomed the Reverend Graham with the words “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” He wants to say that to you too. So if you haven’t already, I urge you, give your life to Christ and let Jesus welcome you home.

Thank you, Rev. Billy Graham.

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Read Reverend Billy Graham’s Official Obituary here.

Andrew Peterson-“Well Done, Good and Faithful”

God Remains Good

It is easy to focus on the evil in the world and miss the goodness. Evil sucks the light out of everything it touches, enveloping our lives in darkness, leaving us unable to recognize the truth. Yes, there is evil in the world. But the darkness has not overcome the light. The light continues to shine through it, piercing its veil. But instead of seeing the goodness, we focus on the darkness. That is just how we process a fallen world, in our natural state. Responding supernaturally amid excruciating agony is not our go to answer.

No doubt, evil works overtime to deface the image of God and destroy His reputation. Evil knows that if it can cause you to doubt the goodness of God, then it has won a victory in the battle between good and evil.  In light of heartbreaking tragedies, it is easy for us to be afraid and doubt the goodness of the Lord.

“In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Genesis 1:1 (ESV)

Typically, every time when our world faces tragedy brought upon us by a demented, evil madman (or perhaps it’s madperson in our Uber-PC age), shouts can be heard asking “Where was God?” or “Why would a good God allow this type of suffering?” as if the presence of evil someone discounts the power of God or worse, attempts to write Him off entirely, like He never really ever existed. But, evil acts happening in our world shouldn’t push us away from God. Rather, these horrific tragedies should cause us to pull closer to Him. Evil exists to counter the goodness of God. In spite of evil, God is good.

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God’s goodness is unfailing. God’s goodness is unceasing. God is truly good all the time.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1 (NIV)

God didn’t cause a troubled killer to walk into a school and murder innocent children. This blame game is not new or strictly true just of us. People have been blaming God for things He does not do for all of history. The Lord does not dish out a quota of misery every week. Yes, bad things happen. Evil walks among us. God’s heart breaks each time evil strikes like it did in Parkland, Florida last week and at Columbine over a decade ago. Our suffering pains God just as it does us. Jesus weeps for us like He wept for his friend Lazarus.

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About that time some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Jesus responded, “Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die. And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die.” Luke 13:1-5 (The Message)

In the midst of our suffering, we can trust that God is at work, bringing good out of that which the Enemy intended for evil. This is a foundational biblical principle. God is for us. He is not against us.

 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

Don’t let the evil in this world blind you to the goodness of God. He truly is good. You can trust the Lord to deliver on His promises. You can count on God’s loving-kindness and His unending delight in us who delight in Him.

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Requiem for a Friend

Your name crossed my lips today. I caught myself before uttering it loud enough for most of the team to hear. But, I know at least a couple of people noticed it. I suppose it is to be expected doing something you did so many Sunday mornings. You would have been sitting behind the piano though. Me? I sat upstairs behind the sound board, talking to the band through the in-ear system through a small microphone clipped to my shirt. Sitting there, I couldn’t help thinking of you, my friend, and how much you are missed.

I’m not sure we’ve recovered from your sudden departure. It’s hard to wrap my mind around. And my heart certainly hasn’t caught up. When you asked me to covenant in prayer with you those few months before He called you home, I had no idea. Neither of us did. Who knew our day of deepest sorrow and  your day of greatest joy were right around the corner?

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Sometimes I hear your voice as I walk down the hallways of the church. Other times, I imagine seeing your bright smile. You brought joy to so many. It’s hard to grasp how your family is handling your absence. They are strong, rooted in the faith you modeled. You would be proud of them. Your amazing legacy lives on through the people whose hearts you touched.

You spoke truth, but always in love. You lived a lifestyle of prayer and worship. The light of Jesus shone brightly through you each day you walked this Earth, regardless of any hardship or trouble you faced. You were a faithful soldier, boldly sharing the Gospel, not only through your words, but through your actions.

“Remember,” you said, “you’re either pointing people to Christ or pushing them away. We show them Jesus by the words we speak and the works we do.”

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Oh, how you loved Jesus. I cannot help but be sad that you are gone. The Chinese buffet is not the same without you. There’s an emptiness that wasn’t there before. I am a better person due to your brief presence in my life. Know that I am overjoyed for you as you dance in the presence of the Lord. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. One day, we will be reunited.

Until then, we’ll continue lifting His name up in song on Sunday morning, pointing people to Jesus.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.