I was captivated by the photo of a young man preaching before thousands in a football stadium. His charm, his wit, his eloquence and his passion resounded loudly in my heart. He had a no-nonsense approach to preaching the Gospel message. You either take it or you leave it. No double-talk. No sugar-coating. No theatrics. Just pure and simple challenge to either walk with Jesus or walk away from Him.
It was 1997. I was only 25 years old when I chanced upon a book on the life of renowned evangelist, the late Billy Graham. I couldn’t put the book down. I was mesmerized by his life and his mission. Back then, I was in the midst of a tedious and serious life discernment process. I was searching for my vocation. I knew God has called me to preach. But it seemed like he was also calling me to get married. As a Catholic, I found it difficult to reconcile the call to preach and the call to married life. Only priests or lay consecrated men preach. And they aren’t supposed to get married.
Yet here comes Billy Graham, preacher and family man rolled into one.
I resonated with his passion to preach and his love for lost people — two things closest to my heart. That’s essentially who I am.
On that day, God birthed into my heart a new image of how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I will get married, raise a family and preach to the ends of the earth like Billy Graham.
That was more than 2o years ago. Today, 12 Catchfire Rallies and thousands of preaching engagements later, I look back with gratitude to the late Reverand Graham who was laid to rest yesterday. He never knew me but just like millions all over the globe, I am who I am today largely because of him.
He shone the light and paved the way. He is the preacher par excellence.
He is my inspiration.
He is Billy Graham.