Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Are Evangelistic Crusades Effective? - Part 6

Individual Testimonies to the Success of Evangelistic Events
There are many testimonies of people that were saved because of a crusade. For example, Jesse Duplantis recently shared that he was sitting on the toilet in a hotel room watching a Billy Graham crusade on television when he decided to give his heart to Jesus.  Now he says he gets excited every time he goes to the bathroom, because he’s reminded of the day he became a Christian.  He may never have become a Christian if Billy Graham would not have held that crusade and aired it on television.
My friend Brian Chu was saved at a crusade.[1] Twenty-three years ago a Messianic Jew, who Brian met at the gym, invited Brian to a Billy Graham crusade in Central Park. Brian became a Christian that day. The decision changed the course of his life forever. He says the decision “impacted my life profoundly, and it is influencing the generations to come through our 3 daughters.” Additionally, the effect is alive in the developing nations he visits. It is heard every time Brian speaks to pastors, leaders, bible school students and believers. It is seen in every healing and salvation. And, it is felt through every life that is transformed through his ministry.
Philip Goudeaux was a member of the Black Panthers. One of his friends witnessed to him about Lord and one week later, the friend invited him to travel with him to a large festival in Dallas, TX. The festival was a gathering of Jesus People and it was featured on the front cover of Life Magazine[2]. Billy Graham was preaching at the Festival and Goudeaux committed his life to Christ. Today, Philip Goudeaux pastors a mega-church in Sacramento, CA.

Testimony from Jim Burkett, http://www.apologeticsonfire.org/
IN the Fall of 1961, I was preparing to watch my favorite Saturday TV show, Gunsmoke. Matt Dillon was my hero with Miss Kitty, Doc, and Chester. This is the day of just four TV channels (CBS, NBC, ABC, & PBS). But my mother did something quite disturbing to me. She changed the channel from Gunsmoke to a TV evangelist named Billy Graham. I inwardly thought, "He probably can't shoot straight or draw fast like Marshall Dillon." But since my mother was bigger than I was at the time, I spend the next hour watching the Billy Graham TV crusade. Although I had been to church with relatives and friends, the Gospel just didn't connect with me. I had the mind that I would investigate things about God when I was really old - like 21 or 22. My ambition at that time was to attend Will Rogers High, become a football hero, have ten girls on each arm as I walked down the hallway of Rogers and the rest of the ladies lined up singing "How Great Thou Art!" (Amazing what teenage guys dream). But that night Billy Graham explained the identity of who Jesus Christ was and is, he defined the Gospel in a way that I definitely understood. When Dr. Graham finished his message, he looked into the camera and said, "You might be in a hotel, in a bar, or in your home, but if you would like to receive eternal life and invite Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, bow your head and pray this prayer after me." I did not know at the time that my attentiveness was result of the Holy Spirit speaking to me. Graham's prayer went something like this with a pause between each sentence: "Lord Jesus, I receive now as my personal Lord and Savior...pause...Forgive me of my sin...pause...take full charge of my life...pause...make me the kind of person you want me to be...pause...thank you for hearing my prayer...pause...and coming into heart...pause...and giving me eternal life...Amen." I did not hear any angels singing or have a "thrill of the fill", but I knew that something had happened inside of me. That day I became a Christian. 

[1] http://nowhope.org

[2] Life Magazine, June 30, 1972