Wednesday, 21 February 2018


"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12: 3)

Following the passing of world evangelist Billy Graham on 21st February, 2018, many millions of people around the world are looking back with humble thanksgiving to the event and day that brought them under the ministry of the man whose preaching led them to faith in Christ.

                                                                                             (PHOTO: Richard Bewes)

It may have been a meeting in a great stadium, a programme through television, film or satellite - or the power of the printed page - that first awakened so many to the claims of Christ.  The fact is that a farmer’s boy, raised in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, has been called Home to God after a lifetime of making Christ known in no less than 185 countries that he visited with his team ... and whole towns and societies breathed more easily as a result.

The labour of it all was immense. As Billy Graham’s chairman in the  great three-week ‘Mission 89’ campaign in London, I remember once having to wake him up at the back of the stadium before preaching - so drained was he after a day of exhausting interviews.   As he has confessed, "I would stand up once again to speak, completely devoid of strength - and then would sense a power descending upon me.  I put this down to the prayers of so many who were supporting us around the world."

                                      At Wembley Stadium in the rain - July 1989

The statistics surrounding this - the first truly world evangelist we have ever had - are common knowledge.  Even by the 1960s, Billy Graham had addressed more people face to face than any orator - secular or religious - in the whole of history - and that is leaving aside television and radio, the printed page, films and satellite technology.  By the time of his passing he had addressed audiences totalling no less than 210 million people.  His departure leaves many generations moved with gratitude that God kept Billy Graham for our own time.

Blessed now in his passing, Billy can rest from his labours.  But his deeds follow him with eternal effect, not only in heaven, but in families, nations and organizations that were permanently touched by his faithful obedience to Christ’s Call. The secret behind it all?  It was simple indeed: God could trust Billy Graham.

During a visit to the USA in 2012, Pam and I were blessed to visit him in his very simple home in Montreat – built of logs many years ago (see picture below) – and to have fellowship with him in prayer and with the Scriptures.  Pam was able to tell him, “I first heard you when I was seven!”  

And now he’s gone. World-wide, people for generations to come will continue to draw inspiration from this, the most widely effective proclaimer of Christ’s Gospel since the days of the New Testament apostles.

His works will follow him into all eternity ...


Thursday, 8 February 2018


“When He comes He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment."    (John 16: 8-11)

 Make a pilgrimage one day to the open stretches of Blackheath in South-East London!  In the very centre of the heath you will come to a small cordoned-off hillock, left in its natural state, where – 250 years ago - the blazing evangelist George Whitefield would address as many as thirty thousand people at a time, with his cavernous voice.  Today that small rise in the ground is still known as “Whitefield’s Mount.”

It was a time of widespread revival in England, under John and Charles Wesley and their preaching contemporaries - of whom Whitefield was one.  The Wesley brothers would write that the effect of the preaching was such that men and women would  sometimes fall face-down in deep repentance under the conviction of their sins and their need of Jesus.  Indeed, Charles Wesley’s great hymn Love Divine – sung today worldwide - includes a line inspired directly from his observation of those shaking under conviction.  It runs, ‘Enter every trembling heart.’

This Spirit-given conviction of sin was foretold by Jesus, in his prediction of the coming of the unseen ‘Comforter’ – the ‘Helper’ who would represent His very own Presence in the lives of His disciples.

The conviction of SIN is part of becoming a Christian!  It is conviction 'sin’ – said Jesus – ‘because men do not believe in Me.’  THE sin – across the centuries - is the sin of keeping Christ out of our lives!

Further, the Spirit’s conviction of  ‘righteousness’ is the compelling realisation that the Lord’s ‘going to the Father’ (v. 10) was the defining seal of His acceptance above as the perfect and righteous God-Man, following the completion of His saving work among us.

And the conviction regarding ‘judgment’?  Reason; because (v.11) all those finally found with Satan (‘the prince of the world’) will have their days numbered with 
him ….