Billy Graham

Hero. Model. Living Hope.

“And the King said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?” 2 Samuel 3:38

He was our hero. Our model. Living hope for every young preacher that, despite our fears and foibles, God’s declared word does not return void. As a child, our house stood still when the crusades were beamed through our just-becoming-color televisions. As a young seminarian, I spent hours in the Billy Graham room in the Southern Seminary library, just hoping that a measure of his spirit might wonder my way through the artifacts of his life and ministry. Years later I stood behind his sacred desk, a portable pulpit that accompanied him around the globe. I felt awe and perhaps again beckoned some blessing for just being there. And I was neither the first nor the last preacher to foolishly borrow his voice until I could find my own.

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Pick Something Up

Seems God has a thing about rocks. They aren’t specifically mentioned in creation, but they show up literally and figuratively most everywhere else in the Bible. When Moses needed water, he struck the most unlikely source, a stone. When Jesus was reaching for a metaphor to describe his hopes for the fisherman he called to found the church, He called him Peter, which means rock. Not surprisingly, God gets referred to as one of those rather often. To the psalmists, He is the everlasting rock, rock of strength, and the rock of our salvation. Blessed be the rock indeed. When our feet are in the miry clay, he puts them on the solid rock on where we can sing and stand. And when our souls need hiding and protecting, the cleft of the rock is where He hides us, a powerful hymn and image plucked right from the headlines of the prophet Isaiah.

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Dr. Andrew Bush

This Sunday we welcome to our worship my dear friend Dr. Andrew Bush. Andrew is a unique person with special gifts and a ministry journey unlike any other I know. For the past twenty years, he and his wife Karen have served as missionaries on the Arab West Bank. Their love and commitment to these “least of these among us” has born much fruit for the gospel and provided more stories of courage, love, and grace than one can imagine. His ministry-reach stretches from the slums of the Philippines to the Gaza Strip to the halls of academia in the States and beyond. And since the fall of 2000, I have been blessed to be a part of his life story, and he an integral part of mine.

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Our Journey with the Followers

As I have been working on our current sermon series “Followers,” it has been enlightening to me to pay attention to the relationship between a person’s personal encounter with Christ and the sacrifices made when answering the invitation “Follow Me.” Time after time, Christ engaged interested people. Sometimes he took them unaware, sneaking up on them in the middle of ordinary life. Others he engaged with in conversation surrounding their most personal pondering or deepest needs. Sometimes miracles occurred and lives were immediately and radically changed. Others were simply met with a gentle wave and a lean towards a new direction. But whatever the nature of the encounter, the climax was almost always the same. They were either going to follow or not. And it was going to cost them something – sometimes everything. And the divine invite never promised them the following would be easy, only worth it.

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