The ministry of Billy Graham has been very influential in my life. I had a very low opinion of televangelists. But I remember the priest at the Anglican church I attended speaking highly of Billy Graham. That surprised me. So when I was flipping through the channels one night and saw a Billy Graham crusade on TV, I was willing to give him a hearing. I was still skeptical and kept waiting for the big plea for money. But it never came. All there was in that program was a clear presentation of the Gospel. I kept watching Billy Graham crusades on TV. However, I started to have this strange feeling when he would give his altar call. It got so bad that I would listen to his sermon and then shut off the TV before the altar call. Eventually, I gave in and contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and they mailed me a package on how to know Jesus.
I have never had the opportunity to hear Billy Graham in person. I attended one of his crusades in Toronto but discovered that he was sick and that they had a guest speaker instead. Still, as a pastor I have appreciated his ministry, his simple message and especially his integrity.
For that reason, I was interested to discover that Chicken Soup for the Soul was putting out a tribute to Billy Graham called Billy Graham & Me. This book is a collection of thoughts on Billy from 101 pastors, politicians, athletes, celebrities and friends. It is quite interesting to hear from such a wide range of people, some conservative and some liberal, some Christian and some non-Christian. Presidents such as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush (both of them) and Barack Obama are represented. Ministers ranging from Tim Keller to Joel Osteen, Ravi Zacharias to Pat Robertson are there as well. It is quite inspiring to hear people’s memories and thoughts about Billy Graham. Reading this book is a challenge to all who serve Christ, to seek a ministry of integrity that does not stumble. This is a book that is well worth reading.
My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada