Category : Parish Ministry

(TLC Covenant) Esau McCaulley–Seeking the Holy Spirit

I found the Holy Spirit when I was not seeking him — and in the most unlikely of places. In college I found myself attending an Episcopal chapel for two reasons. First, my car was not reliable enough to take me far from campus. Second, a woman whom I would later marry attended the 8 a.m. service.

In that music-less service I heard the liturgy, and over time it did its work. The God of the Bible shouted at me in the confession of sins. I found myself face to face with my brokenness week after week. I found myself stirred as I awaited the bread and the wine. Then, if the weekly Eucharist was the Holy Spirit coming in fits and starts, my first Holy Week was a torrent. When they stripped the altars on Maundy Thursday and we stumbled out of the church in the darkness, I was shaken. By the time we got to the solemn collects of Good Friday, I was a wreck. I felt as if for the first time I had truly entered into the passion of Christ and lingered there.

I discovered something in my first year with the church’s liturgy that has remained true since. The liturgy is stable, but it is not safe. You never know which part of the church year, which part of the liturgy, which reading, which celebration of a saint will step out of history and grab you by the heart. The Spirit broods over our work. I also found that the Daily Office helped me listen to the Spirit. So many ideas and concerns assault me as I sit down to pray. I have found that the set prayers of the Daily Office settle my spirit, so that I can finally sit quietly and listen to God. My most powerful experiences of the Spirit have come during that waiting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(ACNS) More tributes from Anglican leaders follow death of US evangelist Billy Graham

The former Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, told Eternity News that he became a Christian at a Billy Graham rally at the age of 15. “The thing that struck me was that he held the Bible in his hand and he preached the Bible,” he said. “I already believed that the Bible was the word of God, so when he preached the Bible – and he preached that day from Noah and the Ark in Genesis – it seemed an inevitable thing to do to follow his invitation to come down the front, as a way of indicating that you wished to commit your life to Jesus Christ. It seemed inevitable to me that one would do that.”

He said that the rallies “reaped a harvest”. He accepted that “nominals dropped away from church but those who were committed remained”, and added: “if we’d not had the Graham Crusade, I believe church-going would have decreased much more significantly than it did – and the level of commitment in church would be far less.”

The Church of England’s Bishop in Europe, Robert Innes, spoke of the “Wonderful memories of the powerful Cambridge University Mission [Graham] led in 1980”, and said: “I join with millions of others in thanking God for the life of Billy Graham.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Russell Moore–Billy Graham Bore Witness for 99 Years; He was perhaps the most significant evangelist since the Apostle Paul

I remember the scene well: Years ago I was sitting in the pews of an almost-empty church listening to an Episcopal bishop discuss why Billy Graham was irrelevant. The prelate insisted that Graham was not the problem. No one could question his sincerity or integrity—only his message.

“Modern people simply cannot accept the supernatural basis of Billy Graham’s gospel,” I recall the bishop saying. “Billy Graham should change his gospel or he will never reach our world as it is.” A man sitting next to me turned and said, “There are 40 people here, and four million listened to Billy Graham in a crusade last night.”

Graham, who died Wednesday at 99, was perhaps the most significant Christian evangelist since the Apostle Paul. This wasn’t because of his media savvy or political influence. He transcended all of that with an obvious belief in the gospel he preached—obvious even to those watching on television or sitting in a stadium’s nosebleed seats. Graham did not think the brave new world needed anything other than an old-time gospel.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops

(Church Times) From the archive: Billy Graham in London, 1954

He held up the Bible and spoke about the God of creation. “God is all-knowing. Not one single thing in your life escapes his knowledge. No sin that has ever been committed has escaped the eye of God.

“God is unchanging, holy and pure and righteous, and he is a God of love. We lost contact with God because Adam and Eve sinned. When Adam sinned, the human race sinned with him. There is only one way back, and that is through Jesus Christ. On the Cross, Jesus Christ took your judgment. He will give you joy and peace and happiness. . . There is no way to know God apart from Jesus. . .

“I have seen gangsters receive Christ and become preachers; alcoholics lose their taste for alcohol; I have seen prostitutes changed; men and women in every walk of life . . .”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

A Billy Graham Tribute – I can only Imagine

Billy Graham Tribute – I can only Imagine from Mike Blakemore on Vimeo.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture

A Portion of the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp for his Feast Day

Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, “Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!” No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, “Have respect to thy old age,” and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], “Swear by the fortune of Cesar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists.” But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, “Away with the Atheists.” Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;” Polycarp declared, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?”

The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp, Chapter IX.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals

Grant Wacker: How Billy Graham Prepared For Death

As for his future, Graham made clear that he anticipated his demise as a door to a new life in heaven. “I’m looking forward to it — I really am,” he said in 1995, in his late 70s. “I’ll be happy the day the Lord says, ‘Come on. I’ve got something better planned.’”

To be sure, Graham admitted that he did not look forward to the dying process itself. He said he had seen “some of the terrible things that happen to people that are dying. I don’t want that.”

But beyond the event itself stood heaven as a place of glorious fellowship with the Lord, saints, loved ones and invigorating work to do. “Think of a place where there will be no sorrow and no parting, no pain, no sickness, no death, no quarrels, no misunderstandings, no sin and no cares.” The preacher even speculated about golf courses and beloved pets — whatever it took to make folks happy.

The journalist David Frost asked the mature Graham what he would want the first line of his obituary to say. “That he was faithful and that he had integrity,” he replied. “And that I was faithful to my calling, and that I loved God with all mind, heart and soul.” Frost wondered if Graham had questions he hoped to ask God in heaven. “Yes, thousands. Many things in Bible mysteries.” He then added, “Some things in my life I would be embarrassed if anyone else saw. I would like God to edit the film.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Theology: Scripture

(Takis Mag) Joe Bob Briggs–Making My Peace With Billy Graham

A few years back I was invited to a conference on Christian-Muslim relations, held at an old castle in Vienna, and one of the seminars was led by Anglican theologians from Oxford University, and another was led by faculty members from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. The Baptists listened politely to the Oxford divines droning on and on about the cultural demographics of Manchester, but when the Baptists chose to talk about “the living Christ” and His absence from the empty cathedrals of Europe, the Anglican divines became infuriated. They felt somehow personally attacked, even though nothing the Baptists said went very far beyond the simple message of Billy Graham that he had repeated millions of times in thousands of sermons. The fact that this simple altar-call message now seemed strange to men who had dedicated themselves to a life serving Christ struck me as odd then and still strikes me as odd. It’s as though they were saying, “We’re post-Christian.” Well, if you’re post-Christian, please remove the vestments and go run a hedge fund.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education

(Local Paper front page) Billy Graham left a giant footprint, spreading evangelism from the South across the globe

Peter Beck, professor of Christian Studies at Charleston Southern University, grew up watching Graham’s crusades on television.

“He was in many ways the heartbeat of the evangelical movement in the mid-20th century to the end. He was the face,” he said. “Most people are going to label him today the greatest evangelist or the greatest revivalist of the 20th century, and I think those are fairly accurate descriptions.”

That said, Beck noted that neither his children nor his students are aware of Graham. “He’s been retired longer than they’ve been alive.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, History, Religion & Culture

(CT) A Billy Graham Sermon–The Sin of Tolerance

One of the pet words of this age is “tolerance.” It is a good word, but we have tried to stretch it over too great an area of life. We have applied it too often where it does not belong. The word “tolerant” means “liberal,” “broad-minded,” “willing to put up with beliefs opposed to one’s convictions,” and “the allowance of something not wholly approved.”

Tolerance, in one sense, implies the compromise of one’s convictions, a yielding of ground upon important issues. Hence, over-tolerance in moral issues has made us soft, flabby and devoid of conviction.

We have become tolerant about divorce; we have become tolerant about the use of alcohol; we have become tolerant about delinquency; we have become tolerant about wickedness in high places; we have become tolerant about immorality; we have become tolerant about crime and we have become tolerant about godlessness. We have become tolerant of unbelief.

In a book recently published on what prominent people believe, 60 out of 100 did not even mention God, and only 11 out of 100 mentioned Jesus. There was a manifest tolerance toward soft character and a broadmindedness about morals, characteristic of our day. We have been sapped of conviction, drained of our beliefs and bereft of our faith.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Christology, Evangelicals, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Evangelism & Mission, Theology: Scripture

(Kim Lawton Blog) Remembering Evangelist Billy Graham–Billy Graham: “An American Phenomenon”

LAWTON: In 2002, Graham released a book titled “Heaven, the Final Journey.” Heaven was a subject he preached about frequently during his career. Talk show host Dick Cavett once asked Graham what he thought heaven would be like.

GRAHAM, on “The Dick Cavett Show”: Heaven is going to be where Christ is. Now I don’t know whether that’s a planet or whether that’s a star or whether it’s on this earth or where it’s going to be. But it’s going to be where Christ is and the Bible says, “to be absent from the bodies, present with the Lord.” And if I died right now, Dick, I know that I’m going to go immediately into the presence of God.

DICK CAVETT, on “The Dick Cavett Show”: You do?

GRAHAM, on “The Dick Cavett Show”: I know that.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

John Stott on Billy Graham–Walking Together to Glory

John R. W. Stott first met Billy Graham in the 1940s, while sharing an open-air meeting at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park. Their shared concern for evangelism led to a close association during Graham’s 1954 Harringay crusade, which captivated London nightly for nearly three months. Over the next 50 years, the two men’s lives would frequently intertwine, through shared leadership in significant ventures like the Lausanne International Congress on World Evangelization and in personal friendship. In 2007, Stott offered these unpublished reminiscences:

Integrity. If I had to choose one word with which to characterize Billy Graham, it would be integrity. He was all of a piece. There was no dichotomy between what he said and what he was. He practiced what he preached.

Finance. When Graham first came to London, a considerable group of church leaders was wondering whether to invite him to preach there. They were critical, but he had anticipated their questions. He was able to say that he received a fixed salary, less than most salaries paid to the senior pastors of large churches, and he received no “love offerings” (unaccounted extras). As for crusade finances, they were published in the press during each crusade.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture

(BGEA) A Video Tribute to Billy Graham

Posted in Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

Billy Graham RIP

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon-The Gospel as Power Encounter (Mark 1:12-14)

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there(and the reference to the greek should be diakoneo not doulos).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture