Sunday morning some of our flock met early to pray for the Franklin Graham Decision America Rally in Tacoma before attending that evening. It had been over fifty years since I had been to my first Billy Graham Crusade in Seattle. I heard the gospel clearly there, repented and trusted Christ. A few years later I was a counselor in his Portland Crusade.
I was looking forward with anticipation and prayer to the event this week. Times have changed and I expected it would be different from years ago. As we drove I was pleasantly surprised by the cars backed up on the freeway to get in. I thought we were early but was wrong. Hundreds of cars had already filled the large parking areas on the way in.
Along the access road small groups of demonstrators representing an atheist group, a gay rights group, an anti-hate group, a separation of church and state group, a group against islamophobia and so on, as if Franklin was for those things. A Tacoma clergy group signed a letter against "Franklin Graham hateful version of faith: Not welcome in Tacoma." I don't recall seeing things like that in the sixties. Yet there were no clashes with the guests arriving. People were respectful.
The rally was in the parking lot and we were to bring our own chairs. I didn't think that would work. But thousands were already seated near the stage, music was playing and people were still arriving. We got seated hundreds of feet from the platform and separated from a number of other groups. There were about seven-thousand-eight-hundred people of all ages; yet there were no disturbances, few police and no drinking.
Soon Franklin appeared and welcomed everyone. He made it clear America needed help and that Christ was the answer. He also encouraged believers to be involved in our government. He pointed out political parties can't fix it. Only God can. Then he preached on the prodigal son. He mentioned his own rebellion in his youth and how he didn't find satisfaction in it. He finally came to his knees in repentance and trusted Christ. He said we are all prodigals, lost and away from God. It is only in repentance over our sin and faith in Christ that anyone can be saved from the wrath God has over our wrong.
His treatment of sin pulled no punches. He named a wide range of acts that many today might not think are wrong. He was clear that all sex outside of marriage is sin and that the gay lifestyle was also clearly sin against God. He said, "Some of you may think you have no sin." "But even thinking that is sin." Wow!
Finally, he invited people who wanted to repent to stand. He explained and prayed with them and then offered them Bibles, etc. Hundreds stood. He prayed for them and the churches that have a role in encouraging them; we are among them. Things have changed but the Gospel of Christ is still the same. I am encouraged that we can still have such a meeting in our country. Hear Franklin's message for yourself here.
See their drone pics and other closeups of the event here. https://billygraham.org/gallery/decision-america-pacific-northwest-photos-tacoma/
Pray for our Family Camp this weekend. Wednesday is the last day to register at the Community. Because of camp there will be no Men's Discipleship Breakfast this Saturday. Church services will be as usual at Discovery back in Gig Harbor.