World-renowned Christian evangelist and author Billy Graham plans to celebrate his ninety-fifth birthday on Thursday with hundreds of guests, and invitations extending to former president Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and North Carolina Governor Pat McCroy. Graham, who served as an advisor to presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon and preached alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., has spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to over 215 million people worldwide. His birthday will also kick start "My Hope America with Billy Graham," a series of evangelical messages to be broadcast nationwide November 7-10.
Billy Graham is known as one of the greatest American evangelists to ever have lived, and his preaching has influenced hundreds of thousands of people to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. The evangelist, whose legacy will surely go on past his time, has preached in "remote African villages and in the heart of New York City, and those to whom he has ministered have ranged from heads of state to the simple living bushmen of Australia and the wandering tribes of Africa and the Middle East," his biography reads.
According to The Christian Post, Graham will celebrate a near century of life with over 800 guests in Asheville, North Carolina, including Donald Trump, a professing Presbyterian. The real estate mogul spoke fondly of his Sunday School memories in his address to Liberty University in September of last year - "I loved going to Sunday School, and I did for years at First Presbyterian Church ... I learned about God, and that was probably the greatest thing I've ever learned, forget all the business stuff," he said.
Graham's passion for sharing the Gospel is evident by his desire to celebrate a milestone birthday by focusing on the cross of Christ. "With all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth," he says in the promotional video for "My Hope America with Billy Graham." Graham's message, "The Cross," will be broadcast on television beginning Thursday, and will also be available online.
The Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA) encourages Christians to invite their neighbors and friends into their home to watch Graham's message and share Christ with them - something that many have been hesitant to do for various reasons. "We've lost faith, or confidence in God," says Preston Parrish, Vice President of the BGEA. "God is far more eager to use us to reach the people around us than we are [eager] to be used, and if we'll just take a step of faith, we'll be surprised at how He shows up," he says. Graham's ministry is offering online courses, as well as training events, to help equip Christians to reach their friends with the Gospel using this tool. Thus far, over 15,000 churches have registered for the event.