(Photo: Christian Post/Scott Liu)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Billy Graham's grandson, Will, made sure to set the record straight regarding the health and condition of the iconic preacher at the beginning of his talk during a breakfast meeting of Christian media professionals at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention.
"This is what my grandfather has said concerning his own death, he said, 'One day you will hear that Billy Graham has died.' He said, 'Don't believe it. On that day I will be more alive than I ever will be.' And that's the truth and that's why he preaches, because this life is only the setup for the life to come."
Will Graham, himself an evangelist traveling the world to spread the Gospel, added that his grandfather is in a condition that is natural for someone like him at the age of 95. "He's just old, that's the simplest way I can describe it."
Graham was one of several speakers at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association breakfast Sunday morning who gave reports on the organization's progress last year and future plans.
Last year, Billy Graham gave what is reported to be his last sermon during a taped segment of the video "The Cross" that was part of the "My Hope for America" campaign. "The Cross" was hosted at churches and homes through the U.S. and was seen on the Fox News channel and affiliates.
"My Hope is to tell people about Jesus Christ, one hope, one answer," said Will Graham. "Thank you for helping get the news of Jesus Christ out, that one message out."
He added, "With My Hope we've seen over 110,000 people make decisions to accept Christ and those are only the ones we know about. It's the greatest privilege in life to tell the simple message of the Gospel."
"The Cross" was originally designed to encourage the church and individuals in order to share Christ with friends and family, BGEA Executive Vice President Steve Rhoads told The Christian Post at NRB Sunday. "But then of course, God opened the door for it to be broadcast nationally on Fox News as well as local affiliates in a number of markets."
"There were 26,000 churches that were originally registered, but we had multiple showings and other Fox affiliates. Close to 4 million people … heard the message of the Gospel," Rhoads said.
Plans are underway for "The Cross" to be re-released to churches at Easter. "It's a perfect opportunity for churches at Easter to talk about the cross and the hope that's in the Gospel of Jesus," Rhoads explained. "Moving towards November we want to give the church, again, additional resources. We will be offering new content and a new program to the church so that the church has a way to clearly describe the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
When asked how many people made commitments to follow Jesus during the My Hope campaign, he said, "You never really know for sure what God has done, but we know of at least 110,000 people who have trusted Christ as their savior as the result of this campaign.
"We are really hoping that churches become, in a godly and loving way, become bold about the Gospel because particularly in our culture it's easy to go to the least common denominator to look for easy ways to talk about the faith without actually talking about the central message which is forgiveness of sins that comes from repentance and receiving Christ as savior."
BGEA hopes the result of the re-release of "The Cross" and additional programs in the U.S, Canada, and the U.K. this year is "that the church will become bold and also prayerful, that the church will begin to look for unbelievers and to pray for God to do something and God to save people from their sins," Rhoads said.