Preaching in a state that just lost long-time resident Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the Rev. Billy Graham, evangelist Greg Laurie brought the message of Jesus Christ to over 41,000 North Carolinians this past weekend.
"Christianity doesn't say 'do.' Christianity says 'done.' Jesus Christ died for you," said Laurie on the final night of Triangle Harvest 07, held at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. "Jesus would not have suffered and died on a cross if all roads led to God."
Seated among Sunday night's peak crowd of 16,500 was Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, who lives in the area.
"We love the Grahams here in North Carolina, don't we?" said Laurie to a cheering crowd in the nearly packed arena. "Billy Graham [and] his ministry had just impacted the world and he's North Carolina's favorite son.
"His dear wife recently went to heaven."
"Ruth was the best example I have ever seen of a deeply spiritual, yet very down-to-earth person," said Laurie, who has know the Graham family for decades, in an earlier interview.
Ruth Graham was buried on June 17 in the Prayer Garden at the newly opened Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C. She died at the age of 87.
"I can tell you that as a family we're hurting," said Graham's daughter Anne at the Harvest event. "It doesn't matter if you know you're going to see them again in heaven; it just hurts."
But she assured the crowd that her father is doing okay. She added, "I don't grieve as the one who has no hope because I know, I know, I know I'm going to see her again."
As the Harvest Crusade's last night kicked off Sunday night, the prayers of 225 churches involved as well as Billy Graham were with the thousands in the arena.
"He (Billy Graham) wanted me to tell you that he's praying for you and knows that we're here in this arena tonight," she said.
Just as Lotz stressed her assurance of going to heaven, Laurie told the thousands, "Only one road leads to heaven and that's Jesus Christ."
Over 2,470 people made decisions for Christ and were welcomed into the family of God during the three-night Triangle Harvest. A live webcast also saw a total of nearly 13,000 additional people join the evangelistic crusade via the Internet.
Laurie's next 2007 Harvest event will be held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., for the 18th annual Southern California Harvest Crusade, Aug. 3-5.