Billy Graham's Message on His 99th Birthday: Read the Bible Every Day, Follow Jesus

Rick Warren, Larry King and Others Talk Billy Graham's Influence, Focus on Christ

North Carolina evangelist Billy Graham in a video on his 99th birthday on November 7, 2017.
North Carolina evangelist Billy Graham in a video on his 99th birthday on November 7, 2017. | (Screenshot:

On his 99th birthday, world famous evangelist Billy Graham urged people to seek a close relationship with God and read the Bible every day.

Graham said in a video on Tuesday that he has been praying for a "spiritual awakening" but said that that can only happen if individuals "surrender their lives to Jesus Christ."

He continued by saying that foremost, people need to do "everything we can to follow in the footsteps of Jesus," which he defined as living a life where people "love one another, help one another," and live according to Christ's teachings.

It is the Holy Spirit that helps people live such a "deep lifestyle" that is focused on "love, gentleness, and patience," he noted.

Graham urged people to read the Bible every day, advising them to start with the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament. As for the Old Testament, he said that they can start with the first verse in Genesis.

"Go to your knees and pray until you and God have become intimate friends," he suggested, adding that the "joy and peace" that results from such a relationship is indescribable.

Several pastors, journalists, and people who have known the North Carolina evangelist shared their short reflections on the preacher's life and ministry in the same video.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, said: "Humility, integrity, and generosity: Billy Graham showed all three."

Greta Van Susteren, former news anchor on Fox News, CNN, and NBC News, commented: "Most people say he is America's pastor, but that so understates it."

TV and radio host Larry King noted Graham's dedication to Jesus.

"He answered the questions, but it always came back to 'Christ is your savior, Christ loves you, Christ is with me," King recalled.

Christian musician Michael W. Smith noted that Graham often finds himself at the top of lists of people whom society most admires.

Pastor Tony Evans of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship megachurch in Texas called Graham "a model of spiritual proclamation and spiritual integrity."

Graham's son, Franklin, who is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, revealed back in October that there will be special highlights of the evangelist's eight decades of ministry as he enters his 100th year.

"As a family, we are just so very grateful that he is still with us. His mind is good but he's quieter these days. He can't see or hear well, but his health is stable," Franklin Graham said in an update at the time.

He revealed that the BGEA will focus on a particular decade of his father's life for each month approaching his 100th birthday.

"We will ... highlight significant things like his 16-week evangelistic crusade in New York City, his impact on worldwide evangelism and personal testimonies of people whose lives were forever changed at one of my father's crusades," he said.

"During this next year we'll have special content on and in Decision magazine, so be sure to check those out. My father always wants the focus to be on the Lord Jesus Christ, and not on him; and so we will point to the amazing ways God has worked in lives around the world, through the ministry of Billy Graham."

Watch Billy Graham's 99th birthday video below:

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