In what might prove to be the crowning achievement of an illustrious
Career in ministry, the 87-year-old evangelist, Billy Graham shocked the
16,300 in attendance at the Celebration of Hope Crusade in New
Orleans Arena, Sunday Night. Touted in advance as possibly his last
evangelistic crusade, Graham invited the packed house of evangelical
Christians and the hundreds of new converts to join him on the one mile walk
from the arena to New Orleans’ infamous Bourbon Street.
“While we have seen God do tremendous things here the past couple of
evenings, yes, it is true that a great healing and a great many salvations
have occurred within the confines of this auditorium. Still yet,
there lies a great mountain in this city which needs to be conquered.”
Then taking from the Biblical Book of Joshua, Chapter 14, he read, “I am
this day, eighty-five years old. As yet, I am as strong this Day as on the
day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength
for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this
mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day,” his voice suddenly sounding
more forceful than during his 22 minute sermon.
“I last preached in the City of New Orleans in1954 and I felt then that
there was some unfinished business. Tonight, in what very well might be my
last evangelistic service, I aim to finish that business and lead as
many of you that would follow me to the multitude of lost souls that fill
Bourbon Street tonight. That is my mountain !
That is where we shall see the harvest!” said Graham as the stadium
erupted in cheers that lasted the next several minutes. Utilizing a waiting
mobility scooter, the elder Graham joined his son and heir to the ministry,
Franklin across the Arena floor and through the opened doors leading towards
the French Quarter. In a show of solidarity and determination reminiscent of
civil rights marches of the 1960’s, nearly the entire capacity crowd joined
in the 20 minute trek while singing, “When the Saints Go Marching In”.
As the march crossed Canal Street and headed northward towards Bourbon
Street, many onlookers stood in stunned silence as the massive crowd of
people began singing in unison the Christian hymn, Amazing Grace.
Upon entering the west end of Bourbon Street, Billy Graham was soon
recognized by partiers.
Soon, those joining in the march began to approach those partying on
Bourbon Street with the Gospel message that they had heard preached just a
half hour before. Graham himself joined with a group of local street evangelists in ministering to a man who had survived Hurricane Katrina in the lower 9th Ward.
Within 30 minutes, the entirety of Bourbon Street was packed with
Christians and the once blaring music of nightclubs and strip joints had
been replaced by weeping and worship as people poured out their drinks and
sought prayer from the Christians who were now reaching out to them.
“I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said 20 years New
OrleansPolice Department veteran, Tom Phillips. “This is unbelievable! We
thought a riot was going to break out, but this looks more like a revival
than a riot!”
Two hours later, a glowing Graham sat back down on his scooter and
smiled. “Now I know how the Apostle Paul must have felt at the end of his
ministry. Do the work of an evangelist; make full proof of thy ministry. For
I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
Hours later, hundreds of Christians remained on the street ministering to
the many people eagerly waiting to receive prayer and ministry. New Orleans
will never be the same.
And the press remained mute on this “news item?”
Did anyone see it on TV/hear it on radio/read it in the paper?
Well, unfortunately you didn’t see it because it didn’t happen. As you read the above story, didn’t you think, that is just awesome? I truly believe the only thing keeping an amazing event like this from occuring is us. Let’s get off the side line of being spectators and become God’s players in the game.