Festival Kicks Off in Lowcountry
September 19, 2008 - Bringing you live coverage from the Franklin Graham Lowcountry Festival in words, photos and video! Check back often for the latest updates as 8,300 people prepare to hear about Real Truth in uncertain times.
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By Jeremy Hunt
9:55 p.m. — The closing prayer has gone out and individuals all over the floor are talking with counselors and praying to receive Christ. The first night was an exciting time and the weekend has only just begun. We'll see you back here tomorrow!
9:41 p.m. — The invitation to come to Jesus has gone out and people from all around the coliseum are leaving their seats and walking to the main floor.
9:35 p.m. — Franklin is now onstage and he's talking about God’s purpose for our lives and our need for Christ. He's mentioned the uncertain times in which we’re living…the stock market, the political race and more. He’s also sharing about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in Texas, from the coast to Houston and beyond.
Franklin is retelling the story of the leper who came to Jesus to be healed. He continues by explaining the dangers of leprosy, even in today's world. His question for the crowd of 8,300 is: "Do you know Jesus Christ?" Jesus was the only hope for the leper. And He is the only hope us today. In the same way that leprosy infects your whole body, sin infects your entire being. We were all born in sin. And God's standards don't change. We're all guilty.
Franklin tells the audience that, "God can give you a fresh, clean beginning." He's also sharing how he felt like being a Christian would be a straitjacket on his life. And yet he was filled with emptiness, even amongst all the "freedom" that he thought he had. But true freedom can come through Christ.
The invitation to accept Jesus is coming, as Franklin explains that only Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we stand before God without Jesus, we won't make it into heaven. God is a holy and just God and He can't tolerate sin in His presence. But God will forgive you, thanks to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.
9:03 p.m. — The Tommy Coomes band is back, singing one last song before Franklin comes out...we're about to hear his message for Charleston...
8:21 p.m. — Well, I think my ear drums have been officially blown. tobyMac and his Diverse City Band stormed the scene and the crowd is pumping. They're jumping in the air, bumping and thumping off of each other, the energy on the floor mirroring what's happening on stage. And the excitement's not limited to the kids on the floor. People all over the coliseum are on their feet, drinking in the joy of the Spirit filling the space.
7:36 p.m. — Israel & New Breed are bringing the funky praise and rockin' the house! Youth from all over Charleston, of every age, shape, size and color have rushed the stage and the fun has begun. Fists are pumping as the "Redeemed of the Lord say so," accompanied by screams and peals of excitement. If you're not here, you're missing the biggest jam session in Charleston.
7:19 p.m. — The music has begun and it's starting to feel like a party. We've seen the brothers Agajanian (Dennis and Danny) wow the crowd with their lightning fingers. Soloist and emcee Charles Billingsley joined them with a moving rendition of "Come Thou Fount." Tommy Coomes and his band have now taken the stage, backed by the choir. Folks around the coliseum are standing, clapping and praising the Lord.
6:41 p.m. — South Carolinians are pouring into the North Charleston Coliseum, buzzing with anticipation to see tobyMac, Israel & New Breed and Franklin Graham. In the past year, more than 330 of Charleston’s myriad churches united to bring this event to their home. If this Friday crowd is any indication, it's going to be a great weekend in this beautiful coastal city.
The community choir, about 1000 volunteers strong, is warming up and sounding fantastic. There are 250 ushers, welcoming the participants, while 1200 counselors are talking, praying and finishing final preparations. We're about twenty minutes from kick-off...back with more soon!
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