He Reigns in Charleston!
Check out our Saturday Festival Blog
September 20, 2008 - Tonight God used The Newsboys, Group 1 Crew, and Franklin Graham to bring hundreds in Charleston to a saving relationship with Jesus. All 6,400 people here seemed to think the night was amazing! Read more after the video. View photo gallery
by Janet Chismar
9:30 p.m. — Hundreds of people are streaming forward after Franklin Graham invited them to accept God's forgiveness. He first shared how he also ran from God when he was younger. "I wanted to have fun like many of you, but there was an emptiness in my life. So I got down on my knees and asked Jesus Christ to forgive me for my sins. You can do that too. ... Seek the Lord while He may be found. No matter what, God loves you. As a father, He is just waiting for you to come to Him."
9:15 p.m. — God loves you and He wants to set you free! — Franklin Graham is continuing to share the Good News of the freedom found in Christ alone. Drawing on the story of the Prodigal Son, Graham is talking about how the things we think are fun – like drinking or sex – won’t bring us true happiness. “We are really looking for meaning and purpose, but we have a problem and that is sin. We are born into sin, but God loves you and will forgive you.”
8:45 p.m. — Franklin Graham walked onto the stage a few minutes ago to a standing ovation. He spent a few moments connecting with the audience … sharing stories about riding his motorcycle around Charleston, his log cabin in Alaska, and his children. These stories are just a "teaser" for the Greatest Story of all.
8:30 p.m. — Peter Furler is concluding the Newsboys set with a strong Gospel message and the song "I Am Free" ... to resounding applause. The band previously played crowd favorite "Shine" as young and old got up to sway and have fun together. What a novel concept!
7:45 p.m. —He Reigns! To say that the Newsboys have connected with this audience is an understatement. Hands are raised in worship for "Blessed Be Your Name" and "He Reigns" ... but wait! Now they are waving back and forth for "They Don't Serve Breakfast in Hell." Somehow, amazing worship and earth-shaking bass lines work together in amazing ways.
7 p.m. — Hey! The party has started! A self-professed entertainer, a pop diva, and a bona fide producer — that’s the makeup of breakout urban sensation Group 1 Crew. According to the band bio, they are three "everyday Latinos who rose above their circumstances and the middle-of-the-road to become one of the most exciting aggregates in faith-based music." Tonight, they are rocking the North Charleston Coliseum with a fresh blend of rhythm and rhyme that takes the best of urban pop and hip-hop and turns them upside down.
6:45 p.m. — We caught up with Peter Furler, the lead singer for the Newsboys, backstage and will be posting our exclusive interview tomorrow. He had some special things to say about both Billy and Franklin Graham, and about heroes! Don't miss it.
6:30 p.m. — Do you know what makes a Franklin Graham Festival unique? In two words — follow up (more tomorrow on that point) and community involvement. It's all the people who settle into a Festival city for close to a year, connecting churches and people. Long before the actual weekend, churches train their members through Operation Andrew » to pray for friends and invite them to the Festival.
Another hallmark is Love in Action. At each Festival, people are encouraged to bring hygiene kits containing toothpaste, soap and other personal care items, which are then distributed to inner city ministries.
We just spoke with one of the Lowcountry volunteers. Gordon Cashwell, a pastor in downtown Charleston, says he got involved with Love in Action because "there are a lot of needy people here. I am so glad to see the emphasis on loving people in Word and deed. When I heard about that – I’m an inner city pastor – it got me excited and I said, ‘I want to help with this.’ I’ve had the chance to coordinate it.”
Cashwell talked about the need for this Festival: “Charleston, historically, is a city with a lot of division. This is where the Civil War started and probably, like any other city, the churches don’t always come together. Working together is one of the biggest blessings of this Love in Action outreach.”
As part of the Bible Belt, there is a lot of religious activity in Charleston, Cashwell adds, “but we’re really hoping to bring people together just in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Check out our Friday blog too!
KidzFest: Out of the Pigpen, Into the Meadow
Taking it to the Streets
Prayer Warriors Claim Charleston for Christ
It's All About the Gospel
Proclaiming Freedom in Christ>
Pray for the Holy City