The Voice of Truth Fills the Lowcountry
Sunday evening at the Franklin Graham Festival
September 21, 2008 - It's an overflow crowd tonight in the Lowcountry. Close to 14,000 people have packed the North Charleston Coliseum! Read our blog following the video and catch up on Saturday and Friday nights.
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by Janet Chismar
6:30 p.m. — Jesus Got a Standing Ovation — Franklin Graham spoke once more with power and conviction tonight about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The story of Nicodemus obviously resonated with this packed house as hundreds and hundreds came forward to begin a relationship with the Lord. After the final prayer, thousands clapped for the many new salvations and in thanksgiving for Jesus.
5:30 p.m. — God So Loved You ... It's the last message in this city where few evangelists visit. Even his father never came to Charleston. Franklin Graham is now in the middle of telling the folks here how to begin a relationship with the Son of God. He is speaking from the third chapter of John and has addressed the people who may have one foot in the church and one foot in the world. "Religion won't save you. Only Jesus will."
5:30 p.m. — The Voice of Truth — "If you are afraid, you are listening to the wrong voices," said Mark Hall, lead singer for Casting Crowns. "Listen to Jesus, the Voice of Truth." A hush has fallen over the arena as hearts are turned to the Lord and hands are raised in worship.
The Grammy- and DoveAward winning band was created in 1999 by Hall when he was a youth pastor at First Baptist Church in downtown Daytona Beach, Florida. Now some members of Casting Crowns work as ministers for Eagles Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Georgia. You can see it in their style. Frequent prayers punctuate the popular songs ... "East to West," "The Voice of Truth," "Life Song" and many others.
Check out the interview that Ann Marie Chilton, one of our writers, did with the band a few months prior to the Festival!
5 p.m. — Up Next? — Emcee Charles Billingsley asked the audience who they wanted to see next. After screams of "Casting Crowns" filled the auditorium, he said, "Well, sorry. They couldn't make it." I am glad to report that Billingsley was joking!
4:50 p.m. — Hug Your Neighbor — This has got to be one of the coolest things I've seen at a Festival. Kirk Franklin told the crowd to "find three strangers who don't look like you ... Tyrone find a Heath or Cody ... Shaniqua find a Jessica!" Now the entire place is up and reaching out across racial and age differences ... people really are hugging each other and saying that "God loves you."
4:40 p.m. — Breaking Free — Kirk Franklin just shared with the audience that his younger sister spent 13 years in prison and that his grandfather also was in jail. “Many people of you are in mental, emotional and spiritual prisons but Jesus can set you free." Kirk was adopted when he was 4. “My parents didn’t want me … my biological mother said she wished she would have had an abortion.” Kirk knew pain, but now he knows the freedom of Christ.
4:20 p.m. — Kirk Franklin!! How many super talented people can be in one place at one time? “I love making young people dance but I also love making their parents dance,” said Kirk. He’s not kidding. The Coliseum is up … dancing, stopping, dancing … “It’s Christian aerobics! Jump, jump!” Kirk is one of the funniest musicians I've had the pleasure of seeing and hearing.
4:15 p.m. — How many people do you know who have been friends for 62 years?! Well, tonight, long-long-long time pals Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea are together again and in the house! I had the pleasure of interviewing them a few days ago. Read that special story here »
The gentlemen have traveled around the world with Billy Graham and still keep in touch. Mr. Barrows just said that Mr. Graham is doing well and is praying for this Festival.
After leading the overflow crowd in three hymns, Mr. Barrows turned the microphone over to Mr. Shea for two more songs and two well-deserved standing ovations. "Age is mind over matter," joked the 99-year old. "If you don't have a mind, it won't matter!"
4 p.m. — I'm almost sad to see the evening start because it's the final one here in the Lowcountry. As I write, a chill just shot down my spine ... 1,000 majestic voices are raised in unison. "God Our Help in Ages Past" is echoing throughout the North Charleston Coliseum from the choir with the help of eight amazing horns.
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