Prayer Letter: The Foolishness of What We Preach
A letter from Franklin Graham
March 22, 2010 - When God established a plan for rescuing sinful humanity, He chose to do so in a way so startling and unexpected that—except for those with eyes of faith—it seems foolish.
The plan of redemption unfolded as Almighty God sent His Son to earth on a mission to die, to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, NIV). And not simply to die, but to die on a cross in punishment for our sins so that we might be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.
To many, that sounds like nonsense. But the Bible says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
I preach a simple Gospel, a message that some say is not sophisticated enough for today’s world. They wonder how the actions of a Man who lived 2,000 years ago could have any impact on their life today.
The truth of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that we celebrate this Easter appears as foolishness to them. But for those who believe—those who freely admit they are sinners in need of a Savior—the Gospel is “the power of God for ... salvation” (Romans 1:16). It’s that simple.
A Simple Message
For more than 60 years, our calling at BGEA has been to “preach the Gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17). Wherever I go, whether to a modern city in Europe or Asia, or a rural village in Africa or South America, I always proclaim Jesus Christ as “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
That is the message I preached at our recent evangelistic Crusade in Chennai, one of the largest cities in India. In a nation where 95 percent of the population is either Hindu or Muslim, more than 187,000 people came to hear the Good News, and God drew many people—including thousands of youth—to repentance and new life through Jesus Christ.
When the Gospel is preached, it has power. The power is not in the preacher or because of the persuasive eloquence of his message, but rather that “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
The Bible tells us that the Apostle Paul preached the Gospel not only to large crowds, but also one-on-one. In Haiti, our ministry has been mainly person-to-person. Every day since the earthquake, our Rapid Response Team chaplains have been presenting the simple message of the Gospel individually to hurting people, and God has drawn hundreds to Himself.
In the cool of a recent morning, two of our chaplains talked to a mother and her children who had come to a well near a camp for displaced people. They were pumping water into five-gallon buckets to take to the temporary shelters they now call home. When a chaplain offered to help with the pump, the woman gratefully accepted.
Noticing the chaplains, others from the settlement walked over. The chaplains began telling the group how they could find living water in Jesus Christ. Right there, four people turned to Christ in repentance and faith. As Jesus promised, the people drank the living water and will never thirst again (see John 4:13–14).
Although news about Haiti has faded from the headlines, the suffering continues, and the needs of people there are enormous—spiritual as much as physical. Please pray for our crisis-response chaplains as well as for Christian relief ministries such as Samaritan’s Purse that are hard at work amidst the devastation.
Hope is in the Air
This past weekend, we just finished broadcasting the World Evangelism Through Television program, My Hope, across the Dominican Republic, just next door to Haiti. Thousands of churches throughout that nation have partnered with us to train Christians who are inviting nonbeliever friends and neighbors into their homes to watch the evangelistic programs.
We are in the final stages of training and preparations for My Hope in Puerto Rico later this month. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). Pray that many people on that beautiful island will repent of their sins and believe in the Savior Jesus Christ.
Pray for me as I lead a Crusade next month in Belo Horizonte, the third largest metropolitan area in Brazil with more than 5 million people. Belo Horizonte (the name means “beautiful horizon”) is a planned city that was constructed on a design inspired by the layout of Washington, D.C. This evangelistic Crusade, I believe, has been planned by God to draw many people in Belo Horizonte to Himself.
In late April, we will be reopening the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. It has been closed this winter for enhancements that make the presentation of the Gospel even stronger. Every day, men and women who tour the Library make decisions for Christ. If you will be in or near the Carolinas this spring or summer, please come visit. Bring unsaved friends with you—they will hear the Gospel.
Because you are one who cares about reaching lost people for Christ, we are thankful to partner with you in the work of the Kingdom. We greatly appreciate both your prayers and your gifts. We need your financial support this month to continue the great, unfinished task God has placed before us.
God forbid that one soul is lost because we hesitated.
May God bless you and your family,
You Can Make a Difference: God works through people like you to change the world by the power of the Gospel:
Spiritually lost and hungry people who would never visit a church are often willing to come to a public stadium for a Crusade. Your gift of $40, $75, or more will help us proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ at upcoming Crusade events in places like Brazil, Latvia, Japan, and Canada.
In country after country, God is using My Hope’s unique combination of national television and neighbor-to-neighbor outreach to draw vast numbers of lost people to Himself. Your gift of $60 helps us equip 30 neighborhood host families in Malawi, Nepal, or another Asian country. $140 helps equip 70 families.
Although less in the headlines today, the needs in Haiti remain enormous—spiritual as much as physical. Your gift of any amount helps us keep our Rapid Response Team chaplains ministering to hurting people in Haiti, or helps us carry out other crucial ministry in response to the ongoing suffering in that land.