'Compelled to Give'
One BGEA Supporter Traces His Spiritual Roots to Billy Graham
April 14, 2011 - A BGEA supporter explains why the eternal changes he has seen in himself and his wife led him to give to Kingdom work through our organization.
For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!—1 Corinthians 9:16 (NIV)
by Joy Allmond
Although Bob Miltenberger didn’t begin to truly live for the Lord until he was in his early 50’s, he can trace his introduction to Jesus back to his childhood.
“I was blessed to have a godly grandmother. She taught be about Jesus at an early age. She also loved to watch Billy Graham on TV and I would often watch it with her,” he remembers. “I loved his boldness and clarity for Jesus. His message was simple and concise: Turn from your sins and turn to Christ. Jesus loves you. Jesus is the only way to the Father. “
During this early season of his life, Miltenberger asked Jesus Christ into his heart and promised his grandmother he would read the Bible all the way through. However, just a few years later, he found himself pursuing worldly pleasures as his relationship with Jesus took a back seat.
Over the next several decades, he lived the ‘American Dream:’ A wonderful wife, an athletic and academically astute son, and a thriving business. In 2001 at the age of 51, he realized something profound was missing in his life.
“One evening I broke down and cried. The Holy Spirit had pricked my conscience. I was lost and Jesus was trying to call me back,” said Miltenberger. “I was concerned with my career. I was concerned about pleasing myself and enjoying life and traveling, but I wasn’t concerned about my neighbor and I wasn’t concerned about what God wanted me to do. And I wasn’t giving any glory to Him. I was not living a life that pleased him and I had to turn from that.”
Upon the rededication of his life to Jesus, he remembered the promise he made his grandmother as a child. So, he not only began to open his Bible on a daily basis. He began to read books and devotionals by Billy Graham that taught him more about the Word of God.
Over the next few years, his wife, Sharon, noticed a profound change in him. His new life captivated her so much that she wanted it for herself. In 2004, they attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Kansas City together. It was there that Sharon went down to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Now that the Miltenbergers both had new life in Christ, they wanted a way to impact eternal change as they both experienced. Giving through BGEA seemed to be the logical choice, since Billy Graham had sown seeds into Bob’s life as a young boy, and now Sharon’s, as a grown woman.
“We both believe strongly in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world. We want everyone to know that they can be right with God through Jesus. The BGEA has been doing this for over 60 years, telling millions of people about Him. I have no doubt in my heart that the Holy Spirit directed my wife and I to give to God through BGEA,” he explained.
Miltenberger says that 1 Corinthians 9:16 sums up his motivation to give. “Paul wrote that preaching the Gospel was not something he could boast about—that he was compelled by God to do it,” he said. “That’s why we give and that’s why we share the Gospel here locally. We are compelled to do it.”