Evangelist Will Graham Scores Touchdown in Burleson High School Stadium
More than 16,000 at Three-Day Greater Johnson County Celebration
The lights came on, the crowds cheered, and the action on the 50-yard-line brought everybody to their feet. But this wasn’t a historic Texas high school football match-up between bitter on-field rivals. The center of attention was 33-year-old evangelist Will Graham and this was the Greater Johnson County Will Graham Celebration. More than 16,000 people – the largest crowd yet for a Will Graham Celebration – enjoyed music from award-winning artists, moving testimonies from nationally recognized speakers and authors, and messages from Will Graham. Acknowledging Texas’ long-standing devotion to high school football on the opening night, Graham joked, "This is every guy's dream, to be under the lights on a Friday night in Texas." His message quickly switched gears into the eternal, sounding much like his father and grandfather have over the decades. “Only the cross gets you to God. Jesus bled and died because He loves you so much. He died to restore a relationship with you. Come to Him by faith.” More than 460 people came forward during the three-day event to make a commitment to Jesus Christ. As Will spoke Saturday night on knowing one’s purpose, he used his pen as an example. Laying the motionless pen on the podium, he said, “The only time this pen will write is when it’s in its master’s hand, because the master gives it purpose. My friends, the same thing is true with us. When we’re in our Master’s hands, God’s hands, then we can be used for our purpose. God will give you purpose and meaning, but you have to come to the Master. God is waiting on you tonight.” Joining Will on-stage during the weekend was Building 429, with Texas-native lead singer Jason Roy; Aaron Shust; Starfield; Tree63; Go Fish; and Inhabited (another band with links to the Lone Star State). Sunday night’s line-up with Britt Nicole and Austin-based Salvador had the audience dancing and jumping on the field, screaming for more. On youth night, the cheering crowd of teens was momentarily silenced as the group “Living Illusions” presented what they called “the first and only full-view water torture cell escape.” Many were anxious in the crowd as escape artist Kristen Johnson removed hand cuffs, ankle cuffs, chest and waist shackles – all while holding her breath in a sealed water tank. “I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it, watching her,” joked Will Graham. Following the closing service, Mike Milburn, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Burleson, said, “I am just overwhelmed with what God has done. The number of commitments that have been made, the number of people that have come - we believe that this is just the beginning.” Along with being an associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Will Graham also serves as the assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.