Daily Archives: March 26, 2012

Nearly 10,000 gather to hear Will Graham speak at Texas celebrations

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Special to Inside The Pew

Approximately 9,475 Texans heard inspiring messages of forgiveness, hope and purpose from evangelist Will Graham as he held the Red River Will Graham Celebration in Gainesville, March 16-18, and the Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration in Terrell, March 23-25. More than 400 came forward at the invitation to make a decision for Jesus at the two events.

“We live in a world that says it’s all about you. But that’s not what the Bible says,” said Graham. “The Bible says that if you

Will Graham

want to be satisfied, you need to make God a priority in your life and make it less about you. The only way you can fulfill your purpose is to surrender your life into God’s hand.”

Dena Risinger, who chaired the Celebration executive committee in Terrell, said, “When we began this process many months ago, we assumed that this weekend would be a destination. Now I realize that this is just the beginning, and God has even more in store for our area.”

Johnny Leftwich, who chaired the Gainesville outreach, shared, “It’s been great to see the cooperation that we’ve had; hundreds of volunteers, people coming together not only in our community, but in our county. It’s been quite a joy watching people working together for one purpose and one purpose only: to see others begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Graham was joined on-stage throughout the two events by a variety of musical acts. The Red River Celebration featured The Afters, one of today’s top Christian rock bands, who have had songs featured on many television shows, including “The Biggest Loser” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” The audience also had the opportunity to hear from the Northern Ireland-based Rend Collective Experiment, and hip-hop artist Tedashii.

The Trinity Valley Celebration featured music from Grammy Award-nominated band Fireflight and singer-songwriter Brenton Brown, along with Rend Collective Experiment and Tedashii.

Both Celebrations dedicated a morning to children with KidzFest events, featuring bounce houses, balloon animals, games, and a program tailored just for them by children’s performer Tommy Toombs.

Just prior to leaving for Texas, Graham was featured in a two-page article in People magazine. “I’m not used to that kind of attention,” said Graham. “It was very kind of them to do that, and the folks at People were great to work with. I’m very appreciative and very humbled to have had that opportunity.”

Marschall: ‘Abide with me’ dear Lord

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By Rick Marschall
Special to ASSIST News Service

SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. – Recently we have been thinking about times we have gone through, and days facing us. About short-term anxieties and losing sight of God’s long-term blessings, and His care. “Have a good week!” is the implication of sharing messages on Monday mornings, and is a common wish we speak to each other. Almost (too often) like a mantra: “Have a good day,” “Have a nice week,” even a vague “Have a good one.”

“Have a good week!” That’s the implication of sharing messages on Monday mornings, and is a common wish we speak to each

Writer's Opinion: Rick Marschall

other. Almost (too often) like a mantra: “Have a good day,” “Have a nice week,” even a vague “Have a good one.”

My friend Chris Orr of of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, put these pleasantries in perspective to me a while ago. He wrote, “It is great to start the week knowing that time does not exist to God. He already has seen the end of the week. Because of that, He has no worries at all about any of His children… so why should WE worry?… and, after all, we are only given one day at a time.”

Chris’s insight made me think of the hymn “Abide With Me” – a musical prayer that God be WITH us, that we be blessed by the realization of His presence, every moment of every day, right now and in the limitless future.

It was written by Henry Francis Lyte in 1847, as he lay dying of tuberculosis. Once again, the Holy Spirit strengthened a person at life’s “worst” moments with strength enough for that person… and for untold generations to take hope from it. Many people have been blessed — often in profound, life-changing ways — because of this one simple hymn.

Mr. Lyte died three weeks after composing these amazing words.

I urge you to watch and listen to the wonderful Hayley Westenra’s performance of Abide With Me… and then return here and read the full words to the hymn.

… and then ask God to abide with you today, and this week. And ever more.

Abide With Me

Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close, ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changes not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, or passing word;
But as Thou dwelled with Thy disciples, Lord-
Familiar, condescending, patient, free-
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea-
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth did smile;
And, though, rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord: abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Rick Marschall is the author of 65 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography and children’s books. His e-mail address is RickMarschall@gmail.com.