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From Moody to Graham

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From Moody to Graham

  • Sunday School teacher Edward Kimball helped lead Dwight L. Moody to Christ;
  • J. Wilbur Chapman was converted at a Dwight L. Moody evangelistic meeting;
  • Billy Sunday was converted at a Chapman meeting;
  • Mordecai Ham was converted at Billy Sunday meeting;
  • and Billy Graham was converted at a Ham meeting.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judaea, and in Samaria , and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).

In the year 1854, a 17-year-old boy was working in a shoe shop in Detroit. He didn't know Christ and had no interest in matters of spirituality or religion. But, he had been forced to go to Sunday school, like a lot of kids these days. One day, his Sunday school teacher went to the shoe shop where this boy was working and said, “Hey, I’m worried about you. I want to talk.” So, they went into the basement of the shoe store, where the Sunday school teacher led the young man to Christ. The Sunday school teacher’s name was Edward Kimball, and the 17-year-old boy’s name was D. L. Moody. We now know that he went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in the world, and he shared the gospel with 100 million people. And this was in the age before modern technology. Pretty incredible! And of course, Moody also founded the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. His name is well known in the Christian community, even today, more than a hundred years later.

Now, it’s kind of cool to see that Moody went on to influence a man named F.B. Meyer, a London pastor and an intellectual who never focused on Jesus. Meyer’s congregation told him that they wanted this newly famous evangelist, Moody, to come speak to them. So, Meyer reluctantly agreed to let his congregation bring in Moody.

Meyer, who had a lot of intellectual pride and was ashamed of the name of Jesus, invited Moody to do a revival in his church. When Moody showed up, Meyer immediately took a dislike to him. He didn’t like him because Moody was not well dressed, and because he only had a fifth grade education.

Meyer had doctorates, and he was brilliant. So, he kind of looked down on Moody. But, Moody got up to preach in Meyer’s church and was anointed by the Holy Spirit. The power of God was upon him. And, as he spoke, he focused on Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

As such, hundreds upon hundreds of people came to faith in Jesus Christ that day from the pews of Meyer’s beloved church. Because of this, Meyer was embarrassed and consumed with jealousy. After the revival, Moody quietly left, leaving Meyer with his congregation and with his jealousy and anger.

Two weeks later, Meyer was talking with one of his Sunday school teachers, and the teacher said, “You know, I used to focus on all kinds of stuff and never focused on Jesus, but Moody taught me to focus on Jesus. So, I’ve been focusing on Jesus over these last two weeks and I want to tell you about this boy who accepted Jesus during my class.”

As he told the story, Meyer began to weep. The Holy Spirit broke through; he was convicted and supernaturally changed. For the rest of his life, he preached Jesus to all who would listen.

As the years went by, Meyer influenced J. Wilbur Chapman; J. Wilbur Chapman influenced Billy Sunday; then Billy Sunday influenced Mordecai Ham. And it was Mordecai Ham who led Billy Graham to Christ. Get it? Spiritual dominoes.

You see, it’s incredible, the power of the gospel. To think of Edward Kimball, D.L. Moody, F.B. Meyer, J. Wilbur Chapman, Billy Sunday, Mordecai Ham, and then Billy Graham, all in a row, one going to the next, and then the next, by the power of Christ, only serves to tell us that we need not fear. We should share the gospel with confidence and joy.

When we tell someone about Jesus, we have no way of knowing what the domino effect is going to be. In our lifetime, we may not even be aware of the full harvest of souls brought to the kingdom of God simply because we remain faithful to the call. So, please be faithful.

When Billy Graham did come to Christ through the preaching of Mordecai Ham, it was during a tent meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, , North Carolina, in 1936. Graham, born in 1920, was 16 years old, didn't know Christ, and was "sowing his oats," as many a young man is known to do. He had a 16-year-old buddy, and they were just hanging out when they thought, “Hey, let's go into this tent and hear what this whacko has to say.”

So they were just clowning around when they went into that tent. Once inside, they realized that there was no room for them; they couldn’t find any seats. So Billy said to his buddy, “Let's get out of here.” As they turned to leave, an usher standing there saw them and said, “Hey, guys.” He put his big arms around their shoulders and said, “You know, hey, welcome. We’re so glad you’re here. Let me take you to a seat.” So, the usher took them to a seat and the rest is history.

Billy Graham found Jesus that night, and he went on to take Jesus to the world. That usher could never have known how God was using him that night through his simple yet faithful service.

So, serve Christ, knowing that it might be a mystery--what God is doing through you. It’s incredible. God is great. The power of God attends the grace of the Gospel. So, be faithful to your call and commission.

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