Thousands Hear the Gospel as Brazos Valley Festival 2002 with Franklin Graham Begins

Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn
Thursday, 2 May 2002

Brazos Valley Festival 2002 with Franklin Graham began this evening at Reed Arena on the campus of Texas A&M University.

A crowd of more than 7,000 people enjoyed music from Grammy award-winning musicians Michael W. Smith and Paul Overstreet. Overstreet had the crowd standing and clapping as he sang with the Tommy Coomes Praise Band, "My Lord is real. I can feel Him in my soul." Smith received a standing ovation after singing "She Stands," a song inspired by September 11.

"Uncle" Melvin Graham, Billy Graham's only brother and Franklin Graham's uncle, told about growing up on a dairy farm in the 1920s and 1930s. He told the story of how when his family first heard an evangelist who clearly explained the Gospel.

"This preacher began to tell us that Jesus came to earth for one purpose: to die on the cross. ... We found out that Jesus Christ is real. He always has been, and He always will be. ... There's only one way to heaven and that's through Jesus Christ."

Franklin Graham's message followed his uncle's testimony. Graham asked the question, "Do you know beyond any doubt that God would welcome you if your life should end today? Would He open up His arms to you and say welcome?" He emphasized that going to church and doing good things do not equal a relationship with Jesus Christ. Graham said that only when a person asks Christ to come into his or her life and to forgive their sin could they be assured of salvation.

At Graham's invitation, more than 200 people came forward to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. A 16-year-old girl came forward and said, "I want to accept Jesus Christ." She realized that attending church with her family did not mean that she knew God.

Brazos Valley Festival 2002 will continue on Friday night and will feature special musical guests the Charlie Daniels Band and Jaci Velasquez.

For more information, or to contact Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn, see their website at: www.billygraham.org

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