Graham Crusade to Be Most 'Important' Message Ever

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WASHINGTON -- Evangelist Billy Graham turned 95 Thursday and he  rang in his next year by preaching what some predict could be his largest-ever crusade.

His son, Franklin, marvels that even at his father's advanced age, he hasn't lost his touch. He calls Thursday's televised sermon truly "anointed."

"God has burdened my heart to use my energy to share this important message," Rev. Graham told listeners Thursday night.

***To find out when "My Hope America" airs in your area visit Billy Graham's website
"It's so powerful," his son told CBN News. "It's like a grandfather talking to you or your father talking to you. And his eyes just kind of pierce through the TV set right into the hearts of the people who are talking. It's the most powerful message I think I've ever heard my father give."

The crusade is called "My Hope America." While it has aired in Latin America, this is the first broadcast to hit the states.

It's a night when more than 200,000 volunteers will open up their homes to friends, coworkers and neighbors to watch Graham's pre-recorded message, "The Cross," and testimonies from Christian music artists Lecrae and Lacey Sturm.

The homes are called "Matthew homes" because they're modeled after the disciple who invited others to his home to meet Jesus.

After the telecast, the home hosts will share how Jesus gave them hope and invite others to make a life-changing decision.

"It's my hope and my prayer -- and my father's prayer -- that there will be many tens of thousands of people on Nov. 7 who will confess their sins to God, ask for His forgiveness, and, by faith, believe on the name of Jesus Christ," Franklin, who will take part too, said.

Billy Graham is considered one of the world's most admired men -- the preacher and pastor to presidents who has also kept up with current events.

In September, Graham wrote to Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, asking for the release of American Pastor Saeed Abedini.

"I said, 'Daddy, there's a pastor in Iran and he's imprisoned because of his faith. I would like to know if you'd be willing to write a letter to the president of Iran to ask for this man's release. He's going to be in New York,'" his son recounted. "And daddy said, 'Absolutely! Let's do it.'"

Billy Graham also completed his latest book, The Reason for my Hope, this year.

The book shares what the world's best loved evangelist learned in nearly a century of walking with the Lord. It's really about the hope and faith that comes through Christ -- the pervading message throughout his decades-long ministry.

Franklin Graham said facing eternity without Christ is the most frightening prospect of all.

"You know we are in danger of hell and people are not calling on the name of Almighty God," he said. "See, God is a God of judgment and He is going to judge sin. Today He wants to forgive sin. He's eager to forgive sin."

Franklin Graham says considering his father's age and health, this week's crusade will likely be his last.

When we asked how his father's doing, he said, "You know he's doing pretty good, and I think it's remarkable that he's able not only to write this book this year but to do this film -- the cross. He's been hard at work this year doing two major projects, so I'm proud of him."

"I want to leave you with the truth," Billy Graham will tell his audience on Thursday evening, "that He loves you [and that He's] willing to forgive you of all your sins."

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at