Happy Birthday, Billy!

Billy Graham turned 91 this month. Every indication is that his failing health continues as has been the case for months, even years, now. Yet, his fight – the “great fight kind of faith” – seems to keep him in this world, among family and close friends.

Reminiscently, the last time I saw Billy Graham in person was during his last crusade in New York City. Frail and fragile, the famous evangelist made his way to the podium to preach during every service of his final evangelistic crusade.

During one of the sermons he preached, I had a flashback to the 1960s and 70s when Billy Graham was in his prime. I recalled his zealous and energetic proclamation style of preaching. I saw him roaming the platform and gesturing emphatically in the stadium settings of that time.
In 2005, during this finale of his crusade style evangelism in NYC, I felt a tinge of sadness. It was like I was grieving over loss of a loved one. In fact, I was in a moment of sorrow. I knew this would be the last message of the great giant of faith.

Will Graham, one of Billy’s grandsons, visited with the famous evangelist recently. During that brief visitation, Will asked Billy what he was thinking. His answer was a classic one, “I was thinking how much I would love to preach just one more time.”

When I heard that story, I thought to myself, “Now there is a called man of God. In the last days of his life, he desires to preach one more time.” What a testimony! What a role model! May that be my witness as well!

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, [email protected]