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From the Archives | Christmas at the Graham House: An Interview with Franklin Graham

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 11, 2021 3:00 am

From the Archives | Christmas at the Graham House: An Interview with Franklin Graham

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 11, 2021 3:00 am

In a special episode, we revisit a conversation between Pastor Greg Laurie and Franklin Graham. The two discuss the legacy of Billy Graham, and Franklin reminisces about Christmas traditions in the Graham household. 

Franklin also describes his start at the far-reaching ministry, Samaritan’s Purse, and shares stories of impact through their initiative, Operation Christmas Child. 

Watch the video of this full interview here.

Franklin Graham has devoted his life to meeting the needs of people around the world and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The eldest son of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, he serves as President and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Learn more about Samaritan’s Purse at


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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to What were you writing? No, I think, Greg, just thankful. I was just thankful for the home that I was raised in, for the parents, godly parents that love God, that shared not only Christ in the home, but they lived it. The Ruth and Billy Graham that the world saw on television, they weren't different people at home.

It was the same people. And so I'm just thankful when I look at those old pictures. You know, for many people, your father, Billy, is like a larger than life figure. Would he ever come into your room in the middle of the night and say something like, do you have help? Or something like that?

Would that ever happen? You know, he gave us a lot of space. I can't ever remember my father coming into my bedroom. You know, he just figured that was my room, that was my space, and not my mother.

That's different. But daddy, I can't ever remember a time where he came in there. He was on the road a lot, wasn't he? And he was gone quite a bit.

One time, Greg, he was gone to Australia for six months. And, you know, people would say, well, how could somebody do that? Well, you have to remember, after the Second World War, when we had soldiers that had been gone for three and four years fighting and defending our freedom, and my father was just starting his ministry, he thought, well, how could we go halfway around the world and just go for two weeks? He felt that they were being a bad steward of the Lord's resources. Now, you know, if he had to do it over again, he wouldn't do that. But back then, under those circumstances, he thought it was the right thing to do. I've actually heard him say, I think in an interview with Greta Van Susteren, if he could change anything, he would probably spend more time with his family. He would spend more time studying and less time speaking, not preaching.

He would get invitations all the time, you know, to come dedicate this or go speak at that. And he wishes now he had not done all of that. Go back to that photo that they just had up there. You see that photo there? You see your expression? You still have that expression today. And this expression of Franklin, this is when he is about to do something naughty.

He is going to say something or do something. You really haven't changed that much. Well, thanks. I thought it looked pretty good. Look.

We have known each other a long time. Ok. So Christmas in the Graham Homes. What was it like? Would you get up in the morning? Would you open the presents in the morning? Would you open them Christmas Eve?

How did it work there? No, we would, Christmas Eve, we would of course, my father would read the Christmas story. Oh, he did. Every year he would read it? Every year. And then Christmas morning, we would have time of prayer and before we would open up any gifts. We would normally open up, my mother loved Christmas. She got a big kick out of this.

So the house was always decorated to the hill. We had the stockings and I remember one year I got ashes and switches in mine. You got what? Ashes and switches.

Ashes and switches. And why did you receive such a gift? Because I deserved them. Kind of coming back to that expression. You were kind of a little, you were a trouble making little boy, weren't you? Well, I don't know if I was trouble making. I had three older sisters that just brought it out of me.

Running from the cops in your car so the gate would shut behind you. That's trouble making. Well, that was a long time ago.

I can't remember that far back. So it looks like your dad is giving you a little talking to you. No, that is your brother Neddy is talking to you. And then there you are holding the football, listening in. You know it is funny your boys look so much like you looked of course and that grand resemblance goes right through the family.

Ok. So he would read the Christmas story to you. What kind of a meal would you guys have? Like what is a Christmas dinner in the Graham home at that time? My mother was born in China. Her parents were missionaries to China.

He was a missionary surgeon. And somewhere along the way they developed a, I don't know why they did this, oyster stew for Christmas morning. I don't like oyster stew period. And having it for breakfast. So my mother would have this oyster stew and nobody ate it. My father ate it because he had to.

We just rolled up our noses. But for lunch it was turkey and ham and all that kind of stuff. But that oyster stew business, for any of you families out there that want to try something different, have oyster stew this Christmas and just see how well it goes over.

Good tip. So what was your favorite Christmas gift you received as a child? Well you know we lived in a rural area so our gifts were probably a little unconventional. We usually got a gun for Christmas. And we would go out in the backyard and shoot at squirrels and those kinds of things.

So that was kind of Christmas at the Graham. So as you grew older you did have your time of rebellion we have mentioned. And you did make a commitment to Christ to follow Him.

And you took over an organization called Samaritan's Purse that was started by Bob Pierce. And the ministry began to grow. But did you have sort of an apprehension about being a preacher because your father is such a noted preacher? Did you want to maybe run this organization and not be a guy who preached the gospel? Or were you comfortable getting up there and preaching right away? No I never felt in those early days that God was calling me to preach because why would I want to put myself in a situation where I would be compared to my father? I could never be Billy Graham and so why even be in that position?

So I was comfortable running Samaritan's Purse and doing the work. Listen our desire has always been to lead people to Christ but to stand up on a stage or a platform and preach the gospel and give an invitation I didn't feel that calling really until about 20 some years ago. And then I just felt that was something God was calling me to do and if it disappointed somebody or if I didn't measure up in their eyes as tough you know if I was going to preach the gospel because I believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. And so I wasn't trying to be my father wasn't trying to imitate him is just simply preaching the gospel because it's God's word and it's his gospel. What would you say in a nutshell is the gospel? Define the gospel. Well that God loves us and that he sent his son from heaven to this earth to take our sins. That he died and shed his blood for our sins on Calvary's cross.

He was buried for our sins and God raised him to life the third day and he will come into your heart if you are willing to accept him and trust him by faith. That's the gospel. You know one of the things I appreciate about you Franklin is not only do you preach the gospel but as we collect these boxes this is an evangelistic ministry. You know there are relief agencies out there. Humanitarian organizations. Then there are even Christian humanitarian organizations that maybe they do it in the name of Christ but they don't necessarily present Christ in their work that they do. What I like about Samaritan's Purse is you are a great humanitarian organization. You provide relief for people all around the world but always with a view to bring the gospel. And I think that is because you are called as an evangelist.

And that is so important isn't it? Greg we can give gifts to children all day long and put a smile on their face and what have you done for them. But when you can give a gift and we ask people when you pack a box to pray for the box and you just pray for the boxes that are coming tonight. But we also ask people to put your picture in there and put your address on the back. We want not only to pray for the children but we want the children who get the boxes to see who gave the box and if they can to write back.

And Greg we had a first time that I know of that happened just about three weeks ago in our office. A young couple came to gift some boxes and these boxes had been collected on their wedding day. This little boy Tyler seven years of age from Idaho had packed a shoebox 20 years ago and thought that the gift would bring a lot of joy to somebody's life and a little girl in the Philippines got this box. And in the box was this picture of Tyler.

He had a cowboy shirt on. He had his little lariat and a seven year old boy from Idaho from a small ranch. And on the back was the address so she wrote him but he never got the letter. About ten years later she thought I'm going to try Facebook and a lot of Tyler's came up but only one from Idaho but now that picture didn't look like him because he's much older. Well she asked to be his friend and the next day he got this Facebook page of some girl in the Philippines that wanted to be his friend and clicked on and it was him and they began to have a relationship on Facebook and they had a lot of things in common.

They loved music and other things and so he saved up his money and he went to go visit her and they fell in love and they are now married. That is the first time. We have had children adopted Greg.

There are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of kids every year come to faith in Christ. But I think this is the first couple that a box brought together. So Samaritan's Purse matchmaking. A new ministry. No that is a God deal.

I am not that smart. So that is amazing. So they exchanged photos as little children ended up meeting each other as adults and now they are married. Well he said the joy that he hoped that that box would give to a child he never dreamed that that joy would be coming back to him. Isn't that great. So that is something.

So you know when we tell the people put a photo of yourself inside of the box I mean this really can make a difference. You have had many children come to Christ haven't you? Well this girl who got the box from Tyler because of that gift she came to faith in Christ.

Her father came to faith in Christ and then later became a pastor. Wow. Wow. That is incredible. So she wanted this boy to know what God had done for her and her family.

He wanted her to know the changes that had made in their life. But Greg this year we have every box that we give out we have a discipleship program that we offer to the churches that help us around the world. We are in 110 different countries and we have these leadership teams in every country and we offer a discipleship program it is called the greatest journey. The first year we had about this was three years we have been doing it. The first year we had about 800,000.

This past year we had like 1.3 million. This year we will have 2.3 million kids in discipleship program around the world. It is a 12 week discipleship program.

We train the teachers. We have a workbook and then the kids have to memorize scripture. They have to say the scripture before their pastor. They have a little graduation ceremony and then everyone that graduates we give a Bible to. But I want to raise up another generation an army of evangelists who are kids young kids who are willing to share their faith with other children and that is what we are trying to do.

That is amazing. You know in the Christmas season with so many people busy you know the opportunities will come to share the gospel. You know that family gathering. If you are the Christian in the family sometimes people will say well why don't you do the prayer or whatever. You know you have had all these opportunities to share the gospel everything from news programs to meeting with you know prime ministers and dictators sometimes.

You have been in a lot of amazing situations. Do you Franklin Graham ever get intimidated like oh this is kind of hard to bring the gospel up. Or do you always just have this kind of boldness and you are ready to go with it.

No. I think there are times you do get intimidated. And of course the devil wants you to get intimidated. So what do you do when you are intimidated? Well first of all normally you get intimidated when you haven't prayed enough. Where someone kind of catches you off guard and then all of a sudden they are in your face and they are being combative. Well I don't believe in your God.

And how could you believe in a God that kills people. And then all of a sudden you find yourself a little bit on the defensive. But Greg before I go on a program any time I always just pray Lord help me because I can't do this alone. So it's a prayer just help me.

And if I can lift up your son tonight or today then Father help me to lift up your son. And that has just been a prayer of mine all my life. And God always gives opportunity. He does.

And you always do a great job. If you have ever seen Franklin out there this guy is fearless. He is as bold as a lion. And he shares the gospel. And we are appreciative of that. Of your ministry and of your life and of course of your family.

And now. So your father of course is getting on in years. But he is still walking with the Lord. He is looking forward to going to heaven.

You have been preaching the gospel for years and your son Will who we had out not long ago is also out there preaching the gospel and doing a fantastic job. Well again we are grateful to the friendship of Harvest and the quarter of a million boxes that have come through Harvest. Because every box is needed. Because every box gives us an opportunity to touch a child.

And to touch a child somewhere in the world in the name of Jesus Christ. So again thank you for these gifts. Thank you for your support. It is our pleasure. We are happy to do it.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-10 02:01:27 / 2023-07-10 02:07:33 / 6

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