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June 2, 2021 8:00 am
Good friendships with Christians are life-changing and nuclear here about one of those friendships with Dr. Don Wilton's day of The Encouraging Word. We are so excited to share with you a wonderful interview between Kristi Henderson, a local news reporter and Dr. Don Wilton about the brand-new book Saturdays with Billy. It's a wonderful look back on the past 25 years is Dr. Don Wilton's had the privilege of being the pastor to Rev. Billy Graham, also the privilege of preaching at his funeral in the midst of all these experiences together.
Dr. Don has made some notes and sharing that with us today as we gain insight on how friendships changes if there friendships founded in Christ you want to know more information about the book or get a copy confided on our website at tewonline.org.
That's tewonline.org G. The source for many resources that help you grow in your faith now and Dr. Don Wilton all right without the wealth and thank you so much for taking time out to talk a little about your new book Saturdays with valet chance to read this book. I love it, it's a collection of stories of memories and conversations you had with America's pastor, Billy Graham, can you tell me a little bit about how you got acquainted with Billy Graham to become his pastor's Kristi and it's just wonderful to be able talk about someone that I just love so very much and I know that I share that feeling with people literally all around the world because of the laughing impact of this man on so many people you know I back in the 80s.
I had been involved in the Billy Graham schools evangelism teaching God's will and private crusades in different places around the world and that but ostensibly it was in 1993 when I became the posture of first Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina and my telephone rang off to the first service that I preached and I picked up the phone and it was Mr. and Mrs. Graham on the line. Of course I didn't believe that I really did and we got a lot of mileage out of that but it was it was on that occasion that they like coal to welcome me to the upstate of South Carolina and of course Mr. Graham being so gracious and a lot of nice things to say and invited me off if I would consider coming up to Montreat to visit him blazing house able to rearrange my skating exactly what I did and it it just began an instant friendship that I think only God could formulated between the two of us on your way out to Montreat since he had what was going through your mind numbing then this is Billy Graham you're going to see obviously had a lot of respect for him. What needs did you think you would be able to meet for him.
Well, it was like I must say that I like. I was nervous and in my system wondered what it would be like. I drove up to the head office in Montreat was taken up in a motor call and when I grew up to the house.
The door opened and there was this man in this beautiful lady and it was couldn't couldn't really cross that and he walked up and opened my door for me and from that instant moment everything was backwards. He was so gracious and Mrs. Graham was so loving and so gracious and we went and sat outside for the longest time. And that's a story in itself. On that first occasion on the beautiful front porch overlooking the beautiful Smoky Mountains that I'd seen on pictures in books for years and here I was sitting there and they made me feel like the owner engaged in the room that never stopped for all those years really yeah and he had been. He had traveled the world over. Did you get a chance to have hear his thoughts on on all of those experiences in missions and and crusades. He had been on well Kristi, you know, as we as our friendship deepened and it and it really did for the first 10, 12 years I didn't talk about being updated because I just felt that that was a private matter and I guarded that integrity and we talked about everything and as our friendship deepened and then in 2005 he became. I became his posture on top of that, that's another story that I have in the book as well.
You, but conversation was very intimate. It was very personal and I came to understand that God had afforded an opportunity for me to sit at the feet of one of God's peerless servants and listen to the depth of his heart related to all matters so hits the officer's we spoke.
He shared with me about crusades years ago people they needed me and encounters and personalities and things that he dealt with and decisions that have to be made that had such a lasting impact and I felt like I was sitting at the fountainhead of a gushing stream of fresh water that would just beat it into my soul and spirit over time and it just constantly in what he was asking me one would think that we were having a dialogue but I was just sitting there being food to the brim with the riches of what God was doing and had been doing and would continue to do through Dr. Billy Graham and after all this in your respect for him. At one point he wanted you to call in Billy Geller. You could get on my upbringing Kristi. There is not a month of Sundays I would have read: Mr. Brian Billy and from day one we be talking and I'd say Mr. Gray meets a baby's laughter and stamina and then 10 minutes later need say now call me Billy and I just couldn't get myself to do it. I mean this was that it could not coal Dr. Graham Billy I just placed on every salmonella so him like this and we we we lost a night couldn't chase the dogs and went on walks and we were doing everything together could not coal hemolytic without a little while there are often we were sitting down and I looked at him and I said to him I he said please not let settlers call me buddy. I said Mr. Brian. I bought a suggestion I've got something I'd like to share with you niece it will what is it I said when would you allow me to call you brother Billy. He said brother Billy. I said yes brother Billy. He said I love that nobody calls me brother Billy. He said I just love it will.
He became brother Billy to me and I would arrive at the home almost every time I walk through the door and say I'm here Billy and he he loved and I remember the last time I saw him which I write about in the book. You know that it was cool.
He just became known as brother Billy privately and but always called him Mr. Brian with Dr. grinding in front of other people. Now describe what a typical Saturday visit was like, well, they're all different in some form or fashion different you know they all took on their own life.
Depending on me. He wasn't which crusades he was in how long he'd been often the circumstances what he was facing. So I would arrive at the house and walk and we invariably would have lunch together. That was kind of the standard thing because he loved food. I love food, so we get into ribs and barbecue and any and all kinds of chicken and these favorite foods and we had we had so many times of fellowship around the table on the and I can tell you some stories that stealing his yogurt to Hollywood loft together and just have the base time but you know each occasion, almost was a seminary experience or a moment or appeared of time in and of itself that could have been marked up as a milestone in my spiritual development because every one of them took on its own life and it was related not just to questions he he peppered me with questions.
I mean he would cost me things about everything we talked family fun, fellowship, food obviously endless hours on the word of God.
He just love the Bible the word of God. Prayer times together and then preparing messages going through speeches talking about appointments that he had coming up with people all around the world and he would ask me my opinion, we would talk about the makeup of people who they would heat he considered very important to note who he was speaking to their frame of reference, their culture, their understanding they language their ways of doing things. He was very deeply engaged in that because he believed that just like the Lord Jesus. He wanted to really connect into their lives with the same message. The message never changed, but the methods and the places changed and he tapped into that and shared the gospel of the Lord Jesus and you think that's why so many world leaders, presidents, sports figure celebrity sought him out for counsel because they knew that he was going to be trustworthy for wine but also that the message never changed and he really tried to know them their frame of reference you not really do I really believe that that's a profound statement about Mr. Brian soul people on an equal footing and now if you think about the Lord Jesus. You know when the Lord Jesus went to the cross. He had no color in his eyes. He didn't.
He didn't see Jean.
He wasn't considering male-female. He wasn't looking at at wealthy people in the pool of people. Jesus died for all people and always felt that when Mr. Brian spoke about people and when he shared with people that people recognize that they contacted the nominee because he spoke to all people on the same label as people and he respected all people and lovable people just like Jesus but he treated people like and I can tell you so much about the different people that we sent with and I want you to know that every person that sat at the feet of Mr. Brian. Every person felt the same way as though they were the important person and so people responded to that, whether they were presidents, Prime Minister's king screams rich poor. It didn't matter. He was the same with the same message same heart of grace will be back with more about Saturdays with Billy. This wonderful new book Dr. Wilton in just a moment. If you're interested in a copy. You'll find it on our website at tewonline.org Geva, Dr. Don was quick to say but remind them we're here to encourage you, whether it's the book resource or just to pray together we hear also 866-899-WORD 24 hours a day. That's 866899673 if you want more specifics about how to get your copy of the book is less with the details discovered the beautiful 25 year friendship between Billy Graham and his friend and pastor Don in the brand-new book case with Billy by Don Hansen get the week with color photos by Billy Graham and more ;-) heartwarming stories of times. Dr. Wilton spent with his friend and mentor Billy Graham on the most recent Saturday just as Billy Graham's words changed on Wilton life can change our lives today will inspire you on your own spiritual journey. Call us today at 86699 word to request Saturdays at Billy gift of $20. Thank you for your prayers and continued support and The Encouraging Word as we continue to share God's truth.
Now back to today's discussion about the brand-new book Saturdays with Billy with Dr. Don Wilton and Kristi Henderson here on The Encouraging Word drug is amazing. And now there's a whole chapter called Billy's eyes and that really grabbed me because there were so much that you said he would express through his eyes, and then you mentioned that sometimes he would look out the window but wasn't necessarily just looking at the mountains. There was a lot that he was contemplating thinking about it will really was. He had very penetrating piercing when he looked at you.
He wasn't looking through in the sense that he was looking' but you always felt with Mr. Brian that in his eyes was a worldview were always felt when he was speaking to me that I was looking at the stadiums of the world that he was seeing things that I could not see beginning with the lostness of who God is, the majesty of God. I could see the heart in all of his brilliance in the eyes of Dr. Billy Graham and then in that context, the people of the world for whom Christ died. So let me give you an example, when we were taping. My hope America that is readable opportunity that Mr. Graham had to share the gospel in so many thousands of people around the world. I had the privilege to be the person like we ought to sit there and he was speaking to me the whole time with older cameras. There was one occasion, and I think I'll write about this, but there was one occasion at which he was just struggling to get a con signal that and he suddenly took off and he began to speak, and it's as though all of a sudden I could see and feel the presence of millions of people in the stadiums and the places in the countries and the nations and the nationalities and the groups of people in the cultures you could see welling up within him as the spirit of the living God began to move through him and we will all just transfixed by this and when he got through. I sent. Then I looked at him didn't know what to say and then I said would you like another cup of coffee. Brother Billy is right about that you said nobody wanted to say a word because he knew that he he was just connected. Now he would like you said he could see all those millions of people in the message. Exactly right Kristi and he you know, we often use a phrase that a man or woman is a person of a thousand words.
He could say one word and it would invoke a thousand words he could.
He sometimes would just contemplate.
Sometimes he would just after phrase or he would make one comment, but it would be accompanied by a thousand words and the rich framework of this incredible wound in which we live with people right at the center's he was in the people business because Jesus Christ died for all people. God loves you and you and you and you.
That was what he said.
He said I'm here to tell you that Jesus loves you give your life to him. That was the then unchanging message that his life and his main focus, and he helped you in your spiritual journey and as a pastor to because he could watch you on TV and there is one occasion where he asked you to preach to a tree. Well, that was very early in our relationship and we were walking way up on the mountain together and that he just it was a Saturday and he said he said were you preaching that gives the average person a heart attack to me tell you right now and it certainly did me and I told him and he said we wanted to preach and I you know when Mr. Graham asked me to do something I did it.
I was inclined to good and so after a few little stuttering's and stammering's. I started he stopped me.
Almost immediately, and he said he said do you believe what you are reading from the word of God and what you are saying about the Lord Jesus and I said yes.
So I do. He said wanted to preach like you believe it well I've began to preach on that mountaintop and I say tongue-in-cheek. All of a sudden with Mr. Graham standing behind me right unconvinced the wonderful people of Black Mountain, North Carolina and Montreat always the coven asked. I just melted my heart. Everybody was listening to me because I was bellowing for the wonderful truth of God. When he stopped me off about five minutes and he just went walking on Nevis. It would lodge is fallen in, we were just having a lovely time he stopped he turned around he said to me now Don he said I want you to know that I want you always to remember that if you cannot preach with absolute conviction that God is who he says he is and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the son of God who came to the school because he loves everybody and that he died.
And by the power of God was raised from the dead and is alive and if you cannot preach that to every single person like you believe it and you cannot preach it with nobody there. Why do you suppose God would ever bother to put people in front of you. You know Christiane never forgot that. And he told me how when he was a young man in Florida. He would go to preach to tree stumps and he did. You can read that in the many wonderful biographies written about Mr. Graham will foster for coven arrived in 2020, all of us know about that. And I'll never forget that through Sunday, March 15, 2020 when I stood up in front of my own congregation and there was only TV cameras out there and not a single person in front of me and all of a sudden I remembered what he said and I said open your Bible and I remember with no one sitting in front of me. Having gone all of a sudden gave me an understanding that I'm preaching God's truth because it is truth and that if only one person was listening I would speak with the same conviction because Jesus loves you it was always about Jesus everywhere never about Billy Graham and that was the case when he asked you to preach at his funeral is a he said don't mention his name. All I tell you we were sitting. This was 10 years before he went to heaven at least and that we were sitting on the front lawn and he looked at me and he said Don is I want to talk to you about my funeral and we talked a lot about about his funeral: a lot about that heat. He it was very important to him and the and that's when he said to me said I just wanted say to you that I lost you to preach my funeral message and because a trust you not know you going to preach Jesus. He said I know you going to preach Jesus and then he said I just want you to know that I do not want you to mention my name when you preach my funeral message. Well my whole life began to go in front of me article how do I preach the funeral service of Dr. Billy Graham, never mentioning so in my absolute brilliance.
We open the Bible and I took him back to the life of Moses and Joshua and Isaiah and we went to Ezekiel and then went up: Timothy and finally he stopped me.
He said I know what you're doing. He said he said I get it.
He said okay I'll tell you are single. Mr. Graham I said you know God always used people. He teaches us he uses people. He said I realize that he said okay. He said you can talk about. My funeral, but only just a little bit now that we remember of first Baptist Martinsburg. He really wanted to be in church didn't all one of my chapters in Saturday's Billy is entitled Billy's church. This is profound. Christie, because at the end of every message he preached in crusades across the world.
Often he'd invited people to give their lives to Christ when he was concluding when he was sending everyone home always seated. Be sure to go to church on Sunday. Why did he say that while we talked endlessly about their at the very heart of everything that he believed he understood God's plan for people and in that plan. He understood that Jesus saved the gates of hell will not prevail against my church.
Now he understood that the church is God's people. It's not a building but the Bible says do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together.
Mr. Graham would talk to me about the natural propensity of a lot of people to peddle their own can to go it alone, as believers, and he would say to me, Don.
The local church is God's plan. The pasta, the people, the lead is the eldest of the deacons.
The servant leaders. The Sunday school teachers. He said it's part of God's plan. It's the family of God.
Do not forsake that and he had a profound belief in the even for himself and he told me time without another. He was a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Dallas Texas and loved every minute of it, but he could never be the and so during the lost 1520 years of his life.
It was such a joy to him to be part of a local group of believers, and so we often talk Sunday school and we talked last week talked the family together. We had them on premise and of course our people just loved having him part of the local church is amazing and Billy Graham would not want us to talk about any book about him without you making sure that people knew how to know Jesus. Well, there is no doubt in the I could write 10 books but he would say to me Don about Jesus. In fact, in the book in seven days with make the statement in the forward Dr. Charles family, who wrote beautiful full moon be in this book because we will such frames together. Jesus it's about Jews. Do you know Jesus. Have you trusted the Lord Jesus as your Savior and rolled. You know that's the most thing you know one great person. Once in the zoning one life that consumed it's only what's done for the Lord Jesus Christ Mr. Brian was a famous rate. I tell people all over you sort Mr. Brian and myself working together is what you'd see you'd see nobody thought he was a somebody talking with a somebody thought he was a I tell you Mr. Grimes great 40 no Jews so would you like to give the hostages wanted to praise God. I know you love. I know that the Lord Jesus died on just as Dr. Billy Graham gave his life.
I give my life I think of Mohsen and by faith I received my friend of you given your life. Christ, that's so Saturday's. With this freedom will experience an autobiography. That's what Jesus has done for us brings you get connected to become part of the family. God bless you my friend and be sure to go to church on Sunday. What a great day of discussion, but more importantly, moments ago. Dr. Wilton was bleeding out in that prayer did you pray that in your heart did you give your life to Jesus Christ or rededicate your life to Jesus. If so, we would love to walk with you in the next that would love to rejoice with you celebrate with you and Dr. Dunn has free materials. He wants you to have if you'll just call us and let us know that 866-899-WORD that's 866-899-9673 of the talk you through what would be the next step plugging into small groups in a church near you may be plugging in some of our online Bible studies and most certainly drawing close to God with a daily devotionalů Would love to put in your hands again. That's is one of the many resources available if you just gave your life to Jesus or rededicate your life what you call us at 866-899-9673 or email us at email@example.com. We would love to connect with you. That's TW online.org