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"If Jesus were here today, I have no doubt He would make use of every means possible to declare his message," Graham wrote in his 1997 autobiography "Just As I Am."
As a young preacher studying at Florida Bible Institute in 1937, Graham would paddle across the river to a little island and practice his preaching to "all creatures great and small, from alligators to birds. If they would not stop to listen, there was always a congregation of cypress stumps that could neither slither of fly away," Graham wrote.
Billy Graham turns 95
Though the media changed from radio to television to film to Internet and now even Twitter and Facebook, Graham's message has remained constant for more than half a century.
He preached 417 crusades over his career spanning more than a half a century, and he became the nation's informal chaplain, meeting with every president from Harry S Truman to Barack Obama who visited the evangelist at his Montreat home.
A farm boy from outside a once sleepy Southern town, Graham answered local prayers during the Depression years: "That out of Charlotte the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth," as he recounted in his autobiography.
The most successful evangelist in the 2,000 year history of Christianity, Billy Graham has used the technologies of the modern age to reach more people than ever with his message of faith and love.
He also learned how to close the deal as a young salesman for the Fuller Brush Co., selling brushes door to door.
In 1934, the 16 year old Graham answered the Adidas Originals Shoes White Women
"He knows how to ask for a commitment," said Glenn Wilcox, a Asheville businessman who's known Graham since 1965.
over his long lifetime.
Now turning 95, and a dozen years since his retirement from Adidas Neo Team Court
Through the years, the message remained the same, the delivery electrifying. "My theme was always the same: God's redemptive love for sinners, and the need for personal repentance and conversion," Graham wrote.
Interactive timeline: Moments in the life of Billy Graham
the pulpit, Graham remains a potent force in evangelism. Some 800 well wishers, including dignitaries and celebrities, will pack the Grove Park Inn today to celebrate his birthday and his legacy.
"It will be like having a mini crusade in their homes. With the tweeting today and the social media, you can speak to 20 million people over the Internet, which is amazing to me," Wilcox marveled.
Longtime associates credit not Graham's charisma as a speaker, but point to divine inspiration. "It's the Holy Spirit that takes the word of God that Mr. Graham is carrying and drives those words into the human condition," said David Bruce, Graham's executive assistant.
That voice would win attention. Time magazine wrote: of the trumpet lunged North Carolinian in 1949, fresh from the breakout success of his six week crusade in Los Angeles. "His lapel microphone, which gives added volume to his deep, cavernous voice, allows him to pace the platform as he talks, rising to his toes to drive home a point, clenching his fists, stabbing his finger at the sky, and straining to get his words to his furthermost corner of Adidas Original Grey Trainers the tent."
The altar call he preached to small churches across the South, drawing dozens down at the end of his sermon, would become throngs of thousands in sports stadiums around the world who answered his call to come to Christ.
call of a fiery revival preacher, Mordecai Ham, and committed his young life to Christ, a simple act of faith that he would ask others to repeat Adidas Neo 2017
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