Spotlight Interview with Franklin GrahamApril 13, 2020
Dr. Franklin Graham, Christian evangelist and missionary, president and CEO of The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse, spoke with Carmen last week about how Easter Changes everything. There is hope in the darkest of places and times through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can leave fear behind and step into those opportunities, entering every conversation with the reality of the resurrection.
Transcript (begins at 24:23):
Carmen Laberge: Dr. Franklin Graham, welcome to Mornings with Carmen.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Well, thank you. It’s great to be with you.
Carmen Laberge: It’s a real pleasure to talk with you this morning, sir. First of all, I just want to thank you on behalf of not only a grateful nation, but a grateful heavenly citizenry. You make the gospel substantial and beautiful in places and in ways that many other people do not. So, I just want to just start off by saying thank you. Not only for what you are doing, but the way in which you are doing it.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Well, thank you, Carmen. And if anything good is done, we give God the glory. So, it all comes from him.
Carmen Laberge: Many people listening are going to be extremely familiar with what you’re doing in Central Park, and I want to talk about that. But first I would just love to give you the opportunity to talk about what Samaritan’s Purse is doing around the globe. You guys have sent healthcare professionals to places where nobody else is going to help.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Carmen, a big program that we’re doing right now is in Italy. Like in Central Park, we have a 68-bed field hospital. This is up at the Northern part of the country. Cremona is the name of the town. It’s about 50 miles to the South and East of Milan. And this is the epicenter for the coronavirus in Europe. Part of the reason for that was; there were a lot of Chinese laborers that are helping the Italians put in a railway, and they had direct flights every day from/to Wuhan. And so, this is one of the reasons you had the coronavirus located in this area. But the Italians were just overwhelmed and that’s why we went in to help them. And we’ve been well received. They have given us complete permission to preach the gospel. There’s no hindrance whatsoever from the Italian government. They’re just glad we are there.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Most of our other programs around the world are somewhat on hold because of the coronavirus. We can’t move across borders. There’s a lot of the stay-home orders like we see here in parts of this country or globally. I’ve never seen anything like this problem. The whole world is gripped with fear over what they call this pandemic. And it is dangerous, it can kill you. And so, people need to be careful, but I don’t think we need to live in fear. That’s what we’re seeing. And fear just grips people’s hearts. It is just opening up, Carmen, an opportunity for the gospel. People are wanting to know, people are asking questions. A lot of people blame God in things like this, “Why did God allow it? Or is he mad at us?” Those kinds of things.
Dr. Franklin Graham: So, it’s just a great opportunity to present the truth of the gospel to people. And so in Central Park, we’ve got a large hospital and it’s, again, 68 beds, but we’re working with Mount Sinai, which is one of the large health care providers in the city, and they have welcomed us. It’s interesting that people will come by and bring us food. I think all of our people are gaining weight. They bring incredible meals, and snacks, and pastries and they just dropped this off all day long at our hospital. Just New Yorkers just giving out of what they can to support us. So, we’re very grateful for that. But all of this, Carmen, is just a great opportunity to tell a suffering world, a world that is afraid, a world that’s afraid of death about the living hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Carmen Laberge: I heard your message yesterday. I want to give you an opportunity to just declare the living hope, because yesterday the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ literally changes everything. So, I just want to give you the opportunity to share with our audience today. Your dad started this ministry at the University of Northwestern. He’s the one who put this radio station on the air. I want to give you an opportunity just to share with our audience the living hope.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Well, maybe you’re listening this morning and you’re one of those that’s afraid and you’re not sure what to do or where to go even, which way to turn. We know that God loves us and he cares for us. And the Bible tells us in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. And that is one verse that kind of sums up the whole gospel. That God loves us, He cares for us. But we have a problem, and that problem is sin. Our sins separate us from God. And all of us are guilty of sin. And the penalty of that is death. But God loved us so much that he brought his son to this earth on a rescue mission to take our sins, and he died on a cross and shed his blood for our sins and God buried him.
Dr. Franklin Graham: And on the third day he was raised, God raised his son to life. Jesus Christ is not dead, he’s alive. And if we are willing to put our faith and trust in him, God will forgive our sins and we can have that assurance that we will have a right standing before him one day when this life is over. All of us are going to die at some point, but when that time comes, we can have that assurance that God will receive us and welcome us into heaven. Not because we’re good people, we’re not, we are sinners, but because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. And if we’re willing to repent, turn from our sins, and by faith believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we’ll be saved, Carmen. It’s just as simple as that. That’s what it is. But it comes by faith. Faith cometh by God’s grace, and if we just simply believe and just trust in him, God will forgive us and transcend our sins. So, God’s done all the work, we just have to accept it by faith.
Carmen Laberge: I’m going to return in just a moment. That is the voice of Franklin Graham you’re hearing. I know it’s delighting your heart and your soul. We are going to return to this conversation in just a moment. We’ll be right back.
Carmen Laberge: You may be familiar with some of the ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. You may have seen Samaritan’s Purse deployed in places around the globe. You’re now seeing them deployed not only in Central park, but In places that are struck with other sorts of natural disasters, and frankly, disasters that we bring upon ourselves. There are groups of people from BGA and Samaritan’s Purse who enter into communities across the country and around the world when we literally are at a place where we can’t help ourselves. Just a few weeks ago here in Nashville where I live, I encountered Samaritan’s Purse of volunteers in the communities struck by tornadoes. I expect they’re being deployed even today to Chattanooga and to places in Georgia, where there were tornadoes overnight.
Carmen Laberge: I have with me Franklin Graham. He heads up both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. Again, Dr. Graham, thank you so much for being with us on Mornings with Carmen.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Well, thank you, Carmen.
Carmen Laberge: Talk with us about how it works. So, last night there were these devastating deadly tornadoes in the Southeastern United States. What happens today at some… or maybe what happened last night, how does the ball get rolling when Samaritan’s Purse responds to a disaster?
Dr. Franklin Graham: Well, first of all, Monroe, Louisiana was hit yesterday. So, we’ve got a truck going to Monroe today and some people who will go in and do an assessment. And that truck’s coming out of Texas. The storms that happened last night, we’ll have people on the ground later today assessing the damage in those areas. And depending on the severity of the damage, depends on whether we’ll deployed volunteers and team managers to go in. So, we’re always following storms. We have people that, I mean, that’s just what they do. They track it and they track where the tornadoes touch down. And then we have to put eyes on the ground to actually assess it, because sometimes it looks worse than it is and sometimes it’s much worse than what you see on television.
Dr. Franklin Graham: So, you have to have people on the ground who can assess it. What we do is, we put the call out for volunteers. Then we usually get a church in a community who will be a host church for us where we could set up our trucks in their parking lot, use their restrooms, that sort of thing. And we’ll take, sometimes a food truck or a shower trailer so that our volunteers can clean up. Then we go out and do a community and we will take work orders from people that would like to have someone to come and help them look for things, clean off their lot, put tarps back on the roof, try to dry it in if they can.
Dr. Franklin Graham: So, if they give us a work order, then we’ll send a team of volunteers to come help them. It takes several days to get yourself up and running, but usually in two to three days we can do that. And we’ll stay in the community until all the work orders are done. Then we’ll move on to another city. But right now I know we’re moving to Monroe, and I’m not too sure about last night. I haven’t gotten my report in this morning from our guys, but they’ll probably give that to me around 8:30.
Carmen Laberge: Every single day, Franklin, it occurs to me that there are just people in desperate need around the world in so many places. You have been in many communities around the world and in homes that would not look anything like a home that people who are listening to us right now are living in. Talk about the heart of Christ for the most desperate people in the world.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Well, first of all, even the poor of our country live at a much higher standard than the poor of most of the world; the slums that you have in South America, and Africa, and Asia where millions upon millions of people live in squalor. We have to remember that Lord Jesus Christ was poor. He said he didn’t even have a place to lay his head, “Foxes have their holes and birds have nests, but I don’t even have a place to lay my head.” So, Jesus understands poverty. He came from a very simple means, the son of a carpenter. I mean, grew up in a carpenter’s home. He’s the son of God, but he grew up in a carpenter’s home.
Dr. Franklin Graham: And so, he understands poverty and to be without. But I find the poor of this world are usually the ones that are rich in faith. And the most affluent people in this country and other countries around the world are the ones that are very difficult to reach with the gospel. They have looked to the things of this world to meet their needs and they don’t look to God. So, it’s very difficult sometimes at the richer countries, but the poor countries, they understand God. And I find a very strong faith in some of these poor areas of the world.
Carmen Laberge: In my own experience, I don’t think that I’ve ever been as spiritually blessed as having an African orphan pray for me, right?
Dr. Franklin Graham: Yes, absolutely.
Carmen Laberge: Because somehow your sense is that God is hearing and honoring those prayers in special ways.
Dr. Franklin Graham: No question. And I’ve been touched by the people of this world who have some of the least to give materially, but they have the most to give spiritually.
Carmen Laberge: Can we pray for you, Dr. Graham?
Dr. Franklin Graham: Absolutely.
Carmen Laberge: Father, I lift up my brother, Franklin, to you. I lift up the extraordinary ministries that you have placed under his shepherding influence. We ask, father, that you would give them every resource that’s necessary today for the accomplishing of your will in and through them, that you would strengthen their bodies, that you would protect and guard their hearts and minds, that you would multiply their influence.
Carmen Laberge: That, father, the gospel would go forth through the ministries of BGA and Samaritan’s Purse in ways that Franklin and his team members can’t even yet imagine. Father, we acknowledge that there are people in great pain, but we also know that the gospel is real, and so is the healing help and mercy that you send through the hands and the help of your people. And so, father, multiply the influence today, bless Franklin and his family and those with whom he labors to your glory, in your effort. And all these things we speak to you and plead to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Amen. Well, thank you, Carmen.
Carmen Laberge: Thank you, Franklin. There just isn’t Thanks enough. I know that everyone listening right now is echoing this. They’re just saying, “Thank You, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Dr. Franklin Graham: Well, we give God the glory.
Carmen Laberge: Amen. Amen. Thank you so much. We’ll be right there.
Dr. Franklin Graham: Thank you. Bye-bye.
Carmen Laberge: Easter really does change everything. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead really does change everything. And so, I just invite you to consider that concern, that area of life or area of maybe within your family where you just desire for there to be something different, for something to change, for something to give, for something to break free, and then take it not just to the cross, but take it to the empty tomb. I think sometimes we recognize that our sin is born by Christ upon the cross, but we forget that it’s the power of the empty tomb that actually changes those realities in terms of our here and now living of these days. And so, that thing that you really want to see change today, to see radically transformed by the power of the gospel, take it to the cross. Yes, absolutely. Submit it to Christ and his Lordship, but also take it to the empty tomb and recognize the radical power of God to even bring forth life from death.
Carmen Laberge: If you feel like something is dead in your life right now, it can live again. Your marriage can live again. You may be suffering with the darkness of depression right now. There is light, there is life, there is hope, and his name is Jesus. And he rose from the dead, and that power of resurrection can be applied even in the darkest moment of depression. Nothing is beyond the reach of the gospel. Nothing is beyond the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing and no one, no place, no space, no circumstance of life. And even death itself is transformed by the gospel. So, we’re going to die, I acknowledge that. I acknowledge that death is a reality that we will all face, but we face it in an utterly different way because of not only the cross, but the empty tomb. And so, as you face this day, face it with the glory of the risen Lord, recognizing that Easter changes everything.
Carmen Laberge: We’ve got another hour of Mornings with Carmen up next.
Carmen Laberge: Thanks for listening to this podcast of Mornings with Carmen LaBerge from Faith Radio. If you haven’t, you can subscribe to automatically receive the podcast through iTunes or the Google Play music app. That way you never miss an episode. It’s also available anytime at myfaithradio.com.