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Billy Graham remembered as ‘faithful,’ ‘most important evangelist’ by religious leaders

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Religious leaders are taking to social media to remember famed Christian evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, who died Wednesday at the age of 99.

Some praised Graham – who preached to more than 200 million people in his lifetime – online, calling him “the most important evangelist since the Apostle Paul” and “one of the most faithful followers of Jesus.” Others recalled the impact he had on their faith or the faiths of loved ones.

Here’s a look at how Graham is being remembered.

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham, the late reverend’s son, recalled something his father once said about Heaven. 

“My father … was once asked, ‘Where is Heaven?’ He said, ‘Heaven is where Jesus is and I am going to Him soon!’ This morning, he departed this world into eternal life in Heaven, prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ — the Savior of the world — whom he proclaimed for 80 years,” Franklin Graham said. 

Russell Moore

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, part of the Southern Baptist Convention, said it’s almost “impossible” to count the number of people he knows who have become Christians through Graham’s work.

In an interview with Fox News, Moore praised the authenticity of Graham, saying he was someone who was the same in both his public and private life.

“My earliest memories are watching him preach on television as a very small child. I remember being struck as a child with the gravity with which he took the Gospel. That continued with me for the rest of my life,” Moore said. “When I met Dr. Graham, that same sense of weightiness of the Gospel was evident in him personally – just as it was in public.”

“The death of Billy Graham is a time for all of us to reflect on the hope that he preached – forgiveness of sins and peace with God through Jesus Christ.”

– Russell Moore

Moore added that Graham was “successful” because his work wasn’t all about himself, comparing him to the John the Baptist.

“I think the death of Billy Graham is a time for all of us to reflect on the hope that he preached – forgiveness of sins and peace with God through Jesus Christ,” Moore said. “I hope there’s a great deal of reflection, not just on what he did, but why.” 

Greg Laurie

Pastor Greg Laurie went from watching Graham on his black and white television to attending one of his crusades in San Diego, California, to serving with him as a board member on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“I wasn’t in any way disappointed that I got to know him. He was every much the man you would have hoped he would be,” Laurie, the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational church in New York City, told Fox News.

Laurie said Graham, who he has been friends with since the early 1990s, was a “very humble man” who enjoyed meeting and talking with new people. Graham was faithful in his message, Laurie said, which was simply: We’re all sinners, but God loves us and sent his son to die for us.

“I don’t think anyone will ever take Billy’s place. But we can all, in our own way, follow his example and proclaim the same Gospel as he did.”

– Greg Laurie

“I don’t think anyone will ever take Billy’s place. But we can all, in our own way, follow his example and proclaim the same Gospel as he did,” Laurie said. 

Samuel Rodriguez

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez recalled watching Graham preaching on his black and white television when he was a young teenager. His sermons about reaching the world with the gospel inspired Rodriguez to do the same, he told Fox News.

The president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Rodriguez praised Graham as the “quintessential unifier,” pointing, in particular, to the integration of his crusades at a time when segregation was prevalent.

“No Christian leader in modern history brought more unity to the Christian body than Billy Graham,” he said.

“He understood that every single person is created in the image of God without exception,” Rodriguez said of Graham, who he also called a “civil rights advocate.”

Additionally, Rodriguez said Graham brought together different factions of Christianity – charismatics and non-charismatics – through his preaching.

“He taught me if you teach the word, but most importantly if you live the word, if your character lines up with your rhetoric, then God will convict the hearts of mankind,” said Rodriguez. 

Anne Graham Lotz

When evangelist Anne Graham Lotz thinks of the late preacher, she doesn’t necessarily think of the public figure – but her father, she said in a statement.

“But when I think of him I also think of his message because he was immersed in it. Saturated in it. He was his message…a simple man who had responded to God’s love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life,” Lotz, an author, said. “Simple faith. Faith that matters more than anything else.”

Lotz recalled that she’s said she was raised by a single parent, as Graham was often away for his ministry.

“Now, he has left again. This time, he will not be coming back. At least, not until Jesus does, too,” Lotz said. “While he may be physically absent and his voice silent, I am confident that his message will continue to reverberate throughout the generations to come.”

She said she hopes her father’s death will be a “rallying cry” for others to “rise up to take his place.” 

Lee Strobel

Author of the bestseller “Case for Christ,” Lee Strobel tweeted a simple message following Graham’s death.

“A life of sharing the Good News with the world. Well done, good and faithful servant!” he wrote.

Beth Moore

Author and evangelist Beth Moore also took to Twitter to remember Graham.

“There simply will never be another Billy Graham,” she posted. “What a gift of God to this world.”

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in the Charlotte area, paid tribute to Graham.

“You showed us how to leave the 99 for the 1. Thank you, Dr. Graham,” Furtick tweeted.

His social media post referenced the Biblical parable about a shepherd who leaves his flock of 99 safe sheep to look for the one that wandered off.  

Robert Morris

Founding pastor of Gateway Church, a megachurch in the Dallas area, Robert Morris said he was praying for Graham’s family.

“Rev. Billy Graham was one of the most faithful followers of Jesus. He made a huge impact in my life, and even led my wife, Debbie, to the Lord,” Morris said on Twitter. “This world will miss him, but we celebrate that he is now with the One he loved so much.”

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer, the president of LifeWay Christian Resources, remembered one of his last conversations with Graham.

“Last time I was with Billy Graham, he said he missed his wife, Ruth, and he missed heaven. Now he is present for the great reunion,” Rainer said. “May we remember his legacy and may we follow his passion for evangelism.”

Ruth Graham, his wife of more than 60 years, died in 2007.

Joel Osteen

Evangelist and author Joel Osteen shared photos of himself with Graham with his Twitter followers, calling the late religious leader a “hero in our home.”

“Next to my own father, Reverend Graham was the most humble and gracious man I ever knew. I am honored to call him a friend and mentor,” Osteen said.

Dave Ramsey

Author and financial counselor Dave Ramsey remembered Graham as “possibly the greatest man of the last 100 years.”

“The world is darker today as Billy Graham goes home,” Ramsey said. “Thousands of souls applauding in Heaven as he walks in and hears: ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’”

Jerry Falwell

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell expressed his prayers for Graham’s family on social media.

“The Christian faith has lost its greatest orator of the last century who gave hope to billions that, even [though] we are all sinners, there is hope & eternal life thru faith in Jesus Christ,” Falwell said. 

THE ONE THING BILLY GRAHAM WOULD WANT US TO REMEMBER

David Platt

Pastor David Platt shared one of Graham’s famous quotes on social media.

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

John Piper

At the conclusion of Graham’s sermons during his crusades, he would often end with the hymn, “Just As I Am” – also the title of his autobiography.

Renowned author Pastor John Piper shared some of the lyrics from the 1835 song on social media.

Tony Evans

Pastor Tony Evans honored Graham with a social media post, calling him “one of the greatest evangelists of all time.”

“Welcome home, my friend,” he said.

Mattie Montgomery

President of the Awakening Evangelism ministry Mattie Montgomery praised Graham’s legacy on social media.

“A faithful servant entered into the joy of his master today. God, raise up more like Billy Graham, who will stay faithful and focused, who will run the race with endurance!!”

Cardinal Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said his family had “respect and admiration” for Graham, despite a difference in religious beliefs.

“There was no question that the Dolans were a Catholic family, firm in our faith, but in our household there was always respect and admiration for Billy Graham and the work he was doing to bring people to God.” 

Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said Graham was “an exemplar to generation upon generation of modern Christians.”

“When it comes to a living and lasting influence upon the worldwide church he can have few equals: for he introduced person after person to Jesus Christ,” said the archbishop, the leader of the Church of England.

“Now he is face to face with Jesus Christ, his saviour and ours. It is the meeting he has been looking forward to for the whole of his life.”

– Archbishop of Canterbury

“The debt owed by the global church to him is immeasurable and inexpressible,” Welby continued. “Personally I am profoundly grateful to God for the life and ministry of this good and faithful servant of the gospel; by his example he challenged all Christians to imitate how he lived and what he did.”

“He was one who met presidents and preachers, monarchs and musicians, the poor and the rich, the young and the old, face to face. Yet now he is face to face with Jesus Christ, his saviour and ours. It is the meeting he has been looking forward to for the whole of his life.”

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.



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Manuel Neuer: Footballer who wore rainbow armband during Euro 2020 games won’t face disciplinary action | World News

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German footballer Manuel Neuer will not face disciplinary action for wearing a rainbow armband during his Euro 2020 games.

UEFA has said there is no case to answer, adding that the Bayern Munich goalkeeper was “promoting a good cause”.

Neuer, 35, has worn the armband for games against France and Portugal, to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.

But the sport’s European governing body has been investigating whether his actions could be seen as a political statement, which is not allowed.

A spokesperson said: “UEFA looked into the armband worn by the player in question and, considering that it was promoting a good cause, ie diversity, the team will not face disciplinary proceedings.”

The German Football Association said on Twitter that it had also received a letter from UEFA confirming the matter was closed.

They wrote: “UEFA have today shared with the DFB that they have stopped the review of the rainbow captain’s armband worn by Manuel Neuer.

“In a letter, the armband has been assessed as a team symbol for diversity and thus for a ‘good cause’.”

The association has previously said Neuer wears the rainbow-armband as a symbol of “the whole team’s clear commitment to diversity, openness, tolerance and against hatred and exclusion”.

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Tony Dell: The Australian cricketer who fought in Vietnam – and struggled for decades with the horrors of war | US News

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Tony Dell was in his mid-60s, estranged from his wife and children and living in his mother’s garage when he realised his life had reached rock bottom.

For a man who had played Test cricket for his country and created a successful advertising business, it represented a dizzying and dramatic decline.

It took a chance meeting to lead Dell to a moment of discovery, and a remarkable journey on the path to helping himself and others.

Tony Dell is the only Test cricketer to have fought in the Vietnam war. Pic: Tony Dell
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Dell pictured during his military service in Vietnam. Pic: Tony Dell

His story is one rooted in sport and conflict but also the issue of mental health that continues to challenge society to this day.

Tony Dell is the only surviving Test cricketer to have seen action in a major theatre of war. He is also the only Test cricketer to have fought in the Vietnam war.

That he served Australia in combat and in cricket is even more peculiar because Tony Dell was officially still a “Pom” at the time, born and raised in Hampshire.

He was 15 when his family emigrated down under and he was dispatched to Vietnam after his number came up in Australia’s National Service lottery.

When he returned from a year-long tour of duty, he picked up where he had left off as a promising cricketer.

Tony Dell is the only Test cricketer to have fought in the Vietnam war. Pic: Tony Dell
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Dell joined Australia’s National Service. Pic: Tony Dell

After a handful of first-class games, he was picked for an Ashes Test in February 1971 against the country of his birth.

“I felt like I had arrived,” Dell said.

Instead of the being the start of something though, it marked the beginning of the end.

His cricket and private life began to fail, a harrowing journey for him and especially his family.

Tony Dell was born and raised in Hampshire but played international cricket for Australia. Pic: Tony Dell
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Dell was born and raised in Hampshire but played international cricket for Australia. Pic: Tony Dell

It was that fluke meeting in his 60s, 40 years after coming home from Vietnam, that led to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Suddenly all the pain and suffering, the anxiety and dysfunction, started to make sense.

He realised he had never confronted the horrors he had witnessed on the battlefield and, like so many before and since, had lived in silence with the awful consequences.

Tony Dell is the only Test cricketer to have fought in the Vietnam war. Pic: Tony Dell
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Dell was diagnosed with PTSD 40 years after coming home from Vietnam. Pic: Tony Dell

Dell has revealed to me the full traumatic story of his battle for a new book, And Bring The Darkness Home, published this week.

His resolve to do something for those who suffered like him led him on a journey.

His non-profit organisation Stand Tall for PTS has become a movement for greater awareness and support for military veterans, first responders and other victims.

Proceeds from sales of the book will support the charity’s work. Dell is hopeful of one day seeing a Test match designated as an event to raising awareness of mental health and PTSD.

Like so many veterans, Dell said, he had avoided talking about his time in combat. Even teammates such as the Australian cricket legend Greg Chappell had no idea he had ever been in Vietnam.

Tony Dell played alongside former Australia captain Greg Chappell for Queensland in the mid-1970s. Pic: Tony Dell
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Dell played alongside former Australia captain Greg Chappell for Queensland in the mid-1970s. Pic: Tony Dell

The cost to society is statistics like this: every day in the US, 22 military veterans take their own lives.

It is the overwhelming need for help that drives Dell on.

“The more I talk about it, the more that people see its not just them going through it, the more it can encourage them to talk, then I have done something worthwhile,” he says.

“It is my therapy. Let’s see what we can do to help others.”

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Alabama: Nine children killed in pile-up, including six from a home for abused and neglected young people | US News

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Nine children are among 10 people who have been killed in a multi-vehicle crash in Alabama.

The pile-up happened on a road that had been soaked with rain because of a tropical depression.

Eight of the children who died were travelling in a van that was heading to a home for abused and neglected young people.

Candice Gulley, the ranch director, was the van’s only survivor. She is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Two of the children killed in the van were Ms Gulley’s own children, aged four and 16.

They were returning to the ranch from a nearby beach, and the van caught fire after the crash.

The Alabama Sheriff's Girls Ranch CEO Michael Smith talks to CNN Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Camp Hill, Ala. Smith was discussing the loss of eight children in a vehicle crash. Pic: AP
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Michael Smith, chief executive of the ranch, said words could not explain what he had seen at the site. Pic: AP

Michael Smith, the ranch’s chief executive, visited the scene of the crash on Saturday and said: “This is the worst tragedy I’ve been a part of in my life.

“Words cannot explain what I saw. We love these girls like they’re our own children.”

Cody Fox, 29, and his nine-month-old daughter, were in another vehicle and were also killed.

Mr Fox worked at his county’s emergency management agency and also ran a hot tub business with his father.

Colleague Aaron Sanders said: “He was a great guy and we’re really going to miss him. He just loved (his daughter) to death and that was his life.”

The crash happened on Saturday about 35 miles south of Montgomery on the Interstate 65, with authorities saying the vehicles most likely hydroplaned on the wet roads.

A number of people were also injured and photos showed at least four burned vehicles, including two large trucks.

Sheriff Danny Bond wrote on Facebook: “Butler County has had one of the most terrible traffic accidents. I believe it is the worst ever in our county.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said it had sent 10 investigators to the area and the local school, which was attended by most of the ranch residents, will have counsellors available to students.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the ranch cover the cost of funerals, medical bills, and counselling for those affected.

Also, in Tuscaloosa, about 60 miles southwest of Birmingham, a 24-year-old man and three-year-old boy were killed on Saturday when a tree fell on their house.

A flooded neighborhood is seen after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021. The National Hurricane Center declared Claudette organized enough to qualify as a named storm early Saturday, well after the storm's center of circulation had come ashore southwest of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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Claudette passed through Slidell in Louisiana on Saturday when it was categorised as a storm

Tropical Depression Claudette had been categorised as a storm when it arrived over the southeastern part of the US in the early hours of Saturday.

It was downgraded to a tropical depression a few hours later but still had enough power to prompt flood and storm warnings for parts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Heavy rain also lashed Mississippi and Louisiana on Saturday.

Forecasters have said it will strengthen back to tropical storm status on Monday over eastern North Carolina before moving into the Atlantic Ocean.

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