Time For Hope!

 

Editor's note: CCOT generously supports the ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, including Franklin Graham's Operation Christmas Child and his recent preaching tours throughout America and around the world. Here is the latest prayer letter from Mr. Graham. It is a privilege to share the burden of this important and godly work. 
  
Blackpool, a city in Lancashire on England's northwest coast, desperately needs a message of hope. But some in Blackpool are determined to prevent that. 

The city has the shortest life expectancy in all of England, almost five years shorter than the rest of the country. The Guardian, a leading newspaper, referred to it as the unhealthiest place in the nation. Alcoholism, drugs, gambling, crime and violence are all epidemic. Suicide, overdose and poisoning are common. All-night binge drinking is legendary in Blackpool: cirrhosis of the liver has reached what public health officials consider catastrophic levels in this city. 

For a large portion of the city's population today, hopelessness is part of everyday life. 

A number of churches in Blackpool and the surrounding Lancashire area have been praying for their community for several years and extended an invitation to me to come hold evangelistic meetings in September. I'm going to share the Gospel—a message that is the only hope for the world—that God sent His Son to take our sins; that Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross for those sins; that He died and was buried, and that God raised Him to life again. If people in Blackpool, or anywhere else, put their trust in Him, they will have eternal life. 

Despite the desperate spiritual need, a small but influential group of activists hostile to the authority of God's Word are protesting the evangelistic event in Blackpool and taking steps to undermine or derail it if they can. They know that I will call sin what God calls sin in His Word, and they object to that. Most recently, ads for the event were ordered removed from city buses after activists persuaded the bus system's management that the ads might lead to "distress". 

Regardless of the hostility, I plan to preach the Word of God in Blackpool September 21-23, and we need your prayers. Pray for our partner churches and for me. It is through the power of prayer that we will have "boldness in our God to speak...the Gospel of God amid much opposition." 1 Thes 2:2

The Bible tells us that the Apostle Paul visited the ancient European coastal city of Ephesus, where he began preaching and teaching the Word of God. Opponents rose up who resisted Paul's ministry and spoke strongly negative things about the Gospel (see Acts 19:9). Nevertheless God did a great work there, many believed and "the Word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily." Acts 19:20 ESV

Will you join us in asking God to do the same in Blackpool? 

Our own nation, like the U.K. is increasingly overrun by secularism. Oregon and Washington are states that now rank among the most secularized in America. I am heading there at the beginning of August to preach the same Gospel that I'll be preaching in Blackpool. We will be taking the "Decision America Pacific Northwest Tour" to seven cities across the two states, and you can find details at DecisionAmerica.com.

Secularism is what the Bible calls "following the course of this world" Eph 2:2 ESV, a way of life and system of government that seeks to leave God out. John Stott, who was an evangelical scholar from the U.K. and a longtime friend of my father's said "a secularized society is characterized by repudiation of God, repudiation of moral absolutes, bureaucratic tyranny and materialism." That description is more and more true of our whole nation. 

The inroads of secularism in Oregon and Washington shouldn't be surprising—the two states have among the highest percentages in America of people who once were church-goers but now no longer attend. We want people across the Pacific Northwest to know that God loves them. We want them to know the truth about Jesus, who alone can give eternal life. Jesus said: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Jn 14:6 NKJV

Join us in praying that lost souls will be saved across Oregon and Washington, and in Blackpool. Ask Him to open "a door of hope" Hos 2:15 for people in both the Pacific Northwest and northwest England. Your prayers and gifts help bring that hope. We could not carry out this work that God has given us without you and we are grateful. 

May God richly bless you.

Franklin Graham

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Quite a World