It was the year 1980.
A mom of four, wild and rambunctious boys had come to know Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior a few months prior. A close friend had invited her to attend a Bible study. And Diann quickly obliged. She was sick and tired of those bible thumping, goody-two-shoe Christians telling her how to live her life. Hmph. What difference would Jesus make anyhow?
With ulterior motives, Diann planned and schemed to convince all the Christians in the room that Jesus wasn’t real. How he was some made-up, imaginary friend that people talked to as a way to cope with life’s difficulties. Why…if He were real…why was her life so hard?
The women in the bible study handed Diann a bible that day, and she began to read. She planned to read it from cover-to-cover and undermine its authenticity at their next meeting. She wrote down her arguments and continued to muse…“I bet I can change everyone’s mind.”
But, funny thing…she couldn’t put the good book down. It continued to draw her in. As if someone were personally speaking directly to her. Addressing her concerns. Peeling her heart open wide.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
And now that she had met Jesus, she wanted her family to know Him as well. When she heard Billy Graham was coming to Reno to speak, she asked her husband if he would go along for the ride.
Packing two of their teenage boys, her husband Jim agreed to the 45-minute drive. His plan was to drop them off at the Coliseum while he hung out at the neighbouring casino with the all-you-can-eat ribeye.
However, upon arriving, he decided to go in for a bit. Just to hear the music from a converted rock star. He would slip out in a few minutes. Purposefully picking a seat in the very last row.
But then Billy Graham got on stage and Jim felt glued to his seat, unable to go anywhere. He listened to every word from his mouth…and when an altar call was given, Jim walked forward to give His life to the Lord.
When he turned around, he saw that his two boys came forward too. I know this story well…because this is my husband’s testimony. Jim and Diann are his mom and dad.
Thank you, Billy Graham!
Here is the sermon they listened to…so many years ago. Enjoy!