World-renowned evangelist Billy Graham offers some insights into how he came to faith in Jesus Christ as a teenager in this six-part compilation of true stories (his own and that of others) of overcoming doubt, illness and adversity en route to discovering the power of living faith. Over a span of six decades, Graham has preached to millions of people the world over about making a decision for Christ. In this text, fellow believers will read about his personal decision to be a "living, breathing worker for God."
Graham recalls wandering into his first revival meeting in 1934 in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a 16-year-old just curious as to what "all the shouting was about." On the first evening, Graham admitted to sensing some strange stirrings inside of himself. On the second evening, he wrestled with his pride and egotism as they called for a public commitment. Months later, after exhaustive prayer sessions, Graham writes that he decided to make religion his career. That decision, though pivotal, was only the beginning of the journey, for Graham needed to put himself through Bible college and did so by selling brushes and practiced his preaching to the swampland critters of every sort. Then came preaching to real live folk at a gospel meeting. When asked what good it does to a person to give one's life to God, Graham recounts his reasons. "He (God) forgave my sins; He gave me peace of mind; He took away my fear of death. He stirred up creative powers within me that I never realized existed."
From this inauspicious beginning, LED TO BELIEVE shares the life-altering, coming-to-faith stories of both well-known and not-so-well-known personages. Readers will appreciate learning about the home life of the Grahams, as both Ruth Bell Graham and her daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, offer their views on living as real, breathing, sometimes struggling people of faith. Other stories of interest include the Graham Crusades' longtime vocalist George Beverly Shea's own walk to faith and author Kenneth Taylor's story of translating the King James Version into The Living Bible. A few stories include physical healing as well as spiritual transformation.
Another fascinating portion of this text includes an interview with Billy Graham as conducted by the editors of Guideposts. Graham dispenses his humble, homespun wisdom at every turn as he is asked what specific mental attitudes or conditions make it difficult for a person to take that step of faith. He replies that intellectualism can indeed inhibit faith, which is why the evangelist underscores that it is the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit who must do His work first in preparing hearts to believe. An additional block is the high standard of moral demands by Christ that many are unwilling to meet; some simply procrastinate or are complacent.
Yet Graham's mantra is clear. He shares the Gospel message and moves on, but the Holy Spirit stays behind and carries on after he is gone. Writes Graham: "We have to put our trust in where salvation is concerned; the work of the Holy Spirit."
Reviewed by Michele Howe on November 13, 2011