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Evangelist Billy Graham celebrates his 99th birthday

Nashville, Tennessee, United States—Famed evangelist Billy Graham celebrated his 99th birthday November 7, 2017, with lemon cake while sermons from his prolific international ministry were played on the airwaves around the clock.

Social media swarmed with birthday greetings to Graham, who lives with nursing care at the same home in Montreat, North Carolina, where he and his late wife Ruth Bell Graham reared their five children.

“I am not a great preacher, and I don’t claim to be a great preacher,” he once said. “I’m an ordinary preacher, just communicating the gospel in the best way I know how.”

Zondervan Publishing announced the upcoming Graham biography, A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story, set for a March 2018 release. Graham personally chose as the book’s author, William Martin, a Rice University religion and public policy professor.

The book will expound on Graham’s autobiography Just as I Am, Zondervan said, by going “further behind the scenes to explain the conditions that made it possible for Graham to achieve his spectacular success and to reveal how sometimes he succeeded in spite of himself.”

“His mind is good, but he’s quieter these days,” Graham’s son Franklin Graham said of his father. “He can’t see or hear well, but his health is stable. As a family, we are just so very grateful that he is still with us.” Billy Graham’s daughter and noted speaker Anne Graham Lotz joined Franklin Graham in offering reflections. Remarks from former US presidents were also featured.

The patriarch launched The Hour of Decision broadcast 67 years ago, which was designed to continue only if sufficient financial contributions came, Jim Kirkland, director of audio media services for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said. The unexpected influx of monetary support birthed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Kirkland said, because Graham needed a mechanism to handle the funds.

When Billy Graham was 15, his father and other businessmen in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, gathered on the Grahams’ dairy farm to pray for revival in their city—specifically that God would raise up someone from Charlotte to spread the gospel world-wide. Later that year, 1934, Billy Graham dedicated his life to Jesus Christ after hearing traveling evangelist Mordecai Ham. By the time he graduated high school, the young Billy Graham wrote in his yearbook, “My hopes and plans for the future are to serve God and do His will as a minister of the Gospel.”

In evangelistic outreaches and crusades, Graham preached to nearly 215 million people in live audiences across 185 countries and territories. [Kentucky Today]

TED-Style Life-Enrichment Talks Attract Hundreds in Australia

20-minute presentations focus on “health, hope, and happiness.”

Toowoomba , Queensland , Australia—More than 800 people attended a TED-style weekend of presentations, and more than double that number watched those presentations online.

PROPHETICA 2017 featured a diverse list of presenters, including award-winning cookbook author Sue Radd, leading lifestyle disease researcher Ross Grant, radio host and history buff Lyle Southwell, and former punk rocker turned pastor David Asscherick.

The 20-minute presentations included numerous ways for audience members to participate in question- and-answer sessions, including a mobile text line, meet-and-greet sessions, and meet-the-host dinners.

Event organizer Julian Archer was thrilled by the community response. “It was so encouraging for our amazing team to see hundreds of people from all walks of life purchasing tickets to an event that offered them the latest scientifically proven techniques for increasing their health, hope, and happiness.”

While many attendees were from the local area, quite a number traveled up to 60 miles (100 kilometers) to attend the event.

Students from Avondale College of Higher Education found the opportunity to hear such polished presenters to be beneficial and took back skills and techniques learned from the short but information-heavy presentations.

“The caliber of the speakers and their knowledge of the subject matter was fantastic,” said Aniele, a third-year student.

The group was sponsored by the Avondale Ministerial Training Scholarship Fund, set up in 2001 to help support ministry and theology students with potential for full-time ministry to pursue extra learning experiences.

The PROPHETICA 2017 team has been asked to consider holding similar events in other cities.

You can watch the presentations on Prophetica.com. [Jarrod Stackelroth and Michaela Truscott, Adventist Record]

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