Rev. Graham speaks to Oregon pastors

cnnw-logoBy Christian News Northwest

Despite the multitude of serious threats and problems facing America, God can still turn things around in a big way, and evangelist Frankln Graham’s Decision America tour could well spark that desperately needed change, about 75 pastors and ministry leaders were told here last month.

At a special promotional luncheon March 9 for Graham’s upcoming tour stop outside the Oregon State Capitol at noon on Tuesday, June 28, three people passionately spoke of the importance of the rally they are helping coordinate.

The luncheon took place at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.

“We are in trouble on many fronts, but God is not going to be defeated,” said Dallas Anderson, a South Dakota resident and Western field representative for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “God has won, and He can still win in our nation.”

A similar luncheon was held the previous day in Olympia, Wash., to promote the Decision America stop that Graham will make outside the Washington State Capitol there at noon on Wednesday, June 29.

Believing that America is at a critical crossroads, Graham is holding rallies in all 50 state captials, preaching the Gospel and challeing followers of Christ to live out their faith at home, in public and at the ballot box. The tour began in January and many thousands have turned out at each event thus far.

One of Graham’s major themes is that the only hope for America is not politics, but a fresh move of God, prompted by the prayers of His people.

Anderson echoed that theme in Salem.

“I hope that everyone has switched to one party, led by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” he said. “That is the only hope for our nation … the only hope is to turn back to God.”

But for God to respond, there has to be a sincere desire for His presence in America, said Anderson.

“I believe God is at work across our nation … but until we adopt a spirit of desperation, God will not answer,” he said.

The response so far at the rally events nationally is a reason for optimism, he said: “ I believe there is a spirit of desperation building.”

He noted, however, that the tour is not the only way that God is calling the nation to Himself. “Decision America is one stream of the many things that God is doing,” he said.

A key to God’s intervention is a demonstration of true repentance for the nation’s sins, he said.

“It’s not just enough to confess our sin, but to turn from sin and repent,” Anderson said. He added that there is an “incredible need” for revival in the Church.

“Revival happens when God is so tired of being misrepresented, that He shows up to represent Himself,” he said, prompting applause from the luncheon attenders.

Anderson told the pastors they and their churches play a critical role.

“God is calling churches to prepare their people for a movement of God,” he said.

Because the Pacific Northwest has a national reputation for resistance to the things of God, the re-gion is a wonderful place for Him to do something really notable, Anderson emphasized.

“If God pours out His presence on Oregon, there’s not going to be a single person in the nation who will say ‘That’s because Oregon is the ‘Bible Belt,’ ’’ he said, drawing much laughter.

Keith Lamm, pastor of Hopewell Community Church near Salem and an Oregon representative for the Graham team, agreed with Anderson that there is a spiritual hunger waiting to be satisfied with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“I’m convinced that people are looking for Him,” Lamm said.

Closing out the luncheon remarks was Steve Rhoads, vice president at the North Carolina-based Graham association. Responding to a comment from one of those attending, Rhoads said a change in Oregon law last year that allows teens to get state-subsidized sex-change operations without their parents’ knowledge is a prime example of a society losing its Godly moorings.

“It’s a circus,” he said. “It’s a zoo. “It’s a perfect illustration of where the world’s going to go.”

A fresh move of the Holy Spirit is sorely needed both here and across the nation, and it must start with God’s people, said Rhoads. “We all need revival, a new sense of wonder, like when we first got saved,” he said.

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