Our country has erupted in chaos. The tragic death of George Floyd unleashed an avalanche of emotions and reactions. What took place in Minneapolis when this unarmed civilian was killed by a police officer is deeply disturbing. It’s inexcusable. Racism of any kind is evil.
Join me in praying for the family of George Floyd. Known as “Big Floyd” to his friends from his home of Houston, he had experienced the life-changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He worked in ministry for almost the past decade helping a church reach young people. He wasn’t perfect; like all of us, there were times when he slipped, when his past life tripped him up. But his heart hurt for the many inner-city youth who get caught up in violence and drugs, and he did his best to help them come to know the Lord.
Law enforcement today is under even greater pressure than before. The vast majority of them are tremendous servants who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities. We need to pray that God would protect them.
The city of Minneapolis has a special place in my life, as it was the home of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) for some 50 years. Within hours of the first protests, we deployed Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains to minister and help calm the storm that was unfolding there.
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Uncontrolled anger, violence, and destruction are not the answers to our problems. More government aid programs and dismantling or defunding the police are not the answers either. We must turn to God in repentance and faith, humbling ourselves before Him. Only then can real healing take place. Our problems are spiritual and moral at their root, and God’s Word gives us practical truths on how we can live peacefully with each other.
The Bible says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19–21, ESV).
Jesus dealt with issues of racial discrimination when He told the parable of the Good Samaritan. He pointed out to His listeners that a man of an ethnicity they looked down on, even despised, was the hero, doing the right thing in helping a victim of violence and injustice. And Jesus told us to go and do likewise.
All people are created in God’s image, and every life is precious to Him. The Bible teaches us to love others as we love ourselves. We should treat others the way we want to be treated. And even more, we are to treat others as God has already treated us in Christ, with grace and mercy. Our crisis-trained chaplains were in Minneapolis to live out this love as they provide emotional and spiritual care in the wake of riots and ongoing protests.
After stopping at a gas station our BG-RRT chaplains noticed a young woman sitting on some luggage outside. One chaplain said, “I want you to know that God loves you.” She immediately began talking with them and asking questions about the Lord. Right there, the woman made the decision to give her life to Jesus Christ. She told the chaplains, “Now I know God is real.”
Another chaplain stood in front of a Spanish grocery store and began a conversation with a lady and her daughter, talking about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. They talked to the chaplain about their lives and were very receptive to hear more. Using the Gospel booklet “Steps to Peace With God,” the chaplains explained what it means to put your faith in the Lord. Both mother and daughter prayed to receive Christ into their lives and surrender to Him as Savior and Lord right there in the grocery store parking lot.
We deployed a dozen chaplains to Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina, after several days of protests to pray with people and offer encouragement and the hope of Jesus Christ. They found many protesters grateful for their presence and the opportunity to pray.
BG-RRT chaplains were also on the ground in Midland County, Michigan, after the evacuation of 10,000 people as a result of what was called a 500-year flood. Chaplains arrived at one house where the woman was visibly shaken. She had elaborately orchestrated her home to help her 3-year-old autistic son, and now it was washed away. One of the chaplains who happened to be on the team had a background as an occupational therapist, specializing in autism. The homeowner brightened, and the chaplain was able to provide comfort and encouragement in caring for the child. The conversation turned to spiritual matters, and the chaplains shared the Gospel with the lady. We praise God that the woman prayed through tears to accept Jesus Christ into her life, and she ended her prayer with joy on her face.
Historic flooding swept away parts of the Midland area in Michigan, bringing heartache and destruction to many.
My son Will recently shared the Gospel via a webcast. Many people from 50 countries participated as he spoke about God’s promise to rescue us out of our brokenness. In early July, he will livestream a message from South Dakota about freedom in Jesus Christ, an online Celebration you and your church can invite people to watch as an evangelistic outreach.
We need to pray for our leaders like the president and vice president as well as governors and mayors. They need the wisdom, grace, and courage of the Lord to do what is necessary to restore order and the rule of law to our nation. The greatest weapon and the most powerful defense we have is prayer.
Thank you for your partnership. Because of your prayers and gifts, His Name and Word are going forth in these desperate times.
May God Richly Bless You!