Billy Graham’s Pastor Challenges Men to be Authentic, Humble
By Jocelyn Hu
Some were little boys. Some used walking canes.
Some wore jeans and cowboy boots. Others wore button-up shirts and dress pants.
Some were black. Some were white.
Most had Bibles tucked under their arms.
This past Saturday, nearly 300 men who appeared to have nothing in common came together at the Billy Graham Library for the second annual Men's Breakfast and Tour.
They heard a message from Don Wilton, the man who pastors America's Pastor, Billy Graham.
And, of course, they enjoyed a delicious buffet-style breakfast.
One of those men was Lowell Gaskin, who brought his two teenage grandsons Jussley and his namesake, Lowell Davis.
This is not a new concept for Gaskin, who brings Jussley and Lowell with him to a weekly men's Bible study in nearby Rock Hill, S.C. As the grandfather of boys, this men's breakfast seemed to be the perfect opportunity for not just memory making, but disciple making.
"When I heard that Billy Graham's pastor was going to be here to speak, I knew I had to come and I knew I had to bring the boys," said Gaskin. "When I think about all the people Billy Graham has influenced for Christ, I am amazed. So, I can imagine that his pastor has some neat insight to offer."
Lowell Gaskin (center) attended the breakfast and tour with his grandsons Lowell Davis, 13 (L) and Jussley Davis, 18 (R). Gaskin moved to the Charlotte area a decade ago to be a part of his grandsons' lives. The Saturday morning event is an extension of their spiritual mentoring relationship.
As the men filed into the BGEA dining hall and finished their breakfast, Don Wilton took the podium and asked a simple question: "Who are you today?"
Using his dear friend Billy Graham as an example, he explained the importance of being in private who we claim to be in public.
Having spent a great deal of time with him behind closed doors, he attested to the sincerity of his faith-and his prayer life.
"I can tell you that the man you have seen on television, on a podium, is the same man I have seen on his knees," explained Wilton. "When he cries out to God in prayer on behalf of others, I have heard him speak as though he is focused on an individual-not the masses."
On the heels of that example, he then challenged the men: "Who are you at work? Who are you on the golf course? Who are you at home? Does your outer façade match your inner struggle? It's interesting how we men tend to have our façade."
He went on to share a message from the short book of Philemon. Using Paul's words as inspiration, he said to the men, "These are the kind of words I could hear my friend (Billy Graham) using as he would encourage each of you as individuals-if he had the opportunity."
Focusing on the first few verses, he stressed the importance of being thankful, prayerful, peaceful and evangelistic just as Paul was and wrote from prison in his remarks to Philemon.
"As men, we are to be all those things, and we need to stand up and be counted," said Wilton. "So, I ask again-who are you?"
Before Wilton ended the program with prayer of salvation (in which several responded), he encouraged these men that they cannot be who they are supposed to be by their own power: "I am constantly reminded that I am who I am because of the grace of God."
And hopefully, 18-year-old Jussley left the breakfast with what he had hoped to gain-a more authentic relationship with the One who saved him a long time ago.
"I accepted Christ at a young age," he explained as he first arrived. "I just hope I leave today with my papa and my brother just a little closer to Him than I was when I got here this morning."
If you missed this breakfast, there is still a chance to hear Don Wilton speak in person soon. Make plans now to join him at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove at his Nov. 18-20 seminar, "Living Up to Him: Experiencing the Goodness of God Through the Ten Commandments."
Nearly 300 men and boys came from all over the region to hear insights from the man who pastors America's Pastor.