Hundreds of men and women—and boys and girls—made
decisions for Jesus Sunday night at Rock the Lakes. The family-friendly
evening attracted people of all ages, some 10,000 strong, for music from
Canton Jones, The Charlie Daniels Band and Michael W. Smith, and a
message of hope from Franklin Graham.
On the final night of Rock the Lakes in Milwaukee, the past and
present converged in a way that only God could ordain. Diane from
Kenosha, Wisc., came to Veterans Park clutching her copy of Billy Graham’s
autobiography, Just As I Am, believing that his son, Franklin, would
sign the book for her.
When she was younger, Graham played a
huge part in influencing Diane’s faith. But a series of difficulties
shook that foundation. Her son suffered brain damage after a drug
overdose and she also struggled with substance abuse.
the hard years, her hope would stir when she visited her sister who had a
copy of Just As I Am. Diane would read a few pages and find renewed
inspiration as she worked to overcome her addiction. As she read, her
walk grew stronger.
When Diane heard that Franklin Graham was
coming this weekend to Rock the Lakes, she knew she had to come—and she
dared to believe for a special touch from God. “I told my son that I was
going to get that book signed by Franklin,” she said. “I told him that
God was going to do a big thing for us.”
Diane recently inherited the treasured book from her sister.
a video clip that featured Michael W. Smith talking about how he
overcome substance abuse, she happened to share with a BGEA staff person
standing near her how she once struggled with drugs. “That was me,” she
said, pointing to the screen.
The staff member noticed Diane’s
copy of Just As I Am and asked her about it. That’s when the little
miracle began to take place—and soon Diane had her book signed.
“I just knew it,” she said with tears of joy running down her face. “I prayed God would do a big thing.”
After the younger Graham shared the gospel using the story of Zacchaeus from
Luke 19:1-10, Diane came forward at the invitation and recommitted her
life to Christ. “What happened with that book strengthened my faith,”
she said. “I really needed this.”
Graham also played a role during Rock the Lakes tonight for Donna, a
counselor from Waukesha, Wisc. She accepted Jesus as her Savior during the
1979 Billy Graham Crusade in Milwaukee. “That is why I am here serving,”
she said. “I wanted to give back to his ministry.”
herself reliving that moment from 1979 as she spoke with a brother and
sister who came forward, hand in hand, to accept Christ. “When I
counseled the woman, who is 58 and nervous about changing her life, I
was able to tell her my testimony,” said Donna. “I overcame the same
exact problem she is dealing with.”
Hundreds of other men and
women—and boys and girls—made decisions for Jesus tonight at Rock the
Lakes. The family-friendly evening attracted people of all ages, some
10,000 strong. Music from Canton Jones, The Charlie Daniels Band and
Michael W. Smith filled the evening air as kites danced on the lake
“We like the mix of music,” said Daryl and Sherone, who
brought their toddlers to the park. “And although there has been some
violence in Milwaukee recently at other events, we knew there wouldn’t
be alcohol here. We weren’t afraid to come.”
enjoyed Michael W. Smith, who dusted off his hit, “Friends,” for the
appreciative crowd. “I just love that song,” she said. “My husband and I
met in college and connected because of it.”
A visitor from
Chicago was touched by Smith in a different way. Paul, 30, is spending
the summer taking care of his 62-year-old mother, who is confined to a
wheelchair. When she insisted on coming to Rock the Lakes to hear
Michael W. Smith, he reluctantly agreed. “I heard of Charlie Daniels
before, but that was it,” he shared.
After listening to Smith
talk about how God loves us better than any earthly father—and that He
also likes us—Paul felt tears spring to his eyes. His own dad had
abandoned him when Paul was just 5. During the final song of the
evening, he came forward and decided to make “Abba Father” the Lord of
Used with permission of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.