Billy Graham

Thursday, June 6, 1996

About this Event

A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Moving toward the dawn of the third millennium. Questioning what kind of world the 21st century will be. The kind of world we are living in. Man-made calamities. Stories of Christian relief organisations. The speaker’s hope for the future. The kind of leaders the world will need. Qualities of leadership which will make our world a better place, “whatever the third millennium holds.” A discussion of those qualities the speaker feels will be necessary, including integrity, personal security, a sense of priority, sacrifice, and commitment. A challenge from the speaker to individuals who are committed to Jesus Christ. The need to “allow Christ to come into our lives and change us by His love and power.”

Leadership in the Third Millenium

Head Table Guests

Gareth Seltzer, Vice-President, Private Banking, Guardian Capital Advisors and a Director, The Empire Club of Canada; Dr. Brian Stiller, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada; Paul Henderson, former Toronto Maple Leaf and Director, Leadership Ministeries; Mrs. Joanna Campion; Allan Beattie, O.C., Vice-Chair of Board, Eaton's of Canada; Rev. Samuel Bianco, Rector, St. Michael's Catholic Cathedral; Bishop Douglas Blackwell, Anglican Diocese of Toronto; John A. Campion, Partner, Fasken Campbell Godfrey and Immediate Past President, The Empire Club of Canada; Beverly Mascoll, President, Mascoll Beauty Supply and Vice-President, The Canadian Club of Toronto; Peter Stevens, CFO, Trow Consulting; Mike Gartner, Toronto Maple Leafs; Rev. Canon Harold F. Roberts, Rector, St. Timothy's Church, Agincourt and a Past President, The Empire Club of Canada; Dr. Daniel Dryer, Chaplain and Director, King Bay Chaplaincy; and Libby Burnham, Counsel, Borden & Elliott, and President, The Canadian Club of Toronto.

Introduction by David Edmison

It is written in Mark, chapter 16, verse 15: "Go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every living creature." Our guest today has done just that. He has preached the gospel in over 180 countries to 180 million people in live audiences. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, satellite transmissions, instantaneous interpretation and fiberoptic telelinks, he has reached billions more globally.

It is a pleasure to welcome back to this podium, Dr. Billy Graham, who first appeared here 40 years ago, early on in his distinguished career. And what an active career it has been!

This is a far cry from the quiet rural farm life in which our guest was raised. As a youngster, his ambition was to become a first baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics. However, after attending a revival meeting during his senior year of high school, he experienced a religious conversion, and moved to a bigger league. Although he has not played ball in a stadium, Billy Graham has likely spent as much time in them as some baseball players. There is one difference: when he preaches in them, they are invariably full. In fact, last year at the Georgia Dome on a Saturday night, over 70,000 people came to hear him preach. Now, to put this in perspective, that exceeded the attendance at the Super Bowl by 10 per cent.

Since his first crusade in Los Angeles in 1949, he has taken the gospel behind the Iron Curtain, and travelled from Siberia to Saigon, from Africa to Alaska, and from Tokyo to Toronto. He has met with people from every walk of life, from native bushmen to world leaders. Every U.S. President since Harry Truman has sought his counsel.

Dr. Graham conducts his ministry through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It includes the weekly "Hour of Decision" radio programme, broadcast on more than 700 stations worldwide; a newspaper column, "My Answer, "reaching seven million readers; and "Decision" magazine which is read in 163 countries.

He has written 17 books, all best sellers. His latest book, "Storm Warning," examines our world today in light of biblical revelation, and offers hope and meaningful ways to meet the approaching storm. Dr. Graham has received dozens of honorary awards and he is listed by the Gallup organisation as one of the "ten most admired men in the world," chosen an unparalleled 36 times.

In his book, "To All Nations," the authorised biography of Billy Graham, author John Pollock wrote that our guest "believed that his special gift lay in the invitation to receive Christ." He looks at himself as, "primarily a door-keeper in the house of my God; helping people to enter; and once entered they will be aided by others to appreciate the treasures of the House and learn more fully to serve."

Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to warmly welcome a truly remarkable man, and a special "door-keeper," Dr. Billy Graham.

Billy Graham

Four and a half years from now, on New Year's Eve, 1999, the world will be celebrating the end of the second millennium and the dawn of the third millennium. Already major hotel ballrooms around the world have been booked, and I read about one Japanese travel agency that is chartering several cruise ships for the occasion. They will sail just west of the international dateline in the Pacific so their passengers will be the first to enter the year 2000; and then they can sail east across the dateline and become the last people to celebrate the arrival of the new year 24 hours later!

But what kind of world will the 21st century be? Will the third millennium usher in a golden age of progress and happiness, as some project? In his book "Global Paradox," John Naisbitt wrote, "We live in a time of great change, a time of new beginnings. We live in a time when many things are coming to an end." One writer in a special "Time" magazine issue on the coming millennium several months ago commented that "our descendants may encounter technological upheavals that could make 20th-century breakthroughs seem tame." Or will it be a time of political chaos or social upheaval or economic collapse or ecological disaster--as others speculate? In the same issue of "Time," one writer predicted the end of the nuclear family, and another forecast vast hordes of homeless children wandering aimlessly in the streets because they will have nowhere to go.

No one except God knows the future, of course, and that is not my purpose today anyway. What I do know is this: We are already living in a world that is beset by problems and upheavals and instability. Just a few weeks ago we all witnessed that frightening act of terrorism in Oklahoma City, and at least for us in America, the violent hole torn in that building was like a gaping wound ripped into our hearts. We sensed that somehow our society would never be the same, and the old values of trust and neighbourliness were being eroded by the acids of suspicion and hate and fear. And I thought how that event mirrors the world we live in today. Even as we enjoy this lunch today in comfortable surroundings, social and political tremors that we do not feel are shaking our world. The wars and disasters and human suffering in countries outside our own often go unnoticed as they happen. They may seem remote and unimportant. But we cannot escape their effects. It was a Canadian, Marshall McLuhan, who coined the phrase "global village" to describe the modern world, and today we have become a global village linked more closely to each other than ever before. What happens in one part of the world affects us all.

It is not only the natural disasters, but the man-made calamities that create the greatest anguish among people today. We have almost become deaf to the names of the many places where ethnic hatred has become a way of life, and death.

One of my sons heads a Christian relief organisation which seeks to give emergency aid to places that are facing disaster. His stories from his visits to places like Bosnia, Somalia, and Rwanda would break your heart. And I know you have many of these same problems here in Canada. I have read that by some estimates there are 5,000 teenagers living on the streets of Toronto. An article in "Maclean's" a few months ago described one of them--an angry young girl from Winnipeg who ran away from home after being physically abused by her father. On her jacket she wore a button that said: "God forgives, I don't." In another article I read that the suicide rate among 15 to 19-year-old Canadians has quadrupled in the last three decades. Among Aboriginal youths, the suicide rate is five to six times higher. Within a 50-mile radius of where we sit

today, there is enough heartache, pain and suffering to set alarm bells off.

Earlier this year, I watched the CBS three-hour programme entitled "The Killing Fields of America." Part of it was centred in a hospital in New York. The killings, wounding, and the suffering on just one Saturday night, in one city, and at one hospital should be enough to frighten us. And it's true of almost every city in the western world.

The world we are creating by our choices today is the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren. An Australian science writer and social analyst has said: "It may be that the greatest wrong we are doing to our children is ... the creation of a culture that gives them little more than themselves to believe in--and no cause for hope or optimism."

The two questions people ask me more than any other are: "Is the end of the world near?" and "Is there any hope in a world that seems to be coming apart?"

My answer, in the face of all these problems, is, "Yes, there is hope."

We don't know the future, of course. But whatever happens, the new millennium will bring new changes and new challenges, and the subject I would like to talk about today is this: What kind of leaders will our world need in the future?

According to the London-based 'think tank,' the International Institute for Strategic Studies, "...nations throughout the world are in a crisis of weak leadership leading to the most pronounced drift in foreign affairs since World War II. A pervading sense of impotence characterised international affairs during the past year... a period of drift (states the Institute in its May 4th 1994/5 strategic survey) ...weak leadership was common on all five continents."

What are the qualities of leadership which will make our world a better place, whatever the third millennium holds?

The first quality I mention is integrity.

Integrity means moral honesty and purity in our lives. It means having firm moral and spiritual standards, and following them. It means refusing to take the shortcuts that no one may ever know about, but are nevertheless wrong.

Integrity means a man is the same on the inside as he claims to be on the outside. There is no discrepancy between what he says and what he does. Solomon wrote long ago: "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." (Proverbs 10:9. NIV).

Ruthworth Kidder, writing in "Education Week" magazine, has said: "Ethics is not a luxury. It's as essential to our survival as clean water and sunlight." Nancy Austin, writing in "Working Woman" magazine, says: "The best way to prepare yourself for making complex ethical judgments on the spot is to practice on the small challenges you face every day."

The second quality which I believe is necessary for leadership is personal security.

I do not mean this in the sense of physical security, or job security. But I am instead talking about personal, internal security--the kind which comes from knowing and accepting whom we are, why we are here, and where we are going. I do not mean by this just self-confidence or having a strong ego, or having a personal security which comes from your own abilities or talents or the approval of other people. Instead, it comes from an understanding that we are God's creatures, and that He has a plan for our lives.

George Washington said: "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education and minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

We need a proper emphasis on the spiritual aspect of life. You are not just a body or a mind. God created you with a spiritual nature also.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn warned: "We have placed too much hope in politics and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life... We are in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the celebrated technological achievements of progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the 20th century's moral poverty. We need a spiritual blaze."

That is one reason why I believe the only real source of lasting personal security is God Himself. Only in Him do we find out whom we are, why we are here, and where we are going. As a person comes to know God in a real and personal way, he becomes truly secure.

Personal security includes a sense of inner peace--peace with God and with oneself. Jesus once said to his followers, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27, NIV).

Besides integrity and personal security, the third quality which is necessary in a leader is a sense of priority. This is the ability to separate the important from the unimportant. Until a person gets his or her priorities in life straight, everything else is going to be out of order. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien got it right when he chose for his reading at the National Prayer Breakfast in Ottawa last month that passage in the twelfth chapter of Luke where Jesus rebuked a rich fool who focussed on his material wealth but ignored his soul. "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (So be not anxious) for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more that (food), and the body is more than raiment." (Luke 12:21-23).

Most of you are adept at planning--at your office, or running a home. But many of you don't give much attention to your own 'life plan' and the direction you're going, and why. Most of us live from day-today so swamped by the pressures and details of daily life that we don't take the time to think about our goals in lifer the after-life. When Jesus was asked to state life's greatest priority, he said: "Seek first (God's) kingdom and his righteousness." (Matthew 2:33, NIV). He also said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart ... all your soul ... all your mind, and with all your strength" and "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." (Mark 12:30, 31 RSV). Once that priority has been established, then the rest of life can be seen and lived in a proper perspective.

What is your priority in life? Is God first in your life? We do not call people to the religion of Christianity, but to the person of Jesus Christ.

Fourth, the quality of sacrifice.

Why is it people today are often so cynical about leadership? I believe one reason is because they think most leaders--whether in politics, or education, or business, or even religion--are only in it for themselves, and for what they will get out of it. Our world needs leaders who are willing to sacrifice their own ambitions and own goals for the cause of a higher goal--the goal of doing God's will, of doing what is best for others and for this world.

One of the most admired men in the early decades of this century was Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a brilliant surgeon who gave his life to the impoverished people of Labrador and Newfoundland. For over 40 years he built schools and hospitals and co-operative economic endeavours all along the coast. What you may not know is that he undertook his work after hearing Dwight L. Moody, the American evangelist, challenge people to dedicate their lives to Christ. When someone would say to Grenfell, "Your life must be hard--a real sacrifice," he always replied, "Sacrifice? hardly." Then he always pointed to the sacrifices of Christ as the inspiration for his work. I have had the privilege of visiting Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and she exemplifies the kind of sacrifice that is often required for true leadership. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23, NIV). He then added, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36, NIV).

But finally, the kind of leadership our world will need in the year 2000 and beyond must include the quality of commitment.

Most of all, I challenge you to be individuals who are committed to Jesus Christ, because only in Him can you know what it fully means to have integrity, personal security, priority, vision, and sacrifice. As we yield ourselves to Him and come to a personal relationship with Him, and then walk day by day with Him and follow His Word--then we discover the qualities of leadership we need, and also the strength we need. For He alone exhibited these qualities of leadership perfectly in His own life.

A few minutes ago I told you that I have hope. I've read the last page of the Bible. In addition to giving the end of the human story, the last words of the book of Revelation contain what I believe is the greatest invitation ever given. "Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." (Revelation 22:17, NIV). This is the invitation of Jesus Christ to come to Him and find life. It's a call to find satisfaction, meaning and purpose. And it's an invitation to find the source of strength to lead and serve others. Jesus said: "Whoever believes in me ... streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:38 NIV). Jesus says, "Come to Me."

This is June 6, and exactly 51 years ago today the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy. Queen Elizabeth has said: "There are only a few occasions in history when the course of human destiny depended on the events of a single day. June 6, 1944, was one of those days."

Perhaps this is the "single day" that will determine your personal destiny and your future, as you give your life to Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, I can think of no better time than today to renew your commitment. He invites you to come just as you are. His welcome is to everyone, everywhere, in every circumstance.

Years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary, after his second attempt to climb Mt. Everest, was back home discouraged and broken. Two of his best friends had died on that attempt to climb the high peaks of Mt. Everest. He was asked to address the Royal Geographic Society in London. As he addressed the group, he noticed behind him on the wall was a large mural of Mt. Everest. He interrupted himself, turned to the mountain and said: "I tried to conquer you once and you beat me. I tried to conquer you the second time and you took the lives of two of my best friends. But Everest, you will not be victorious. I will be victorious because you can't get any bigger, but I can."

Hillary knew that Mt. Everest could not be conquered by changing the mountain, but only by changing himself. And that is true with you and with me, as we allow Christ to come into our lives and change us by His love and power. You can leave this place having found Whom you need and what you need to be the leader this world so desperately needs.