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Douglas W. Mize

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2nd View: John F. Kennedy, Billy Graham: irrecoverable moments in 1963

TAYLORS, S.C. (BP) -- It has been 50 years since that tragic day in Dallas when bullets from an assassin ended the life of our nation's 35th President John F. Kennedy. His death remains one of the darkest moments in our nation's history.

John F. Kennedy, Billy Graham: irrecoverable moments in 1963

TAYLORS, S.C. (BP) -- It has been 50 years since that tragic day in Dallas when bullets from an assassin ended the life of our nation's 35th President John F. Kennedy. His death remains one of the darkest moments in our nation's history. All who were old enough at the time still remember where they were when they heard the news in 1963. But as we pass the 50-year mark of this tragedy, we also recognize another famous figure of the 20th century. This month Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday. You already know these two men among the biggest historical figures of recent times, but what you may not know is their close association and a certain "irrecoverable moment" they shared before Kennedy's death. In the early '60s most of our country had a fondness for JFK. He still remains one of the most popular presidents ever. He averaged a 70 percent approval rating during his time in office. These were the days of "Camelot," and despite some pressing world issues that included the beginning of the conflict in Vietnam, the early '60s were viewed as a grand age. This all changed on Nov. 22, 1963. In fact, this horrific day served as a marker of a much more depressing age in our country with more terrible assassinations to come, escalating violence in Vietnam, the crime rate doubling and the drug age around the corner. Billy Graham had known JFK before he won the presidency in 1960. After Kennedy's victory, Graham made it clear that he would do anything to help the new president unify the nation under his leadership. Only a few days before the inauguration, Graham was invited to play golf with the president-elect. The two men enjoyed a conversation about world events and politics, but Graham was most passionate about their discussion of Jesus Christ and His pending return to earth for those who follow Him. Kennedy was so intrigued with their discussion that he requested to meet again with Graham concerning Christ. They continued to stay in touch through Kennedy's presidency and were together in February 1963 at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast. In Billy Graham's autobiography, "Just As I Am," he shares his memory of the morning's events. After the gathering, Kennedy and Graham walked out together toward the presidential motorcade on this particularly cold and snowy day. Suddenly the president stopped in his tracks, turned and invited Graham back to the White House so he could discuss something with him. But Graham was battling the flu. Fearing he'd make the president sick, he declined and asked if they could meet another time. The president agreed it could wait for a more convenient occasion. But that moment never came. For Graham, this moment will forever stay with him. In his book he wrote, "His hesitation at the car door, and his request, haunt me still. What was on his mind? Should I have gone with him? It was an irrecoverable moment." Today, Billy Graham is still making his life count for the Gospel of King Jesus. Earlier this month on the occasion of his 95th birthday he released maybe his final message for the world, titled, "The Cross."

John F. Kennedy, Billy Graham: irrecoverable moments in 1963

TAYLORS, S.C. (BP) -- It has been 50 years since that tragic day in Dallas when bullets from an assassin ended the life of our nation's 35th President John F. Kennedy. His death remains one of the darkest moments in our nation's history. [QUOTE@left@180=In a golf outing with Billy Graham shortly before his inauguration, JFK was so intrigued with their discussion that he requested to meet again with Graham matters of faith.]All who were old enough at the time still remember where they were when they heard the news in 1963. But as we pass the 50-year mark of this tragedy, we also recognize another famous figure of the 20th century. This month Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday. You already know these two men among the biggest historical figures of recent times, but what you may not know is their close association and a certain "irrecoverable moment" they shared before Kennedy's death. In the early '60s most of our country had a fondness for JFK. He still remains one of the most popular presidents ever. He averaged a 70 percent approval rating during his time in office. These were the days of "Camelot," and despite some pressing world issues that included the beginning of the conflict in Vietnam, the early '60s were viewed as a grand age. This all changed on Nov. 22, 1963. In fact, this horrific day served as a marker of a much more depressing age in our country with more terrible assassinations to come, escalating violence in Vietnam, the crime rate doubling and the drug age around the corner. Billy Graham had known JFK before he won the presidency in 1960. After Kennedy's victory, Graham made it clear that he would do anything to help the new president unify the nation under his leadership. Only a few days before the inauguration, Graham was invited to play golf with the president-elect. The two men enjoyed a conversation about world events and politics, but Graham was most passionate about their discussion of Jesus Christ and His pending return to earth for those who follow Him. Kennedy was so intrigued with their discussion that he requested to meet again with Graham concerning Christ. They continued to stay in touch through Kennedy's presidency and were together in February 1963 at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast. In Billy Graham's autobiography, "Just As I Am," he shares his memory of the morning's events. After the gathering, Kennedy and Graham walked out together toward the presidential motorcade on this particularly cold and snowy day. Suddenly the president stopped in his tracks, turned and invited Graham back to the White House so he could discuss something with him. But Graham was battling the flu. Fearing he'd make the president sick, he declined and asked if they could meet another time. The president agreed it could wait for a more convenient occasion. But that moment never came. For Graham, this moment will forever stay with him. In his book he wrote, "His hesitation at the car door, and his request, haunt me still. What was on his mind? Should I have gone with him? It was an irrecoverable moment." Today, Billy Graham is still making his life count for the Gospel of King Jesus. Earlier this month on the occasion of his 95th birthday he released maybe his final message for the world, titled, "The Cross." It is the central part of his campaign called "My Hope America with Billy Graham." This month thousands, and possibly millions, of people will see his final message on televisions, computers and handheld devices. Billy Graham knows the value of taking advantage of every single moment. It is remarkable that a man so well loved, who dedicated his entire life to spreading the Gospel, still remembers this one missed opportunity to discuss Christ. Fifty years ago the assassination of JFK reminded our nation that evil never takes a sabbatical and time is fleeting. The apostle Paul believed in "making the most of the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16 HCSB). What a challenge this is for all of us. As followers of Christ ...

As Titanic sank, he pleaded, ‘believe in the Lord Jesus!’

TAYLORS, S.C. (BP) -- It has been 100 years since Titanic, the greatest ship of its time, sank on its maiden voyage, killing more than 1,500 passengers. The "unsinkable ship" had done just that, and on the tragedy's centennial we stand captivated by the story. Many movies, documentaries and books have familiarized us with some of the passengers, such as entrepreneur John Jacob Astor IV or the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown. Yet one of the supreme stories of the Titanic involves a heroic pastor and his passion to save lives and souls. [QUOTE@left@180=Rebuffed by a certain man at the offer of salvation Harper gave him his own life vest, saying, 'You need this more than I do.' ]When pastor and preacher John Harper and six year old daughter boarded the Titanic it was for the privilege of preaching at one of the greatest churches in America, Moody Church in Chicago, named for its famous founder Dwight L. Moody. The church was anxiously awaiting his arrival not only because of the pending services, but to meet their next pastor, as Harper planned to accept their invitation. Harper was known as an engaging preacher and had pastored two churches in Glasgow and London. His preaching style was suited for an evangelist as testified by the words of another local pastor. "He was a great open-air preacher and could always command large and appreciative audiences. ... He could deal with all kinds of interrupters, his great and intelligent grasp of Bible truths enabling him to successfully combat all assailants." When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Harper successfully led his daughter to a lifeboat. Being a widower he may have been allowed to join her but instead forsook his own rescue, choosing to provide the masses with one more chance to know Christ. Harper ran person to person, passionately telling others about Christ. As the water began to submerge the "unsinkable" ship, Harper was heard shouting, "women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats." Rebuffed by a certain man at the offer of salvation Harper gave him his own life vest, saying, "You need this more than I do." Up until the last moment on the ship Harper pleaded with people to give their lives to Jesus. The ship disappeared beneath the deep frigid waters leaving hundreds floundering in its wake with no realistic chance for rescue. Harper struggled through hyperthermia to swim to as many people as he could, still sharing the Gospel. Harper evidentially would lose his battle with hypothermia but not before giving many people one last glorious Gospel witness.