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Tobin Perry & Lauri Arnold

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12,000 make decisions for Christ at crusade; Billy Graham speculates about his future

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Purpose-Driven pastor
Rick Warren, author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose-Driven Life" and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., led in prayer at the Billy Graham crusade in Pasadena Nov. 21. Photo by Tobin Perry
PASADENA, Calif. (BP)--Helped by his son Franklin, the aging evangelist Billy Graham made his way to the pulpit on a rare chilly Sunday afternoon in Pasadena Nov. 21. The 87-year-old Graham had made this trip thousands of times over the past 65 years of ministry, but nearly everyone in the stadium realized it would be one of his last. After glancing down at his notes one last time, he looked up and smiled reassuringly at a myriad of more than 82,000 people at the Rose Bowl.
      "People have said this could be the last sermon I will ever preach," Graham told the largest non-sporting event crowd in the stadium's history. "And it may be. But I don't know. That's all in God's hands."
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All ages join in
The Christian rock band Jars of Clay, which typically performs during the Saturday night youth-oriented portion of Billy Graham crusades, sang on Sunday morning at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Graham's ministry has transcended all age groups throughout the years. Photo by Tobin Perry

      He then jokingly reminded the audience that his long-time friend George Beverly Shea -- who had just sung "Softly and Tenderly" -- was nearly 10 years older than he.
      "And it is certainly not the last time he is going to sing!" Graham said to an audience that was both laughing and clapping by that point.
      Some 12,000 people made decisions for Christ during the four-day crusade. The crusade had been originally scheduled for July but was postponed after doctors decided he needed more time to heal from a fall he suffered in May.