Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday
Thursday night in the company of hundreds of friends and family members delivering what has been described as his final message via a 30-minute video titled "The Cross - Billy Graham's Message To America."
In the video, which has been filmed over the past year, Graham reflects on his life and his purpose while discussing the direction the United States has taken in recent decades, admitting that he has "wept" for America.
"I see how God's hand gathered me," Graham said in the video's introduction. "When I began preaching many years ago it was not with any thoughts that I'd be preaching to large audiences. God has done this."
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"Our country's in great need of a spiritual awakening," Graham declared. "There have been times that I've wept as I've gone from city to city and I've seen how far people have wandered from God."
In the video, the evangelical icon repeats his consistent spiritual message of the saving power of Jesus Christ and his forgiveness, telling those that would listen, "I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross. . . The real cross of Christ. It's scarred and blood stained. His was a rugged cross. . . It is the truth. And with all my heart I want to leave you with the truth that he loves you, willing to forgive you for all your sins."
The video is the culmination of the "My Hope America with Billy Graham Project,"
the largest ever outreach conducted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in North America, with more than 25,000 churches taking part and sharing DVD's of "The Cross" with congregants, reports the Asheville Citizen Times
In an interview shortly before the dinner commenced, Graham's son Franklin Graham told USA Today
that, "this will be my father's last message to the nation. He won't be able to do this again."
Hundreds of guests packed the room to pay their respect and show their support for the aging, inspirational preacher. Among those at the birthday celebration were, Sarah Palin, Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump, who with his wife Melania sat beside Graham throughout the celebration.
Following the Birthday celebration, Palin told reporters that she was attended the event to "[recognize] his wonderful, positive efforts in our world [and his impact] on our world by being bold enough to tell the truth about what it is our nation needs to get on the right track."
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Though the celebration was hosted by Graham's son Franklin, the iconic preacher did take a moment to address those in attendance telling them, "I want to thank you for all you have meant to me through all these years, God bless you and love you."
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