The flavour of Sydney is notably multicultural.
Food, businesses and people from all over the world make up the diverse capital city in southeastern Australia. With a long history of immigration and its growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region, Sydney is home to 4.8 million people from more than 180 nations.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that those in attendance at Franklin Graham’s final city on the Graham Tour also came from around the globe.
Growing Family of God
Thanks to the power of God, many seeds were planted Saturday night at Sydney’s International Convention Centre Theatre. More than 8,000 people of many generations and nationalities gathered in the last city of the commemorative Graham Tour, and another 3,000 watched the event live online. More than 300 came forward to give their lives to the Lord.
“It was so awesome to see so many souls come to God in one place,” said Elizabeth, an Australian-born Argentinian. A believer herself, she was emotional after her husband—from Lebanon, and a friend—recommitted their lives to Christ.
“We all became part of a family,” she said, motioning to the crowd of people who came forward after Franklin presented the Gospel message
The musical styles of the artists who prepared people’s hearts for that all-important decision were as varied as those in attendance.
Singer-songwriter Steve Grace led his fellow Aussies in anthemic songs. Dennis Agajanian got the crowd clapping with foot-stomping, acoustic tunes. Melbourne-based worship band Planetshakers praised God with song and dance. And Crowder brought everything from rap to hymns.
But they all proclaimed the same message—the one that Billy Graham preached in Sydney during Crusades in 1959, 1968 and 1979, and the message Franklin Graham shared Saturday night—mankind’s universal need for God.
“We all have a soul. We all have a spirit that lives inside of us,” Franklin explained. “Some of you here tonight are in danger of losing your soul.”
The Choice Everyone Must Make
To explain further, he told the Biblical story of Belshazzar—a rich and powerful king who was warned by Daniel that he needed to humble himself before God. The king disregarded the warnings and was killed by his enemies soon after.
“We’re guilty of everything that Belshazzar did,” Franklin said. “We’re all guilty. All of us are sinners.”
But, he explained, God loves us unconditionally and wants to forgive our sins. We only have to say yes to Him.
On Saturday night, thousands gathered in Sydney were presented with the same choice Belshazzar had—to accept or reject God.
“God made us and created us, and He made a place inside of us for His Spirit,” Franklin said. “And if that’s not there, there’s an emptiness.”
Precious children of God from various nations found peace with Him Saturday night in Sydney, but countless others still need to hear the Gospel—good news that is the same for people of every nation around the world.
Every Corner of the World
Tim Robinson and his son Matthew were already planning a trip to Australia when they received an email from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) about the continent-wide evangelistic tour.
The father-son duo travel across the United States and the world on a personal mission they call “Mountains of Prayer.” The Robinsons climb some of the world’s highest peaks while praying for spiritual revival in the surrounding regions.
“I start praying when I start climbing, and then we take time to pray while up at the top of the mountain,” explained 56-year old Tim, who has summited mountains in 47 states in his own country and on three continents altogether. “I look to the east, north, south and west, and I pray for God’s blessing on that land.”
They planned to climb Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, during 21-year-old Matthew’s spring break—which happened to coincide with Franklin’s tour across the continent.
“Our climb will be a follow-up prayer to what’s happened here,” Tim said just hours after arriving in Sydney from the Dallas, Texas, area. “We will pray that seeds that’ve been planted will come to fruition.”