“God gives you a second chance in life,” Will Graham said in Fredericksburg, Virginia, after sharing a story about playing golf. He explained, “Sometimes in life I wish had a mulligan,” which is an extra shot that doesn’t count on one’s scorecard—also known as a do-over of sorts.
Doing an Irish jig with a harmonica, violin or guitar in hand is a specialty of Rend Collective, the Irish Christian folk worship band that got Saturday night’s crowd on their feet during the Rappahannock Area Celebration with Will Graham.
A long line wrapped all the way around the Fredericksburg Expo Center in Virginia ahead of Saturday’s Celebration. Perspiring in the heat didn’t dim this crowd’s excitement for the evening ahead, featuring live music from Rend Collective, Aaron Shust and Newsboys, along with a message of hope.
After Will Graham’s message, the crowd praised God again, but this time with Newsboys. The atmosphere was electric as people waved their arms, lifted their voices and made memories that will last a lifetime.
One melody after another flowed from the piano’s keys as artist Aaron Shust led the crowd of 3,600 in sobering worship. Thousands more viewed the livestream from 45 countries.
Before every evangelistic event, Will Graham and staff from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association start their day in God’s Word and prayer, asking God to bring many to Himself. Saturday morning proved to be no different.
Ahead of the Celebration, more than 1,500 people attended Saturday’s KidzFest—a family friendly event focused on clearly sharing the Gospel with children. Starting with music from the band Go Fish, colorful streamers and beach balls soared through the air while kids sang praises to God.
A popular place to visit in Fredericksburg, Chatman Manor is a beautiful Georgian-style mansion that sits along the banks of the Rappahannock River. Walt Whitman, a renowned 19th century American poet, visited the home after the Battle of Fredericksburg while searching for his wounded brother. He encountered several wounded men who inspired him to serve as a nurse until the end of the Civil War.
Singing songs like “Stand” and “We Believe,” Michael Tait of the Newsboys encouraged the audience to not just know what they believe—but to stand firm in that belief.
Several kids were tickled to help make a splash at KidzFest.
This little attendee enjoyed seeing her new look with face paint.
With his Bible open to 2 Chronicles 33, Will Graham talked about King Manasseh, who was an idolator and looked to the stars for answers. But eventually Manasseh chose to follow God. “You know what’s probably the No. 1 god in most of our lives today? It’s a little black screen called TV,” Will Graham said. “What’s taking your time from God?”
Bouncy houses and slides were a fan favourite and concluded KidzFest activities.
Established in 1728, the city of Fredericksburg has a rich history dating back to the Colonial and Civil War eras.
Kids were captivated and challenged by the animated video “The Quest,” which depicts three children who enter the inside of a video game. Their so-called “quest” is to find the Kingdom of Light, but they learn many lessons along the route, like the only way to God is through Jesus.
“But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” —Luke 18:16, ESV
Every child who made a decision for Christ at KidzFest received a booklet to help guide them in their newfound faith
Those in the crowd were given the opportunity for a new life—or second chance—with Christ. Dozens came forward and were invited to talk with counsellors, who helped them get connected to a local church.