Billy Graham’s evangelist daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, challenged and comforted the crowd attending the Church of God Convention on Tuesday at Crossings Community, 14600 N Portland.
Lotz spoke to an audience of about 2,300 people as she urged them to stand up for their Christian faith in an increasingly “anti-Christ” world.
“Be bold in our politically correct society — exalt Jesus by name,” she said.
Lotz’s message was during the “Night of Praise and Worship” that was part of the national gathering of the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), faith movement. She is the founder and president of AnGeL Ministries, based in Raleigh, N.C., and hosts and speaks at revivals and ministry events across the country.
Tuesday’s gathering also included a rousing performance by Sandi Patty, a Crossings member and Grammy Award-winning gospel recording artist with lifelong ties to the Church of God.
Preaching from the Book of Revelations, Lotz said the Apostle John found himself on the isle of Patmos, forced to serve a penance of manual labor for the crime of proclaiming Christ’s gospel. She said John was elderly at the time and, perhaps, much like her famous father.
“My daddy is 95. He’s doing very well for someone who is 95. At 95, you’re not as strong and energetic,” she said.
Yet even as John faced another round of persecution in his old age, he remained open to receive a fresh revelation, a fresh vision from the Lord, which he shared in the Bible, Lotz said.
She told the audience that many of them and many believers today may find themselves in a situation like John — stuck on an island, a place of isolation or exile “where we feel cut off.”
“Your life is unraveled. It’s very different from what you thought it would be,” she said.
She said Patmos for some people could be a divorce, an illness or working on a job where they are the only Christian.
Instead of complaining about the situation, Lotz urged the crowd to do as John did and be willing to see things the way God see them.
John saw Jesus, she said, and that is what believers should stay focused on.
“Jesus draws near to those who are suffering,” she said, encouraging the audience to focus on Christ’s position, power and purpose.
“Exalt Jesus in a culture that is anti-Christ and trying to snuff out His name,” she said.
By doing so, the evangelist said believers and the churches they serve become known for how they lived “at the feet of Jesus.”
“Make your life available, make it something different than what you’ve been doing,” she said. “Make your life available to Him and whatever He has for you.”
Sandi Patty’s world
Meanwhile, gospel legend Patty, an Oklahoma City native, brought the crowd to its feet with her rendition of several hymns and songs of faith, particularly “How Great Thou Art.”
A poignant moment came when Patty welcomed to the stage her parents, the Rev. Ron and Carolyn, and her brother Craig. With her mother at the piano, the four led the crowd in singing a medley of songs. Sandi Patty told the audience that she had been nervous all day “because all my worlds are colliding here.”
She alluded to her longtime connection to the Church of God, with her father being a longtime minister with the faith movement, and her lifelong friendship with the Rev. Marty Grubbs, Crossings Community Church’s senior pastor, who also has lifelong roots in the Church of God based in Anderson, Ind.