I hope your year is going great. I give God thanks for what He is doing and also getting ready to do. I just returned from ministering at the Baptist World Ministries Conference held at the Billy Graham Library Museum in Charlotte North Carolina. Each time I visit this Library, it feels like I am on holy ground. I have been there a few times, but this time was extra special.
My friend Dr. Phil Roberts invited me to minister at this Conference, which was held in the new Billy Kim Hall at the Library. This new hall does not have a piano so they took George Beverly Shea’s family upright piano out of the archives and got it tuned so I could use it. This is a special piano, which George Beverly Shea’s mother got for him when he was young. On the piano she had posted the words, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” George was so moved by the words, he wrote the song “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” which is in our hymn books today. It was an honor to have George’s son Ron at the Conference, and he shared the story of the piano. Of course, I had everyone sing this amazing hymn. (On a lighter note. I have been known to break keys on piano. True to form, I broke one of the ivories off. Not to worry. Super glue will be able to fix it.
Years ago, I played a personal concert for Billy Graham and his wife in their home. On the way to that concert, I stopped by to see George Beverly Shea, and we spent hours around his grand piano singing and playing. That piano now sits in the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. My friend Dr. Warren Anderson took a picture of that piano last time he was on tour in DC with the Judson University Choir. We will plan to have the choir do a version of “I’d Rather Have Jesus” one day.
I was blessed to see my friend Dr. Don Wilton again. Don was Billy Graham’s pastor the last 20 years of his life. The first time we ministered together was in South Africa for a Billy Graham School of Evangelism. Dr. Wilton is a mean preaching machine. His influence plus the influence of others led me to become a preacher. Don shared about his weekly meetings with Billy Graham and his final days. I would highly recommend his book Saturdays with Billy: My Friendship with Billy Graham. God used Don mightily in the life of Dr Graham and vice versa. Here is an interview Dr. Wilton did talking about their friendship:
I was also blessed to meet Pastor Anthony George, who succeeded Pastor Charles Stanley at First Baptist Church of Atlanta. Filling Charles Stanley’s shoes is no small feat. I was inspired by his teaching, and I can see why Dr. Stanley selected him to be the next senior pastor. FBC Atlanta is definitely in good hands. We heard from many other ministries, and it blesses me to know many have answered the call to be used by God to impact the world.
It’s truly an honor that God has called me to do what I am doing, and I am grateful for all your prayers and support. Here are a few pictures from the conference.
Rev Dr. Huntley Brown
International Concert Pianist
Artist in residence Judson University