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fuzzwuzz
04-20-2002, 10:30 PM
Wow. It's been a week and I have yet to share my adventures in Gainesville at the Franklin Graham Festival at the O'Connell Center University of Florida. Up here it's Gator country and by the third night of the festival Franklin had tons of Gator hats fans had given him after he had complained the first night he was yet to get even one.

What excited me about this festival(formerly known as crusades), was that my Mom's choir was honored to be part of the backup choir for the musical guests and spaces between sets before Franklin gave his talk.

The first night, Friday, was Dennis Agajanian Band(with his son on bass), Tommy Coomes Praise Band, Crystal Lewis, and a fave of mine, Michael W. Smith. I had seen him before and his energy on stage mimics Garth's. This night however was dedicated to the songs on his new Worship cd, usually not my first choice of music but in Smitty's hands I've since been converted. But what really gave me chills was his acoustic rendition to the song This is Your Time, which is dedicated to Cassie who lost her life in that school shooting. Michael sang and played along to the video of the song on the big screen and it gave me goosebumps. He said meeting Cassie's family and being a part of the aftermath changed his whole life.
Franklin gave his talk on the simple truth of Jesus wanting to forgive our sins and that we can come to Him just as we are because that's how much He loves us and wants to forgive us. And as the people left their seats and the choir sang I prayed and watched Franklin on the screen. His face was so aglow the whole time at seeing those people come forward, not for him, but for Jesus the Savior.

My Mom didn't sing Saturday so we skipped that day and went shopping instead. We went to K-Mart at the Crystal River Mall (no Wal-Mart!:(,) and I bought Michael's new cd for myself and taped it for my Mom and a few other of his cds I had brought. My Mom loved him! After shopping we went to see the movie Clockstoppers because it is all my son has been talking about lately. Plus we've been playing the soundtrack he had wanted in the car. The movie seemed more up the kids alley, being made my Nickolodeon, but I was intrigued by the idea of time actually being speeded up and coexisting with the norm. And one being able to alter events in the other.

Sunday's Festival was very, very lively. And it's no wonder with Grammy winning Kirk Franklin and Nicole C. Mullen getting us on our feet and hugs all around. I hugged a few old ladies and one said she couldn't hear me because the music was so loud! Lol! Dennis Agajanian surprised us with his rendition of Alan's Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning? And Steve Grace from Australia sang about all things being possible through Jesus. Nicole sang about soaring like an eagle. Wish I could remember the cool lyrics but I guess you had to have been there. Also the lady who lost her husband overseas gave her testimony Friday. I think he was the first war casualty? And a few sports figures shared via the huge screen.

All in all, over 1500 people came forward to receive Christ. And as I'm sitting in my seat I'm thinking how great it is He has received me. And I am so thankful for that and happy for those who just discovered it for themselves.

I really enjoyed the music, fellowship, and Franklin's message to us. I'm sure Gainesville will be seeing the results from this festival for many years to come. They waited and worked so long for something like this to finally come to the city. Many churches and communities learn how to work together as a team for one common purpose. And when the festival finally comes they get to share in the rewards. It truly blesses the city itself. I'm so glad I got to be a part of that with members of my close family.

Vanessa
04-21-2002, 01:37 PM
Hey Dale!! :)

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, it sounded like you had a blast!! :)

Did Billy Graham not get up and talk? Or were these festivals focused more on his son as being the speaker??

But anyways, I'm glad that you had a great time there.. were you able to take any pics??If so..can you show 'em?? I'd love to see any :)

*hugs* thanks again for sharing this with us. :)

Vanessa :)

DixieChick4GB
04-22-2002, 07:24 PM
Glad the festival went so well. We had one in Tuscaloosa a few years ago and I went the night Ricky Skaggs was playing. It was great. Lots of decisions for Christ.
Elaine

fuzzwuzz
04-22-2002, 10:16 PM
Vanessa, I took a camera but no pictures or notes. I just wanted to sit there taking it all in as I saw it, as in the song Who Needs Pictures I suppose. Some things must be experienced. As Whiteheart sang in their song (Read the Book)Don't Wait for the Movie: "The miracles of the Father they could never put on screen." :) I will never forget the joy on my son's face as he clapped as hard as anyone else after great performances or words shared. Or the look on Franklin's as the people came forward. The best part of the Festival was the way Christ was moving almost unseen, but not unfelt, in the heart of every person in that room. His Spirit permeated every aspect of the event. Including the coming together of it as well as the aftermath. And it just keeps going in everyone's lives that God touched.
When I heard Franklin was doing the crusade I got very excited. He's very charismatic like his Dad, who I believe just had surgery among other ailments, just that week. Billy's health has been going downhill for quite awhile now, and I think Franklin will eventually take over for his Dad even more if he hasn't already. Have you ever read Franklin's book, Rebel with a Cause? His is the classic story of the prodigal child come home to God after a period of rebellion and searching to find himself. It can't be easy to live in the shadow of a father like Billy Graham. But Franklin has created a large enough shadow of his own with his many works and missions for God through his organization Samaritan's Purse. His people go where many won't go, to those afflicted by war, poverty, and catastrophy. He has seen man at our very worst and knows how critical the need out there is. While others are arguing over what the issues even are, he is out there trying to resolve them with others trying to help wherever he can.

Elaine, I would have loved to have seen Ricky! The merchandise table also had CD's by Paul Overstreet, and I know Charlie Daniels is a frequent participator at the Festivals. Was Billy a speaker?

DixieChick4GB
04-23-2002, 12:21 PM
No, Billy was not there, just Franklin. But I did go to a Billy Graham Crusade 30 years ago at the Hollywood Bowl. It was something I will never forget. I was a pretty new Christian at the time and was so thrilled to see so many respond.
Elaine

fuzzwuzz
04-23-2002, 01:12 PM
Wow Elaine! I'll bet it was way cool!

I work with a guy who was just a kid when Billy first started preaching. It was in a small theater setting. And guess what? He and his friend got a one-on-one with Billy for disrupting the proceedings! He'll never forget that sermon! :)

DixieChick4GB
04-23-2002, 09:13 PM
Wow, I don't think I would want to experience that. NOT :cool: But memorable, yes...:)
Elaine

fuzzwuzz
04-26-2002, 10:21 PM
I realized, as I was watching the Dove awrads last night that every single headlining Christian artist that performed at Festival 2002 in Gainesville were either performers or presenters at the Doves! Not only did I get repeat performances by Kirk Franklin and Nicole C. Mullen, but I also got to see those performing I missed from Saturday's Festival, British rock band Delirious and Mary, Mary. And Michael W. Smith won the Dove for artist of the year! As he accepted he could barely hold back the tears, saying it's not the award but his wanting to pour himself into other people as a servant. Between the Festival and the Doves I'm filling full to the brim I'll tell you that!

And when Nicole sang "When I call on Jesus, all things are possible" I couldn't help but think of the well know verse on every single Garth studio release! :)