Billy Graham, “America’s pastor,” will celebrate his 95th birthday today with a star-studded party in Asheville, N.C.
Graham’s son Franklin said between 600 and 700 people have been invited, including former President Bill Clinton, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, musician Michael W. Smith, Pastor Rick Warren, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and country music star Ricky Skaggs. The elder Graham will attend, but won’t give a speech.
But earlier in the day, Graham will release a national telecast of a pre-recorded evangelistic program, My Hope America. Franklin Graham said hundreds of thousands of Christians have been praying for friends, neighbors, and relatives to join them in watching the broadcast to hear his dad speak.
In a letter on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website, Franklin Graham said his father has been working with a video crew in his home to film the broadcast, which will be released on FOX News Channel, TBN, other Christian networks, and some local TV stations.
“It’s a tremendously powerful program that has his message interwoven with captivating testimonies of lives changed by the living Christ,” Franklin Graham wrote.
In the broadcast, which also will be released on DVD, Graham talks about the need for a spiritual awaking in America and how the cross of Christ “demands a new lifestyle,” according to The Charlotte Observer.
The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte will have “Happy Birthday” greetings for visitors to sign through Saturday and will serve cake on Thursday.
Franklin Graham told Reuters he remembered Graham’s 90th birthday, when he invited his guests to return in five years for his next milestone celebration.
“Now he's telling people he thinks he's going to live to be 100,” Franklin Graham told Reuters, “So he's moved the goal posts.”
Listen to a report on Billy Graham's video program on The World and Everything in It: