CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP) -- Sermons from Billy Graham's prolific international ministry will be broadcast on an ad hoc radio station 12 days surrounding the evangelist's 99th birthday (Nov. 7), the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has announced.
BGEA will host the Billy Graham Channel today (Nov. 6) through Nov. 17 as channel 145 on SiriusXM Radio, featuring sermons from Graham's six decades of evangelism, as well as salvation invitations and reflections from family and friends, BGEA said. A companion website, TheBillyGrahamChannel.com, will offer companion resources.
"During this 12-day period, between 10 and 20 percent of the U.S. population will have access 24 hours a day to Billy Graham's timeless, Christ-focused messages," Jim Kirkland, BGEA's director of audio media services, said at bgea.org. "We're praying that it'll be a gift of life-changing magnitude for many listeners."
Concurrently, Zondervan Publishing announced today the upcoming Graham biography, "A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story," set for a March, 2018 release. Graham personally chose as the book’s author William Martin, a Rice University religion and public policy professor, Zondervan said.
The book will expound on Graham's autobiography "Just As I Am," Zondervan said, by going “further behind the scenes to explain the conditions that made it possible for Graham to achieve his spectacular success and to reveal how sometimes he succeeded in spite of himself.”
Additional celebration plans include a public event at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., a private party with family members at his home in Montreat, and literary commemorations throughout 2018 in BGEA's Decision magazine, BGEA President and CEO Franklin Graham said in a Nov. 1 press release.
"His mind is good but he's quieter these days," Franklin Graham said of his father. "He can't see or hear well, but his health is stable. As a family, we are just so very grateful that he is still with us."
The Billy Graham Channel continues a legacy of radio ministry the patriarch launched 67 years ago with The Hour of Decision broadcast, which was designed to continue only if sufficient financial contributions came, Kirkland said. The unexpected influx of monetary support birthed BGEA, Kirkland said, because Graham needed a mechanism to handle the funds.
"This channel will provide the gift of messages that point people to the gift of hope found in Jesus Christ," Kirkland said of the SiriusXM debut. "Mr. Graham is having the birthday, yet the people listening receive the present."
Billy Graham's daughter and noted evangelist Anne Graham Lotz will join Franklin Graham in offering reflections during the 12-day broadcast, Kirkland said. Remarks from former U.S. presidents will also be featured.
As Billy Graham enters his 100th year, he lives with nursing care at the same home in Montreat where he and his late wife Ruth Bell Graham, who died June 14, 2007, lived and reared their five children. In evangelistic outreaches and crusades, Billy Graham preached to nearly 215 million people in live audiences across 185 countries and territories, according to BGEA figures.
He will enjoy on his birthday his favorite cake, which his son described as "a lemon cake with lard icing."
"He loves those cakes, but it has to have the lard icing," Franklin Graham said. "At the Billy Graham Library we'll have a special celebration that day, as this year is also the 10th anniversary of the opening of the library. We'll have birthday cake for everyone who comes by."