It's important this morning for our world to stop and remember the Graham family in this historic departure of Dr. Billy Graham to heaven. However, there is something which requires our family personally to want to take a moment and write a personal thank you to his oldest daughter and send a letter of love to his oldest daughter, Gigi Graham.
There has not been a friend in my life who has stood beside my side and been closer to me through my trials. This morning, her father, Dr. Billy Graham went home to be with the Lord. Gigi, we love you and are praying for you, your family and those who are impacted from the loss of Daddy Bill.
A nation and world is mourning as you are mourning as any child would be over the loss of their parent, but she is also understanding the celebration of her beloved mother with her father. Dr. Graham will be laid to rest in Charlotte and there are so many great moments we have shared in life. I could not be any more proud and excited for all that God did in Dr. Graham's life as every person of faith is. However, my heart goes out to Gigi right now.
Thank you Gigi for sharing your father with the world, for sacrificing when he was gone so much and for being the kind of friend you have been to our family. You always allowed me "in" to your family and I am so very thankful for the beauty of an endeared friendship over so many. Do you know the honor you have been to include me in so many wonderful moments through out the years?
The times we sat around the breakfast table at Piney Cove, or the joy we had with Ruth were all memories I will never forget and cherish forever. Thank you so much for the opportunity to have received the love you have shared with our family for as long as the decades we have been friend.
I'm praying for you right now Gigi and I especially pray for your family during this time. You have been so very precious to us and I am so thankful for the calls, the meetings, the trips in the mountains and the joy we shared in this life and will in the future.
I am praying for you today and am so remembering the grace we received when our mom went to heaven.
Blessings and love.
I have spent time in the past year sharing with our VMFA family the miracle of my youngest son, Matthew BEAR McAfee, because it was the celebration of his wedding. Bear and Clytee were married in September and they are just wonderful together.
CELEBRATING OUR SON
Now I will take this article the opportunity to share with our VMFA and the V300 about Michael Shane McAfee, our oldest son. It's been said by many parents when they speak of the "first born", we have someone special. This is an understatement of how I feel about my oldest son.
Since Michael was born, we felt God had something special for him to do. Watching him grow up, he had a maturity at a young age which seemed so very different than most children. His questions even in elementary were so precious, filled with wonder, but also an interest in the things of God. When he prayed to receive Jesus in his own heart, he would pray at night for God to give him wisdom.
I had never prayed for God to give me wisdom, but I sure should have!
Michael had a "dress up" day in his early childhood at James L. Dennis elementary school and he dressed up as a preacher. Never did any of us realize he would eventually go through being ordained at the Council Road Baptist church, but the Lord was working in his life at a young age. I am so thankful for what CRBC has meant in the life of our family. Serving eight years on staff under Norman Behymer and Dr. Wendell Estep brought our family to great blessings and teachings of faith.
WHEN HE FELL IN LOVE
Michael met a beautiful little girl in eighth grade at Oklahoma Baptist University and they were just friends. They talked about ministry, life and were attracted immediately. In this growing up together, he and Lauren grew from friendship into a deep relationship of love and God. Missions, the Bible and reaching people for the ministry of the gospel became Michael's calling as he and Lauren matured together. They were pure in their thoughts and were more than exceptional in their way of living.
While in college, Michael knew Lauren was to be his wife and he had the courage to step out in faith. During his senior year at the University of Oklahoma he was called to First Baptist Purcell where he became the youth minister. Michael and Lauren began their ministry together humbly serving a wonderful church in central Oklahoma. Not long after, he was blessed to be called to serve at Council Road Baptist, his home church.
MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE
After a few years, Steve Green his father in law truly desired to have Michael and Lauren serving together at the Musuem of the Bible and they were blessed to make this transition. Lauren finished her masters at Liberty University and Michael elected to go for his Master's in Divinity, a 90 hour program at Southern Seminary. Last year, he finally graduated and guess who spoke at his graduation, Steve Green!
Michael invited his closest family members with his in laws to attend the Seminary graduation and we heard it was a wonderful celebration. I do remember being so thankful he was finally seeing this hard work pay off in amazing ways.
WORKING ON THEIR DOCTORATE
However, he and Lauren both elected to continue their education and applied and were accepted in the ERLC in Washington DC through Southern Seminary in the doctoral program. Lauren and MIchael are now writing books and she has been promoted as the Corporate Ambassador for Hobby Lobby.
I asked Michael how long did he think he would be to complete his doctorate and he estimated five years. My heart went out for he and Lauren as they both had just read over a dozen books just in their first semester. The study, the understanding and education they are receiving is truly a gift.
WRITING BOOKS FOR THEIR LEGACY
God is using this amazing couple in a wonderful way for His kingdom, for the purpose of sharing Christ and it is a great joy to see what the Lord will do next. Plus, we found out this week that Lauren and Jackie Green have just written their first book together which was published this year, Passing On A Biblical Legacy. The Lord has so blessed the family so much because of a faithful son who prayed for wisdom.
Michael and Lauren are working on writing a book together about young marrieds and how the Bible is so relevant to people today, per our Christmas meal conversations which have become the most important meal all year with them. These are the many activities for this young man and woman who have surrendered themselves to the cause of Christ. We are praying God's blessings extend to their children and the protection and safety of His angels surround them each and every day.
OUR PRAYER FOR MICHAEL AND LAUREN
Thank you Lord for loading us our son Michael and thank you for sending us Lauren to join our family through marriage. We prayed for her and her precious family before we knew she would even be with us forever. We love them both so very much and we ask you Father to please station your angels about them every hour of every day. Protect them, protect their love, protect their families and future children and help them during times of trials and challenges. Bless them Lord with wisdom, with joy, laughter and heavenly things. While we all realize all of our children are on "loan" for such a short time, we are so thankful to have had a few moments in their lives. It's selfish to want more time, so forgive us for always wanting more. We know they are being used by you, so please take over Lord and use them only as YOU see fit.
PRAY FOR YOUR FAMILY NOW
Are you praying for your children? What are you doing to intercede for them every single day? We have a vigil in our home to pray daily for our children every day. Do you know how precious it is to pray for your sons and daughters at night before you sleep and the first thing, when you wake up? The joy of having children is the greatest honor you will ever know.
I love you all,
NEW FILMING BEGINS
SECRET KNOTS began a new film project in this past month creating a feature film documentary. This is a new ministry based in the Seattle Washington arena we have talked about here at VMFA. This is a story about Tom Stewart and his life which began in tragedy during his childhood. Tom was sexually abused by his scout master during his childhood years and was threatened at gunpoint to never reveal what was transpiring or his parents and family would be killed.
With a gun pointed to his head, he was abused in every way as a young boy and his courage to come forward and share this story impacted all of us. VMFA was honored to join Cross Training in the filming at the home of Biblical Counselor Christi Craddock sharing this powerful story of truth. Rene' Stewart who authored the book was the foundation of the filmed interviews provided powerful testimonies growing up in her own childhood to the mix.
We are honored to work with this new non profit ministry which is launching in 2018. VMFA encourages all of our V300 partners to go on secret knots.net and find out more about this opportunity.
We cannot exist without prayer. Each month when you take time to pray, doors begin to open for us. Do you realize how important you are in our foundations as a ministry? We need your prayer support more than ever. There are so many authors, stories and films which are circling and this is happening because people are praying. Our focus is not on economic rewards, but on social and spiritual outcomes, so we need prayer.
Pam Campbell, Susie Burkett and many others dealing with health crisis, cancer, chemo and have been prayer requests continue to be the reason we came back on FB. Please share with family and friends what is most important, a dialogue with God and intercession for miracles. They happen when you pray.
VMFA in 2018 along with our family of companies are committing even more to ministry in the coming days. You will be hearing more about the ventures we are beginning in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The older we become, the more we realize Christ alone is the only answer to every problem, every issue. We believe when the enemy attacks this is a sign we are doing something wonderful.
It doesn't matter what your past or what your future is, you can change for today to focus on ministry and helping others. Will you be willing to join us? We hope you will because MINISTRY is becoming more important to us every single day and its for all the right reasons too. We are especially thankful for the miniistries who are coming alongside of us and ask for your prayers in this regard.
HIS TRUTH TRANSFORMS
Our ministry knows the importance of God's word, the Bible. We believe Biblical Counseling is not something that should be buried, but instead, illuminated! It's time to begin working together as a team and building toward a new tomorrow where Bible Counseling will change your life.
Christi Craddock and Doris Craddock are founders of HIS TRUTH TRANSFORMS an they are the foundation of the Biblical Counseling era which was launched by their father and husband, pioneer Jim Craddock. Jim in 1973 began SCOPE MINISTRIES and HIS TRUTH TRANSFORMS INTERNATIONAL was the legacy organization that continues to this very day, 45 years later.
Jim began with Campus Crusade for Christ working with Dr. Bill Bright. He left a legacy of counseling ministry tools and touched thousands of lives. His diagnostics have been used by ministries worldwide and Christi has become a very important support to VERITAS and is working with our organization to build a business and growth strategy. We are also working together to build resources helping others.
BIBLE MUSEUM UPDATE
In speaking with Michael and Lauren McAfee, my son and daughter in law over the holidays, they shared the enormous reception the MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE with us at the dinner table. We want to thank our son's in laws Steve and Jackie Green for their faith, vision and bold stand in bringing a museum to the world dedicated to God's Holy Word. We are so thankful for their hard work.
Thank you all for your prayer and support. We love you and are honored to be in ministry together.
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.