FRANKLIN GRAHAM HAS BUDGET MESSAGE FOR THE FAITHFUL
As the keynote speaker for the 2019 Alaska Governors Prayer Breakfast in Anchorage, Rev. Franklin Graham had a message that included a faith-centered way of addressing the State of Alaska’s budget crisis.
His core themes included the importance of reconciling with God and not settling for “normal faith or one that keeps Christ only on the edges of our lives.”
Graham, the CEO of the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, then called on the faithful to fill in the gap to help the poor and suffering across the state. It’s something Christians are called to do by the Gospel, he reminded the gathering at the Dena’ina Convention Center.
“Some would say that it’s the governor and the State’s responsibility to care for everyone. But actually, God’s Word makes it quite clear that it’s our job as Christians to take care of the widows, the orphans and those who are hurting,” Graham said in his sermon.
“With tight budgets, we have a unique opportunity as a church to help fill some of the social gaps that may be in our community,” Graham said.
Graham described how the church has historically had that role, but in the last 100 years, people have come to expect government to take on more and more of social services.
He acknowledged the brokenness of the world, with poverty, addiction, constant strife, and despair that is found in Alaska and across the globe.
“There is one thing government can do — build the roads, defend our state, and those kinds of things. But when it comes to caring for the widows and the orphans and those who are hurting, the church can do it better than the government any day, I promise you that,” he said.
Graham went on to encourage the faithful to speak to the Office of the Governor to see what more can be done in communities by faith-based organizations and churches.
The 66-year-old evangelist and missionary, who is known for not shying away from political commentary, first came to Alaska in 1971, and returns every year to his home on Lake Clark. Samaritan’s Purse has an office in Soldotna, where it has several airplanes, pilots, mechanics, and other staff stationed.
Every summer the organization, based in Boone, N.C., leads constructions projects around Alaska — sometimes in response to disasters, such as the 2009 Yukon and Kuskokwim River floods, and sometimes for the purpose of building up the faith culture in villages.
The group is currently building a church in Ruby and another in Dillingham, he said. It has a global presence and works side-by-side with governments and church organizations to rebuild after natural or manmade disasters.
Graham spoke at the Dena’ina Convention Center, to a crowd of 1,100 people. Gov. Michael Dunleavy also spoke to the crowd, which received him warmly.
“I am blessed. I’ve got a wonderful wife of 31 years, and three beautiful daughters who are doing well, and we’re so proud of them. When you are in politics or any endeavor that you find yourself in the public light … there are some people who may not agree with you. I said that to somebody the other day, and they said ‘Do you read the paper at all?’ and I said, ‘Not really.'” The audience laughed with him.
“[Prayer] is going to be one of the most crucial elements that I’m going to I need over the next several weeks,” he said, acknowledging the intense debate that is occurring in Juneau and across the state over the state government’s budget, which has been exceeding its revenue for several years.