Monday, September 10, 2001
One of the great privileges of my life was serving in the leadership of the Northern New Jersey Billy Graham Crusade in the Meadowlands. For many of us who had been trying to reach people in this very hard corner of America, it was thrilling to see that arena nearly full on that opening Wednesday night. The arena seats 18,000 people, and filling it in Jesus' name was a victory of historic proportions. By Thursday, it was totally full--but I was strangely restless. By faith, we had set up 8,000 chairs and jumbo-tron video screen in the parking lot, just in case there was overflow. It looked like we wouldn't need it - as the press so graciously reminded us. Even though we were seeing unprecedented attendances and spiritual harvests, I felt led to pull together several of our Crusade leaders after the second night. After thanking God for all He had done, I asked them to pray with me a prayer that I had never prayed before. "Lord, if anyone other than You is holding a lid on this thing, if there's even more You want to do - blow the lid off!"
The next night the arena filled pretty quickly. I was on the platform, seated next to Dr. Graham, when they handed him a note. He showed it to me. It said, "There are 13,000 in overflow!" Dr. Graham said, "I think you should go see it." Well, I did. And what a sight! Eight thousand chairs full, 5,000 people standing, sitting on car hoods, on the ground, even on the porta-johns...and Billy Graham preaching the Gospel on the big screen! It looked like a cross between the feeding of the 5,000 and a drive-in movie. And the rate of response that night was higher in the parking lot than it even was indoors! So much for that lid!