The Archive Collection

Inside the Archives: Poetry Book

May 5, 2022

During the course of 2022, we’ll take a look at memorabilia from locations where Billy Graham preached and will be locations where Franklin Graham or Will Graham will preach this year during evangelistic events, continuing the legacy Billy Graham and his team began more than 70 years ago.

In 1984, Billy Graham held Crusades throughout England as part of his Mission England event. As part of this series of Crusades, Rev. Graham stopped for several nights at the soccer stadium in Liverpool, England.

While in Liverpool, Billy Graham was gifted a notebook filled with poetry and artwork from a young woman named Margaret Altham.

The cover and title page of the book of art and poetry given to Billy Graham by Margaret Altham

The Crusade in Liverpool touched the lives of so many, with nearly 248,000 in attendance over the course of the event.

Read below an excerpt from his sermon there entitled “The University of Life”:

“Tonight I want to speak on the subject, the “University Of Life.’ The ‘University Of Life.’ Now maybe you’ve never been to a university, and maybe you’ve never been to a college. And I’ll tell you just a little bit about how some of them operate in the United States. Now you can fail in this university that I want to talk about tonight, but you cannot drop out.

I heard about one young man who came to his professor after receiving his – final grade and said, ‘I don’t think I deserved an F on this course.’ And the professor said, ‘I don’t think you deserved it either, but it was the lowest grade I could give you.’

When I went to college – I won’t tell you how long ago, long time ago – they said, ‘What do you want to major in? What do you want to emphasize in your studies?’ I said, ‘What’s the easiest course you’ve got?’ They said, ‘Anthropology.’ I said, ‘Put me down.’ I majored in anthropology…

And even those who are not of Christian persuasion regard the man of Nazareth as the greatest teacher that ever lived. Think of it. A man with no formal education, as far as we know, is considered in 1984 the greatest teacher that ever lived. And today I want you to go to that university and sit at the feet of the world’s greatest teacher.

Now in most American universities, and I think it’s true in Britain as well, you have required courses in life and you have optional courses that you can take at the university.

Now the required courses in life are, first listen to this first, life itself. You did not ask to be born, did you? No. You were not consulted about living. And there’s nothing you can do about living. You cannot be unborn. We did not choose where we were born. We did not choose the color of our skin. There’s no escaping life. Suicide will not help, because all you do is kill the body. You don’t kill the real you. The real you is going to live for millions and millions and millions of years, either in heaven or hell. And the decision you make about Christ will decide where it’s going to be.

Billy Graham preaches in Liverpool, England in 1984

And then the second thing: You’re not only required to live; you’re required to die. You’re going to have to die “appointed unto once to die” (Hebrews 9:27), the Bible says. C. S. Lewis, the great Oxford professor and later the Cambridge professor, once said something that startled me when I read it. He said, “War does not increase death.” And I scratched my head, and I read it over again. “War does not increase death.” And then I began to think he’s right. Every generation dies. Now in a war – that means that more people will die earlier than they had anticipated, but every generation dies. Every person in Anfield tonight will be dead a hundred years from now. We’ll all be dead. Most of us will be dead fifty years from now. Thousands will be dead 25 years from now. Life is rushing on. Life is very short, and we’re going to die.

And God said to Hezekiah, the great king, “Thou shalt die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1). Ecclesiastes – Solomon said there is “a time to be born, and a time to die” (3:2). You’ve been born, you’re alive, but you’re going to die. And there’s a time to die.

And it doesn’t matter whether we live for ten, twelve, or a hundred years. The number of years is simply relative. The fact is we all die. Many biblical characters and many people in history who lived many years, and we are constantly reading about people who lived to 110 or 120 in some country. But the fact is they all die.

There’s only one person in history who did not have to die, and that was Jesus Christ. He said, “No man taketh it from me,…I lay it down…myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it (John 10:18). But He volunteered to do something for you, that you were going to have to do for yourself. He volunteered to take your sins, to take your judgment, to take your hell on the cross for so God can say tonight, “Your sins are for given; if you died now, you’d go straight to heaven.” That’s what happened on the cross. That’s what happened when He was willing to die on that cross. Do you know that Christ?”

Billy and Franklin Graham during the Mission England Crusade in Liverpool, England in 1984

The Legacy Continues

In May, Franklin Graham will follow in his father’s footsteps as he visits Liverpool as part of his God Loves You UK Tour. Find out more about the tour at:

Franklin Graham God Loves You Tour UK – Liverpool, 15 May 2022
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, find out more about what that means.

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