On April 22nd I wrote a post on “Being a Great Leader.” The post Joby Martin was built on some thoughts from a podcast with Brad Lomenick on how to finish well. 

Joby is the lead pastor at Church of Eleven22 in Jacksonville Florida. The name of the church is just one of many things that’s are unconventional about Joby. He definitely colors outside the lines!

Joby is also the author of a brand new book, If The Tomb Is Empty which I recently finished reading. 

In the book Joby shares about a very unusual opportunity which  came to him and his wife Gretchen to have dinner with Billy Graham. They got to spend  four or five hours on a Friday evening at the home of a mutual friend. Let me share (from Joby’s  book) his comments about that evening with Billy.

At this point Billy was up in age and leaning on a walker. He asked me about the church I pastor. He never compared what he had done with what we were doing. During those hours that Gretchen and I spent with Billy, I  asked him to pray for us and our ministry. He never hesitated. He reached out, held our hands, and I remember he said, “Protect this man from himself.” 

Billy never mentioned the work at Eleven22. He prayed for our marriage. When Billy finished praying for us  he said, “You make disciples; you love your wife; Jesus will build His church.” 

The last thing I asked Billy was if he could preach one more crusade, what would it be focused on. Billy responded, “That’s easy. I’d preach Galatians 6:14.” 

“But far be if from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  Galatians 6:14 ESV. 

Joby added that Billy then went on to share the gospel with them.

Every time I think of Galatians 6:14 I cannot help but recall the old Hymn, “When I survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts,  which is based on the content of this verse:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

I trust my recounting this encounter that Joby and Gretchen had with Billy Graham over dinner will inspire, humble and convict you as it did me!