The week that Will came to town

Will Graham preaches to a full house at Peterhead Academy.
Will Graham preaches to a full house at Peterhead Academy.

There was a very, very long queue of people....and still 15 minutes until the doors opened for Will Graham’s Celebration of Hope outreach in Peterhead.

This was the second night of the five-night outreach programme and, as predicted, overflow locations had to be brought into play.

I ended up in the community centre theatre with a live link to the academy hall - just a few feet along the corridor.

And aside from a couple of live feed failures, it was if you were in the room itself.

There were also live links provided to overflow churches on Peterhead’s Queen Street and to Assemblies of God in Fraserburgh, River Church in Banff and Oasis Hub in Elgin - such is the appeal of preacher Will Graham, grandson of renowned preacher Billy Graham.

The evening began with singing from the Celebration Choir, made up of ladies and gents from the local Buchan churches.

This was followed by performances from the Celebration Band, again made up of local church musicians, and also The New Scottish Hymns Band, who got everyone’s feet tapping. Singer Mark Christian then gave a powerful rendition of ‘This is My Story’ before Will Graham was welcomed to the stage to rapturous applause.

He began by thanking the local churches committee for their generous gift of a kilt.

He had been taken to Gavin’s Kilt Hire in town where he was fitted up for the traditional Scottish dress.

“That was fun!,” he said. “I would like to thank the committee for the gracious gift bestowed on me. It’s probably the nicest gift I have ever received.”

He then alluded to the local dialect, telling the audience: “It’s particularly sad when I come to an English speaking country and I still need a translator!”

He then turned to his message for the evening - the power of the cross.

In reading from the Gospel of Luke chapter 23 v32 he told the story of the crucification of Christ.

He spoke of the two criminals who were crucified at the same time, saying both had initially scorned Jesus, but one had changed while on the cross.

“When he came in contact with Jesus his life was changed,” he said.

“God wants to change your life if you allow him.”

He then asked: “Where will your soul be when you die? Tonight, you can know for sure.

“We serve a risen Lord. He’s alive today. He’s in heaven and he wants you to spend eternity with him,” he said.

“You have one chance in your life to make that decision. Where am I going to spend eternity?

“Jesus changes everything. He had one criminal one side, one on the other, yet the difference was the man in the middle.”

He then invited the audience to take that step to give their lives to Christ and come down to the front of the auditorium where he prayed with them. Many made that commitment on Thursday night and I’m sure many more will do so over the next three nights.

Will Graham’s Celebration of Hope North East Scotland continues tonight through to Sunday. Admission is free but get there early to ensure a seat in the main hall. Doors open at 6pm, with live music at 6.30pm.