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BEND, OR -- Rev. Franklin Graham brings his Decision America Tour to Bend, Friday night. He says his message of salvation is available to everyone for free, "We're not coming in at any cost to the local community or local churches. We're not asking for any money, we don't take up any collections; we're coming in to present the gospel."

 

Graham's father, the Reverend Billy Graham, was internationally known for his crusades, preaching to crowds in more than 185 countries. Rather than live in that long shadow, Graham wants to reflect his father's legacy, "This is different from what my father has done in the past. But, we certainly are giving a gospel invitation, giving a gospel message. People will get saved, and so we hope and we believe there will be hundreds of people who will put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ." Unlike his father, Graham encourages his audience to get involved in politics, "I think what's happened in our country, Christians have stayed home, and they've taken the attitude, 'well, my vote doesn't count.' Votes do count! I don't tell people how to vote or what party to vote, I encourage them to pray before they vote and ask God how they should vote."
 
Graham says America is polarized and impassioned speech is often considered hateful. He hopes people will come hear a message of God's love. "We're not coming to preach against anybody, but I think as Christians, we have a right in this country for our beliefs to be heard." Especially, Graham says, when those beliefs can help others live lives of purpose, "They're looking for happiness, and they're looking for peace and joy and they're not finding it. God created us in such a way that we have a vacuum in each one of our hearts that can only be filled by God."
 
Decision America begins at 7:30 p.m. with performances by Jeremy Camp and other well-known Christian bands, followed by a short salvation message. It's outside at the Bend Christian Life Center Amphitheater; people are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. Decision America began in Southern California in May. Bend is one of Rev. Graham's final tour stops.

 

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