The Reverend Billy Graham when asked his thoughts on hypnosis stated that hypnosis was neither good nor bad. Like most tools it depends on how it is used. the Pope in 1956, the British Medical Society in 1957 and the American Medical Association in 1958 endorsed hypnosis as a complementary tool in health care. even with those endorsements many in our educated society (and some are physicians) still misunderstand and fear the natural nature of hypnosis. Linking it with hocus-pocus, witchcraft and even mind control.
Would you be surprised if I told you that we all naturally go into hypnosis many times each day. the simple act of driving to work and not remembering stopping at red lights or stop signs is a hypnotic state. It is in that day dreamy time that hypnosis occurs. our thoughts during that hypnotic state truly shape our lives.
In the 1950s, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale wrote the greatest inspirational bestseller of his time. over 3 million copies of his book the Power of Positive Thinking were put into print. In it he said that, In formulating this simple philosophy of life I found my own answers in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
He wrote his book to help you release your inner powers. the Power of Positive Thinking shows:
how faith in yourself makes good things happen to you
how to break the worry habit
how to get other people to like you
how to energize your life to give yourself the vitality and initiative needed to carry out your ambitions and hopes
how to avoid the jitters in your daily work
how to believe in yourself and in everything you do
how to live a controlled relaxed life no matter how fast the pace may be
how to build new power and determination to a simple formula that really works
how to develop the power to reach your goals.
how to think the k
Paul Harvey would say, now for the rest of the story. because of his book the board of deacons, in their ignorance, requested that Norman Vincent Peale, the pastor of the largest protestant church in New York City resign his position.. why? because the Power of Positive Thinking is a book describing the use of self-hypnosis. Dr Peale did not resign. he was supported by the membership, which overruled the board of deacons. They understood that he wrote the Power of Positive Thinking out of a sincere desire to help them and you.
The Power of Positive Thinking was followed by Dynamic Imaging the powerful way to change your life. Daydreaming, creative visualization, guided imagery, and hypnosis are basically the same mindfulness states that allow us to change our lives for better or worse. It depends on whether we think positive thoughts and create positive outcomes or think negative thoughts and create negative outcomes. Worry is an example of a negative hypnotic thought. So if you want healthy changes in your life have Healthy Visions.
World Hypnotism Day January 4, 2006.
Every three years, young evangelists from around the world gather in Portland Oregon to attend a conference put on by the next Generation Alliance, an organization dedicated to mentoring the next generation of global gospel preachers. while I’m looking forward to the Innovative Evangelism Conference next week, I think a serious reflection on the man that most of us attending the conference draw the bulk of our inspiration from Billy Graham is in order.
The typical Billy Graham narrative goes something like this. Billy started his ministry as a self-assured fundamentalist. In the early days of his ministry, preaching the gospel went hand in hand with defeating communism. Eventually Graham’s championing of the Vietnam War and his close association with Richard Nixon caught up with him and he got burned, resulting in a crisis of faith that produced a much gentler and wiser Billy Graham.
As familiar as this story is, I think it’s a mistake to reduce Graham’s metamorphosis to pre-Nixon and post-Nixon as if the only thing Graham learned in his older age was that it’s a mistake to politicize the gospel. such an oversimplification of Graham’s life and ministry overlooks a key aspect of Billy Graham’s legacy that’s become somewhat of an elephant in the room. Whether we like it or not, Billy Graham’s life and ministry represents a middle ground between fundamentalism and theological liberalism.
Take for example two issues that have become litmus tests for orthodoxy among Biblical fundamentalists evolution and the fate of the unevangelized on judgment day. on the subject of evolution, Billy Graham has consistently maintained throughout his ministry that Christianity and evolution are compatible. while it may be fashionable today for evangelical leaders to speak of intelligent design over and against young earth creationism, Billy Graham goes even further by insisting that the Bible is not a science book, and shouldn’t be read as such. on this matter Graham is further to the left than the average evangelical, although his Biblical hermeneutic on the rest of the Scriptures remain a far cry from theological liberalism (For example: Graham may see the seven days of Genesis as figurative, but he maintains that Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale).
The same can be said for Billy Graham’s agnostic position on the fate of the unevangelized on judgment day. When asked by Newsweek if he felt that heaven would be open to people of other faiths besides Christianity, Billy Graham responded, Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won’t . I don’t want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. he said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have.
At first glance it may seem like the older Billy Graham has single-handedly undermined his entire life’s ministry as an evangelist. Some have even attributed his comments and other comments like these to senility. still others have written him off as a heretic. Again, the reality is more complex. Billy Graham has never wavered in his belief that Christ’s death and resurrection is the only means by which a person can be saved, and neither does he apologize for his commitment to preach the gospel for the conversion of sinners to Christ. what the older Billy Graham has learned, however, is that a person can be resolute in their commitment to the gospel and be theologically humble at the same time.
Ironically, it’s Billy’s example of theological humility that may free the next generation to ask some hard questions about the classic evangelical gospel that he popularized. for example, does the classic evangelical gospel, complete with an altar call and the standard sinner’s prayer, take seriously enough the teachings of Jesus against accumulating wealth and earthly possessions? to what extent should non-violence and identification with the poor be proclaimed as part of the gospel of the Kingdom? Has the sinner’s prayer been overemphasized at the expense of baptism as the initiation into the Body of Christ?
These are difficult questions with no easy answers, which is why the next generation of evangelists could use a dose of Billy Graham’s theological humility. Billy Graham has served his generation faithfully, but even Billy knows that he doesn’t have a corner on truth and neither will the next generation that follows in his footsteps. Billy Graham has led the way, but now it’s up to us, the next generation, to carry the mantle and hear what the Spirit is saying to our world today. I think Billy would agree.
Albert McMakin, a 24 year old farmer, had just given his life to Christ the year before. He heard Dr. Mordecai Ham was coming to speak at a tent meeting. He was so exited that he invited countless friends and family members. Many of them agreed to come.except Billy.
Billy was the handsome, big-man-on-campus at the local high school. He didn’t have much interest or time for Jesus. Albert, though, was smarter than your average bear. He borrowed a truck from a friend and asked Billy to drive it. you don’t even need to stay for the meeting, said Albert, just drive me to and from. Since Billy didn’t have a vehicle of his own and desperately wanted to drive, he agreed to Albert’s proposition.
Billy stayed outside in the truck during the whole time, but he listened to Ham’s words. by the end of the tent meeting, though, Jesus had his hooks in him; young Billy Graham walked forward during the alter call and gave his life to Jesus Christ.
Yes, Billy Graham is a man who has changed the world; but that’s not who I’m referring to in the title of this post.
You’ve probably heard of Billy Graham, but have any of you heard of Albert McMakin? Chances are, the answer is no. however, his is no obscure name in the ledgers of heaven, for his enthusiasm and willingness to share the good News of Christ to anyone willing to listen (and some, like Billy, who weren’t willing to listen) has rippled through eternity in a grandiose way.
How different would the world be had McMakin kept the good News to himself?
Do you have an Albert McMakin in your life? I do. I actually have several, and if you take even one of them out of my life, the trajectory of my steps goes in a very different direction. I am eternally grateful for each one of them: Mr. Wenger, Travis, Steve, Matt, Yohan, and Darwin (Isn’t that ironic that one of the men who helped lead me to Christ is named Darwin Ha Take that, Richard Dawkins.).
Though sometimes fear and apathy get the best of me, It is men like these and stories like McMakin’s that keep me intent on speaking of Jesus whenever I can. may you be encouraged by his story in the same direction.