Of the nearly half-million people who live in the Rappahannock area of Virginia near Fredericksburg, about an hour south of Washington, D.C., many are federal government employees who commute to the D.C. area for work each day. With such a significant government presence, the population tends toward a liberal view of the world.
“Frankly, there is sometimes a spirit of intellectual pride that keeps people from the Lord,” said Don Bailey, a longtime local resident who served as a counselor for the Rappahannock Celebration with Will Graham on June 25.
Whatever barriers to the Gospel existed before the Celebration, the Holy Spirit used Will’s straightforward message on Saturday night and a KidzFest animated story that morning to convict and draw people to saving faith.
For Robert, in his mid-30s, it was a gnawing feeling that he needed to return to the Lord he had drifted away from. His wife, who wasn’t a Christian, came with him to the Celebration.
He came forward at the Gospel invitation offered by Will on Saturday night to rededicate his life to Christ. While he was praying with a counselor to put his spiritual priorities back in order, his wife was praying to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Their home will never be the same.
Robert and his wife were just two of many adults and young people—more than 240 in all—who made spiritual decisions during the evening Celebration and the kids’ event. More than 3,600 people came to the Fredericksburg Expo Center to hear music from Newsboys, Aaron Shust and the Irish band Rend Collective, and to hear Will preach the message of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
“God is a God of second chances,” Will told those in attendance. “God wants to restore you and make you whole again. But you have to come to Him.”
Preaching from 2 Chronicles 33 about the evil deeds of Israel’s King Manasseh, who was the son of King Hezekiah, Will explained, “Basically, [Manasseh] did everything opposite from what his father did.”
Manasseh led the people into wickedness by leaning on astrology instead of the wisdom of God, bringing idols from surrounding tribes into the Jewish Temple, and even sacrificing his own son.
Idols come in many forms today, too, Will said, and without repentance before a Holy God, everyone faces a real place of judgment called hell.
“But God’s going to give you a chance. He gave Manasseh a chance,” said Will, explaining how Manasseh ultimately humbled himself before God and repented after Jerusalem was overrun by the Assyrians and Manasseh was carried away captive.
“He confessed his sin, which means he agreed with God,” Will said. “… If He can change Manasseh’s life, He can change your life.”
Two young women in their early 30s, Kimberly and Jackie, were moved by the message and came forward in tears, repenting of their sins and rededicating themselves to the Lord.
Meanwhile, Joe Steele was able to pray with 10-year-old Lennon as he put his faith in Christ at KidzFest earlier that day. And Brandon Good, a Marine Corps veteran, was able to help lead an 8-year-old named Quinton in a sinner’s prayer as he indicated his desire to put his faith in Christ.
“I was very blessed to do so,” Good said. “I just pray his life is never the same after today.” ©2022 BGEA
Photos: Ron Nickel/©2022 BGEA