In church today, it’s hard to find Jesus, said Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of the evangelist Billy Graham, on her second day of revival in Augusta.
“You go to church and it’s hard to find Jesus. … There’s so much stuff,” she said to the thousands who gathered Saturday for the free revival at James Brown Arena. “Sometimes when I go to church, I say ‘You know, I just can’t find Jesus. They’ve taken my Lord away.’ If you can’t find him in church, where can you go get him?”
Smaller crowds returned for the final day of Just Give Me Jesus. When the event began, the 8,000-seat arena was about half-full. More trickled in throughout the day, and countless others watched online and listened by radio.
More than 300 stations broadcast Friday’s event, part of Lotz’s worldwide series of revivals she has held since 2000. For the first time, Just Give Me Jesus was also available by simulcast.
“People from 43 different countries tuned in, praise God,” Lotz said of the Friday night broadcast. “There was somebody in every state who tuned in.”
Lotz started the morning with a devotional, pleading that the crowd of women and a few hundred men give their full attention to Jesus.
“I believe Jesus is here in the arena before you got here,” she said. “Would you put your focus on Jesus? Don’t miss what he’s come here to give you today.”
For their part, the revival team aimed for a distraction-free environment.
There were no announcements and no introductions. The staging was minimal.
Lotz’s pulpit was a small, wooden cross where she rested her Bible while preaching from center stage.
Outside, volunteers pointed donors to black offering boxes where they could place donations to help off-set the cost of the half-million-dollar event.
They also sold copies of Lotz’s books, including her best-selling Just Give Me Jesus.
Just Give Me Jesus, however, is not just the title of a book, or the name of the event.
“It’s my heart’s cry,” Lotz said.
Wherever she goes in this country, Lotz says she sees women who with “all of our liberation” are still crying, still weary, still searching.
Often, they’re dissatisfied and searching for a different husband, different family, different bank account or different clothes.
“What are you looking for? What do you think will answer that heart’s cry?,” Lotz said. “Jesus didn’t say, ‘What are you looking for? He said, ‘Who are you looking for?’ We’re not looking for a what. We’re looking for a who.”
The who, she said, is “Jesus, amen.”
From time to time, Lotz is told she is wrong to preach her message to audiences that include men.
To them, she says: “You take it up with Jesus, because he’s the one who put me here.”
As women, “We are commissioned to go and tell. … Jesus is the answer. The Gospel is the answer. If you’re a man, (if) you’re a woman, go and tell,” she said. “Jesus is alive.”
Lotz confessed to the audience that she had a major surgery five weeks ago. She didn’t say for what, but the four-hour procedure left her in the hospital for six days and with a serious case of vertigo.
“I had no idea I could do Just Give Me Jesus and all that it takes,” she said. “I dreaded getting up on this platform,” which, with its series of overlapping circles, she feared would make her vertigo worse.
Lotz prayed, and said she was led to Psalm 46:5: “God is in the midst of her, and she will not fall.”
“I just wanted to share that with you because you don’t even know you’re glimpsing the glory,” she said. “If he’ll do it for me, why do you think he won’t do it for you? You have the power of God in your life.”
At the end of the weekend, Lotz signed book after book and posed for pictures until every person who wanted to make a personal introduction was able to do so.
Sandra Blanchard, a volunteer leader, waited with a few books for Lotz to sign.
“I think it was the most spirit-filled Just Give Me Jesus,” she said. “My heart is changed. Sometimes there are circumstances in life that aren’t what you’d like them to be. Just Give Me Jesus points you to Jesus, to how he would deal with life.”
Pat Wurtz agreed.
“This has been awesome. It’s been more than we expected,” said Wurtz, who drove eight hours from Dothan, Ala., with a friend to attend. “We have been blessed. Truly, Jesus was here.”