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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

Edward Kimble’s Legacy

(From by Robert Lindsay)

The year was 1855, April in America, Edward Kimble who was 40 years of age learned that he was going to die and had very little time to live. He was a man of very little education but taught a Sunday School class of 15. After the pastor of the church where he attended had preached on evangelism, Kimble led all of his class to the Lord. Kimble had to overcome fear to go into a shoe store to talk to one or the boys named Dwight. But it was in the stock room of this shoe store he led Dwight L. Moody to Christ. Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) was an American evangelist. Born in Northfield, Massachusetts, Moody’s father died when he was four years of age. He left school at age 17 to find work. Moody was led to Christ by his Sunday School teacher, Edward Kimball, and later began his own Sunday School class with 13 street kids. This class increased in enrollment to 1,500 in four years.

Moody did personal work with soldiers during the Civil War. He traveled throughout Europe and America conducting ministry campaigns. His work continues today through the Moody Memorial Bible Institute of Chicago.

Dwight L Moody rocked the world with his preaching. Moody was preaching in the British Isles, and a lady teacher was so moved by his testimony that she told it to her class. She in turn also told her preacher Frederick Brotherton Meyer that every one of her students had given their heart to the Lord. The report of the teacher had a profound effect on his life. He realized for the first time what it meant to be brokenhearted about sin and point people to Jesus. Meyer came to America and preached at Moody’s school in Northfield, Massachusetts. He said, “If you’re not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” That remark changed the life of a young preacher named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman went on to be a great evangelist in his era. But when he decided to return to the pastorate, he turned his ministry over to a YMCA clerk who had been his advance man. The young man’s name was Billy Sunday.

Billy Sunday is one of the twentieth century’s best-known evangelists. By the time of his death in 1935, he had preached to millions, and it is estimated that three hundred thousand men and women were led to faith in Christ in over 200 campaigns. His campaigns were known as the sawdust trail. His career spanned five decades. In 1924, Sunday conducted a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina. Out of those meetings came a group of laymen that formed a permanent organization to continue witnessing for Christ in their city. Eight years later in 1932, that same group brought an evangelist named Mordecai Ham (1878-1959) to town for a citywide meeting. Ham was a Baptist evangelist. During the first year of his ministry Ham saw more than 33,000 conversions. In his 30 years of ministry more than 300,000 new converts joined Baptist Churches in the south. The author of the amendment for prohibition stated that Billy Sunday and Mordecai Ham nearly put the saloons out of business. Mordecai exalted Christ and fought sin with all his might. In November of 1934, in Charlotte, North Carolina, during a fall crusade, Ham was having a trying time. The place was a temporary tabernacle on Pecan Avenue on the outskirts of town. A total of 6,400 were saved at this crusade. A young man was there and was amazed as he saw 5,000 people filling seats in every meeting.

People were getting saved all around this young man. It seemed to the young man that the only safe place from the evangelist’s wrath was to join the choir. So that is where he and his friend sat the next night. As the evangelist came up to speak his first words were “there is a great sinner in this place tonight.”

The young man thought, “my mother has been talking to him about me.” That night he turned to his friend and said, “let’s go.” He and his friend were saved that night. His name was Billy Graham. Are you willing to be made willing?

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