Ron Shea is the son of George Beverly Shea, “America’s Beloved Gospel Singer,” Billy Graham’s vocalist for more than 60 years.
You are invited to do what I am doing … right now; listening to Bev Shea beautifully sing as I work by clicking on … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLn5S3UZX8k&list=RD02dsrEscUUNMA .
When I was a student at Oklahoma Baptist University, fellow classmate Lloyd Henderson and I traveled to New York City in 1957 for the summer, got jobs (I helped install air conditioner window units), and serve in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade being conducted that summer in the famous Madison Square Garden. I became certified as a “counselor” and assisted, one-to-one, a number of those who responded to Mr. Graham’s invitation to receive forgiveness of all sins through saving faith in Jesus Christ, thus receiving God’s gift of eternal life. (See John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 1:12 & 13, John 6:37, II Peter 3:9, and Revelations 3:20.)
A very warm memory: following one evening’s service, I was walking down the ramp to the lower level counseling area under the main floor of the giant arena. Behind me I heard fast moving footsteps walking down that same ramp. It was George Beverly “Bev” Shea, the great man himself, moving right along, catching up with me, beside another gentleman. Admiring him so as I did, I quickly asked Mr. Shea to sign my Bible. His response was something like … “Son, if you will let me do it later. I need to move on down to lead this man to Christ!”
That was George Beverly Shea.
Great stories about Bev Shea are endless … but here are a couple more good ones: anticipating Bev’s 100th birthday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association searched for a special gift for him, and discovered that he expressed a desire for a Rogers organ…which he did not have. (He only had nine others!) One was found at a good price, and arrangements were made to have it ready for Bev at his birthday party. Once it was presented to him, Ron Shea tells of Bev’s getting up, leaving his “walker” behind, going directly to the organ. Did he play “How Great Thou Art” or some other great hymn? No. To everyone’s surprise, Bev began playing the theme from “The Phantom of the Opera!”
Upon Bev’s “homegoing,” the plan was to donate it to the inmates of the formerly notorious and violent Angola Prison in Louisiana … wherein a remarkable spiritual awakening, a “revival,” has occurred. Though the plan was that the organ would be donated to the prison upon his death, Bev didn’t want to wait until his death, so he had the organ sent soon after his receiving it. He himself went to Angola to meet with the prisoners for a dedication of the organ to the glory of God and did a concert!
At his death, the inmates of Angola prepared the handmade coffins for George Beverly Shea, Ruth Graham, Billy’s wife in which they have been buried. They also have prepared the coffins for … when needed … of Dr. Billy Graham and other BGEA team members.
(In another radio conversation, Dr. Henry Blackaby speaks of the movement of God at Angola Prison , finding even inmates on Death Row rejoicing in their forgiveness in Christ … through “Experiencing God.” To listen anytime, click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/content/view/442/5/ … then scroll down.)
Hear Ron Shea talk about his father … in his own words.