In 1949, Willam Randolph Hearst, sent a telegraph to all his newspaper editors to “Puff Graham” a little known preacher who was hosting the Los Angeles Crusade. The newspapers began to run articles about Billy Graham and the crusade and over a period of 8 weeks 350,000 people showed up to hear him preach.
Prior to the crusade Billy Graham was at Forest Home Family Camp where he committed to preaching the Word of God unashamedly with conviction, believing it to be God’s Word. After the crusades, Billy Graham was internationally known and the ministry God gave him flourished.
In Acts 29 we see another “Puff Graham” example. The Apostle Paul was not trusted by the Disciples because before Paul was the Paul we know him to be, he was Saul and he persecuted Jewish converts to Christianity. In fact, he was at the stoning of Stephen and traveled throughout the region tracking down Christians to turn them in. One day, however, he was confronted by Jesus and Paul himself converted, his life was transformed, and he began to preach the Gospel.
There was a problem, however, in that the Christians in Jerusalem knew of his past and did not trust that he had converted. They thought it was perhaps a scheme to trick them so that he could catch them.
But one man, Barnabas, was not afraid. In Chapter 9 of the Book of Acts we read that Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had send the Lord on the road and that He had talked to him, and how he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. After Barnabas “puffed Paul” he was accepted by them and began preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem.
When I started this article I thought how nice it would be to have someone “puff Zapata” or help me grow like these guys, then I realized I was thinking about it the wrong way. I don’t need anyone to puff me or promote me.
What I realized is that others need me to puff them. There are hundreds of young undiscovered men and women who need the support of someone to help them get established. All business leaders have them in their midst. We just need to make the effort to identify, then recognize, and then promote those individuals. All parents have children that need to be encouraged and puffed up as they grow up.
Billy was supported by Hearst. Paul was supported by Barnabas. Who can you puff up today? Who needs your shout out? Who can you come alongside and encourage on their journey?