Jonathan Lotz, grandson of Rev. Billy Graham, will speak at Westview Methodist Church, 770 W. Madison St., Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m.
Despite a highly respected family name, life hasn’t been easy for Lotz. In high school he was abused by his basketball coach who chose to take it out on his players. Lotz continually tried to win his coach’s approval but never succeeded.
Later, after graduating from Baylor University, Lotz began working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Then on March 6, 1998, his life took an unexpected detour when he was diagnosed with cancer. Seven years after surgery and intensive radiation therapy, Lotz was considered cancer-free, and then was reunited with his high school coach, who was dying from lung cancer. Through Lotz’s experience, he was able to relate to the coach’s plight and offer words of hope by sharing God’s message of faith and forgiveness.
After the coach died, Lotz was invited to speak at the halftime of a memorial game held at the local high school. The game was packed with hundreds of former athletes, colleagues and students in which Lotz shared a message of God’s grace and redemption, as well as the testimony of the coach, who accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior shortly before his death.
“Some people ask me why would a loving God let you go through all this, let you have cancer?” he said. “I don’t know, but this is what I do know; God has found incredible ways to speak through me because of it, and I have been given the opportunity to share my story and encourage many others in the struggles of their lives.”
Through his life, Lotz has learned that when he has tried to live to please people, he has fallen short. “Through the years, I have learned that God doesn’t just want our ability, He wants our availability.”
The public is invited to Lotz’s speech.