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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Bill Bright
Sept. 22, 2013

"Not I, But Christ"

In 2002, Dr. Bill Bright (1921- 2003), founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, and Dr. James O. Davis, founder of Cutting Edge International, were in Springfield, Mo., to address the Assemblies of God General Presbytery about a new ministry (known today as the Billion Soul Network) that he and Davis had launched. Bright visited with Pentecostal Evangel Editor Ken Horn.

evangel: You’ve had more than 50 years of multi-faceted ministry. What is your passion right now?

BILL BRIGHT: Jesus. He is my passion. From the time I awaken each morning until I go to bed at night, He is the One with whom I am in communication. And since seeking and saving the lost was His passion, that is my passion. But it is because of my love for Him that I share that passion.

I try to evaluate everything I do every day in light of the Great Commission because that’s why He came. People often ask me, “What is the most important thing we can pray for?” I pray that I will never leave my first love. That’s the joy and burden of my heart — that I may love Jesus, know Him better, and serve Him more faithfully and fruitfully.

evangel: You mentioned the Great Commission is so very important. Why do you think so many Christians fail to witness?

BRIGHT: Fear and lack of knowledge. The Scripture tells us that the flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. Most Christians don’t understand the role of the Holy Spirit. They don’t realize that they cannot live the Christian life in their own strength. And they can’t witness in their own strength.

Jesus made very clear that the Holy Spirit would empower us to witness and to live a holy life. So there is a lack of knowledge of their role, who they are in Christ — crucified, buried, raised with Him, seated with Him in the heavenlies. We are members of the royal family. We are children of the living Creator, God. And we are to be filled with and directed by the Holy Spirit.

There are only two kingdoms in the world. We, as members of Christ’s kingdom, have the privilege of invading Satan’s kingdom. Colossians 1:13 tells us that “[God] has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins” (The Living Bible). But the average believer is not sure of his or her salvation according to our many surveys.

The only way we can go to hell is by following the devil. Hell is made for Satan and his angels, not for us. Now if we insist on following the devil, hell is where we will go. And if we only allow Jesus to live and love through us, we follow Him in His kingdom and to our ultimate destiny in heaven. I think we need to talk more about heaven and hell.

evangel: How do you personally get direction from the Holy Spirit?

BRIGHT: I live according to Philippians 2:13. It is my daily reminder. “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him.” Whatever He wills you to do, He gives you power to do, the provision to do. So the first thing I do when I awake in the morning is to pray with my dear wife and then read the Scripture before I have breakfast or anything else and I acknowledge that Jesus is my Lord.

In fact, 51 years ago, my wife and I signed a contract to be slaves of Jesus. He being our model. Philippians 2:7 tells us that the great Creator of the universe came to planet Earth disguised as a slave. Paul speaks of himself in Romans 1:1 as a slave.

Years ago, I was in business in Hollywood. Gold was my god. I worked day and night to make money. Then I fell in love with Jesus and went to Princeton Seminary the next year. I was spiritually illiterate.

Because I was running my business all the way across the continent, God gave me an opportunity to move to Fuller Seminary when it started in 1947. I was in the first class there. I was growing. In 1948, Vonette and I were married. About two years later, we had come to the place where we realized that knowing, loving and serving Jesus were all that really mattered. We had both been very materialistic, very self-centered.

Now we were falling in love with Jesus. So we signed a contract — literally wrote it out and signed it, relinquishing ourselves and all we owned to Jesus to serve Him wherever He called. I thought I would continue business. But approximately 24 hours later God spoke to me in a dramatic way and gave me the vision we call Campus Crusade for Christ. I am convinced that had there been no contract, there would have been no vision.

For these 51 years I have been a slave. I am a slave by choice. When I awake in the morning, I simply say, “Lord Jesus, walk around in my body, think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips, seek and save the lost through me, do whatever You want in and through me. I’m available to do as You wish.”

I look back over all of these 51 years. All the miracles, awesome beyond words to describe. I’ve been an observer. People give me credit, but it’s a Galatians 2:20 thing — not I, but Christ. The best thing you can say about Bill Bright and his wife, Vonette, is “They are slaves of Jesus.”

evangel: Is there hope for national revival in the United States?

BRIGHT: In 1994, God so troubled my spirit over the decadence of our country, I fasted and prayed for 40 days for national and world revival and the fulfillment of the Great Commission. It was at that time God began to impress upon me that He was going to send a great revival. He also instructed me to call together Christian leaders to fast and pray with me. Six hundred fifty people came.

Thomas Trask, Chuck Colson, Shirley Dobson and people who were heads of various denominations came and we humbled ourselves before God. It was the beginning of something magnificent. Since that time, I have been impressed to write four books on fasting and prayer. Now millions of people all over the world are fasting and praying for revival.

In my opinion, there is no way to meet the conditions of 2 Chronicles 7:14 apart from fasting and prayer. Nobody is going to fast for 40 days with a big ego. Something happens. You see God’s face. When you analyze it, every problem you have starts with self, ego. Fasting deals with ego more than anything else. So, yes, I’m optimistic to believe that we are going to see an awakening.

Today there is harmony and love and unity among many believers where in years past it would have been impossible to work together. Each year since 1994 I have fasted and prayed for 40 days to this end.

evangel: Anything else?

BRIGHT: My plea to the body of Christ is don’t allow anyone or anything to rob you of your first love. You can’t maintain your first love apart from the Holy Spirit. You can’t maintain your first love apart from daily reading the Scriptures, meditating on God’s Word.

You can’t live a first-love relationship unless you obey God. So my plea is to keep your eyes on Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Know, love, trust and obey God.

We are complete in Jesus. Just think of the miracle. He lives within us — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All the supernatural resources of deity are available to God’s children. There is no limit to Him.

We honor God when we think big, when we pray big, when we plan big. Not foolishly, but prayerfully. Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, if you bear much fruit. In this way you prove that you are my followers.”


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