Bill Bright, founder
of Campus Crusade for Christ International, recently spoke with
Managing Editor Ken Horn.
PE: Youve had
more than 50 years of multi-faceted ministry. What is your passion
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 thats 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. Thats the joy
and burden of my heart that I may love Jesus, know Him better,
and serve Him more faithfully and fruitfully.
PE: 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 dont
understand the role of the Holy Spirit. They dont realize
that they cannot live the Christian life in their own strength.
And they cant 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 Christs kingdom, have the
privilege of invading Satans kingdom. Colossians 1:13 tells
us that "[God] has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom
of Satans 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.
PE: 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. Im
available to do as You wish." I look back over all of these
51 years. All the miracles, awesome beyond words to describe. Ive
been an observer. People give me credit, but its 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
PE: 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 Gods face. When you analyze
it, every problem you have starts with self, ego. Fasting deals
with ego more than anything else. So, yes, Im 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.
PE: Anything else?
BRIGHT: My plea
to the body of Christ is dont allow anyone or anything to
rob you of your first love. You cant maintain your first love
apart from the Holy Spirit.
You cant maintain your first love apart from daily reading
the Scriptures, meditating on Gods Word. You cant 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 Gods 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."