Good News from a Graveyard

Good News from a Graveyard

A few years ago, I was speaking at a conference at a large hotel in Houston, Texas. Dr. Bill Bright stayed there overnight and came in and sat on the back row during my presentation. I was floored when he came up later and introduced himself to me. He asked me if I would be willing to participate in some big visions that he had. I immediately said yes.

Dr. Bill Bright was the founder and president of Campus Crusade, now Cru. This is the largest parachurch ministry in the world.

He invited me to a meeting in Atlanta to share a vision that he had. When I walked into the room of about fifty leaders from around the world that I had only heard about or read about, but never met, I felt like a mule at the Kentucky Derby! I sat in awe of Dr. Bright and this group he had called together to serve as a steering committee.

He shared his vision that God had told him to put together a commitment to start five million churches and win one billion new believers around the world by 2020. Wow! Five million new churches and one billion new believers—that’s a God-sized vision!

By 2020, both of those goals were reached!! Dr. Bright had passed the mantle of leadership to James Davis and Steve Douglas. Many thought that he wouldn’t live to see the goal reached. He died in 2003, but he saw the goal reached before he announced it, and then again from heaven in 2020 when he witnessed a great celebration!!

What was the secret for Dr. Bill Bright? He was a man of prayer and fasting. He invited me to participate in a couple of national events for a three-day prayer and fast. He later invited me to join a small group of people who would pray every Monday at 1:00 pm by telephone. We did that for years. When Dr. Bright was under an oxygen tent in the last days of his life, he still had the telephone under the oxygen tent and prayed until the last week that he lived. He was a man of prayer and fasting.

He was a man who personally knew the Lord Jesus Christ and shared Him. He knew that Jesus was alive in his life. He once told a story about a missionary in Turkey who was teaching the truth about the resurrection of Christ to a group of onlookers.

The missionary said, “I was traveling and reached a place where the road branches off in two ways. I looked for a guide and found two men—one dead and the other alive. Which of these two must I ask for direction—the dead or the living?” The group immediately said, “Oh, the living.” The missionary then responded, “Why send me to a religion whose leader is dead. Instead, send me to Christ who is alive.” That story was an example of Dr. Bright’s life. 

The Resurrection was verified by the early disciples. Jesus later appeared to several individuals, some small groups, and to a group of more than 500. Paul said, “Then he appeared to me.” (I Corinthians 15:3-8)

The source of Dr. Bright’s power, productivity, and perseverance was the reality of the Resurrection. We live and die—Jesus died and lives today. He makes it possible for me and you to do the same!

The stone wasn’t rolled away to give Jesus a way to get out—it was rolled away so everyone could see He wasn’t there, but is here!

How real in your life is Jesus who rose from the dead on Easter and lives today?

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