In 1947 I had a very unique, life-changing experience with the Holy Spirit. It happened in a little cottage at Forrest Home, California. Dr. Henrietta Mears, Lou Evans, Jr., Dick Halverson, and I were forever changed when the Holy Spirit came upon us in a supernatural way.
I really didn't know who the Holy Spirit was at that time. For each of us it was a divine, supernatural encounter with God. Out of that experience, before the night was over, we formed what we called the Fellowship of the Burning Heart.
We committed ourselves to make Christ the Lord of our lives and live expendably for Him. We made an impossible list of do's and don'ts to keep, and it wasn't long before we all violated them all. But the fact is that we were on fire for Christ and we were determined to be expendable for God.
An important part of the Fellowship of the Burning Heart was discipleship and spiritual maturity. We set a very high standard for ourselves. To be a member of the Fellowship, one had to spend an hour every day in the Scriptures and in prayer. He had to witness to someone every day and follow other very rigid rules.
We were willing to pay the price of discipleship, but soon most of us had broken those standards and had failed to measure up to our high resolve. We began living under a cloud. We found ourselves feeling guilty because we had broken our agreement with God. We had begun to operate in the energy of the flesh in order to fulfill the work of the Spirit, and it doesn't work that way. This failure to keep all our own rules 100 percent discouraged us and destroyed our effectiveness.
Since then, I have realized that placing Jesus Christ at the center of my life and claiming the power of the Holy Spirit to live and witness for Him is the only way I can live supernaturally.
While we started in the Spirit, and ended up living in the flesh, God must have seen our hearts. Out of that movement, God gave birth to many wonderful things. Dick Halverson went on to be Chaplain of the U.S. Senate for many years. Dr. Louie Evans, Jr. had a great ministry and still does as a leader in the Presbyterian church and beyond. Dr. Mears became one of the most influential Christian educators of the 20th century. And God graciously gave me that vision which was, in a sense, born that night, and later in a more dramatic and specific way -- the vision for Campus Crusade for Christ, formed in 1951, which miraculously has since helped to share the good news of God's great love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ to more than 6 billion people.
While the Fellowship of the Burning Heart no longer exists, my heart is still burning.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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