“The primary characteristic of the next revival in America will be love.”
Those were Bill Bright’s words. He was my dad. I heard him repeat this numerous times his final few years on this planet.
It’s been 19 years, to the day, since my dad graduated from this life into eternity. I believe God is now setting the stage for the next great revival in America. Dad saw it coming. The cultural angst is driving American culture to the breaking point. We all sense the fear, the panic, and the despair, from the streets to the ballot box. Our leaders bicker while America burns. America is ripe for revolution—or revival.
Are you ready to be a part of the next revival of love? Do you even know what love is—from God’s perspective? Our culture doesn’t have a clue. Our culture thinks “Love is Love.”
For years, my dad would fast one day each week. He donated the money he saved to help feed the poor. He often quietly gave money to those in need. He partnered closely with Rev. Ed Hill, a black pastor in L.A., to help find solutions to the problems plaguing inner-city Los Angeles. He worked behind the scenes to help end the scourge of abortion that exploited so many women—and their babies. Because of his intense love for Jesus, he loved his neighbor—he hurt for those less fortunate than He. But in the midst of addressing all these symptoms of brokenness he never took his eye off the ball. He knew the source of all these cultural maladies was a broken view of God. As he said, “We can trace all our human problems to our view of God.”
Therefore, he daily focused on advancing the Great Commission. He loved Jesus so much he couldn’t help himself. I often saw him weep over people who rejected Christ. Please understand, my dad was not an emotional person. I rarely saw him cry—except for the lost. And then, he didn’t just cry—he wept.
I remember a family vacation to Hawaii when I was about 10 years old. We would often turn around looking for dad. Lagging about 20 yards behind, he would be talking with someone, sharing the Four Spiritual Laws booklet. After about three days I asked, “Dad, can’t you stop sharing your faith for just a few days to be with your family?” He looked at me, puzzlement momentarily crossing his face, then he softly responded, “No, I can’t.”
When the phone rang and the caller would say, “I’m sorry, I must have called a wrong number,” Bill Bright would respond, “This is not a wrong number, this is a divine appointment.” Many people crossed the threshold of the Kingdom because of those “divine appointments.”
When he won the Templeton Prize he was a millionaire for about 30 minutes, then he gave it all away to help advance the Great Commission. He donated all his retirement savings to build a Great Commission Training Center in Moscow, to help reach Russians for Jesus Christ.
I wish I loved Jesus that much. Unfortunately, I don’t. Do you know how I know? I feel sorry for the lost. I feel bad for them. But I don’t weep for them. What does that say about my love for Jesus?
It was the love of Christ that drove my dad to address both the societal symptoms and their Cause—but especially the Cause. He knew all our cultural maladies flowed from a broken view of God. He embraced the only solution that could bring about real and lasting change. He also, knew saving a man’s temporal body without also seeking to save his eternal soul was anything but love. As renowned magician and atheist, Penn Jillette said about those who tried to proselytize him, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?” Penn Jillette understood what many Christians fail to understand: if you really believe someone is going to hell without Jesus, and you really love them, then you will do everything you can to try to help point them toward Jesus. Anything less is not love. As Penn Jillette said, it is “hate.”
So, what is love? What will the next revival look like?
My dad’s favorite passage in all of scripture was First Corinthians 13 which reads in part, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” When he said the next revival will be a revival of love, I can assure you he was thinking of this passage. But most of all he was thinking of the lost and broken souls who need Jesus more than life itself.
Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. He did not mean, be tolerant. Oh, no. He meant, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which is completely counterculture. First and foremost, we must do everything we can to rescue them. If you love your neighbor you will seek to rescue them from more than just their temporal situation; you will strive with all your might to introduce them to the only person who can free them from the Kingdom of Darkness. Anything less is hate. Or even worse, indifference.
My dad's love for Jesus is something I long for. It inspires me, motivates me and is changing me from the inside out.
So, what will the next revival look like? It will look like First Corinthians 13. It will look like the early Church where the poor were fed, the sick were brought in from the streets, and the gospel was preached with absolute abandon. It will look like Bill Bright giving everything to point people back to the Savior who passionately loves them.
So, this is my challenge to you—and myself:
I want to fall in love with Jesus so deeply that if some asks me to refrain from “proselytizing” for a few days, I will instinctively respond, “No, I can’t.” Will you join me? If God does not bring revival, there will be revolution.
GOD is the issue.