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Our country is tearing itself apart. Even within the Church there are deeply conflicting views about what we should and should not do.


Because my dad was Bill Bright you might assume I would say we need to focus primarily on the Great Commission. Others who have read my book, GOD is the Issue, might think I would say we need to engage on the social issues. My answer might surprise both groups. In fact, my dad’s actions might surprise both groups.


I recently read a quote by Billy Graham with which I fully agree. However, I suspect some Christians might take it out of context in order to justify their position, one way or another. This is what he said:


“I do not believe that we should spend our time cursing the darkness. I do not believe we should spend our time in useless controversy, trying to root the tares out while harming the wheat. I do not believe that we should give in to the forces of evil and violence and indifference.
Instead, let us light a fire. Let us light a fire that will banish moral and spiritual blight wherever we go. Let us light a fire that will guide men and women into tomorrow — and eternity.”

Dr. Graham was right. We should not waste our time cursing the darkness. We should not waste our time pulling up tares. We should not give in to the forces of evil. And we should light a fire that will guide men and women into eternity.


The question is, what does that look like? Some people think this means focusing exclusively on preaching the gospel, but never getting “political.” Others think it means pushing back against the forces of evil, especially in the political arena.


However, Jesus gave us three primary commands:


  • “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

  • “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He illustrated what He meant in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

  • The Great Commission, to preach the gospel of salvation to the entire world.


If you ignore even one of those commands, you’ve ignored the other two as well.


Many Christians focus on Great Commission but disregard the vulnerable. That’s wrong, as illustrated by Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. Conversely, other Christians focus on the vulnerable but give no heed to the Great Commission. Those latter folks often justify their disobedience by saying, “Evangelism is not my gift.” Well, let me respond by saying, compassion is not my gift. Does that exempt from having to show compassion? Absolutely not! Withholding compassion is sin, whether by turning your back on the poor and the vulnerable, or by refusing to share the good news with those hurrying down the path to eternal damnation.


Jesus gave all three commands. You cannot follow Jesus closely and embrace two of his commands while ignoring the third. You either do what He asked you to do, or you don’t.


Let me ask you a question. If you are faithful to preach the gospel out on the street corner every day, like St. Francis of Assisi, but completely ignore the orphans, the widows, the poor, the hungry, the helpless babies being aborted, the defenseless children being sex-trafficked or groomed in our schools, or those who are enslaved, have you done everything Jesus asked you to do?


What about if you work hard to combat racism, abortion, sex-trafficking, or poverty, but you forget about the eternal souls of the people in front of you, have you done everything Jesus asked you to do?


The answer to both questions is, “No!” Partial obedience is disobedience.


As followers of Jesus, we must love God, love our neighbor as ourselves as illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, and verbally share the gospel with those around us.


Most of the leaders of the abolitionist movement in the 1800’s where devout Christians. They were outspoken about the gospel. They also read Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor,” which Jesus illustrated with the story of the Good Samaritan. Therefore, they believed they must help the vulnerable in their culture who could not help themselves. Of course, in their day, this clearly applied to those unjustly enslaved.


If there was ever an issue in our nation’s history that was highly “politicized” it was the issue of slavery. But aren’t we all glad they took Jesus seriously, rather than listening to the folks who accused them of getting “political?” Just because an issue is “political” does not mean followers of Jesus should not engage. Jesus never said, “Don’t get political!” Asking whether something is “political” is the wrong question—it’s completely irrelevant. Instead, ask:

“What did Jesus say I should do?”

That is the correct question for His true disciples.


As an individual follower of Jesus, I can’t do everything. But as the body of Christ, we can. God has given me my specific focus, which is making God the issue in every issue, both on the personal and cultural level. But I cannot follow Jesus closely, and then turn a blind eye to those in need when it is in my power to help them. This means we all have to work together to get the job done. However, as individuals we can neither ignore opportunities to tell others about the God’s love, or conversely, fail to demonstrate that love to the vulnerable when it is within our power to do so.


For example, my dad was focused on the Great Commission like a laser for 50 years, but he also fasted one day a week for years and then gave the money he saved (by fasting) to help feed the poor and the hungry. He never talked about it publicly. But he knew that the same Jesus who said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel,” also said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”


I don’t think Billy Graham meant we should never “get political.” Sometimes, in order to be a Good Samaritan, to truly love our neighbor, we have to cross into those areas that our culture has labeled “political.” Political or not, we must free the slave, protect the unborn, care for widows and orphans, and stand up for the vulnerable amongst us.


Simply because God has called me to make God the issue in every issue, it doesn’t give me a pass to be like the priest or the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan. I cannot ignore a hurting person whom I have the power to help. If I must cross into an area the culture has labeled “Political,” then so be it.


Jesus commanded us to love God, love our neighbor, and preach the gospel. End of story. Incomplete obedience is disobedience.


I don’t say this to put anyone on a guilt trip. I have failed in all three of these areas numerous times. Rather, I say this to encourage you to think about what it means to love God with your whole heart, to love you neighbor as yourself like the Good Samaritan did, and to preach the gospel.


As Billy Graham said, we need to both “light a fire” and “never give into the forces of evil.” We do this by making God’s heart our heart, both for the vulnerable and the lost.


God is the issue—in every issue.




© Brad Bright 2023, All rights reserved.

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Do you think Christians obsess over politics and the ballot box to the detriment of the Great Commission? Last week a listener to my Memorial Day podcast raised that very issue.


I suggested we could honor the fallen by praying for our country and by voting. Randy commented, “I think it’s our obsessive belief in the ballot box that has diminished the Great Commission for many Christians.” Do you agree or disagree with Randy? Does he have a valid point?


I agree with Randy that many Christians are more obsessed with the ballot box than the Great Commission. That is indeed unfortunate since the Great Commission was our Lord’s final instruction to us. But I disagree that their obsession with the ballot box is the problem.


Mother Theresa invested her life in helping the dying poor of Calcutta to die with dignity because they were beings created in the very image of God. She was certainly obsessive about it. I’m glad she was. I suspect Randy is too.


William Wilberforce, a devout Christian who was a member of the British Parliament in the early 1800’s, led the charge to end the slave trade throughout the British Empire. He destroyed his health in the process. He was obsessive about it. I’m glad he was. I suspect Randy is too.


God gave one of our former board members, Art DeMoss, a talent for making money. He loved coming up with ways to make money. He was very good at it. He loved giving it away to support Christian missions. He tithed 90% and kept 10%. However, he was even more obsessive about personally telling people about Jesus. I was at his funeral. Probably 1,000 people stood to indicate that he had personally introduced them to Jesus. Wow! I’m glad he was obsessive about making money and introducing people to Jesus.


I am obsessive about saving innocent children from Planned Parenthood. I was once one of those unwanted children. I am obsessive about protecting religious freedom in America so that more people can hear about Jesus. Therefore, I am also obsessive about the ballot box which is where those issues will be won or lost. But I am also obsessive about making God the issue in every issue. I am obsessive about the Great Commission. I see no contradiction in being obsessive about all those things.


My dad was Bill Bright. He wrote a booklet entitled Your 5 Duties as a Christian Citizen which encouraged American Christians to vote. He wanted to go chain himself to the pillars in front of the Supreme Court until Roe v. Wade was overturned (That’s practically the definition of obsessive). Had he still been alive, he would have shouted for joy when the Supreme Court finally did just that.


However, you never met anyone in your life who was more obsessive about the Great Commission than Bill Bright.


- He started Campus Crusade for Christ. When he passed away 20 years ago, he left behind 27,000 full-time staff and 200,000 fully trained volunteers spanning the globe.

- He wrote an evangelistic booklet called The Four Spiritual Laws. Over two billion had been printed by the time he passed away.

- He was the prime mover behind the Jesus Film which has been translated into 2,000 languages and viewed by billions of people.

- He traveled 80% of the time for 50 years to tell people about Jesus all over the globe.

- He talked with anyone who would listen about the person he loved most—Jesus.


His obsession with overturning Roe v. Wade and encouraging believers to vote never dampened his enthusiasm for the Great Commission.


Being obsessive about the ballot box does not make you apathetic about the Great Commission. Being obsessive about helping the poor does not diminish your passion for the spread of the gospel. Being obsessive about freeing slaves does not mean you don’t care about telling people about Jesus. Being obsessive about combatting abortion or racism does not make your heart cold toward Jesus’s final command. What makes a person apathetic about the Great Commission is being apathetic about Jesus. That’s the real problem.


What makes a person apathetic about the Great Commission is being apathetic about Jesus.

The Apostle Paul said, “To live is Christ!” When you think about it, that’s very obsessive. I suspect Randy would agree that most Christians in America probably cannot relate to the Apostle Paul on this point, because their hearts are lukewarm.


- They go to church Sunday morning, but then on Monday morning they say, “It’s just business.”

- They assume the worst rather than the best about their fellow Christians.

- They gossip in their prayer groups.

- They are quick to criticize.

- They are slow to forgive.

- They think nothing of watching movies that use Christ’s name as a swear word.

- They only pray on Sunday mornings or when they need something.

- They don’t open their Bibles every day to hear from God.


Their love for God has indeed grown cold—but not because of the ballot box. The solution is not to quit caring about the poor, freeing the slaves, or opposing abortion and racism. The solution is to repent and love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.


Never fall prey to the false binary trap that you can’t wholeheartedly embrace the Great Commission while encouraging other believers to be faithful stewards of the one vote which God gave them.

According to Matthew 25, you are either a “faithful” steward or a “wicked” steward. Followers of Jesus should be faithful stewards of the Great Commission, their money, their time, their talents—and in a constitutional republic like America, they should also be faithful stewards of their God-given vote.

God is the issue in every issue—from the Great Commission to the ballot box.


I encourage you to order a copy of the booklet, Your 7 Duties of a Christian Citizen at BrightMedia.org. It answers the question: What does God expect of me as a citizen in a constitutional republic? It suggests very practical ways you can make a difference every day—from praying, to voting, to voting with your wallet, to making GOD the issue.


Our primary calling as followers of Jesus is the Great Commission, but as faithful stewards of everything God gives us, it does not stop there.


God is the issue—in every issue.


By Brad Bright

©2023 Brad Bright. All rights reserved.

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“You can give up all hope of ever having a better past.”

Wow! Those twelve words ushered forth from the mouth of a godly Christian counselor. Unless you are committed to holding onto your past failures, such advice can set you free to embrace God’s best.


Unfortunately, many “Christian counselors” these days appear woefully lacking on the “Christian” side of the “Christian counselor” ledger.


A friend of mine who was a seminary president, once lamented to me that our seminaries are producing students who are trained as counselors but are seriously deficient in their knowledge of God’s Word. That’s a train wreck getting ready to happen. I would never seek the advice of a “Christian counselor” who wasn’t skilled both as a professional and as a student of God’s Word.


I often say,

“Unlike the federal government you can’t give away what you don’t own.”

This applies to Christian counselors. If a Christian counselor is not a student of God’s Word, they WILL lead people astray. If they are not in God’s Word daily, then where are they drawing their wisdom from? If they are not praying about each person who walks through their door, how do they know they speak words of life rather than words of death. Great counseling skills are simply not enough.


During my college years I remember chatting with a highly respected Christian psychologist. What he verbalized that day shocked me:

“Ten percent of Christian counselors do more good than harm. Forty-five percent do more harm than good. The remaining 45% don’t do any harm, but they don’t really do any good either.”

Ouch!


My experiences over the years have confirmed his statement many times over. Not long ago, a dear friend suffered an almost unfathomable tragedy. He called to ask if I could recommend any Christians counselors. I could not, but I got on the phone and finally tracked down two that came with rock solid recommendations from people I trusted. The great news is I found two. The sad news is, I only found two.


As a writer, public speaker and podcaster, my greatest fear is unintentionally contradicting Scripture because of my own lack of knowledge, or lack of relying on the Holy Spirit, thereby leading many astray. I palpably fear that. I wish that all Christian counselors shared my fear. The people who come to them trust them, so they wield tremendous power to heal or destroy. Often, I have seen “Christian counselors” ruin people’s lives.


However, there are programs out there which work hard to equip counseling students both in God’s Word and as counselors. One of those programs is at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. Recently, I interviewed one of their faculty, Dr. Seth Scott. It quickly became apparent that here was a professional counselor with the heart and knowledge of a pastor.


We have a mental health crisis in our country. There are many reasons for the epidemic, but the solution requires an “all hands-on deck” attitude within the body of Christ. I have been in full time ministry for over 30 years. Never has the need been greater for well-trained, God-focused counselors.


If God is placing it upon your heart to pursue a degree in counseling, I strongly encourage you to find a program that is as committed to teaching you God’s Word as they are to teaching you counseling skills. Remember, unlike the federal government, you can’t give away what you don’t own.


By Brad Bright

Copyright © 2023 Brad Bright. All rights reserved.

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