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  • Writer's pictureBrad Bright

Normally, I don’t talk about personal stuff with people outside of trusted family and close friends. I grew up in a “fishbowl” so I learned to guard my privacy with a winsome smile, nuanced words, and strategic deflection. However, God told me talk about what I am going through right now. So, here goes.

A little more than two years ago I heard those strange, almost disembodied words, “Brad, you have prostate cancer. We need to operate soon. Don’t wait.” Six months later the doc said they thought they got it all. L-o-n-g s-l-o-w e-x-h-a-l-e.

Then last fall everything changed. Not only did my doctor tell me the cancer had returned, but that it was “stage four metastatic cancer.” They could “extend my life by a few years,” but I was a dead man walking. I could feel the tick, tick, tick of the countdown clock.

And then my mind jumped back to a conversation I had with God the previous spring. He said, “Brad, you firmly believe in my sovereignty.” I replied, “Yes, Lord, I do.” He continued, “However, you often resign yourself to my sovereignty rather than embracing it. Sometimes you’re more of an Eeyore than a Tigger regarding the choices I make for your ultimate good.” Ouch! That stung a bit, but I realized He was right—again.

In that moment the book of Job came to mind. I thought of the scene where Job was sitting in ashes, covered in boils. He had lost his wealth, his health and all his children. In the midst of his utter devastation his wife exclaims, “Curse God and die.” Instead, he responds, “The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” As I pondered those words, I realized you can utter them out of resignation (fatalism), or with deep seated conviction. It seems pretty clear that Job chose the latter. But at that moment, it wasn’t about Job; it was about me and God. How was I going to respond?

God finished our conversation with, “Brad, I want to teach you to embrace my sovereignty.” I responded with all sincerity, “Okay Lord.” Amazingly, I then went on with life, giving little thought to what might be just around the corner. Silly, silly me.

When I heard the doctor’s death sentence last fall, I was transported back to the conversation God and I had months before. I knew I had a choice. I could either resign myself to the cancer, or I could respond triumphantly along with the Apostle Paul, “…to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I chose the latter. Please don’t miss this—it was a deliberate decision. I was able to follow Paul’s example because I trust in God’s faithfulness to the core of my being. That initial choice is changing my entire cancer experience.

You see, God is my coach. He wants me to succeed even more than I want to succeed. But like any great coach he knows His job is to make me do what I don’t want to do in order that I might become what I want to become. And what do I want to become, you ask? I want to become more like Jesus. That is the only path to deep and abiding joy, but it does come with a price.

My cancer is truly a blessing from the hand of the God who loves me dearly. It’s a hard blessing, and I would never have chosen this path, but I see it as a tangible sign of God’s deep, deep care for me.

When life’s inevitable curve balls come, my wife and I often ask each other the following question: “Are we viewing this as a problem, or as an opportunity to see God work?” In any situation, it will be one or the other. How I answer that question is always the result of how I view God. Furthermore, if I am focused on myself or my current situation, I will always have problems. You see, either my circumstances will determine how I see God, or my view of God will determine how I see my circumstances. When I view life’s curveballs as problems, it is always the direct result of an inadequate view of God or focusing on myself.

I have complete confidence God can heal me. I’ve seen Him heal others in amazing ways. However, I have no idea if He will heal me or not. He hasn’t given me any indication one way or the other. But I do know this, He is sovereign. He is in control.

The book of Job is crystal clear on this point. If I live it will be according to HIS sovereign plan for me. If I die it will be according to HIS sovereign plan for me. Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for the good, for those who love God, for those who are called according to purpose.” Please note that it never says all things are fun or pleasant. The context of Romans 8:28 is that we will suffer during this life, but God is in control and works everything for our ultimate good.

Let me close this conversation by asking you, do you have problems, or do you have opportunities to see God work? Your view of God will determine how you answer that question.

If you would like to develop a deeper view of God, my dad, Bill Bright, wrote an easy-to-read book about God’s character shortly before he died. He wrote it just for someone like you. It’s entitled, God, Who Are You Anyway?, How you view God will determine how you see and experience everything else in life.

GOD is the issue!

Listen to my podcast, Cancer, Me, and GOD to hear more about my cancer journey

Copyright © Brad Bright 2023. All rights reserved.

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  • Writer's pictureBrad Bright

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Remember that the candidates’ principles are far more important than their party affiliation. To place confidence in unworthy candidates is a miscarriage of Christian stewardship. “Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot” (Proverbs25:19). –Bill Bright

I recently recorded a podcast entitled “Is it a Sin to NOT Vote?” The additional information I promised is below. If you sincerely desire to serve as a faithful steward of your God-given vote, read on. It is not designed to tell you who to vote for, or what political party to support. My goal is to pass on practical information to help you wisely invest the vote God gave you.

How do you decide who to vote for, or who to vote against? Think about that for a moment. Is it their style? Their personality? What they say? How they say it? Do they seem trustworthy? Maybe fear drives you? Maybe they claim to be a Christian. Many factors influence how we vote.

Elections are a billion-dollar industry with a lot at stake. Candidates pay dearly for marketing people who know how to manipulate you, trick you, scare you, woo you and capture your imagination. They also hire skilled coaches who help them package and deliver their public speeches. Some candidates are so articulate they could even fool their own mothers.

My mother was in the Oval Office with President Clinton on the National Day of Prayer in the 1990’s. She did not vote for him. She did not trust him. However, she said the man was so “charming” that had she not been absolutely certain of who she was talking to, she would have easily been sucked in within the first five minutes.

During my days on Capitol Hill, I knew a congressman who was highly respected and known to be a strong evangelical in his home district. He was tall, handsome, extremely smart, well-spoken and knew all the evangelical lingo. However, on Capitol Hill we all knew him to be a self-serving liar.

My point is—never trust the packaging or a silver tongue. It’s like Saruman in The Lord of the Rings—if you listened to him for very long, he would draw you in with his voice. The best defense was to just not listen.

And this brings me to the point of this blog, if you can’t trust a candidate’s words, how do you decide? In the next few paragraphs, I am going to share some tips that can help you cut through verbal mirages.

So, let’s begin. Following are six voting criteria:

1) INTEGRITY. Do their words and actions match? If they don’t, ignore their words and heavily weight their actions. Do their words and votes match? If they don’t, ignore their words and go with their voting record. But be careful, they can even fool you with how they say they vote.

During my days on Capitol Hill in the 80’s, I remember one congressman who went back to his home district in Georgia and told a group of conservatives he voted for Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative(SDI). He then told group of liberals he voted against funding SDI. Both were true. He had voted for the initial bill, then voted against funding it. Pretty shrewd, huh?

2) TRACK RECORD. “Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.” We know people can change, but it’s wise to keep this saying in mind when a candidate’s track record and words diverge. Unless you can clearly identify why the candidate changed, go with their track record. You’ll be right 9 times out of 10. Remember, never underestimate the ability of a skilled politician to deceive you if you listen very long.

3) ASSOCIATES. First, who are their friends? Remember the proverb your mother taught you: “You can judge a man by the company he keeps.” There is a lot of wisdom in that saying.

But there is another component to this concept that is just as important. Who do they hire? In politics there is a widely accepted truism: “Personnel is policy.” What that means is, no matter what a politician says, the person the candidate chooses to implement the policy is the one who will determine what actually happens. So look as carefully at the track record of the candidate’s chief of staff and key staffers as you do at the candidate.

4) MONEY. Money runs politics. As the saying goes, “Follow the Money.” Who gave money to the candidate? Who has the candidate give money to? Who has given money to their PAC? Who payrolls or enriches their wife, kids and siblings? For congressmen, senators and the president, it’s often helpful to visit the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) website and look up your candidate. It takes some time, but you can often uncover very interesting connections.

One word of caution: many businesspeople often give to both candidates so they can have access after the election no matter who wins. That may be questionable ethics, but it is shrewd. And it is extremely common.

5) ENDORSEMENTS. What individuals have endorsed the candidate? What groups have endorsed the candidate? Oh, and don’t forget, who has the candidate endorsed? Endorsements are a big clue as to how the candidate will vote after he or she is elected.

6) WORDS. “Actions speak louder than words.” It’s true. Turn down the volume and vote based on the first five points above.

I have one more piece of advice that is often overlooked. What is the job description of the position the candidate is vying for? It should make a difference in how you vote.


What is the primary job of a U.S. congressman? It’s to pass laws and spend your money, right? So, vote based on how you think they will spend your money as well as the laws you think they are likely to support or oppose.


What is the primary job description of a U.S. senator? It's to pass laws, spend your money, confirm cabinet members and confirm federal judges. Let me ask you, what is the most powerful branch of government today? Is it the legislative, executive or judiciary? It’s the judiciary. In theory, the three branches are supposed to serve as checks and balances against each other. However, in modern practice, the balance of power between the three branches of government is no longer balanced. The federal courts routinely tell the Congress and President what they can and cannot do. So, remember, when you vote for a United States senator, you are also voting for largely unaccountable federal justices (including the Supreme Court) who will control your destiny and the destiny of this nation.


Likewise, the President wears a lot of hats in our government, but one of them is to nominate justices to the federal courts. Since the federal courts are the most powerful branch of government (they can tell the president “No!” and he must obey—at least for now) make sure you take that into account.

Now, you are probably thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time to apply these criteria to every candidate I have to vote for!” Unless you are retired, or a political analyst, you are correct. So here is my final piece of advice. Ask 5 to 10 like-minded friends to join with you (your church would probably be a good place to find such people). Each of you take 2-3 candidates and thoroughly research them. First do a written report on each candidate. Then send it out to every member of your group. Finally, find a time for everyone to get together to talk about each candidate and ask questions. Now you can vote wisely without having to do all the work yourself.

I strongly recommend as a resource to help you evaluate candidates. They apply the exact same grid to every candidate, so it gives you a great comparative analysis. And, unlike most candidate rating systems, they do not weight votes in order to manipulate their ratings. As long as continues to work hard to use the exact same grid for every candidate, I will continue recommending them. If they ever stop, I will let you know as soon as I know.

I leave you with words my sister-in-law, Paula, often voiced whenever her kids walked out the front door, “Make wise choices.”

Your 7 Duties as a Christian Citizen by Bill Bright & Brad Bright is available on our Resources Page. It is a short booklet designed to help you steward your responsibilities as a Christian Citizen well.

Copyright ©2022 Brad Bright

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  • Writer's pictureBrad Bright

“America is faced with the greatest crisis in its history. We are in danger of losing our nation, and our God-given freedoms to those who disdain the God of our nation’s founders. If that should happen, our opportunity to help fulfill the Great Commission throughout the United States and the world could also be lost.” –Bill Bright

If we are to keep our religious freedoms secure, we would do well to understand the difference between Separation of Church and State, and Segregation of Church and State.

In 2015, the Bremerton School District in Washington State effectively fired coach Joseph Kennedy for praying on the 50-yard line following a football game. He filed suit against the Bremerton school district.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled on the case. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor once again misconstrued Thomas Jefferson’s concept of Separation of Church and State. She wrote that the majority opinion “elevates one individual’s interest in personal religious exercise…over society’s interest in protecting the separation between church and state, eroding the protections for religious liberty for all.” Apparently, she believes we must censor religious speech in order to protect religious liberty. Hmm.

Fortunately, in this case the Constitution won. Coach Kennedy’s Constitutional rights were upheld. However, Justice Sotomayor and the other dissenting Justices are not alone in advocating for censorship of religious speech under the guise of Separation of Church and State. Unfortunately, they have exchanged Separation of Church and State for Segregation of Church and State.

How did Separation of Church and State devolve into Segregation of Church and State? How did Freedom of Religion mutate into Freedom from Religion? How did we go from protecting the religious beliefs of every American citizen to censoring religious speech?

On December 16, 1620, the pilgrims landed in America, fleeing religious persecution, fleeing tyrannical governments who prohibited the free exercise of religion, requiring compliance with a uniform creed. Within this context, the Founding Fathers opened the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with these words:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

What that means is, Congress shall not establish a State Church like the Church of England, nor in any other way regulate or censor religious speech. In other words, the federal government must wear a gag when it comes to religion, deferring to the individual citizen at all times in all places. It may never censor the religious speech of any individual in any setting simply because it is religious speech. That is what religious toleration means. It means “Hands off!”

Please look carefully at the wording of the First Amendment. It does not say, “…prohibiting the free exercise thereof unless….” It says “…prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Period. There is no “unless.” There are no caveats, no exceptions. In other words, every American citizen is entitled to the free exercise of their religion at all times in all settings. That includes florists, bakers, photographers, fire chiefs, school teachers and high school football coaches.

In case that was not clear enough, in the very next clause of the First Amendment, our Founding Fathers further clarified their intent with the words, “or abridging freedom of speech.” In other words, not only is the federal government to wear a gag regarding regulating religious speech; it is to wear a gag regarding all speech. Government may not prefer one form of speech (religious or secular) over another. It must actively protect all forms of speech. The only clear exception is when the physical safety or liberty of the American people is at stake since it is the responsibility of the government to protect “life” and “liberty.”

That is why the 1963 Abington School District v. Schempp Supreme Court decision is problematic at best. Not only did the Supreme Court vote to outlaw Bible reading and prayer in schools, it mandated that all activity in public schools must have a “secular purpose.” For the first time in our history, the Court gave “secular” speech a clear preference over religious speech, kicking religious belief to the back of the bus. If there is a specific point at which Separation of Church and State mutated into Segregation of Church and State, that was it.

Furthermore, do you remember Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist association where the term “Separation of Church and State” comes from? Let’s look carefully at what he actually said:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence the act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

He said, the (federal) legislature should “make no law….” “Make no law,” was the central point. That single restriction on government is what he said built “a wall of separation between Church and State.” Let me ask you, when a florist declines to make flowers for an event that contradicts her religious beliefs is that a legislature making a law? When a baker chooses to not make a wedding cake because of his religious beliefs is that a legislature making law? When a fire chief teaches the Bible’s view of homosexuality in his own church is that the legislature making a law? When a coach prays on the 50-year line is that the legislature making a law? Of course, the answer is “No!” Citizens exercising their right to free speech and freedom of religion can in no wise be interpreted as making a law. Jefferson’s clear intent was to emphasize that the government can “make no law” regulating or prohibiting the religious practices or speech of its citizens. Separation of Church and Stategags government, not individual American citizens. How far we have fallen from Jefferson’s vision.

So, let me summarize everything I have said so far. Separation of Church & State mandates that the federal government must wear a gag when it comes to the “free exercise” of religion. It may never prohibit the free exercise of religion in any setting at any time. Conversely, Segregation of Church and State occurs any time government censors religious speech, preferring secular speech over religious speech—in effect booting religious speech to the back of the bus.

Let me say that again: Segregation of Church and State occurs any time the government censors religious speech, preferring secular speech OVER religious speech.

Like Jefferson, I wholeheartedly embrace Separation of Church and State, however I categorically reject all forms of Segregation of Church and State where religion is kicked to the back of the bus; where secular speech is given preference over religious speech; where religious speech is censored simply because it is religious.

So, where do we go from here?

I believe the first step is for each of us to learn to recognize the difference between Separation of Church and State and Segregation of Church and State. Separation of Church and State gags the government. Segregation of Church and State gags individual citizens.

The second step is for each of us to start using the term Segregation of Church and State to describe every instance of government censoring the religious speech of its citizens. Words shape how we think. Words shape culture. Simply by changing the words we use to describe government censorship of religious speech we can help shape how the culture views the government’s role on matters of religious belief.

The third and most important step is to go out and make God the issue every day. Those who disdain God have often intimidated Christians into silence with the mantra, “Separation of Church and State.” Now you know what it really means. Now you know it was intended to gag the government, not you.

God is the issue. If we do not make Him the issue, we will eventually lose what is left of our religious freedoms, as well as all our other God-given freedoms. It is time for followers of Jesus to shine brightly in the darkness—without apology.

Watch my podcast, Episode #10 Segregation of Church and State, to hear more on this critical issue!

Copyright © Brad Bright 2022. All rights reserved.

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