Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Results of Surrender

Leslie Basham: Millions have been touched by the Gospel through the ministry of Dr. Bill Bright. It all began with surrendering to God's will. Here's Dr. Bright.

Dr. Bill Bright: Anyone who surrenders themselves totally, completely, irrevocably will have in God's own plan for them a very, very wonderful, incredible adventuresome life of great blessing and fruit.

Leslie Basham: It's Friday, August 13. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thanks, Leslie. If you were with us yesterday, you heard the story of a very special contract. Bill and Vonette Bright were a young couple with a lot of potential ahead of them when they decided to make a literal contract, dedicating themselves to be slaves of Jesus Christ.

Today we're going to hear about some of the results of that contract, and even more importantly, the blessings of living a surrendered life. Bill and Vonette Bright are the cofounders of Campus Crusade, an organization that reached thousands and thousands of people throughout the world with the Gospel of Christ.

I had the privilege of recording this interview in the Bright's home several months before Dr. Bright went to be with the Lord. At the time we had this conversation, he was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis; and he knew that unless God intervened, he would not have very many more days left on this earth. You might even hear his oxygen machine running in the background.

But even at that point, this man had a surrendered servant's heart. All that mattered to him was that God would be glorified, whether through his life or through his death.

A lot of people think, If I surrender my life to be a slave of Jesus Christ, I'm going to be a loser; but Dr. Bright and his precious wife, Vonette, were convinced that to be a slave of Christ is the ultimate way to joy and to gain and to the greatest blessings we can possibly experience. In fact, you will hear the joy and the peace in Dr. Bright's voice.

If you've never fully surrendered your future to the will of God, I hope that today's program will inspire you to do just that. Now let's listen to what for me was a very encouraging conversation with this faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Now with the perspective of more than 50 years of living as a slave of Jesus Christ, talk to us about the fruit and the results you've seen in your and Vonette's lives.

Dr. Bill Bright: Well, immediately after God gave the vision, we began a 24-hour prayer chain--divided into ninety-six, 15-minute periods and began praying that God would do a mighty work on the campus where we started, which was UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles). And God did--a mighty movement started on the campus.

Other campuses invited us to start a campus crusade for Christ on their campuses. The whole movement spread quickly. I was recruiting staff members all over the country. My first standard was--we wanted seminary graduates who were soul winners. We tried to find them. We didn't look in the right places, or maybe they weren't there.

We finally concluded we couldn't find any. I'm sure they were out there, but we decided we'd take college graduates who were soul winners and teach them. We didn't find very many who were soul winners. Then we decided we'd take anybody who comes if he has a college degree, and we will teach him or her how to introduce others to Christ.

The first year, Vonette and I were alone. The second year Vonette was actually teaching. The second year we had six people join us. The third year, there were a dozen--and then 20 and 50 and a 100 and a 1000. Now, the staff has grown to over a half a million--27,000 fulltime and over a half a million trained volunteers, in all the major countries of the world.

We have influence in 230-some countries and provinces. Staff in 196 countries. We've helped take the Gospel to over 6 billion in the last 50 years. Five billion plus of those were just from the Jesus film, viewing in some 700 native languages. To God be all the praise!

This leads me to a very important passage of Scripture, which has been a part of my life since the very beginning. I remember reading it--John 14:12-14: "The things that I do shall you do also. Greater than these shall you do, because I go to My Father. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

Frankly, I looked around me and I didn't see anybody doing what I felt Jesus would do. I went to my professors in Princeton, later Fuller Theological Seminary, and I talked to fellow students and pastors--"Have you ever seen anybody whose life was demonstrating even more than what Jesus accomplished?"

Then I began to realize it was not I or any other believer who would do it, it was Jesus Himself who would do it. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ [the old Bill Bright is crucified with Christ], nevertheless, I live [Bill Bright continues to live], yet not I, but Christ lives in me. The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

All Jesus wants of us in the slave-Master relationship is death to self. Remember in Mark 8 [:34] He says, "If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me." That means death to Bill Bright and life to Christ.

I looked back on the miracles of this ministry, the hundreds of millions who no doubt made some affirmation of faith, some declaration of faith in Christ; and I have to say, "Look what God has done!"

People can't say, "Look what Bill Bright has done," or the great team of wonderful leaders all over the world, whom He has raised up. The Lord of the harvest has raised them up in response to our prayer. Jesus said in Matthew 9 [:38], "Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers," which we've done.

But this is what God has done; and I believe anyone who truly understand the role of a slave and surrenders themselves totally, completely, irrevocably will have in God's own plan for them a very, very wonderful, incredible adventuresome life of great blessing and fruit.

Don't be afraid of the God who created you in His own image, who loves you, who died for you and now lives within you. He has such a wonderful plan for you. Don't deprive yourself. Don't go on living in spiritual poverty--and self-imposed spiritual poverty.

Vonette Bright: I was just thinking--I like Bill's term "self-imposed spiritual poverty."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Right, because it doesn't have to be that way.

Vonette Bright: No, it doesn't have to be that way.

Dr. Bill Bright: God wants to bless you so don't ever be afraid of becoming a slave of Jesus. That is the greatest thing that can ever happen to anyone. Satan would say to you, "That's fanaticism. That's ridiculous. You have a free will. You shouldn't let go completely."

If Jesus always did that which pleased the Father and Jesus was perfect God, perfect man, and without sin--how much more important it is that I do that which always pleases the Father. This is the way we're to live.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And there really is no more joyful way to live. We've been listening to a conversation I had with Bill and Vonette Bright a few months before he went Home to be with Lord last summer. Dr. Bright was reflecting on a life surrendered to God.

He and Vonette have been to me such an incredible example of what God can do through us if we're willing to give Him all that we have. Your ministry probably won't look like Dr. Bright's or Vonette Bright's, but you can be effective in whatever it is that God's calling you to do if you're first wholly surrendered to Jesus Christ.

Today's program is part of a series called "Surrender: Facing Our Fears." If you missed any of the series, I hope you'll get a copy on CD. Fear is a temptation in every season of life. Pulling out these programs and listening every once in a while can be a great reminder to surrender yourself again in faith to a faithful God.

Maybe you've already given your life to the Lord, but this series has made you think about some specific areas of your life that you've never consciously surrendered to Him. If it's the desire of your heart, would you just say something like this to the Lord:

Lord, thank You that You are faithful. Thank You that You can be trusted. You are sovereign; You are good; You are loving. You know everything that lies ahead in my life, and You can be trusted.

Right now I want to consciously surrender myself to You afresh this day. I want to surrender everything I am, everything I have--everything, Lord. Maybe right at this moment you just want to fill in what that everything might be. Would you just say, "Lord, I give You that, too." Then thank Him that He will take good care of that which you have entrusted to Him.

Thank You, Lord, that as we commit our lives fully into Your care, You can be trusted to take care of that which we've entrusted to You. Thank You for the privilege, the high calling of being slaves, bondservants of Jesus Christ. May we always live that way for Your glory and for the furthering of Your kingdom. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Leslie Basham: If you just prayed with Nancy, surrendering your future to God's will, would you write and let us know? We have a team that prays for our listeners, and we'll pray for you in this new life of surrender if you write and ask.

You can also e-mail by visiting Click on Share and Interact, and then follow the instructions from there. While you're visiting our Web site, you can order a copy of our current series on CD. It's called "Surrender: Facing Our Fears."

When you order or make a donation, we'll add a gift. It's a booklet that will remind you of the promises God has made in Scripture. It's called Promises to Live By. Be sure to ask for a copy when you contact us. You can also order by phone. Our number is 1-800-569-5959.

Now, again, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As we end this series on surrender, I'd like us to listen to a song sung by my friend, Damaris Carbaugh. For the next couple of minutes would you just meditate on all Christ gave us in obedience to His Father, and ask God to make that the kind of surrender that characterizes your life.


*Damaris Carbaugh, "Willingly," from the album Giving My Life Away.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.