Archive for January, 2014

Where My Heart Is

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 | Uncategorized

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Some years before God gave the vision for our ministry to Bill Bright, Bill had a dramatic encounter with the Lord. He and a few other young men were in a meeting with Henrietta Mears. All of a sudden, they had a special sense of God’s presence and their hearts burned within them.

Afterward, he and the others formed the Fellowship of the Burning Heart, challenging young men and women to commit their lives wholeheartedly to the Lord.

Bill’s experience of a burning heart reminds me of the experience of two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus a few days after Jesus was crucified. In Luke 24:13-35, we read of how Jesus encountered these two men on the road and engaged them in a conversation about the Christ. In verse 27 we read, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”

Wouldn’t we have loved to tune in on that Bible teaching session! So, it is no surprise when Jesus was suddenly removed from their presence at dinner that, in verse 32, they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
We then read that they immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell the Eleven what they had experienced.
Let’s think for a moment about what caused their hearts to burn.


For one thing, they had an encounter with Jesus. They said their hearts burned “while He talked with us on the road.” I saw a young man on a college campus in North Dakota have a somewhat similar experience. Just after he prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, he said, “It feels like 40 pounds have been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel very different and excited!” He encountered God.


Another factor that seemed to cause the two men walking with Jesus to have burning hearts was that He opened the Scriptures to them. They understood like never before. It was an “aha” experience!
I suspect we have all had “aha” moments. When I travelled to various campuses and spoke on “How to Get Better Grades and Have More Fun,” I would watch students experience that same feeling. When I shared in 10 minutes how they could write a better paper in one half the time, some would slap their foreheads and say, “Oh yeah, I get it!” And when I got to the gospel, I would “see” on many faces, “You mean I can have a personal relationship with God?”


In verse 33, we see the two men returning to Jerusalem with excitement and hope. Just hours before, in verse 17, “they stood still, their faces downcast.” So it wasn’t just that they understood the Scriptures, but also that they were infused with tremendous hope by what they had understood and experienced. Jesus was alive!

Losing heart is a terrible thing. I see it out on the athletic field sometimes during games. When one team has a few bad breaks, they give up and then lose by a big margin.

After forming the Fellowship of the Burning Heart, Bill Bright found that setting rigid, impossible rules to follow led to pursuing them in the power of the flesh and finally led to failure. He lost hope until, “I 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.”


So what about you? Is your heart on fire for the Lord or pretty flat and unmotivated? Bill Bright was very concerned that he would somehow fall away from his passion for God. Whenever people would ask what to pray for him, he would say, “Pray that I never lose my first love for God!”
That is a good prayer for each of us as well.