Mar 17, 2024

Bill Bright


Bill Bright (1921-2003) moved to California in 1944 to start Bright’s California Confections, a gourmet candy business. He described himself as a “happy pagan.” He rented an apartment from an elderly couple who kept inviting him to Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Bill finally acquiesced and attended the Sunday morning college class. Three hundred students filled the room, and Bill was curious. The teacher, Henrietta Mears, spoke about Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. She challenged students to go home, get on their knees, and ask (much as Paul did), “Who are you, Lord, and what do you want me to do with my life.” Bill took her up on the challenge, and it altered the course of his life. Bill and his wife Vonette started Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) in 1951 at UCLA. At their first training conference in 1956, several of the hundred staff (Cru now has 26,000 staff worldwide) asked Bill about what he said that caused so many students to profess faith in Christ. Bill gave a 20-minute presentation on “God’s Plan for Your Life,” offering a concise, four-step process on how to become a Christian. It was later published as the “Four Spiritual Laws”: 1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. 2. We are sinful and separated from God. 3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for sin. 4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. More than 2.5 billion Spiritual Laws booklets have been distributed worldwide and translated into 200 languages. The prayer that accompanies the four laws follows here. I prayed a version of it when I came to faith in Christ. It’s still relevant to pray, as I keep trying to retake the throne of my life:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
Four Spiritual Laws, “The Basics” Series, created by CRU

Rev. Dr. Peter James served 42 years as the senior of Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, VA — 21 years in the 20th century and 21 years in the 21st century. He retired in 2021 and now serves as Pastor-in-Residence at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Even as a pastor, prayer came slowly to Pete. Read Pete’s story.