Mel Gibson and Bill Bright

I met Mel Gibson at my “Father-in-Love’s” home a few months before The Passion of Christ hit the theaters. Mel had come to meet Bill Bright, the man who was responsible for the production of The Jesus Film. Bill was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis and knew that his days on earth were drawing to a close. He was incredibly weak but he insisted on going through with the meeting. The appointment with Mel Gibson was his last.

We’ve never talked publicly about the meeting and I won’t go into the details. However, I will tell you that father, despite their many obvious differences, felt a kindred spirit with Mel in their mutual passion to tell the story of Jesus. Bill Bright also understood the spiritual warfare that is waged against those who seek to tell Jesus’ salvation message. Mel has since experienced that reality.

I tell you this because we watched The Passion last weekend with our children. We finally felt like they were ready for it. Afterward my son quietly said, “I’ll never be able to think about the crucifixion or Easter the same again.” The movie broke our hearts and prepared us for the joy of Easter morning. It was the best Easter we’ve ever had!

I’m thankful today for Mel Gibson and the heart, soul and tears he poured into The Passion. It takes our faith in Jesus from the head and rips open our heart. It’s a movie our culture needs to see.

If Bill Bright were still here he would remind us that the power of the resurrection is available to us every day. Whatever you need, whatever temptation you’ve fallen prey to, whatever heartache consumes you, whatever insurmountable mountain looms before you, the same power that enabled Jesus to endure the cross and rise from the dead is available to you. If you try to fight the battles, conquer the temptations, soothe the heartache or climb the mountains on your own effort you will crash and burn.

Jesus didn’t die just to pay the penalty for our sins. He died to set us free from the chains of sin and death. He died so we can live in victory. I pray you experience His victory today!

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

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