The message that Jesus is first
and each believer is second has reached about
18 million people and 220 countries.
As the chairman of a billion-dollar success, Interstate Batteries, Norm Miller knows how to build a business and work hard. Yet, his ambition as a young man didn’t seem to carry him to the fulfillment for which he was searching.
“I thought I was supposed to be happy. I had a family, a house, a job with a nice title, but I was getting worse,” he said. “I started drinking early, and ended up at 34 having a drinking problem. One morning I realized that I was not in control of things, and I was unfulfilled even after accomplishing the goals that I thought would make me happy.”
Miller described his turning point during an interview with Dr. Robert Sloan, HBU president. “A Christian friend told me the Bible was the Word of God. I said, ‘Well, prove it.’ I started reading and studying about it,” Miller said. “I was actually kind of blown away. It had more basis for belief than anything in history.”
Miller particularly remembers studying the fruits of the Spirit in the book of Galatians. “I read ‘peace, love and joy.’ I wanted to be happy and fulfilled,” he said. “I wanted my life to count.”
Miller accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and attests, “God promises to put His Spirit in your heart. The fruit of embracing and obeying God are the peace, love and joy, along with the other fruits of the Spirit.”
His spiritual growth continued through discipleship and involvement in a church. Soon, Miller faced the question of how his faith and his work would interact.
“When I got into discipleship, I saw that it was not segmented,” he said. “My brother – who came to Christ around the same time I did – we talked. In the book of Matthew, in essence it says that there is another meeting after this. If we have to stand before God, we have to make a decision. We decided that we were going to honor God. We prayed that we would not turn people off, but that we’d be winsome.”
Company meetings began with prayer after that. Miller prayed for employees, and prayed for details about the business. He maintained a devotional practice, memorized Scripture and faithfully kept a prayer journal – all practices he continues today.
“One morning that Scripture came in my mind that, ‘You will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8),’” Miller said. “Where’s my Jerusalem? In North Texas I’ve been a good witness I thought. The next thought I had was, ‘Have you gone for broke? Can more be done? Can you do it? Well then
Miller phoned a ministry called e3 Partners. He wanted to find a way to reach people with the message of hope and salvation through Jesus.
“They came back with this, ‘I Am Second’ campaign,” Miller remembers. “I thought, ‘How am I going to know if this is what I should do?’”
Miller prayed for God’s guidance to show him if the campaign was the right route to take. He recalled Jesus’ promise that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself.
For the first time in prayer, Miller said, he felt a physical sensation lifting him up, describing the answer to his prayer. He realized that Jesus would do the drawing.
“The response was phenomenal and we went viral,” Miller said of the campaign. “That’s been nine years ago.”
The message that Jesus is first and each believer is second has reached about 18 million people and 220 countries, he said.
The campaign reached far beyond North Texas, just like Miller’s business. As the wise investor in the parable of the talents, Miller has multiplied his resources and invested in the lives of others.
“One thing about being a Christian — you can play ’til the day you die. You don’t have to sit in the stands,” he said. “We get to be fulfilled in God in all the things He has for us.”