The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Serita Jakes


Author, Lates, You Were Born for More (2013)

Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church, Washington, DC

Radio host, The Harry Jackson Show

Formed the Int’l Communion of Evangelical Churches – over 1200 worldwide

Founder/President of the High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC)

Appeared on CNN, CBS Nightly News, BET

Featured in the Washington Post and the New York Times

BA in English, Williams College

MBA, Harvard Business School

Married to Vivian (previously went by Michele)  for 37 years;

Two grown daughters Michele and Elizabeth


Bishop Harry Jackson: You Were Born For More

In 2005, Bishop Jackson was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer and given a 15 percent chance of survival. After a few days of facing a death sentence for a diagnosis, Bishop Jackson told his oldest daughter “I would win no matter what happened. If what I preached was true, death would bring me into the Lord’s presence (a win!). And if God healed me, I would go forth with a renewed sense of mission in my life (a win!).” Bishop Jackson trusted in the Lord, and also decided to pursue aggressive medical treatment at John Hopkins. The doctors installed a feeding tube, strapped a chemo pack to his hip and made appointments for daily radiation treatments. Then on his birthday, February 4, 2006, Harry went through a seven and a half hour surgery to remove a cancerous golf ball size tumor and most of his esophagus. Although the surgery had been successful, Bishop Jackson’s health was still in jeopardy. He had a severe case of heart arrhythmia. As he lay in intensive care, Harry read a newspaper article in the Baltimore Sun entitled, “Seizing the Moral Mantle,” with the subhead, “Q&A with Bishop Harry R Jackson, Jr.” The article pointed out how Bishop Jackson had seen a significant rise from obscurity to national prominence over the previous fifteen months and how his voice was being heard on the national scene. The article was an encouragement to his entire family and confirmed to the doctors and nurses at John Hopkins that he was actually a “celebrity.”  “The truth is, I was just an emaciated black cancer patient in a city of considerable racial strife,” shares Bishop Jackson. God used the article to encourage Bishop Jackson during his darkest hours. Surrounded by his family, Bishop Jackson prayed, “Father into your hands I commit My spirit.” After that prayer of commitment Harry’s heart monitor began to descend slowly. He awoke the next morning and felt wonderful and the arrhythmia never returned.

When he reread the article from the Baltimore Sun a few days later, Bishop Jackson was inspired again. “I believed God had a purpose for my life, and the article was a confirmation of that fact,” shares Bishop Jackson. He says, “The secret is to place all your cares at the foot of the cross, knowing that the God who loves you with an everlasting love has promised to guide your footsteps and give you the courage to overcome those challenges.” Today Bishop Jackson is cancer free.

Bishop Jackson’s wife, Vivian, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer in 2008. She went through five years of treatment. Today her cancer is also in remission. For most of her life, Vivian was known by her middle name, Michele. While battling and overcoming cancer she decided to reclaim her first name, Vivian, which means “alive” or “living.”

When a personal crisis hits us, we can, through the grace of God, get back to basics and begin to rebuild our foundation by reconnecting with our power source (Jesus) through prayer, praise, and His written Word. Bishop Jackson says “grace is a divine force that meets us, transforms us and leads us into God’s purpose and destiny.”  He offers the following six steps to guide you on your journey:

  1. Have a Humble and Willing Spirit – God grants grace and authority to those who serve in humility.
  2. Trust God and Be Someone He Can Trust – God cannot trust a person with a proud and haughty spirit to do His will. During some of his roughest chemotherapy treatments, Bishop Jackson was invited to the CNN studio in Washington D.C. for a live interview. When he arrived for the interview he was exhausted, unable to speak, and started coughing uncontrollably. In his weakness, Bishop Jackson prayed and asked God for strength. The Lord answered his prayer and gave him the strength to say what He wanted him to say.
  1. Be an Emissary of God’s Love – Learn to receive and imitate the love of God in order to find your true calling and fulfilling your destiny.
  2. Endure in the Face of Adversity – True success comes through endurance and perseverance. Every step you take toward transformation and spiritual maturity will bring you closer to the success God has planned for you.
  3. Remain Faithful Even in Uncertain Times – Bishop Jackson admits his medical diagnosis in 2005 turned his world upside down. Yet throughout his illness, Bishop Jackson felt an overwhelming sense of peace from the Lord and remained faithful to God’s calling for his life.
  4. Commit Yourself to Personal Purity – God knows what you do in private. Without a commitment to moral and sexual purity you will never experience the blessings that God has for those who trust Him and obey His Word.

Bishop Jackson stopped going to church when he was thirteen. He began playing football and dropped out of the church choir. He graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he played football. He tried out for the New England Patriots but didn't make the team. After his father died, Bishop Jackson rededicated his life and decided to become a Christian minister. Bishop Jackson got married after graduating from college and was accepted into Harvard Business College. However, since he had already become licensed to preach Bishop Jackson turned Harvard down and decided to go to divinity school. Circumstances prevented him from attending divinity school so after writing an apology letter to Harvard requesting admittance a second time, they accepted him again -- this time with all tuition paid during his first year. After getting his MBA from Harvard, Bishop Jackson had the opportunity to work for a Wall Street company, but he said no after much prayer and consideration. He and his wife moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he preached in the inner city. Soon he took a job at Corning Glass in Corning, New York, and preached in his free time. There he founded a church called the Christian Hope Center, and his parishioners were mostly white. "We really broke racial barriers for a black man pastoring white people in 1981," he says. During his time in Corning he says, “God increased my capacity to love the white people in my church.”  In his congregation were white farmers who grew up in Appalachian poverty. God convicted him and dealt with his heart over his racial and class issues. Bishop Jackson was recruited to Beltsville, Maryland to take over Hope Christian Church (HCC) in 1988. This multicultural congregation has two branches, one in the District of Columbia and one in Beltsville Maryland. The church’s impact is recognized widely in the area of public policy and societal change. Bishop Jackson has met with many members of Congress, been at the White House numerous times, and given a biblical worldview to leaders of Washington DC and the nation. He also founded the High Impact Leadership Coalition, which exists to protect the moral compass of America and to be an agent of healing to our nation by educating and empowering churches, community and political leaders.

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