The Blog: On Second Thought

It’s hard to really know what brought Rachel into the tent that day.  It may have been the oppressive summer heat.  It could have just been curiosity.  As Joe Hamm, the Promotions Coordinator at e3 Partners was setting up that day, he watched as this teenage girl browsed the I am Second merchandise.

Suddenly, Rachel broke down crying.

“I didn’t say a word.  I just reached out and hugged her,” Joe remembers.

She clung to him for several minutes, soaking his shirt in her tears.  As she regained composure, Joe introduced himself.  That’s when she revealed the burdens she carried.

Between her painful home life and sexual abuse history, this seemingly normal teenage girl was dealing with deep emotional pain.  The scars on her arm proved it was becoming more than she could handle.  That’s when Joe began to share his own story and the impact Jesus has made on his life.

“It was really the first time I had ever shared Jesus with a stranger,” Joe remembers.

There, in an outdoor tent at one of the nation’s largest rock festivals, God broke into Rachel’s life.

Intersecting with Alternative Culture

With 41 stops and nearly 90 musical artists. the Vans Warped Tour is the premier alternative rock festival in the United States.  With over 15,000 guests expected at each stop, the tour will draw over half a million fans, many of whom are teenagers and college students.

At each stop, I am Second interacts with musical artists and concert-goers from across the country.  In addition to selling merchandise, Joe and his team host a lounge where guests can rest, charge their phones, and escape the hot summer heat.

Joe explains, “It’s all a public service to attract people so we can engage them in conversation.”

Many attendees are outcasts in their schools.  Some actively experiment with casual sex and drug use.  Events like the Vans Warped Tour are a gathering place for these fans who find community in their shared love of music.

“We’re all finding satisfaction in things that aren’t helpful,” Joe remarked.  “The youth of today like to rebel and a man preaching on a street corner won’t likely resonate with them.”

I am Second engages these fans in their own environment.  It’s also a chance for the team to share Jesus’ love.

Joe explains, “They’re used to constantly being told that they’re wrong. They think Christianity is about pointing the finger and it’s not. The fact we’re in that environment with them is huge.”

Over the last year, Joe and his wife, Renee have kindled a special friendship with Rachel on social media.  They touch base every few months.  In the time since their encounter, her life has gone in a completely new direction.  She has relief from the burdens of her past and has even found a local church.

Keep Up with I am Second

This year’s tour begins on Thursday, June 19 in Pomona, CA and will continue into August.  Joe and the I am Second team will be there at each stop, hanging out with fans and engaging  along the way.  Catch their updates on the new I am Second app! Download here.

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Dylan Stopher was given his first I am Second wristband while volunteering at a Newsboys concert. Whether it is at his job as a Funeral Director, with his youth group, or back in South Africa, Dylan uses every opportunity he gets to ignite a fire with the message of Second. While Dylan has numerous opportunities to share with individuals in the states, his most inspiring moment involves sharing Second on his first trip to Johannesburg, South Africa.

When he arrived, Dylan and his team were invited to attend a BBQ, but declined the invite to host a youth gathering instead.  Dylan, a lover of rap music, asked the group if they had heard of the Hip Hop artist, Lecrae.  He was astonished to find none of the teenagers knew him.  At that moment, he played Lecrae’s I Am Second film.  He quickly noticed the youth were captivated as this young artist who looked like them and talked about the radical freedom he found outside the world of drugs, theft, alcohol and gang activity. Tears and conversations gradually filled the room. By the end of the gathering the youth flooded the product table wanting an I Am Second wristband and other tools. Before you knew it, the team ran out of all the product!

Later that night, a man found Dylan because he sincerely wanted a wristband. They began to talk.  He opened up about his previous crack addiction and how Lecrae’s film encouraged him to find his identity and hope elsewhere. The night came to a close when Dylan gave this man his I am second volunteer t-shirt.

One year later, he returned to Johannesburg.  Dylan was greeted by this same young man.  Still free from crack and still rocking his I am Second volunteer shirt.unnamed

 

It all started when a young guy named Ethan was diagnosed with a rare cancer four years ago.  Last year an 8th grader named, Peter, got his buddies together on Friday mornings to pray for Ethan at a middle school in Midlothian, TX. They began using I am Second materials and as they opened it up to others, it immediately went to 80+ students.

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These students formed Team Ethan in order to support their friend through this battle with cancer. Team Ethan inspired these weekly I am Second groups.

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On this particular morning, 140+ students flooded through the doors and Peter opened the group with his story.

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The students then broken into I am Second Groups to discuss the story.

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As they gathered, they shared their stories and talked about life and God.

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Before the bell would ring for class, the students ended their time together talking to God.

Home-White-Kaka-2 The shift of visitors to the I am Second website since the launch of Kaká’s film shows the worldwide reach of the movement.

In the week prior to Kaká’s film, 6 countries provided over 90% of the traffic to iamsecond.com:

United States
Canada
United Kingdom
Poland
Australia
Brazil.

Since the Kaká film launched, 15 countries have accounted for 85% of the traffic to iamsecond.com, indicating increased visits from around the globe:

United States
Brazil
Mexico
Poland
Canada
Colombia
United Kingdom
Venezuela
Italy
Guatemala
India
Peru
Australia
Costa Rica
Argentina

 

Please enjoy the following update from Second and former Navy SEAL, Remi Adeleke:

Hello I am Second family,

Remi's FamilySo much has happened over the past few months.  For the sake of time, I’ll only touch on the highlights.  First, my wife Jessica gave birth to our baby boy Cayden on February 19th. He was born weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long.  Cayden has brought so much joy to our lives, and has taught us a new aspect of love we have never experienced.  Providentially, my brother’s wife gave birth to their first child on the same day!

God has also blessed my company.  For those who don’t know, I am part owner of a consulting company, Acumen Performance Group (APG).  APG trains Professional Athletes, Collegiate Athletes, Olympians and Corporations on SEAL principles.  Our topics range from Team Building to Mental Toughness.  This second Quarter of 2014 is projected to be our biggest quarter in our company’s history.  I truly credit all of our success to the Lord our God.

Last year APG had the luxury of running the I am Second Leadership Team through a day of TEAM training.  Considering all the athletic and corporate organizations I’ve worked
Remi Speakingwith, our event with I am Second is among my favorites.

Lastly, with I am Second Speakers, there have been many opportunities for me to share my testimony, help others discover the I am Second movement.  At these events, we’ve seen many live Second!

-Remi Adeleke

Momentum for I am Second Speakers continues to grow, bringing Seconds and their stories to conferences, college campuses, churches and special events everywhere.  Recent bookings include speaking engagements for Seconds Matt Barkley, Remi Adeleke, Karen Green, Bradie James, Sean Lowe, Jason Castro, and I am Second author, Doug Bender.

Please stay tuned and connect with I am Second Speakers on Twitter and Facebook.

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J’s Coffee Shop is an outreach ministry where we encourage our regulars to invite  friends who belong to different faiths. We try to make it not seem so much like church so they won’t feel intimidated. It actually started out as a homework club, but after three to four times the kids figured out it was more fun if they didn’t bring their homework. We do a very short devotion time. Aside from that we just hang out, eat, play games, etc. When I use the IAS videos for devotion time, I usually make some comments about the content and I always invite questions, but I don’t force the issue. We have watched dozens of films such as Propaganda, Vitor Belfour, and Wayne Huizenga.

Most of the discussion takes place in the kitchen afterwards whether one-on-one or in small groups. After the Propaganda video, one kid said that “He explains the truth like a boss”. Another kid was very moved by the Vitor Belfour story, having spent a number of years in a Russian orphanage before being adopted and brought to the US. He said a lot of his story was similar. I think you could have heard a pin drop when I showed the Wayne Huizenga film. They’re pretty smart and I think they picked up that me showing them a film featuring a rich and entitled man was me calling them out as somewhat entitled.

The kids identify with the films and often times they know the people giving their testimony. It’s enlightening for them to see people who seem like they have it all together don’t always have it all together. Many of the kids have realized that having wealth and power does not guarantee happiness. It is hard to say specifically how their lives are impacted, but I know the films are contributing to their lives. Plus, they keep coming and their parents aren’t making them. I’ll take that as a win.

-Ken Foster

For more information about the I am Second tools, click here.

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Until the Summer of 2012, I was not a runner, in fact until my church announced the FIT FOR LIFE 5K – I had never participated in a running race. With some simple social steps and a small group of I Am Second volunteers we created a Facebook group where we would team up, wear the Finish Second shirt, and be united as a team to run.

Now, two years later the I Am Second Runners Group exist to support and to encourage any runner to run, but to always FINISH SECOND- we share stories on how the gear sparks lively conversations and we join forces to create teams on any race at anytime.

With every race I do, I wear my FINISH SECOND shirt and it is amazing how it allows for people to engage in conversations – some identify with the message of I am Second and they shout –” awesome shirt” others say  “I love your shirt”. But, the ones I really enjoy are those people that come to me and ask me , “What does I am Second mean?”

I can recall last year when at the TooColdToHold Race this girl approached me and asked, “Why do you wear that shirt? What do you mean Finish Second?” I was able to be open and share my heart with her to let her know that I don’t have it all together. It is my faith in God that enables me to finish any race. I have realized that everything makes sense when I put God first in my life.

The I am Second Runners Group shares this common bond -To live SECOND: to know that we run this race because we were born to do so. We say, “find some running partners, forget what lies behind, strain forward to what lies ahead, and press on toward the goal.” Now, after 20 plus races, I run social runs, run training runs, and lead running groups. I fill my calendar with half marathons and trail runs that go beyond the proverbial 26.2 but at every race, I wear the same shirt, to start a conversation, to FINISH SECOND.

Eduardo Ortiz

To get the gear and start a conversation please visit the I am Second Store and share your stories with us!

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Everyone needs a pen to write out those checks, pay the bills, and to wrap up work.  Warm up the office with the I am Second pen.

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Let your teen keep track of the car keys with an I am Second Carabiner.  Plus get a reminder to be Second while driving in busy traffic!

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A practical, yet thoughtful gift for mom or dad, spouse or you! Start conversations with new clients and employees whenever a business card is needed.

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Jazz up the season Second-style with a hot n’ fresh Cabbie Hat.  Grandad, uncle, or friend can always use more style, right?

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A perfect quick and easy read with a cup of coffee in the mornings to get you ready for the day ahead.  Get two. Your best friend might like something like this as well.

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Deep conversations over a cup of something warm happen often. This mug can be a door opener to sharing God’s story!

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Have tech savvy friends, kids or parents?  An I am Second iPad sleeve will keep their iPads nice and cozy.

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This month’s promo codes give you a discount on everyone’s favorite T-shirt.  Great for all shapes and sizes- and all friends and family. Starting conversations is its specialty.

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We heard pink is the new black. Add the finishing touch to that winter wardrobe with the I am Second Wristband, now in hot pink.

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Camo hat inspired by The Robertsons’ Second film – enough said!

Robertson Film Makes for Biggest Month Ever

Thanks for making November the biggest month ever! With more than 2.5 million views in just a few short weeks, the Robertson film made for the biggest month ever for I am Second and YOU made it all possible. Our biggest thanks goes to all those who shared the film and hosted one of the 9,651 watch parties in homes, offices, and churches across the nation, beards and all. Here were some of our favorite pics you sent in:

 

“4 Generations of Duck Dynasty fans and fans of I am Second, only one of us just didn’t need a beard on a stick though!” -Maggie Beasley

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“Been showing the film at different homes, just so excited to share it with people! Laughs, tears, hope…its all good.” -Julie Kieschnick

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“Beards aren’t just for the guys…” -Stacy Steele

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“Beards-a-plenty” -Billy Butler

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Plus, check out the coverage of this new film by CNN and Good Morning America:

CNN Headline News features the Robertsons and I am Second: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxqDl4PEqf0

Good Morning America talks the Robertsons and their road to recovery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICWyWIebYfQ

Fox News feature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=335duMFgS-s

 

www.IamSecond.com/TheRobertsons

 

 

CNN reports (http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/25/pf/black-friday-sales/) that total spending over Black Friday last year hit a new record of $59.1 billion.  While this is a season for shopping, that is not what makes this season special.  This is a season based on relationships, friendships, and family.  If it weren’t for all these people in our lives, we would not have over 307.67 million people rushing to the stores on Black Friday. The key to making this season special is not the shopping, but rather remembering who you are.  You are Second.

Why? How does being Second make this season special?  It gives you reason for the shopping, for the giving, and putting up with your family drama.  When we are Second, the reason for the season comes alive.

Here are the 5 ways to making your season special:

1. Throw a party. We all have friends where the holidays are not the happiest time of their lives.  Many of our friends might not have family, friends, or anyone to shop for but themselves.  Invite them to join you and your family.

2. Have a small group.  Do you have some friends or family that aren’t Second and you don’t know how to start that conversation? Invite your friends, family, or even co-workers to discuss life and God. Get the FREE Hope for the Holidays discussion guide: http://iasresponsive.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/HopeforHolidays.pdf

3.  Become a storyteller.  It is easy to get caught up in the shopping rush of the season. Share the story for the reason for the season.  It can be as simple as inviting a friend, coworker, or family member to lunch and discussing what it means to be Second.  Or it can be as extravagant as making dinner, picking out a Christmas Classic, and exchanging white elephant gifts, then sharing the reason behind the gifts.  Whatever you do whether big or small, share the story behind the season.

4.  Play with the kids.  How can you tell your kids about being Second? This can be as simple as asking them what they think it means to be Second and what that looks like.  Invite them to help you come up with ideas of how to be Second together.  Help them tell their teachers, friends at school, or friends on their soccer teams.  Let the season come alive for your kids.

5. Make that phone call. Here is the tough one.  Do you have any friends or family members you don’t talk to anymore? Maybe you had a hurtful conversation with a friend, a coworker, or even someone in your family.  Now is the perfect time to give them a call, ask them out for coffee, for lunch, or for just a few minutes of their time.  Remember who you are.  You are Second.

You can’t make this season special by giving them that diamond necklace, that motorcycle, American Girl Doll, or Red Ryder BB Gun.  What makes your season special is not based on how much money you spend.  It is based on who you are. If you are Second, it changes how you celebrate this season and it changes your relationships.  When we are Second, the reason for this season comes alive.

Share photos of ways to be Second with your friends and family this season and we will share our staff favorites in an upcoming blog post!