The Blog: On Second Thought

As a Navy SEAL, Remi Adeleke recalled “living in a foreign country where you know people want to kill you; you kind of live on edge; you always have to be attentive.”

Jessica, his wife, remembered longing for a time when she wouldn’t need to worry “about the constant threat of somebody harming [Remi] whether sleeping or awake; for him to experience the luxury of a hot shower and a comfortable bed.  And of course to just have him in my arms again!”

But they also knew that living Second in a me-first world was another very real battle they must fight. Fighting to be Second in a world of first is hard.  The battle can be gruesome and exhausting at times.  But we fight, because there is a battle to be won.  There is a victory.

“Being a Navy SEAL strengthened my faith exponentially,” Remi said. “Every day I knew that I could die at any moment. My career as a Navy SEAL helped me to not just read the afterlife promises of God, but to believe them and trust them wholeheartedly.”

As a Navy SEAL, he was trained to fight.  “I had to engage in warfare through many different methods,” he said. “My career in the physical as a warrior has helped me to prepare for my job in the spiritual, as a spiritual warrior.  I had to put on my breastplate, utility belt, helmet, shoes, and bring my weapons on every mission.  If I didn’t I would be combat ineffective.”

20101203-20101203-E3_I am Second_Remi Adeleke 88Military families face battles on two fronts, overseas and at home. “I really do have a new understanding and appreciation for what many military families go through,” Jessica said. “I took each day one at a time and put complete trust in God.  As long as I did not think my own thoughts, but instead, meditated on the faithfulness of God, I was ok.”

Because of their dedication to the fight for a life of Second Remi and Jessica were able to say, after the deployment the first month back home was pretty “normal”.  Jessica says Remi, “has such a mental toughness and most importantly, a complete trust in God, and I believe these attributes allowed his seamless adjustment back home.  He also spent the majority of his free time on deployment studying God’s word and I could see how that helped him greatly while away and on coming home.”

 

Reality collided.  Her hope collapsed.

How can you be Second in the midst of grief?  Is it really even possible? We all experience it.  Maybe you grieved over a loss of a friend, a family member or over a personal battle.  Maybe you’re living through the pain on your own.  Is there really any hope?  For Denny Slaton, grief stormed into her life taking her for a spin of a lifetime.  What she anticipated as a regular check-up at the doctor’s office spun out of her control.

Breast Cancer.

To Denny, grief is, “experiencing the death of a dream, a hope, what you thought life was ‘supposed to look like.’” How can you be Second when the world crumbles beneath your feet?  Who knew those two simple words could mean death– the death of dreams, of plans, or expectations.  Is there life after death? Lets read on to hear about the power Denny found in the death of her world.

Reality came crashing down when Denny met another patient with Breast Cancer, wearing a hat.  “She wore a hat because she had no hair from chemo, and she offered to show me her reconstructive work.  I cried when I saw her.”

Denny recalls, “This was the death of what I thought  my life was– I was healthy, and had never missed a day of work for illness, but now [I] was faced with being in and out of the hospital for multiple surgeries.  I think it was the death of my self sufficiency.  There was absolutely nothing I could do to fix this on my own.  I had to lay [down] my idea of what life was to look like.”  Denny struggled with the thought of of her children losing their mom, especially having just gone through a divorce three years before.  Denny had fears and questions.

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Can you relate with Denny?  How do we juggle a life of Second and grief? Denny fought this battle with grief daily, reminding herself to keep her focus on being Second.  She found peace and hope, remembering who was first.

Her advice to us today is to trust in Him who is first.  Be real about your feelings with people you can trust.  It is not about, “trying to ‘gut it up’ and be strong enough”.  Remember, “the circumstances are not about [you], but about Him.” That is what it means to be Second.

How have you dealt with grief? What advice would give others going through their breast cancer journey?

For more inspiration and hope check out iamsecond.com/grief and iamsecond.com/cancer

 

 

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Just recently we received a letter from a boy who is now at boy’s camp.  He writes, “As a young teen, I grew up in a bad neighborhood with drugs and gang violence going wrong.  And growing up, I didn’t have much of a father.  He was ignoring me for a while. [But] today I am writing to get a bracelet from you. Today I just found my real Father.  Now I made God first.”

Another changed life through I am Second. There is so much to celebrate in a declaration of Second.

Last month the movement celebrated five years of changing lives and capturing stories. The I am Second Live event, hosted by New York Times #1 Bestseller, Eric Metaxas, celebrated 100 I am Second films and their impact. Eric conducted interviews with many of the Seconds- Brian “Head” Welch, Annie Lobert, Remi Adeleke, and Scott Hamilton, accompanied by our musical Seconds, Jason Castro and Moriah Peters.  These Seconds shared stories of how their involvement with I am Second has been an investment in changing lives.

On December 2nd the I am Second movement will celebrate its 5th birthday. We will be streaming this night of I am Second Live with you.  Celebrate with us. Introduce others to the movement. Help us change more lives, like our friend who just became Second.

To get more information about the online streaming of I am Second Live, plus other I am Second news and deals for www.IamSecondstore.com, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/HMOJ5

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When you hear “Israel,” what comes to your mind? Is it deserts, camels, markets full of tents and vendors, or men in military uniforms? Have you ever asked yourself what it would be like to live a life of Second in Israel, or anywhere else in the world today? 

Over the past few years in America, it seems open religious expression has lost its cultural support- no prayers in school, don’t say “Jesus” in public spaces, people going to court for speaking up.  Now more than ever, we’re told it’s imperative that we remain politically correct, regardless of what we may feel in our heart to be right or wrong.

But despite our own country’s resistance, we have a freedom we still take for granted. For years now, Stefan, Eitan, and Yair have been collectively working on creative ways to spread the idea of Second in Israel.  With several organizations and tools in Hebrew and English, they bring a creative and technologically savvy approach to spreading the idea of Second. In fact, it’s their goal to use much of I am Second’s approach when spreading the message of hope, except for one aspect of it: the gear. They can’t put up a billboard, pass out flyers, or even wear the same gear that we so freely wear here in the U.S.

We, as Americans, have the luxury of using our I am Second gear to start conversations and explain what it means to live Second.  However in Israel, to discuss how they live Second faces more resistance, and even giving someone the gear without saying a word is deemed as bribery, particularly when it comes to I am Second and what’s behind it. Stefan remarks, “[we] are seen to be traitors to our own people as those who have ‘converted’ to a different faith altogether and are no longer a part of the Jewish people in any way.”

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Much of this resistance in Israel is due to a history of persecution associated with the church.  Anything that has to do with living Second is seen as something very negative because of the associatuion with the crusades and even the Holocaust events that happened in the name of Jesus by ‘christians’.  Because of this, when the idea of living Second is mentioned in Israel one of the first things that comes to their mind is persecution.

Stefan comments, “If you are [ethnically] Jewish, you can believe in anything. You can be a Buddhist, a satanist, into new age, magic, witchcraft…anything and you are still considered Jewish. But, if you become a follower of [Jesus] you are no longer considered a Jew but a Christian.”

Due to the historical scars, it is nearly impossible to share what it means to live Second in any easy way. Nevertheless, Stefan shares many stories of friends who declare a life of Second because of their boldness despite the resistance in their country. And the group’s ability to harness technology and impart creativity is helping them take the idea of Second to the next level in Israel. You can see that here at oneforisrael.org.

What does this mean for us?  Let us take advantage of our freedom and engage our communities.  Let us take advantage of our freedom to wear our Second gear and share a life of Second.  Let us join our Israeli friends in boldness to declare a life of Second in the midst of resistance. Because despite not being able to use the I am Second wristband to start conversations, the Israeli group still wears the message as a simple reminder to themselves: there is hope!


Take advantage of October’s promotions when you get the gear this month at iamsecondstore.com:

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School is difficult, right?  Research papers, physic quizzes, calculus equations, english books that bore you, and chemistry labs that puzzle you. But sometimes the hardest thing about school is the people surrounding you. Some seem like they have it all together – everyone already has their best friends, everyone knows where they are sitting at lunch, the pretty girls have the boyfriends. And you just can’t seem to fit in anywhere. The jeans don’t fit anymore, the lunch tables are full, and the only locker left is the one in the corner that reeks of rotten eggs. Sometimes we just want to fit in! That is what Moriah Peters discovered.

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Moriah remembers her freshmen year of highschool, trying out for cheerleading just so she could show up the first day of school in a cheerleading uniform and prove she had friends. And yet, she still felt embarrassed when she had to walk along in the hallways. You know the feeling, right? We all want to be liked. We all want to have friends. We wonder what everyone thinks of us when they see us at lunch, in the bathroom, at our lockers, and in the classrooms.

We look in the mirror and hope we don’t look awkward.  We wish that the orthodontist would just take all that metal out of our mouths.  We wish we had that outgoing personality or had better clothes.  We just want to fit in.

Moriah remembers when she was 14 years old, deciding that she did not want to give her first kiss away to a random guy playing spin the bottle or while playing seven minutes in Heaven.  She wanted to save it.  After making that decision, she remembers meeting boys at school. Moriah would mention she was saving her first kiss for marriage and next thing you know she never heard from them again. She had to learn to be brave and take a beautiful stand. What does it mean to be brave, anyways?

Moriah believes, “brave means standing strong for what you know to be right and being bold about what you believe in, especially when faced with opposition.  It doesn’t mean it is not difficult to stand up, often times it hurts and its vulnerable and its embarrassing, but it is so worth the sacrifice of your own comfort.”

So what if we took a #beautifulstand….to be brave?  Moriah confesses for a long time she found her identity in how other people viewed her so she would push herself to fit in. But now she asks, what if we saw those people in our classes sitting alone and asked if we could sit next to them? What if we sat with those who had no one to sit with at lunch? What if we got to know the new kids and introduced them to our friends?  What if it was about more than just trying to fit in?


You can view Moriah’s I am Second film here for more inspiration, or check out her interview with I am Second here. Who could you share this message with today?

Live Second. Take that #beautifulstand.

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You deserve love. Yes, you. No matter how ugly, stupid, weird, or unlovable you think you are, I am here to tell you that you are loved and you deserve it. And until you recognize this, these six low self-esteem traps will poison all your relationships, at least they poisoned all mine.

1. The Everyone-Thinks-What-I-Think Belief

What you think about you is not what everyone else thinks about you. Maybe some people don’t like you or make fun of you. There will always be the haters. And believe me, I know.  It’s no fun knowing some people don’t like you or disapprove of something you said or did. But you have to decide that the track you hear in your head is wrong. “I’m too ugly” or “Nobody likes me” or “I’m not good enough”, whatever you’re hearing is lies. I have learned that it’s not about silencing that voice as much as it is choosing to ignore it, to NOT believe it. It’s been 14 years since I had my first major breakthrough with my self-esteem, and I still hear “You’re weird. Nobody likes you,” in my head. I just choose not to believe it. And if you want to have healthy relationships you must too.

2. The Self-Thinking Spiral

Low self-esteem is driven by, among other things, an over awareness of self. Not everybody is looking at you. Not everyone is whispering nasty things behind your back, or laughing at the way you look. There was once a time in my life where I convinced myself that everyone was always judging me. Come to find out, most people were doing just what I was doing, wondering if anybody noticed them or liked them. Stop worrying so much about what others think of you and start loving them. You will find you have less time to self-doubt.

3. The Timid Love Syndrome

Everyone is looking for love. You can spend so much time wondering if anybody likes you, that you forget that everyone else is asking the same question of themselves. I used to avoid the center of a room, thinking everyone would stare at me. I would cover up my elbows, afraid everyone would point and laugh. Then I realized, nobody really cared about my elbows or my butt or my bottom lip (yes, I had a problem with that too). What they cared about was if anybody loved them. When I learned to think about the emotional and relational needs of others, I found myself surrounded by friends. Be bold with your love and you will find others will be bold with their right back.

4. “I Deserve Bad Treatment” 

You don’t deserve to be abused. Period. Whether its physical, sexual, or emotional, nobody deserves to be abused. The first emotion abuse victims typically  feel is worthlessness. They feel in some twisted way, that they deserved this treatment or that having received it are too dirty or ruined to ever move beyond it. You are better than whatever terrible experiences others have put you through. If this is you, watch this film and talk to someone today!

5. The Self-Sinking Complex

I still remember the first time Jacob asked me to see a movie with him. Up to that point, I thought I was his pity friend. We were friends at church and at school but I didn’t think our friendship was anything beyond a public goodwill project. I had convinced myself that he only talked with me out of some sense of charity or pity. Then one Friday night, he called me up and asked if I wanted to go see a James Bond movie with him. He smuggled in some candy and shared a cherry lollipop with me. I don’t know why exactly, but for some reason I realized that night that we were friends, real friends, that I was loved. I still have that lollipop today as a reminder that I can be loved. You can be, too. Don’t get stuck sinking your own relationships.

6. You Don’t Know You Are Loved

I always believed in God, went to church, knew about the whole Jesus died on the cross for our sins thing, but I never really got that he loved me, personally. That happened years later, when at a simple little birthday party I saw God answer my prayer. I cried myself to sleep countless nights asking God for a friend, one person who cared, who knew my needs, looked beyond my failures, and just plain liked me. I asked him to give me one friend and at my sixteenth birthday party he filled my house with friends. I realized that the one friend I had always wanted was the one friend he had always promised to be. Jesus wants to be your friend too, if you let him. Maybe this sounds corny to you, it did to me once too, but trust me its for real. He really does want to be your friend. Check out my full story at www.iamsecond.com/dougbender

 

iamsecond photo 2Doug Bender is Director of Content for I am Second and author of best selling book, I am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives. and Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First.Watch his story about loneliness, self-esteem, and finding true friendship at www.iamsecond.com/dougbender. 

 

 

 

Amy

I was told I would never make it to see the age of thirty. As a 10 year old child, I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes.

In 1998, I had made it to my Senior year in a very prestigious art school. I was living the life and my diabetes was taking back seat to the independent and chaotic lifestyle I was leading. I was a very talented fashion illustrator. I was motivated, on fire for the fashion world. I knew it was only a matter of time before I broke through. I knew I had great talent and, honestly, I was pretty arrogant about it. I knew the plan that lay ahead of me and nothing was going to get in the way of that… so I thought.

It wasn’t long after that, while in my last semester of school, that I began to notice some subtle, then not-so-subtle, changes in my vision. Everything became blurry and warped and I was seeing something floating in my field of vision. I brushed it off quickly.

“No time for insignificant issues such as this,” I thought. I had a portfolio to put together, a graduation to attend and a plane flight to catch out of Nowhere, Ohio.

I took a vacation with my Mom, which ended in her scheduling me an appointment with our family friend who was an ophthalmologist. As we sat and talked about the old days, he got a terrible look on his face. The next words out of his mouth were words no diabetic ever wants to hear.

“You have severe diabetic changes in the back of your eyes, Amy.”

Those words lingered in the air and then seemed to fall on me like a ton of bricks. “What does that mean?”, barely speaking the words in an audible sound. I knew what it meant. I had read all of the books. I had heard all of the warnings from doctors throughout my life.

It meant blindness.

I was immediately booked with a surgeon and, as he analyzed the situation, he decided to try to do some work to stop some of the bleeding that was going on in the blood vessels in the back of both of my eyes. He started laser work immediately, but warned me that the more laser work he had to do, the more blind spots I would have in my field of vision.

He sent me on my way to wait and see what this treatment would do. Within days, I had lost all vision. The next step was to do a very detailed eye surgery which involved going into the eye and cleaning all of the fluid out. He scheduled me for this and soon I was waking up from my first eye surgery. Another followed for the other eye and amazingly, a form of my vision was back. There were definitely some permanent differences, but I could see. The world was great once again.

This wasn’t the case, as my surgeon sat down to talk to me about some things. He said he believed I needed to see a kidney specialist. In all of his years of training, he saw how this severity of eye problems almost always had a correlation with kidney failure. He was right. I was diagnosed with the beginning stages of kidney failure and yet another journey transpired shortly after.

Dialysis started a whole new realm of reality for me, as I became very sick. The treatments were going terribly, if they were going at all. I was allergic to the very thing that was supposed to keep me alive. Every access they placed for treatment failed. I lost my vision again, due to all the stress of the actual dialysis treatment and being so recently out of surgery. I became very frightened, believing I wasn’t going to make it through this.

It was during this time that I really started to lean on the Jesus. I had accepted Jesus as my Savior several months prior, as I sat in front of a TV by myself with failing vision, but now He was becoming real. I began to realize that He was the only chance I had of making it through this nightmare. If anyone could bring me through, it was Him.

1. Keep A Positive Attitude

I knew in my spirit this was something I was going to have to do if I was going to make it out of the valley. I spent a period of 1 ½ years blind. I had to learn to adapt. I had to learn to look at the positive side of things, even if it seemed there was nothing positive in sight. My sight was gone. This was my reality; however, God left me with a ray of hope in the darkness. I was able to see light sources, so I would pretend the light I saw was Him. That way I always knew He was there with me. Trusting in God in even the worst circumstances is one of the reasons I find the Bethany Hamilton story so inspiring. Check it out if you haven’t already.

2. Do Something For Others

While on dialysis, my Mom and I found a mission that we could do together. We became the dialysis center’s welcoming committee. She would decorate and greet the patients and their families, while I put my artistic talents to work. I would make the patients holiday gifts and cards to cheer them up in such a disheartening environment. To see their faces light up gave us both joy and it gave me purpose. Janelle Hail, founder of the National Breast Cancer Association, learned the same through her struggle with cancer. Watch her film here.

3. Let God Use What You Have

We have to allow God to use what we have, no matter how insignificant it may seem. He can multiply whatever we give. Never underestimate the ability of a willing heart. God sees the heart above all else and knows the motives with which we do things and He honors those who are willing to offer whatever they have to honor others. We saw this time and time again in the dialysis unit.

4. Don’t Settle For Mediocrity

It’s only natural to see our abilities and think that’s exactly what God wants for my life; however, that could just be a small portion of the plan He has in store. He can take us on a detour to show us other abilities, stronger abilities and gifts that we ever dreamed possible. Don’t settle for mediocrity and live your life according to what you see for it. Instead, live a life of excellence by allowing God to lead you into the destiny He has chosen for you.

5. Praise Him For His Goodness

No matter what our situations look like, God is good. He is the same yesterday, today and always. His love for us never fails. Even in our darkest times, He is right there, guiding us to our victory, when we allow Him. We have to remember that we don’t see the whole picture of our lives. Our human minds only see a limited scope; however, God sees the whole thing. He sees what is down the road and how He is shaping and molding us to fit perfectly where He wants us. Praise Him in the storm, because on the other side of that storm, you will find your rainbow: A promise He makes to each one of His children to not harm them, but to give them a future. Allow Him to work in and through you. You will never be disappointed. His plan is always the best plan.

Today, I am 10 years post-transplant, with a beautifully functioning kidney (Chen) and pancreas (Miller). I no longer have to be on dialysis and I am no longer diabetic. I am 8 years past the expiration date I was given as a child. I have my eyesight with only minor imperfections. I am healthy and it’s all because of Him. Would I take back anything I have gone through to get where I’m at today? The answer is an emphatic “NO”. I believe everything I’ve been through was for a reason and that reason is to help someone else on his/her journey. There were great difficulties along the way, but by God’s grace, I made it through every valley and now I’m standing on a mountaintop!

amy2Amy Thase-Jacomet is a double organ transplant recipient who learned through many hardships, that God is the one true and faithful constant in her life. She has learned to be very grateful for life and all of its circumstances, because each and every thing we encounter leads us to a greater level of development where we are able to help others in need. She is a writer, an artist, a lover of life and people and now also a wife. She got involved with I am Second through a simple Facebook post which led to a much deeper level of involvement. Once she became involved, she was hooked.

 

By now, most of America (and beyond) has probably heard of Miley Cyrus’ 2013 VMA performance of “We Can’t Stop”  and true to the name..we really can’t stop… tweeting, posting, blogging , supporting, condemning…this young celebrity.

We blame Miley…

We blame her parents…

We blame our culture and the media….

We blame the music industry….

We blame ourselves…

Incidents like this are only small glimpses of the world we live in. We are in utter shock when we see this on national television. How could she?  The fact is, it’s all around us and has been for quite some time. Have we taken notice? Are we doing anything about it? A culture evolving so cunningly, that we are only able to see the true ramifications when it is displayed on national television.

Before Miley, there was Britney, before Britney there was Madonna, and so on. The list will continue to move forward as we continue to watch from the sidelines, encourage, approve through our actions and with our wallets of the new “norms.”

As we all know, no one wakes up one day and decides to be a drug addict or alcoholic or even suicidal. That is the extreme, as we like to think. It all starts out with baby steps..all in good fun.  What are the baby steps we are missing and where are we partaking in encouraging or discouraging this in others?

It starts with us. Before we judge the actions of others, let’s think of how we contribute to this new “norm” as a whole. What do we give our attention to? Do we join in on the conversation as others joke, or do we offer a different view – one that goes beyond what is in front of us.

Most have a moral compass they go off of when making decisions. The problem is that when this moral compass doesn’t know where north is..it’s easy to get lost and end up somewhere you’d never thought you’d be. This is the case with Miley, this is the case with ALL of us, who’ve yet to find their “North” so that everything else can fall into place. Yes, I will go here because I know what it is like to not have a “North.” I now know that my “North” is God. And I also know that He is good. Outside of Him, we literally get lost.

But where’s the freedom in that? How utterly boring. We are in an age where we should do and be whatever our little hearts desire. This get us into the dangerous zone.

Whether you believe in God or not, you know that place, and when you go there, you stay and go deeper or are lucky enough to get out in time.

But as time passes, we forget…we justify and we make it OK.  Until the next time.

The latest article that came out today speaks on how absolutely thrilled Miley’s management team is of the latest happenings. “We were all cheering from the stage, “ said her manager. The fans “got it” and will continue to support her, along with her mother and her father who have been tweeting snippets of support for their daughter.

Time passes..we forget..we justify…we make it OK.

Will the same people that cheered  from the stage be there in her darkest hour? When the cheering stops, who will be there? That is something we have seen play out in young celebrities over and over again and in our own lives.

Do we just sit on the sidelines and watch? Or can we work toward creating a new norm, a new mainstream?

So, all this to say…here is my part in trying to create a new “norm” and give attention to something, someone, who is standing firm in their faith, not swayed by the pressures of peers, culture or music execs. Here is a girl we can all agree would be nice to have our kids (or future kids) look up to. Confidence like this is rare and it must be celebrated. #beautifulstand

Check out Moriah Peters film:  www.iamsecond.com/seconds/moriah-peters

marlenyCommunications professional by day, speaker of personal opinions and observer of human behavior by night. Marleny joins the I am Second communications team with a track record spanning public relations, marketing, brand management and social media marketing.  From Guatemala to Dallas to New York and now back to Dallas, Marleny brings fresh perspective and new ideas on all things mainstream, celebrity driven, and pop culture – through the lens of a woman/wife/new mom following hard after God. This is not without an epic, personal story of her own. To learn more about Marleny, feel free to email her at marleny.wood@iamsecond.com.

 

At the risk of adding to the already ridiculous amount of blogger buzz about Miley Cyrus at the VMA’s, I feel I must say something. Nearly every post or tweet or review, that’s shot across my screen this past week has all but crucified Miley for her gross/disturbing/offensive performance. “What happened to innocent Hannah Montana?” “What happened to our culture?” “What happened to the music industry?” Everyone shouts.

But let’s take a step back for a moment. Let’s set aside our judgments about Miley’s twerking, gyrating, and foam fingering (and, yes, even the foam finger creator has apparently spoken out in disapproval). And ask ourselves are we really so offended?

I am Second recently launched a beautiful film about young artist Moriah Peters who was kicked off American Idol for not having enough edge, for saying she wouldn’t kiss a boy until marriage. While not a stand everyone needs to make, its a #beautifulstand that should be celebrated, but instead was punished.

MTV would gladly show videos of cute kittens chasing yarn and little kids eating ice cream cones, if we’d watch. Sony would gladly sell records about abstinence, walking old lady’s across the street, or any of a thousand more wholesome topics, if only we’d support their decision with our dollars. The point is, we don’t. This doesn’t let entertainers and industry execs off the hook for promoting material better left in the editing room, but it does remind us that we too have a place on that hook. We get what we ask for. She did what she knew would sell records, gain followers, and generate buzz.

Perhaps, Jesus said it best. We get so upset about the speck in someone else’s eye (and nobody is denying there’s not a speck) that we forget the two-by-four in our own. We gladly deride public offenders, those whose “sins” everyone can see, but forget that Jesus reserved his harshest judgment for the secret “sinners,” that group of people whose chief offense lies in denying they have anything to deny.

To the upstanding citizens of his day, Jesus said “sons of hell,” to the guys with all the answers he called “blind guides,” to the religious judges he called “hypocrites.” I long pondered why? Was he exaggerating to make a point? Or did he really think that upstanding decently good people who had the habit of not admitting their mistakes were worse than prostitutes, drunks, and thieves? Call me literal, but I think he was being serious. I think he would much rather have someone openly offensive than someone in denial.

So if you must judge Miley Cyrus, then go for it. I wasn’t a fan of her performance, but I don’t she cares what I think. I’m not going to stop you from speaking out and, apparently, its the cool thing to do this month. Doing so will likely grab you a few new followers. But before you do so let me give you a warning: you have a plank in your eye.

DougBender

 

Doug Bender is a writer for I am Second and author of best selling books “I am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives.” and “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First”. His  story about self-esteem and friendship is featured at iamsecond.com/dougbender

 

 

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She is I am Second’s newest staff member serving as digital content editor but in a way she’s been part of the team since the beginning.

“I didn’t know anything beyond the billboards,” she said. “My friend, Annie, saw them too and went to the website. When she saw what it was about, she got so excited. Every day she would ask me ‘Did you watch this video? Did you watch this other video?’”

They decided then that they would be more than consumers of some cool films, they were going to join the movement to spread the message. As senior staff members at their school yearbook, they convinced their teacher to let them put an I am Second spread in the yearbook. With an email to I am Second and an interview with the leaders behind the movement, they became one of the first publications to feature the movement.

College came and she got involved with I am Second groups. Texas A&M became the nation’s first school to officially launch I am Second on their campus. (Learn how you can launch groups here: www.iamsecond.com/groups.)

“I invited my friend, Julie, to my I am Second group,” Ashley recalled. “Everyone loved her, accepted her. I think that’s why everyone loved the group. It was a place of acceptance. She didn’t always want to come but always felt drawn back, always came back. She had a tough home life, some bad things happened to her. She found herself dancing at a strip club. We had a lot of hard talks. She wanted the community our group offered but didn’t always know how to accept it. But eventually something clicked and she got what we were all about. Today, she leads a group of her own at her school. Her life is totally turned around and it started right there in our I am Second group.”

“It’s stories Iike hers,” Ashley said, “that makes me believe in this movement, the power of changed lives. It just wouldn’t make sense for me to be anywhere else. I am Second normalizes the deep personal conversations. Gets you talking about the deep things of life without making things weird, gets you talking personal and open so easily. That’s what really sets it up for success.”

From the beginning, when I am Second launched as a local media ministry in Dallas with billboards and commercials, Ashley has been hooked on the movement that changes lives. From T-shirts to wristbands, billboards and films, to the I am Second groups that continue to change lives, Ashley has seen lives changed again and again.

Start your own I am Second movement at work, school, and home with something as simple as the I am Second gear. Get it all here: www.iamsecondstore.com, and don’t forget to use one of September’s promos below.

 

10% off all Signature Collection Items  (Includes everything under “Signature Collection” category) Promo code 5909

Free baseball cap with $40 purchase  (IAS or YSS Black Twill Unstructured Low Profile Hat) Promo code 5906- I Am Second ; Promo code 5905 – Yo Soy Segundo

Free College Spiral Notebook with $40 purchase  Promo code 5907 – “2” Graphic College Spiral Notebook ; Promo code 5908 – “Hope” Graphic College Spiral Notebook

www.iamsecondstore.com