Here’s a great story from an I am Second Expedition.
“Our team gathered in a home in rural India. We first shared about Malaria using the MalariaCube, and then split the group to do Second groups. One went to the back of the house and the people that remained in my group were four old women, none of whom could read. One of the young girls that could read translated and also participated.
“As I looked around the room, I thought to myself that maybe we should just find another house and a younger audience, as obviously these four “old women” wouldn’t understand. Because they were hard working women, we read the story of Martha and Mary. The four chatted among themselves and didn’t seem to be paying attention. I began feeling this effort was in vain. Each time as we asked follow-up questions about the story, the women chatted with each other – and chatted – and chatted. Oh boy – why bother?
“Despite my expectations, when we asked the old women how they would share what they’d learned, they responded that they had plenty of opportunities to connect with others while working in the field. Because they couldn’t read, I figured they’d only be able to tell part of story, and probably only once. That’s where I had it all wrong.
“The group hushed as one woman,(I call her and “Indian Martha,”) recounted the Bible story in great detail, adapting for their culture where appropriate and applying the story to their real lives. They may not read, but they had amazing listening and memory skills! It turns out all the chatter was simply them having discussions about the scripture, and there was no need to include me. WOW!
“God once again was glorified as He showed our team that the same Holy Spirit that lives in us, lives in each of these old women. I learned (again) to never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit!” – Mary W.
I was born in Puerto Rico in a private clinic, because my mother was hiding her pregnancy. Shortly thereafter we moved New York City and my life of struggle truly began. At the age of 5, I was hit by a car and later molested. At 6, I was physically bullied to an inch of my life. My mother and stepfather sold drugs and neglected my sister and I, so we were shipped back to Puerto Rico to stay with my elderly grandparents, who already had custody of several of my cousins. Instead, we turned to the streets.
I caught my first case (I was arrested and prosecuted) at the age of 10. As a young teen, I’d already started having sex, smoking, drinking and doing drugs. I cursed God for abandoning me. After joining a gang and being arrested time after time, I became the most wanted fugitive of my town, and fled to the United States.
Satan had a grip on my heart and my downward spiral continued. I jumped back into gang life, drugs and guns. The arrests continued until I was facing 5 to 10 years in prison – when I was just 17 years old. In jail, a pastor brought me a Bible, telling me that all my life’s answers were inside. With anger and self-pity I challenged God to prove His love by providing me another chance at life, promising that if my prayer is answered, I would sing His praises for the rest of my life. I’m sure I’m not the only incarcerated person to try and make that deal.
Miraculously, a month later a judge granted me parole. I’m convinced it was God’s hand. On the outside my “old life” came calling right away, but I remembered my prison pastor’s words, “the moment you step outside of this place, that’s when you’ll discover if your decision for Christ is real.” God protected me in His own ways. When I was 21 years old, I started my walk with Jesus.
Now for HIS glory, I can say, I am a happily married man and the father of three wonderful kids. I have a good job, I am a teen pastor, a teacher of His word, a basketball coach, and I am involved in the I am Second movement here in NY. Take it from me, no one is beyond God’s redemption. While I do not deserve it, I happily accept His grace. My name is J.M. and “I am Second.”
What struggles do you face? Guess what – you’re not alone.
Like many young married couples, David and Bria Bickerstaff were going through life distracted by the daily needs of their blended family. With two young children and one teenager, life was full of activity but meandering in meaning. Up until two years ago something was clearly missing.Then they both attended I am Second’s 2nd birthday celebration, at which they encountered uplifting stories of how God had and was continuing to work in the lives of people through I am Second’s outreach. From the music of Matthew West to the appearances of 32 “seconds” from the website, the Bickerstaff’s hearts were drawn towards the movement. What’s more, at that event, Bria began a relationship with Jesus with night by accepting Him as her Lord and Savior.
From that point on Bria’s life reflected a major change. She radiated joy, filled with a passion for God and the desire to share him with others whenever she had the opportunity. The couple attended more I am Second events and began to bring its principles into their family.
Never was this more evident than throughout 2011. One tragedy after another came about- loss of family members, accidents, other near-death experiences. Yet their faith held. And became even stronger as Bria battled breast cancer. In February, 2012 Bria lost the physical battle, but entered heaven for her eternal reward.
At her memorial service her pastor said, “The most comforting thing we know for sure is where she is right now. When Bria took her last breath, she didn’t leave home, she went home because of her personal relationship with Christ.”
In her final years Bria encouraged everyone to know Him and become Second. Today, she continues to serve as an example. What a blessing she decided to follow Jesus in time.
Don’t delay. Learn what it means to become Second.
Everyone at our leaders’ conference sat in stunned silence as the young college student shared these words. Nancy was coming regularly to a Second group at the Univ. of North Texas. She told us how she studied the Bible with the others in the group, and even made commitments about how she was going to do what it said. But she freely admitted that she still was wrestling with whether to put her faith in Christ, particularly because of some of her lifestyle decisions.
So when asked why she was involved in the group, even though she was not sure she believed what was being discussed, Nancy said, “Why wouldn’t I want to go where I feel loved? I’m not against Christ, I’m just not sure about Him.”
How many other people around us are like that? Just waiting for someone to show enough interest to engage them in the conversation?
The message of I Am Second is to put Christ first in everything. When we do that, He often gives us amazing ways to demonstrate His love for others. Laura Klock, whose story is shared in her I Am Second film, is getting to do just that.
She and the company she and her husband Brian own, Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, are participating in a program called “Helping with Horsepower.” She teaches teenage girls how to restore a motorcycle. But these young women are not your average teens. They’ve dealt with difficult family circumstances and are learning to overcome life obstacles. How can fixing a beat up bike help? Watch the whole story here- Helping With Horsepower.
Philadelphia, PA recently launched a mini-I Am Second campaign in their city. Here is an amazing story of God’s transformational love in that community:
A member of our church began a Bible study at the factory where he worked as a chaplain. 29-year-old chef Steve from the café began attending regularly. Blake invited Steve to church for an I Am Second sermon series after they had walked together through the Bible for seven months.
Steve was going through a very ugly divorce due to his affair and other indiscretions. As he began attending church with Blake, the movie theater where the church meets became a good place for Steve and his wife to exchange their young daughter. They were distant and cold toward each other at that time. As the series continued, Jess began sitting through the service with Steve and their daughter. She brought divorce papers one Sunday and Steve signed them.
The next week the church showed the Scruggs video about a restored marriage after divorce and an affair. Steve and Jess both sensed their hearts changing. The divorce papers were already turned in, but they had failed to get them notarized so a new set of papers were given to Steve. After the sermon he told Jess that he would sign them after the 13 week sermon series ended. Each week they were moved by the videos and the sermons.
Finally, after meeting personally with the pastor for several weeks, Steve responded to the gospel and was saved. He was dramatically changed over the next few months and Jess noticed the changes. She also heard the gospel but has not yet responded.
Over the last eight months their marriage has been put back on a path to restoration. They now live together again and are in counseling. This couple was as good as divorced when God intervened and used the IA2 series to introduce them to Jesus Christ. Next week Steve is proposing again to his wife that they might renew their vows.
I just want to start out by thanking you all for trying to change the word with this ministry, you may not have changed the word yet but you have changed so many already! I know God has done a work in me, I have seen most of these videos more than once but if I feel down and need a pick me up I know where I can go to hear strength and wisdom from people who have been there before me! I am 21 years old, I have 2 beautiful little girls. One is 3 years old and my youngest will be 2 in December. I have been through a lot of trials and tribulations in my short life, and by looking at me you would not be able to tell. I look like I am about 18…That is why I believe that I have a gift! I know that my story needs to be shared so that other young girls, mothers, and daughters know that they don’t have to settle for rock bottom! I have been abused, neglected, pregnant when I didn’t need to be, married for the wrong reasons, abused some more, divorced, custody of my kids were taken from me, I got admitted into rehab against my will…and in my first three days there, God opened my eyes! I saw that the only way I was going to make it in this life was to stop being so self-centered and believe that “I am second!” Today that is my motto. My God is first, I start every day with prayer and I end every day with prayer! Ever since I have made the decision to put God first, my life is totally different. I have joy in my life for once! My girls are happy, my family trusts me, I have a relationship with my sister, I got out of an abusive marriage that I didn’t think I would ever have to courage to do! God gives me that strength, and if it were not for God opening my heart and my eyes to see the bigger picture, what had been right in front of me all along…My family would probably be laying flowers at my gave site today, because the road I was headed down was leading right there and I was not walking I was running there! So today I am grateful, for so many things that God has given me, because I know I could be dead right now…but I am not! God has a bigger plan and purpose for me than I ever did, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for my life!
Have you ever heard of a cardboard testimony? Go to Youtube and take your pick. They are amazing. It’s a candid way to explain how Christ has changed your life. So what is yours? How is your life different because of Christ? Can you tell your testimony in a sentence or two?
The reason I ask is because many of you are buying t-shirts and bumper stickers. Many of you are posting I am Second to your profile. But what do you say when someone asks you what it is? You don’t want to scare them off by being cheesy. You want to be authentic. So, relating it to yourself, you can make your answer more genuine.
Here’s what I say:
“What is that?!”
“It’s a website where people from all walks of life tell their stories.”
“But what does that mean, I am Second?”
“For me, I am Second because my life was full of chaos and anger and now that I’m second it’s full of peace and joy. You should check out the website to learn more.”
I incorporate my I am Second testimony into the answer. So what’s your cardboard testimony, and how can you incorporate that into your answer when people ask about I am Second?
Your next challenge is to tell someone your cardboard testimony. I better get lots of answers from you guys ;-)!