Recently my husband and I headed out for some dinner and conversation. On a “whim” we chose to go somewhere we’d never been before. It was a cool place – part bar, part restaurant.
A few minutes after we arrived and were seated, an older gentleman came in and sat a few seats away from my husband at the bar. We continued our conversation while the gentleman sat by himself.
Then, clear as day, I heard: “talk to him.” My husband heard it too, “talk to him.”
I fought it, but the message on my heart was insistent. “Talk to him.” Finally, my husband reached over and introduced himself to the man. He was receptive and mentioned that he was a former helicopter pilot for the Marines. We had a nice chat, but it didn’t seem important, yet. Then, the elder man’s son and daughter-in-law arrived. The son had waist-length, jet-black hair and wore shades indoors. The woman was dressed in a suit, but also had wild hair, piercings and tattoos. They sat next to us and we exchanged introductions.
“Pastor Gireesh was skeptical. Since he had never used I am Second methods before our team arrived, he wondered if it would work in the the villages there in India. But soon his doubt turned to delight!
“Each morning, our e3 Partners Expedition members, local believers, and interpreters met Pastor Pastor Gireesh and his wife, Shobha, along with their two sons, Aaron (14) and Asher (10), to participate in a Second group before we headed out for the day. I was on a team with 10-year old Asher. One day, when it came time for “Live and Tell,” Asher spoke up confidently announcing, “I am going to tell my friend about Jesus. I will use my mom’s phone and call him tonight.”
“The next morning, 10 year-old Asher led our I am Second group. After everyone finished sharing how they had lived out the commitments made the previous day, I asked Asher if he had called his friend. He boldy answered, “Yes! I called my friend and told him about Jesus.” Afterwards, the friend’s father got on the phone and thanked Asher for telling his son about Jesus – and asked for directions to their church. That Sunday, Asher’s friend came to church with his father and mother. All three prayed to receive Jesus that day! The father told Pastor Gireesh that he had long wanted to come to a church, but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“Asher was obedient and kept his commitment. God was gracious and gave Pastor Gireesh a new family of believers to shepherd!
“Pastor Gireesh gushed about the spiritual growth of his own family as well, during the e3 expeditions and I am Second group meetings. He quoted Joshua 24:15 several times, ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’
“May we all be as faithful and bold as young Asher!”
Report from Daniel, a youth pastor in Little Elm, Texas.
When I was first asked to take over the student ministry in my church, our Senior Pastor told me “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.” I didn’t completely understand how true that statement was until a couple of weeks ago.
In December 2011 we launched our first I am Second youth group. It didn’t take long for our students to get behind the groups. A few weeks after our first group launched, six students told me they wanted to take I am Second into their public schools. So in early 2012 we launched I am Second in our local Junior High and High School. Soon 35 new students had joined those school groups.
We now have 8 groups. Each group caters to different types of people. About 30 kids have joined our youth group because of groups our students are doing outside the church.
One group amazes me because they consistently have over 25 kids attending each week. This group has inspired the parents to get involved. Each week 4-6 of the parents team up to host the group and provide dinner.
The whole church is getting behind these youth groups. For example, the parents are wearing I am Second bracelets and t-shirts. Their impact is spreading, too, for now we are finalizing a strategy to launch I am Second groups for the men’s and women’s ministries. Several new families have come to our church because their kids started coming to one of the Second groups.
After we train more leaders, we plan to expand the groups in the schools. The schools have given us permission to put up banners during lunch to get more exposure for the Second groups. So we’ll have an official launch soon when these new leaders are ready.
There is nothing more powerful than young people passionately telling others about what Jesus has done in their lives. Our Pastor was right. “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.”
My I am Second journey began at a NASCAR event. A big billboard truck with a T.V. screen was playing I am second films. Amidst the high-octane excitement they caught my attention and made my heart race for the Lord. I picked up some of the literature there and passed it along to my friends. Then, this past summer our church’s youth group went to camp where they too were introduced to I am Second. God was up to something.
Unexpectedly, I was laid off from my work as a millwork superintendent. I was praying that God would show me the green light to do what was next for me. That’s when I found the online group leader training for I am Second groups on the website and signed up. We had a great teacher and group of people in our sessions. The highlight for me was the “Live and Tell” at the end of each session. I was so supercharged when we went through the “My village” session that I made a list of 50 people that need Jesus. Actually, I talked to 66 people that week. If I was working, I’d never have had the time. Go God Go!
Earlier this year we started an I am Second group that kicked into overdrive and split into two groups by the third week. We invited the leaders of a teen and young adult bible study to our group and they caught on to the movement immediately. Now they lead a small army of young adults, as many as 45 people from high school age to their early 20’s, at a local fish camp. They’re identifying leaders to branch off and lay the track for more small groups. Go God Go!
God took the challenge of my job layoff and turned it into fuel for His race to the kingdom of Christ.
– Chris P.
Get Connected. I am Second small groups are designed to connect people with one another and with God through an authentic, action based discussion group. In an I am Second group you’ll be encouraged to discover your purpose in life through Jesus.
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?
I am Second’s simple and powerful ministry is spreading like wildfire all over the world. Sam, an I am Second Expedition leader, takes us to Ruminahui, Ecuador, where he saw a shopkeeper’s life change right before his eyes:
“I went out with the medical missions team our first day of ministry. After caring daylong for people’s physical needs, dozens returned in the evening for a Yo Soy Segundo (I am Second) group. We circled up and began with the Bible story about Zacchaeus. The audience listened intently and responded well to the six discussion questions in the I am Second materials. When we inquired, ‘how will you apply what you have learned?’ one lady timidly raised her hand. This is her story.
‘I have a small store in my house. I sell eggs, rice, beans and things like that. Some people I don’t like. I am embarrassed to admit this but I sometimes put my finger on the scale. That way they don’t get a full measure. I am so ashamed. I am no better than the man in this story, Zacchaeus. I want God to forgive me and I want to go and find these people to tell them what I have done. The next time they come I will give them more than they pay for.’
She cried through her testimony, as did we. This new sister in Christ truly understood this simple biblical example of Jesus’ love and forgiveness and understood how to apply it in her life.”
Want to see life change in your friends and family like this? No matter what part of the country (or the world) you are in, we’re here to help you! Check out our online training and learn how easy it is to lead a Second group. Click here for more info.
It’s still football season, so let’s talk about the obvious – no need to be obscure here. Outstanding in his field, Colt McCoy is a rock star. We have watched him perform unbelievable feats all year long on the field. On top of all that, it’s a bonus to us Christians that he is a Christian too. We get to call him “one of us.”
Along with Colt, we have some Heisman Trophy winners on our team: Sam Bradford, Mark Ingram, Tim Tebow. Other professional athletes – Jason Witten, Greg Ellis, Jason Terry, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols. And going old school, AC Green, Reggie White, David Robinson. What about all the actors and musicians? Besides the ones on our site, there are still so many more out there. All of them, outstanding in their field.
My guess is that they just didn’t “happen” upon their celebrity status. My guess is that in second grade, Jason Terry was standing on the block shooting jump shots trying his best to reach the basket. And by high school, David Robinson stood at that free throw line shooting 500 free throws a day. Do you think Jason Castro just woke up one day able to play the ukulele like a skilled professional?
How about I am Second? I’m going to just throw this one out there and say that I am Second is outstanding in its field of “website testimonies” and say its not like other websites either. Our video team, our IT department, our marketing group, our leadership…they didn’t just wake up one day as exceptional either.
Are you seeing something in common here?
I’ve realized that Jesus never settled for being mediocre either. A favorite verse of mine is Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Can you shoot free throws for the Lord? Of course.
Does Colt McCoy throw touchdowns for Jesus Christ? You bet.
Do we make video testimonies and launch small groups and encourage you to do the same all for the glory of the Kingdom? There is no question.
All of this to say, all of the people on our site have something in common besides being Second – they didn’t just wake up being Second.
Colt McCoy started as a young kid probably throwing five yards at a time, but today, he can throw touchdown passes. Christ isn’t asking you to be perfect today, but He is asking you to just work at it with all that you can, to pursue excellence in Christ and to do it for Him.
One of my favorite quotes that Colt says in his video is that he didn’t want to be remembered for his touchdowns or for what he did on the field, but for the way he lived his life and for his actions. And after this national championship game, what are we all talking about? Right. The way he stood up for Christ in his quote after the game. It’s almost like he knew what he would be called to do.
How are you going to pursue excellence for Christ today? What in your life can you do for the Kingdom? Personally, I’m going to make phone calls, send emails, write blogs, and file papers…for Him. For you never know what or whom He might use to reflect His glory.
Start right now. Go shoot your free throws. Basketball season is upon us.
Erica’s story is an amazing story of grace and love, redemption, and hope. Her eyes were opened by God to truly see the life she was living, and the life He intended her to live. There is a story of a blind man whose eyes were opened in John 9. Just like with Erica, the man was allowed to be blind for a portion of his life, but when their paths crossed, Jesus opened his eyes.
One thing that always struck me about having “eyes opened” by Jesus is that in most stories that we hear and share, it is a story of how God completely changed a person. They make uplifting and powerful testimonies, sharing how someone went through a completely radical transformation. The problem is, it doesn’t happen with everyone. Not everyone will have to leave a life of begging, because they never had to beg in the first place. Not everyone will have to go through rehab because not everyone will have a drug or alcohol problem. The one thing in this that unites every person is the need to life up Christ, and to lower our own self-importance. Erica knew that God could and would change her life, and the blind man knew that Jesus had changed his forever.
Erica knows her life was lived in darkness, and Jesus came to open her eyes. Once her eyes were opened like the blind man’s, she too believed and worshiped Jesus. That is part of what being Second is about. Worship cannot happen if God is not elevated first. Her life is now directed by her position to God. She is Second.
In what ways have your eyes been opened? How can you lift up Christ in your life so that others can see Him?
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!