I am Second

07Jun, 2012

A New Voice

  • I Am Second

In 17 months, five of my close family members passed away. In addition, my husband and I both went through challenging job changes. As we prepared for employment transition I was fighting a respiratory infection and found a bump on my neck. I sensed God instructing me to get an ultrasound, so I made an appointment.

The night before the ultrasound I attended a women’s event at our church. I prayed silently at the altar, “God, you know what’s going on and what I’m concerned about. Please speak to me tonight.” Right there, a woman placed her hand on my neck and prayed for me.

After the ultrasound I heard from my physician: “It looks like an enlarged thyroid. We need to get you in to see an Endocrinologist. Let me make a call to schedule an appointment for you.” Within minutes the assistant called back and marveled, “I’ve never been able to get someone in so quickly. There’s an appointment for 2 o’clock this afternoon. I highly recommend you take it.”

Continue Reading…

24May, 2012

Bend My Will, O Lord

  • I Am Second

I’ve traveled thru this life doing self-serving deeds.
Now stop, this mountain is nothing but weeds.

Bend my will, O Lord, I want to be in your glory.
Bend my will, O Lord, I want to finish your story.

I’ve faltered and struggled because of my selfish ways.
My life has been full of darkness for too many days.

Bend my will, O Lord, I want to be in your glory.
Bend my will, O Lord, I want to finish your story.

In this wilderness I chose to no longer stay.
From this point my selfish deeds I put at bay.

Bend my will, O Lord, I want to be in your glory.
Bend my will O Lord I want to finish your story.

Now I have surrendered my life to you,
And because of that forever more I have life anew!

Thanks to Linda M., who shared her original poem with us on Facebook, reminding us of the freedom to live obedient lives as Second.

17May, 2012

A Second Chance

  • I Am Second

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.

Learn what it means to become Second.

10May, 2012

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.

08May, 2012

Holy Smokes, Batman!

  • I Am Second

Thanks to Brian for this recent post on our Facebook page:

“I went to the local bookstore to get Easter gifts for my kiddos, and the book, I am Second: Real Stories, Changed Lives, smacked me in the face. WOW.

“I devoured the stories in about two days. The thing is, when I got to the last few pages where it talks about Jesus dying for us – I didn’t expect what was coming next. On Easter Sunday, right there and then I opened my heart and ask God to come in and be with me.

Holy smokes, Batman – what a feeling! I have been truly blessed. He sure works in mysterious ways. Now to live it the rest of my days. My life is changed.”

Here’s a report from Mary, who went on an I am Second Expedition to India.

“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!”

03Apr, 2012

I am Second Locked Up

  • I Am Second

Chaplain Albert started an I am Second group in one of the pods (dorm rooms) at the Dawson State Jail in downtown Dallas, Texas. We were privileged and inspired to join them as he presented certificates to more than 25 brothers in Christ who had participated in 10 group sessions. In his humble orange jumper, one young inmate revealed, “Finally, I have something that my kids can be proud of their Dad for.” Tears welled in his eyes and his voice cracked with emotion. Hard time. Hard life. Hardened hearts penetrated by the grace of God.

Prison missionaries? Yes! Each is challenged to start their own I am Second groups as they are moved to other pods, and some to other prisons around Texas. The Spirit of the Lord will not be kept outside walls made by men. Pray for God to “grow them in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

Connect with I am Second’s Xtreme Team working in prisons at http://www.facebook.com/iamsecond.lockedup.

15Mar, 2012

No More Cheating

  • I Am Second

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.

Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who suffered a shark attack that left her with only one arm, is having a very busy 2011.  She travelled to Dallas at the beginning of the year and filmed her I Am Second film about her faith journey as she was injured and then recovered and returned to the world of competitive surfing.  Her story is both shocking and inspiring, as her relationship with God gave her the resolve to not only recover, but to return to the sport she loves. 

Watch her film now at I Am Second. 

Bethany’s story is also told in the movie “Soul Surfer” which will be released on April 8th.

14Mar, 2011

We are so fortunate here at I Am Second to be able to sponsor Matthew West’s 2011 tour: An Evening of Stories and Songs.  We first met up with Matthew at I Am Second’s 2nd Birthday Celebration last December.  He’s got an amazing collection of songs out right now that tell about the power in our personal stories.  Joining together was a no-brainer. 

Grab your friends and get your tickets fast!  His concert series ends on April 3rd.

Check out these dates:

3/17/11- Franklin, TN

3/18/11- Naperville, IL

3/19/11- Valparaiso, IN

3/20/11- Paducah, KY

3/24/11- Lima, OH

3/25/11- Waukesha, WI

3/26/11- Sioux Center, IA

3/27/11- Sheboygan, WI

3/31/11- Cedar Rapids, IA

4/01/11- Saint Paul, MN

4/02/11- Fargo, ND

4/03/11- Kearney, NE

Find out more about the tour and purchase tickets at  www.matthewwest.com

Have you heard music from The Story of Your Life?   Tell us about it!

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