Eric Metaxas - God was speaking to me in the secret vocabulary of my heart.
Eric Metaxas wanted to touch God. For him, the universe was like this giant frozen lake. We spend our lives atop the ice attempting to drill down to the water below and touch God. But Eric’s God was more an "it" than a "he", a collective consciousness rather than a personal deity, something akin to the "Force" without the Jedi powers. He cringed when people spoke of following Jesus or knowing God, because God wasn’t a person you could name or a being you could know. New York Times #1 Best Selling author, speaker at the president’s National Prayer Breakfast, and frequent guest on CNN, Fox News, and other national media outlets, Eric Metaxas never believed in blind faith. He never expected be a spokesman for God, that is until he had a dream that changed everything.
Moriah Peters - This is something special, something powerful, and I want to be a part of it.
Beauty, charisma, and a voice to make you weep. Moriah Peters had it all. After months of tryouts and callbacks, she finally won her place before the American Idol judges. While impressed with her talent, they wanted more than a pretty face and great voice. They wanted sexy and edgy. They couldn’t see how a young girl who leads a Bible study and vows to wait for marriage to kiss, could possibly be the next cultural icon. The inspiring story of rising young artist, Moriah Peters, challenges the status quo of true beauty, of sex and relationships and the identity of America’s youth.
Josh Canales - I knew, at that moment, that the Lord has a purpose for my life.
"I hit a screaming line drive foul down the third base line," Josh Canales recalled. "Everybody in the stadium yelled head’s up, but it was too late."
The ball struck teammate Kelsey Osburn in the back of the head. Without his helmet on, he crumbled to the ground. Josh Canales raced over as his friend quickly slipped into unconsciousness. Three hours of emergency surgery later, the doctor confirmed that Kelsey would never again open his eyes. What would Josh tell his friend’s parents? Would they ever forgive him for taking the life of their son? Could he ever forgive himself? Would he ever learn to cope with the death of his friend? Questions, fear, and pain filled his heart, but what Josh would soon learn about forgiveness would forever change how he deals with life and death.
RA Dickey - When you are abused, you feel less than human.
R.A. Dickey debuted his knuckleball by breaking one of baseball’s worst pitching records, giving up an unbelievable six home runs in one game. Sent to the minors and faced with the failure of his pitching dream, Dickey decided to end his life. He duct taped a hose to his car’s exhaust pipe, connected it to the driver’s side window, and placed his hand on the ignition. It was about more than his dream failing. It was about the babysitter who molested him as a child, about the man who raped him, his need for cleansing and purpose in life. He had hoped baseball would give him meaning and a way to escape the pain of his past, but all that seemed impossible now. He couldn’t see how R.A. Dickey would one day find healing and redemption and success beyond his wildest dreams.
Albert Pujols - I thought it was all about me, until I found someone to fill a hole I had in me.
Albert Pujols grew up watching his father play softball in the Dominican Republic. He would sit next to him on the team bus travelling from town to town pitching for the local team. But never did Albert dream that, one day, he would find himself rising to become one of Major League Baseball’s greatest players. Drafted 402nd in the thirteenth round by the St. Louis Cardinals, he doubted whether baseball would even be in his future. People said he wouldn’t make it, that he would end his career in the minors. But after only a year in the farm leagues, Albert embarked on a storied career with the St. Louis Cardinals. The nine time MLB All-Star became the only player in history to produce 30 homeruns and 100 RBI’s each year for the first ten years of his career and was elected Player of the Year three times. Along the way, he discovered something much more important than winning 2 Gold Glove Awards or the Player of the Decade Award by Sports Illustrated. Albert found the answer to the question he now asks everyone he meets at first base: What is the most important thing in life?
Duche Bradley - I was looking at 25 to 40 years in prison.
Duche Bradley grew up without his biological father. Anger and loneliness filled the void. As he grew older, these emotions carried him from despondent child to street thug. Machine guns and shotguns, Saran wrapped crack cocaine, and bruised knuckles set the background for his life.
He consoled himself by swearing that though his father left him, he would never leave his son. Never. But as street pedaling drugs turned into a drug enterprise, his lifestyle caught up. A simple traffic stop turned into a gun to his head and a hog tie on the interstate and suddenly Duche Bradley was faced with decades in prison and a lifetime away from his son Bradley. His promise to his son would be broken.
Irma Ramirez - "Forgiveness is easier because God has forgiven me.
Anger, hurt and betrayal marked the life of Irma Ramirez, with childhood memories of abuse and family secrets that were never exposed. First abused by her brother and then by her cousins, Irma was left feeling broken and fearful of being alone, especially at night. Begging God to heal her inside was the only way she could imagine surviving the constant abuse. After hearing a message at church, she asked if this "love" which was mentioned was also meant for her. She asked God "If you love me, help me heal and help me forget my past." It was during this time that she learned about what it means to forgive those that are supposed to love and protect you and instead have hurt you the most. She freed herself by allowing God to heal her wounds and restore her years of abuse.
Josue Padilla - I thought it was impossible to forgive something like that.
Josué Padilla grew up a pastor’s kid in Guatemala. His home was a haven, a safe place, a house where people came to find counseling and wisdom from his dad, the pastor. But this all changed when a family friend came to visit. His parents knew and trusted this person. But that trust was soon violated.
What followed was a sexual encounter that scared Josué for years. He thought it his fault, he thought it his shame to carry alone. He thought God could never use someone tainted by such terrible memories. He thought he would never escape the pain of his past and the memory of his torment.
Matt Elrod - I didn’t let people know I was really best.
The iconic tv reality series, Survivor, is constructed to reward the player who deceives, manipulates and misdirects the other contestants. When Matt Elrod was cast onto the show he prepared to do exactly that. Yet just before the game began he was confronted with the impact his participation could have. Did he really want to set an example of deceit and lies? Could there be another way to play the game? Could he carry it off?
In his I am Second film, Matt reveals the inside story on just what took place during his time on Survivor: Redemption Island
David Ring - I was born dead for 18 minutes
Hope. Peace, Joy. Everyone wants these qualities in our lives. When they are absent, it is sad. When you never had them, life is hell.
From the time he was born until high school, David Ring experienced one setback after another. Stillborn, he was left for dead, yet he lived. Born broken, and "walking and talking funny" he could not fit in. Both his parents died while he was young.
To him a day was just more time to think how to kill himself. Little did he know he was counting down to a miraculous turn of events.
David McKenna - From happy childhood, to party animal, drug user, drug dealer ...
From happy childhood, to party animal, drug user, drug dealer, convicted felon, and drug addict, David McKenna’s road was a fast track to the pit of hell. "To me, cocaine is the devil, " he says from experience. "I really think it’s truly one of the most scary things in the world." There were many times that the craving, compulsion for drugs and alcohol became the God of his life.
Released from jail and working through a rehab program, David was introduced to the real God, the God of the hearts of men. He became part of a strong local church that ministered to him. But is that enough to help him avoid the cravings that would come on him during the day? How does he approach managing a life that when left alone can jump back into the hell-pit without a second glance?
Christ must be first in his life for David to even exist. The consequences of not following Him are devastating. Nothing else matters in his life. He story seems to say "Be encouraged, you need not stay in the hell-pit of life." Christ has better things ahead for you.
Remi Adeleke - My goal was to get the money, the power, the respect.
"I made it through the Bronx, the streets, became a Navy Seal, and nobody could tell me nothing."
Remi Adeleke craved money, the power and respect as his success in life. He found it being a thug, a hustler, a "player." Then the money ran out and a different voice started speaking to him.
Of all places it guided him to the military, and eventually to Navy Seal Training. Even that didn’t break him, but something else did.
Propaganda - You is looking at a son of a nobody with poverty in my bones
Underground rap artist, Jason "Propaganda" Petty, grew up a fish out of water. Born black in a mexican neighborhood. A poet and artist in the midst an alpha male urban environment. When his family went suburban, it got no better. Now he was the poor black kid in the all white neighborhood.
So who was Jason "Propaganda" Petty? What was his purpose in life, his identity? How would he find himself? Was he an artist or a thug? Rich or poor? Black, caucasian, or Mexican? Watch his film and discover the surprising answers he found to life’s most challenging questions.
Landry Jones - I had all the friends, all the girls.
Sports always came easy for Landry Jones. Everyone wanted him for their team. Everybody loved him. He had friends, girls– the world was at his fingertips. Yet he still desired more.
Playing football at the University of Oklahoma was an easy decision to make—arriving on campus and discovering he was low man on the depth chart was another. He was no longer the star, no longer desired by everyone. After all, Oklahoma had the Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford on their team. Landry was out of the spotlight.
Having his identity stripped away was a shock to Jones. He didn’t know how to handle it which showed in a bad attitude and his pursuit of satisfaction in other things. But then came an encounter with God that changed his attitude, his focus, and ultimately his life.
He now has a new identity, one given to him by God.
Tony Dungy - Those disappointments were in the past, but now, it’s our time
A successful career in the NFL would seem to be a dream come true. Money, notoriety, and accolades. Tony Dungy was living that dream, coaching the perennially losing Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a regular spot in the playoffs. It seemed that everything was working out as planned, until he was fired for not winning the championship. Just what was he going to do now?
Eventually repeating the same success as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Dungy still battled against doubters in his abilities. Could a Super Bowl victory be the only place of redemption? Or was there another, better way, to understand the big picture of his life?
Shane Kampe - I’m not supposed to be here ...
Typical. In his own words Shane Kampe was "typical" of many other kids that grew up in suburban Kansas City. But typical wasn’t enough, he wanted something "better" than a clean-cut lifestyle. Drugs, alcohol, women. All three drew Shane’s attention and he more than complied. He chased them to excess.
10 years ago Shane had an appointment with destiny. His life hung in the balance, yet he was powerless to do anything about it. It was an impossible situation that only a miracle could resolve. His friend "Whispering" Danny has shared part of the narrative in his I am Second film, but here is the rest of the story.
Lauren Scruggs - I thought no one would love me and my life was ruined.
December, 2011 will always be a chilling memory for the Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs family. Their daughter, Lauren Scruggs won’t remember it all. One minute the family was enjoying a dinner out with friends. A few minutes later Cheryl was staring at the the horrific sight of Lauren lying face down in blood on an airport tarmac.
The injuries Lauren suffered by accidentally walking into a spinning airplane propeller were at first life-threatening, then lifestyle-altering. Losing an eye, a hand, and enduring multiple surgeries, Lauren had to face new realities of life. How would this young woman, pursuing a career in the world of fashion and style, react to these changes in her appearance and abilities?
With the help of her family and faith, she has found a way.
NASCAR Drivers - Personal stories of hope and pain, trials and triumph, victory and defeats, desperation and transformation.
The drivers filed in one after another for their interviews. A Daytona 500 Champion. Several young, and up-and-coming drivers. The more experienced mentor. While the camera rolled, they shared their personal stories of hope and pain, trials and triumph, victory and defeats, desperation and transformation. After a full day of filming there were multiple stories captured that could be shared as several I am Second films.
Yet when the editing started, there was a startling revelation. These were not multiple stories, but simply one story shared multiple ways. These drivers, guided by the unseen hand of God, were all travelling a similar road. Their journeys may have had different circumstances, but they shared a common destiny during which they were being taught very similar lessons. Being good students as well as skillful drivers, these men identified that they needed to yield control to the only one who could really keep them on track- both in life and their careers. Their compelling story is an inspiration to all who find themselves struggling with who is in control.
Darrell Waltrip - I was never a winner until I won the hearts of people.
"I could’ve been dead." Racing at unprecedented speeds to win was the singular focus of Darrell Waltrip. At the peak of his career, he won two consecutive championships. "I was at the top of my game. We were unbeatable." And while he may have been the best on the track, NASCAR fans hated his ego and it bothered him.
Sure of the dangers in racing, Waltrip never believed it would happen to him. It did. And one accident on the track drove him to seeking out a more definitive purpose in life. His story reflects the importance of humility even if you are the best.
Brian Welch - I had it all with Korn but gave it up for a better life.
When you have reached the top and something’s still missing, where do you go? Brian "Head" Welch’s life was spinning out of control. As lead guitarist for the band Korn, people worshipped his music. He made all the money, had all the cars, houses and women he could handle, but still found himself with a crippling addiction to Meth. "I could not stay sober. I did not know how. I hit rock bottom."
There’s a point when you finally look in the mirror at an image that you are simply tired of seeing. Brian wanted to quit, but what if quitting required complete surrender?
Jarrett Stephens - the innocence he had stolen from me
After being victimized by a child molester, Jarrett Stephens grew up confused and terrified, filled with guilt and shame. For over 11 years he held in his secret, never sharing it with anyone. Then one day he shared it with his parents.
These were the parents who had kept him grounded despite his secret. They had seen him develop a relationship with Jesus. They had instilled the character in him to weather the long odds of growing up without long-term damage. Yet when the secret came out, the whole family needed to be reminded of just where to look for peace.
Nate Larkin - It left me emptier and hungrier every time
Nate Larkin’s reputation was everything, so there were great lengths he’d go to protect it.
Addicted to hard-core pornography yet serving in ministry, he lived a double life and constantly feared being caught – ruining his reputation. Even though his frequent rendezvous with women and videos left him emptier every time, he still went back for more searching for a fulfillment that would never come. Losing the trust of his wife forced him to move out of the shadows and into liberation.
Josh Hamilton - Baseball and my parents were taken away from me at the same time.
In the fight of your life, how many times do you get knocked down before you find yourself too weak to throw another punch? Making more money than ever imaginable, suddenly everything Josh Hamilton knew and loved was taken away in an instant. When the rush and adrenaline of his spot in professional baseball slipped from his grasp, the search for fulfillment was helplessly found in drugs and alcohol. Following was a path of destruction, "and it wasn’t because of anybody else. It was because of me."
In this deeply intriguing and heartfelt story, he narrates his life through metaphors of dreams and a reminiscence of weariness. His is a story of a time when he could no longer lift his hand or his heart to fight his enemy. He found strength to fight another round and since has never felt more powerful and at peace.
Janine Turner - One rejection after another in show business drove me to my knees
From an early age Janine Turner wanted to be part of the show business world. Modeling, dancing, singing and acting were a big part of her formative years, which eventually moved her to New York City in pursuit of a serious acting career. She had ambition, drive, and visions of success. But along the way came rejection— thousands of times- in auditions and tryouts. Somehow she had to deal with it to survive.
Janine first tried dealing with it through alcohol. This caused numerous issues, including the breakup of an engagement, until she discovered she was a blackout drinker and became sober at age 23. Then facing another deep hole of rejection at age 27, she remembered just who was in control of her life and career. At her lowest moment, God shined on her, a vignette in time she has never forgotten and spurs her on today.
Lisa Luby Ryan - It was as if I walked into a whole new world.
Lisa Luby Ryan wanted the perfect life: children who adored her and a husband that would protect, guide and love her. But things didn’t turn out that way.
She had been sexually abused at a young age, lived in a chaotic home and wasn’t loved by her parents. Honesty, trust and a wholesome relationship between a man and a woman simply wasn’t Lisa’s reality. As she went through life, through relationships and men and a broken family of her own, she knew in her mind that "All I wanted was to be loved." But God asked her the question, "How can I heal you when you’re not willing to heal yourself? Are you willing confront your secrets and give it all up to me?"
Are you willing to give it all up? Are you willing to be healed? Lisa had to confess her past; a life of affairs, abortion, divorce, and neglect. She freed herself by facing the truth and God was faithful to restore the broken pieces.
Tommy Bowden - Coaching football is a series of peaks and valleys.
3 AM phone calls about player behavior. Alumni recruiting issues. Academic eligibility, media interviews, preparing for the next game, and speaking engagements. These are just a few of the waters that must be navigated by successful college football coaches.
Tommy Bowden grew up in college football learning the game from his father, legendary coach Bobby Bowden. Not only did he grasp the X’s and O’s, but also gained insight into the demands of a coach and how to handle the pressures that are part of the sport. When the inevitable issue would surface, he knew where to turn and face it with wisdom.
Annie Lobert - When you leave a pimp, you leave with nothing.
Feeling unloved by her father and used by a boyfriend, teenager Annie Lobert yearned inside for the power to exact revenge over men. Money to have nice things. To be someone important. It over rode any caution in her life and within a short time she was selling her body, gaining the money she thought was her answer to a better life.
It was a lie. The money instead went to her violent pimp and for many years her world descended into a hell filled with prostitution, cancer, drug addiction and no future. Yet when she cried out to God in her darkest and most dangerous moment, hope arrived to give her a second chance.
Doug Bender - Having true friends is much more complicated ...
In today’s social media world, "friends" come and go with each passing day. We collect vast numbers and mass communicate with them via a keypad. In many ways they are just names in a directory.
Having true friends is much more complicated, especially during the critical school years. Doug Bender’s perceived lack of friends growing up greatly impacted his life. In his I am Second film, Doug remembers the scarring that took place during his search for friends, and how he finally discovered the key to understanding friendship.
CeCe Sims - I faked my own kidnapping to get out of the pressure.
With a basketball scholarship in hand, Cece Sims’ college experience appeared to be secure. But when others saw Cece as a basketball player, that’s not how she saw herself. She wanted to stop playing, to pursue music, but she couldn’t figure out how to tell everyone. She wanted to quit, but didn’t want people to see her as quitter.
As the tension built , Cece made one bad decision after another, leading to drugs and alcohol just about every night, and finally to faking her own kidnapping. Only then did she truly discover how to be truthful with herself and others. The discovery has had eternal consequences.
Kathy Ireland - I was trying to mold God into what I wanted him be, instead of molding me.
Photographers. Runways. Magazine covers. TV commercials. Amazing clothes. Travel to exotic locations.
Kathy Ireland encountered all this excitement and glamour when she embarked on her modeling career. By the time she was 18 she was traveling around the world on her own. Early on in her career she needed to decide how she would handle the tough work of the modeling business as well as the trappings that come with being a successful model. Just who and what would be her guide for her career and life?
As time has proven, that crucial decision laid the foundation for becoming one of the world’s top models—called by many a supermodel. It also helped her to grow as a woman of conviction, one who was willing to trust God for her family and future businesses.
Rudy Kalis - I was so busy trying to be somebody.
At five years old, Rudy Kalis’ view of the Statue of Liberty marked his immigration day into the United States. It also began a multiple decade battle with cultural, language, and educational challenges.
Persevering through tough college and military experiences, and an early introduction to broadcasting, Rudy used the same hardnosed tactics to try and make a name for himself. In the process he alienated others, until one day he was confronted with the truth of who he was, and a pathway to a live a different life.
Clayton Kershaw - To have great control you just have to let go.
He’s the youngest to win a Cy Young Award since 1985. He’s been compared to Sandy Koufax, the great Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Famer. He had the most strikeouts, the best Earned Run Average, and won the most games of any pitcher in the league. On the mound he is the epitome of discipline, accuracy and control.
Yet Clayton’s journey to success in baseball has included many personal moments way out of his control. Family issues, finances, sports teams, and more. All beyond his control. Still, this young man has already learned valuable lessons on how to manage a high stress environment. Here he shares wisdom beyond his years and a passion for the needs of others that only God can impart.
Scott Hamilton - I thought I paid my health dues when I had cancer but this was a whole other issue.
Olympic Gold Medalist and figure skating commentator Scott Hamilton knows a thing or two about preparation and dedication. His sport demands that a competitor come as close to perfect as possible. No break or fault goes unpunished by the judges. Scott mastered the sport and its nuances to become the world’s best.
Yet as good as he was, he could not on his own handle some of life’s biggest challenges to his health. Cancer. A re-occuring brain tumor. In the times that he needed someone by his side, there was always Someone there. Someone he has grown to know, to love,. The one who introduced him to his wife and who has made having children possible. In this film he recalls a journey that many others are also traveling, and its telling never gets old.
Josh Turner - Nobody’s ever gonna wanna hear this. It’s too old fashioned.
Performing at the Grand Ole Opry. Country Music Award nominations. Touring across the country. For Josh Turner these are the culminations of dreams planted in him long ago.
And the song that propelled it—Long Black Train-can also be traced to a vision from God. The song proved to be a most unlikely hit in the country music scene, from perhaps a most unlikely emerging star, and captured hearts around the world.
Josh’s honest discussion of the calling on his life as a performer and the motivations of his heart, is must see-viewing for most any person.
Sean Little - My identity was in my neighborhood and culture. Not anymore.
The music scene in Evansville, Indiana, may not be as large as New York City, but it is vibrant nonetheless. So when Sean Little performs, people are listening. Performing it is, since his energetic hip-hop/rap requires him to transform from the soft-spoken family man he is away from the stage.
But it was not always that way. Only through Jesus working in his life has he developed a peace to help him calm the dysfunction he experienced earlier in his life. Family members in jail. Few positive role models. A path that could have easily led to death—but did not.
Matt Barkley - I know I’m not in control.
Being the star quarterback for the USC Trojans is an honor for Matt Barkley. Several of the last few starting quarterbacks before him: Mark Sanchez, Matt Leinart, and Carson Palmer, all established a presence in the NFL. Experts are projecting Matt to join them in the professional ranks. High expectations rest on his shoulders.
For now, however, the junior at the University of Southern California has a platform in which the spotlight is shining on his every move, including his faith in Christ. A faith that has been keeping him at the school in the wake of a coaching change, NCAA sanctions against the school, and the temptations of the NFL. A growing faith that is making a difference at his school and in the lives of others.
Lecrae - I want my music to offer the hope and encouragement I didn’t get.
As a child, Hip Hop artist Lecrae’s world was void of good role models. Growing up with a single mom, he would watch rap videos at his grandmother’s house and developed an ability to rap himself. Yet Lecrae wrestled with insignificance, having never met his father and enduring a life of abuse and neglect. He sought to fill this void by surrounding himself with gangsters.
Before long, Lecrae was embroiled in a world filled with drugs, theft, alcohol and gang activity. "I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was just a misfit of a person," he said.
Little did he know that his view on life would soon be jolted, opening his eyes to the One who valued his life as significant. The One who cared enough to die for him. The One who is behind his music.
Alex Kendrick - In some ways I wasn’t stepping up the way I needed to.
Alex Kendrick is living proof that God can use obedient people to accomplish the seemingly impossible. How can he and the pastors of a small Georgia church produce, direct and market one movie-much less four theatrical released films- that keep impacting the lives of millions of people.
In this I am Second film Alex details the incredible story of how God worked to create and distribute the movies. He also reveals how God was convicting him in many of the same areas as the movie topics. His dilemma-if he could be obedient in making movies for God, could he also be obedient in making changes in his life, too?
Sujo John - Facing death I felt this boldness to face Jesus
Newly arrived in America from their home in Calcutta, India, Sujo John and his wife Mary found work in 2001 with offices in New York’s, World Trade Center-Sujo on the 81st floor in the North Tower, Mary on the 71st floor of the South Tower. By September of that year they had settled into a good life and by then were expecting their first child. Yet Sujo was not content. As a believer in Jesus he wanted to know that he was being used for a purpose, not just chasing success.
When terrorists hijacked planes and rammed them into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/2001, his life story was altered. As the walls of the towers came crashing down around him, his wife’s whereabouts unknown, and thousands dying around him, Sujo could only rely upon God’s plan for his life. A plan which became real amidst the death and debris of Ground Zero.
Brian Birdwell - Burned but not broken in the Pentagon attack.
One minute he was visiting the bathroom down the hall from his Pentagon office. The next minute he was burned over 60% of his body from an unknown explosion and resulting fires. That was the hell unleashed on Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell on 9/11/2001.
He didn’t yet know that a 757 passenger jet had been hijacked by terrorists and flown into his side of the building. Nor that he was one of the few survivors from his office sector of the Pentagon. Or the levels of pain and agony associated with his resulting recovery. That was all to come.
What he did find was that God had plans for him to survive that day, and eventually lead him to become a Texas State Senator. The journey he recalls is a chilling reminder of the depth of trauma that only God can heal.
Chris Coghlan - I was tired of chasing these temporary satisfactions that I was having
When teenager Chris Coghlan’s family life was tragically altered one afternoon, his response was a nearly exclusive focus on practicing his baseball skills. Playing ball allowed him to escape the pain of his loss. In doing so he developed a selfish approach to life. Everything centered on him, he could do whatever he wanted and he pursued his ambition of a career in baseball over anyone and anything else in his life.
While his baseball dream ultimately came true, the selfish attitude stayed. His teammates noticed, team management noticed, to the point that he developed a noticeable anxiety and nervousness about his prospects. His baseball career hung in the balance.
Yet, in 2009 Chris Coghlan was named National League Rookie of The Year. Today there is a peace that exists and a balanced approach to his life and his game performances. Something changed Chris Coghlan. Something powerful enough to overcome years of living only for himself. Something that could erase pain and its effects. Something that could heal a man so that he can freely pursue a God-given craft without hesitation.
Trevor Bayne - Racing gave me something to set myself apart.
Trevor Bayne is a natural born racer. In other words, he comes from a racing family where his racing skills became evident at a very young age. As a teenager he moved on his own to North Carolina to pursue his NASCAR racing dream. He then battled his way to earn a ride in the Nationwide circuit. It is there he began to bask in the benefits earned by his racing skill and started saying to himself, "I got this, I got this."
That was the opener for Trevor to receive some lessons as to who was really in control over his career. Control over his safety and well-being. Control over his entire life.
So when in February, 2011 Trevor became the first racer to win the Daytona 500 on his first attempt, Trevor knew who really had guided him there and he is ready to tell the world about it.
Lee Yih - I am a product of date rape.
When Lee Yih looks back over the first third of his life, he sees a directionless young man with no anchor on which to base his identity. No father figure. A mixed ethnicity as a Chinese-American. Varied spiritual experiences. Murky job prospects.
Then came the day he found himself in the army in Germany, bored and stoned all the time, and with a marriage that was failing. There seemed to be no hope. Nothing he could see could change his situation. Yet at that lowest moment, someone intervened. Nothing fancy, just an offer of friendship. An act of kindness that would change his life, his wife, and many others he would later encounter.
Jim Munroe - I had to die in order to have a chance to live.
Jim entered college with a skepticism about life. The idea of God seemed "silly". He poured his life into a successful career in magic where a lot of his skepticism was confirmed. There really are "trap doors" and "smoke and mirrors." But despite doubts, radical things were happening in Jim’s life to turn his world upside down. And then, just when he thought he had it all figured out: Leukemia. When faced with the choices of how to proceed, Jim knew his best chance of living was to allow himself to die first. Chemotherapy to destroy blood cells. New blood to replace his own. Yet how could he allow himself to endure the agony? And why was this happening?
David Murphy - Baseball is a difficult game and it can drive you crazy.
Having played college baseball at Baylor, David Murphy was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2003 and spent the next three plus years with six different minor league teams before being called up for his major league debut at Fenway Park. He hit safely in his first at bat, beginning an everyday battle of balancing a high-profile, performance-based career with his personal identity.
A subsequent trade to the Texas Rangers gave Murphy the opportunity for more playing time, drawing even more attention as the Rangers captured the 2010 American League Championship and advanced to baseball’s biggest stage—the World Series.
How does David handle the balance between his work and his identity? What keeps him from being defined by those pressure-packed moments of a career instead of who he is? In the battle against living a life of confidence or being fearful of the pressure, David has picked confidence, but not in himself. Instead, he has a faith that sustains him better than a clutch performance.
Wally - l’ll keep true with my faith if we can just keep it kind of on the down low.
"I had gotten to a point of my career where I made a lot of money and had some semblance of fame and I was just burnt. I had just had it."
This statement by radio disc jockey Wally resonates with many people. Too often our personal identities are wrapped up in what we do, not who we really are. In Wally’s case a successful radio career was driving him to a place he didn’t want to go- becoming an angry, negative person who had no time for others, and especially God.
Wally was at the end of his rope, but fought for his identity. His story is encouragement for all who fight the same battle.
Shannon Culpepper - he would constantly tell me that I wasn’t good enough...
As a young girl, Shannon Culpepper grew up confused, chasing after the approval that only a father could give and one that she never received. She thought she found it chasing after love in a man whose manipulative controlling ways left her gasping for breath. All she wanted was a trophy of distinction – for someone to love her and tell her who she was. It was in those dark moments where she found the greatest peace, the most fulfilling joy.
Her story kindles an excitement in the lives of those who feel as if their abandonment is somehow reflective of who they are as individuals. When it looked like she would never receive that validation, it was given to her in the unlikeliest of ways. So, now as she chases after life, she no longer runs with uncertainty, but with the gleaming light of self-assurance.
Pete Briscoe - I just wanted to be the best at something.
"It’s exhausting being the best." From adolescence well into adulthood, Pete Briscoe anchored his life on being the best… at something – anything – everything. As he climbed an insatiable ladder attempting to reach perfection, arriving to that destination still proved emptiness. Something was missing; some place that pats on the back and fanatic crowds could not fulfill.
Experiences of humility, moments of soul searching and light years later, he recognized there’s only One who could be the best, One who could achieve perfection, One who is first. The greatest love story of all times is yet unveiled in this fascinating account of a man who simply wanted to be the best.
Wayne Huizenga - I wanted to be like my father. To have all the things he did, and to be respected like he was.
Living a life of power, prestige, excitement and wealth, Wayne Huizenga, Jr. regularly dined at the world’s banquet table. Working alongside his father, the Chairman of Waste Management Inc, Junior enjoyed the perks that came with wealth, including owning three professional sports teams. He was free to drink heavily and quick to offer unvarnished comments and opinions to anyone in the room. He had available to him all the things the world had to offer-yet was never satisfied.
One day he recognized himself as "lost–happy but unfulfilled." Something was missing in his life…until an unlikely friendship began, leading to a previously unthinkable change in his life. Now no longer unfulfilled, Junior’s definition of success has a new meaning!
Tim Ross - I created this guy that everybody loved, and I went home and didn't like myself.
When Tim Ross was sexually abused as a young child, it started a chain reaction of consequences. First was protecting the secret. Next came an addiction to pornography. That was followed by living a double life. At age 19 the secret was exposed, and with it came freedom.
Tim’s experience shows how the love of Christ can win out—and the love of people can help change how one lives a life.
James Caldemeyer - I was laying in the highway smelling smoke...
Today James Caldemeyer serves as a fishing guide on a Texas lake and competes in bass fishing tournaments around the country. Affable and eager to serve his fishing clients, James engages in all sorts of easy conversation on the water. Yet his demeanor belies a deeper secret- that at the age of 21 he was responsible for an alcohol-related car accident that killed a person and resulted in losing his job, wife, and family.
With the guilt, anguish, and hurt overwhelming, James struggled to live. Yet in his darkest hours he found God waiting for him, with both the iron-fist of consequences and the mercy and grace that saved him from rotting in prison.
The Parks - That was probably the most difficult day of my life, just to see the hurt in somebody's eyes then that you really care about.
Infidelity. Unhappiness. Discontent. It wasn’t meant to be like this. The vows spoken at the altar of unconditional love –no matter how good or bad life gets– seemed to be forgotten. To Katie and Nathan, they no longer seemed to matter. "We were just driving each other apart, into someone else’s arms."
So how did they survive when they found themselves mentally divorced yet existing in the same home, wearing a worn smile and living a routine life? The real question is simply this: was there hope for them? Find out how this couple, whom God joined together could not be torn apart.
Christian Hosoi - My attitude was skate and destroy.
How hard do you have to fall and hit rock bottom before you make the decision to stop doing whatever it is that is satisfying you on the outside, but killing you on the inside? Christian Hosoi, an All-American professional skateboarder, lived by the creed, "Skate and Destroy." While he found his calling in skating at an early age, he also found himself in the midst of destruction. "I was trying to destroy myself because I was searching for love in money, fame and girls. None of it satisfied me."
Hosoi had fame. He had money. He had it all but it was all taken. It took him losing it all to realize that freedom was not in material possessions. It had nothing to do with the cares of this world. He realized who and where freedom really was: in Christ.
Laura Klock - guilt and shame and low self worth
Laura Klock holds a world land speed motorcycling record. Her husband, Brian, helps direct a well-respected custom motorcycle shop in South Dakota. Their two daughters are also world record motorcyclists. They are a successful family, but it`s been a long road to get there.
Laura`s road – a childhood where she didn’t feel appreciated or loved – led to years of teenage rebellion, drinking, drug use, and an abortion at age 16. She began living a double life and carried that into her adult years. But a mask is only temporary concealment and eventually her double life was exposed. However, instead of her life crashing apart, God was there to provide the direction and love she needed, laying the foundation for the success that was to come.
Tyrone Flowers - It was like everything had slowed down. I saw the gun.
Forced into foster care at age 7 because of a dysfunctional family, Tyrone Flowers lived out a next decade of hell. His homes over the next 10 years: three different foster homes, residential treatment facilities, eight different group homes, and juvenile reformatory school.
At 17 he was dealt an even more cruel blow, leaving him handicapped and asking, "Why me?"
Yet Tyrone’s story did not end there. His self-pity turned into something else that was able to change those first 17 years into good, giving him purpose in life, and allowing him to impact the lives of others. He saw disaster changed into triumph, further reinforcing his faith and hope, and inspiring others in the process.
Trevor Brazile - I’m expected to win when I show up
A Cowboy, a real Professional Rodeo Cowboy!
Trevor Brazile is a champion who’s been called the world’s best cowboy. He’s expected to show up. When he shows up, he’s expected to win, all the time. When he does, the crowd loves him. Don’t we have that mentality with God? When we win, we love God. When we don’t win, we question Him.
Early in Trevor’s career, he knew he may not always make the number one spot. And in uncertain times, he still chose to live for God. "I don’t serve God because of success," he says. " Whether I win or lose, God just wants us to love Him."
Wayne Simien - Basketball became a selfish ambition for glory.
Wayne Simien was on the fastrack to stardom. He and his teammates had been in final four college basketball games and his future in the NBA seemed secure. He had all the things he thought should be important to him, but he was totally unfulfilled. That’s when a transformation started to occur in Wayne. He was introduced to Jesus and his life has been drastically different since then.
More purpose and meaning, more peace, more satisfaction in life. That’s what he needed…and ask God to bring him.
Eight year later he is still growing ..and telling his story for which others can be inspired.
Whispering Danny - I lived a lifestyle that was pretty self-destructive in many ways, and I was OK with it.
A popular Kansas City tattoo artist, "Whispering Danny" has an impactful story that he should shout for all to hear. But he can’t. His medical condition requires him to have tumors on his larynx and vocal cords removed every three or so months. It leaves his voice at a level just louder than a whisper.
However, the weight of his story speaks volumes anyway – How he, as a Jewish youngster in the Soviet Union, left for America with his mom, in her hope of finding better medical care for his condition. How he came to believe in Christ as savior. How he lives for the Lord today.
In this film, Danny describes the circumstances around how he became a believer in Christ. It is a moving story that will leave you prepared to encounter the Lord yourself.
Bethany Hamilton - It was like a picture perfect morning...
At age thirteen Bethany Hamilton was a rising surfing star. From her home in Hawaii she had everyday access to some of the world’s best waves and basked in the warmth of a loving family. But her tranquil beach surf life was shattered one morning when a shark completely bit off her arm. Only the immediate help of her friends, heroic work by doctors and an overwhelming peace kept her alive in the critical moments after the attack. The fact that she survived was a miracle.
What is one to do when their outward passion and purpose in life is seemingly taken away? Bethany looked inward to her relationship with Jesus, who renewed her spirit while also restoring her surfing ability, to even greater heights. Her story is retold today in the movie SOUL SURFER, and continues to inspire others not to give up on themselves ... or on God.
Brant Hansen - If some happens like that to you, it’s not that you are awesome... He did something
Being diagnosed with social and autistic handicaps at a young age might limit the career choices of some people. Not so with Brant Hansen. Now the popular host of WAY-FM’s morning show, Brant not only shed the limitations of those conditions, but also put aside a skepticism of God to be speaking to the masses about Jesus via his radio program.
Hear Brant share his story and ask yourself just what things are stopping you from living out your faith?
David Rodenberg - Calling on him every time the impulses appear.
How do you rebound from a life that seemingly has been stacked against you the whole time? Meet David Rodenberg. Life was never easy for David. First came his diagnosis of being bi-polar. Then there was difficulty in social situations followed by a struggle with sexual addiction, which ultimately led him to criminal behavior, landing him in jail.
Being in jail for 12 years was even harder. And when he was released, the adjustment to freedom was nearly impossible.
But for the love of Jesus, which was delivered through the arms and words of a parent. It was enough to stop the cycle of degeneration. Enough to set him on a course towards a life lived to the fullest for God.
Daniel Sepulveda - It was all about what I couldn’t do
As a young boy, Daniel Sepulveda was the best at everything. Speed, coordination, skill. It fit perfectly with his dream of one day starring in the NFL. But when he became a teenager his talent edge over the rest of the pack dwindled. No longer was he a star. In fact, he was a walk-on player at Baylor.
Loss of a dream can be devastating for some people. Daniel battled this loss. Relying on his faith, prompted by his coach’s encouragement, and willing to work hard, Daniel changed positions and accomplished his dream by becoming the punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Along the way he has endured knee injuries, physical therapy and challenges to the dream. It hasn’t been easy- yet he knows that God is in control.
Vitor Belfort - I was just losing my faith and slowly I was getting to the anger and revenge.
Vitor Belfort is living a dream. He is a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hero from Brazil with a beautiful celebrity wife and millions of followers around the world. Life must be easy for him, right?
Yet Vitor’s road to his dream was marked by great challenges that brought pain into his life and the spiritual journey that accompanied. First was the challenge to train and be a champion fighter. The next was in seeing significance and balance to a life displayed to the public. Following that came significant grief and pain in a personal tragedy.
It is a road to God that was marked by pain at every step. But he has no pain now—only joy and peace through a relationship with Jesus that he knows can be shared by others.
Michael W Smith - I know where my hope lies...and it’s not in being a rockstar.
He’s almost an icon in Christian music. The successful, gold-record, award-winning singer-songwriter who seems to have his life, family and walk in place. It probably all came easy for him, right? A product of natural talent?
The road to musical influence for Michael W. Smith has had multiple stops, including some places you would not expect. Such was the case at age 17 when he moved to Nashville to pursue a musical career. Leaving home with a foundation of God’s blessing, Michael’s first jobs took him to after-hours bars where he flirted with temptation—and more. The flirtation involved drug use, which ultimately led to a near-death experience. He was in the "pit of life, and looking at no escape."
Then he asked for God to do anything to get his attention. With that came Michael’s rescue, leading to the impact his songs have brought to millions and an identity that is secure in Christ.
Baron Batch - I was mad at God.
A product of Texas high school football, Baron Batch started his Texas Tech football career with "do it my way" attitude. Success in high school meant similar success as a college player, right? But one play changed that—where a simple ankle injury started a chain of events that would strip away the bravado of being a star. One surgery, two ,and many more would be needed before the injury and subsequent infection came under control. Months went by—an eternity for a college athlete.
The roadblocks he was experiencing in football were the key to discoveries he would make away from the sport. Now that he was injured and not playing, who were his friends? What were his interests? Where could he find support? Who was he?
Finally the roadblocks to playing came down. He could re-establish his identity. Which he has done with a greater purpose in mind.
Bradie James - Being second will cause you to lose some friends.
Becoming an NFL football player is an achievement. Being one of the top players at your position brings respect. Playing for the Dallas Cowboys puts you in the spotlight. Bradie James qualifies on all counts. So naturally it was easy for him to be living a life that, as he says, was all about the Big "I."
Why was he playing football? What was his real purpose in life? What could he do to discover the answers? An examination of the Bible showed him how to "renew his mind," which in turn caused a change in his attitude and actions. Living to bring God glory brought changes to his life, even changes in who his friends were. This obedience to God’s plan is now reaping him rewards far away from the football field.
Randy Moore - On the air he acted calmly, but when he was home with Ann, his life was anything but under control.
For over 30 years Randy Moore has been a familiar news anchor to the Tri-State/Evansville area of the country. He’s seen as a comforting, stable and trustworthy presence—perhaps the Walter Cronkite of this era to that region. He is able to inject a sense of calm that counters unnerving news reports.
Yet for Randy, some of those years have personally been very difficult, especially the time his wife was dying of pancreatic cancer. On the air he acted calmly, but when he was home with Ann, his life was anything but under control. As the reality of her death hit home, and grief almost unbearable, he suffered great physical and emotional disruption.
However, through walking the journey with his wife to her death, Randy did discover a purpose to his life that buffered the grief. A peace that still sustains him today.
Tamara Jolee - Despite incurable cancer, I am content with my life.
It took awhile for the news to sink in. Incurable cancer. 90% of the body. 5-7 years left to live.
When sports television reporter Tamara Jolee finished processing the news her thoughts immediately went to "What’s next?" Would her remaining years be painful? Would she be able to do her regular activities? How would she manage? Those and other similar questions rose inside as she contemplated her future.
At that moment Tamara’s relationship with Jesus kicked in. Having that stable relationship provided a peace that surpassed anything she had previously experienced, allowing her to move ahead with a confidence that belies the seriousness of her illness. Her desire to be a living testimony and share her story brings joy and inspiration to many others each day.
Janelle Hail - Lord please, let me see myself the way you see me.
At the age of 34 Janelle Hail’s life came to a screeching halt. The diagnosis was breast cancer, but the battle she would face went far beyond the physical treatments and recovery. With fragile emotions she looked in the mirror, at first seeing a broken body with limited use.
That perspective didn’t last for long. Janelle remembered to ask Jesus what He thought. His uplifting answer gave her the hope and peace to seek God’s plan for her life, which has since resulted in bringing physical and emotional healing to thousands of others facing the same breast cancer battle.
Christine Petric - I didn’t really know how amazing God was until this happened.
Born in South Korea, adopted at a young age, and growing up in a predominately white suburban environment, Christine Petric was constantly reminded that she was different. The one place where these differences did not seem to matter was when she excelled on the soccer field. At those moments she was the "successful soccer chick" and could forget any awkward discrimination.
An injury early in her freshman soccer season derailed big athletic plans, and her extra time ushered in a quickly developing dating relationship. Soon she was living only for herself, and "being pretty selfish about it." It took a devastating revelation from her boyfriend that further rocked her self-esteem before she was ready to see that her true identity was found in Christ’s love for her.
Brian Sumner - I tell people there's a lot of times in my life that I fell in love.
Brian Sumner came from Liverpool, England to enjoy the lifestyle of a professional skateboarder. Riding for Tony Hawk’s company, Brian’s life centered only on himself and the trappings of success. Skateboarding was his first love, by far.
At age nineteen he fell in love again, and shortly thereafter went to Las Vegas and was married. Soon a child was on its way, and with it came lifestyle and relational changes that the young couple did not expect. Fighting all the time, the anger welled inside Sumner. Life was chaotic, and reached a pinnacle when a brush with the police put him in community service.
His experience at a Christian thrift store was the starting point of a change in his life. Today he is no longer angry, but second.
Anne Rice - I thought that to grow up, I had to put God aside.
After thirty-eight years of authoring books about vampires and darkness, Anne Rice grew up in a devoted Catholic family, knowing the importance of God and obtaining something in life beyond materialistic things. Still, she felt unshakably confined within the parameters of religion. At the age of eighteen, she walked away from it all and chose to live a life believing that ,"In order for me to grow up, I have to put God aside."
Though her professional career was very successful as an author of Vampire tales, she was a Christ-haunted person. "I knew that as long as I denied Him, I wouldn’t know rest or peace. You must know that you can’t save yourself through art of music. You can’t do it through travel or wealth. Your attempts to achieve salvation alone ultimately amounts to nothing." She found herself very ready to go back to God.
Anne had to stop. "Writing about vampires were no longer relevant in my life because they were stories about a person in a godless world. They were stories about me." That, however, is no longer the case. Now, I have to write for Him.
Lee Lucas - The fire spread through the air ducts and into my condo.
"I fell asleep on my couch watching the game. Three weeks later, I woke up in a hospital bed." Lee Lucas recounts an experience in his life when he nearly saw death. Surviving a fire that burned over thirty percent of his body was only the beginning. He now had to survive the aftermath and prove that the fire didn’t taint his spirit. "I’ve never been tortured, but torture would be very close to what I went through." Day after day Lee had to regain his strength and instead of giving up, he hoped in something stronger and came out stronger than ever. He chose victory.
Stephen Baldwin - This whole experience became very, very real for me
In an absorbingly witty confession, Stephen Baldwin takes you on a journey from a life centered around money, fame and self absorbance to a place where life centered around him no longer mattered.
His confession orbits around the divine purpose of people who entered his life, the places he went and the things that were said and done even when life seemed meaningless. Hiring a housekeeper to free his time, she instead brought him a message that liberated his life, leaving him on an uncertain road but a sure foundation.
His testimony is a journey of maturing from the burden of people pleasing and self gratification to a life of liberation and humility.
Tony Evans - What people thought about me became irrelevant.
Do you define yourself by the standards of others? It is easy to be put in a category that forces you into a box where the freedom of being yourself is too large to fit. So the question is, do you accept it?
Raised in urban Baltimore, Tony Evans often found himself struggling with the idea that he could only go so far and only do so much because of who people said he was. He could not settle on what people said he had become. So, as he searched for significance he found a new point of reference from which he defined himself. "What others thought and how others felt about me became irrelevant." His journey will open a new door, shining a new light on how special and significant you are, despite what others think.
Karen Green -I turned to the streets to survive
As a little girl, Karen grew up without the close shelter and love from her parents. So, aimlessly, she lived her life searching to find it. The streets became her haven and life took a downward spiral as she began to endure abuse, use drugs and turned to prostitution in order to survive. This life took a toll on her and her young son, leaving them destitute.
"I knew I had to change but I didn’t know how." Still, just one tiny step in a positive direction made a big difference in her life.
Jason Castro - Say that on a stage, in front of millions of people, praise my king?
"There’s always something bigger behind whatever you’re doing." American Idol’s Jason Castro came to a reality of his own that having a relationship with God didn’t mean he had to conform to religious servitude.
Music became a channel of release and in this discovery he found that it had the power to calm, to move or evoke emotions of any kind. He brought his talent to life by recognizing his love for something bigger and his passion to make not only religious music, but good music. A dear hobby and a mission to find the rhyme and reason of life became something much more than he ever imagined. As he memoirs his journey, the medley Somewhere Over the Rainbow comes to mind and he sings the message about dreams. That if you dare to dream, it will come true.
Jack Graham - I gained cleaner purpose for life, after losing my father
As a boy Jack Graham idolized his father. Strong, indestructible, provider and protector – he wanted to be just like him. To Jack, his dad was more than a father, he was friend; a relationship that would last forever. The reality is you never fathom living without the person whose life is so intricately connected to yours. Sometimes a bond can be so thick and transparent, that breaking it seems impossible. But which way do you go when the path gets dark or the road winding? Where a guiding voice once led you left or right is now a heavy silence, with only echoes from the past. How do you keep walking while having to let go at the same time?
These were the many questions racing through Jack’s mind when tragedy struck. Jack’s father was a victim of violence; and his family left without the man, husband, father and friend who kept their foundation solid. Yet God was present in the pain. Dark days became brighter and Jack’s purpose in life became clearer. He became more committed to life than ever before and grew to be the man he always admired in his father.
Chris Plekenpol - In Iraq, I could have saved his life, but I didn’t...
God must have taken a vacation because there’s no way He can be present in a situation like this. That was Chris Plekenpol’s rationale after being deployed to Iraq where no day, hour or minute was certain. He felt emotionally drained, physically exhausted and spiritually doubtful and his story is one that many can relate to, even if you’ve never battled in combat.
As a leader of other men, he not only had to encourage them, he had to encourage himself and in the midst of a chaotic situation he found himself at the maximum of his limits. Has life ever pushed you to the limit? It’s in those times when you feel you’ve taken all you can handle, only to discover you have the strength to make it through.Find out what it took for Chris to realize his real potential and move in a bigger, brighter destiny.
Victoria Childress - Slowly but surely that empty hole started to fill in.
Growing up in a broken home without the love that most people take for granted, Victoria Childress embraced her emotional pain by adding physical pain. Cutting words on her arms in the dark proved a temporary crutch that was leading her down the dangerous path towards suicide. "With seemingly nothing to live for, why live at all?"
The wise counsel of a physician started the healing process for Victoria, eventually leading to true discovery about the reason for living, and the joy and happiness that results. Her story testifies that when someone reaches out with the question, "God, if you are real, can you help me," He will show up!
Shana - Somewhere along the line he stopped liking me
Shana pictured herself meeting the perfect husband and living happily ever after. But somewhere along the journey of her marriage things took a turn and her story didn’t have a fairytale ending.
Everything looked happy on the outside, "but I was dying on the inside." How do you cope with realizing your spouse would rather live without you? How do you deal with such pain? When is enough, enough? For Shana, the lack of love led to a decision. Find how she overcame the painful past and walked into a peaceful future.
Bailee Madison - Acting is a way you can speak words that other people wrote about God.
Bailee Madison may be young, small and still emerging in Hollywood, but she has an insight to life that is heard when she speaks and felt when she smiles far beyond her years, size and stature. The excitement she exudes for her career as a young actress is grounded in the purpose she believes God has for her life. "My mom has always told me when you’re done with that movie, you have to stay humble Bailee," and humbled she is.
On a very adventurous path, acting in movies such as Bridge to Terabithia and five movies to be released in the next year and half, Bailee mingles on the set with stars such as Katie Holmes, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hilary Swank and Minnie Driver. It can be intimidating and difficult for a young actress to keep things in perspective. Yet Bailee knows that she was chosen to do this and realizes the hard work required and challenges to overcome. In these moments, she simply talks to her best friend-God. She prays for understanding.
Out of the mouth of just a child, Bailee confidently assures others that if you have God in your life, if you just look to your Heavenly Father -despite struggles and hard times- He is always watching over you.
Ken Hutcherson - I got a rude awakening about who I was and what my color was all about.
One day, during a time of blatant racism and prejudice in America, a young black boy was hit with the reality of who he was and who he had become… literally. "My life changed that day," says Ken Hutcherson former NFL Linebacker. He grew up believing that "White people cannot be trusted," and this belief became an everyday boyhood battle that grew into war as a man.
Enduring segregation and discrimination, being told he was not good enough, having to sit at the back of the bus and being physically violated reinforced Ken’s point of view. It forced retaliation. It forced hatred. "I was driven by hatred. Driven."
It was not until Hutcherson was hit with another reality that changed everything. He was told who he really was and who he had really become. He was told who "they" really were and that they were not white people alone. He saw that hate was not the way. That’s when he learned to love. And that is the power that changed him. "Love changed me."
Blake Mankin - How can God allow such pain and such hurt and such anguish in these people?
"I asked God, how could He allow such anguish?" Blake Mankin saw the poverty in Africa and wondered "why"? He looked at himself and his peers and their lavish lifestyles and saw an opportunity. What if his high school, surrounded by excessive traditions, could be an instrument of change for the impoverished people of Sudan. His courage and willingness to humble himself led hundreds of kids to helping thousands in Africa.
Sam Bradford - Being on the field is probably one of the toughest things to describe
"The minute you start to think that you’re first and your plans matter more than God`s is the minute your life starts to go the wrong way." Oklahoma University’s starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, gets nervous every time he hits the field, always recanting plans and plays in his head, but never forgetting that he works with a team and that God is always with him.
"The minute you start to think that you`re first and your plans matter more than God`s is the minute your life starts to go the wrong way." Oklahoma University`s starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, gets nervous every time he hits the field, always recanting plans and plays in his head, but never forgetting that he works with a team and that God is always with him.
Colt McCoy - That's what I strive to get across to all my teammates, that God is love.
"For me, I’m successful because I have Jesus Christ living inside of me," says Colt McCoy, starting quarterback for the University of Texas.
College football’s biggest stage provides Colt McCoy with a platform to share his story with others. What is your story? And how is it being told? Join or start an I am Second group to find out.
John Meador - He, instead, found himself suffering inside, trying to understand "why me?"
"I remember praying many times and saying, God, won’t you take this off of me? God never did." It’s easy to think that obstacles should be magically overcome, but what if they’re not? What if what was only supposed to last a day lasted a lifetime and you’re faced with the daunting reality that a God who heals has yet to make it better?
As a young boy, John Meador suffered from an illness that later developed into legal deafness. It wasn’t his loss of hearing that affected him. He, instead, found himself suffering inside, trying to understand "why me?" Later he makes a discovery that changes everything.
Whether you’re battling peer pressure, disappointments from parents, struggling with self esteem or the like – John’s story is about finding the missing piece to his puzzle.
Joe Gibbs - He doesn't want us to live a life, he wants us to live an abundant life.
"My life wasn’t an accident." Some aspects of life are cause and effect; action and consequence. But there are some good things that are waiting to happen in your life by which no preparation, appointments or explanations can justify. Joe Gibbs wasn’t prepared to believe that his life was derived from some scientific explanation. He was prepared, however, to find out the meaning of life by simply ... living it!
He tells a pleasant story, a story that surprises happen and no matter how much you feel unworthy, nothing can stop your destination to greatness. He lived a life where every step he took brought him closer to a destiny fulfilled. That’s the story of grace, that’s the story of God’s love.
Jerry Zucha - She showed me that religion isn’t what He intended, but a relationship is.
Life, for some, can be as simple as existing; achieving the bare minimum of morals, right and wrong, good and bad. It can be as easy as figuring out what you want to do in life, how much money you want to make and how much fun you want to have. So it seems you have all the answers. But what if you don’t have all the answers?
Jerry Zucha has a story of chasing after something – something that made sense in an uncertain life. Dedicating his life to motorcycling and coming to a serious accident, his perspective changed and he asked himself, "Is this what it’s all about?"
So what is life? His journey explores living a life beyond existing. Life is worth living and living with purpose.
Jason Witten - When I met my wife, I knew God had a plan for me.
Facing tough times and obstacles while growing up in a single-parent home enabled Jason Witten to learn to win and not be defeated. For the Cowboys’ tight end, this is as true in life as it is on the field. Even though "I try to use the right judgment and make the right decisions," trials still come. And he emerges stronger. It’s that inner strength that causes him to continue moving with precision and purpose through life.
Greg Ellis - There is a God and he does show up and do miracles
Sometimes life pushes you into a corner where there seems to be no outlets, open doors or helping hands. Greg Ellis, linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, faced those very moments during his life and NFL career. Major injuries jeopardized his future and the doctors and coaches nearly gave up on him for good. Despite their doubt, he continued believing and, "If you follow my story and seen what I’ve gone through, you have to realize that there is a God."
Ellis’ story inspires you to believe, even when you feel alone.
Ashley Rawls - It was more than an eating disorder. I needed security.
Ashley carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. While they watched a beauty queen win pageant after pageant, she began to lose herself. "I didn’t know how to be normal. I didn’t know how to have a normal relationship with food." How do you let go of control without losing control? Who do you talk to when you fear judgment of a huge secret you’ve harbored? Her dilemma was never about image it was about control – the control of having a normal life. Stability. Balance. It was about security and at her lowest point she found just that.
Michelle Aguilar - She used the Biggest Loser to mend the broken pieces
It was Michelle Aguilar`s smile that made life seem all right. However behind that smile were tears; tears of confusion and pain, born from a broken family. Her comfort was in food. Eating became more than a necessity, driven by her pain.
Sometimes it takes the discomfort of facing your past or even staring the problem in its face to find resolve. A chance to appear on the Biggest Loser was the start. When she finally gave up control He was able to take control, heal the pain and mend the broken parts of her life.
Mike Huckabee - When life is good, that’s when I’m most vulnerable.
As the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee didn’t finish that race in first place. Yet he still remains optimistic about his future, remembering his past and that early in his marriage he had to believe when things for his wife’s health didn’t look as promising. Humbled and desperate, he turned to God saying, "Lord, if you are real, you have to do something." Although things didn’t get better instantly, his faith got stronger. Mike learned how to trust in His plans.
We all have this idea of what our path looks like, how this race will end. But what if things fail to turn out the way you hoped? What do you do? Do you give up? Do you throw away everything you believe? What about the One you believe in?
Myrka Dellanos - You never think, ‘I'll get married and then I'll get divorced.
World-renowned journalist and TV personality, Myrka Dellanos, struggled to find true love. She married and divorced, married and divorced, and married again. Each divorce landed her in the public spotlight with her latest marriage problems plastered on magazine covers around the world. The third marriage was meant to be different, to last, to be true love. But it too ended. Domestic violence battered their relationship and tore their marriage apart.
A new search began, a search for a new love. And as she began to rebuild her life, she too found a new love in an unexpected place.
Natalie Sebastian - I was so desperate and thirsty for answers.
"There was a lot of peace missing in my life and I was thirsty for it." Natalie Sebastian journeyed through high school looking for hope. The question was, how much did she want to be happy, content, free? She sensed a significant sense of peace and joy in a classmate and was convinced that she wanted whatever he had. Finding a deeper meaning when it seemed that all else in life had failed, was difficult. It’s hard to have hope in those circumstances, but her liberation awaited.
Priscilla Nicoara - The government told me not to believe...
There was no freedom in her country. There was no peace in her home. Spared being aborted, Priscilla grew up under the oppression of a controlling government and a self-centered mother. There wasn’t an escape, except the love of her father who adored and protected her. Unexpectedly, he died. "I felt betrayed. I felt alone. There was no God." Priscilla lost the only escape she knew; until another man with the same candor, strength and love came into her world and changed her life.
Richard Ellis - You’re gonna have to send someone to help me.
Sometimes it’s not the prescriptions of religiosity that heal. Sometimes it takes something more. Richard Ellis remembers "hurting so badly I just wanted to die." In reality, he didn’t really want to leave this place, he simply needed things to make sense. Surrounded in religion, doubtfully praying and reading the promises of a seemingly ancient book all stopped short of getting through to him. None of it made sense. He packed his bags and took off from that cliché of an existence only to find himself knocking on the door of significance. He discovered "that ancient book" held more than words and there was a God who was more than a mystical figure.
This is a story of a man who discovered that life does make sense, it is significant. What a discovery to make!
Rod Bayron - I remember thinking that I would not be like my dad
"Physical abuse… that’s the way I grew up." Imagine rationalizing something as unexplainable and indecent as physical or even emotional abuse at a young age. Perhaps you don’t have to imagine; perhaps it’s as simple as remembering a moment in your own life. Though Rod Bayron promised himself he’d never be like those who hurt him, he fell into abuse himself.
The valley-low experience led him to seek a different perspective and he found himself on a mountain of change, forgiveness and freedom. Today, he looks at his children and they are at liberty to be just like him – the better him; a transformed father. It took a challenging journey of searching his own inconsistencies and a true commitment to change in order to set himself and his children free from that binding cycle.
The Scruggs - I thought divorce was the answer.
It was love at first sight for Cheryl and Jeff. Young and ambitious, the two fell in love and and got married. They had it all: ocean view home, the right clothes, the best jobs and there was nothing to want for that money could buy. But what about the things money couldn’t buy? Like happiness or love. Cheryl found herself secretly discontent and began to question her love for Jeff. Jeff, on the other hand went on oblivious to the true feelings his wife harbored and slowly, they drifted apart… Cheryl into the arms of another man.
She had an idea of what the perfect life looked like. That’s what she wanted, that’s what she worked for and that’s what she had. "But it was fake." So is divorce, then, the answer or is it just running from the real problem? For Cheryl it was the answer and that answer was to end it all. However just because our plans are to end something doesn’t mean they are God’s. And just because we make mistakes -big or small- doesn’t mean He can’t fix them. In the end, both Cheryl and Jeff had to have faith, pure faith to see things through. See how faithfully God reconciled their seven-year divorce, step by step, back into the marriage He had in mind.