For the One.

“As a prisoner”…I find myself intrigued, convicted, humbled, and moved by this phrase.

Paul, in many of the letters he wrote that can be found in the Bible, started with this phrase in some variation. Last night as I read through the letter [book] of Ephesians, my heart was so deeply moved. He was a prisoner. He was a religious prisoner because of his belief in who Jesus really was: not a story, not a man, but a savior that changes everything.

Paul’s life was completely changed in one encounter with Jesus- the resurrected Jesus- on the road to Damascus. At the time, he was called Saul, he was a Pharisee [Jewish leader], part of the Sanhedrin [Jewish elite], and on his way to imprison and even kill Christians, people that were of both Jewish and Gentile backgrounds, that decided that they believed in the man Jesus, as their savior. His life was changed when he met Jesus and he was the never same. Never.

In his letter to the church found in Ephesus, he urged for the unity of their church. He urged them to keep in focus what was truly important. Not legalism. Not opinion. Not self. But Jesus and how he had changed their lives, individually and collectively. He first reminded them they were redeemed. If they followed and believed in Jesus they were redeemed, forgiven, and new. They were made alive-new- in Jesus. It was for that reason that he challenged their church to be bold and embrace a deeper love for Jesus, one that could not have been questioned or doubted. It could not and would not be something that only ended with loving Jesus; actions had to follow.

This was the challenge.

“I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the called to which you have been called, will all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us….put on a new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness…walk in love….for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light…we are members of His body.” [sections of the book of Ephesians]

Paul completely understood the challenge of turning one’s life around. He understood the sacrifice, the difficulty, the cost, and also the joy. He understood that Jesus was worth it. But he also understood that with loving Jesus, his life could no longer look like it did before he had met Jesus- before he committed his life to Him. He knew the church in Ephesus, among the others he wrote to, struggled with this for one simple fact: we are human and completely fallible.

But it is in our humanity that we have a choice. If we have been given the option of something better and greater, why would we miss out on that? Why would we choose anything but that which is better and greater? I continue the challenge that Paul set forth 2,000 years ago, one that I know full well that I need to work on personally. I need to live my life in such a way that it shows the love that Jesus has for me, a love that has changed me, and a love that has freed me. I need to be humble, admit my own wrongdoings, be patient and gentle, especially with those that lack a love of Jesus. I need to work on keeping unity with other believers in Jesus, but also show deep, sincere love for those outside the faith, not because of trying to convert anyone, but because I want the love of Jesus to overflow, so that others, if they choose, might choose His love. Everything I do is for Him because He gave everything for me. He is why I am different. He is why I am no longer bound to my own shame, guilt, fears, sin, and selfishness. He is the very One who forgives me when I mess up, despite trying to love him. I was once living in darkness. My darkness looks different than yours. But I can guarantee, we all have darkness…and we are all offered a chance to be removed from that darkness and brought to life into the Light. Paul understood the concept of darkness to light. Persecutor, possible murderer, a man full of hatred, full redeemed and forgiven brought to restoration through Jesus Christ. He is the One. He is the Only One.

He is Jesus.

True and Better

[copyright for video and script in link]

The Bible is not a a series of a disconnected stories.

It is a single narrative in which every story, every character points beyond itself to one who is greater.

The story of Adam and Eve is not just about the first man and woman…. there is a true and better Adam who passed the test in the Garden and who obedience is ascribed to us.

There is a true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for our acquittal.

There is a true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void to create a new people of God.

There is a true and better Isaac, the son of laughter, of grace, who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us all.

There is a true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace that wake us up and discipline us.

There is a true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

There is a true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

There is a true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.

There is a true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his foolish friends.

There is a true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

There is a true and better Esther who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

There is a true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

There is a true and better Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, and the true bread.

The Bible is not a series of disconnected stories.

It is a single narrative that points to one person…

Jesus.

Beheadings and persecution…

My heart is broken.

The evil in this world is sometimes far too great to bear. The pain, the suffering, the tribulation…just evil.

If you are keeping up with the news, than you will know how much evil is in this world. Specifically, in the Middle East, the evil seems to be rising making the news around the world. So far two American journalists have been beheaded, with videos having gone viral, with messages directed to President Obama. So far thousands of Christians all over Iraq, not counting other areas of the Middle East, are fleeing for their lives however, with imminent threat of death. I watched the news, hearing how various countries and organizations are wanting to help but unable without risk. Still others are pulling out their organizations and their citizens to save their lives. Still others, argue that no one should get involved at all. On social media and in the news, I have seen many people write or post about ISIS and how we [America] need to go in and kill them all. Genocide is never an easy fix or solution. Genocide never is met with peace without sacrifice. And genocide always leaves a wake of destruction for all parties.

This is why my heart breaks.

My heart breaks because my fellow Christians- brothers and sisters of the faith- are being murdered, beaten, tortured, raped and/or imprisoned [like Pastor Saeed in Iran]. My heart breaks because, for people in the Middle East to convert to Christianity, it means that they have counted the cost of faith and serving Jesus Christ. It means that they understand that, if they truly love Jesus, it may very well cost them their life. Alongside the Christians being persecuted, there are still Muslims in the Middle East that have nothing to do with the terrorism, genocide, or hatred, yet fall as bystanders in a cruel and evil fight. These Muslims are the ones that get the bad rep for their faith- though I don’t believe the same faith as them- they are people nonetheless and deserve the right to life. Even still, there are people from countries all over the world that are remaining in the lands of this evil because they are trying to help those caught in the destruction.

There is no peace in the Middle East. How can there be with this evil?

But I know a Peace that can bring healing, hope, restoration, and redemption. The problem is that we limit the reach of this Peace- the peace that comes through Jesus Christ. We, as American Christians, want to pray for the persecuted Church for safety, for protection, for a way out of the madness. We want to pray for them to overcome the physical, tangible hell they are in. We want to have punishment placed on the evil men and women bringing these atrocities. We want to have a perfect outcome in a completely imperfect and broken world.

For you reading this, especially if you claim to have faith and love in Jesus Christ, this is my plea to you: stop treating the evils in the Middle East and pretty much every other part of the world as something we can fix and mend. Only Jesus Christ can restore. I do not belittle the problems in this world by asking you not pray for them. I do ask that your prayers are bold prayers that rely on the power of Jesus Christ, not on our own ability. I ask that you stop praying for protection [only] for the persecuted Church, and instead, pray for their continued devotion and steadfast faith that will remain unshaken regardless of the trials they face. Like the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego before the fiery furnace- God can free them from it BUT even if he does not, they can remain faithful to Him to the end. Our God is more than able to deliver us from evil, no matter what that evil looks like. But I also believe, that even if we do not understand why, he can help us through whatever it is that we face.

For you reading this, regardless of your beliefs, do not watch any videos these terrorists post. It only fuels their fear and fire. They want attention. Instead, be aware of what they are doing without continuing to watch the final gruesome moments of someone’s life. Give them- the murdered- respect, please.

And for you Church, I plead with you for this: pray for the members of ISIS, as well as other terror groups. Not for their success. Not for their continued evil. Not for their destruction either. Pray for God to show up in their lives. God can meet ANYONE where they are at, and no one is too far outside of God’s grace and mercy. We all want grace and mercy…until its for the terrorist or murdered or rapist or molestor. Church, pray for the salvation of those that you find to be most evil. Pray for the salvation of these men and women committing these crimes. What if we prayed for them and actually believed that their lives, like the Apostle Paul, could be changed? I’m not saying consequences for their actions shouldn’t come into play, but I have to believe that if Jesus died for the salvation of the world, that includes those that are evil. He desires for the wicked to be saved, not to perish [Ezekiel 33:11]. I am not one to say whether or not any of those members would actually change their lives, but I can at least pray for God to speak to them- to give them the chance at redemption.

That goes for anyone.

No matter who you are, whether you are a person of any faith, my faith, or no faith, I believe Jesus Christ loves you and he died so you could have restoration and redemption. He died so you could have the choice to love him or not. His resurrection offers us a hope and eternity with Him. When I see the evil throughout this world, I break because I see the brokenness that comes when this world lacks Jesus. I see the destruction that is led by selfishness, greed, and hate. I see that for many Christians in this world, to be a Christian, is more than a name or a religion but a literal death sentence for choosing Jesus. I see that we are fortunate in America, for now, to not have the same kind of evil. But I challenge you, don’t take it for granted. If you choose to follow Jesus, make it real, make it known, make it count. Be steadfast and unwavering. Don’t sit on the fence between partial care and obedience. If you are not someone who follows Jesus, or maybe doesn’t even want to because of some of things I wrote in this post… this world will continue to have evil present. It will continue to have destruction. You can choose to go through life with or without a true hope, which I believe, only comes through Jesus Christ.

This world is evil. I choose Jesus either way.

 

I have nothing.

MJ:

Almost a year ago, 8/26/13, I wrote this blog. In almost every way, my transition last year mirrors my transition this year, including and especially my job.

Originally posted on beyond the mundane:

I am very quickly learning faith. Not just a faith that says “yes, I believe in God” or “things will work out”. I am learning faith in its raw form. Its the kind of faith that desperately says to God, “I have nothing left. You have to do something.” 

That is where I am at right now. I made the decision a few weeks ago to follow through with officially resigning from my position at my church as youth pastor. For the past several months, I have known that God has been making it clear for me to leave, but I’ve been waiting on the timing. Part of the timing now was because I had applied to some different jobs a few weeks ago, all of which I was qualified for and even thought there was a great chance for me to get hired. The transition, if hired, would be…

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Sacred Romance After Tragic Betrayal. [an old post]

Love of newly weds cannot be expressed in just simple words. It’s something that is defined by passionate actions and the embracing of your beloved. The tender kiss says it all. But what happens when your beloved has the affection of another? What happens when that love is stolen from you? The one you gave your heart to gives their heart to another. Yet it is not only their heart that they give, but their body. In the bonds of marriage you became one, and yet only you remain faithful. Your beloved desired more affection, and more love. Prostituting their self, day after day they are found in the arms of someone else. And you do nothing except take them back.

This is the tragic love story of Hosea, the prophet who married a prostitute. Each night he sat waiting for Gomer, his wife, to return after just giving herself away to another man. And each night he fell in love with her more. With each moment he was separated from her, he desired her all the more. He desired to kiss her and hold her, even though she ran to the arms of other men. She reached a point of such betrayal against her covenant with Hosea, that she sold herself into sexual slavery . However, Hosea, so desperately in love with her, bought her back and took her again into his arms. With each act of prostitution, Hosea felt he could not resist his love for her. This is the tragic romance of Hosea.Though Hosea was in the middle of his own case of tragic love, there is a greater tragedy.

The same concept remains: a great love betrayed.

God, our creator, desires to be our Beloved. He wants our whole heart. This love He has for us is intoxicating and beautiful, just like that of any newly weds. It has passion. Yet we betray this passion. We were created by God to be only His, but we prostitute ourselves to other passions. We may not physically prostitute our bodies like that of Gomer, Hosea’s wife, however, we withhold the entirety of ourselves from God. We ignore His love and passion. Negating His love, we deny it by going to other sources, other lovers. We all want fulfillment, something to satisfy our desires of love and affection. In spite of this, we completely turn our backs on the one true source of happiness and joy. No passion is ever greater than the passion of God. God created us, therefore, we are His first love and He is ours. He realized long ago that we betrayed His love. But He has never betrayed His love for us. He even bought us back through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus was the price. He yearns for us to return. He painfully watches us as we prostitute our lives with some other fulfillment like money, an addiction, a relationship, or a talent. What He offers to us is His sacred romance. Even night after night of us ignoring Him, He will take us back into His arms. Nothing can satisfy our desires like that of God’s love.

This acknowledgment of God’s passionate, sacred romance breaks my heart because I realize that each day and each night, I potentially betray the love of my beloved-God. I resort to some meaningless answers that continually leave me yearning for more. It may bring immediate gratification, yet, I remain craving for more.  Nothing has ever satiated my longing for more…except for my relationship with God.  Each time I go to a supplemental fulfillment, I recognize that my God is waiting for me, broken by my tragic betrayal, yet He is ready to take me back. I can’t begin to comprehend why He would want me back after such acts of adulterous, disloyal betrayal. Yet No matter how much you have prostituted your life, your love, He yearns for you!!! His passion never fails. His love never fails. He offers to me-to everyone- His sacred romance even after tragic betrayal.

 

**this is a great song showing the heart of God and His love–He is ruined without our love…**
["One Love" by Yvonne Parks]

How long I have waited for you,
for you have stolen my heart

Now I am ruined for anything less
I could live forever in your arms
My heart belongs to only one love
My beloved, My beloved, My beloved
I am yours and you are mine

Why so many weddings….

As many of you might have seen on either Facebook or Instagram, or even on here….weddings have become a huge part of my life, especially in recent years. In fact, in the past five years, I have been to 24 weddings and almost 30 overall. That’s not an exaggeration. I was curious one day and decided to write the weddings I have been to since 2009. Among friends and now even my parents, I have been compared to Katherine Heigl in the movie 27 Dresses. In case you are unfamiliar, her character is one that loves her friends dearly and is the seemingly eternal bridesmaid. Though somedays I do feel like the eternal bridesmaid or guest of weddings, I wonder when my day will come and when I’ll be able to have my day

Then I remember…its not really my day in the first place. 

The wedding (and marriage) is part of a bigger story, one that shows Jesus’ love to the world. 

My reason is pretty simple as to why I have traveled to weddings thousands of miles away and why I go to so many weddings every year. Yes, its a celebration of a couple that loves one another. Yes, its, for many, a religious symbol of their marriage. And yes, it may be for some, a way to get the legal rights of a spouse. But let me be clear about something: marriage is sacred. Marriage is a beautiful example of a love worth sacrificing for and one that represents and reflects the love of God. It is for that reason, that I have gone to so many weddings. 

There is something absolutely beautiful about seeing a man and woman stand together vowing to love one another in spite of [fill in the blank]. There is something even more beautiful when that couple has a Gospel-centered marriage that reflects the enduring love of Jesus Christ. When that couple vows before one another and God, in purity and in honor, my heart is overwhelmed again and again.

I had the privilege of being a bridesmaid for a dear friend of mine as she married her Beloved, another friend of mine, each I have known for years. The two of them had their awkward youth years, college years, and the years post-college trying to figure out God’s plan for their lives, including the question of marriage. During that time, despite personal struggles, other relationships, and at times frustration with their lives, they pursued purity, honor, integrity, and a life centered on the redemptive and beautiful love of Jesus. It was in that love, that their marriage was possible. It was in their love and foundation of Jesus Christ, that they shared their vows on Saturday. 

Knowing that I can go to a wedding and see the covenantal love vowed at an altar and seeing friends embark on the journey and adventure of a Gospel-centered marriage, gives me such joy and excitement. Not every wedding I have been to has had this foundation. My heart is saddened when I know not everyone has Jesus at the center of their marriage. However, when people ask me why I invest the time and money into all of these weddings, I cannot deny the fact that I genuinely love them and love being able to witness such love be celebrated. It gives me excitement for the day when I can say “I Do” to some man; a man who loves Jesus more than he could ever love me, yet because of his love for Jesus, his love for me pours over. 

I challenge you, whoever you are, that if you go to a wedding, or maybe you’re getting married, to not take it lightly. Not just the wedding, but the marriage. Please consider the significance of your decision. Those vows, the symbolism of the commitment, the sanctity of that which is before you…

Like I said, I intentionally make an effort to go weddings because I believe in what is being represented: the unconditional, steadfast, enduring love of Jesus Christ for the world represented in a commitment between a man and a woman. 

Learning through busyness…

If I have learned anything this past year…I have been way too busy.

Let’s rewind.

A year ago, this month, I resigned from my church position at my former church where my parents pastor. A year ago I felt lost looking for what I was made to do. A year ago I was desperate, had a bad attitude, disappointed, frustrated, and an array of other emotions.
A year ago, I was humbled.

You see, when September of last year rolled around, I was without a home church, without a career, I was only a barista, struggling to pay rent and barely able to pay bills. I had no direction. I had no idea what the next few months, or even year would look like. Part of the purpose of me resigning from a secure job was that I was certain I was about to hired at a job in FL, where they ended up hiring within the department, thus not hiring me. Before finding out that I did not get the job officially, I had already put in my resignation at my church. So two weeks after my resignation was in effect, I found out that the University went another direction. I was frustrated, saddened, and honestly mad. I couldn’t understand why God led me to resign from my position and not give me the job I wanted.

Yeah, because we always know best, right?

One of the most humbling experiences for me took place over the course of the 3 months to follow my resignation. I had to move out of my apartment which I loved. I had to move back in with my parents after having lived on my own for a few years. I was applying to jobs seemingly every free moment I had with hopes of, at least, an interview. Nothing. Nada. Zip. By the time December came, I had received nearly 100 job rejection letters, emails, or calls, not counting all the jobs I didn’t hear back from. To make it worse, I got into my first car accident [as the driver] when a 90 year old lady drove into me causing nearly $800 of damage. The crazy thing about the accident is that it happened on my way home from the church I was attending, only an hour or so after I had been convicted about my lack of faith in God’s direction for my life. I admit, my faith was still present, but most certainly was struggling. I finally decided, through conviction of my attitude and faith, that I was not trusting God and I desperately needed to let Him make things happen. That has become my anthem these past 8 or 9 months:

let him make things happen….

Within two weeks of my accident, a friend called me with an offer to work at his church during the transition of leadership. I knew God opened a door, despite my not necessarily wanting to walk through it. But I did anyway, and I have yet to regret that decision. During this whole year thus far, I have helped lead The Warehouse, a place for teens to come out, have community, have tons of fun, while learning about Jesus. Who knew that a prayer prayed long ago (that story is for another time) could be answered in a simple yes to fill in a role at a church. I have preached in services, done Sunday school, helped with events, connected with 50+ students and been able to learn from a youth leadership team unlike any I have ever seen. I have learned, not mastered, working with special needs students and with that my patience has grown exponentially. Aside from living almost an hour away from this church, I love it. The drives to and from church have become, most of the time, a time for prayer and thinking. But with the church and the busyness it added to my already busy schedule, has been a part of something to learn from about myself.
I like being busy. I know myself…If I have nothing to do, I’ll do nothing. So when I could work 40 hours a week as a barista and 20+ hours at the church not to mention side work with non-profit or other ministry commitments, my schedule has been packed. I have lacked a social life. I have (for a long time) lack a dating life. My sleep schedule is so completely thrown off. My workout schedule has become something that has dropped severely on my priority list. I can feel in my body the exhaustion of my life this past year. I can feel it physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. About a month and a half ago, I was told something by a guest pastor that has changed my thinking….I realized something that kind of broke my heart a little. I had become too busy for God and what he was wanting to do. I had allowed the blessing of working at this church become my focus, and not thinking that this church was one facet of my story. One chapter had become the whole. I was told by this pastor “Don’t be too busy that you miss what God is already doing” (paired with specifics on what’s been going on in my life). That felt like a knife to my heart because I knew it was true. I knew he spoke truth, despite not knowing me at all or understanding my situation. But he was completely right. Somewhere along the path this past 8 months, I had allowed my schedule and jobs to dictate my calling and direction for my life, rather than allowing my relationship with God and prayer life dictate and direct my life. I was missing something. I very easily could have missed what God was doing.

So here I am, almost one year from my resigning from my former church, about to embark on the next step of transition: back to square one. This time, my attitude is better. This time, I know that anything that happens, God gets the credit, not me. This time, I know to be true that God has not forgotten my desires or passions nor my talents. I am learning to take a step back and allow myself to rest. I am learning to not be so consumed with a busy schedule that I’m lacking in spending some time in peace and quiet reading the Bible, learning God’s heart for things, praying, and journaling. Heck, I have even written a blog in 3 months (that’d probably explain the length of this blog).

Though this past year has taught me so much, I know that it is not in vain. I can’t change my apathy or laziness physically or spiritually the past few months, but I can change everything now. Yes, I love the church I’ve been at and I genuinely love working at Starbucks. I love the non-profits I’m a part of and I love my young adult group. But there has to be balance, otherwise you’re just filling your life with chaos and noise and appointments, disguising the voice of God in the midst. My challenge to you, as speaking from someone who has been painfully humbled through this year, don’t get yourself so busy that you’re forgetting and missing out on what God is doing. Its not even about what He will do, but what is also doing currently. Don’t let your job, ministry, other commitments, even your family, hinder your time with God. Don’t let anything mess that up, because if you distract yourself from your relationship with God, everything else can and will be affected. Allow for time within your busyness to spend adequate time in prayer and reading the Bible, and listening for what God might be teaching or showing you now. Sometimes, we just need some silence. Sometimes we just need some peace. Sometimes, we just need to, in the midst of chaos, find the one constant that is always and will always be present.

I don’t know what the next part of my story holds, but I know one thing for certain: I want God to make it happen and bring me along.

Bless the LORD oh my soul

MJ:

Needed to be reminded of this… as my family faces struggle and new experiences, both painful and birthing faith, I know this: God is worth my worship. He will get us through.

Originally posted on beyond the mundane:

I cannot even begin to express how much this song has become my anthem. If you haven’t heard it take a moment and listen to the link I posted. Its a cover of my friend singing 10,000 Reasons…

I feel as though I am in a place where my faith is surely being stretched and, many times, my flesh wanting to quit. This has become an often reoccurring feeling. To just be done… with all of it. I know in the grand scheme of things looking at the problems other people have, I still have it pretty good- but that does not negate the difficulty I am facing. For the past two months specifically I cannot even begin to tell you how badly my finances have become because of mis-charges on my account, extra charging of my account, increase of ALL of my loan payments, etc. Yeah not huge…

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Where heroes lay…

MJ:

Thoughts after Memorial Day… this post from a few years ago says everything I need to say. Thank you to all who serve and have served.

Originally posted on beyond the mundane:

Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery

I cannot help but be grateful. Grateful is not even a word that brings justice to how I feel. As I walked through Arlington National Cemetery, I had one of the most sobering experiences of my life. Grave after grave, tombstone after tombstone, I walked silently crying. These were not simple decorations or even just memorials. Memorials used to mean something- something significant happened or someone did something extraordinary. They are not landmarks. They are symbols, jewels of history. Walking the mile, so it seemed, to my friend’s gravesite, I had this sense of respect, honor, and legacy that I have never felt before. Those men and women buried there were not mere men or women. They were not ordinary. They lived and died in purpose, with a cause birthed in their hearts. America. Family. Friends. Brotherhood. Freedoom. Whatever their reason, it was enough for them to lay…

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Pastors…something to think about

Below is a quote from a webinar I listened to earlier in the week. This specific segment hit me hard. Pastors, we always have to remember the whole point of what we are doing. If we lose focus, maybe we should get out of ministry.

 

“You’re trying to be cool? Your’e trying to be a celebrity? Let me get this straight. The mind you have belongs to Jesus. The gospel you preach belongs to Jesus. The people you serve belogs to Jesus. And you have the audacity to use and pimp and prositute them for your successes and book advances? Anathema that is a spiritual crime. Are you kidding me? Jesus said the greatest among you is a servant. And he put a towel around his waist and he washed the feet of his disciples who would abandon him in just a few you hours. Are you kidding me? You don’t have time to interact with people? Being a shepherd and pastor means you smell like sheep . They actually know you and you know them. I do not understand it. It is an absolute joke. I think there are a lot of people who would be picked last on a sports team. And now they see they have a gift and its like ‘its my time to shine’….No its only one person’s time to shine and that’s Jesus.” – Derwin Gray