Just got word from GSNTV that casting is underway for season two of the American Bible Challenge. If you, your youth group or someone you know are interested in being on the show head to their official casting page for details on how to try out:

Who:
We want teams made up of three people — Grab your friends, your bible study partners, your family members or your coworkers! Teams of three people who have competitive spirits, great personal testimonies, a general knowledge of pop culture – and, of course, you have to know your Bible! Do you love the Bible, want to share your knowledge, and compete to win money for the charity of their choice?! SIGN UP!

What:
OPEN CASTING CALL: GSN (Game Show Network) and the creators of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” are looking for you! We are casting ”The American Bible Challenge Season 2” with Jeff Foxworthy! We’re looking for teams of three!

If you missed my interview with host Jeff Foxworthy, you can read part 1 and part 2 then head over to the casting page to maybe be a part of a team next season!

JG

Got a chance to interview Jeff Foxworthy, host of GSNTV’s American Bible Challenge! You can read part 1 of the interview right here, here’s part 2! Be sure to tune in Thursday night for the season finale!

Q: Are your kids involved in a youth group?
Jeff:
Yeah, but they’re 18 and 20 now.  My youngest is a senior in high school.  Just won homecoming queen Friday night, but asked me on Saturday, “Hey dad, will you go with me on a mission trip to Kenya.”  She’s been 3 or 4 times.  That’s how they spend their spring breaks, working in a slum in Kenya.  She’s popular and she’s pretty, but she’s been to Africa, Russia and China.  She and her sister have partnered with Compassion International and have helped raise money to help more kids.  They’re living it out.

JG: Love it! Tell me more: how have you gotten your own kids to study the Bible?
Jeff:
Well, my kids went to a Christian school, so my wife and I figured they got most of the formal stuff, there in the classroom.  We kind of wanted to make sure they ‘see’ it in action.

So, when my oldest was 14, there was a group of guys, we all took our oldest kids with us on a mission trip.  So my shy little girl, who wouldn’t spend the night at her grandmothers house a mile away, went with me to Kenya to work with people there. She came back and said, “There ought to be something kids here can do. I know kids don’t have much money.”  So, she did some research online and learned that more kids die there of Malaria than anything else in Africa.  So she found a place where she could buy mosquito nets for ten bucks.

She started baking cupcakes and doing car washes and my shy child starting getting local restaurants to give her a night and she would set up a little table about it.  Then she made a little video and partnered with Compassion International.  By the time she was in 10th and 11th grade, she was flying around and speaking to youth groups about having been there and what she was doing. By the time she was a senior, she was invited to the White House to speak to a conference of kids who are changing the world.  Now she’s a senior in college and helps run the Compassion program at her college campus and has raised over $2M to buy about 200K nets.  I said to her, “That’s 600K kids that probably won’t get Malaria because you took one small step”.  She’s been to Africa 5 times now.  For her, the Bible is alive and in the doing.  That’s probably what she’ll end up doing with her life, working for a non-profit.

Recently, someone was interviewing her and asked, “Is it weird for you to be at the high school lunch room and they’re talking about what pants or sunglasses they’re going to buy, and you’re raising money for these nets”.  She said, not wanting to judge anyone, “Well, that’s not their fault.  I’ve just seen something they haven’t seen.  But because I have seen something, I have to respond”.

Q: You have the attention of thousands of church youth workers right now.. anything you want to share with them?
Jeff:
Well, for years and years, on Tuesday mornings I’ve led a small group at a homeless mission in my city.  (Jeff adds humbly, “not for publicity or anything like that obviously”).  We started out with about 12 guys, and now I have about 20 guys that help and it’s grown to 120 homeless guys.

There is probably a connection between where these guys are at, and young people today.  That message is… Everybody wants to be worth something.  You know, I think that’s the struggle for youth groups and teens.  ”Where do I fit in?”  ”Do I matter?”  ”Am I relevant?”  And GOD answer that he whispers and he showed it right there at the cross is that you’re worth EVERYTHING to me.  EVERYTHING.  Look right there, that’s what your worth to me.

If you could ever get that in the heart of a kid, then I think they would quit worrying so much, that I have to do this to be liked or do this to fit in.  When you start understanding really who GOD is and really how GOD feels about you, and it’s not based on your goodness, that it’s based on HIS goodness.  That’s what makes it a perfect love, because then the things you do, you do in response, not because you “love” so much, but because you’re “loved” so much.

(JG: Hear an incredible Bible story from Jeff and this group of homeless guys, watch this video on GSN’s website)

BONUS QUESTION: My blog is all about youth ministry being “more than dodgeball”. Do you have any horror stories from playing a particular game or funny memory from when you were part of a youth ministry or church?

Jeff: (Laughs…) Well… I grew up Southern Baptist… I don’t know that we had “youth group”.  We had Sunday School, Church, Sunday night service and Wednesday night prayer service.  I liked Wednesday night prayer service the best, cause they had really good hamburgers at my church for the Wednesday night supper.

I’ll tell you this… in terms of “more than dodgeball” and being more than a youth group, I have a story.  I came to my faith when I was 7 years old.  I remember being in church,  they were doing an invitation, and I said “I’m going”.  I remember my mom grabbed me by the shirt and said, “NO, you’re too young, you don’t understand what this is all about”.  And apparently, being Jeff, I argued about it all the way home, to the point that they had the preacher come to our house that Sunday afternoon.  He sat down and talked to me and on the way out told my mom, “He knows what he’s doing” so we went back to church that night so I could go down.  I just did a benefit for YoungLife in Knoxville, TN and that preacher was there and brought the bulletin from that Sunday, 40+ years later.

My struggle was at that youth group age, is that I would look at the church people who were so straight-lined in their dress and the way they acted and I knew I wasn’t wired like that.  I would think you know I love them, but I can’t dress like that and act like that.  It took me a long time in life to feel like I heard GOD whisper, “I know you can’t, I don’t want you to be like that.  I knitted you together, I know you’re not a straight-lined guy.  You stay with me and we’ll go places that are perfect for the way you’re wired”.

So, I don’t speak in a lot of churches, but I love to speak at things like Wild Game dinners.  I bow-hunt, fish, I love the outdoors.  I’ll speak at one of these dinners where there are 3 or 4 thousand show up.  Half of them wouldn’t go to church if you paid them. But I can do comedy for half an hour and make them laugh and roll that over into a story of sitting in the woods and watch the sun rise and come to life, you have to say to yourself, this is no accident.  There are too many things interacting with each other, this had to have been created on purpose.  And if that’s created on purpose, then you’re created on purpose by a Creator and here’s his purpose.  Time after time, guys will come up to me and say “I’ve never heard it like that before, as a love story.  It’s always been you better quit smoking, you better quit drinking, you better quit…”

And with that … we had to quit, too! Don’t forget to watch the American Bible Challenge season finale tomorrow (Thursday night) on the Game Show Network!

JG



So, over the years, I’ve had  several “guest” posts about the importance of teaching teenagers the Bible:

Well, recently I had a chance to fire a few questions at another special guest: comedian Jeff Foxworthy, host of Game Show Network’s new TV show, The American Bible Challenge:

JG: Why did you say yes to hosting a “game show” about the Bible?
Jeff:
When I first got asked to do the show, I didn’t just jump at it, I thought, “man, I don’t ever want to do something that exploits faith”.  The thing that sold me on it, that’s unlike any game show you’ve seen, is that no one is playing for themselves.  They’re giving every dime of it away to love on someone else. When you read the Bible, the only people Jesus got sideways with were the Pharisees.  Not the tax collectors, or the sinners.  It’s because they had head knowledge, but no heart knowledge.  On this show you need to have the head knowledge to answer the questions, but it’s obvious these people have heart knowledge because they’re out there doing these things in their community whether we’re doing a show or not.  They’re running food pantries or fighting human trafficking or different diseases, or whatever.  I felt like that would be an appeal to someone who is outside of having faith.  I wouldn’t have said yes if it wasn’t like that.

JG: What is your goal with the show?
Jeff:
I think mainly, it would be make the message of God appealing to someone who doesn’t know it.  That’s was real important to me.  Those people are going to ask themselves, “What would make somebody spend their free time collecting food for somebody?”

Q: What has surprised you the most about contestants on the show?
Jeff:
You know, one would think the people who would do the best are the preachers or the youth ministers, or  whatever, but I think the most shocking thing is that these are everyday people.  They don’t have a background in theology.  But obviously this book has sung to them so well, it’s their life, it’s in the core of the life.  That was the cool thing, to see moms, and grandpas and teenagers who aren’t even “in ministry” that know the Bible inside and out.

Q: I know that the Bible is a key part of your faith and life … what’s your favorite verse, passage, or story?
Jeff:  
I should probably be concerned about this, because I’ve never heard anyone else say it’s their favorite verse… (laughs), but mine is Galatians 1:10…”Am I now seeking the approval of man or of GOD?  Or am I trying to please people.  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” It’s my life.  In the business of comedy, you depend on people’s approval in order to make a living.  I don’t want to get caught up in that.  I’ll give you an example.  In my career, I’ve probably turned down 6 or 7 movies because they were going to be a couple of months out of the summer and I’d look at my kids and think, I’ve only got 4 more summers with them, I’m not giving one away.

I love what I do. I love being a comedian.  Almost 30 years and I still think, “I can’t believe I got away with this”.  It’s what I do… but it’s not who I am.  It’s NOT where my identity is.  If it went away tomorrow that’s OK. The truth of the matter is, we’re never going to please everybody.  I can do a comedy record that is the best-selling record in 30 years and someone is going to say, “I didn’t like that joke,” and I say “well, I really wasn’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings”.

I do believe if I live my life in a way that’s pleasing to GOD, I mean really, how can someone else get upset with that?  Pleasing GOD means I’m probably going to be a really good husband, and a really good dad, and a really good citizen in my community.

I think one of the biggest traps people fall into, is that we get so scared that we’re going to do or say something that’s not 100% right, and we lose our Joy.  I don’t think GOD created us to be like that.  If he breathes his attributes into us, one of those is joy.  Let’s make the show fun and relevant.  It’s called the Good News.  Good news should make you smile.

To support Jeff and this incredible show featuring the Bible and Christians in such a favorable way, please encourage your church families and students to to tune-in this Thursday Night and watch “The American Bible Challenge” Season Finale.  Go to the Game Show Network’s website GSNTV.com, click “Channel Finder” for local station listings.  Feel free to re-post this interview, share it, etc.

Look for part 2 of the interview with Jeff Foxworthy tomorrow morning!

JG