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700 Club

Influencer Courageously Confronts Sin

HER OWN STRUGGLE 

Childhood included some tough times for Kirby. Her father battled alcoholism, which led to marital conflict and her parents’ divorce when she was eight. Two years later, her beloved dad suffered a heart attack and died. Young Kirby believed she somehow could have done something to prevent it and struggled with depression for years. At the same time, another battle was brewing. Kirby was just four when she walked in on someone watching pornography. A few years later, she found a hidden stash of porn in someone’s home, and in a few more years, friends at a sleepover showed her porn on the computer. They also showed her how to find it herself and clear the search history to keep from being discovered.  

Between natural curiosity, and sexual desire awakened far too soon, Kirby says it all resulted in an addiction that would last for years. From ages twelve to fourteen, her depression grew to the point that Kirby hated herself and thought about ways to end her life. A lifeline came the summer before she started high school, when Kirby attended a summer camp, heard the gospel, and genuinely, fully gave her heart to Christ. Still, she found herself unable to overcome temptation. “I believed that if anyone knew I was secretly struggling with a porn addiction and lustful thoughts, it would not only be ruining my witness, but disqualify me from God’s love and presence. I thought that once I was saved, that temptation, desire, and struggle would fade away in Jesus’ name. But it did not. It stayed. It grew. You know what else grew? The shame, self-hatred, and self-condemnation, along with anxiety that if anyone discovered my ‘dirty little sin,’ everyone would judge me for my struggle.”  

THE FIRST STEP 

The beginning of Kirby’s freedom from porn addiction came in the first few months of her freshman year at Dallas Baptist University. She had joined a Christian sorority, and a group of sixty girls went on a camping trip. After lots of fun and getting to know each other, the president had them take part in a revealing exercise. She gave them all a sheet of paper with a long list of often-hidden struggles, and a true/false after each, e.g. I struggle with an eating disorder, I am ashamed of my past and cannot forgive myself, I can’t stop self-harming, I struggle with watching pornography, and many more. The girls were asked to circle what was true of them, crumple the papers, and all at once throw them far across the group. Then the leader read each confession out loud, asking the girls to stand for the girl whose paper they now held. The confessions remained anonymous, but everyone was able to see that she was far from alone in her struggles. When it came to pornography, Kirby was stunned to see half the girls stand. “I am so grateful to say that was the beginning of my journey to freedom,” Kirby says. “So much relief comes when we release what we’ve kept hidden.”   

BECOMING FREE

Kirby has a thorough understanding of temptation and failure, and offers many tools to overcome the vicious cycle, from setting boundaries to immersing ourselves in God’s Word. She emphasizes that no strategy will work unless one is relying on God’s enabling grace. One tool she advocates is learning to expose the devil and his real motives. Our Enemy is real, diabolical, and bent on our destruction, Kirby warns. “If we believe he is evil and his schemes aren’t good for us, we need to drill into our minds that the choices he presents shouldn’t be reasoned with or rationalized. Reading the Bible is not a to-do task that makes God love you more; it serves up transformational truth that brings us closer to Christ, empowers us daily, and gives us eyes to distinguish the things of God from those of the Enemy.” 

Another strategy Kirby says will set us free is to recognize lies we believe about God, whether from the world, the devil, or our own wrong thinking. Some of the common lies she explores, and the truths which dispel them are:

·   God will abandon you. The truth: God will never abandon you when you sin. “He will pursue you, meet you where you are, and cleanse you from your sin and shame, clothing you in His grace. He will draw near even if you have hidden yourself away.” 1 John 1:8-9
·    God is angry with you and disappointed in you. The truth: God has compassion for us in our struggles and weaknesses. “(He is) assuring you of your identity in Him when you feel as though you least deserve it. That is the free gift of our salvation and justification – to forever belong to a good, gracious, understanding, forgiving God.”  Romans 8:1
·    God doesn’t love you (anymore). The truth: “God loves me. He showed His greatest display of that unconditional love on the cross through Jesus’ sacrifice. He so loves me and so loved the world that He withheld nothing to save and sustain us. His love covered my sins and still does.” John 3:16
      
“JUST DO BETTER” DOESN’T WORK

In her own struggle with addiction, Kirby found what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:15 describes her experience exactly. Though she truly wanted to do what was right, she found herself time and again doing what she knew was not. Between a good counselor and her own research, she came to understand enough about the neurobiology of habit formation to explain why trying harder to change never worked. The counselor compared habits, good or bad, to walking through a wheat field on the exact same path until those stalks are trampled and a path appears. In the brain, thinking the same thoughts forms a neural pathway. “The frequency and speed take us from occasional actions to automatic compulsions,” Kirby says. “Habits are not just what we do repetitively but they are resistant and reluctant to change, even though deep down in our hearts, we want to stop.” While we can’t undo neural pathways, Kirby says new ones can be formed. “You can choose His new path for your life and walk it out. You can formulate new habits and cultivate new desires.”  

Her favorite Bible verse along these lines is Romans 12:2: Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. “This daily process counteracts the habits and sin cycles you’ve typically operated in, and it centers on the truth of God’s Word. When we fill our minds with truth about our sin, real life, God’s character, the Enemy’s nature, and who we’re called and created to be, that renewed mind leads to a renewed heart, then renewed conduct, and from there a renewed life,” Kirby encourages. “He still speaks to us today through His Word, and that renews us from the clutter and chatter of wickedness, lies, and sin that try to conform our mind into a counterfeit way of living.”

To purchase your copy of Kirby Kelly's book, "You Can Be Free," please click the link: You Can Be Free. Discover more about Kirby Kelly as a content creator and influencer at her website: www.kirby-kelly.com.
      
     
      
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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700 Club

Baseball Player Risks Career Playing on Injured Hip

At 27 years old, Derrick Pyles was living his childhood dream. “I started playing when I was about six years old,” he told us. “I just always knew when I was a little boy, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. It’s something I feel like I was born to do—a God-given calling.”

Derrick was in his 7th season with a Triple A Club when his right hip started giving him trouble. “I think the constant wear and tear, it just started getting worse and worse for about eight months,” he said.

As an outfielder and designated hitter, Derrick relied on his speed and strength but the pain in his hip was slowing him down. Still, he continued to play and never told anyone about the injury.

“Players are a dime a dozen,” he said. “If they hear that you’re injured, it could cost you your job real quick. But I know that it was a constant nagging in the back of my mind knowing that this was bad, knowing that I really hadn’t told the coaches, knowing that I wasn’t at my very best. It was just really frustrating.”

One night, while on the road with the team, Derrick went to his hotel room after toughing out another game. But this time he knew he couldn’t play through the pain much longer and feared this could be the end of his season and possibly his career.  

“At that point in time I was desperate and I was like, ‘Lord, if you don’t do something, I’m going to be going home for the summer.’ It was time for him to either do something or I was going to be in really big trouble,” Derrick told us.

“I flipped on the TV, and I’ve seen the 700 Club before and it’s just there and it just seemed like the perfect timing, you know?”

As he watched, Gordon and Terry started praying, “Someone else with problems in your right hip,” said Gordon through the TV, “There’s grinding in the joint. God’s going to just give you back that hip joint, no pain, no discomfort in anything that you do. Just receive it now in Jesus’ name.”

“I just really felt his power begin to move on that part of my body,” said Derrick. “That’s when I knew that this was a true word from the Lord and it was for me,” he said with a smile. “My pain level the following day was pretty much nothing. Within about a day-and-a-half it was completely better. I didn’t feel the popping out of place or the grinding or anything like that.”

Derrick played his next game and the rest of the season, pain free. “The fact that I was able to finish the season was a big deal and it wasn’t just for me. I really want to go out every year and really do well and see better for my family each year too."

After several more successful seasons, Derrick retired from playing baseball and went on to become a team manager. He uses every opportunity to witness to his players and fans about God's power to heal.

"We can pray big and pray small. You know, and really believe God for small things and pray for big things, and pray for miracles,” he said to us. “As long as our heart’s right to really honor the Lord with it and really give Him all the glory, that God will do great things with our lives.”

 

 

 

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700 Club

 Unsafe!

Chiapas, Mexico

Elena was expecting her second child. She lives with her husband and 5-year-old son in a rural community in Mexico. There, water is scarce. “The water we collect is far from home,” Elaina told us. “About 40 minutes’ walk each way. Before I was pregnant, I carried a heavy bucket on a difficult path. In our minds we thought we would do this forever.” 

Unfortunately, the water they collect is not safe to drink. “My son got sick with diarrhea. Sometimes he vomited. We got stomach cramps and diarrhea too. I’m terrified every time I gave him water to drink because there is not money for medicine if he gets sick.”  

Elena was also frightened about what the bad water might do to her unborn baby. So, her husband rode two hours by motorcycle to buy bottled water for her. “He spends a lot of money every two days...we can’t afford that.”  

Then, thanks to YOU, Operation Blessing provided all 26 households in Elena’s community with rain water harvesting systems. Each tank stores and purifies up to 1,300 gallons of water. 

Elena recently gave birth to a baby boy and now all will have clean water to wash, bathe, and drink! 

“Now we have clean water at home! I drink whenever I want and give it to my children knowing they won’t get sick anymore. Thank you—you have changed our lives!” she said. 
 

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700 Club

Shining-Light: Hip-Hop's Cultural Beacon

DEE – 1’s STORY

Born and raised in New Orleans, Dee-1's story is one of perseverance and triumph over adversity. His unique style and authentic lyrics have won him fans across the globe, and he's one of the most electrifying performers on the circuit. In addition to his musical talents, Dee-1 is also a sought-after motivational speaker, with the ability to connect with audiences across ages and cultural boundaries. He is a 2022-2023 Nasir Jones Hip Hop fellow at Harvard University and has designed and is teaching a course at Tufts University titled The Intersection of Hip Hop and Social Change.

Dee – 1 did not set out to be a hip hop artist although he rapped casually as a college student. His freshman year at LSU four big events took place that changed the trajectory of his life: (1) his best friend was murdered; (2) his roommate began selling dope; (3) he was cut from LSU’s basketball team; and (4) he found out his longtime girlfriend was cheating on him. 

Growing up, he was raised Catholic. “I was very much checking the box and doing what was customary tradition wise,” says Dee – 1. After these life altering events took place, he realized, “I had a knowledge of who God was, but not a relationship with God at all.” All these events broke him down, but instead of running to the streets to do drugs he went running to Jesus and decided the only role model he wanted to follow was Him.

After he graduated in 2008, he was well connected with people in the hip hop industry. His manager was trying to get him a record deal, but he got shot and ended up in jail. This messed up Dee – 1’s plan and he realized he could make an impact with teaching, so he decided to teach middle school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER

As a teacher, Dee - 1 saw how his young Black students were impacted by the music that they listened to each day. They wanted to emulate the artists they listened to by how they dressed and how they talked. Each semester Dee - 1 reached 150 students or 300 per year by teaching middle school. He realized how his music, which offered a positive message for young people, could reach many more people outside the classroom. Dee -1 says his mission from the beginning has been, “Platform of a rapper, heart of a teacher.” After two years of teaching, he resigned to focus more on his music.

In 2010, he released his first record, Jay, 50, and Weezy, which went viral. Eighteen months later he shot the music video to the same single. The song attracted national attention with its strong message as he called out three of the biggest rappers in the industry for their lyrics that often-glorified drugs, violence, and the mistreatment of women. He says, “They know better…they could put a different message out there if they wanted.” 

In 2013, Dee - 1 signed with RCA Inspiration and released his first EP, 3s Up. The EP peaked at No. 9 on Billboard's Top Rap Albums in 2015. Dee-1 released Sallie Mae Back in 2016, a track celebrating the payoffs of his student loans. The track received widespread recognition from CNN, ESPN, Forbes and Time magazine. In 2019, Dee – 1 started his own independent label called Mission Vission Music. From the Hood to Harvard, Dee-1's latest album is now available. His pricing model allows you to name your own price so you can listen to tracks which highlight his talent and story.

HIP HOP ARTIST

Dee - 1 has released a total of twenty-one projects in his career. Through the years, many people in the industry have encouraged him to change his music lyrics to include cussing, violence, and sexual content, but he never compromised. His music is part of a bigger lifestyle movement called Mission Vision, which centers around three core principles: “Be Real. Be Righteous. Be Relevant.” Dee-1 says, “I make music to provide the soundtrack to someone’s life who is trying to maximize their potential and walk in their purpose. It’s non-fiction, it’s authentic, it’s lyrical, and it’s relatable.” He encourages people to take his PLATINUM PLEDGE to publicly unify all the people who vow not to create, support, or promote music that glorifies murder, drug dealing & drug use, the disrespect of women, and sexual irresponsibility.

He has been in the music industry for over 14 years and his music is still ascending. He gives God the credit, “I know my path is divine. God orchestrated my blessings to where no one could get the credit except for Him.” 

HIP HOP COMMUNITY CONTROVERSY

Recently, Dee - 1 called out rap artists for being inconsistent with their music lyrics. Half of the time they may talk about murder and the other half they are talking about economic empowerment and positive stuff which sends a confusing message to younger kids. He points out that glorification of lyrics that promote negativity within the community is not healthy and should not be fed to younger kids, especially in the Black community.

PRO BLACK AND PRO GOD

“I’m not more pro Black than I am pro God.” On a podcast Dee – 1 got some push back from the Black community. “I never want to be more tied into my ethnicity or my profession then I am tied in with God.” The host of the program misquoted Dee-1, but they later worked it out. He caught a lot of opposition from his interview on the podcast. “Flak doesn’t have an impact on me. If I’m catching flak in the name of a stand, I’m taking to represent my God or my Jesus Christ, then that is flak worth catching.”

Although he agrees with wrongs done to the Black community, he is also a voice telling his community to look at themselves as well. He encourages them to, “Look at their current mental and spiritual state instead of taking a victim mentality. At the end of the day there is good and there is evil. It can come from any race.” 

For more information about Dee - 1 and his music, please visit his website: www.Dee1music.com.

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