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700 Club

Zebedee Actor Discovers Personal Faith on The Chosen Set

Ashley Key interviews the actor, Nick Shakoour, about how God transformed his heart throughout the filming of Season 4 and how he developed a deep understanding and appreciation for God’s love for all human beings.

700 Club

The Gift of a Second Chance at Life

“I came over the top of that hill and the first thing I saw was her car,” said Christy Knotts.

“When I got there, I was like, oh my gosh, Layla could be severely injured. She could be dead,” said Maddison Barbarick.

“I didn't see a body. I didn't even look for a body. I just saw the car. And then I saw the ambulance,” said Christy.

“I got in the back of the ambulance. I just put my hands on her, and I said, you know, 'I'm here. Can you hear me? Can you open your eyes? Can you blink? Can you do anything?'" said Maddison.

“I ran to the ambulance, open the door to her sister, prepping for her to be life lined to IU Methodist Hospital,” said Christy.

Layla Knotts frantically left a party in the middle of the night. She was found in a field thrown from her mangled car the next morning. She had flipped her car several times and now lay unresponsive as her sister, Maddison, helped prep her to be life flighted to a level one trauma center.

Her mom, Christy, remembered, “I met with a couple of different doctors there, a team that had assessed her and told us that things did not look good. Broken bones and fractures, ribs, fractures in her back, a chip in her skull. They said that they would potentially need to drill a hole in her head to relieve any pressure that she may have in there. We knew it was going to be a moment-by-moment process.”

“When she was diagnosed, you know, with a skull fracture, with a spinal fracture, and with swelling of the know, your thought is, is she's going to be mentally handicapped? Is she going to be able to care for herself? Is she going to be in a wheelchair? Is she going to be able to comprehend conversations?” said Maddison.

In small town Indiana almost everyone knew Layla was struggling to survive. The community lifted the family up in prayer.

“I was in the storm but had peace because I knew people were praying and the prayers are what was carrying us through that moment and through the whole entire thing,” said Christy.

“That first day was pretty rough. We found out about all the injuries. It was pretty shocking. They thought that she was going have to go to surgery to get operated on her hand and then like the next day, she woke up, decided not to do surgery on the hand. Said it was going to be able to heal on its own."

"They decided not to do any burr holes to relieve any intracranial pressure. So that was crazy. They were able to wean her off the vent, which is pretty remarkable. I would have thought she would have been probably on a vent for a week or two, or maybe even trached at some point because she was going to be on the vent for so long,” said Maddison.

“She had continued to heal miraculously, to be thrown as far as she was thrown out of her vehicle, through, we believe, the driver's side window and for her not to have lacerations all over her and need sutured was miraculous in itself,” said Christy.

“When we were talking with the police, we kind of got a synopsis that she was probably traveling over 100 miles per hour. There was a telephone pole and like an electrical box or something on the corner of the road. And she drove right in between the two somehow. If she would have collided with one of those, it probably would have been 100% totality, I would assume. But it's just really a miracle that everything played out the way it did. Speaking of in the field, I mean, she laid out there from like 1 a.m. to almost 7 a.m., like 6 hours out in the cold in 20-degree weather. Just you would have thought she would have died of hypothermia or something,” recalled Maddison.

Physical therapist, Amy Lueking, remembered her recovery, “I was very cautiously guarded, you know, as to what her future looked like in terms of, you know, cognitively and physically, because she did have a traumatic brain injury.”

“She was progressing through things one time after another. And it was really just remarkable to see how she transitioned through every step and every phase of it. And she wanted to do things, she wanted to write. She wanted to eat on her own. She was pretty resilient through all that,” said Maddison.

“During the course of her treatment over the weeks that I saw her, I was moved to tears many times just because the things that she was able to do as quickly as she was able to do them and as easily as she was able to do them was amazing. So, really you know, she was a miracle,” said Amy.

Layla's remarkable healing wasn't her only miracle. She also experienced a spiritual one too.

“One of the conversations I had with her was, do you remember speaking to God when you were in that field? And she said, 'yes, I do.' I asked her if she wanted to recommit her life to the Lord, and she said, 'yes,'” said Christy.

“I know that recommitting my life to Jesus in the hospital is one of the best decisions I will ever make in my life," said Layla. “I would have went to hell if I would have died. I know for a fact I was not living for the Lord at all. But now I am. And I am thankful because I love the Lord. And I know that He forgives me.”

“It has reset, Layla. It has strengthened her faith. It has strengthened us as a family. It has strengthened her relationship ultimately with the Lord. So for that, we are thankful,” said Christy.

“I would do it over again because it has changed my life. He has given me a second chance at life” said Layla.  

700 Club

Unlocking God’s Abundance

After college, John and Amber McCann met at church in New Orleans. A short time later, Amber was on a cruise with friends when John flew out to surprise her and propose at a port of call. 

“I was on the beach as she got off the boat, and I had big signs asking her, ‘Will she marry me?’” John shared. “She looked like she saw a ghost because she wasn't expecting to see me there.”   

Now engaged, John was transitioning from a marketing position into real estate. Amber was doing well in the restaurant business. Then, right before they married, the pandemic hit, and Amber lost her job. "New Orleans is big on hospitality, so all of that was affected,” Amber explained. “So, I couldn't even go out and find a new job.”

Soon they were married and living on just one income. For John, it was a challenge. He was working 60-80 hours a week and had over one hundred thousand dollars of student loans looming.

“At the end of the month, there literally was like a few dollars left,” he said. “There was like no margin between the bills that we had and the income that I was making, so it was very stressful for me as a husband and someone that wants to be able to provide for their household. I literally got sick. I got shingles because I was so stressed out.”

Despite their financial instability, they never stopped tithing, a concept they both learned growing up. “One thing that we always believed is like, 90% of our income with God is better than a hundred percent of our income without God,” John shared. "So, we always wanted to make sure that we tithed, and I do believe I was being tested with my giving: ‘Am I still going to give, although I still haven't sold my first house yet?’ You know.” 

“It goes against your comfort,” Amber added. “But I can honestly say that each time I’ve had to do that, God has always met me on the other side.” So, they continued to give with expectation, and after several months, John sold his first home as a licensed real estate agent. “It was just like, oh, we could breathe. ‘Thank you, Jesus,’ exclaimed John. And then after that, within that first sale, by the end of the year, we had closed on nearly 5 million in sales.”

“I don't think John and I would be in the financial position we are today if we hadn't given and if we hadn't tithed,” Amber stated.

Today, Amber helps John with real estate and has a successful faith and lifestyle YouTube channel. The couple is doing better than ever. They continue to tithe and give, while building a substantial savings account. Plus, they have paid-off thousands of dollars of John’s school loan, with plans to completely wipe their student debt out in the next two years.

John said, “I just remember the Holy Spirit telling me, ‘You're a part of my kingdom, and I’m going to take care of you.’ We literally went from like a month-to-month situation to like, you know, just the overflow of God's blessings and provision for us financially, to now where we are in a place to where we are able to help other people.”

“I have such a heart for missions,” Amber explained, “And I know John has that same sentiment, and that's why we give, and that's why we continue to do it. It's an opportunity to not just make a difference in someone's life, but to make an impact for the kingdom.”

They believe that following God leads to abundant life. “There are promises that are attached to giving, because it all belongs to Him ultimately,” John exclaimed. “As He says, 'Yes, give and it will be given to you.’ So, if we want it to be given to us, we have to obey. I've always believed that my responsibility is obedience. God's responsibility is outcome. But when you show Him, ‘Hey God, I trust You, I’m going to give to You,’ that's the key to unlock the abundance of heaven.”

“Every time I give, I'm receiving something so much greater in return,” concluded Amber. “And the more I practice generosity, and the more I give, the closer I am to God and the more thankful I am.”

700 Club

 The Great Marriage Divider

Today, Kent and Jessica Atwood have a happy life with their children. However, soon after they were married, Jessica gave her life to Christ after the death of her brother and their relationship changed. “Kent,” Jessica said, “I found Jesus and I want to be a Christian. I want to go to church and tithe. I want to do it all, I'm all in...and he was just silent.” In Kent's words, “You know, I thought I married someone and then six months after our wedding, I didn't marry that person and it was a completely different person. It all started from that and rolled downhill after that.” 

As Jessica began to live out her faith, she also desired to start giving money away. She began tithing on income she received from being an auditor for a hospitality company. “As soon as we started giving, we started having extra money at the end of every month,” she recalled. “Finances became easier almost immediately.”

Nine years into their marriage, they had two sons with another on the way and better paying jobs. Kent got a promotion and became a project manager for a construction company and Jessica got a new, higher paying job for a major auto manufacturer. Kent reluctantly agreed to allow Jessica to tithe off of his income too. However, as their giving increased so did his unhappiness. “I felt like that was our money,” Kent said. “And to give it away for something I'm not all about yet…it kind of hurt me and created tension between us.” 

One Sunday while they were at their church service, Jessica noticed Kent was crying. “I put my head down,” he said, “and I just heard, 'go get baptized.' I went to the back and I was so emotional in the back, the lady couldn't even understand me. She said, 'oh, sir, are you okay? Do you need me to call an ambulance?' I just said, 'I need to be baptized.' I was baptized that day and I've never felt anything like that, ever.”

“Kent came back to me after that and he was a changed man,” Jessica recalled. The couple began tithing together. “God has absolutely provided for us in the financial space and in our careers.” She exclaimed, “He's given Kent and I both favor and ability to do the things that He has called us to do.”

Today, the Atwoods are united by their love for God and happily married. They love to give and continue to tithe on all their income. “It's all God's money,” Kent said. “Money is nothing and it doesn't buy happiness. It makes you happy for a minute and then it's gone the next minute. To me, tithing is just the way of saying, 'thank you.'" 

“God is so good,” Jessica exclaimed. “And it is the one place in the Bible that has a promise that if you bring your tithes to the storehouse, He'll open the gates of heaven. He will provide and He is our provider. You can't outgive God.”

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