In a remote village in India, a woman is abused for years by her alcoholic husband. His rage magnifies; she fights back and he retaliates by abusing their three innocent children. The man takes all the food, locks the wife and children in their small home and leaves for days. No contact, no guidance, no help. He tries to commit suicide several times but survives each time. Fear, despair, and hopelessness begin to fade away as this mother and her children become too numb to feel anything at all…
This is a true story and thanks to the young hero of this story—an unlikely character named Asher who is an 11-year-old Indian boy—it boasts a happy ending. Even though this article starts in India, the story actually began in Dallas, Texas in the heart of Norm Miller, Chairman of Dallas-based Interstate Batteries. After reading John 12:32, the Holy Spirit prompted Norm to begin looking for ways in the Dallas area to lift up Christ so that He might draw the people of his city to Jesus.
With an idea beginning to simmer in his head, he prayed for a way to share Christ with those who needed to hear about Him the most—locally and globally. As possibilities for his idea began to sprout, he approached e3 Partners, a mission organization that Norm had supported for years, and shared his conviction. After a week-long collaboration with two of e3’s creative leaders, the idea became a reality and the I Am Second movement began.
I Am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all walks of life to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you and me. Even young Indian boys like Asher. The idea is to share people’s authentic stories that provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living—guilt, regret, addiction, abortion, hate, anxiety, depression. The stories point to Christ as the one who should be FIRST in our lives, and the story teller as second. Their website shows short clips of videos that feature a look into people who live as second. There are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help in recovering from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to hurting hearts. Those who get involved with I Am Second are encouraged to discover their purpose in life upon following the One who is first, Christ.
One of the important aspects of the I Am Second movement is the sprouting of group studies. In using I am Second groups as one of their primary ways of delving deeper in what it means to know God and connect with Him and each other, the organization encourages people to connect in authenticity with each other. Using a Film Discussion Guide that has specific Bible studies and open questions for people to discuss, they encourage people to dive into the stories that they hear on the website and find the courage to tell their own stories. They bring the story of Jesus to life — how the First became second so that we may live with Him now and in eternity. But they don’t stop there. I Am Second is committed to urging people to action; they want to see people live out and share the Gospel messages that they receive in their group discussions. So they ask people, “What will you do now? Who will you tell?” They want to encourage people to commit to having conversations with others — sharing their story and the story of Jesus with those they meet.
Knowing that there are so many unreached people in the world, the I Am Second movement has taken their story telling to the next level. In partnering with e3 Partners Ministry, they are taking the message of Christ is First and a Gospel-oriented purpose in life global. They call it “Go Global. Go on Expedition.” By going on expedition, they invite people to join them in sharing the story and power of Jesus with those who don’t have access to internet or the luxury of a church on every corner. Anyone can go on expedition—they make it that easy. And “on expedition” is where we come back to the broken family and our hero, Asher.
Asher is the son of a Christian preacher in the very remote Indian village from the beginning of this story. Missionaries from e3 Partners Ministry regularly visit his village and participate in evangelizing to the surrounding villages where Asher lives. Each morning, before going out to share the gospel, these missionaries and the nationals (local men and women who believe the Gospel) read a passage and do questions from the I Am Second study. After reading the passage one morning, Asher committed to tell his Hindu friend from school about the story of Jesus before they met the next morning. No matter what, he would share the good news with a friend he knew so desperately needed it.
Keeping in line with the I Am Second study, each day begins with accountability questions. So, the next morning the group asked Asher if he kept his commitment to tell his friend, and with great joy, Asher reported that he had not only told his Hindu friend about Jesus, but was also able to talk with his friend’s father who ended up thanking
Asher for telling his son about Jesus. Longing for more information, the father mentioned that he had some questions that he would like answered about this Jesus.
Asher asked his father to speak with his friend’s father to answer his questions. Strangely enough, Asher’s friend’s father has been in this story before. Remember the abusive, alcohol addicted father from before? Yep, this is he. After failed attempts at suicide, damaging actions towards his family, and living a life of sin — this same man was prompted to ask about Jesus. Following a seemingly simple conversation with hastily answered questions, Asher’s dad invited the man and his family to church that Sunday. What a glorious day that Sunday was as it became a day of salvation for this man and his entire household! Who could change such a wicked heart? Who could heal such a broken family? Who could forgive such hateful acts? Only Jesus! Praise God for Asher listening to the Holy Spirit and for his enthusiastic, devoted obedience. The entire family surrendered their lives to the one, true God.
Christ is First… I am Second
Now, let us return to the woman from the very beginning of this story, a story for God’s glory. In a remote village in India, a woman is loved by her husband. His desire for God magnifies; she follows him; and he leads their three children by faith in Christ. The man provides, works hard, and protects his family. The home is used for a space of freedom and worship — the family attends the Sunday night fellowship and even host a fellowship themselves on Thursday nights.