The Last Leaf | Ep. 12 | TBN

The Last Leaf | Ep. 12

Watch The Last Leaf | Ep. 12
December 31, 2018
27:33

Anonymous with Alicia Britt Chole

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The Last Leaf | Ep. 12

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  • Smothered by what I'll call the uns.
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  • Unseen, unappreciated underestimated.
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  • Has it ever seemed like something or someone pressed
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  • the pause button on your potential and dreams.
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  • Jesus understands what it's like to be hidden.
  • 00:00:16.160 --> 00:00:20.010
  • His first 30 years were mostly undocumented
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  • and uncelebrated but with his life,
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  • and with ours we dare not mistake unseen for unimportant,
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  • Or unapplauded for unproductive.
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  • (inspirational music)
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  • Join me as we discover the strength God grows
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  • in Anonymous Seasons.
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  • (inspirational music)
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  • Backstories, sometimes knowing them makes
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  • all the difference, doesn't it?
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  • Like when you find out that a bully at school
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  • has an angry dad or a demanding boss doesn't have anyone
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  • to go home to after work.
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  • When you realize that the man who volunteers each week
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  • to scrub the church bathrooms has a PhD,
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  • and the woman who never fails to bring a meal
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  • to those in need is raising four children as a single mom.
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  • Backstories matter.
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  • We do ourselves and others a disservice
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  • by only paying attention to what's easily seen,
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  • which of course has been one of the themes
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  • of this entire series.
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  • unseen doesn't remotely mean unimportant.
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  • People have often asked me about the backstory
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  • of Anonymous, sharing their guess that it was written
  • 00:01:48.170 --> 00:01:51.200
  • out of angst over my own hidden years
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  • which actually isn't the case.
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  • Maybe this will sound familiar to you,
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  • or about someone you love.
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  • Personally I've always wanted my life
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  • to make a real difference in the world,
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  • and as far as what energizes me,
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  • I lean introvert, which on a side note isn't a synonym
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  • for being shy or insecure.
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  • For someone wired like me, hidden is not only soothing,
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  • hidden is strategic.
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  • I remember as a young woman being at a conference
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  • where Loren Cunningham the founder
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  • of Youth with a Mission was speaking.
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  • He said something like this,
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  • lie low close to the ground then when doors close
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  • in your face, you can slide under them,
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  • and keep on going, that made sense to me.
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  • Being overlooked rarely feels great,
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  • but sometimes it can be a great opportunity to make
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  • a whole lot of change without a whole lot of resistance.
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  • All that to say, Anonymous wasn't born
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  • from any personal frustration over anonymity,
  • 00:02:55.290 --> 00:02:59.150
  • but the study and message have shaped me,
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  • it's as though God had me write it before I knew
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  • I needed it.
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  • How Anonymous made it into my heart as a study,
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  • then on to paper as a book and now into a series
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  • on your screen is a journey
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  • no one but God could have foreseen.
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  • It's fair to say that the book has lived the message
  • 00:03:18.180 --> 00:03:21.160
  • it contains and that's the story I'd like to tell you today
  • 00:03:21.160 --> 00:03:25.160
  • as we conclude this series.
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  • Anonymous was first published in 2006,
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  • as I've shared in previous episode,
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  • the book was the overflow of a personal study
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  • that captivated me for almost a decade.
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  • I don't know exactly how many publishers rejected
  • 00:03:40.130 --> 00:03:43.150
  • the book proposal, but you can't blame them for
  • 00:03:43.150 --> 00:03:46.200
  • passing on a book that celebrated hiddenness
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  • in a world that idolized visibility.
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  • Of all the publishers who saw the book proposal,
  • 00:03:52.150 --> 00:03:55.090
  • only one expressed interest,
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  • a beautiful soul name Joey Paul,
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  • who said, "I want you to write this book,
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  • "because I need to read this book.
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  • "If for no one else Alicia, write this book for me."
  • 00:04:05.260 --> 00:04:09.240
  • Joey took a massive risk on an unknown author
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  • with an unpopular message,
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  • because he felt that the content
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  • needed to be heard even if only by a few.
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  • As I turned in the manuscript,
  • 00:04:21.230 --> 00:04:24.060
  • God surprised me by planting a promise in my heart.
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  • I felt him saying that the message of Anonymous
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  • would have a deep hidden root system
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  • that would reach to the ends of the earth.
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  • Anonymous was originally part of a two book contract,
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  • but the same year it came out,
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  • Joey's publishing house was acquired by another company,
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  • and that publisher after an assessment of my sales history
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  • understandably canceled the second book.
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  • By 2009, only three of the five published books I'd written
  • 00:04:55.050 --> 00:04:59.250
  • were still in print.
  • 00:04:59.250 --> 00:05:01.120
  • Two years later in 2011 within the span of maybe one month,
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  • I received separate notifications that all three
  • 00:05:07.190 --> 00:05:10.170
  • of those remaining titles were going out of print,
  • 00:05:10.170 --> 00:05:14.140
  • which meant that the sales were so low,
  • 00:05:14.140 --> 00:05:17.090
  • none of the publishers could justify continuing
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  • to carry them.
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  • I felt sad about the first two books,
  • 00:05:22.000 --> 00:05:25.000
  • but the notification about Anonymous going out of print
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  • affected me deeply,
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  • not in the way that a genuine life crisis would,
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  • like you, our family has weathered a good number
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  • of real storms over the decades,
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  • this wasn't at all like a debilitating illness
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  • or the loss of a loved one,
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  • this was more like the death of a dream,
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  • and though it didn't have the weight or complexity
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  • of a true tragedy, it still hurt,
  • 00:05:49.270 --> 00:05:53.160
  • and I still grieved, not just because I enjoyed writing,
  • 00:05:53.160 --> 00:05:57.240
  • which I do, it's a beautiful devotional experience for me,
  • 00:05:57.240 --> 00:06:02.020
  • but because of the gap,
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  • and I'm going to guess that you're familiar with that gap,
  • 00:06:04.250 --> 00:06:09.080
  • the space between God's promises and our realities.
  • 00:06:09.080 --> 00:06:14.080
  • For me it was between what I sensed from Him
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  • when I was writing the book,
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  • that it would be meaningful to many,
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  • and then in print, undeniable facts to the contrary
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  • right before me, that's when the message of Anonymous
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  • was applied in a different way, in my soul,
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  • because if God is good, and if He's allowed the gap,
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  • then there's something in the gap that is also good.
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  • I started paying more attention to what God
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  • might be grooming in me in the gap.
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  • Ultimately my publisher surprised me by choosing
  • 00:06:50.040 --> 00:06:52.220
  • not to take Anonymous out of print after all
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  • and in 2014, eight years after it was originally published,
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  • I received my first royalty check for the book,
  • 00:07:01.270 --> 00:07:04.060
  • well for any book, my whole family gathered around it
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  • in sheer shock, a copy of that check
  • 00:07:07.220 --> 00:07:10.280
  • still hangs in my closet at home.
  • 00:07:10.280 --> 00:07:13.000
  • It was barely enough to take the family out for dinner,
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  • but it was evidence that a deep hidden root system
  • 00:07:15.290 --> 00:07:19.180
  • had started to take hold.
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  • Over the years I received numerous notes of encouragement
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  • from souls for whom the message was meaningful.
  • 00:07:26.050 --> 00:07:29.180
  • Though as a book Anonymous was well hidden.
  • 00:07:29.180 --> 00:07:33.000
  • Marked up and tear stained copies kept quietly being passed
  • 00:07:33.000 --> 00:07:37.160
  • from hand to hand and heart to heart until one day
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  • 11 years after I wrote the book.
  • 00:07:41.200 --> 00:07:44.160
  • The husband of a woman I mentored placed a copy of Anonymous
  • 00:07:44.160 --> 00:07:48.150
  • in the hands of a pastor in Florida who read it, loved it
  • 00:07:48.150 --> 00:07:52.240
  • and sent it to Matt and Laurie Crouch, the generous leaders
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  • of the largest Christian television network in the world,
  • 00:07:56.100 --> 00:07:59.100
  • who invited me in for an interview.
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  • As I was packing for that trip.
  • 00:08:02.140 --> 00:08:04.260
  • I sensed another impression in my heart from God,
  • 00:08:04.260 --> 00:08:08.110
  • I felt Him saying don't be afraid of anything
  • 00:08:08.110 --> 00:08:11.150
  • that's about to happen, I've delayed it long enough.
  • 00:08:11.150 --> 00:08:15.160
  • I thought God was addressing my stress,
  • 00:08:15.160 --> 00:08:19.050
  • which is often self induced by my tendency to overprepare
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  • for things.
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  • We don't have cable and I don't really watch TV,
  • 00:08:23.200 --> 00:08:26.130
  • except during tornado season.
  • 00:08:26.130 --> 00:08:28.220
  • The first time I saw TBN was when I was preparing,
  • 00:08:28.220 --> 00:08:31.280
  • when I was overpreparing for that first interview.
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  • I thought God was speaking a word of peace to me
  • 00:08:35.130 --> 00:08:38.030
  • for that one hour show.
  • 00:08:38.030 --> 00:08:40.040
  • But I soon realized that it was more
  • 00:08:40.040 --> 00:08:42.100
  • that God was asking his happily hidden daughter
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  • to follow Him into a season of a little bit more visibility.
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  • Through that one interview God was connecting me
  • 00:08:50.280 --> 00:08:53.250
  • with some of his champions, with Matt and Laurie,
  • 00:08:53.250 --> 00:08:56.270
  • whom much like Joey Paul before them felt commissioned
  • 00:08:56.270 --> 00:09:00.230
  • to invest in an unknown author with an unpopular message.
  • 00:09:00.230 --> 00:09:05.150
  • For me perhaps the most precious truth in Anonymous
  • 00:09:05.150 --> 00:09:09.270
  • is that hiddenness is more than a season.
  • 00:09:09.270 --> 00:09:13.010
  • If you are in Christ hiddenness is also a state of being.
  • 00:09:14.130 --> 00:09:19.040
  • The word hidden appears three times in Paul's letter
  • 00:09:20.210 --> 00:09:23.250
  • to the Colossians and all three occurrences are variations
  • 00:09:23.250 --> 00:09:27.290
  • of the same Greek word which means to hide or conceal.
  • 00:09:27.290 --> 00:09:32.210
  • Paul speaks of two related types of hiddenness.
  • 00:09:32.210 --> 00:09:37.020
  • in Colossians 126 through 27 he refers to a mystery
  • 00:09:37.020 --> 00:09:41.170
  • that has been kept hidden for ages and generations,
  • 00:09:41.170 --> 00:09:45.050
  • but is now disclosed to the saints which is Christ in you,
  • 00:09:45.050 --> 00:09:49.080
  • the hope of glory.
  • 00:09:49.080 --> 00:09:50.260
  • then in Colossians 3:3, Paul says,
  • 00:09:50.260 --> 00:09:53.170
  • "For you have died and your life is now hidden
  • 00:09:53.170 --> 00:09:56.280
  • with Christ in God."
  • 00:09:56.280 --> 00:09:59.160
  • Paul speaks of the mystery of Christ with us
  • 00:09:59.160 --> 00:10:03.030
  • and us with Christ, of Christ in us and us in Christ.
  • 00:10:03.030 --> 00:10:08.030
  • If you're a follower of Jesus, you're hidden with Christ
  • 00:10:09.230 --> 00:10:14.060
  • in God, which to me is beyond beautiful.
  • 00:10:14.060 --> 00:10:18.250
  • It means that whether I'm washing dishes at home,
  • 00:10:18.250 --> 00:10:22.000
  • or you're watching me on TV, I'm hidden in Christ,
  • 00:10:22.000 --> 00:10:26.190
  • and the same is true for you.
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  • Whether you're an employee in a tense meeting
  • 00:10:28.240 --> 00:10:31.220
  • or a retiree in a lonely room, you're hidden in Christ.
  • 00:10:31.220 --> 00:10:36.220
  • Whether your family is cheering or strangers are booing,
  • 00:10:38.020 --> 00:10:40.180
  • you're hidden with Christ in God,
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  • this is your permanent state as a follower of Jesus.
  • 00:10:43.230 --> 00:10:48.030
  • Not only are you not alone,
  • 00:10:48.030 --> 00:10:50.120
  • you're surrounded the very presence of Jesus,
  • 00:10:50.120 --> 00:10:55.120
  • more on that in just a few minutes.
  • 00:10:56.160 --> 00:10:58.270
  • - My name is Jennifer Keitt.
  • 00:11:03.020 --> 00:11:05.000
  • For the past 30 years I have been a broadcaster.
  • 00:11:05.000 --> 00:11:09.020
  • I was three years into the industry
  • 00:11:09.020 --> 00:11:11.230
  • I was doing morning drive news in Chicago,
  • 00:11:11.230 --> 00:11:14.160
  • top of the game and I walked into the newsroom
  • 00:11:14.160 --> 00:11:18.130
  • this one morning, and I hated it.
  • 00:11:18.130 --> 00:11:22.240
  • Just overwhelming, like "Oh my God,
  • 00:11:22.240 --> 00:11:25.170
  • "I Cannot do this anymore."
  • 00:11:25.170 --> 00:11:28.090
  • I couldn't be the kind of mom that I wanted to be,
  • 00:11:28.090 --> 00:11:32.090
  • and still be in broadcasting at that time,
  • 00:11:32.090 --> 00:11:34.260
  • so I made a huge decision to come home
  • 00:11:34.260 --> 00:11:38.140
  • and that's when I realized I was in the Anonymous Season,
  • 00:11:38.140 --> 00:11:43.140
  • right?
  • 00:11:43.280 --> 00:11:45.130
  • nobody knew my name there were no more lights, camera,
  • 00:11:45.130 --> 00:11:47.170
  • action, it was just me and this baby and God,
  • 00:11:47.170 --> 00:11:51.050
  • and I had no idea of what I was doing.
  • 00:11:51.050 --> 00:11:53.240
  • My husband was still doing his thing.
  • 00:11:55.010 --> 00:11:57.100
  • I would go to functions with him,
  • 00:11:57.100 --> 00:11:59.160
  • and met all the career girls with their stiletto heels,
  • 00:11:59.160 --> 00:12:02.110
  • and their nice business suits,
  • 00:12:02.110 --> 00:12:04.150
  • "Oh, what do you do?"
  • 00:12:04.150 --> 00:12:06.020
  • And I got the opportunity, "Oh, you know,
  • 00:12:06.020 --> 00:12:08.090
  • "I'm at home, I'm raising the kids."
  • 00:12:08.090 --> 00:12:10.100
  • "Oh, you're a stay at home mom",
  • 00:12:10.100 --> 00:12:12.280
  • And that was back in the '90s,
  • 00:12:12.280 --> 00:12:14.200
  • it was not chic, it was not popular.
  • 00:12:14.200 --> 00:12:17.180
  • I've always had a studio in my home,
  • 00:12:19.180 --> 00:12:21.260
  • so the behind the scenes mom was really my full time job,
  • 00:12:21.260 --> 00:12:26.260
  • I mean I'd literally had daughters playing underneath
  • 00:12:28.090 --> 00:12:30.200
  • my desk when I'm trying to have
  • 00:12:30.200 --> 00:12:32.030
  • these professional interviews with people
  • 00:12:32.030 --> 00:12:33.250
  • all over the world, so it was crazy,
  • 00:12:33.250 --> 00:12:36.160
  • and meanwhile I'm watching all of my colleagues,
  • 00:12:36.160 --> 00:12:39.250
  • all of the people in the business doing all of these
  • 00:12:39.250 --> 00:12:42.280
  • fabulous and wonderful things
  • 00:12:42.280 --> 00:12:44.230
  • and I'm doing diapers and doing laundry
  • 00:12:44.230 --> 00:12:48.040
  • and not feeling very accomplished really at all.
  • 00:12:48.040 --> 00:12:52.110
  • I found Anonymous in a time in which I was anonymous
  • 00:12:54.220 --> 00:12:59.220
  • as ironic as that sounds.
  • 00:13:00.200 --> 00:13:02.090
  • Anonymous to me,
  • 00:13:02.090 --> 00:13:03.230
  • it's a guide, it's a blueprint, it's an answer,
  • 00:13:06.160 --> 00:13:10.180
  • for the, oh my gosh, where are you God,
  • 00:13:10.180 --> 00:13:15.070
  • why do I have all of this stuff on the inside of me,
  • 00:13:15.070 --> 00:13:18.230
  • these, these hopes, these dreams and nothing is there,
  • 00:13:18.230 --> 00:13:23.230
  • it was just like a light in the middle of a very dark place
  • 00:13:25.050 --> 00:13:28.000
  • that's sad, this season of darkness doesn't mean
  • 00:13:28.000 --> 00:13:32.200
  • that God's not still working,
  • 00:13:32.200 --> 00:13:34.200
  • doesn't mean that He's forgotten you.
  • 00:13:34.200 --> 00:13:37.130
  • All of the dirty laundry, the dirty diapers,
  • 00:13:37.130 --> 00:13:39.180
  • that insecurities, that oh my God,
  • 00:13:39.180 --> 00:13:41.290
  • the cookies that you burned,
  • 00:13:41.290 --> 00:13:43.130
  • the stuff that you've gotta pick, all of that,
  • 00:13:43.130 --> 00:13:46.260
  • God is using.
  • 00:13:46.260 --> 00:13:49.130
  • Here I am, all kids gone now and I am free to be able
  • 00:13:51.180 --> 00:13:56.180
  • to do in this season of my life when I thought I'd be doing
  • 00:13:58.000 --> 00:14:01.280
  • 20 years ago, He held it,
  • 00:14:01.280 --> 00:14:04.180
  • He reserved it, every gift that I have,
  • 00:14:04.180 --> 00:14:07.240
  • every talent that I have, every purpose, every dream,
  • 00:14:07.240 --> 00:14:11.080
  • every hope, He held it for me so that I could be decent
  • 00:14:11.080 --> 00:14:15.070
  • and in order, deal with my kids first,
  • 00:14:15.070 --> 00:14:18.030
  • get them to the point where they could be functioning
  • 00:14:18.030 --> 00:14:20.190
  • contributing members of this society,
  • 00:14:20.190 --> 00:14:22.260
  • and I still have a husband,
  • 00:14:22.260 --> 00:14:24.210
  • and I still have children and I still have everything
  • 00:14:24.210 --> 00:14:28.000
  • that God has said that I could have.
  • 00:14:28.000 --> 00:14:30.120
  • I decided to take the gifts
  • 00:14:32.090 --> 00:14:33.260
  • and the talents that I already had
  • 00:14:33.260 --> 00:14:35.130
  • and spin the message.
  • 00:14:35.130 --> 00:14:37.190
  • I created a show, talking to women, empowering them,
  • 00:14:37.190 --> 00:14:41.240
  • talking about how it is to be today's woman,
  • 00:14:41.240 --> 00:14:45.050
  • and that's where my career took off.
  • 00:14:45.050 --> 00:14:47.050
  • What I learned in Anonymous Season
  • 00:14:48.220 --> 00:14:51.000
  • is that when things are barren,
  • 00:14:51.000 --> 00:14:54.170
  • when things are empty, when things are dark,
  • 00:14:54.170 --> 00:14:59.030
  • or uncomfortable, God is working at His absolute best.
  • 00:14:59.030 --> 00:15:04.050
  • He is doing those things that He can only do
  • 00:15:05.250 --> 00:15:09.240
  • when you're focused because there's nothing going on
  • 00:15:09.240 --> 00:15:14.230
  • on the outside.
  • 00:15:14.230 --> 00:15:15.210
  • (Inspirational music)
  • 00:15:16.200 --> 00:15:19.250
  • - [Narrator] Have you ever felt hidden or overlooked.
  • 00:15:21.120 --> 00:15:25.050
  • Your potential unseen,
  • 00:15:25.050 --> 00:15:26.240
  • and your abilities unappreciated?
  • 00:15:28.020 --> 00:15:29.280
  • Jesus knew that season well.
  • 00:15:31.080 --> 00:15:33.020
  • The first three decades of his life were unrecognized
  • 00:15:34.160 --> 00:15:37.150
  • by the public eye and uncelebrated
  • 00:15:37.150 --> 00:15:39.240
  • by those who knew Him best.
  • 00:15:39.240 --> 00:15:42.050
  • In Dr. Alicia Chole's book, Anonymous,
  • 00:15:42.050 --> 00:15:45.030
  • you will discover how to overcome the temptation
  • 00:15:45.030 --> 00:15:48.080
  • that tries to steal your destiny.
  • 00:15:48.080 --> 00:15:50.240
  • Embrace the beauty of hidden seasons,
  • 00:15:50.240 --> 00:15:53.210
  • and live a life of power and purpose.
  • 00:15:53.210 --> 00:15:56.190
  • Today for your gift of $40 or more to the many outreaches
  • 00:15:56.190 --> 00:16:00.140
  • of TVBN, you will receive the book, Anonymous,
  • 00:16:00.140 --> 00:16:03.240
  • and a companion study guide so you can discover
  • 00:16:03.240 --> 00:16:06.230
  • as so many others have, that hidden from the eyes
  • 00:16:06.230 --> 00:16:09.240
  • and accolades of man is where God does
  • 00:16:09.240 --> 00:16:12.230
  • some of His greatest work.
  • 00:16:12.230 --> 00:16:15.050
  • Go online or call now.
  • 00:16:15.050 --> 00:16:17.040
  • (upbeat music)
  • 00:16:17.040 --> 00:16:19.220
  • - 20th century philosopher and educator, Dr Thomas R. Kelly,
  • 00:16:22.090 --> 00:16:26.260
  • said the following.
  • 00:16:26.260 --> 00:16:28.070
  • "We have seen and known some people,
  • 00:16:28.070 --> 00:16:30.240
  • "who seem to have found this deep center of living
  • 00:16:30.240 --> 00:16:34.100
  • "where the fretful calls of life are integrated,
  • 00:16:34.100 --> 00:16:37.190
  • "where no as well as yes can be said with confidence."
  • 00:16:37.190 --> 00:16:42.190
  • The only way someone can say no
  • 00:16:43.150 --> 00:16:45.110
  • as easily as yes to an open door is if the question
  • 00:16:45.110 --> 00:16:49.200
  • of their personal value has already been settled
  • 00:16:49.200 --> 00:16:53.000
  • in their sou, and this perhaps
  • 00:16:53.000 --> 00:16:56.000
  • is among the greatest opportunities
  • 00:16:56.000 --> 00:16:58.140
  • that hidden years gift to us.
  • 00:16:58.140 --> 00:17:01.220
  • Have you ever been on a stage under bright lights,
  • 00:17:01.220 --> 00:17:04.180
  • maybe in school or at church or for a meeting?
  • 00:17:04.180 --> 00:17:07.100
  • It's really easy to lose perspective and stumble physically
  • 00:17:07.100 --> 00:17:11.270
  • because the lights are so blinding, they distort reality.
  • 00:17:11.270 --> 00:17:16.100
  • in the same way it's easy to lose perspective
  • 00:17:16.100 --> 00:17:19.200
  • and stumble spiritually in visible years
  • 00:17:19.200 --> 00:17:22.130
  • under the world's bright spotlights.
  • 00:17:22.130 --> 00:17:25.140
  • In contrast hidden years shield us from those spotlights,
  • 00:17:25.140 --> 00:17:29.210
  • and strengthen our spiritual vision,
  • 00:17:29.210 --> 00:17:32.150
  • so that we have eyes to see the one who's always been there.
  • 00:17:32.150 --> 00:17:37.150
  • The more we see that our lives are hidden with Christ in God
  • 00:17:38.290 --> 00:17:43.050
  • the less our sense of value will rise and fall
  • 00:17:44.100 --> 00:17:47.220
  • with our visibility.
  • 00:17:47.220 --> 00:17:49.000
  • As Paul said in second Corinthians 4:16 through 18,
  • 00:17:50.110 --> 00:17:54.260
  • "Though outwardly we are wasting away,
  • 00:17:56.010 --> 00:17:57.170
  • "yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
  • 00:17:57.170 --> 00:18:02.100
  • "for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
  • 00:18:02.100 --> 00:18:06.120
  • "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
  • 00:18:06.120 --> 00:18:10.170
  • "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
  • 00:18:10.170 --> 00:18:13.240
  • "but on what is unseen.
  • 00:18:13.240 --> 00:18:15.250
  • "For what is seen is temporary,
  • 00:18:15.250 --> 00:18:18.010
  • "but what is unseen is eternal."
  • 00:18:18.010 --> 00:18:20.250
  • When by faith we see Jesus,
  • 00:18:21.280 --> 00:18:25.140
  • when by faith we grow in the realization
  • 00:18:25.140 --> 00:18:29.070
  • that he is the greatest treasure we could ever know on
  • 00:18:29.070 --> 00:18:32.260
  • this earth, we'll be able to find contentment
  • 00:18:32.260 --> 00:18:36.200
  • in applauded seasons of summer,
  • 00:18:36.200 --> 00:18:38.260
  • as easily as underestimated seasons of winter.
  • 00:18:38.260 --> 00:18:43.220
  • If you have had the opportunity to read the book,
  • 00:18:43.220 --> 00:18:46.030
  • you may remember how I used the image of trees in winter
  • 00:18:46.030 --> 00:18:50.060
  • to speak of the power and purpose of hidden seasons.
  • 00:18:50.060 --> 00:18:54.000
  • I wrote much of Anonymous from a little upstairs room
  • 00:18:54.000 --> 00:18:57.150
  • in our house with a great view of
  • 00:18:57.150 --> 00:18:59.210
  • an old silver maple tree.
  • 00:18:59.210 --> 00:19:02.140
  • During the process of studying, writing,
  • 00:19:02.140 --> 00:19:04.250
  • and editing, the tree went through spring, summer, fall
  • 00:19:04.250 --> 00:19:08.180
  • and winter, all of which are distinct seasons
  • 00:19:08.180 --> 00:19:11.130
  • where I live.
  • 00:19:11.130 --> 00:19:12.070
  • As I typed, I watched as small red buds exploded
  • 00:19:13.140 --> 00:19:17.180
  • all over the branches,
  • 00:19:17.180 --> 00:19:19.040
  • as bright green leaves matured into brilliant fall colors,
  • 00:19:19.040 --> 00:19:23.210
  • as those leaves then floated to the ground,
  • 00:19:23.210 --> 00:19:26.260
  • and as the empty trees stood strong through snow and ice.
  • 00:19:26.260 --> 00:19:31.230
  • In winter trees are bare but they aren't barren,
  • 00:19:32.290 --> 00:19:36.250
  • life still is and the same is true for us,
  • 00:19:38.000 --> 00:19:41.070
  • seasonally we too are stripped of visible fruit,
  • 00:19:41.070 --> 00:19:45.110
  • our giftings are hidden, our abilities are underestimated.
  • 00:19:45.110 --> 00:19:50.000
  • When previous successes fade or current efforts falter.
  • 00:19:50.000 --> 00:19:54.260
  • We can easily mistake the fruitlessness for failure,
  • 00:19:54.260 --> 00:19:59.080
  • but this is the rhythm of natural and spiritual life.
  • 00:19:59.080 --> 00:20:04.000
  • New growth, fruitfulness, transition, rest,
  • 00:20:04.000 --> 00:20:08.130
  • new growth, fruitfulness, transition, rest.
  • 00:20:08.130 --> 00:20:13.110
  • Abundance may make us feel more productive,
  • 00:20:13.110 --> 00:20:16.190
  • but perhaps emptiness has greater power
  • 00:20:16.190 --> 00:20:19.220
  • to strengthen our souls.
  • 00:20:19.220 --> 00:20:22.240
  • Spiritual winters are symbolic of hidden seasons.
  • 00:20:22.240 --> 00:20:26.220
  • When our fullness is thinned,
  • 00:20:26.220 --> 00:20:28.230
  • so that undistracted by accomplishment,
  • 00:20:28.230 --> 00:20:32.000
  • we can focus on developing a strong character.
  • 00:20:32.000 --> 00:20:36.090
  • In winter are we bare?
  • 00:20:36.090 --> 00:20:38.060
  • Yes.
  • 00:20:38.060 --> 00:20:39.180
  • In winter are we barren?
  • 00:20:39.180 --> 00:20:41.240
  • No,
  • 00:20:41.240 --> 00:20:43.030
  • true life still is.
  • 00:20:43.030 --> 00:20:45.220
  • The Father's work in you doesn't sleep in spiritual winters,
  • 00:20:45.220 --> 00:20:50.180
  • in hidden years, God is purifying your faith,
  • 00:20:50.180 --> 00:20:54.150
  • strengthening your character and preparing you
  • 00:20:54.150 --> 00:20:58.040
  • for the future.
  • 00:20:58.040 --> 00:20:59.220
  • The sleepy days of winter hide you,
  • 00:20:59.220 --> 00:21:02.180
  • so that the seductive days of summer will not ruin you.
  • 00:21:02.180 --> 00:21:07.180
  • I hope that these teachings from Anonymous
  • 00:21:08.210 --> 00:21:11.090
  • have strengthened your soul.
  • 00:21:11.090 --> 00:21:13.050
  • Over the years readers have shared how studying
  • 00:21:14.100 --> 00:21:17.120
  • Jesus's hidden years gave their own hiddenness significance
  • 00:21:17.120 --> 00:21:22.020
  • and how studying Jesus's temptation encourage them
  • 00:21:22.020 --> 00:21:25.270
  • to obey God in the small and unseen.,
  • 00:21:25.270 --> 00:21:30.020
  • and my prayer has earnestly been that you too
  • 00:21:30.020 --> 00:21:33.140
  • in whatever season you find yourself
  • 00:21:33.140 --> 00:21:36.210
  • that know with confidence that God treasures
  • 00:21:36.210 --> 00:21:40.130
  • your every breath.
  • 00:21:40.130 --> 00:21:42.020
  • Hidden years, spiritual winters, Anonymous Seasons.
  • 00:21:43.140 --> 00:21:47.030
  • Perhaps our generation more than others
  • 00:21:47.030 --> 00:21:50.000
  • will have to work to believe that there's a value
  • 00:21:50.000 --> 00:21:53.060
  • in these unapplauded spaces.
  • 00:21:53.060 --> 00:21:55.210
  • We live in a day in which teens
  • 00:21:55.210 --> 00:21:57.240
  • think they're a failure if they don't have a massive
  • 00:21:57.240 --> 00:22:00.120
  • social media following by the age of 18.
  • 00:22:00.120 --> 00:22:03.290
  • Where Olympians are considered old at 30
  • 00:22:03.290 --> 00:22:08.000
  • and gray hair isn't as Proverbs 16:31 suggests
  • 00:22:08.000 --> 00:22:11.290
  • a crown of splendor, it's a sign that you missed
  • 00:22:11.290 --> 00:22:14.240
  • an appointment, and though I would never want
  • 00:22:14.240 --> 00:22:18.060
  • to underestimate the current and future contributions
  • 00:22:18.060 --> 00:22:21.140
  • of teens and 20 somethings because they can
  • 00:22:21.140 --> 00:22:24.030
  • and will change the world.
  • 00:22:24.030 --> 00:22:26.080
  • I think it's perspective inducing for us to recall the ages
  • 00:22:26.080 --> 00:22:30.060
  • of some of the world changers who've gone before us,
  • 00:22:30.060 --> 00:22:33.210
  • like Nelson Mandela,
  • 00:22:33.210 --> 00:22:35.140
  • who became president of South Africa at the age of 76.
  • 00:22:35.140 --> 00:22:40.010
  • Mother Teresa who opened her first leper colony
  • 00:22:40.010 --> 00:22:43.140
  • at the age of 47.
  • 00:22:43.140 --> 00:22:45.170
  • Grandma Moses who began her famous painting career
  • 00:22:45.170 --> 00:22:48.230
  • in her seventies.
  • 00:22:48.230 --> 00:22:50.150
  • Martin Luther who completed his first translation
  • 00:22:50.150 --> 00:22:53.180
  • of the Bible at 51.
  • 00:22:53.180 --> 00:22:55.260
  • Shakespeare, who wrote Macbeth at the age of 42.
  • 00:22:57.080 --> 00:23:01.060
  • Beethoven who created his 9th Symphony at the age of 54.
  • 00:23:01.060 --> 00:23:06.060
  • Rosa Parks, who became the mother
  • 00:23:07.110 --> 00:23:08.170
  • of the Civil Rights Movement at 42,
  • 00:23:08.170 --> 00:23:11.180
  • and Benjamin Franklin who invented bifocal glasses
  • 00:23:11.180 --> 00:23:15.110
  • at the age of 83.
  • 00:23:15.110 --> 00:23:17.290
  • When graced with hidden years for the first time,
  • 00:23:17.290 --> 00:23:20.280
  • for a long time, or maybe even for the last time,
  • 00:23:20.280 --> 00:23:24.240
  • may we be thankful.
  • 00:23:24.240 --> 00:23:26.100
  • There are strengths that heaven celebrates,
  • 00:23:27.140 --> 00:23:29.270
  • and that only time can teach.
  • 00:23:29.270 --> 00:23:33.020
  • I'd like to close our series by reading a short story
  • 00:23:33.020 --> 00:23:36.040
  • that I read decades ago about a young boy
  • 00:23:36.040 --> 00:23:39.000
  • obviously destined for greatness.
  • 00:23:39.000 --> 00:23:41.270
  • "Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in life,
  • 00:23:41.270 --> 00:23:44.130
  • "I stop and think about the little boy
  • 00:23:44.130 --> 00:23:46.080
  • "who's trying out for a part in a school play.
  • 00:23:46.080 --> 00:23:49.120
  • "His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it,
  • 00:23:49.120 --> 00:23:53.030
  • "though she feared he wouldn't be chosen.
  • 00:23:53.030 --> 00:23:55.210
  • "On the day the parts were awarded,
  • 00:23:55.210 --> 00:23:57.240
  • "I went with her to collect him after school.
  • 00:23:57.240 --> 00:24:01.040
  • "The boy rushed up to her, his eyes shining with pride,
  • 00:24:01.040 --> 00:24:05.020
  • "and excitement, 'Guess what, Mom' he shouted,
  • 00:24:05.020 --> 00:24:08.230
  • "and then he said those words that will remain a lesson
  • 00:24:08.230 --> 00:24:11.170
  • to me, 'I've been chosen to clap and cheer'."
  • 00:24:11.170 --> 00:24:16.170
  • When we've been chosen to clap and cheer,
  • 00:24:17.210 --> 00:24:20.250
  • may God find our spirits as sweet.
  • 00:24:20.250 --> 00:24:24.190
  • Sweetness through hiddenness guarantees abundance
  • 00:24:24.190 --> 00:24:29.020
  • in harvest in God's good and perfect time.
  • 00:24:29.020 --> 00:24:33.250
  • My soul longs to share in that harvest, hidden in winter,
  • 00:24:33.250 --> 00:24:38.250
  • growing in spring, fruitful in summer,
  • 00:24:40.000 --> 00:24:42.120
  • or transitioning in the fall,
  • 00:24:42.120 --> 00:24:44.270
  • may God do whatever is needed through whatever season
  • 00:24:44.270 --> 00:24:48.270
  • he so chooses to strengthen us to love Him,
  • 00:24:48.270 --> 00:24:53.040
  • and love others toward Him.
  • 00:24:53.040 --> 00:24:56.080
  • Remember in every season,
  • 00:24:56.080 --> 00:24:59.050
  • there's one who's loving eyes are always on you.
  • 00:24:59.050 --> 00:25:04.040
  • As Jesus said in John 10:3,
  • 00:25:04.040 --> 00:25:06.210
  • your Good Shepherd calls his own sheep by name
  • 00:25:06.210 --> 00:25:10.190
  • and leads them out.
  • 00:25:10.190 --> 00:25:12.170
  • As Father God said in Isaiah 49:15-16.
  • 00:25:12.170 --> 00:25:17.020
  • I will not forget you.
  • 00:25:17.020 --> 00:25:19.090
  • See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
  • 00:25:19.090 --> 00:25:24.090
  • God knows your name.
  • 00:25:25.040 --> 00:25:28.070
  • He hasn't forgotten you.
  • 00:25:28.070 --> 00:25:30.160
  • Your name is engraved on his hand.
  • 00:25:30.160 --> 00:25:34.060
  • On earth you may know seasons of anonymity,
  • 00:25:34.060 --> 00:25:38.080
  • but from heavens view, you never have been
  • 00:25:38.080 --> 00:25:42.090
  • and you never will be anonymous.
  • 00:25:42.090 --> 00:25:46.000
  • (inspirational music)
  • 00:25:46.000 --> 00:25:49.050
  • - [Narrator] In a world consumed by becoming someone,
  • 00:26:00.290 --> 00:26:03.200
  • going somewhere, and being known, it's time to stop,
  • 00:26:03.200 --> 00:26:07.200
  • take a breath and discover the beauty of being hidden.
  • 00:26:07.200 --> 00:26:11.210
  • Through Dr. Alicia Chole's book, Anonymous,
  • 00:26:12.240 --> 00:26:15.150
  • you will discover the keys to walking in your identity,
  • 00:26:15.150 --> 00:26:18.260
  • understanding your purpose,
  • 00:26:18.260 --> 00:26:20.140
  • and living with intentionality,
  • 00:26:20.140 --> 00:26:22.200
  • and you'll develop, as Jesus did,
  • 00:26:22.200 --> 00:26:24.240
  • the strength necessary to withstand the trials
  • 00:26:24.240 --> 00:26:27.190
  • and tests that so often come with the spotlight.
  • 00:26:27.190 --> 00:26:31.060
  • - I think that what Alicia has done with the book,
  • 00:26:31.060 --> 00:26:33.120
  • Anonymous, and the work that she continues to do
  • 00:26:33.120 --> 00:26:36.010
  • is really transforming lives.
  • 00:26:36.010 --> 00:26:38.000
  • - I see so many people that want to live a
  • 00:26:38.000 --> 00:26:40.240
  • deep authentic, not a striving, performance chasing,
  • 00:26:40.240 --> 00:26:45.240
  • hustling for love kind of life.
  • 00:26:46.200 --> 00:26:49.220
  • I feel like that's where Anonymous
  • 00:26:49.220 --> 00:26:51.170
  • kind of intercepted my life.
  • 00:26:51.170 --> 00:26:53.180
  • - The book, Anonymous, is an unbelievable book.
  • 00:26:53.180 --> 00:26:56.020
  • I mean Alicia, great writer.
  • 00:26:56.020 --> 00:26:59.030
  • - She made the statement that 90 percent of Jesus' life
  • 00:26:59.030 --> 00:27:02.160
  • was anonymous and no one knew that he existed.
  • 00:27:02.160 --> 00:27:05.040
  • Reading these words, it just leapt off the page
  • 00:27:05.040 --> 00:27:07.260
  • and really transformed my life.
  • 00:27:07.260 --> 00:27:10.040
  • - [Narrator] today for your gift of $40 or more
  • 00:27:10.040 --> 00:27:12.180
  • in support of the many outreaches of TBN,
  • 00:27:12.180 --> 00:27:15.080
  • we want to send you your very own book, Anonymous,
  • 00:27:15.080 --> 00:27:18.120
  • along with the companion study guide.
  • 00:27:18.120 --> 00:27:20.160
  • Discover purpose in the hidden seasons,
  • 00:27:20.160 --> 00:27:23.140
  • call or go online to receive yours today.
  • 00:27:23.140 --> 00:27:26.110
  • (upbeat music)
  • 00:27:27.140 --> 00:27:30.030