June  2020 

 Wouldn’t you like to just hear a nice story for a change? Okay! Since you asked for one, I’ll share one with you! For many years now I have enjoyed watching the show American Idol, that every year finds new singing talent from just everyday ordinary young people around our nation. Some might even accuse “American Idol” of being my favorite show. I really do watch it and enjoy it… usually pick my favorites early and stick by them… I vote for them every week, and many if not most years my favorites win. I’ve gotten pretty good at it actually.  I’m so “American Idol” loyal that I don’t watch the “Voice”… its competition. 

Anyway, this year in the early auditions portion of the show, “American Idol,” we met a young singing contestant that went by the name “Just Sam.” She was a young African American girl that grew up in Harlem New York, was basically homeless, abandoned by her parents who had a whole host of terrible issues. She survived by playing her guitar for subway riders who threw donations in a can. Her grandmother was from Liberia and had come to the states to basically take care of her. The grandmother was a strong Christian believer and had instilled a love of Jesus in her basically homeless granddaughter who was a subway singer. So when she auditioned for the famous judges of American Idol; Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, she sang a Christian song. She impressed and the famous judges awarded her with a “golden ticket” to Hollywood. But it’s what happened after she got that “golden ticket” that got me. Now I’ve been watching this show for many years now… almost since day one of the show 18 years ago, but I’ve never seen anything like this before, especially on a nationally televised prime time TV show. The judges awarded her the ticket and she went to take it from their hand. She was sobbing nearly uncontrollably but she got out the words to the judges, “Can I pray with you guys! I have a prayer I want to do with you guys!” I think they may have been so taken aback by it that they said yes. She actually had them all hold hands… which they did on national TV mind you… and she led them in a beautiful Christian prayer that sounded a lot like a prayer for salvation. I’m not kidding! And it wasn’t a short prayer. It was a deep and meaningful prayer. Just Sam said to the judges as they held hands, “So repeat after me…” which they did as she lead them “Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus make my life brand new right here, right now, with my friends and my new family!” They all prayed it, repeating it in cadence as Just Sam led them. Once the prayer was over famous country singer, Luke Bryan said, “I feel like we need to go get baptized!” And famed pop star, Katy Perry, said, “I think we just got saved!” And Just Sam shouted “Thank you, Jesus!”  It really was a beautiful and powerful moment. Jesus’ name was prayed on prime time TV. Nancy and I were so touched by it we both cried. It was beautiful!

Now that was back in February before all of this “time” we are in now started. Since then “Just Sam,” the young homeless subway singer from Harlem New York, has been singing her heart out week after week, literally saying “Praise the Lord” and “Thank you Jesus” as she would move on successfully in the competition. After the lockdown happened the show changed quite a bit and they had to sing from home. Since she had none they put her up in a place in L.A.  and she recorded her singing on a cell phone, and America kept voting for her. 

And now as Paul Harvey said it, “and now the rest of the story.” This week “American Idol” crowned their winner… a young homeless, Christian, African American girl from Harlem who basically lived off of coins thrown in a tin can as she sat on a sidewalk and sang and played her guitar by the subway in New York. Just Sam is the new American Idol… the very same one who prayed that beautiful prayer with the judges and said “Praise the Lord” and “Thank you Jesus” week after week pointing to Jesus. I think Just Sam would likely say “I don’t want to be anyone’s idol! The only one worthy of true praise and worship is Just Jesus!”  Now that’s a good story.

Always be a light for Jesus Christ wherever He puts you. That’s what Just Sam did! Colossians 3:17 says it, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”                          God bless you,  Bro, Buddy