"Christ or Klingon" asks contestants to guess whether words are from the Bible or Star Trek's Klingon language. "Curse You, Autocorrect" requires contestants to decipher a typed Bible passage that has been "autocorrected." "Nazareth Enquirer" lists sensational headlines that could have appeared in a tabloid. It's all part of "The American Bible Challenge," Jeff Foxworthy's TV game show beginning its third season tomorrow.
Three teams face off in each episode; the winner receives thousands of dollars for its chosen charity. They include teams of former beauty queens, motorcycle-riding priests, nuns, tattoo artists, rodeo cowboys and urban street rappers.
Is God blessing the show? The American Bible Challenge is the top-rated program in the 18-year history of the Game Show Network. But to me, the best way to know if God is anointing a ministry is to see if things are happening that only God can do. People can make television shows, but only the Holy Spirit can change lives. And that's happening through The American Bible Challenge.
One team competing this season said, "We don't even see it as a game. We see it as an opportunity to share the gospel . . . and secondly to do our very best to provide for these ladies at Home of Grace" (their Mobile, Alabama charity). A team that competed on a previous season operates a food pantry out of the back door of their home. They won $20,000 their first week on the show, and Jeff Foxworthy noticed one of the women sitting with tears rolling down her face when production went to commercial break. He asked, "Are you okay?" She said, "Do you know that with $20,000 I can provide 80,000 meals for people that aren't going to eat?"
Foxworthy says, "That's when it dawned on me; this isn't just a game show. This isn't someone taking $20,000 and going, 'I'm going to get my kitchen remodeled or buy a new car.' To her it was 80,000 meals for people that weren't going to eat. And I thought, 'You know what? That's not happening anywhere else on TV.'"
Is the show changing the lives of viewers? Somebody said to Foxworthy, "We thought of the Bible as a book of rules and then I'm watching the show and I'm like, 'well, maybe that's not right.'" And Foxworthy said, "No, you know what it actually is? It's the coolest love story ever written."
We get the concept of "calling" from 1 Corinthians 7:17, which says: "Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned him, and to which God has called him." Psychologist Martin Seligman writes about three vocational orientations: a job, a career, and a calling. A job earns you a paycheck; a career entails a deeper investment in your work. But a calling is a passionate commitment to a cause for its own sake. According to Dr. Seligman, finding your "calling" is the key to authentic happiness.
Clearly, Jeff Foxworthy and those who make The American Bible Challenge have found a calling. Let's pray for God to use their work to share "the coolest love story ever written" with more people than ever. And let's ask God to use our gifts and influence for the same purpose.
What's your calling for the Kingdom today?
Publication date: May 21, 2014