Mike Rowe’s ‘Story Behind the Story’

Mike Rowe is a familiar face to viewers all across the television universe.

The multi-TV show host and narrator extraordinaire has yet another production in the works. His new series, “The Story Behind the Story,” is set to debut this May on TBN.

Storytelling will be the means with which some tried-and-true values will be presented to a new generation, and perhaps re-instilled in those of us who may have forgotten how important they are in the cultivation of a productive and caring society.

When Mike was asked recently about the most effective way of teaching folks about the work ethic and broadening people’s understanding of the dignity and integrity that potentially accompany hard work, his answer was a straightforward one. Tell the story.

“I don’t think there’s one specific answer or playbook,” he said. “But part of the answer has to be storytelling. We have to do a better job of magnifying people who have prospered or found a measure of happiness by doing the very things that we want to celebrate.”

Stories have expanded the consciousness of human beings since time began, due to their inherent capacity to reach within us.

Mike has mastered the art of storytelling, a unique gift that many desire but few possess. He uses the power of parables to establish a set of circumstances and then proceeds to confront in a non-threatening way the ethical challenges that are hidden within.

“Nobody wants a sermon and nobody wants a lecture and nobody wants to be scolded,” he said. “And I certainly don’t want to do any of those things, either. So it’s a tricky balance.”

Mike’s experience as an actor, author, television host, and narrator will no doubt serve him well as he launches this latest venture. Best known for his programs “Dirty Jobs,” which airs on the Discovery Channel, and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” which originally aired on CNN but is currently on TBN, Mike’s TV bona fides can fill volumes.

He hosted “Worst Case Scenarios” for TBS and “The Most” for The History Channel and also held host duties on QVC, the home-shopping network.

In addition, he has been featured in a spate of television commercials, including ones produced for Ford, Caterpillar, and Viva.

He has a truly extensive background as a narrator, having served as the announcer on “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” for several years.

He is also the narrator voice heard on shows that include Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” “Shark Week,” “American Chopper,” “American Hot Rod,” “Wild Pacific,” “Silver Rush,” “Ghost Lab,” and “How the Universe Works”; National Geographic Channel’s “Wicked Tuna”; and SYFY Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.”

Over the years he has viewed himself as a booster for blue-collar and white-collar workers alike. The contents of his projects seek to put in a positive light the qualities of diligence and self-initiative.

His motivation seems to spring from his rural upbringing and the powerful influence that his extraordinary grandfather Carl Knobel had upon his life.

“He could build a house without a blueprint,” Mike explained. “He only went to the seventh grade, but he was an inspiration to me. [He] went on to become a skilled tradesman.”

“…‘Dirty Jobs,’ which most people know me from, was a tribute to him,” Mike said.

He shared that finding ways to tell stories about people who have things in common with his granddad “was the impetus for so much of what I’ve wound up doing.”

“Nobody’s more surprised than me to see how that has caught hold,” he said.

His grandpa also built a portion of the Presbyterian church in which Mike was first introduced to his faith. In his family, faith was something that was omnipresent.

“Faith and church for me growing up wasn’t an event — it wasn’t a thing that was introduced to me,” he said. “It was a thing that was just there. It was there like the stable had always been there … there were Lenten dinners on Wednesday nights. I was in the Boy Scouts [at the church]. For me, church and the faith that came with it were as much a part of the community as anything else.”

He had the misfortune of witnessing firsthand how faith-related content is selectively removed from television product.

“When I started making TV, I realized that a lot of the places where I went, people’s faith and people’s church … they occupied the same kind of real estate. But when I saw the finished versions of other shows, those things were always cut out,” he said.

He has a word of advice for those who work in the television industry.

“’Don’t tell the story you want to tell. Tell the story you find.’ And by and large, if you commit to telling the story you find, you are going to find people who have an element of faith in their life.”

Kelsey Grammer to Star in ‘Jesus Revolution’

Filmmaking is a collaborative art form. If the right team members are assembled for a given project and all set the bar high, the odds of success increase.

However, hard work and sheer desire to succeed are not enough to secure the ultimate goal. It also takes a high degree of skill and natural talent to make for movie magic.

An upcoming project titled “Jesus Revolution” appears to have an exceptional combination.

The script tells the true story of the “Jesus movement,” the 1960s youth-oriented embrace of Christianity that began in a small community of Southern California hippies and ultimately wrapped its arms around the globe.

Little could the affectionately termed “Jesus freaks” have known at the time that they would spark a national religious awakening, one that continues to this very day.

Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn have penned the movie script and Erwin will also direct. This is the same Erwin who directed the hit films “I Can Only Imagine” and “American Underdog.”

Brent McCorkle will co-direct, and Jon and brother Andrew Erwin will serve as producers, along with Kevin Downes, Josh Walsh, and Daryl Lefever.

The movie will feature six-time Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer in the starring role. Kelsey will portray the late great founding pastor of the Calvary Chapel churches, Chuck Smith.

The beloved Pastor Chuck was a valuable mentor to a young hippie of the era named Greg Laurie, who currently serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. Joel Courtney will portray Laurie in the film.

While on a search for the truth, Laurie meets fellow hippie Lonnie Frisbee (to be played by Jonathan Roumie of “The Chosen” fame). Frisbee is a street preacher.

Laurie and Frisbee team up with Pastor Chuck, who opens his small Southern California church to a generation of young seekers, unexpectedly igniting a spiritual phenomenon of which the Bible is, and remains, the central focus. Contemporary Christian music plays an integral role in stirring the hearts of young people and elevating the worship experience.

Kelsey is joined in “Jesus Revolution” by Anna Grace Barlow (appearances in “Supernatural” and “The Big Leap”). Barlow plays Laurie’s friend Cathe. The lead actor’s experience and recognition from portraying the character of Dr. Frasier Crane for 20 years on two hit television shows, the first of which was “Cheers” and the second being the “Cheers” spin-off “Frasier,” will be of great help to the viability of the project.

“In his iconic performances, Kelsey has a proven ability to connect with audiences in a real, vulnerable way, which will make him a tremendous presence in this film,” Jon Erwin stated.

Kelsey’s movie career includes roles in franchise films such as “Transformers” and “X-Men.”

His inimitable voice can be heard as Sideshow Bob in “The Simpsons” and as Stinky Pete in “Toy Story 2.”

He is the first actor ever to be nominated for multiple Emmy awards for his portrayal of the same character on three different television shows (“Cheers,” “Frasier,” and “Wings”). His trophy shelf includes six Emmy awards (five primetime and one daytime Emmy).

Classically trained, Kelsey studied at Juilliard. Prior to his TV and movie career, his stage performances included Broadway roles in “Macbeth” and “Othello.”

Kelsey also has his own production company, Grammnet Productions, which produced his award-winning television series “Boss,” as well as additional TV programs that include “Medium,” “Girlfriends,” and “The Game.”

The road to all this amazing success has been a highly bumpy one for Kelsey. He was only two years old when his parents divorced. He and his younger sister were raised by his mother and maternal grandparents.

At he age of 12, cancer took the life of his father figure, Kelsey’s grandpa.

At the age of 14, he had to endure hearing the tragic news that his father had been murdered during a home invasion.

In 1975, his sister was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in Colorado.

Five years later his two teenage half-brothers died from a shark attack while scuba diving.

In 2008, he would suffer a heart attack.

And in 2010, a miscarriage would cause further heartache for him and his family.

Having to deal throughout life with the cumulative magnitude of tragedy eventually led Kelsey to seek out ways to alleviate his pain. Like so many others, addictive substances would lure him in. Thankfully, he was able to achieve sobriety once again through faith and rehabilitation.

“I just put [that pain] where it is: in the past. But it’s a pain that you can always stumble into again – it’s with you 24/7, especially in the case of tragic death, and there have been a few of those,” Kelsey shared. “It’s just part of life. Maybe I learnt a little earlier than most, but it’s just the way it goes.”

He describes himself as a “failing Christian.” In his words, “As a Christian, we always fail because we can’t become Christ. But I can try at least to emulate the best qualities, even if I may fall short.”

“Jesus has been a profound influence in my life. I am proud to be a part of this film,” he said.

A man of faith, the actor finds inspiration in his involvement with the “Jesus Revolution” project.

People of faith who await the movie’s release look forward to the same.

Shroud of Turin Exhibit in Washington, DC Likely to Gain New Believers

The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC is set to unveil a new exhibit on February 26, which will focus on the Shroud of Turin.

Titled “Mystery & Faith: The Shroud of Turin,” the exhibit will remain open for public viewing until July 31.

Steve Green, president of the popular arts and crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby, is also the founder of The Museum of the Bible.

Many Christians believe that the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ, which following his death and subsequent resurrection was discovered by his disciples in the empty tomb.

There is a great deal of evidence that would lead ordinary folks and scholars alike to believe that the burial cloth is indeed the very one that was wrapped around the body of Jesus.

The Shroud of Turin is a rectangular 3 ft. by 14 ft. piece of linen fabric that has the image of an individual impressed upon it. The person resembles in facial appearance much of the classic artwork that depicts the Son of God when he walked the earth.

Remarkably, there are visual signs that the person who was shrouded in the cloth had been tortured and had undergone the horrific method of death inflicted upon those declared guilty by the Roman government was crucifixion. The reddish-brown stains that appear on the fabric appear to correlate with the wounds in the scriptural account associated with the death of Jesus.

“Few items in existence today connect so closely to the biblical depictions of Jesus’ death,” Dr. Jeff Kloha, chief curatorial officer at The Museum of the Bible stated.

“The Shroud is an example of the enduring impact of and interest in the New Testament’s description of Jesus’ crucifixion,” he said.

The very existence of the Shroud of Turin has prompted some in the secular world to vigorously question its authenticity.

Several tests were conducted during the late 1980s that used carbon dating techniques to assert that the shroud did not originate at the time of Christ’s death.

The testing was highly criticized on several bases, including the fact that the sample used by the testing laboratories came from a single location on one corner of the cloth, which is contrary to proper testing protocols.

In stark contrast to the critics, there is mounting evidence that points to the authenticity of the full body image relic, which includes the following:

–Soil found on the Shroud of Turin matches soil found in other tombs in and near Jerusalem.

–Pollen grains found on the cloth are unique to the Jerusalem area.

–A digital photographic analysis of the coins found over the eyes on the image reveals that they were minted in Jerusalem by Pontius Pilate in 29 A.D.

–The shroud contains actual blood that has recently been shown through biochemistry to be from someone who experienced torture prior to dying.

–The Shroud of Turin also matches blood stains from the Sudarium of Oviedo, which is a separate burial cloth that was used to cover the head of Jesus. When the two cloths are compared, the blood stains on the head cloth are consistent with the patterns and blood type (AB) found on the Shroud of Turin.

–The head cloth was also discovered to contain the same pollen grains as the shroud.

Many pictures have been painted on fabric materials over the years. However, no other pictures on fabric have the unique qualities of the image contained on the Shroud of Turin.

The distinction is that the Shroud of Turin turns out to be a precise photographic negative, which is mysteriously imprinted on cloth material that does not accept photographic impressions.

The imprint could not have been produced by paint, dye, vapors, or scorching as some may claim. Furthermore, the photographic negative is only found on the uppermost layer of the linen threads and displays portions of the body in three dimensions, such as those found in 3D ultrasounds.

A solid scientific explanation that has been put forward regarding the transference of the image on to the cloth is that it was produced by a powerful burst of radiation that was emitted from the body shrouded in the cloth.

Believers view this as the point in time when Jesus came back to life.

In early 2018, the International Institute for Advanced Studies of Space Representation Sciences in Palermo, Italy used projective geometry and photogrammetric survey techniques to study the shroud. These tests are similar to stroboscopic photography, which captures a rapid sequence of images of a moving object on a single frame using multiple, quick bursts of light.

The results of the institute’s study indicate that a pulsating source of penetrating energy radiated from the body contained in the shroud.

To celebrate the opening of the new exhibit on the Shroud of Turin, The Museum of the Bible is hosting a grand opening on February 26, which will feature presentations from experts on the shroud, including Fr. Robert Spitzer and Barrie Schwortz.

Fr. Spitzer is host of the program “Father Spitzer’s Universe,” which airs on EWTN. He is also the founder and president of the Magis Institute of Reason of Faith.

Schwortz was the documenting photographer for the team that first conducted an in-depth scientific examination of the Shroud of Turin in 1978. He initially turned down the job of being the official photographer.

“When they first asked me to do this, first thing I said was, no, no way. And why did I refuse? Well, answer is simple; I was very uncomfortable with the subject matter because I was born and raised in an Orthodox Jewish home,” Schwortz said.

In 1995, after years of resisting, Schwortz consulted with a world renowned blood expert, Dr. Alan Adler, who answered a question that had kept the famed photographer from accepting that the shroud was authentic.

During a telephone conversation, the two had a discussion about the blood contained on the shroud.

The doctor described how he had found a large amount of bilirubin in the blood. The amount of the substance was consistent with “somebody who’s been tortured, like Jesus was, beaten the night before in the Garden of Gethsemane, then the next day scourged and ultimately, capped with … a crown of thorns, ultimately, crucified and speared,” Dr. Adler stated.

It was then Schwortz was convinced that the Shroud of Turin was not just any ordinary artifact.

“I think I serve God better this way, in my involvement in the Shroud, by being the last person in the world people would expect to be lecturing on what is, effectively, the ultimate Christian relic,” he told the Catholic News Agency in 2015.

“I think God in his infinite wisdom knew better than I did, and he put me there for a reason,” Schwortz said.

Franklin Graham Lends His Support to the Canadian Truckers

A recent state of emergency was declared by Canadian government entities relating to the truck drivers who have been protesting a number of mandates that continue to be imposed by Canada’s radically left-leaning leader Justin Trudeau.

Following the state of emergency declaration, riot police were dispatched to the scene. However, while the police were still on their way, something amazing was going on in Milk River, Alberta. The big rig drivers, who have been dubbed the Freedom Convoy, were engaged in a most poignant response to the imminent circumstances they were about to face.

The truckers assembled in a peaceful linking of arms. They then proceeded to sing their country’s national anthem and recite the Lord’s Prayer together.

At what was likely an intensely stressful moment, participants didn’t react with any kind of negativity. They didn’t push back with anger or its attendant emotions. Instead they turned to the Almighty for His help with their plight and countered with expressions of love for God, country, and neighbor.

This is what faith in action looks like.

The number of admirers of the truckers for the manner in which they have comported themselves is growing exponentially. Among those who have taken note is prominent and influential American evangelical leader Franklin Graham.

Son of Billy Graham, one of the most notable evangelists of all times, Franklin is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization.

A classic version of the archetypical “preacher’s son,” Franklin went through a rebellious period in his youth, which manifested itself through the use of cigarettes and alcohol, and his vehicle of choice, the motorcycle.

His errant behavior resulted in his dropping out of high school and a later expulsion from college.

“I wanted to be a hell raiser that lived my own life,” Franklin said. “And if it made people mad, tough. If it disappointed people, tough. It’s my life, I’m going to live it the way I want to live it, and if you don’t like it, get out of my way. That was kind of my attitude.”

But like the parable of the Prodigal Son, he eventually made his way back home. At 22 years old, he remembers his famous dad telling him that he was going to have to choose. Will it be Path A or Path B?

“He looked at me, and he said, ‘Franklin, your mother and I sense that there is a struggle for the soul of your life. And there’s no halfway. Either you’re going to have to accept Jesus Christ and what he says and obey him and follow him, or you’ll have to reject him. There’s no middle ground,’” Franklin shared.

While on a trip to Jerusalem, Franklin repented and committed his life to Jesus while alone in a hotel room.

“My years of running and rebellion had ended,” Franklin wrote in his autobiography, which is aptly titled “Rebel With A Cause.”

The blue collar pastor recently used his Twitter account to send a message of support to the Canadian truckers. He compared them and their supporters to the man best known for his midnight ride prior to the battles of Lexington and Concord, alerting the colonial militia of the approaching enemy forces.

“Pray for our neighbors to the north,” Franklin wrote. “Freedom is precious. The issue isn’t primarily masks or vaccines—the issue is FREEDOM, the freedom to make our own choices. These truckers are a modern-day version of Paul Revere, riding against oppression.”

In a follow-up tweet, he asked, “Who would’ve thought you’d ever be arrested for delivering fuel or food to people in need?”

Additionally, he posted, “But that’s what’s happening in Canada. You might be arrested for bringing fuel or food to truckers who are a part of the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa.”

His answer to his own question points out the abysmal manner in which the Canadian government has handled the largest peaceful protest in Canadian history.

Fortunately, despite demagoguery and vilification by some, the truckers have already secured some significant victories. Most notably, several Canadian provinces have lifted their COVID restrictions.

Franklin was enthralled by the great news of mandates being dropped in Canadian jurisdictions. He extended gratitude to the truckers and to their supporters.

“Thank you to the Freedom Convoy & all those who made sure their voices were heard at the Canadian capital & around the world,” Franklin stated.

When the mayor of Ottawa first declared a state of emergency and began to crack down on the truckers and protestors, Franklin came up with a viable solution, which he offered to authorities

“Mr. Mayor, if PM @JustinTrudeau would back up on the mask & vaccine mandates & let individuals make those decisions, those trucks will be gone,” he wrote.

One part of the many organizations that he runs is the Billy Graham “Rapid Response Team.” The team is present in downtown Ottawa, recognizable due to members’ red jackets and yellow vests, ministering to the demonstrators and offering “the peace of Christ.”

Franklin posted a plea to his following, and to all those who care about the cause of freedom.

“Continue to pray for the men and women who are standing strong for FREEDOM,” he said.

A plea that will hopefully be heard around the world.

Cooper Kupp’s Uplifting Presence On and Off the Field

Folks watching the action-packed National Football League playoff games got to see a stellar performance by Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

No. 10 and his team are now headed to the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 13.

The story of how Kupp got to the point where he’s at is one that inspires all those who dream of achieving greatness.

After graduating from high school, his hopes of receiving a scholarship offer from college football’s top division were shattered. Not a single one came his way.

He opted to continue pursuing the sport he loved at Eastern Washington University, where he worked hard and established himself as a first-rate receiver.

Back when Kupp was still in high school and was about to begin his first year of college, he made a decision to be baptized first.

Carla shared the reasoning of her grandson’s faith priority. “He wanted to make a statement to God about his commitment,” she said.

Prior to the NFL draft that would forever change life’s course for him, Kupp tweeted, “No gift I could give that would be worthy of Him…but I can play. To the very best of the ability He gave me. And He will be well pleased.”

In 2017 Kupp’s dream of getting the chance to play at the top professional level came true. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft by the Los Angeles Rams, just in time for the team’s second season in the City of Angels, having just returned from a multi-year stay as the home team in St. Louis.

The skills and self-discipline that Kupp developed at a smaller university, a division, incidentally, that is often overlooked, quickly catapulted him in the NFL.

He rose to the highest level a wide receiver can attain at the pro level, with the most receptions, most receiving yards, and most receiving touchdowns during a regular season, commonly known as the “triple crown” for those who play this position.

During the playoffs, he set yet another record by becoming the first player to exceed 2,000 yards in pass receptions as well as the first to catch 170 passes.

And he still has another huge game to play. His biggest ever.

Kupp has become a bright light for those who call the Left Coast home.

The most significant factors that relate to his gift of perseverance are expressed on his website in three short words: “Faith, family, and football.”

Kupp’s relatives include two previous generations of athletic prowess. Dad Craig was a quarterback who was drafted in the fifth round by the New York Giants, and also played for the Phoenix Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.

And Grandpa Jake was picked in the ninth round of the draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He played as an offensive lineman with the Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, and New Orleans Saints.

However, it is something much greater than sports that binds this family together. All share a genuinely vibrant living faith.

Dad Craig sums it up in a single phrase. “…Our relationship with Jesus is the center of our life,” he says.

Kupp’s life story wouldn’t be complete without talking about his bride Anna. The two met at a track meet when they were seniors in high school. It was the proverbial love at first sight. Kupp knew she was the one he would marry, and told this to his mother on the same day that he and Anna met.

The couple tried a long distance relationship for a brief spell, with Anna going away to the University of Arkansas to compete in track and field. Not being able to withstand being apart, though, Anna soon transferred to Eastern Washington. She lost almost two years of college credits in the process, but at least they were together once again.

Marriage soon followed, and they have been blessed with two beautiful sons. The family lives a God-centered life, which has had a positive influence on other young couples who seek to have the same.

It wasn’t long after Kupp began playing professional football that he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. It was Anna who assisted him in his recovery. And, of course, he sought help from above.

“I needed God,” he said in a 2019 interview. “I needed to trust in what my faith was. Just my wife and son, being able to push me through this, teammates, the coaching staff, training staff, strength staff. I just had a team around me that encouraged me. It really showed me how important it was to have the people that God has really placed in my life.”

The wide receiver’s priorities remain clear. His relationship with his Lord and Savior are foremost in his life.

“…If it wasn’t for my faith, if it wasn’t for knowing that Christ has told me who I am in His eyes…He’s bridged every gap,” he said.

Never seeming to shy away from talking about his convictions, Kupp speaks out even in the face of the bright media spotlight that perpetually shines on celebrity athletes.

After his team defeated Tom Brady’s defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kupp shared his faith feelings by sporting a hat from his own apparel line. The attire encouraged, “Do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

These are words that are inspired by the Scripture verse 1 Corinthians 9:25, which reads as follows: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Ben Roethlisberger’s Football and Faith

He knew it and his fans knew it too. Ben Roethlisberger’s time as a professional football player was coming to an end.

At what would be his final home game after 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the star quarterback experienced something most athletes only dream of – the pure unadulterated outpouring of love from fans that had been with him from the start.

Right back at them went the love from Big Ben.

“My family and I are overwhelmed with the love and support we have received around last night’s game. We are truly grateful for every one of you,” he posted on his Twitter account.

It was common knowledge that Ben had restructured his contract before the start of the season in order to remain in the game for one last stretch before his retirement.

It’s official now.

“The time has come to clean out my locker, hang up my cleats and continue to be all I can be to my wife and children,” Ben said in a video posted on Twitter.

“I retire from football a truly grateful man,” he added.

Since being drafted 11th overall in 2004, he remained loyal to the Steelers for his entire career; this in an age of free agency where fans watch players bounce from one team to another.

And what a career he has had.

Ben won the Rookie of the Year award in his first year, made the Pro Bowl six times, and led the Steelers to 165 regular season wins, eight division titles, and three Super Bowls, winning two. That’s Pro Football Hall of Fame level legacy.

After he is retired for the requisite five seasons, he will most likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

In 2013, after overcoming off-field issues that scuffed up his reputation, Ben had a turn around in which he won the most prestigious honor the NFL bestows, the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which focuses on virtuous activities of players in the league while off the field.

His charitable activities continue to make a difference in his community and the world at large.

He demonstrated for everyone what his priorities are as he walked through the stadium tunnel for the last time, accompanied by his wife Ashley and three children Bodie, Baylee, and Ben Jr.

What everyone saw was a man who is more than a winning athlete. He walks the walk of a truly devoted husband and father.

As he stated in a 2013 interview, “I’m putting all my energy into being the best person, best husband and best father I can be.”

His commitment to family has a great deal to do with his religious faith. After his team’s final game of the season, the AFC’s wildcard playoff game, Ben invoked God in talking about what was to come next in his life.

He said something you don’t hear too often from celebrities or otherwise. He shared that he was going to “try to expand God’s kingdom.”

He grew up in the Christian tradition and in 2017 made a recommitment to his faith.

During a June 2020 ManUp Conference, he explained why he chose to be baptized for a second time.

“I was baptized as a kid; my parents took me as a baby. But I didn’t make that decision. So three years ago now I made the decision to be baptized because I felt like I needed to do that. I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, with my wife, with my kids, with my family — become a better person,” Ben said.

He had a message for young athletes about how his religious beliefs fit with his vocation.

“I want that to be known, especially to all you young men out there. It’s cool to be a Christian and be an athlete. Go ahead and be the best athlete you can possibly be, and see if you can be a better Christian,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m trying to be a better Christian than I am athlete and football player.”

Like so many other Christians, he was led back to his faith heritage in the most beautifully mystical way.

“Jesus is the One who brought me back…and I’m so thankful for it because I feel I’m a better Christian, a better husband and a better father today because of His forgiveness of me.”

Seamlessness of faith and action is what makes us winners in life.

Mourning the Passing of Rock Icon Meat Loaf

Marvin Lee Aday, more famously known as the rock star Meat Loaf, passed away recently at the age of 74.

He was simply one of the best-selling musical artists of all time.

Meat, as he liked to be called, was the musical performer on more than 100 million records that were distributed worldwide.

He made his way to the top rung of rock stardom in the United Kingdom and in Europe.

His nickname was given to him in part by his dad. But the completion of the famed label came from a high school football coach.

He went through a legal name change in 1984, but not one folks might have thought. He changed his first name from Marvin to Michael.

To the surprise of many meat eaters, his carnivorous nickname did not actually reflect his personal eating habits. Many individuals were stunned to find out that Meat was actually a vegetarian for more than a decade.

Commenting on the vegetable eating irony, he told Entertainment Weekly, “There’ve been vegetarians who wouldn’t speak to me because of my name. I was sitting with Jon Bon Jovi at one of those awards things, and I say, ‘Oh, man, I love k.d. lang. I’d really like to meet her.’ They went to find out if it was okay, and she goes, ‘No. His name is Meat Loaf.’ I stopped being a k.d. lang fan after that.”

Meat’s vocal specialty was an ultra-dramatic performance amid an orchestral blanket backdrop. His recordings combined European opera tradition with American hard rock. The result was a unique brand that he shared with longtime composer-songwriter Jim Steinman.

Steinman wrote and produced many of Meat’s best known works, including his 1977 debut album “Bat Out of Hell.” The album was based on a futuristic rock opera version of Peter Pan, titled “Neverland,” which was produced by another rock legend, Todd Rundgren,

The recording came about from an unusual collaboration of musicians that included the pianist and drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s “E Street Band,” members of Rundgren’s group “Utopia,” and a well-placed Edgar Winter sax solo.

The album was actually rejected by four record labels. However, two breakthrough television performances by Meat, the UK’s “Old Grey Whistle Test” and the U.S.’s “Saturday Night Live,” propelled the album’s ultimate release.

It would go on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time, with more than 43 million copies sold globally, and two sequel albums to follow.

Meat had an acting stint in addition to his mega-successful musical career. He was a scene stealer in the cult films “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Fight Club.”

He also starred in numerous other films that include “Roadie,” “Motorama,” “Crazy in Alabama,” “Stage Fright,” “Spice World,” “Leap of Faith,” and “Americathon.”

Meat played dual roles in the original Broadway cast of “The Rocky Horror Show” and also appeared in the musical “Hair.”

High-profile associates in the music business paid tribute to the rock singer at his passing.

Queen guitarist Brian May wrote on Instagram that Meat was “Always full of madness, with the innocent sense of naughtiness of a five-year old, Meat was forever young.”

Bonnie Tyler, who recorded an album with Meat, described him as “a larger than life character with a voice & stage presence to match & is one of those rare people who truly was a one-off talent and personality.”

Alice Cooper, rock legend in his own right, said, “Meat Loaf was one of the greatest voices in rock ‘n’ roll, and he was certainly one of my closest friends in the business.”

Cooper said there is no one like Meat, and that “his shoes can never be filled.”

Unlike many of his colleagues, Meat was an independent thinker and soon projected a right-of-center persona. In 2012, he was one of the few well known entertainment figures to campaign for then-GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

When Meat was a contestant on the 2011 season of “Celebrity Apprentice,” then-host Donald Trump asked the rocker if he thought he should run for president.

Meat answered, “Absolutely. I would vote for you. In fact, I’ll help you with your campaign.”

Meat and President Trump became fast friends on the show, so much so that the 45th president issued a statement about Meat’s passing, describing the singer as a “great guy.”

“He was smart, talented, open, and warm. His success was enormous — we all loved him. Meat Loaf will be greatly missed!” President Trump said.

Meat also held traditional religious views that placed him at odds with many current entertainment industry figures.

He grew up singing in the church choir, studied the Bible, and attended a Christian college. His faith influenced his work, with many of his songs containing Christian concepts.

At one point he collaborated with a female vocalist named Shaun Murphy, aka Stoney, whom he met during the Detroit performances of the musical “Hair.”

The album that the two released in 1971, titled “Stoney and Meatloaf,” contained a Christian-themed song “(I’d Love to Be) As Heavy as Jesus.”

Some of the lyrics are as follows:

“I just want to rise above, above that devil’s glove

And see God in every single man, I just want to spread joy like that little boy

Who once walked, walked this promised land,

And I’d love to be as heavy as Jesus.”

Meat shared his very active and consistent prayer life via an interview.

“I’ll be honest with you. I pray every night and if I skip a night, I apologize for skipping it,” he stated. “I thank [God] for my blessings because I’ve been very blessed and I pray for my family and I pray for people who are ill…”

Rock opera pioneer Andrew Lloyd Webber described Meat’s afterlife in this way:

“The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock.”

Clearly the world was blessed by his talent.