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Overlooked but Not Forgotten

Pastor and reality TV star John Gray discusses being like David—overlooked and undervalued, but not forgotten by God. Read Transcript

He's an actor, a singer, a comedian,

and the associate pastor of the largest church in Texas.

But John Gray is also something else.

He is number eight out of eight children.

Take a look.

VOICEOVER: John Gray is the associate Pastor

at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest

church in the US.

John's talent doesn't stop at the pulpit.

He's toured with Kirk Franklin, led worship

at national conferences, and entertained thousands

as a stand-up comic.

But growing up, John was unpopular and never

imagined he could do any of those things.

In his book, "I Am Number Eight,"

John says everyone has a purpose,

even if they feel forgotten.

His new show, "The Book Of John Gray"

airs on the OWN Network on Saturdays at 10:00 p.m.

He hopes viewers will see how God's love can

help you overcome obstacles to reach your destiny.

Please welcome to the 700 Club the author of "I

Am Number Eight," John Gray.

John, it's great to have you here.

You know you weren't actually the eighth of eight children.


But you talk about David--


--and others in the Bible, who were sort of the forgotten



What does it mean to be number eight?

The whole idea of the book starts

in 1 Samuel 16, where Samuel is at Jesse's house

and he's there on assignment to anoint a King

and trying to make the oil flow on seven sons,

and the oil doesn't flow.

And Samuel says, are all the young men here?

And Jesse says, well there yet remains the youngest

and there he is outside, keeping the sheep.

And he says, we will not sit down until he comes.

And so Jesse calls for David to come in

and he is anointed King of a nation,

with the dirt of the field still on him.

The power of that scripture resonated with me,

because David was not even considered an option.

His father didn't even know his own son's value.

And what was interesting to me is

that, being the eighth son in a patriarchal society,

he was the last on the totem pole,

he was the last on the list, but he was first in God's heart.

And so you can be overlooked and undervalued by men,

but not forgotten by God.

And so what the book really is about

is for people like me who felt maybe marginalized or bullied

or maybe overlooked or were anonymous

for large seasons of our lives, that God actually uses

anonymity to produce his glory.

And what Jesus teaches us, those who identify with this book,

is that the process and the humility that

comes from the process is exactly what the spirit of God

needs to permeate the earth right now.

We need people who have gone through the pain of rejection

to be able to identify with other people's pain.

Oftentimes when things have been handed to you,

you have a little less empathy for people who struggle.


But this book is for anybody who's

ever felt like I know I'm called to something greater,

but right now it's not making sense.

This book helps to make sense of those areas.

Talk a little bit about your own life.

You were an only child.

Your relationship with your dad was

not what you hoped or wanted or needed it to be.


But your mom was the one--

Oh yes.

--who kept forth the vision.

That's right.

My mother was then and is now a phenomenal woman of God.

My mother and father divorced when I was probably

about four and a half.

And my father was not a strong part of my life.

I saw him four times in my life.

But my mother pushed me in the things of God

and she lived a Christ life in front of me.

And at seven years old, I knew who Jesus was for myself

and I accepted Christ.

And at 13 I knew I was called to ministry.

But that didn't diminish the struggle of things.


I mean, you had a lot of rejection from kids your age,

people who didn't understand who you were or value who were--


--outside your family.

How did you deal with that?

I think, honestly, you coped the best way you can,

especially when people are making fun of you

on the bus every day.

Or-- my mother had to cut corners,

so she had to cut my hair, so I didn't get to go

to the barbershop, so my--

With the cool cut, yeah.

--haircut wasn't always the best.

And I used to suck my thumb, so I had buck teeth

while I was getting braces.

So sometimes I was whistling like, [WHISTLES]

excuse me, excuse me.

So what it did is it actually gave me a platform to laugh,

because laughter does good, like a medicine.


So I started compensating by turning that into laughter

and godly laughter.

My mom always spoke life to me, but it

didn't change the pain of being rejected

and not really fitting in with the cool crowd.

So what advice would you give to people

who are watching right now, saying,

I feel like I'm number eight my life.

What would you say to them?

I would tell them to reference the scripture

and look at how our Heavenly Father has always

done miraculous things with the forgotten ones, the ones that

have been overlooked.

Actually, that's kind of His pattern.

It is.


And whether it's the number eight in David

or he who was coming from his line, Jesus.

You know, Nazareth?

Does anything good come out of Nazareth?

Born in a stable.

And so here, our Savior born in a manger,

overlooked, undervalue, nobody saw him coming,

but of course He's the Savior of the world.

And God specializes in taking broken situations

and creating value.

And so I love my Savior for that.

And what the "I Am Number Eight" represents-- eight, of course,

biblically, means new beginnings.

And so God can begin again in your life, when

you give your life to the Lord and when

you decide that trusting him is better

than trusting your own intuition and your own ability,

then you begin to watch God open doors.

I've been saying recently this is

the season of the open door, not the knocked door.


If you've got to knock, that's not your door.

It's not open yet.

This is the season of the open door.

And for those who are the number eights, the ones who

God is going to bring a new beginning, we are the ones,

I believe, God is positioning to speak life to broken people.

He's the one that's opening the door.

So our job is to stand behind him and trust him

for that process.

Season of an open door for you, too, your own TV show.

Yes, ma'am.


Is that based on your life?

It is.

It's a docu series that follows my wife

and I and our two children.

And it's on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The thing that's interesting about it

is that the show isn't just about us,

it's about how we connect with people outside the church--


--and help them walk to places of healing and wholeness.

What I told the people as we were

going through this process, I said, let me tell you,

I'm unapologetically a Christian.

I'm going to talk about Jesus.

If that's a problem, you don't want me.

If you don't want me talking about the Lord,

then find somebody else.

I will not minimize my Savior for the purposes of television.


I serve at the command of my King.

And they are willing and have been very gracious.

There are clips of my sermons in every episode.


And so it's the intersection of faith in humanity.

And it's what the world needs to see.

And it's an open door.

You can check out John's TV show, "The Book Of John Gray,"

Saturday nights, 10:00 p.m. eastern on the OWN channel.

John's book is called "I Am Number Eight."

It's great reading.

Every one of us needs to read about how God uses what

we least admire or even honor.

It's available wherever books are sold.

We also have a web-exclusive Facebook interview with John.

You can watch that by going to

Thank you, my friend.

Thank you so much.

Great to have you here.

Honored to be here.

God bless you.


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