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The Rewards of Commitment: Rich Wilkerson, Jr. and David & Tamela Mann

Jesus Calling podcast #153 featuring Rich Wilkerson, Jr. & David and Tamela Mann

Rich Wilkerson, Jr: I think we’re in a day and age right now where people need hope. People need to know the grace of God. People wonder over and over again, “What’s the message of Jesus?” It’s really simple. Jesus Christ, He did not come for the healthy. He came for the sick. He did not come to condemn the world. He came to save the world.

The Rewards of Commitment: Rich Wilkerson, Jr. and David & Tamela Mann – Episode #153

Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today’s guests express how their relationships, through joys and tears, have stood the test of time because of an unwavering commitment to God and the ones they love. And as they’ve learned what keeps a relationship strong, they have dedicated their lives to share this message with others: pastor Rich Wilkerson, Jr., and entertainers David and Tamela Mann.

First up, Rich Wilkerson, Jr. is the pastor at VOUS Church in Miami, Florida. Rich descends from 4 generations of pastors on both sides of his family, including David Wilkerson, the writer of the classic Christian book, The Cross and the Switchblade. Today Rich tells us how he forged his own way in ministry amid his family’s rich legacy, and about his latest book Friend of Sinners: Why Jesus Cares More About Relationship Than About Perfection. He also opens up on the painful struggle he and his wife endured in their young marriage that lasted nearly a decade.

Rich Wilkerson, Jr is pastor of the VOUS church in Miami, and he recently joined the Jesus Calling podcast to discuss his new book, Friends of Sinners: Why Jesus Cares More About Relationship than About Perfection

Rich Wilkerson, Jr: My name is Rich Wilkerson, Jr. and I lead VOUS church in Miami, Florida, with my wife DawnCheré. VOUS church is a new church plant, just three years old, and it’s in the heart of Miami.

VOUS is just short for “rendezvous.” People always ask us, “What does VOUS mean? Is that even a real church name?” Rendezvous means “the meeting place.” But we quickly discovered that people had a hard time spelling the word and Googling the word. Nobody liked the websites that came up, so we just go by VOUS church.

It’s been just an amazing three years, getting to see people’s lives changed and transformed by the message of Jesus. It’s been so cool to just watch God’s faithfulness over the last three years as we’ve seen thousands and thousands of people give their lives to Jesus.

“[Our time at VOUS church] has been an amazing three years, getting to see people’s lives changed and transformed by the message of Jesus.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.


Emerging from the Wilkerson Family Legacy

I grew up in Tacoma, Washington. I was born to pastors for parents. In fact, my dad was an evangelist. But I [come from] four generations [of] pastors on both sides of my family. I always joke around that my first slow dance was to “Our God Is an Awesome God.”

In 1998, growing up in Tacoma, Washington, in my grandfather’s church, my dad felt led to come and move to Miami, where he took over a small urban inner-city church. It was a huge journey for my brothers and I as we moved. I was 14 years of age and entered into high school as we moved from Tacoma all the way to Miami.

It’s always easier to connect the dots looking back than it is when you’re looking forward. [I see now] that my dad got a word from the Lord, and he stepped out in faith. And today, I’m reaping the benefits of his faithful decision.

I’m really grateful for the family I grew up in. Sometimes when you’re 14, you have a hard time seeing the good or seeing the beauty in it. But now at 34, I look back and I’m so thankful for the way that I was raised. I was raised with convictions, and I was raised with faithful people all around me that took a risk, that stepped out. I learned quickly that being a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean that you’re living your life for convenience, but rather you’re living your life for conviction. And so now at 34, I’m just thankful for the heritage. I know that so many things that have happened in my life are because I stand on the shoulders really of the giants in the faith [who] have gone before me.

“I’m just thankful for the heritage [to] know that so many things that have happened in my life are because I stand on the shoulders of the giants in the faith [who] have gone before me.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

My uncle David Wilkerson—really, he’s my second cousin, my dad and him are first cousins—but he’s always been a hero to me. I remember I was a young age, watching the movie The Cross and the Switchblade as Pat Boone portrayed the character of David Wilkerson. And as a young kid, I had this hero in my life [and I said to myself], “Wow, that’s what it looks like to step out full of faith. Not to live in fear, not to back down, to risk or to even [go into] areas that you might be afraid.” [David Wilkerson,] he stepped up to the gang members. He stepped up in a time in New York City that was known for drugs and prostitution and as a dangerous time. He stood full of faith.

I think for me, the way it played a part in my life is that from a young age, I was always very sensitive towards God. I knew I loved God, and I knew that God loved me. I don’t think I was always sure how I fit in. I didn’t really see how I was going to play my part.

“From a young age, I was always very sensitive towards God. I knew I loved God, and I knew that God loved me. I don’t think I was always sure how I fit in. I didn’t really see how I was going to play my part.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

But at 17, I just had a God encounter. I was in Adelaide, Australia, but I can’t remember who was preaching. I was with my dad and we were at a conference. And it wasn’t a big emotional moment. It was more like a conscious decision that I just felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me saying, “How long are you going to run from your calling?”

I think stepping out, as I began to do that more and more, I think the Lord was just speaking to me that, “You can be you, and you can be uniquely you. You don’t have to do it just like those who went before you.”

And so quickly, I think that began a transition in my life. Rather than feeling the shadow effect, rather than feeling the weight or the burden of those that have gone before me, instead, I think, my heart turned to gratitude. I was thankful for all the examples, for all the mentors, for all the voices of what it looked like to walk out the faith journey.

And so while God’s given me all these great references, I think because of the love of Jesus, I’ve discovered my identity in it, and I don’t have to do it like my dad. I don’t have to do it just like my grandfather. I don’t have to do it just like my uncle David Wilkerson. I can do it uniquely the way that he’s called me to do it. And for me that’s been so freeing that now I don’t feel the burden of being like them, but rather I feel gratitude for exactly who they are.


Walking in the Valley with God

Rich Wilkerson, Jr. opened up to recently share with the Jesus Calling listening audience how he and his wife journeyed through infertility for 8 years before God finally blessed them with their precious son.

After DawnCheré and I had been married for about three or four years—I remember it was her 25th birthday—we started talking about the fact that we wanted to start a family. It just seemed like the natural thing to do. It was in our heart. We both come from big families. DawnCheré’s one of seven kids, I’m one of four boys, so we’ve always wanted to have a family.

On her 25th birthday, a doctor discovered she had a condition known as PCOS, and it was going to make it very difficult for her to conceive. And so we began the journey of talking with doctors and going to specialists. Eight years into the journey is really how long it took us [to have a child].

Somewhere on that journey, we decided that we want to go public with it. And it was really DawnCheré that has led [the decision]. I think that for her being a woman, it was a little bit more of a challenging thing to talk about. But I think about three years into the journey of not being able to have kids, she felt like it was her opportunity to share from the valley, if you will.

I think so often in church, we’re so good at talking about things after the miracle happens. I think we need more people to be open when they’re actually in the midst of pain.

You know, I learned so much about God in that season of hoping to have a child. Today I stand on the other side of it, where God did answer our request after an eight-year struggle of trying to have kids. God was so gracious and so faithful. He gave us our first-born son. His name is Wyatt Wesley Wilkerson. Wyatt means “brave,” so I call him “my brave boy.”

“I think so often in church, we’re so good at talking about things after the miracle happens. I think we need more people to be open when they’re actually in the midst of pain.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

But now when I look back, I wouldn’t remove any of that struggle. That struggle is what makes the story so good. And many times, we only know of God on the mountaintop. But I know God in the valley, that He’s not just the God of your triumph, but He’s also the God of your trial. And many times we don’t allow ourselves to be honest with God in our pain, in our worry, in our fear to ever discover that He’s actually right there with us.

“Many times we don’t allow ourselves to be honest with God in our pain, in our worry, in our fear to ever discover that He’s actually right there with us.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

It’s so easy to go around to certain scenes that are full of heartache and heartbreak, devastation and poverty and go, “Where is God?” The answer is He’s right there. He doesn’t leave us, He doesn’t forsake us.

I think when it comes to God, there are certain things you can’t learn on the mountaintop. You actually have to learn it in the valley. The greatest lesson that DawnCheré and I learned is that a waiting season doesn’t have to be a wasted season. That wherever you’re at today, whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re facing, if you’ll lean into a relationship with Jesus, He’ll speak to you. He’ll reveal things to you about His character, about His nature.

“When it comes to God, there are certain things you can’t learn on the mountaintop. You actually have to learn it in the valley.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

Sometimes we get into these moments where we go, “I just want to throw it away. The pain is too bad, the heartache is too bad.” But the Bible says in James that we’re to consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when we face trials of many kinds. Why? It’s because that trial is developing something in us: a newfound character, a perseverance that has to be strengthened. And the only way for it to be strengthened is through struggle.

For DawnCheré and me, I think it brought us closer together. It forced us to have real conversations that forced us to talk about where we were at. I’m not acting like it was easy. There were lots of tears. There were days of doubt. There was worry. There were bad days. But we decided that we were to grow closer to Jesus in it, and we were going to grow closer as a couple. That’s what storms sort of do. Storms either have a way of pushing you away from God, or you can choose to allow your storm to push you towards God.

”Storms either have a way of pushing you away from God, or you can choose to allow your storm to push you towards God.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

I love that story in Matthew 14 where [the disciples were] in the middle of a storm, and Jesus walks out on the water. They think it’s a ghost. But there’s one guy in the boat, his name’s Peter, and he thinks it’s Jesus. And so he’s like, “If that’s really you, Jesus, tell me to come to you.”

And Jesus just says one word. He says, “Come.”

Rich Wilkerson, Jr. and his wife, DawnCheré, walked in the valley of infertility for 8 long years. Rich recently shared on the Jesus Calling podcast the hope that kept them focused on the Giver of Life during that season of uncertainty.

Peter steps out of the boat, walks on water toward Jesus.

That one word “come” is, I think, the message of the gospel. That whatever you’re facing, whatever you’re going through—maybe it’s infertility, maybe it’s a loss of a loved one, maybe it’s the loss of a job, maybe it’s a broken heart, maybe it’s betrayal. I don’t know what the fill-in-the-blank is, but Jesus would say to all of us, “Just come. Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Unless I had gone through the eight years of infertility, I could preach to you about rest, but now I can actually testify that I’ve been in a moment where I needed Jesus to show up. And He is faithful to His promise that if will come to Him, He will provide rest for us.

I think the enemy wants to tempt us that when we’re going through a tough time to discard it, to kind of hit the click button and try to pass through it. But I’m telling you, there’s something powerful about these seasons that if we’ll lean into them, the breaking and the crushing, it produces something new in us. And I can honestly testify that we serve the God who walks through everything with us, that when we walk through the rivers, they will not pass over us. When we walk through the water, it will not sweep over us. As we walk through the fire, we will not be burned. He’s the God who goes before, behind, and around.

Resonating with the Irresistible Voice of God

I grew up in a really amazing home with faithful parents and faithful grandparents who taught me the Bible and taught me about God. Yet I think at a young age, I started to view God as somebody up in heaven who was maybe angry at me. Or if I did something wrong, He was gonna let me know that I was wrong. Maybe the picture that I had developed, [I am] not necessarily sure how that all happened, [I felt that] God was like Santa, who’s got a nice list and a naughty list. I think it’s really important the way that you view God. Because ultimately the way that you view God is going to dictate how you receive and communicate with God.

“Ultimately the way that you view God is going to dictate how you receive and communicate with God.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

Pastor and author Rich Wilkerson, Jr. graciously joined the Jesus Calling podcast to discuss his family's heritage of faith and trust in God and Lord Jesus Christ.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to really discover who Jesus was. And I think in discovering who Jesus was, it’s fully shifted my paradigm of who God is, that God is a loving Father, that He’s not behind the bush waiting and watching as you make a mistake to punish you, but rather He’s there and when you do make a mistake, He wants to pick you back up.

There’s just something about Him that has this pull. Everyone wanted to be around Him. There’s something about His life—the way He spoke, the way He talked, the way He lived—that everybody, they were so intrigued, and they felt so welcomed by Him. So it shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise that when a devotional is written that’s coming from the voice of God, it’s coming from the voice of Jesus, that people—whether or not they’re in church, or whether or not they actually affiliate themselves as being a Christian—that they would resonate with it.

Jesus Calling devotional, September 5th:

I am your best Friend, as well as your King. Walk hand in hand with Me through your life. Together we will face whatever each day brings: pleasures, hardships, adventures, disappointments. Nothing is wasted when it is shared with Me. I can bring beauty out of the ashes of lost dreams. I can glean Joy out of sorrow, Peace out of adversity. Only a Friend who is also the King of kings could accomplish this divine alchemy. There is no other like Me!

The friendship I offer you is practical and down-to-earth, yet it is saturated with heavenly Glory. Living in My Presence means living in two realms simultaneously: the visible world and unseen, eternal reality. I have equipped you to stay conscious of Me while walking along dusty, earthbound paths.

I, for one, am really thankful for the resource that [Jesus Calling] is because not only has it ministered to me personally, but it’s also been such a resource that I’ve been able to give to others who are new on the journey or maybe even outside of our church. And I see it as a weapon that, as people start to read it, they start to know the heart of God, but they also begin to discover their identity of [the person] God’s called them to be. I’m just thankful for all that Jesus Calling is doing and for what it means to so many people.

Growing Closer to the Friend of Sinners

Jesus had a lot of nicknames. Nicknames, we kind of get them based upon other people’s perception, typically.

Rich Wilkerson's new book, Friends of Sinners: Why Jesus Cares More About Relationship Than Perfection as featured on the Jesus Calling podcast

It’s interesting to me that when they nicknamed Jesus, they nicknamed Him “the Friend of sinners.” That He was obviously doing life with people [that the Pharisees and other religious people thought] did not belong around Him.

Yet I love that nickname because that nickname is so welcoming to me, that I belong with Jesus, that Jesus says, “Hey, you belong before you believe.” Jesus was the guy who was actually at dinner with people. He sat in long conversations. He was not looking at the outside. He was trying to get to the inside.

So my new book is called Friend of Sinners: Why Jesus Cares More About Relationship Than Perfection. And when I started writing this book, I was thinking about all of my friends who sort of had this misconception of God, that they think God is not for them, or they think that God is irrelevant, or they think God is mad at them.

And I wrote Friend of Sinners, because I want people to hear the truth, that the gospel is good news, that God is not mad at you. He’s madly in love with you. When I think about Jesus Calling, I mean, this is what this devotion is all about. It’s about conveying over and over again the grace of God, that God is for us, and if God is for us, who can be against us?

“I want people to hear the truth, that the gospel is good news, that God is not mad at you. He’s madly in love with you.” – Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

Jesus Christ, He is the Friend of sinners. He didn’t come for perfect people. He came for a relationship with all people.

God never loved me or chose me because I was good enough or because I was righteous enough. He simply loved me because He is love. And over and over again, even at 34 years of age, I have to remind myself of that.

Narrator: You can find Rich’s new book Friend of Sinners at your favorite book retailer today.

Stay tuned for our conversation with actors and singers David and Tamela Mann after a brief message about a free offer from Jesus Calling!


Jesus Calling June Prayer Calendar

Are you looking for a way to keep track of your daily prayers along with Jesus Calling? The Jesus Calling family prayer calendar goes right along with your daily readings from Jesus Calling. Each day begins with a guided reflection, followed by a space for you to fill in your prayers of thanksgiving and special requests. You can get your free Jesus Calling Family Prayer calendar by visiting JesusCalling.com/offer


Narrator: Our next guests are actors and singers David and Tamela Mann. Full of talent, wit, and love for each other, David and Tamela have been a force in the entertainment industry for nearly 30 years. After touring with the award-winning gospel group Kirk Franklin and the Family, David and Tamela found fame when they met producer and playwright Tyler Perry. Since then, David and Tamela have gone on to star in movies, television series, their own reality show, and Tamela has launched a Grammy-Award-winning recording career of her own. Through it all, they’ve been honest with their highs and lows so they can bring hope to their millions of fans, which they’ve written about in their book Us Against the World.

Actors and singers David and Tamela Mann are full of talent, wit, and love for each other.  The husband/wife duo recently joined the Jesus Calling podcast to talk about their relationship & career.

Tamela: I am Tamela Mann. First of all, I’m a mother, a wife. I’m a singer, songwriter, and actress. I’m like a Jack of all trades. I have a lot of jobs.

David: You’re a Jacquita of all trades.

Tamela: A Jacquita of all trades?

David: You can’t be a Jack.

Tamela: Okay.

David: And I’m David Mann. I’m a believer. I’m a husband. I’m a grandfather.

Tamela: I’m a grandmother. I didn’t put that in there!

David: Maybe you’re not a grandmother.

Tamela: I am!

David: I’m a grand—

Tamela: Do I look like I’m a grandmother?

David: Not at all.

Tamela: Oh okay, thank you. Go ahead.

David: Like I said, I’m a grandfather, a producer, and I love this chick right here.

Tamela: Aww, you trying to get brownie points.

Discovering a Path to Walk Together

Tamela: I’m the youngest of 14. I’m the only one that graduated from high school out of my bunch.

Actually, my mother was a believer, and we did a lot of church. The only activities I was able to attend, they were all surrounded by church.

I started singing at eight years old. And singing, it feels the same way [now as it did then,] and I love it.

David: I’m the second oldest of five boys. I was born in Lubbock, Texas. I know people are going to find it hard to believe, but at one time I was the best kid in the school.

Tamela: You?

David: I was the citizen of the year.

Tamela: I never would have thought that.

David: Yes! I was the best kid in the whole school at one time because I was well-mannered. I did my work. I didn’t say anything.

People want to know where the comedian side came [from]. I can tell you exactly where it came from. Fourth grade in Ms. Cleveland’s class. I got in trouble one of the few times that I was talking, and Ms. Cleveland—

Tamela: I thought all you had were Es for Excellent!

David: I did, but it was one of the few times I got caught talking, and Ms Cleveland told me, “David Mann, get up and get out.” And her voice was real crazy. I don’t know what made me talk just like her, but the class went [ballistic]. I mean, they just started laughing and so she laughed.

And I was just like, I like this.

That put me on the road [where I wanted] to make people happy. I want to bring joy to people.

Tamela: Make people laugh?

David: Yeah. And that’s why [Tamela] married me.

Tamela: Yep.

David: Not my good looks, just because I made her laugh. She had other choices.

Tamela: Exactly.

David: You had other choices, right?

Tamela: Possibly.

David: But see, I made her laugh, and I got her.

Tamela: David and I met from . . . my best friend actually went to high school with him. They had a chorus class together. And of course, we sang together in our church choir, me and my friend Nicole. And he was singing—

Entertainers David & Tamela Mann recently joined the Jesus Calling podcast to talk about their God-directed journey from singers in high school to becoming members of the group, Kirk Franklin & the Family and eventually connecting with Tyler Perry that eventually led to their own reality show.

David: I sang with two other guys who were pretty good. We were city famous.

Tamela: They were.

David: Have you ever seen somebody that’s city famous? We were city famous, buddy. We were city famous. So we were known all—

Tamela: Around the city?

David: The town, just right there in our area.

Tamela: So my best friend told them—because you know, they were singing and they were really good. I have to give it to them, like, the guys were really good.

David: We were great. City famous. Keep that in mind.

Tamela: Nicole told them, “Well, I know someone who can sing better than y’all.”

And they were like, “Really? Bring it on.”

David: Now our high school was known for—

Tamela: Music. For music.

David: I mean, we could sing any style of music. So bringing somebody to come sing was like, “Yeah . . . “

Tamela: They won all the trophies and everything.

David: Mind you, we’re city famous, and our school is city famous too.

Tamela: Okay, okay, okay. We get that you’re city famous.

David: Our school was too.

Tamela: I went and I sang for them. And they were pretty impressed, but I wasn’t really into the competing thing.

David: No.

Tamela: You know, it was like—

David: Mind you, I told you our school was really good. So we were used to really good singers. This wasn’t a really good singer. This was a great singer. It was like, “Oh!” So [Tamela] outsang all three of us together, and it was like, “All right. She can really sing.”

Tamela: So that’s kind of how it took off from there, us meeting. And it so happened that same weekend, I had to sing, actually. It was a Friday, I remember to this day. And I said, “Well, I’m singing as a special guest for this choir musical. So y’all come by and hear me.”

So a couple of them, [David and] another guy that sang with him came. And then later this same weekend, like, that Saturday, I ran into them at—

David: We started bumping into each other!

Tamela: At another musical! But I finally got to hear the group, the three of them. Their name was The Humble Hearts. So I finally got to hear them.

David: We were so humble.

Tamela: No, they weren’t! They were some bad guys, but they had a beautiful voice, and they did loved singing for the Lord. I can give them that.

David: We were humble. And did I say we were city famous?

Tamela: Babe!

David: How are you going to be famous in the city?

Tamela: So that’s really how we met. And eventually I started singing with him and the guys.

David: Well, we kind of . . . I don’t want to say “tricked her,” but we had her come to our rehearsal, and [we said], “Why don’t you sing this part and we’ll do the background to it?” And before you know it, she’d learned the whole song. Then we said, “Well, why don’t you come and sing with us?”

And so she killed the song, and we started teaching her other songs from our set. And [at the time] she was singing with a real popular group.

Tamela: [But once The Humble Hearts] asked me [to sing with them], I was like, “Okay, sure.” So I started singing with them.

David: I’m glad that other group stopped.

Tamela: I’m glad it did too because it kept going with us.

David: Yeah. I’m glad.

Tamela: Look at us now, I’m glad you made the choice.

David: And I lived with it.

Tamela: Yes. I’m glad you asked me.

Tamela: And it’s been 30 years later.

David: Thirty years later.
You know the first thing we would tell people, one of the first things we just decided is divorce is not gonna be an option for us.

Tamela: Right.

David: We’re gonna work through everything.

Tamela: And in any marriage, I mean, you’re gonna have some challenges, [but] you have to make up your mind that you love each other enough to fight for each other. And just like the scripture says, love covers a multitude of fault. I mean, because you’re not going to always do everything right.

“In any marriage you’re gonna have some challenges, [but] you have to make up your mind that you love each other enough to fight for each other.” – Tamela Mann

It’s like learning to get to know each other. to really learn that it’s gonna be you and me against this world.

David: Happiness is doable. You just gotta work at it.

Staying Faithful as the Lord Elevates Us

David: Kirk [Franklin] and I went to high school together.

Tamela: He was a part of The Humble Hearts.

David: So with Kirk, we sang in high school, and Kirk went off to do to be with another choir called DFW Mass. But once he was going with DFW Mass and it kind of gained some popularity, he came back and he wanted to put together a group.

Tamela: He took singers from Dallas and Fort Worth and put them together to form Kirk Franklin and the Family.

David: And so he came to me and said, “Hey, man, I’m putting together this group. Would you be interested?”

I said “Yeah.”

“You think Tam will be interested?”

I said, “I don’t know, let me ask her. Tam, would you want to sing with the family?”

“I don’t know. Maybe so. I don’t know.”

Tamela: This dude here . . .

David: And I convinced her to sing with the Family, and it was the best decision that we ever made for our career.

Tamela: Singing was our passion, it was our heart. I mean, we were really into this thing so bad that when we were in The Humble Hearts, one of [the members], Darryl—who is our pastor now—he used to steal his mom’s car for us to go sing at a church event.

“Singing was our passion, it was our heart.” – Tamela Mann

David: This is how passionate we were.

Tamela: Sometimes it was like—

David: How screwed up is that?

Tamela: I know, [it wasn’t like we were going] to the club. We were going to church!

David: How do you tell somebody, “Officer, I stole my mom’s car.”

“Where are you going?”

“To church!”

Tamela: So once we started in Kirk Franklin and the Family, and we were singing with the Family for like eight now almost nine years, that came to an end. And then we met Tyler Perry.

David: I went to audition for this up-and-coming producer/director, and nobody knew who he was. I walked in the room, and this tall figure of a guy with this huge head was standing there.

Tamela: Why would you say that? Stop saying that.

David: He has a big head!

Tamela: But you don’t have to say it!

David: People notice, you know. You think he’s going to be upset when he finds out I called his head big?

Tamela: Well, you’ve told him before so it’s not like he doesn’t know.

David: Yeah. But we met him, and it turned out the Lord just kept elevating us. That turned out to be one of the best moves that we could have ever made because those characters, they were in everybody’s house. Everybody had an aunt that reminded them of Madea.

Tamela: Or Miss Cora or Mr. Brown.

David: Or it reminded them of Mr. Brown. And we really we were having fun on the road.

Tamela: We had no idea that it would take off. Tyler didn’t even know that it would take off like it did. But the Lord blessed it, and the people just embraced us.

Tamela: And now in the movies, and in the television shows, and the reality shows, to The Manns, to me becoming an artist, a singer.

David: A Grammy Award winner. She doesn’t like when I say that kind of stuff. A lot of people don’t even know. And this is to just show people our time is not God’s time. Tamela didn’t start her solo career until she was 38 years old. In the music industry, that’s kind of like—

Tamela: Unheard of.

David: You should be about to retire [at 38].

Tamela: Unheard of.

David: But to get started as a solo as a new artist and start from ground zero at 38, it’s unheard of. And to go from being that age to being at the top of the genre, it’s unheard of. I mean, people start in their 20s. Kirk started, I think he was 19 or 20-something. But to start as a solo at 38—

Tamela: I know. It was just the favor of God.

I’m just so happy to be singing. I’m not gonna cry, but I’m just so happy to be able to share my gift and to be where we are today. We take no credit. All glory goes to God. We just like to make people happy and also give hope and inspiration that really kind of brings us to where we are now, of sharing about Jesus Calling.

“I’m just so happy to be able to share my gift and to be where we are today. We take no credit. All glory goes to God.” – Tamela Mann


Becoming Consistent, Not Perfect

Tamela: I first experienced Jesus Calling at a truck stop.

David: I think it was on tour.

Tamela: I’m at a truck stop, and I’ve purchased [Jesus Calling] either them from a Cracker Barrel or at a truck stop. I’ve bought, like, so many. And he’s bought so many.

David: Yeah. And the thing is, when you’re on tour, you stop to get a restroom break. They have this carousel, and you just grab one and ask “What is this about, this Jesus Calling?”

Tamela: The majority that I’ve purchased is from just travelling and being on tour. So it’s been a wonderful thing to get some easy reading, and you just get some great encouragement and uplifting.

David: This is practical because a lot of times, we get preachy. “And Lord told me to tell you . . .” Right?

The problem is sometimes we don’t get how to apply “my biblical” to “my practical.” This gives you some practical things I can take home [and go,] “Oh, okay, I can do that. I can handle that.”

“[Jesus Calling] gives you some practical things I can take home [and go,] ‘Oh okay, I can do that.’” – David Mann

And that’s what reading these—I even bought the audiobook. I have the audiobooks too, so I like to listen [to them] while I’m in the office. I told her the other day, “I’m gonna turn on the audiobook.”

Tamela: But I encourage you if you see it, pick you up a copy.

David: Or two.

Tamela: I try to make it part of my every day, to get up and constantly . . . first of all, I thank Him throughout the day for the day that He’s given and for another opportunity.

It’s always about a share. It’s all about a word of encouragement. And that’s how I stay grounded, even if it’s just a smile if we go to the gym and to tell somebody, “How you doing? Hey, it’s gonna be a good day today! Have a blessed day!”

I told a lady the other day in the store, I said, “Have a blessed day!”

She looked at me and she was like, “Yes!”

David: Sometimes that’s all people need to hear. In our industry, we can’t go on a movie set [and say,] “The Lord told me to tell you that . . .” Sometimes they just need to see a consistent person who’s living out what they’re talking about. They don’t need to see perfect people. They need to see consistent.

People won’t judge you on your perfection. They’ll judge you on your consistency. And that’s what we try to give everyday [so that] people will see us and know our Lord and Savior is our priority.

“People won’t judge you on your perfection. They’ll judge you on your consistency.” – David Mann

Tamela: Yes.

David: Someway, somehow, we’re going to sneak Jesus in there, even if you tell us not to.

I was thinking about Jesus just the other day. We just want to let people know there is still hope. Our Savior still lives. Wow.

“We just want to let people know there is still hope. Our Savior still lives.” – David Mann

Feaured on a recent episode of the Jesus Calling podcast - David and Tamela Mann's new book, Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family

Tamela: And to just be sitting here right now is just . . . I’m kind of overwhelmed because He could choose anybody. You know and it’s just

David: And He put us together.

Tamela: And to let people know that it can happen, it can happen for you. Whatever that desire or goal or gift or talent that you have, it can be reached because with Him, all things are possible.

David: Our mission is to just let people know there is hope because we’re in a time when people are, I think, hopeless like, “Yeah, we’re not gonna make it.” It’s like, “No!” We’re screaming out all the time, “Yes! Yes, we are! We are, we are!”

Tamela: And by faith, I’m gonna make it all the way. We’re gonna keep going. The world is going to keep revolving until He comes back.

Narrator: To keep up with David and Tamela’s latest projects, including their book Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family, please be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Narrator: If you’d like to hear more stories about finding hope when all seems lost, check out our interview with author and pastor Craig Groeschel.

Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we speak with Army veteran and Dragon Boat Racing champion Jessica Key. Growing up on the island of Oahu, Jessica lived in an unstable home that gave her deep trauma from the time she was a toddler. As she grew older, Jessica chafed under authority and struggled to find purpose until she found a family and a sense of duty in the military.

Jessica Key: The Army changed my life. I had so much gratitude and thankfulness. I was fully motivated fully dedicated. I highly respected and honored. My authority and just enjoyed every aspect of it. So given what the Army has done for my life, I was all in.

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