Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

American Idol: The Untold Story

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

american-idol-book-cover1

Great beginning to the new year (see the post below regarding our new partnering project with World Vision).

I wanted to make a post on a new book that arrives in book stores January 18th entitled “American Idol: The Untold Story”.   The Author Richard Rushfield became a friend during the Finale of AI’s Season 7.  Jason Castro’s Mom, Betsy, introduced us and the beginning of Richard hearing and following my story began.  At the time Richard was the LA Times most proficient collector of American Idol’s latest and breaking news where he had a featured blog viewed by millions of people daily.  I had read segments from his blog before I met him and found Richard to be a very kind writer, not into the sensational or created drama that many of the AI bloggers are.  I asked Richard and his assistant to join us for dinner.  It was after the first evening of the two day Finale and everyone was a buzz about the night.  Our ministry hosted the Castro’s, Cooks and Mercado’s for a dinner in the Hotel that many of the family members were staying.
Over the last two and a half years Richard has come to our home, sat around our round table enjoyed a few of Denny’s cafe lattes :) while I was interviewed for about 20 hours regarding the miracle of how this ministry began, unfolded and spread.  To know Richard is to love him and his understated way of “getting the story”.  He is an excellent journalist seeking to tell the story in a thoughtful and truthful way.
Richard had kept me informed on a book he was working on and planning on telling my story as he was limited to his desk with this new and exciting writing assignment.  The day before Christmas I received an unedited version and due to my fear and trepidation put off opening it and even taking a peek until the day after Christmas.  My plans were to let Denny read it first, but to my surprise as I opened the book finding a note from Richard where my story was told I became quite relieved as I read the first paragraph:
Chapter 17 “The Pastor”
“We’re all just going where the Lord sends us.  Some are sent on missions around the world.  Somehow I was sent to American Idol.”  Leesa Bellesi, an engaging blonde in her early fifties who resembles a young Florence Henderson, sits back at her kitchen table and begins her story.  Her home, located in a hilly, semirural section of south Orange County, seems another world from the American Idol bubble.  But at this table, a long line of mothers and fathers of Idol contestants have prayed for their children, watched them perform, and mourned when the Idol journeys ended.
The unofficial host to dozens of Idol families, Leesa Bellesi has in her time penetrated the protected space of the most high-profile show in the world.  She has roamed backstage, attended Idol dinners, and sat in the audience beside Idol families.
And it all began “the day a clown fell on my head,” Leesa told me with a laugh.
I knew right away that Richard was going to tell my story in a God honoring way.
Having written a handful of books myself I know the painstaking work it takes to what I have often referred to as “giving birth to a baby”.   Nine months of discomfort sometimes as excruciating as labor pains, but always ending in hope, great joy and relief when it is done and ready for the world to see.  Denny and I are excited for Richard as the “BIG REVEAL” is about to happen.
Yesterday, I met Richard at a Starbucks in LA and got my official finished copy.  Richard is so humble, I had to give him a good nudge to get him to sign my copy.  I am happy to say mine is the first copy that he has signed.  That’s pretty cool!
I also asked him to sign my denim jacket where dozens of American Idol contestants have signed their names to, which he obliged me with a wide smile.
By the way (side note) yesterday January 8th 2011 was the day Larry Poland’s Master Media Organization asked their participants to pray for the cultural influencer “American Idol”.  That means thousands and thousands of people were praying for the crew, contestants and staff of American Idol yesterday. I hope people keep it up throughout the season.
So what can I tell you about the book that my story, entitled “The Pastor”, is a chapter in.  Let me first say; this is not a Christian book.  I guess that would be followed by… duh!  There is profanity in the book.  Production people, people in this Industry curse and they are quoted many times throughout the book.  I have found it FASCINATING  to read as it lays out the story of how a dream became a reality.  I think we can all relate to having a dream.  The ins and outs of the entertainment industry are detailed unveiling some things that many of you may have wondered about.  I especially like the story of Brian Dunkleman, a “Jerry Maquire like” story that I just dug.  I hope to give the guy a big hug some day and give him a Jer. 29:11 wristband, reminding us all that God has good plans4us no matter the regrets we may have. God doesn’t do oops!
Alert!  I recommend, if you have a child that is interested in reading this book that you edit page 114.  Richard cleaned it up the best he could regarding the story and reason why one of the contestants was removed from the AI competition.  Just a warning.
Now… although the spirit of my chapter is spot on there are a few details that need some correction.
* Richard wrote that I gave a gift to many of the lady participants.  This is true.  I gave, beginning with Katharine, a sterling silver bracelet with the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 engraved on it.  ”For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  But…what ended up being quoted is that I gave the girls a white “Livestrong style” wristband.  That was Bono who did that promoting his “ONE” charity organization.  Props to Bono for that one.  As soon as I read that, it was clear to me that it was a “God thing” and that this mix up happened for a reason. I have ordered a 1000 white silicone wristbands with the words Jer 29:11 on one side, on the other side it says “God has good plans4me” and inside is our website www.GoServeSomeone.org, giving me a more affordable way to spread this good word and help a good cause. These will soon be available for a small donation on our website supporting our partnering project with World Vision, bringing clean water to over 500,000 people in Ethiopia, East Africa.
* Some events, timelines and locations need some minor adjustments, but…something I only know and you could probably care less about…right?! :)
* Also I need to correct that it was not Danny’s Mom that called me to help with a flight for Jamar, but rather Jamar’s Mother.
* And lastly let me just make it clear that this is a ministry of unity and that it was never our intent for this to just be a help and outreach to only those of the Christian faith.  Our arms have always been open to those of all faiths.
What a blessing it has been for Denny and I to experience the people that have come (sometimes very temporarily) into our home and lives.  Thank you for all the private concerts, encouragement and joy of fellowship that you have brought to our family.  We got to do this and it has been a privilege. I am currently working on my own book (Publisher still needed) to tell the rest of the story entitled “The Day The Clown Fell On My Head”.  In this book I will prove that God hears your prayers, your thoughts and is one degree away from everyone.  That He will connect you with those that you will bear good fruit with if you just ask.  It matters not only what we say out loud, but what we think in our most private of thoughts.
He’s listening and He cares!
Sorry…
Because I have found over the years that some people are mean it is not possible to make a comment or post on this blog.  But if you would like to contact me you are welcome to through our website at www.GoServeSomeone.org or
www.kingdomassignment.org Thank you for making the extra effort to share your positive, good and encouraging words.  If you can not keep it positive than just keep it to yourself…thank you :)
Prayers for us are always appreciated!  Remember…God loves knee mail :)


Prayer for new AI Contestants-American Idol Article

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

‘American Idol’s’ Christian connection

Mega-churches across the country’s heartland have served as the training grounds for many of the Fox show’s contestants, with parishioners doing their part with prayers and text votes.

By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times

May 23, 2010

She isn’t employed by the show and viewers never see her sparring with Simon Cowell. But Leesa Bellesi exerts her own kind of pull on “American Idol,” Fox’s top-rated singing contest that has a unique if often-unstated link to Christian churches.

Bellesi, who runs a Christian nonprofit in Lake Forest with her Pastor husband, visits tapings frequently, has befriended numerous finalists and helps wrangle funds and scout temporary housing for families who trek cross-country to see relatives perform on “Idol.” Bellesi said that churches form a base for the young singers as they try to win votes and establish fan bases. Half of the Top 10 last season were worship leaders in their churches, she said.

“Most of the kids that have been really successful on ‘American Idol’ have that huge support of their church that’s pushed them — they’ve had a lot of voting and things like that,” said Bellesi, who has no official connection to the show (a spokesperson for the producers said he had never heard of her) but was spoken of as an unofficial patron by former finalists Danny Gokey, Jason Castro and others.

Read it in it’s entirety at:

Sorry for the late posting. Posting of anything since May.  By the time this article came out I was pretty whooped preparing for the  2010 WELL DONE Awards, see it at:  KA Kingdom Assignment Home or go to www.kingdomassignment.org although fantastic…still exhausting.  Shortly after I was rear ended on the 5 fwy re-injuring my neck uugghhh…and my Dad broke his hip giving cause to be on the 5 fwy a lot more.
But thankfully things are calming down and with AI Auditions happening weekly in a town near you it has given me the opportunity and privilege to pray for the hopefuls when they call.  What I have found over the last 5 years of this AI Ministy is that God does truly love us and for some strange reason cares about prayers concerning American Idol, I know because I have seen the results.  Bottom line He is waiting for us to come to Him over any little concern we might have.  Just admitting that you need God near makes Him come near and comfort the disappointed and give wisdom to the ones that make it through that first round, which is close to impossible by the way.  Many great singers have not made it past that first grueling overnight crazy audition.  I have seen it first hand and it can be shocking, but “it is what it is” (try not to over analyze) and you can be sure if you don’t make it it is for your own protection and would put a wrench on the other fantastic future He has for you just around the corner.

Note: Keep reminding yourself what a privilege it is just to have the opportunity to audition.  That you have a voice to share.  Many don’t.  My best friend has no arms or legs and he never complains…EVER! Life Without Limbs :: Nick Vujicic So just be happy you can drive or walk yourselves to the audition location.  It’s a gift to be alive…right!  Then make a point of meeting and enjoying the people around you.  Many have made life long friendships with those they have stood in line with.  When I went to support a friend I experienced this.  A few around us that we befriended made it to the top 24 and are still friends.  What a blessing just to be a part of it all.  Be in the moment and feel the joy and anticipation.

I heard great advice the other day. “If you feel that feeling in your stomach, you know that feeling…the one that makes you feel like you are going to hurl or double over.  It means you are about to do something very special so enjoy the ride.”

Also…do not complain to the Producers about the  heat, your exhaustion, your voice not being right, your song…be positive and hopefully they will be too.  You are being watched :-)

Love to you all…I will pray for you if you ask.  Write me at kingdomassignment@cox.net – If you give me your phone number I will text you little encouragements, which is what I have been doing this morning to those in San Francisco.  I’ll call and pray with you too if you would like.

God’s richest blessings!  Leesa

Day Before My Birthday…

Monday, March 8th, 2010
It’s my 55th Birthday today Monday March 8th 2010… but I want to talk about the day before my Birthday. Pics at the bottom of this post…
Stop #1- I kissed Denny goodbye as he left to go preach at Coastline, where he is Lead Pastor and I took off my Pastor’s Wife Hat to be
Mom visiting Crossline Church at their new location in Laguna Hills.  It was fantastic!  Sitting next to my daughter Brooke as we
enjoyed the worship leading of Son-In-Law Darren was such a joy.  He’s my favorite WL, as it should be.   The Staff has done a great job with
their remodeled new digs lifting high the name of Jesus.
Stop #2- Flower Shop to pick out some Lillys and a single red rose (for love) for our Grand daughter Camryn at her first Gymnastics Recital, she can hold a head stand for 2 minutes :-) Brilliant!
Stop #3-Cafe Rio, for lunch with some family and a bunch from Crossline.  I sat at the kids table and became a living jungle gym.  It was fun giving Horsey rides in between bites, while teasing the boys that I didn’t know I had salad stuck between all my teeth (an old youth worker joke :-)  They thought the old lady was pretty funny…
Stop #4- Camy’s Gymnastic Recital was so fun.  This girl is pure joy.  This is Grandma Bo Bo speaking, but, I thought, she absolutely stood out from the crowd and was the most talented child in the room, no one could tell me any different.  Denny made it there just in the nick of time to catch her choreographed performance.  He was speedy and quite the trooper, scooting off to the car and on the road just minutes after the last service.  Camy was so happy to see him.
Stop #5 has a set up story.  This last Thursday I was enjoying a pre-birthday day at “The Spa” in Costa Mesa.   During a treadmill run a conversation was struck up between myself and a young man when after a trainer commented on his good form. I said. it was because he was a dancer.  ”How did you know that”, he asked.  I said, “because I am a dancer and I could just tell.” He asked me a few questions about my dance career and then I started in on asking about his dance career, asking if he took classes at Jimmy DeFores, the best and closest dance studio in town.  He humbly replied; “no, I’m here from out of town, performing at the OC Performing Arts Center across the street.  I’m with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.” What, what, what… I was jogging next to greatness.  He looked so young, maybe 20 years old, I figured he was with them a year or so. More about that later.
Our faith came up when I gave him a scripture sticker of Jer. 29:11.  He was a believer and had a Dance Ministry at his church in New York where Denny and I knew the Pastor.   I have always dreamed of an opportunity to see this dance company perform, but had never had the chance.  I said; “you know it’s my birthday on Monday and I’ll bet I could get my husband to get tickets for your last show on Sunday.”  We exchanged phone numbers and a hug.  On Saturday my new dancer friend Matthew Rushing (google him) called me and said he had two comp tickets for Denny and I and that we could come back stage after the show. What, what, what?
So Stop #5 came next.  We were a few minutes late, but arrived and were seated just before he took the stage in the most gorgeous solo piece.  Come to find out young Matthew has been with the Company for 18 years, he’s not 20, but 36.  He is one of their most beloved performers and choreographers.   We had, in my opinion the best seats in the house, Orchestra center.  We sat next to one of the other performers Aunts and bonded over both being Christ followers and her now living where I grew up, Northridge, CA.  Just another Godsequence in my book.  The last half hour section is a famous piece that they do called Revelation, which is basically one big dance worship sesh and revival.  What a wonderful and inspiring time.  Afterwards there Matthew was waiting for us at the Stage Door, kids all around him wanting pictures.  As we greeted he handed me a big rolled up poster.  He said; I got everyone in the Company to sign this poster for you for your birthday… Happy Birthday!  What, what, what?!  I am crying now and will always cry when I think about that unexpected moment.  I had to sit down I was so blown away.  I just could not believe this was happening to me.  We hugged and Denny and I waited tell everyone was gone and had their picture with him so we could pray with him.  What an amazing journey he has been on.  While we were chatting we met Marta, the security guard, a believer that we asked to join us in prayer.  What a privilege to pray with and for this young man that made my birthday so special and it hadn’t even happened yet. Can we say Birth Month :-) We all should have one.
Stop # 6- Home and a night of breakfast for dinner and the Oscars.  The best Oscars I have ever seen.  I just loved every moment.  Yeah!  Mom power, yeah Women power.  Denny and I both cried at the speeches.  So sincere and authentic we thought.
And finally Stop # 7- the Internet where Denny looked up “Places to eat for free on your Birthday”.  So tomorrow we are going to every place, Breakfast, Lunch, Ice Cream (2 different places) and Dinner.  I’ll let you know how it goes :-)  Good night my friends.
www.kingdomassignment.org
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Warning-Watch Your Mouth…

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

James 1:26

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. TNIV

From Billy Grahams Devotional Day by Day -

“The problems of the world could be solved overnight if people could get victory over their tongues.  Suppose there was no anger, no profanity, no lying, no grumbling or complaining; suppose there were no dirty stories told, no unjust criticism-what a different world this would be!  The Bible teaches that a person who can control their tongue can control their whole personality.  We should ask ourselves three questions before we speak:  Is it true?  Is it kind?  Does it glorify Christ?  If we would always think before we speak, there would be much less evil speaking, and there would soon be a spiritual awakening that would sweep the church in America.”

There is a reason I do not allow comments on my Blog and the reason is… people have not gotten control over their tongues, or their thoughts.  People have written me the most bizarre and unkind things.  Down right evil.  Kindness in the Blog world is a pipe-dream of mine.  If you’re reading this and you make the practice of giving your unkind opinion about everything because you can, consider praying about or for that person instead.  You’ll be laying up treasure in Heaven instead of breaking some ones heart.  Sticks and Stones can break your bones, but names will always hurt you. Bones mend in time, Hearts may never.  Some of these American Idol kids, well I don’t think any of them escape the cruel, mean, obscene comments people make about the way they look, their clothing, family members…what?  No one deserves that. When I was in High School, I remember my Youth Pastor and good friend Jim Grindle told me and other student officers “what you say may be THE THING or final straw that breaks that person spirit”.  I’ve always tried to remember those words and when I haven’t I try to apologize and ask forgiveness.  Stay clean…let’s encourage one another with the words of our mouth as a testament to our lives.  Must I remind you God hears not only our words, but our thoughts too.

Psalms 7:9

Bring to an end the (verbal) violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— You, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. TNIV

If you want to email me you are welcome to write to me through our website at:

www.kingdomassignment.org

Gun in her face…One Woman’s Assignment from God!

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Check out this woman’s amazing Kingdom Assignment… you just never know when God will call on you!

Atheists Campaign

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I have been slightly fascinated lately by this new PR campaign for Atheists.  Someone is putting out some bank in subways and on buses to tell people that you do not need faith to do good.  I literally ran into (along side of) one of these people while on side by side treadmills at 24 hour fitness the other day.  Wow!  Seemed smart enough.  He had created his own ideology.  No need for God’s miraculous change agent in people lives, they just needed to down size their lives.  No Nellie Gailers could be doing anything of value, because they just were living life too lavishly.  I’ve been in many a Nellie Gailers home and I could of told him of the good, the bad and the ugly, just like every other community (no dif) but their was no air space between his words.  Judgement spewed from this, seemingly easy going, Surfers mouth.  ”People just need to do good” is what he kept saying, “wish people did more of that”.  But wait where was his joy, where was his servants attitude?  I pondered his goodness as he hogged one of the work out machines, I thought… It must be exhausting TRYING to be so good.  I thanked the Holy Spirit for the power that is instilled in every believer through His fruits: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, GOODNESS, Faithfulness, Gentleness and at the time most importantly… Self Control.   Only God is good… read the story of the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:17-22.

I also thought it timely as I read my devotions today October 22nd 2009.

Day by Day with Billy Graham:

Romans 3:28 – “So it is that we are saved by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.”

Many people still cling to the notion that man is naturally good. We did not get this from the Greeks, Aristotle said, “There is no good in mankind.”  We did not get it from Judaism.  Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  We did not get it from Christian teachings.  The Apostle Paul said, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  We got this illusion, I believe, from the philosophers and psychologists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who taught the false doctrine that man is a helpless victim of his environment.  The Bible says that man is not naturally good.  All human experience confirms it.  Man is rebellious by nature.  This first rebellion in history happened in the Garden of Eden, where the environment was perfect and there was no heredity on which to blame it!

Prayer For The Day:  Each time I become obsessed by the idea that my deeds are so noble, let me remember the magnanimity of Your perfect life.

AI Ministry Resource Update

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

What began as an unspoken dream and a silent prayer has now become a full blown ministry, proving God hears our thoughts and listens to our wildest of prayers. Forgive me as I reflect on the last four years and how God has brought something my way that only He could of done in the most beautiful and creative of ways.  As of today Denny and I and our ministry partners have had the privilege of meeting the needs of 9 American Idol contestants families affecting over 75 people with flights, lodging, meals on the road, meals in our home, game nights (Apples to Apples :) , rides to and fro, gasoline to make it from state to state, lots of prayer circles, scripture bracelets to remind of God’s love for them… all round good stuff.

A big thank you to:  Janet and Dave Brown, Nicole and Earl Reed, Dee Dee and Paul Dirks and their kids, Deborah and Gary Harter, Margie and Brad Fogal, Diana and Jerry LaMont, Suzette and Charlie Schafer for their faithfulness to this ministry.  Couldn’t do it without you… no way!

Prayer requests:  Please pray for Scott MacIntyre’s Sister Katelyn.  On Friday April 17th she will be having kidney transplant surgery.  Please pray for Katelyn’s and her donors quick recovery.  Continued support of Sophia’s Heart Foundation.

Below are some of my latest favorite pics…

saddleback

Danny Gokey’s In-Laws at Saddleback Church with the coolest, Youth Director….Josh Griffin…

josh Us jumping for joy… you go Josh… nice height…. truly :-)  Everyone… nice effort!

montage

Sweet and wonderful, Ana (Sophia’s Mom) Damadis (Sophia’s Sister) Sophia’s Cousins, Amadis and Kimmy.  At the Montage Hotel… had to show them the view… I love these ladies … ahh I miss you girls… but you’re coming back soon!

ai-friends

Friends we met along the way after a day at American Idol… what a blast… Oklahoma, Illinois, San Diego… we all still stay in touch.

amberCinderella and Amber even came and stayed the night before their 24 hour trip back home to Okalahoma… home for Easter morning…. sweeeeet!

ai-dream-center

A night of fellowship and great preaching at the Dream Center in LA.  Danny’s family with Dream Center Pastor Matthew Barnett.

macintyre-girls

Picked up Carole MacIntrye, Katelyn MacIntrye from LAX last Wednesday.  They met up with Scott’s Music Teacher visiting from Canada when they checked into their hotel.  Fantastic, gracious and precious people they are… if you look up “nice” in the dictionary the MacIntyre’s family picture is there :-)  Return trip thanks to Dee Dee and Paul Dirks… thanks guys!

ai-leesa-and-danny

What a warm and gracious guy… just like you see him on TV… authentic and real!