My Faith Matters LIVE Conversation

Importance of Faith in American Culture & Politics

November 2, 2016


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Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., became the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984 at the age of 33, making him the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. Dr. Carson’s accomplishments have earned him a place in medical history. He performed the first separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in which both twins survived in 1987. He also performed the first fully successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa.

Dr. Carson has written nine books, four of which were co-authored with his wife, Candy, of 40 years. He was the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the land. Dr. Carson was recognized in 2008 by U.S. News Media Group and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership as one of “America’s Best Leaders.” He served on the board of directors for Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the Academy of Achievement, and Vaccinogen, where he served as Chairman of the Board. In 2014, the Gallup Organization named Dr. Carson one of the 10 Most Admired Men in the World.

Dr. Carson and his wife are co-founders of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments.

After listening to Americans across the nation say they are ready for a leader who will put the country before politics and will put the Constitution back to the forefront of policy and guidance, Dr. Ben Carson announced on May 4th 2015, that he would seek the 2016 Republican nomination for president. He officially ended his bid on March 4, 2016. He is now the Honorary National Chairman of My Faith Votes and continues to work tirelessly for the cause of the American people.

Dr. David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church. Shadow Mountain Community Church is one of the largest churches in San Diego County. It is also the home of Southern California Seminary and Christian Unified Schools.

Today, Turning Point’s 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 stations worldwide. Turning Point also launched a television program in 1982 in San Diego and went nationwide in 2000. Close to 200 million homes around the world now have access to Dr. Jeremiah’s Bible teaching each week.

Dr. Jeremiah is a sought-after conference speaker for organizations around the country. He frequently speaks at Cedarville College, Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, Billy Graham Training Center, Phil Waldrep’s Senior Adult Celebrations, National Quartet Convention and numerous NFL, NBA and Baseball chapels.

Along with his speaking schedule around the country, Dr. Jeremiah also finds time to fulfill another passion in his life, writing. He is the author of many books that reached the New York Times Best Seller list.

Dr. Jeremiah received a Bachelor of Arts from Cedarville College and married his college sweetheart, Donna Thompson, in the same year. He earned a Masters degree in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and was granted the Doctor of Divinity degree from Cedarville College in 1981.
A dedicated family man, Dr. Jeremiah believes that without the support and encouragement of his wife, Donna, Turning Point would have never been brought into existence. He and Donna have four grown children and twelve grandchildren.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez is the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)/CONEL, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization serving as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,118 U.S. churches and over 450,000 churches spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora.

Rodriguez has been among many lists of influencers in America, which have recognized his impact across the religious and Latino communities, including “40 People Who Radically Changed the World” by Charisma Magazine 2015 and “101 Most Influential Leaders” by Latino Leaders Magazine 2015 and 2016.

A representative of President Obama’s White House Task Force on Fatherhood and Healthy Families, he meets and consults members of both parties in Congress and in White House meetings on social justice, Latino and values issues and provided consultation to several presidential campaigns on issues such as religious liberties.

As one of America’s leading Christian and Latino voices and the Latino Evangelical movement, Rodriguez is regularly featured, profiled and quoted by The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, NBC Telemundo, ABC, NPR, Christianity Today, Newsweek, Univision, The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, and many others.

He is the author of the #1 LA Times Best Seller’s list “Be Light: Shining God’s Beauty, Truth, and Hope in a Darkened World,” “The Lamb’s Agenda,” and “Path of Miracles.”

He earned his Master’s degree from Lehigh University and received Honorary Doctorates from Baptist University of the Americas and Northwest University. He is an Assemblies of God Ordained Minister since the age of 23. Rodriguez also serves as Senior Pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California, where he resides with his wife, Eva, and their three children.

Keith Craft is the founder and lead pastor of Elevate Life Church in Frisco, Texas.

Before founding Elevate Life Church, Keith traveled 48 weeks a year, for almost twenty years as a motivational speaker and leadership strategist; and he continues to travel as much as his schedule allows. He speaks in the world’s largest business/success seminars and has shared the stage with former world leaders such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Margaret Thatcher. For the past thirty years he has spoken alongside Super Bowl–winning coaches such as Mike Ditka, Don Shula, Mike Shanahan, and Tony Dungy; MVP quarterbacks such as Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Peyton Manning; and entertainers such as Jerry Lewis, Bill Cosby, and Goldie Hawn. As a leadership coach and strategist, Craft is also the founder of, an online quote service.

Along with Elevate Life Church, Keith is the President of Keith Craft Leadership Shapers, a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping people increase their leadership capacity and maximize their personal and professional lives. He is also the founder of Leadershipology, a daily live internet quote service. No matter what the method is, Pastor Keith’s ultimate vision is to be a leader who motivates people to reach their God-given potential.

Keith and his wife, Sheila, both graduated from Evangel University in 1982, and they were married in 1983. He and Sheila have three children, Joshua and Keela who both serve on the pastoral team of ELC, and Whitney, who serves on the worship team at Elevate Life.

Scott is a State Representative in Texas, a businessman, national motivational speaker and former NFL player. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2012. He represents House District 33 which encompasses all of Rockwall County and portions of Collin County.

Rep. Turner was recognized by GOPAC as 2013 Emerging Leaders for his leadership in the Texas House. He was also named a Courageous Conservative by the Texas Conservative Coalition.

A fourth generation Texan, Rep. Turner attended the University of Illinois, graduating with a degree in speech communications. In 1995, he began his 9-year professional football career as a defensive back when he was drafted by the Washington Redskins. He went on to play for the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos. After retiring from the NFL, Rep. Turner returned to the Dallas area to pursue his business career. He is now the Director of Business Development and Corporate Chaplain at Systemware, Inc and is the Founder and CEO of Statesman Clothiers.

Rep. Turner serves on the Texas House Government Transparency and Operation Committee and the International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. He is also a member of the House Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Select Committee. He volunteers on several community boards including Presbyterian Hospital’s Presidents Leadership Council, Dallas Metropolitan YMCA Board of Directors, Prestonwood Christian Academy Board of Trustees and GuideStone Financial Board of Directors. He and his wife Robin are active members of Prestonwood Baptist Church where he served as a Bible Fellowship leader, Deacon and occasional guest pastor.

Rep. Turner, Robin, and their nephew Solomon reside in Frisco, Texas.

J.D. Greear is the pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send (2015), Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011), Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013), and Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You (2014). Two main things characterize The Summit Church: its gospel focus and sending culture. The gospel is not merely the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity, it’s also the pool itself. Joy, reckless generosity, and audacious faith all come by learning more about God’s extravagant love found in Christ.

God has blessed The Summit Church with tremendous growth. Under J.D.’s leadership, the Summit has grown from a plateaued church of 300 to one of nearly 10,000, making it one of Outreach magazine’s “top 25 fastest-growing churches in America” for many years running.

J.D. has also led the Summit to further the kingdom of God by pursuing a bold vision to plant one thousand new churches by the year 2050. In the last ten years, the church has sent out more than 650 people to live on church planting teams, both domestically and internationally. J.D. completed his Ph.D. in Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he is also a faculty member, writing on the correlations between early church presentations of the gospel and Islamic theology. Having lived and served with the SBC’s International Mission Board among Muslims, he has a burden to see them, as well as every nation on earth, come to know and love the salvation of God in Christ.

He and his wife Veronica live in Raleigh and are raising four ridiculously cute kids: Kharis, Alethia, Ryah, and Adon.

Megan Alexander is a national news correspondent, author, speaker and actress. She can be seen every evening as a correspondent on the longest-running, top rated syndicated national news magazine television show INSIDE EDITION.

After joining INSIDE EDITION in fall of 2007, Megan has covered a variety of news topics like the last 6 Super Bowls, swimming with wild animals, tackling a breaking political story or chatting with celebrities.

For the 2014 and 2015 NFL seasons, she covered Thursday Night Football on CBS.

Megan is an actress and producer and her film credits include the roles in the movies Space Warriors, Redeemed, Heartbeats, and in the television dramas “Nashville” on ABC and “Still the King” on CMT. She hosts the nationally televised Inspirational Country Music Awards each year from Nashville, TN.

Her first book, “Faith in the Spotlight – Thriving in Your Career While Staying True to Your Beliefs,” was released by Simon and Schuster on October 4, 2016.

Megan splits time between NYC and Nashville, TN. She and her husband have 2 sons and a dog named Indiana.

Vance is the Senior Pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, a church he planted in 2001 with a vision to launch a church focused on joining in God’s activity locally and globally. From a small group of eighteen adults in a living room, Hope’s fellowship has grown to over 3000 people in small groups desiring to connect people to live the life of a Jesus follower. Vance has led Hope to understand that what God is doing is bigger than one church. Since its launch in 2001, Hope Church has sent hundreds out of their fellowship on mission, invested millions of dollars in God’s global activity, and has commissioned more than thirty churches in the Western United States.

As a seasoned church planter in the West, and now as a national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board, Vance speaks all over the nation to stimulate awareness that the Gospel is very needed in our own country as well as all over the world. His expositional preaching repeatedly raises the question, “How can I be more involved in the Kingdom of God?”

He was licensed to the Gospel ministry on December 12, 1990 and ordained to the Gospel ministry on June 22, 1994 at First Baptist Church, Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in History and a minor in Business Management from the University of North Alabama, and a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.

Vance resides in Henderson, Nevada with his wife Kristie. They have two daughters, two sons, and a son-in-law.

Art is often birthed from struggle. Expressing the heart’s most vulnerable emotions can be both cathartic and beautiful, as history has proven time and again. For one of Christian music’s most prolific vocalists, Todd Smith, life has undoubtedly inspired his art. While the depths of suffering, including the loss of a child and a serious illness, have profoundly affected Todd and his family, he’s emerged with an unquenchable thirst to create—to make music, offer Hope, and challenge complacency.

Best known as a founding member of Selah—the beloved vocal group has sold more than 4 million albums and singles, claimed eight #1 radio hits, three chart-topping Billboard albums and eight Dove Awards among numerous other accolades in a storied career approaching two decades—Todd steps into the solo spotlight to further articulate the passions of his heart. To that end, There’s A Light is a deeply personal portrait of a husband, father, son, friend, tireless advocate and follower of Christ.