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Pastor and motivational speaker Joel Osteen recently spoke about the inspiring faith journey of Ben Tankard to his 50,000 member Lakewood Church congregation and a TV/streaming audience of over 20 million.

Tankard, a good friend of Osteen, grew up in poverty and in a drug infested slum. He was a gift basketball player, however, and musician early on. After an NBA career ending injury, Tankard became a dog catcher to make ends meet until he got his break in selling music. Since then, Tankard has become the “Godfather” of gospel jazz by selling millions of records and earning multiple Grammy, Stellar, and Dove awards and nominations.

The gold and platinum producer is also now a motivational speaker for the NBA. In addition, he is now a pastor, author, pilot and reality TV dad for his hit show “The Tankards.”

In addition to sharing Tankard’s story to the masses, Osteen posted about him on Facebook. In a post, Osteen writes “My friend, Ben Tankard, is an amazing minister, full of life, joy and wisdom. Every time I’m around him, he brings a smile to my face. I hope you’ll check out his new book. It will challenge you to become all God created you to be.”

His highly anticipated new CD release “Cantankerous” is riding the charts and available everywhere gospel and jazz music is sold.

One of Disney’s most beloved movies, “Bambi,” is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary this year by joining the Walt Disney Signature Collection.

The Collection release will include a variety of new bonus material. Deleted scenes and characters, recordings of Walt Disney discussing the challenges and triumphs of the movie, and how the movie effected the Disney studio, other films and artists, are just some of the new content that will be released. Additionally, the digital release includes  an exclusive, heartfelt feature on the incredible artist, Tyrus Wong, who inspired the film’s soft watercolor backgrounds and beautiful palette.

Beliefnet got exclusive access to some of the additional content that has never before been released for “Bambi.” In the clip below, Walt Disney speaks about how his daughter reacted to the movie after her first time seeing it.

 

“Bambi” arrives home on Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, May 23rd and on Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand on June 6. Watch the official trailer for the Signature Collection release below.

lead_960Should I give up
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere
Or would it be a waste?”

– Adele

I woke up to this Adele song stuck in my head today and at first I thought it was just a nice melody to sing along to, since I knew the words so well. But then I started to think about the lyrics above, and much deeper thoughts began to run through my mind. The first two lines of this song so vividly capture my journey with chronic pain. “How so?” you may ask.

Well, for 16 years I was the person who was “chasing pavements.” I had a mystery illness that led me to have to search the entire country for an answer. I had severe heel pain and back pain and could not walk, stand, or sit. No doctor understood what was causing it and no test would reveal it’s answer. It completely consumed my life. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I was a healthy girl, who at 15 starting having debilitating bilateral heel pain and burning. And despite seeing numerous specialists throughout the country, not one had a clue what was causing this unusual pain.

I remember so clearly doctors saying to me and my mom, “This is very complicated… I wish I had an answer.” I also remember at the age of 16 a thoughtless doctor saying, “I have no idea what this is, and for the amount of money your insurance pays me… I’ve spent enough time with you.” But, despite the endless disappointing and frustrating doctor’s appointments, off we would go to search for another doctor who could possibly have the answer to making me well. Sadly, it took till I was 31 years old to get the correct and confirming diagnosis that I had a form of Seronegative Inflammatory Arthritis (meaning Arthritis that doesn’t show up in blood and imaging tests, as most Inflammatory Arthritis typically does).

So, as you can see for 16 years of my life I had two options: “Keep chasing pavements” or “give up.” I chose to keep chasing pavements… even though I knew it could lead nowhere. There were countless number of times where I wanted to give up in finding an answer, so many heartbreaking moments that I could tell you. The deep agony of experiencing physical pain that had no name and no one understood. The endless friends that gave up on me, because they could not understand my invisible pain. The painfulness of living a life on the sidelines while I watched my peers and friends do everything I wanted to do, but could not.

I could have so easily given up and taken the doctor’s advice (which several ones offered me) which was to get used to the pain because there was no way to treat it. I could have fallen into a deep despair, and lost hope that I could ever have any kind of life. But, despite my moments, I didn’t.  I never gave up on my faith and strong belief  that there was an answer to be revealed.  I kept chasing pavements to find this answer, because I knew there was one.

Don’t get me wrong, even though I now have the answer, it doesn’t mean I am still not chasing pavements every day. My journey is far from over. I am still trying to find the right medication to bring me the relief I need to create an independent life. I am still trying to find meaning and purpose in my life despite the chronic pain I face. And, I am still searching for love which I hope to find in a special man who can understand what I’ve been through and still go through.

So, no, I don’t think it would be a “waste” to “keep chasing pavements,” because giving up is not an option for me and it shouldn’t be for you.

Courtesy of Lauren Blumer 

Selena_Gomez_-_Walmart_Soundcheck_ConcertSince leaving rehab last year, Selena Gomez has a newfound faith in the Lord.

The singer entered rehab in August of 2016 after suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks as a result of her lupus diagnosis. Gomez leaned on religion when she checked into rehab, signing up for a Christian-based track program.

Now, Selena says she is closer to God than ever before. She recently revealed to Vogue magazine about how her church roots are deeply embedded in her upbringing, and how her faith has flourished since her time in rehab.

Selena was born to teenage parents in Texas and struggled emotionally as a child. She blamed her mother for her parent’s split when she was only five, and without dad around the family struggled financially.

“I was frustrated that my parents weren’t together, and never saw the light at the end of the tunnel where my mom was working hard to provide a better life for me,” Gomez said in an interview.

Gomez got her start with a role on the series Barney and Friends and later landed the lead role of Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Selena was following in the footsteps of other Disney stars like Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato, who kept squeaky clean images as Disney teens only to turn to drugs and partying when they branched out on their own.

It seemed as Gomez was also on the track downward, creating a sultry celebrity image and running around with Hollywood A-listers. Her songs topped the charts and she began to date the drug-troubled Justin Bieber for a year, followed by a year of on-and-off-again rumors. But when she started suffering from lupus, coupled with the depression and anxiety surrounding her illness, Gomez cancelled the rest of her Revival Tour in 2016.

Gomez maintained that she wasn’t fighting a battle with addiction, despite tabloid rumors surrounding her decision to get help. She passed up the typical Hollywood luxury rehab facility in favor of a Christian-run program.

Selena has now surrounded herself with her church friends, and is spending less time with the Hollywood scene. The 24-year-old music artist opened up to Vogue magazine about her new lifestyle, saying that she doesn’t go to after-parties or night clubs anymore. Instead, she is trying to spend more time outside the public eye.

“Gomez currently lives in an Airbnb in the Valley and honestly doesn’t get out much, except for the long drives with her girlfriends: a realtor, a techie, some folks from church,” Vogue wrote about Gomez and her friends.

“I think 17 people have my phone number right now. Maybe two are famous,” she said.

Selena has been even more open about her faith in the Lord since her reemergence into the limelight. She never hid her faith, previously making small gestures such as mouthing the words “Thank you Jesus” in between lyrics at concerts. Now, though, she’s sharing her faith on a much larger scale.

In recent months, Selena has also gone back to social media, mainly Instagram. She has reveled more of her spiritual and Christian side through various posts, including some of her favorite bible verses and church sermons. In a recent post, she quotes a sermon by Pastor Judah Smith who lead City Church in Los Angeles, California.

“Today I watched a sermon from one of my favorites. @judahsmith ‘I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.’ Romans 7:15,” she wrote under the photo of the pastor.

Gomez is fond of Hillsong Church, as well.

In 2016, Selena surprised fans at Hillsong Church’s Young and Free Revival Concert in Los Angeles when she sang an original worship song, “Nobody,” for the first time.

“I got to perform my first worship song I ever wrote. So grateful for His grace and understanding,” she said in an Instagram post.

She told those during the concert that “Tonight is more than a concert, it’s more than Hillsong, it’s more than me coming on stage and singing a song for you. It’s about a relationship that is greater than anything, guaranteed.”

During a promotional tour for Hotel Transylvania 2, Selena explained her faith. She explained how she wants to spread love and positivity in everything she does.

“I love to focus on the positive. As much as I believe we have work to do, I believe we’re in a really good place and we have a really good grip for embracing people for who they really are. I just hope that spreads more and more.”

Then, Gomez called Hillsong United’s singer, Brooke Fraser, one of her favorite faith-based artists.

“She’s my favorite. And I have the pleasure of knowing her and she’s incredible. I have always loved her music. I love Hillsong as well. I love all of their worship. I’m a sucker for all of it.”

Selena’s fans are continuing to be accepting of the singer and are impressed by her unwavering faith.

“I’m impressed with her courage. Not a lot of singers would do what she did. She performed a Christian song despite knowing that it may cause some people to view it in a dim light because of ‘religious issues’. Unless it is a church concert, I seldom hear any singers sing Christian songs publicly, much less a concert,” noted Emily L. in YouTube comments following a concert in 2016.