Visionary Leader of the Year

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Visionary Leader of the Year

  1. 1. S. Cole Johnson – HonoreeSaturday, May 19, 2018Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
  2. 2. HOST: JOY STYLESFOREWARD – JUSTICE SMITH2013: STRUGGLE – MICHAEL CHAD MARTIN2014: BACHELOR DEGREED MAN – VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON2015: THE AUTHOR MAKES AN IMPACT – BRENDA NOEL2016: TAKING OVER SOCIAL MEDIA – DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS2017: THE CANDIDATE BECOMING A DOCTOR – DR. PEGGY CARPENTERTODAY: FROM STRUGGLE TO CHARITY – PASTOR JAMES LOWEKEYNOTE SPEAKER – L. MICHELLE PRICE-JOHNSONTHOUGHTS – S. COLE JOHNSONBENEDICTION – LeVAN CRAIG CHAMPION
  3. 3. *THE FESTIVITIES BEGAN WITH A MONTAGE OF STILL PHOTOGRAPHS AND A COUPLE OF VIDEOS.SOME APPLAUSE WAS GIVEN EVERY TIME TO MAN OF HONOR WAS SEEN ON THE SCREEN.*AFTERWARDS, THE PUBLIC ADDRESS ANNOUNCER INTRODUCED THE HOST OF TONIGHT’SAWARD CELEBRATION. THE STRIKING 5’ 7” BEAUTY DAZZLED THE CROWD AS SHE WALKED TOTHE CENTER OF THE STAGE. SHE WAVES ‘HELLO’ TO A COUPLE OF PEOPLE AND READIES HERSELFTO SPEAK.*JOY STYLES: THANK YOU SO MUCH AND WELCOME TO THE 2018 VISIONARY LEADER OF THE YEARAWARD. IT’S BEEN A PRIVILEGE, A PLEASURE AND A DOWNRIGHT HONOR TO KNOW THIS MAN.IT’S BEEN EIGHT YEARS SINCE I FIRST TALKED WITH HIM. MY RESPECT FOR HIM WAS STRONGWHEN WE MET, AND IT HAS GROWN STRONER SINCE THEN. NO MATTER WHAT THE SITUATION,SCENARIO OR CIRCUMSTANCE, THIS MAN ALWAYS CARES ABOUT YOU, AND HE WANTS TO SEEYOU DO YOUR BEST. IF HE CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE THAT? WELL, IT’S NOT AN ISSUE, AT ALL,THERE, EITHER. THE MAN WE ARE HONORING TONIGHT IS SABURI CHUKU COLE JOHNSON – BUTYOU ALL KNOW HIM BEST AS COLE.*THE CROWD APPLAUDS AS SHE GESTURES TOWARD HIM. I STOOD AND GAVE THE CROWD ACOUPLE OF WAVES AND KISSES BEFORE I SAT TO LISTEN MORE ON HOW THE NIGHT WAS GOINGTO PROGRESS.JOY STYLES: THERE ARE A FEW SPECIAL PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO SAY A FEW KEY WORDS ABOUTTHE MAN WE’RE HONORING TONIGHT – AND WE’LL START WITH SOMEONE WHO ATTENDS THESAME CHURCH HE ATTENDS. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, HE’S A DEAR FRIEND OF MINE AS WELLAS COLE – MR. JUSTICE SMITH.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS JUSTICE SMITH WALKED TO CENTER STAGE AND HUGGED JOY. SHEEXITED THE STAGE AS AN AMERICAN FLAG DROPPED FROM THE CEILING. THE APPLAUSEQUIETED AS JUSTICE PREPARED TO SING.*
  4. 4. FOREWARDSPEAKER – JUSTICE SMITHJUSTICE DID A FANTASTIC JOB AS THE THRONG WAS PLEASED WITH HIS EFFORTS. HETHEN WAITED FOR THE APPLAUSE TO SIMMER BEFORE HE CONTINUED WITH HISTHOUGHTS:JUSTICE SMITH: THANK YOU SO MUCH, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! WE ARE ALLGATHERED HERE, TONIGHT, IN HONOR OF A SPECIAL MAN. HE’S ONE WHO HAS GONETHROUGH TREMENDOUS STRUGGLE. HE HAS ENDURED HIS FAIR SHARE OF PAIN. YET, HECONTINUES TO BE A CHEERFUL GIVER OF HIS TIME, HIS HEART, AND HIS WISDOM. LADIESAND GENTLEMEN – I AM HERE TO SPEAK ABOUT MY FRIEND …. MY BROTHA’ – MISTER S.COLE JOHNSON.*MORE APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE*JUSTICE SMITH: HOW CAN YOU EVER PUT INTO WORDS A FRIEND WHO DOES STICKCLOSER TO YOU THAN A BROTHER? I MEAN – THIS IS A MAN WHO WENT THROUGHTURMOIL, HIMSELF, YET FOUND THE TIME TO PRAY FOR MY HOUSEHOLD’S WELL-BEING.HE’S ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE I TURN TO WHEN I WANT TO HASH OUT THE WORD OF GOD –BECAUSE PEOPLE KNOW THAT I NEVER CENSOR WHAT GOD PUTS WITHIN ME.*SOUND LAUGHER IS EMITTED FROM THE AUDIENCE*JUSTICE SMITH: WE’VE LAUGHED TOGETHER. WE’VE CRIED TOGETHER. WE’VE SHAREDWORPSHIP TOGETHER, BUT I THINK OF ONE KEY MOMENT THAT WILL ALWAYS STICKWITH ME ….
  5. 5. JUSTICE SMITH: NOW, HERE WE ARE IN JAMAICA. WE’RE SUPPOSED TO SPEND SOME QUALITYTIME WITH OUR WIVES – AND WE DID. BUT COLE DECIDES TO USE THE VACATION AS A MISSIONSTRIP. THANKS BE TO GOD THAT WE HAVE WOMEN WHO LOVE THE LORD LIKE WE DO – BECAUSETHIS WAS A PICTURE WE TOOK ON OUR FIVE-YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY HONEYMOON BACKIN 2015. WE HAD A GREAT PICTURE OF A SUNSET, BUT COLE ACCIDENTLY ERASED THE SHOTWHEN HE WAS TRYING TO WORK MY PHONE.*THE CROWD LAUGHS*JUSTICE SMITH: BUT WE SHOWED SOME JAMACIANS THE BEAUTY THAT IS JESUS, LOVED ON OURWIVES AND ENJOYED EVERY SINGLE BIT OF THE JOURNEY. BRUH? THANK YOU FOR GIVING METHE TIME TO SHARE THIS STORY TONIGHT.*APPLAUSE FROM THE CROWD*
  6. 6. *AS JOY WALKED BACK TO THE STAGE, THE TWO SHARED A QUICK WORD BEFORE JUSTICE LEFT.JOY ONCE AGAIN STOOD CENTER STAGE AND WAITED FOR THE APPLAUSE TO LESSEN ININTENSITY. ONCE IT DID, SHE CONTINUED.JOY STYLES: THANK YOU, JUSTICE, FOR SUCH GREAT WORDS. I THINK YOU’LL HEAR A LOT OF THESAME THINGS BE MENTIONED WHEN IT COMES TO COLE – AND THAT IS HIS HEART. I CAN ATTESTTO THE FACT HE HAS A BIG ONE. OUR NEXT SPEAKER CAN ALSO ATTEST TO THIS AS WELL AS HEWAS A FELLOW COLLEGE CLASSMATE OF OUR HONOREE. SOMETIMES, WE AREN’T WITNESSED TOTHE STRUGGLE WE ALL ENDURE BEFORE WE GET TO CERTAIN PLATEAUS. HOWEVER, OUR NEXTSPEAKER IS MORE THAN WILLING TO EXPOUND ON THAT. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, TREVECCANAZARENE UNIVERSITY CLASS OF 2014 GRADUATE – MR. MICHAEL CHAD MARTIN.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS THE MAN KNOWN AS ‘CHAD’ WALKED TO CENTER STAGE MEETINGJOY. THEY SHOOK HANDS AND JOY EXITED THE STAGE TO ALLOW CHAD TIME TO SPEAK HISWORDS.
  7. 7. STRUGGLESPEAKER – MICHAEL CHAD MARTIN*CHAD LOOKS OUTWARD TO THE CROWD. HE THEN SAW ME AND POINTED IN MYDIRECTION. WITH A SMILE, I POINTED BACK TOWARD HIM AND HE THEN BEGAN TOSPEAK.*CHAD MARTIN: THANK YOU, JOY. *SIGHS* WOW. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IWOULD BE ABLE TO SAY THAT SOMEONE I WENT TO COLLEGE WITH WOULDRECEIVE SUCH A HUGE HONOR? BUT UPON FURTHER REVIEW, IF IT WERE TO HAVEBEEN ANYONE WHO WOULD REACH THAT MILESTONE, I’M NOT SURPRISED IT’SCOLE. IT ALL STARTED ….*POLITE APPLUASE FILLED THE ROOM AS CHAD STOPPED. HE CONTINUED AFTER AFEW SECONDS.*CHAD MARTIN: IT ALL STARTED WITH LITERALLY READING HIS STORY. WESHARED A CLASS TOGETHER AND WE HAD TO SUBMIT AUTOBIOGRAPHIES TO GETTO KNOW ONE ANOTHER. WELL, HE SENT IN HIS, AND AFTER I READ IT, IT HAD AGREAT AND PROFOUND EFFECT ON ME. IT WAS A STORY LITTERED WITH HARDTIMES, TROUBLE AND HEARTACHE. BUT THROUGH IT ALL, HE MAINTAINED, KEPTFIGHTING AND NEVER QUIT. HE TOOK ONE SETBACK AFTER ANOTHER – AND KEPTGETTING BACK UP TO CONTINUE ONWARD IN THE FIGHT WITH LIFE.*THR CROWD ROARED AFTER HEARING THOSE WORDS. CHAD SMILED AS HECONTINUED.*
  8. 8. CHAD MARTIN: WE SHARED AN ADULT NIGHT CLASS CALLED MHR AT TREVECCA, AND DURINGOUR VERY FIRST NIGHT, HE SAID THAT HE WAS A SQUARE PEG TRYING TO FIT INTO ROUND HOLESALL THROUGHOUT LIFE. HOWEVER, IN HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY, HE JUST KEPT BEING POSITIVE. HEKEPT BOUNCING BACK. HE KEPT ONWARD WITH THE FIGHT. HE’S SOMEONE I’M PROUD TO CALLAN INSPIRATION – AND A FRIEND. LIFE GAVE HIM PUNCHES IN THE MOUTH – AND HE KEPTGETTING BACK UP . NOW – HE’S DOING ALL THE PUNCHING BECAUSE OF HIS WILL TO FIGHT ANDWIN. COLE? THANK YOU FOR BEING AN INSPIRATION EVEN IN YOUR STRUGGLE. YOU’VE TAUGHTME THAT THE BATTLE IS NOT OURS BUT IT IS THE LORD’S. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
  9. 9. THE CROWD GAVE CHAD A ROUSING OVATION AS BOTH HE AND I NODDED AT EACH OTHER. JOYTOOK CENTER STAGE AGAIN AND THANKED HIM FOR THE WORDS. SHE READIED HERSELF TOSPEAK AFTER THE CROWD DIED DOWN.JOY STYLES: WOW. THANK YOU FOR THAT STORY, CHAD. IT’S SO NICE TO KNOW THAT I’M NOTTHE ONLY ONE HE’S INSPIRED AND ENCOURAGED TO DO GREAT THINGS. THAT’S SIMPLY THETRUE ESSENCE OF THIS MAN. HE WANTS GREATNESS FOR HIMSELF, BUT HE SEES GREATNESS INEVERYONE ELSE – AND HE’S NOT AFRAID TO TALK TO YOUABOUT YOUR GREATNESS.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED FOR A FEW SECONDS AS JOY SMILED AND WAITED FOR THE APPLAUSETO LESSEN.*JOY STYLES: OUR NEXT SPEAKER? I BELIEVE IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT IT IF WASN’T FOR THISPERSON, THIS NIGHT WOULDN’T EXIST. SHE’S BEEN WITH HIM SINCE BIRTH. LADIES ANDGENTLEMEN COLE’S MOTHER, AND A WONDERFUL WOMAN IN HER OWN RIGHT, MRS. VYONNECARTER-JOHNSON.*THE CROWD GAVE A RESPECTFUL ROAR AS MYMOTHER MADE HER WAY TO THE STAGE. TEARSSTARTED TO FORM AS I WAS SEEING THIS EXTRAORDINARY FIGURE TAKE CENTER STAGE. SHEGREETED JOY AND GOT COMFORTABLE STANDING CENTER STAGE. JOY EXITED AND MY MOTHERBEGAN SPEAKING. TO THE THRONG.
  10. 10. BACHELOR DEGREED MANSPEAKER – VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON*MY MOTHER WAS BEAMING WITH PRIDE BEFORE SHE SPOKE. SHE OPENED A FOLDER TO EXPOSEHER WORDS AND, WITH POISE, DOVE RIGHT INTO SPEAKING.*VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON: THANK YOU , EVERYONE. IT’S AN HONOR FOR ME BECAUSE NOTONLY TO I LOVE OUR HONOREE, I’M ALSO – VERY PROUD OF HIM.*THE CROWD POLITELY APPLAUDED BEFORE SHE CONTINUED.*VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON: I REMEMBER TALKING TO SABURI – YOU HAVE TO EXCUSE ME. HE’SNOT COLE TO ME, HE’S SABURI.*THE CROWD LAUGHS A LITTLE BEFORE SHE CONTINUED.*VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON: I REMEMBER TALKING TO MY SON ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF ACOLLEGE EDUCATION. I TALKED TO HIM ABOUT IT WAY BACK WHEN HE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL.BUT MANY OF YOU MOTHERS, OUT THERE, KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO TALK TO A STUBBORNYOUNG MAN. YOU’D BE MORE SUCESSFUL TALKING TO A BRICK WALL.*THE CROWD LAUGHS HARD AS I BURIED MY HEAD AND SHOOK IT. MY MOTHER CONTINUED.*VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON: BUT THROUGH IT ALL, I WAS PROUD OF MY BABY. I ENDLESSLYTALK ABOUT HIM AS IF HE’S STILL SEVEN YEARS OLD. THAT’S THE BEAUTY ABOUT THIS NIGHT.ALL THE DREAMS I HAD FOR HIM ARE BEING SURPASSED BECAUSE OF HOW GOOD OF A MAN MYSON IS.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS SHE CONTINUED SPEAKING.*
  11. 11. VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON: ONE OF THE PROUDEST DAYS OF MY LIFE WAS WHEN I GOT THECHANCE TO SEE MY SON WALK ACROSS THE STAGE WITH HIS COLLEGE DEGREE FOUR YEARS AGO.HE LISTENED TO WHAT I SAID, AFTER ALL, AND ACHIEVED SOMETHING I WANTED FOR HIM. BUT –I HAD TO LEARN THAT IT WAS SOMETHING HE NEEDED MORE THAN I WANTED ITFOR HIM. ASPAINFUL AS IT WAS, I GAVE HIM THE SPACE TO GROW AND UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF ADEGREE. NOT ONLY DID HE ACHIEVE IT, HE WAS CUM LAUDE, AS WELL. I KNEW MY BABY WASSMART.*THE CROWD LAUGHS AS MY MOTHER CONTINUED.*VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON: AFTER THE CEREMONY, HE WALKS UP TO ME AND SAYS, “THISONE’S FOR YOU.” SON? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT. I LOVE YOU AND AM PROUD YOU AREWHERE YOU ARE, TODAY.
  12. 12. *THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS I BLEW A KISS IN MY MOTHER’S DIRECTION. SHE BLEW ONE BACKAT ME AS SHE HUGGED JOY, WHO MET HER AT CENTER STAGE. AS MY MOTHER LEFT, JOYCONTINUED, BUT ALLOWED THE APPLAUSE OF THE SPECIAL MOMENT TAKE PRECEDENT.*JOY STYLES: ONE MORE TIME FOR VYONNE CARTER-JOHNSON!*THE CROWD INTENSIFIED ITS APPLAUSE AS I FELT SO HONORED BY MY MOTHER SAYING THESENICE THINGS ABOUT ME. AS THE CROWD LESSENED ITS INTENSITY IN APPLAUDING, JOY SPOKEONCE AGAIN.*JOY STYLES: THAT WAS SENSATIONAL! THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A MOTHER’S LOVE. NOTHINGLIKE IT. OUR NEXT SPEAKER KNOWS OUR HONOREE WELL. SHE’S HELPED HIM EDIT HIS TWOBOOKS AND HAS PRAYED WITH HIM ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS. WOULD YOU PUT YOUR HANDSTOGETHER FOR AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER, BRENDA NOEL.*THE CROWD APPLAUDS AS BRENDA MADE HER WAY TO CENTER STAGE. SHE AND JOYEXCHANGED A HUG BEFORE BRENDA TOOK CENTER STAGE. JOY EXITED AND ALLOWEDBREANDA HER MOMENT TO SPEAK HER WORDS.*
  13. 13. THE AUTHOR MAKES AN IMPACTSPEAKER – BRENDA NOEL*BRENDA STEADIED HERSELF BEFORE SPEAKING. SHE SMILED AT ME AND THENLOOKED BACK TO THE AUDIENCE.*BRENDA NOEL: IN THE BIBLE, IT SAYS, “A GIFT OPENS THE WAY FOR THE GIVER ANDUSHERS HIMSELF IN THE PRESENCE OF THE GREAT.” TONIGHT IS A GREAT EXAMPLEOF THAT SCRIPTURE. COLE IS A GIFT, AND BECAUSE OF THAT GIFT, HIS WAY HASBEEN OPENED TO ALL OF YOU, OUT HERE.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS BRENDA SMILED AND CONTINUED SPEAKING.*BRENDA NOEL: WHEN I FIRST MET MY BROTHER IN CHRIST IN 2012, I DIDN’T KNOWWHAT TO MAKE OF WHAT HE WANTED TO DO. THEN, HE TALKED TO MY BUSINESSPARTNER, DAWN, AND MYSELF ABOUT A BOOK HE WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF DOING.WHEN I FINALLY READ THE MANUSCRIPT OF THE BOOK IN 2013, IT BLEW MY MINDAWAY. I JUST THOUGHT, “HE’S GOING TO BLESS SO MANY PEOPLE WITH THESEWORDS.” AND NOW ALL OF YOU KNOW ABOUT HIS FIRST BOOK ENTITLED,“EVERYMAN: MY 365-DAY JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE.”*THE CROWD APPLAUDED ONCE AGAIN AS BRENDA CONTINUED SPEAKING TO THETHRONG.*BRENDA NOEL: AFTER HE PUBLISHED HIS SECOND BOOK, “FEAR: MY BEST FRIEND,”IT AMAZED ME TO SEE THE ATTENTION HE RECEIVED AT HIS BOOK SIGNING.
  14. 14. BRENDA NOEL: I READ BOTH BOOKS, AND IT TOUCHED MY HEART AND GOT TO SOME ISSUES I’VEHAD TO DEAL WITH. IN ATTENDING HIS BOOK SIGNING, I WAS HEARING A LOT OF PEOPLE SAYTHE EXACT SAME THING. HE JUST HAS A WAY TO REACH INSIDE OF YOU WITH HIS WORDS ANDMAKES YOU SAY, “WOW! I CAN TOTALLY RELATE TO THAT.” WELL, IF HE’S AN EVERYMAN WHO ISSTILL GRIPPED IN FEAR, NOW? I FIND THAT VERY HARD TO BELIEVE. I LOOK FORWARD TOREADING HIS THIRD BOOK BECAUSE HE’S GROWING AS A WRITER AND THAT’S A BEAUTIFULTHING. I CAN TELL YOU AS A WRITER, MYSELF, YOU LONG FOR THIS GROWTH. IT’S A JOY TO READHIS MATERIAL – AND I LOOK FORWARD TO EVEN MORE BOOKS AND MORE BOOK SIGNINGS.THANK YOU, COLE, FOR BLESSING US ALL WITH YOUR WRITING GIFT.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS JOY WALKS OUT TO CENTER STAGE. BRENDA BOWED TO ME AS ISAID, “THANK YOU” TO HER. *
  15. 15. *JOY WHISPERED A COUPLE OF GOOD WORDS TO BRENDA, AND SHE, TO JOY AS SHEWALKED OFF THE STAGE. JOY WAITED FOR THE APPLAUSE TO SIMMER BEFORECONTINUING.JOY STYLES: THANK YOU, BRENDA. LET’S KEEP THIS NIGHT MOVING. OUR NEXTSPEAKER MET OUR HONOREE AS HE PURSUED HIS SUCCESSFUL JOURNEY TORECEIVE HIS MASTERS DEGREE IN SOCIAL AND MOBILE MEDIA. HE’S THE HEAD OFTHE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OFFLORIDA – LADIES AND GENTLEMEN – DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS DR. KIOUSIS WALKED TO CENTER STAGE. HE AND JOYSHOOK HANDS BEFORE THE HOSTESS RETREATED BACKSTAGE. DR. KIOUSISPREPARED HIMSELF TO ADDRESS HIS AUDIENCE.*
  16. 16. TAKING OVER SOCIAL MEDIASPEAKER – DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS*DR KIOUSIS LOOKED OVER THE CROWD AFTER THE APPLAUSE FADED. HE NODEDAS HE BEGAN*DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS: THANK YOU, JOY. HOW ARE YOU GUYS DOING?*THE CROWD BRIEFLY ROARED.*DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS: THE ONLY TIME I VISIT NASHVILLE IS WHEN THE GATORS HAVETHEIR WAY WITH VANDERBILT.*SOME BOOS WERE EMITTED IN THE AUDIENCE, BUT DR. KIOUSIS EXPECTED IT AS HECONTINUED.*DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS: BUT TONIGHT, I’M HONORING A GATOR WHO IS SO TALENTED,SO NICE, SO GIVING OF HIMSELF THAT IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE HE CALLS HOME,IT’S A TREAT TO BE AROUND HIM.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS DR. KIOUSIS CONTINUED.*DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS: COLE TOOK PART IN A FOIRST-OF-ITS-KIND SOCIAL MEDIAMASTERS’ PROGRAM. I KNEW THAT HE WOULD LEARN A LOT OF THINGS. WHAT IDIDN’T KNOW WAS THAT HE WOULD TAKE THOSE THINGS AND APPLY IT TO SOMANY ENTITIES HELPING OUT BUSINESSES, CHURCHES, ENTERTAINERS AND NON-PROFITS ALIKE – WHILE PUSHING HIS OWN VEHICLE OF WRITING TO THE MASSES.
  17. 17. DR. SPIRO KIOUSIS: WHAT WE TRY TO TEACH ALL OF OUR STUDENTS IS THAT THE WORLD IS ATTHEIR FINGERTIPS. SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO SHRINK THIS GREAT BIG WORLD DOWNTO SIZE. WELL – COLE STARTED EXPANDING HIS NETWORK OF WORK TO SO MANY PLACES, IT WASMIND-BOGGLING! HE’S HELPED CHURCHES WITH MISSIONS. HE’S HELPED NEWS PROGRAMS WITHCONTENT. HE’S HELPED SPORTS TEAMS WITH IMAGING. YOU NAME IT, AND HE HAS DONE HISPART TO HELP MAKE THINGS A LITTLE BIT EASIER FOR ALL THOSE INVOLVED. I’M PROUD THAT ICAN CALL HIM AN ALUM OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA – BECAUSE HE HAS TRULY BECOME ACLASS ACT. COLE – THANK YOU FOR GRACING OUR DOORS WITH YOUR PRESENCE. MAY YOUCONTINUE TO GROW AS YOUR BRANS DOES IN BLESSING ALL THOSE WHO COME IN CONTACTWITH YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
  18. 18. *THE CROWD APPLAUDED DR. KIOUSIS AS JOY MET HIM AT CENTER STAGE. HEWALKED AWAY WAVING TO THE CROWD AND ME AS JOY SILENTLY WAITED FORTHE CROWD NOISE TO DECREASE IN INTENSITY.JOY STYLES: THANK YOU, DR. WOW, COLE ! YOU’VE BEEN VERY BUSY OVER THEPAST FEW YEARS. NICE! WELL – OUR NEXT SPEAKER RESIDES RIGHT HERE IN MUSICCITY ….*THE CROWD POLITELY HOLLERED AS JOY CONTINUED.*JOY STYLES: …. AND SHE’S HERE, TONIGHT TO HELP HONOR THIS MAN WITH AVISION. LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, TREVECCA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY’S OWN DR.PEGGY CARPENTER.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS DR. CARPENTER WALKED TO CENTER STAGEGREETING JOY IN THE PROCESS. AS JOY WALKED AWAY , DR. CARPENTER PREPAREDHERSELF TO SPEAK. WHEN SHE WAS READY, THOUGHTS COLLECTED AND ALL, SHEELOQUENTLY SPOKE.*
  19. 19. THE CANDIDATE BECOMING A DOCTORSPEAKER – DR. PEGGY CARPENTERDR. PEGGY CARPENTER: IT WAS AROUND THIS TIME OF THE YEAR IN 2012 WHEN ISAW WALK INTO MY OFFICE A DIAMOND NEEDING TO BE POLISHED. I HAD TOUNDERSTAND THAT HE NEEDED TO RECOGNIZE HIMSELF AS THE DIAMOND HEALREADY IS. SOMETIMES, WHEN YOU’RE UP CLOSE, IT’S HARD TO RECOGNIZE THEBEAUTY YOU HAVE IN YOU AND THE POWER YOU POSSESS. SO – TO SEE COLEBLOSSOM FROM THAT MOMENT – ONE WHERE HE DIDN’T TINK HE COULD CUT IT ASA COLLEGE STUDENT - TO NOW MAKES ME FEEL SO PROUD.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS DR. CARPENTER CONTINUED.*DR. PEGGY CARPENTER: HE GRADUATED FROM TREVECCA IN 2014 WITH ABACHELORS’ DEGREE. HE GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA WITH AMASTERS DEGREE IN 2016. SO HE AND I TALKED ABOUT WHAT HE WOULD LIKE TODO NEXT – AND HE SAID, “I WOULD LIKE TO TEACH.” NOW – I’M THINKING, “YOU’REAN AUTHOR. YOU’RE A PERSONALITY. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT TO DO WITHTEACHING?” HE SAID, “I WANT TO GIVE BACK TO THE YOUTH AS WELL AS THOSEMY AGE OR OLDER. I OWE IT TO THEM.” SO I TALKED TO HIM ABOUT GETTING APhD. I WANTED HIM TO COME BACK HOME TO TREVECCA TO GET IT, BUT HEDECIDED OTHERWISE. I TOLD HIM THAT THE JOURNEY WOULD BE HARD, BUT IT’SWELL WORTH IT AND HE CAN DO IT. HE ASKED ME, “WHAT REWARD WOULD I GETSHOULD I GRADUATE?”*DR. CARPENTER GESTURED TOWARD THE SCREEN RIGHT BEHIND HER.*
  20. 20. *THE CROWD ROARS IN COMPLETE LAUGHTER AND APPLAUDS SOON THEREAFTER. DR.CARPENTER WORE A HUGE SMILE AS SHE CONTINUED SPEAKING.*DR. PEGGY CARPENTER: I GUIDED HIS UNDERGRADUATE ACADEMIC CAREER. I EVEN TAUGHT ACLASS WHERE HE WAS MY STUDENT. I KNEW, THEN, WHAT I KNOW NOW. HE’S A WRITER. HE’S APHILANTHROPIST. HE’S AN OUTSPOKEN MAN. HE’S A TALENT BEYOND COMPARE – AND COMETHIS TIME NEXT YEAR, WE ALL WILL START CALLING HIM DR. S.COLE JOHNSON.*THE CROWD ROARS IN APPLAUSE AS DR. CARPENTER JOINED IN THE APPLAUSE. JOY WALKED TOCENTER STAGE AND ALSO JOINED IN THE APPLAUSE. SHE SHOOK DR. CARPENTER’S HANDDURING THE APPLAUSE.*
  21. 21. *DR. CARPENTER WALKED OFF THE STAGE AS JOY WAITED FOR THE APPLAUSE TOLESSEN. SHE WAITED SOME MORE BEFORE IT FINALLY DID DECREASE IN INTENSITY.*JOY STYLES: THANK YOU DR. PEGGY CARPENTER. THIS ALL BRINGS US TO TODAYAND OUR NEXT SPEAKER HAS BEEN CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH COLE’S GROWTHAS A MAN OF GOD FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I GIVE TOYOU THE SENIOR PASTOR OF BETHEL WORLD OUTREACH CENTER – JAMES LOWE.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS PASTOR LOWE JOINED JOY AT CENTER STAGE. AS JOYWALKED OFF THE STAGE, PASTOR LOWE POINTED IN MY DIRECTION, SHOUTINGWORDS OF APPRECIATION TO ME. I RETURNED THE APPRECIATION AS HE BEGAN TOADDRESS THE AUDIENCE.
  22. 22. FROM STRUGGLE TO CHARITYSPEAKER – PASTOR JAMES LOWEPASTOR JAMES LOWE: LET ME START BY SAYING THAT, “AS IRON SHARPENS IRON,SO DOES ONE MAN SHARPEN ANOTHER.” I CAN HONESTLY TELL YOU THAT I SHAREA BROTHERHOOD WITH THIS MAN. WE’VE TALKED ABOUT MANY THINGS OVER THEYEARS, AND ONE THING IS CENTRAL TO BROTHER COLE’S WELL-BRING: HE WANTSPEOPLE TO KNOW THAT GOD LOVES THEM.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS THE PASTOR CONTINUED.*PASTOR JAMES LOWE: WHEN I MET HIM, HE WAS STRUGGLING, BUT WE ALLSTRUGGLE. IT’S NOT UNCOMMON, BUT THE MORE MATURE IN CHRIST HE BECAME,THE MORE HE SHARED HIS STRUGGLES IN LIFE. HE SAID THAT HE WAS A SQUAREPEG IN A ROUND HOLE, BUT NOW HE’S THAT SAME SQUARE PEG FITTING INTOSQUARE HOLES. I’M HERE TO TELL YOU, TONIGHT, THAT THROUGH HIS STRUGGLECAME A TRIUMPH. THE SETBACKS WERE NOTHING MORE THAN SETUPS! LOSSESWERE NOTHING MORE THAN AN OPPORTUNITY GAINED. THROUGH IT ALL, MYBROTHER HAS LASTED THROUGH THE SCHOLASTIC CHALLENGES, THE LIFECHALLENGES, THE HOME CHALLENGES AND THE SPIRITUAL CHALLENGES. HEWOULD BE THE FIRST TO SAY THAT, “CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME!” I WOULDCHALLENGE HIM ON THAT, AT FIRST, BUT THEN I STARTED TO PUT TWO AND TWOTOGETHER. HE MEANS THAT IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE CHARITABLE, YOU MUST BEKIND TO YOURSELF. THE LORD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER, AND IF WE DON’T FEEDOURSELVES WITH JOY, WE MOST ASSUREDLY WON’T BE CHEERFUL IN OUR GIVING –BUT RATHER DUTIFUL. HE HAS TALKED ABOUT NOT WANTING TO TRY GOD WITHFINANCES, BUT LEARNED THAT HE SHOULD TRY GOD. SEE IF HE COULD OUT-GIVEHIM. WHEN HE DISCOVERED THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO TRY TO OUT-GIVE HIM,THAT’S WHEN THE BLESSINGS FLOW!*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS AN IMAGE POPS ON THE SCREEN.*
  23. 23. *PASTOR LOWE GESTURED TOWARD THE SCREEN OF A CHILD DRINKING WATER FROM AFOUNTAIN.*PASTOR JAMES LOWE: WE DID A MISSION IN THE SUDAN WHERE WE HELPED GIVE A COMMUNITYRUNNING WATER FOR THEIR VILLAGE. IT WAS AN HONOR TO BE A BLESSING TO THOSE PEOPLEWITH MY BROTHER ALONGSIDE ME. AND TO SEE HIS GROWTH IS AMAZING! I CAN HONESTLY SAYTHAT I’VE LEARNED ASMUCH FROM HIM AS HE EVER COULD FROM ME. I THANK GOD FOR THISBROTHER, AND JESUS? MAY YOU ALWAYS GUIDE HIM IN EVERY STEP HE TAKES. IN JESUS’ NAME.AMEN! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!*THE CROWD APPLAUDSED PASTOR LOWE AS JOY WALKED TO CENTER STAGE. THEY HUGGED ASTHE PASTOR EXITED. JOY AWAITED THE THRONG TO QUIET THEMSELVES.*
  24. 24. *THE CROWD SILENCED THEMSELVES AS JOY SPOKE ONCE AGAIN.*JOY STYLES: THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, PASTOR LOWE. IT IS SOMETHING ELSE TOSEE SUCH GREAT WORK COME FROM SO MANY DEDICATED MEN. AND NOW – WITHA FEW WORDS, OUR NEXT SPEAKER KNOWS MORE ABOUT OUR HONOREE THANANYONE. SHE IS THE WIFE OF OUR VISIONARY AND IS EXCITED TO SHARE IN THISMOMENT. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN MY CLOSE, PERSONAL FRIEND – L. MICHELLEPRICE-JOHNSON, ESQ.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED AS MICHELLE WALKED TO CENTER STAGE. SHE AND JOYHUGGED AND SHARED A PERSONAL EXCITED MOMENT BEFORE THE HOSTESSWALKED OFFSTAGE. MICHELLE LOOKED OUTWARD TO THE CROWD BEFORESPEAKING.*
  25. 25. *THE CROWD QUIETED DOWN FOR MY WIFE TO SPEAK.*MICHELLE PRICE-JOHNSON: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WHEN WE MET ALMOST NINE YEARS AGO, THE LORD TOLD ME TO ‘FAITH HIM OUT.’ I’M GLAD I DID. I LOOK AT HIM, NOW, AND THEBRILLIANCE HE’S ACCOMPLISHED – WITH MORE BRILLIANCE TO COME – IT’S AN ABSOLUTEDREAM. HE’S MY BIGGEST SUPPORTER. HOPEFULLY, I AM HIS BECAUSE RIGHT NOW – I’M SOPROUD OF HIM.*SHE LOOKED DIRECTLY AT ME.*MICHELLE PRICE-JOHNSON: LIONHEAD! YOU’RE AMAZING. YOU’RE A GREAT MAN, AWONDERFUL HUSBAND, AND I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH. THANK YOU FOR GROWING INTO THEPOWERFUL MAN OF GOD YOU ARE TODAY. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED MICHELLE AS A MOUTHED, “I LOVE YOU, TOO,” TO HER.*
  26. 26. *JOY MET MICHELLE AT CENTER STAGE WHERE THEY EXCHANGED ANOTHER HUGBEFORE MY WIFE EXITED THE STAGE. JOY WAITED PATIENTLY FOR THE CROWD TOSETTLE. ONCE THEY DID, JOY SPOKE TO THE THRONG.JOY STYLES: GIVE IT UP, AGAIN, FOR MY FRIEND, MICHELLE PRICE-JOHNSON.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED ONCE AGAIN BEFORE JOY SPOKE ONCE AGAIN.*JOY STYLES: AND NOW, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT’S THAT TIME. IT’S TIME FOR USTO HONOR THE MAN HIMSELF – AND HEAR FROM THE MAN, HIMSELF. HE’S A CLASSOF 2014 GRADUATE OF NASHVILLE’S TREVECCA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY. HE’S ACLASS OF 2016 GRADUATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. HE’S AN AUTHOR OFTWO BOOKS. HE’S A BLOGGER FOR COUNTLESS ORGANIZATIONS. HE LOVES TOHELP AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE. LADIES ANDGENTLEMEN I GIVE TO YOU THE MAN OF THE HOUR – THE SOON-TO-BE-DOCTOR,MR. S. COLE JOHNSON!*THE CROWD GAVE ME A STANDING OVATION. I TEARED UP AS SOON AS I AROSEOUT MY SEAT. I WALKED UP THE STAIRS TO THE STAGE WHERE I GREETED MYFRIEND, JOY. WE HUGGED AND SHARED A COUPLE OF CONGRATULATORY WORDSBEFORE I TOOK CENTER STAGE.*
  27. 27. *THE CROWD WAS STILL STANDING FOR ME. SO I GESTURED FOR THEM TO TAKE THEIR SEATS.*S. COLE JOHNSON: THANK YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WOW!*THE APPLAUSE FINALLY SIMMERED LONG ENOUGH TO WHERE I COULD SPEAK TO THE CROWD.*S. COLE JOHNSON: THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! IT IS MY HONOR TO RECEIVE THE 2018VISIONARY LEADER OF THE YEAR AND TO HAVE SO MANY LEADERS TALK ABOUT ME IN THISLIGHT. SOLOMON, IN THE BIBLE, SAID, “WITHOUT VISION, THE PEOPLE WILL PERISH.” FOR A LONGTIME, I WAS PERISHING – BECAUSE I HAD NO VISION. NOW – MY VISIONS ARE HAVING VISIONS.*THE CROWD LAUGHED AND APPLAUDED BEFORE I SPOKE AGAIN.*S. COLE JOHNSON: TO CHAD? YOU’VE BEEN AN INSPIRATION TO ME. THANK YOU FOR GIVINGME A LIFT WHEN I NEEDED IT MOST. MOM? YOU’RE UTTERLY AMAZING – AND I LOVE YOU.BRENDA? YOU’RE SOMETHING SPECIAL. THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME WITH MY MANUSCRIPTS.DR. KIOUSIS AND DR. CARPENTER – OR PEGGY - YOU TWO SHOWED ME WHAT I WASACADEMICALLY CAPABLE OF DOING. I THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH. PASTOR LOWE? IN YOU, IHAVE MET A BROTHER I THOUGHT I NEVER HAD. I LOVE YOU, MAN. MY GORGEOUS, BEAUTIFULWIFE, MICHELLE: YOU SHOWEDME THAT REACHING FOR THE STARS WAS POSSIBLE. THANK YOUSO MUCH, AND I’M THE MOST BLESSED USBAND ON THE PLANET. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, BABE.JOY? THANK YOU FOR DOING SUCH A WONDERFUL JOB AS HOSTESS. I LOVE YOU, SIS. AND TO MYBROTHA’, JUSTICE.: I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU. LOOK ON THE SCREEN.*I GESTURED ONTO THE SCREEN TO A PICTURE OF ….*
  28. 28. *AFTER A FEW ‘AAAHS’ THE CROWD APPLAUDED AND I SMILED.*S. COLE JOHNSON: I SAVED THAT PICTURE FOR TONIGHT! LOVE YOU, BRO. AND TO THEAUDIENCE? I THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH ME IN MY GROWTH TO BLESS PEOPLE. ALWAYSREMEMBER THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHEROUSNESS OF GOD – AS AM I. THANK YOU, GOD BLESS YOUAND MAY YOU BE BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING!*THE CROWD GAVE ME YET ANOTHER STANDING OVATION. I WAS COMPLETELY FLOOREDBY THEGESTURE AS JOY WALKED TO CENTER STAGE TO JOIN ME. SHE WHISPERED IN MY EAR TO STAY ONSTAGE. SO I DID, WALKING BEHIND HER SO SHE COULD TAKE CENTER STAGE YET AGAIN. *
  29. 29. *JOY TOOK CENTER STAGE ONCE MORE AND SPOKE.*JOY STYLES: NOW, BEFORE WE CALL IT A NIGHT, AT THE INSISTENCE OF OURHONOREE, OUR LAST SPEAKER WILL PRODUCE THE BENEDICTION. LADIES ANDGENTLEMEN. PASTOR LeVAN CHAMPION.*THE CROWD APPLAUDED MY COUSIN AS HE TOOK CENTER STAGE ALONG WITHJOY AND ME. SHE WALKED TO WHERE I STOOD AND DID THE SAME. WE BOTHBOWED OUR HEADS AS THE MAN KNOWN AS CRAIG LED US IN PRAYER.*
  30. 30. PASTOR LeVAN CRAIG CHAMPION: LET US PRAY. FAHTER GOD, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, WETHANK YOU FOR THIS SPECIAL MAN. BLESS HIM AS HE CONTINUNES ON YOUR PATH TO BRINGYOU TO OTHERS. MAY HIS GIFTS OPEN THE WAY FOR HIM TO GIVE EVEN MORE AND USHER HIMINTO THE PRESENCE OF MORE GREAT PEOPLE. MAY HE KNOW HE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGHYOU WHO STRENGTHENS HIM. MAY YOU OPEN THE FLOODGATES OF HEAVEN AND POUR EVENMORE BLESSINGS FOR HIM HE WOULD NOT HAVE ROOM ENOUGH TO RECEIVE. NOW BLESSEVERYONE IN THIS BUILDING, TONIGHT. GIVE THEM TRAVELLING GRACE TO MAKE IT TOWHEREVER THEY HAVE TO GO. MAY THEY BECOME BLESSED IN YOU AS IN THE AGE TO COME,THEY ALL TASTE YOUR LIFE EVERLASTING. IN JESUS’ NAME – AMEN!!!JOY STYLES: GOODNIGHT, EVERYBODY!!!*ALL PARTIES FILED OUT OF THE BUILDING AS THE EVENT FADED TO BLACK.*

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