Whose death caused Jesus to weep?
Name three disciples whose name begins with a "J".
These questions -- and many more -- were waiting for a group of Dyersburg residents who recently traveled to Memphis to audition for the Game Show Network's "American Bible Challenge".
Officials with Transitions of Dyer County learned "American Bible Challenge" Season 2 satellite auditions, scheduled throughout the country, would be stopping in downtown Memphis just days before the casting call on Nov. 15.
Other casting calls were set up in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Nashville.
Transitions board member Rose Clardy quickly assembled a team of four local residents to take a chance and audition for the show. The "American Bible Challenge", hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, offers teams the opportunity to raise money for their favorite charity by answering Bible trivia.
Those representing Transitions of Dyer County in the audition included Charles Abbott, Wayne Broadstone, Maggie Evans and Maureen Pagan.
"We wanted to get some people who were really knowledgeable about the Bible," said Clardy, who accompanied the group to Memphis. "I could sit at home and answer those questions, but I would just go blank (up there on stage)."
"Two days before auditions were to be held in Memphis, Transitions board members heard about the auditions and recruited (us) to form a team and travel to Memphis," said Pagan. "Many of the team members met each other for the first time on audition day."
"The biggest challenge for me was to literally be introduced to two of the team that I had never met (on the day of the audition)," said Broadstone. "This was a challenge to establish any semblance of team rapport during the drive to Memphis. We managed to quickly recognize we all loved studying scripture and decided to just have fun together."
The group discovered that many of the other teams auditioning had not yet picked a charity. For the Dyersburg team, the reverse was true. All members believe in the Transitions charity and were willing to spend their time to raise funds to benefit women served by the ministry.
"It was really exciting being included and being able to go down there to be a representative for Transitions," said Evans. "It was exciting meeting other people there, to meet Christians trying to do their part."
"Some of us have never seen the seen the show," said Abbott, who drove down to Memphis separately and met the group at the audition. "When asked to audition I was reluctant; but what a wonderful way to stir up some energy and enthusiasm to read the Bible. To help Transitions would be an honor."
Clardy said team members were first asked to fill out lengthy applications, followed by a quiz with 30 multiple-choice questions and a bonus item.
"They asked lots of questions on the application," said Clardy. "Whether you are in politics, hold office, ever been to seminary or have a criminal history. ... 'How did you get interested in studying the Bible?' 'Did you have a mentor?' 'What is your favorite Bible verse?' 'Who you are with and how long have you known them?'"
"Then the long wait began for the video interview, during which Wayne and Charles were told that they had some of the best Bible quiz scores of the day," said Pagan. "None of the team members feel that they are 'Bible scholars' and all four are willing to be the one team 'alternate.' But (we) all wished to support Transitions and are up for the adventure.
"I would never consider myself a Bible scholar," said Broadstone. "I have been a serious student of the Bible since my mid-20s. I absolutely love the Bible. Nothing has had such a profound effect on my life. I have been involved in teaching Bible classes for years."
"We were all very meek and humble, but eager to help Transitions. Plus, it's always fun to talk about the Bible," said Abbott. "I started reading the Bible sometime in 2004-2005. It is a fantastic supernatural adventure. To know that it is true and everlasting is awesome. I take the Bible literally and read through sequentially from beginning to end. It is rewarding to recognize names in the lists of genealogies. To know the heroes and the villains. To see the consequences of their acts."
Evans, who has studied the Bible for the past 30 years, sees her strength in interpretation of the Word. It is a skill she has honed while teaching a Bible study class for the ladies of Transitions, first full time and now part time in her retirement. She also serves in a ministry at the Dyer County Jail.
"I grew up a hurting individual, having little self value," said Evans. "I got started in jail ministry about 15 years ago. I started going to the Dyer County Jail and God just placed a love in my heart for these women. Because most all the time, they are hurting women, too. It's been one of the biggest blessings of my life to work with these ladies. To teach them not just about the Bible but to get them to see themselves in a positive way -- the way that God sees them."
"My strengths seem to be in biblical application," said Broadstone. "This is the ability to apply Bible principles and incorporate them into everyday practical application. Other team members hopefully are better acquainted with Bible trivia, which is a staple in the competitions."
"The easiest part of the audition was the Bible quiz," said Abbott. "Thirty multiple-choice questions. All of us answered them pretty quickly and scored well above average. Jada Bates, who conducted the audition, said the scores were fantastic."
After the quiz, the team got to know each other better with some small talk. They spoke of their favorite Bible scholars or ministers who inspire them. As the discussion turned to the late Dr. Adrian Rogers of Bellevue Baptist Church, team members were surprised to hear from a member of a neighboring team.
"We were talking about different things and the guys were talking about (Dr.) Rogers and how taken with him they had been," said Clardy. "(They talked) about taping his sermons and about how wonderful he was. It wasn't five minutes later, a lady came up to us and said 'I just thought I'd introduce myself.' She was Adrian Rogers' daughter."
"While we were waiting, this lady walked over and introduced herself as the daughter of Dr. Adrian Rogers," said Abbott. "She and her brothers are there to audition also. It was like Elvis walked in the room to recognize Joyce Rogers (Dr. Rogers' widow) and his daughter and two sons."
"The best part of the day for me, personally, was getting to meet Dr. Adrian Rogers' wife, Joyce, and his daughter," said Broadstone. "I had the wonderful privilege of speaking with Joyce for several minutes. Her deceased husband, Dr. Rogers was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis for many years. He was dearly loved by all who knew and listened to him. He was my favorite Bible teacher to listen to. Mrs. Rogers was a genuinely warm and responsive person to talk with."
"To meet Adrian Rogers' family was a real treat," said Evans. "I really enjoy his messages and still do. His wife was so gracious and sweet. It was really exciting to meet them."
"We were talking to (Rogers' daughter) and she said she and her dad were always doing Bible trivia," said Clardy. "We also met Adrian Rogers' wife. It was an interesting and neat experience."
"We all pray we won't have to go up against them," said Abbott.
"We went into the taping, not knowing what to expect," said Clardy. "The whole day was an unknown from one thing to the next. (In the taping, the) fellow just asked questions. Not Bible questions. I think they were getting some personality coming through. He asked about the charity and how long everybody had known each other."
"When they put us in front of the lights and video camera for that part of the audition, they want to see some jumping up and down enthusiasm with fireworks," said Abbott. "I though of the old song 'It's Hard to be Humble When You're Perfect in Every Way' (by) Mack Davis. We may not be perfect, but we are a team that is prepared, ready and wanting to win big for Transitions. We've been exercising every day for years for this. Our excitement for the Bible and Transitions should get us selected for the show."
"The best part of the day was getting to meet and get to know better some brothers and sisters in Christ," said Pagan. "The team will not find out if they are chosen to compete on 'The Great American Bible Challenge' until January. Until then, it is time to brush up on (our) Bible knowledge."
"It was all so exciting that it is hard to say what was the most exciting," said Evans. "God tells us not to worry about what you are going to say and I think that is what God does. Let Him have His way and let Him provide. If we get on the show, I will let God give me the answers He wants me to remember. It's going to be in His hands."
"It was a privilege for me to get to know Wayne Broadstone, Maureen Pagan, Maggie Evans and Rose Clardy," said Abbott. "Transitions is a worthy organization. Debbie Urban is a Sunday school classmate. She is such an inspiration. Those ladies devote their talents, time and energy to help others."
"Everybody pray that we will be selected to go on the show so we can make some money for Transitions," said Evans. "It is such a blessing being able to be involved in it and to see God working in these women's lives."
"Transitions is a critical solution that is making a difference in the lives of broken and disenfranchised women and girls," said Broadstone. "It is a ministry that often is the only lifeline for many of the women that are accepted in the program. Any and all proceeds would go directly to Transitions and their incredible staff should we be fortunate enough to be chosen to compete and win."
"It was a really neat experience. I am glad we did it," said Clardy.
"It is exciting to think we may get to go to Hollywood to talk about the Bible with Jeff Foxsworthy," said Abbott. "Even if we don't, this is a chance to shine a light on how rewarding it is just to read the Bible. It reads you and gives you peace. The Lord works in ways mysterious to us. How great it is that he can use Hollywood to bring us Jeff Foxworthy and The American Bible Challenge?"
Answers to questions at the top of the article:
James, John and Judas
How would you do on the American Bible Challenge?
Here are some additional questions offered on the quiz:
* Who was considered the first Christian martyr?
a. James, b. Stephen, c. Peter, d. Barnabas
* Which place in "Star Wars" is also mentioned in the Bible?
a. Endor, b. Hoth, c. Coruscant, d. Tatooine
* What fruit is depicted in Leonardo DaVinci's "Last Supper" even though it did not arrive in the Holy Land until long after the death of Jesus?
a. apple, b. grapes, c. pear, d. orange
* How many people were saved on the ark?
a. 10, b. eight, c. 12, d. six
* Who had a wrestling match in Genesis?
a. Abraham, b. Joseph, c. Abel, d. Jacob
(answers: b. Stephen, a. Endor, d. orange, b. eight, d. Jacob)
* Bonus question:
Name the books of the New Testament in order.