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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

Alicia Chole: The truth about joy (12/28/03)

Cookies and Christmas: A roundtable discussion (12/21/03)

John Tesh: In pursuit of passion (12/14/03)

AGWM's L. John Bueno: Bread of life (11/23/03)

Teen Challenge's John Castellani: Christ breaks addictions (11/16/03)

Christian humorist Justin Fennell: Justifiably funny (10/19/03)

Representative Marilyn Musgrave: The role of Christians in government (10/12/03)

Dennis Gaylor: Fifty more campuses (9/28/03)

Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope (9/21/03)

Kristy Starling: Dreams come true (9/14/03)

CeCe Winans Love: Of Gospel and Grammies (8/31/03)

Gary Heavin: Faith and fitness (8/24/03)

Gracia Burnham: Grace in the jungle (8/17/03)

Seattle Mariner John Olerud: Hope when your health fails (8/10/03)

Chris Maxwell: Pastor recovering from memory loss (7/27/03)

Wayne Warner: Today’s Pentecostal Evangel: a historical view (7/20/03)

Paul Drost: Every church a parent or a partner (7/13/03)

Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger: What can be learned from history? (6/29/03)

Ron Drye: Ministering to the whole person (6/22/03)

Matt McPherson: Doing business by the Golden Rule (6/15/03)

The difference (6/8/03)

Fory VandenEinde: Fulfilling the Great Commission (5/25/03)

Tom Greene: The church's new generation (5/18/03)

Lisa Whelchel: Former sitcom star now an advocate for moms (5/11/03)

Tony Lamarque: Warden speaks about unconditional love (4/27/03)

Ann Graham Lotz: Just give her more of Jesus (4/20/03)

Lee Strobel: The case for Christ (4/13/03)

Randall K. Barton: Extravagant stewardship (3/30/03)

Bishop Gilbert Patterson: Bringing people together under Christ (3/23/03)

Pat Boone: A unique celebrity speaks out (3/16/03)

St. Clair Mitchell: God in Washington, D.C. (3/9/03)

Kay Gross: Ministry by women, ministry to women (2/23/03)

Thomas E. Trask: A historic General Council (2/16/03)

Denise Jones: Girls of Grace (2/9/03)

Doug Greengard: Beyond the NFL (1/26/03)

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action (1/19/03)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: The gospel in uniform (1/12/03)

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations


In pursuit of passion

John Tesh used to celebrate Hollywood’s stars, lifestyles and movies as host of Entertainment Tonight. Today, he shares his faith through music and, more importantly, his life. When he walked away from Entertainment Tonight to pursue a career as a musician many people thought he was making a devastating career move. Not so. Already he has earned three gold albums, six Emmys and two Grammy nominations. Recently, he spoke with Associate Editor Kirk Noonan about his music, faith and career.

PE: You left Entertainment Tonight, a television job that paid seven figures; was that an easy decision?

TESH: It was a very easy decision for me to make. Someone handed me a book while I was on vacation that had a list you filled out to pinpoint what you loved and disliked about your job. It was a passion test and I failed it miserably regarding my job on Entertainment Tonight. In fact, I got an F. But I got an A-plus when it came to music, so I decided to follow my heart and became a full-time musician.

PE: Musically you’ve been tagged as everything from New Age musician to worship leader. How do you respond to the New Age label?

TESH: I loathe answering those accusations because, as Christians, they shouldn’t be judging me. But I feel like I need to say something so it doesn’t appear that I am trying to hide something. There are different categories in the music stores, so when you play mostly instrumental music many stores put your records in the New Age section. I am a Christian who happens to play the piano. I’ve even asked stores to take my albums out of the New Age bins, but they’ve told us they won’t move us because that is where people know where to find us.

PE: You quit ET; any other risks you wish you had taken earlier?

TESH: I’d risk getting into a stronger relationship with God sooner and I’d risk having more kids and spending more time with them.

PE: What would you say is your greatest gift?

TESH: Being average. [Laughing] And I was hideously thin and unattractive in high school, which was a blessing in many ways. My grades were average. I hit the honor roll every now and then, but I also got a couple D’s. But that kind of beginning makes you work harder. Being known as a stick with a big head and a trumpet in hand humbled me and made me work really hard.

PE: It’s strange you call yourself average. In the world’s eyes you’ve done extraordinary things.

TESH: Anything extraordinary I’ve done has not been on my own. Because of my average abilities, the things that have happened with my career have to be supernatural. When I started in broadcasting I’d be in a job for six months and then a job twice as good would come along. This is one reason it is so easy for me to share my faith now, because what has happened in my career can’t be explained away as a lucky break.

PE: You grew up in a religious home, but walked away from your faith. Can you tell us about that?

TESH: By the time I was 18 I felt I had been over-churched. As a kid I spent four days a week in church. When I went to college in the ’60s and everything was a mess, I did things I had never done before. But I can never recall a night when I missed an opportunity to pray. I developed that discipline early on as a child, so there was always a prayer coming out of my mouth. Even though I had strayed from God, He was still connected to me. He was always with me, waiting for me to return.

PE: Let’s talk about the day you committed your life to Christ.

TESH: I was confirmed as a teen in the Methodist church. I said all the prayers and committed my life to Christ. I had all the Scriptures memorized and I went to church camp every summer and I was committed. But I was only committed to a level that worked for me.

Fast forward to when I met my wife 12 years ago and I entered her church and recommitted my life to Christ and was baptized in the Pacific Ocean a short time later. It was then that I totally committed my life to Christ and was reborn.

PE: What do you value most in life?

TESH: I have finally gotten to a place where my connection with God is vital. I have God on the telephone and everything else is on call-waiting. Beyond that it is, of course, my family. I am 51 and I have a 9-year-old daughter and 22-year-old stepson. I am at an age where I have no problem dropping everything and hanging out with them. If I were younger I would probably mess everything up.

PE: What lesson has your daughter taught you?

TESH: That I need to be present. She just wants me to be in her company. I always want to do something, but she has taught me that kids just want you there. It’s like our relationship with God — we just want to know He’ll always be there.

PE: Is it easy to be a believer in Hollywood these days?

TESH: It’s easy for me because I am not waiting for a job. I am playing worship music and doing a radio show where the mantra is, “If a 9-year-old can’t listen to it, you won’t hear it on our show.” But what I have learned is that if you share your faith, no matter if you’re in Hollywood or Des Moines, be prepared to be attacked.

PE: Leading people into worship has really got hold of you — how so?

TESH: The difference between worship and other stuff I’ve done is that it is useful. When I released Red Rocks, Grand Passion and Avalon, people would e-mail me once and say, I enjoyed listening to it while I worked around the house. Now I get e-mails with people saying things like, My friend listened to the worship album and came to know Christ or I found healing from the death of a relative after I listened to such and such song. It’s powerful to be a part of something that is useful. That’s really what I want to be: useful.

PE: What does the future hold for you?

TESH: Who knows? But probably more of the same. I really enjoy finding unusual ways to be a roaring lamb. I live by Bob Briner’s book Roaring Lambs. I’ve had opportunities to go onto many television shows and share my faith. It’s great how God has allowed me to do that.

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