Stacy: You have to choosePublished 2:04pm Tuesday, August 5, 2014
By Angie Long
The Greenville Advocate
“It’s time to stop playing games . . . decide who you are going to serve. You may choose God or you may choose to follow the world like some of you are doing now. Tonight, you are going to choose.”
Siran Stacy, former University of Alabama football standout and NFL running back, delivered an impassioned message to the nearly 1,000 in attendance at Friday night’s Back-To-School Bash at Hank Williams Park in Georgiana. The event is designed to provide food for the body and the soul of the county’s youth, said organizer and pastor Allen Stephenson.
As hard-driving Christian hip-hop and dance music played through the loudspeakers, volunteers passed out freshly grilled hot dogs and chips to the students. Gerald Simmons and the Hope Soldier Brand from Martin, Tenn., led the audience in a time of musical praise and worship, encouraging those attending to clap and sing along. The music set the stage for Stacy’s powerful, pull-no-punches sermon based on the Book of Daniel.
“You need to know this school year who you are. We can all call ourselves a Christian, but if we are true believers, there will be evidence in our lives,” Stacy said. “Don’t you forget about God, don’t forget about where you come from. Be respectful.”
The Geneva native encouraged the young people present to stand strong through the difficulties they faced daily at home and in school by leaning on the Lord and His word, admonishing them to learn to listen to their teachers, their coaches and their pastors.
“If somebody calls you ugly or stupid or retarded . . . and they put it on Facebook or Instagram, you remember this scripture, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ . . . you go hard after Jesus in a way you have never gone after him before,” Stacy said.
Stacy described himself as a former juvenile delinquent who got to live out one childhood dream — playing for the Crimson Tide. In November 2007, the husband, father and businessman saw his world shattered in an instant, losing his wife and four of his five children in a horrific car crash with a drunk driver.
“(The driver) made his choices . . . you have choose, too. I can’t make you do it, your parents can’t make you. Only you can choose,” said Stacy. “Choose to do right.”
In the midst of his despair following the senseless deaths of those he loved most, Stacy said he turned his pain and personal guilt over to God.
“I remember that night . . . I became a new person, no longer that adulterous husband, no longer focusing only on my mistakes . . . God did it for me and He can do it for you.”
Following his message, throngs of teenagers came forward to talk with the adult counselors ready to pray and share scripture with them as the Hope Soldier Band played softly in the background.
The “altar call” is what it’s really all about, says Stephenson.
“It’s about changing lives, a new beginning,” he said. “It’s reaching out to our community’s young people and helping them prepare for the new school year spiritually just as they need to be prepared in other ways. We are blessed to have the prayer and financial support of many churches throughout the county. It’s no easy feat to feed nearly 1,000 kids, but we manage to do it.”
Football players and cheerleaders from Crenshaw County’s Highland Home School were in attendance for the first time at the annual event, along with players and cheerleaders from Greenville High School, Greenville Middle School, Fort Dale Academy, Georgiana School and McKenzie School.