The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on October 15, 1994 · 92
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 92

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 15, 1994
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4-Pasco 1THE TAMPA TRIBUNE III Saturday, October 15, 1994: Godl9 Goliath audi the Haines City prep football player Marcus Harvey keeps his eyes on Jesus and the goal line. gridiffoii Michelle cearden Evangelist r : c k.J ,... J preaches her own message !."r She calls him "Daddy." Everybody else ' knows him as Billy. When Anne Graham Lotz comes to Tampa's Idlewild Baptist Church next 'month, one thing is for sure: She may be ' her father's daughter, but she has a decidedly different message from the world-renowned evangelist. ':; "Daddy has one message he's been ' preaching for 50 years, and that's you have sinned and you must repent," says Lotz, 46, in a telephone interview from a mountain hideaway in North Carolina. "I don't focus on sin and salvation. I try to reach people once they've already been saved, and help them deal with the multitude of problems ' they will face. "Most important, I try to teach them how to walk the Christian life and enjoy the journey along the way." Lotz, the second of five offspring of Billy and Ruth Graham, says there was no reason to believe in her early years that she would follow in her father's I path and become an in- Lotz ternational speaker. "She was just 18 when she married Dan ;Lotz, a man 11 years her senior and a former Ail-American basketball player from the University of North Carolina. As he 'pursued a career in dentistry in Raleigh, N.C., she stayed home and had three chil-' dren in four years. ' Like many young homemakers, Lotz of-' ten found herself frustrated and unable to cope with the demands of her trio of kids. "I remembered my mother, and how she single-handedly raised five children because Daddy was on the road so much. Yet she always seemed calm and at peace," Lotz says. "She got her serenity from her faith. Every morning, like clockwork, she would be at her desk reading translations J of the Bible. It helped her get through the days." ;Hidden talent C Lotz decided she, too, needed that disci-pline and sought out an organized Bible study class. There was one catch: There -were no teachers in Raleigh for the course. 'So she agreed to handle the duties, although she had no experience. What she found out was she wasn't alone. "There were a lot of women out there, just like me, trying to raise children 'and run a home, and needing that spiritual tbase to keep it together." Lotz also discovered a hidden talent as ta teacher. That first year, about 300 women took the course. The next year, grew to 500. .Today, her ministry sponsors nine ongoing .'classes for women, men and youngsters, "y" After teaching Bible classes for 12 years, Lotz moved into an international peaking career. She's been invited to dozens of countries, including India, the former Soviet Union, South Africa and Brazil, bringing her message about having a personal relationship with God to the masses. I'Z "I'm an itinerant evangelist. I have no Jagent, no promotional brochure. I depend on word of mouth. Once I get the invitations, it's up to the local people to make the Arrangements," she says. "That really sets me apart from how Daddy and Franklin her younger brother operate. They have ffe organization to back them up." J Mother an example Although she has achieved recognition and success in her own right, Lotz would never discount the influence her parents had on her. She saw how her father served the Lord at "great personal cost" to himself, sacrificing time with his family to go tfut and spread the word, j r "People look upon Daddy as a celebrity, as somebody with this glamorous life, but I know that's not the case. He only does what he does because he's being faithful to God. He is being obedient and faithful, and doing what he has been called to do," she says. 'The travel, the stress and the demands have taken a tremendous toll on him." - It was Ruth Graham who passed on a true love for Jesus and his words, and that has been the foundation of Anne Graham Lotz's life. ' ; "I look at my mother and I see a strong person whose faith has never wavered," she says. "She gave me the desire to know God in a personal way, and to always work on that relationship. I will always be grateful to her for that." Lotz will present a conference called "For Such a Time As This" on Nov. 4-5 at Idlewild Baptist Church, 1515 W. Bearss Ave. It Is sponsored by Growing in Grace, the church's women's ministry. Registration is $15. For reservations, call (813) 2-4438. f Mi By KEVIN WELLS Tribune Correspondent HAINES CITY arcus Harvey, a 16-year-old running back for Landmark Christian School, is the most . remarkable football player in the 21-year history of the school. No player comes close in his seven-team Florida Christian Conference. He is Goliath on a good day. Every day. In the Patriots' first six games, all victories, Harvey rushed for 1,170 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. He averages more than 15 yards a carry. The numbers are awesome. But for all his statistics, Harvey dwells in the shadow cast by Polk County powerhouses playing in the larger Florida High School Activities Association (FHSAA). Harvey doesn't mind, though. He's with God just off remote U.S. Highway 1792 and East Hinson Road. Jesus is in the classrooms and in daily Bible class. Greatest of all, though, God's there when Harvey scores off a punt return or slips by two tacklers. "I ended up at Landmark when my mom was saved and accepted Jesus into her life," said Harvey, a junior. "She says the reason I'm so successful is because it's God's will for me to be here, and I believe her. "Every time I step onto the field, he's there with me. I ask the Lord to bless me, and let me do the best I can when I'm out there." Harvey said Jesus was there earlier in the season against Tampa's Providence Christian. Before fielding a Providence punt, Harvey snapped off a prayer a quickie. About 10 seconds and 72 yards after his "amen," Harvey was mobbed in the end zone. His punt return was the difference in the 21-19 game. "I asked the Lord to bless me. And he did," Harvey said. "With the help of God, I can do anything. I give all the credit to him. ... And my offensive line has been blocking really well, too." . , 2f ft J Open doors Harvey is one of nine children of William and Annie Harvey. Before Annie's Pentecostal conversion, her first seven children attended Haines City High, including Walter and William, former Hornet football players. Now, every Sunday, William and Annie attend the Church of God by Faith, praise the Lord, and watch Marcus and Kelvin sing in the youth choir. Marcus, who claims he can be "clownish" at times, also said he prays to Jesus every chance he gets. On the football field, he's known to get chatty but most of the time it's directed to his savior. "Marcus going to Landmark is a blessing from above," said Annie, a custodian for Ridge Technical Center in Haines City. "He gets scholarship money which helps out. It's like God blessed Marcus and Kelvin, and opened up the door." Landmark's doorway was gracious and wide. But a college entranceway may be bound shut. Problem is, college recruiters seldom step through and it's doubtful they have ever heard of him or the obscure Baptist school. If they have, it's doubtful they believe he can play at their level. Landmark's former head football coach, Mark Robertson, also has coached at Class 4A Lake Wales High, one of the more dominant football programs in the state. "There's no question about it. Marcus Harvey could play on any level," Robertson said of last year's FCC Player of the Year. ; w ' ---v V ii : - - PATRICK DENNISTribune photos Above, running back Marcus Harvey takes a handoff from I quarterback Matt ; Greene during practice. Harvey, a student and player at Landmark ' Christian School, is the leading player in the Florida Christian ; Conference. He opts to stay at the small ; school because of its spiritual benefits, even though his prospects I of playing for a I prestigious college : team would improve if he played at a larger, public high school. At left, he leads team ' members in prayer before practice. : around Ronnie Daniels Lake Wales, who, along with Wright, is a heavily recruited Division 1A football prospect. He has their instincts. He has their tools. "It's too early to tell if he'll play Division I ball, but the potential is definitely there. He's good enough to play small-college football right now." If Harvey transferred to Haines City High, he'd assuredly be noticed by scouts from Notre Dame, Florida State and Florida who come there to survey the talent. Harvey is sometimes tempted, but he remains firm. "Sometimes, I just want to see how I'd perform against those teams, and some of the bigger guys," Harvey said. "But even if a guy said I had to transfer to get a scholarship, I'd stay at Landmark. Football is great, and I love it, but there's other jobs out there. "I'd love to play college football, and my goal is to play in the pros, but I like it here. I don't transfer because Making his mark Coach Rick Allen said his gifted runner can break ; through the small-school tag. "Playing here might be a handicap for him to play Division I ball, but as far as ability and instinct are ' concerned, he can play there," said Allen, who is compiling a video of Harvey's finer plays to send to college coaches. "As a coach, you look for natural ability, instincts and talent. He has all those things, especially ; natural instincts." League coaches say he's as bona fide as the Bible. ; "We knew we had to stop him outside, but we couldn't," said Providence Christian coach Dave Hubbart. "He scored all their points. He scored a 60-yard TD on us, had an interception for a score and returned a punt for another. We don't have too many guys who come through that can play college ball, but I'd say he's one who could." So far, it seems, nobody but the Lord and some - - -- r j - t--- . i uuioiu uE.uuiic ou icu, ii sccuis, uuuuuy dui me Lura ana some "It will become even more evident next year. I've I feel close to God here. Everyone puts God first. If it's God-fearing friends know about Harvey, seen Albert Wright Haines City High on films and been not done by the Bible, it's not right." But revelations take time. Radio psychic says he's tuned in to higher power By SEAN C LEDIG r , "f; ,? (; -t , ' ' l would be blindfolded while his daugh Tribune Staff Writer ;-l'i',;v'; ' - j would go out into the audience, taking r,.r,I,TIT, J . . I . , ,'"''"!,&'' a4,-' ?.'-... '' ' i jects from audience members. Yoi ST. PETERSBURG Radio talk show I ,. ' V-' f.f i tiV T29 - c - 1 .j .u .... . host and psychic Gary Spivey says he likes to give credit where credit is due. "God is always giving gifts," Spivey says of his professed psychic abilities. "I was gifted with prophecy." Spivey, whose show airs on WSUN, 620 AM, from 6 to 8 weeknights, is also the host of a television infomercial for his "Your Psychic Companion" 900 hot line. His radio show is part predictions, part metaphysical discussion and part comedy. Decked out in white jeans, white cotton shirt and thick, permed, white-dyed hair resembling a steel-wool helmet, Spivey says he doesn't take himself too seriously. As an adult, Spivey says, he acquired the gift of healing as well as prophecy. "I believe healing is the most wonderful of all gifts," Spivey says. "I prayed very hard for this gift and one day, I saw Jesus. "Jesus said, 'I'll let you heal as long as you tell people it's from me,' " Spivey says. That night, he talked about his vision on the air when he took a call from an endocrinologist who suffered from a severe case of psoriasis. "I talked to her and found out she was feeling guilty about something," Spivey says. "When you're feeling guilty, healing won't work." After speaking with her that night, Spivey says, she called again in three weeks to let him know that her psoriasis had cleared up. Baptist-turned-psychic As a child in rural North Carolina, Spivey says, he was brought up as a Southern Baptist. Even as a child, Spivey says, he "didn't agree with everything completely" that he was taught about religion. To him, Spivey says, there is only one God and the different religions are simply different ways of reaching God. "Whatever a person believes, I think they should just try to be a good one," Spivey says. "I believe in Jesus Christ, but I havejread for people who were not Chris- K...." r x A RON C. BERARDTribune photos Radio talk show host and psychic Gary Spivey counsels listeners over the air. "I was gifted with prophecy," he says. tians and yet they were very in touch with God." Spivey disputes the idea held by many Christians that psychic powers are evil or that they come from the devil. He says his powers come from God. In fact, Spivey says that as people's lives become more complex and radical environmental changes take place on Earth, more people will turn to God. "And we're going to see more and more psychics appearing," Spivey says. "Psychics are God's way of sticking some natural counselors here on Earth." Caroline Heart, a nondenominational minister from Tampa, agreed, saying she Is glad that talk about psychic and paranormal phenomena Is becoming more mainstream. "People are waking up," Heart says. Recently, she says, a major network aired a show about angels. "There's also a TV talk show called 'The Other Side,' which deals with these subjects, as well as 'Sightings,' " Heaft adds. "The Other Side" airs on WTMV, Channel 32, at 4 p.m. weekdays, and "Sightings" airs on WTVT, Channel 13, at midnight Sunday. Skeptics and believers However, Tampa physician Gary Pos-ner, founder of the Tampa Bay Skeptics, attributes the increase in psychics to other, less altruistic factors. . "I see the increase in psychics as some people's way of earning a living off a gullible public," Posner says. The Rev. Mike Young, a Unitarian Uni-versalist minister from Tampa, also attributes the growing number of psychics to "the failure of the American media audience to think critically. "And offering critical thought on the subject of religion has come to be thought of as being something bad," Young says. Young has seen examples of this "gullibility" with a stage act he used to perform with his daughter. During the act Young would be blindfolded while his daughter would go out into the audience, taking ob jects from audience members. Young would then correctly guess the item his daughter was holding. "You would have to be really dumb not to pick up on the obvious verbal clues my daughter was giving me," Young says. "But after the show, people would always come up and tell me I had a real psychic gift. "We eventually gave up the act because it got boring," Young said. "It was just too easy to fool people." Catholics are also discouraged from participating in psychic readings because such abilities fall under the categories of "sorcery" and "superstition," says the Rev. Kevin Murray, co-pastor of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Tampa. Murray says he's especially suspicious of Spivey's infomercials, which he sees as slick, big-budget productions featuring TV and movie stars put together by "clever public relations people." "Basically, there is no way to make sure he's on the level or that this is nothing more than a money-making scheme," Murray says. Posner says he doubts that psychic power healed the psoriasis sufferer who telephoned Spivey's show. "Before I would accept anything he said on faith healing, I would want to study the medical history of anyone whom he claims to have healed," Posner says. "I'm not aware of faith healers curing any organic disease, but psychosomatic diseases may be alleviated through faith healers. "Since the exact cause of psoriasis Is not known, it may turn out that emotions play a role in that disease," Posner continues. "The mind does play a role in healing diseases of the mind, and if you alter the person's mental state, you may heal them." Ron Bennington, co-host of the "Ron and Ron Show" on WSUN, says psychic powers are still a mystery to him. But he says he is impressed by the number of people Spivey has helped with his counseling, judging from calls received by Bennington's show. Spivey's program is syndicated through the Ron & Ron (Radio Network.

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