Exclusive 'Behind the Scenes' interview with Tammy Faye
"God, move me forward."
Paul Crouch Jr., Vice President of Administration for Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), interviewed Tammy Faye Messner on the October 26th edition of TBN's popular "Behind the Scenes" program -- Tammy's first appearance on TBN in more than 30 years. It was a heart-warming, friendly time of sharing and reminiscing between two believers and friends who have dedicated their lives to advancing God's kingdom through media.
Below are highlights taken from the program's transcript.
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Paul: "When I last saw you, you called me 'Paulie.'"
Tammy Faye: "That's right! You were 13 years old. Tammy Sue was two or three. We lived with your mom and dad about four months."
Paul: Tammy, you've had many titles -- evangelist, mother, daughter, minister of the gospel. I'm sure you've heard it all. One of the titles people may not be aware of is that you are one of the co-founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Tammy Faye: I'm very honored to have been one of the co-founders.
Paul: You and Jim.
Tammy Faye: With your mom and dad.
Paul: You got together with my mom and dad in 1972.
Tammy Faye: Your dad was Jim's youth pastor. We decided after we left CBN with Pat Robertson — we had been there many years — we decided to tour the country. We had never seen California. We went there. We heard your dad was there. Jim said, "He's my youth minister. I have to go to see Paul." I thought television was over for us. Before I knew it, we were back in the swing of things again.
Paul: In your early days of TBN, you had the kids' program, building studios.
Tammy Faye: My goodness. My memories are Jan and I helping to take the tar up off the floor. We literally built the studio ourselves.
Paul: That's Tammy.
Tammy Faye: We were tar babies.
Paul: You and Jim helped found TBN.
Tammy Faye: I remember playing the organ in the background while Jim hosted the show. Your dad ran all the business. Your mom was on helping with prayer requests. We had a wonderful time.
Paul: I remember. This, ladies and gentlemen is one of my spiritual moms. You have had a huge spiritual impact on me.
Tammy Faye: Thank you, Paulie. If there is one message that I would say to people -- I wrote it down because I didn't want to misquote it: "Put aside every weight and the sins which so easily beset us." That is what we need to do. So many things beset us every day. We condemn others, we judge others. We hold hurt. In all the things. We want to run our own lives, do our own thing. The Bible says to "put it aside." I think it's time we need to quit judging other people and we need to quit worrying about other people's sin in their lives and worry about the sin in our own lives. That's my message.
Paul: Preach it, sister! Tammy, you grew up in International Falls, Minnesota, the icebox of the nation. Did you realize your life would be quite the roller coaster ride it has been? You have seen highs and lows.
Tammy Faye: I said, "Lord, please don't let my life be boring." I was riding my bike. I paid 25 dollars for that bike. I was riding it down the road — Burner Road…. I said, "Please, don't make my life be boring."
Paul: After you guys left TBN, you started PTL club. What are the memories of that? Any regrets there? Any hurt feelings?
Tammy Faye: Everyone has regrets and things they would do differently, Paul. We can't live there. It's not productive. If we are going to be productive for the Lord, we have to put things behind us. We have to move on toward the high calling in Christ Jesus. I live in the same town Heritage U.S.A. was in. I never realize it was there. God has helped me move forward.
Paul: What are you most proud of? Your life so far?
Tammy Faye: Having my two kids. I'm so proud of Tammy Sue. She is 35 right now. She is one of the greatest singers. She has one of the most anointed voices I ever heard. She sings and preaches and works for my husband Roe Messner. She is in Charlotte with two children, James and Jonathan. Jamey Charles is doing fantastic. He is in Atlanta, Georgia. He is ministering to the kids churches don't want to bother with, kids with tattoos and piercings.
Paul: One of the things I was very impressed with was an opportunity the Lord gave you, which you first turned down, a reality show called Surreal Life.
Tammy Faye: My goodness. Surreal Life called wanting me to be on the show. I said absolutely not. I will not go on.
Paul: Explain that. You get locked up with six other people you never met.
Tammy Faye: That's right. They drop you off at a house and leave you there with a famous star, plus a rock star and a girl from Baywatch.
Paul: Tell me about that.
Tammy Faye: You get thrown in this really dark environment. Filled with every kind of drink you could imagine. There was flashing lights everywhere. We were -- we were thrown together.
Paul: You ministered.
Tammy Faye: It changed my life totally.
Tammy Faye: I have young people by the thousands e-mailing me. They have changed my life. A lot of kids have never heard, of course, never heard about me, never heard about God. Don't believe in God. I had atheists. Atheists write me saying we don't believe there is a God. If there is one, just in case, we are going to say a little prayer for you. You cannot believe how it changed my life. I still -- we still keep in touch. I just talked to Ron Jeremy and Vanilla Ice. He said, "Hello, Other Mother."
Paul: You are going to win them to the Lord.
Tammy Faye: I believe that. I know they are going to find Jesus, if they haven't already. For a Christian, it was like being thrown into the lion's den. What a wonderful lion's den! They wanted me to come be a part of all these things. One of the girls there was just a very, very young girl having trouble with drinking. I called and left a mama message for her: "Trochelle, I love you."
Paul: You ministered to many, many people. I think that was an awesome opportunity.
Tammy Faye: I love young people. I hope some day to have a program. One of the channels wants to talk to me about doing a program for teenagers.
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Paul: How is your health? Tell us about the cancer situation…. Tell the Christian world what the truth is.
Tammy Faye: I believe I'm totally healed. Do I look sick?
Tammy Faye: I can outrun most of the young people. Out shop them. Out run them. Out laugh them. Out play them. This was my third bout with cancer. I had 20 spots on my left lung and on my back. I have two wonderful Christian doctors. My oncologist is Dr. Grant Taylor. My radiation specialist is Dr. Steven Plunkett. I sat in his office. I was going to have to go through radiation. I was hyperventilating. I was scared to death. I never had been in radiation before. I was hyperventilating. I could not believe. I was going to leave and forget it. Do you want to talk to the doctor? No. I'm leaving. Talk to the doctor. I said, "Dr. Plunkett. I don't know if you know about Jesus. But I'm a Christian. And I believe in miracles." He looked at me and said, "Tammy Faye, I'm your pastor's best friend."
Paul: What did that mean for you at that point.
Tammy Faye: I felt like it was going to be okay, that the Lord knew exactly where I was. He knew exactly what was happening to me. And when they marked me, my whole chest was full of little crosses. It was not squares; it was crosses. They didn't know that. They were turquoise crosses. The first time I laid under the radiation machine, he got me over my hyperventilation or panic attack. He said, "While you are here you will have to do it. Try it. Just try it."
I laid down there, tears running down my face and they were landing on the radiation machine. This beautiful little nurse comes up to me (I will love her and see her face forever) and she whispered in my ear: "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
It was then that the Lord spoke to me. He said, "Tammy, they've got to go through the cross to get to that cancer." And praise God, whenever a Christian, anything happens to a Christian, the devil's got to go through the cross to get to you. I felt safe all of a sudden, knowing that that radiation was going through the cross to hit that lung and that cancer that was in my lung.
Paul: Praise God!
Tammy Faye: God is a good God. We are all made out of the same old dirt. I'm no different than anybody else. Every time I laid under there I said, "Jesus, keep me near the cross -- There a precious fountain --Free to all a healing stream -- Flows from Calvary's mountain." I could just feel the healing stream."
I had a problem. I had a problem relating to God and doctors. Because we always said, "God can do miracles." I preached it all my life. We don't need doctors. God can do miracles. But Dr. Plunkett said, "Tammy, I'm a Christian. I'm a doctor. I have a calling. My calling is to help you." He helped me relate to the fact that it's okay for Christians to go to doctors. We need doctors. We need medicine. God made all of that. It's all from the earth. He made it all. If you need to go to a doctor, by golly, get your butt there!
Paul: In and through this opportunity and through this cancer situation, mom always considered her cancer an opportunity, too.
Tammy Faye: It opens you up to a whole new world of people.
Paul: You got to minister to many people.
Tammy Faye: I lay hands on people almost every day when I go shopping. Somebody comes up saying, "I've got cancer. I just found out." Right then and there, I don't care where we are, I will lay hands on them, in the name of Jesus. I was in the radiation room … all of us cancer patients were sitting there waiting for our next turn for radiation. God did something for me. He sent a young man, 40 years old, who was so much worse off than I was. I needed to see somebody worse off than me. You get to feel you're the worst. You are going through the worst thing. You could see the pain in that man's face. Paul, they had to put him in a mask-like thing. They had to put -- he had a mark on his head and under here. They shoved this big thing down his throat. He had throat cancer … This man when I saw him, my heart bled, I thought "Lord, why am I complaining? Why would I ever complain. All I have to do is go in and lay down. I can't feel anything. This man has to be hooked up and this thing shoved down his throat." I prayed for him. That man, I saw his wife the other day. She said, "Tammy, I'm Matt's wife. Here are his children. He was yelling at the ball game today." The last time I saw him he couldn't even talk. God, you know, always puts somebody in your way worse off than you are. We always have something to praise the Lord for.
Paul: We are going to praise the Lord. We are declaring right now you are healed in Jesus' name. Tammy, Jesus shines through you. For somebody who may be watching this today, tell them about the Jesus you know, who has sustained you.
Tammy Faye: I know the most wonderful person in the whole world. He is Jesus Christ. He is a person. And He is with you all the time. He is not somebody up there. You don't have to go looking for Him. He can be right here with you. The Bible says that He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. You can tell Him things you would not tell your best friend. He knows all about it anyway. So you might as well tell Him. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, there is a peace that passes all understanding when you know Jesus.
You know everything is going to be okay when you know Him. You know you are in the center of His will no matter where you are. You will be okay. You are in the center of God's will. He won't let anything hurt you.
"I know what plans I have for you.
Plans to prosper you.
Plans not to harm you.
Plans to give you hope and a future."
He doesn't want to hurt us. He doesn't want to harm us. He wants to give us a future. If you feel you have done something so terrible that you are not worthy of Jesus Christ, you're wrong. He says every one of us is made out of the same old dirt. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." He wants you to be a part of this wonderful, wonderful thing called salvation. Called peace. Called joy. Called freedom.
Paul: You are awesome. You know what, Tammy, thank you for what you've done for me. Thank you for what you've done for the kingdom, for Christian television. Truly for all of us.
Tammy Faye: I love your mom and dad, too. I love you, Paul and Jan.
Paul: They are watching. God bless you for what you've done.
Tammy Faye: We are all the same. Jesus is all over the world. The only thing you have to do, only one thing you have to do is say, "Jesus, I know you died on the cross to save me from my sins. I admit I'm a sinner. Come into my heart." There's only one thing God cannot do. He cannot fail.
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Released through WDC Media News
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