Steve Harvey

Steve HarveyBroderick Stephen Harvey is an American comedian, businessman and entertainer. He hosts The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Family Feud, Celebrity Family Feud, the Miss Universe competition and Fox's New Year's Eve. Steve was born on January 17, 1957 in Welch, West Virginia. He has three children. Steve's first sitcom was a Top 20 hit.

RAGS TO RICHES

   My name is Steve Harvey and before I get started, let me say something. I'm a Christian, but I'm an entry- level Christian. I've been through every level of life. I'm not a fake person. I am an imperfect soldier for Christ. That's what I am. Keyword: Imperfect. My father was a coal miner. My father made $5 a day, with five kids. I'm the youngest of five. I came from nothing.

I had a severe stuttering problem throughout school. I flunked out of school. I'm on my third marriage. I lost everything I've owned twice. I've been homeless and lived in a car for three years. A lot of you are young in this room. I want to teach you something that I learned that changed my life and also everything that changed my life came from God. We're talking about next level. I’m going to show you how to get there. I've been debating on how I was going to do this? But I thought the best way to go about this is just tell you my story. And in my story, maybe you can see some of yourself.

   Anybody can be successful, but you got to understand something. It's hard. You can take all the courses you want, and it's hard. You can go to church and hold your hands in a prayer circle and when you get through praying, it's going to be hard. You go to school, and you get all the degrees you want. If you want to be successful, it's going to be hard. It's hard being successful. That's the first thing you need to understand. I was telling you that I lived in a car for three years. In my 30's I was homeless. I was homeless based on the decisions I made.

   On October 8, 1985, I walked into a comedy club for the very first time. I had never been in a comedy club, but I had been writing jokes for a dude that was taking my jokes into a comedy club. He was paying me $10 per joke. I had never been to a comedy club, had never heard of a comedy club. I was writing for a buddy of mine named A.J. Jamal. He would pay me $10 a joke. One day, I was writing some jokes for him and I was over his house to drop them off. And this girl named Gladys Jacobs came over to the house and she said, "You're the dude that's writing jokes for A.J. Jamal?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "He’s the funniest dude at the comedy club." I said, "What’s that?" I'm 27 years old and I've never heard of a comedy club, and all my life I wanted to be on TV. I'm going to tell you that story a little bit later. But I just said, "A comedy club?" She said, "You should come and tell the jokes yourself?" This could be what I've been asking God for my whole life. Say something you're in the spot where you keep asking God, "What do I do next? What's my next move?" You know the hardest thing about your life is trying to figure it out.

But do you know what you're supposed to do? Do you know that God already designed you for a purpose in life? And if you just simply asked God what it is, He will guide you to it. But oh no, we're so busy trying to figure it out. I got news for you, how to do so? The "How to" is none of your business. That's what I never knew. So I was wondering how I could be on TV since I was a little kid and that girl said, “Are you coming to comedy club?” So I go to comedy club and she said, "We're going to go Tuesday night. I want you to sign up to perform next week, but I want you to see how it goes first.” I said, "Cool." So I went. I walked into comedy club; I signed up for the following week and sat down because there were 10 dudes suppose to perform. Nine of them went on and I didn't laugh all night. She said, "You've not laughed at these nine jokes." You know why? Because what they were doing was not their actual gift. But it was the thing I've been doing my whole life. So I wouldn't laugh when told tell jokes because I knew everything they were going to say, and I knew everything they should have said to make the joke really funny. So I'm just sitting there and studying them.

   So they got to the 10th guy, and they called his name and nobody went up. And the called his name again and said, "Well, looks like number 10 isn't here. We're going to go to next week's list. Steve Harvey, come on up." I looked at that girl, Gladys and I said, "This crazy. There is someone in here that has the same name that I’ve got?" She said, "You really can't be this stupid." She said, "Boy, that's you." I went up on stage and thought I ain't got anything. First thing I say to the audience is, "I appreciate your clapping, but I ain't supposed to be here, I'm on next week's show." So the girl Gladys yelled out, "Tell them about when you were boxing." So on the way down, I had told them the story about boxing. So I did the boxing joke. Mike Tyson loves to fight. He doesn’t care if he is in the ring or out the ring, man or woman. Mike just wants to get it on and if you don't think that's true, you just ask that heavyweight fighter, Mitch Green. These people are on the floor laughing. So there, I have nothing else. So I have written some jokes for my buddy A.J. Jamal that I haven't sold to him yet. So I said, "Well, he’ll let me try these." So I did those jokes, and they died laughing. So they bought all 10 of us up on stage and had a clap off. That night, I won the clap off. I won amateur night. October 8, 1985, they paid me $50.

   I get in the car. I’m forty minutes from my house, Gladys is driving me home. I'm crying the entire time. I didn't stop crying and s he said, "What are you crying for? It's just $50."

   I said, "No, you won't understand." This ain't about the $50. I've been born tonight. This is God’s answer to my prayer. I've been praying about this for 20 years. It ain't $50. This is what I will do the rest of my life. I went to work the next day on October 8, 1985, and quit my job. I have done nothing since October 8, 1985, except tell these jokes. That's all I've ever done. This is the gift that God gave me. Your gift will make room for you. But, if you're not doing your gift, you're wasting your time. Your gift will make room for you. You got to identify with your God-given gift. If you don't identify your gift, you're going to waste your time. Telling jokes is my gift. So even as a motivational speaker, I use my gift. Nothing's more boring than sitting up listening to somebody talk for 45 minutes and you ain't laughed in 45 minutes.

   Listen, if I want to, I could turn this into a comedy show and fill this room with laughter. In 1968, I came home from school following summer vacation. I was 10 years old, and the assignment from the teacher was for everybody in the class to write your name on a piece of paper and what you wanted to be when you grow up. I wrote on my paper, I want to be on TV. That's what I wrote. The teacher said, "Turn in your papers." She went around the room and called everybody by name. You would have to stand while she read your paper. She read off everybody's name and she saved me for last. She said, "Little Stevie, come to the front." I'm thinking, "Okay, this is it. I never had a gold star in school in my life. I have never have been recognized for academic achievements. I've never got an award of any kind in my life. Here I come, little Stevie coming to the front.

   My belt is so big that it wrapped around me twice. They used to call me potato chip in school because I was shaped like a potato chip. As I walked up there, I'm standing in front of the class. Now, I told you a minute ago that I had a severe stuttering problem in school. I could not talk outside of my house. I stuttered severely. I thought this woman was going to give me a gold star because I figured nobody else in the class had wrote, I want to be on TV but me. So mine must be the best answer of all of you. So I'm standing up there and that lady started to belittle me. She didn't call me up there to give me a gold star. She called me to the front to humiliate me. She said, "Why did you put something like this on your paper?"I had a severe stuttering problem. I can't talk. So she started, "Why did you write this on your paper? I stuttered. Who in your family has ever been on TV? I stuttered. Who in this school has ever been on TV? I stuttered. Who in this neighborhood has ever been on television? I stuttered. She said, "Why would you write something like that on your paper? And looked at her and she said, “You can't even talk." I was crushed.

   Teachers are supposed to be shaping and molding my mind. We pay them to educate us. Even today I hear her say, “Why would you write something like that on your paper? You will never be on TV.”So every Christmas, I send her a flat screen TV.

   Because I don't want her to miss me.

   I wanted her to see what God had done for me.

   The fact that they don't see the dream, the fact that they don't see what you can be has nothing to do with what God can do. Nothing at all.

   Now I’m on TV seven days a week. I was the low black boy with stuttering problem. Now I’m all over the TV. That little black boy had a dream and became a TV star. She didn't see it. How many times have you shared a dream with somebody, and they didn't see it? I heard somebody talking about the importance of education and education is critical. You have to be educated. You have to be well read. You got to be well-versed. There's no way around.

   I will make a statement. I don't know how this is going to fly in this room. And here goes, education is not the most important thing in your life. It's not. I spoke at a school one time and I said that. The principal of the school came up and had me removed from the stage.

   I was just trying to help these students. Education is not the most important thing. How many people do you know that have an education, and they ain't working? Do you know how many people I know with degrees and got no job? Do you know how many people I know with multiple degrees and ain't making any money? The single most important thing in your life is your dream. It's what you dream about. It’s in your Bible. It says a man without a dream or vision shall perish. They don't mentioned education in the Bible. The University of Jamaica is not in the Bible. Without dreams and visions, you can't make it. If you've got no dream, if you've got no vision, you’re sunk, you're done, I'm sorry. I'm just giving you the basics of how to be successful. This is how I got here. I’m going to give you something that changed my life.

   A very short scripture changed my life. "You have not because you ask not." It's in James 4:2. Listen to me, I can't even tell you how big that is. Look at me; this is the most important thing I'm going to tell you today. You have not because you ask not. It's that simple. Most people don't have the life of their dreams because you ain't never asked God. Could you have it? You've been trying to do it yourself. You've been trying to figure it out for yourself. How that's been working for you? Kind of crazy ain’t it? I just told you early you can't figure it out. Ain't any script to know to help you figure it out? Ask God for a vision and write it down that he may run who reads it – Habakkuk 2:2.” Let the Lord show you. You can't make it. You ain't the creator. You ain't got nothing to do with tomorrow, and you can't change the past. So why are your tripping with your life for? You have not because you ask not. You all ain't never asked God to be rich? Most people ain't rich today because you ain't never asked God. I asked God everyday when I was homeless.

   At the lowest point of my life, I asked God every day if I could be rich. You know why? Because I gave it up to Him. I lived in a car. I had no backyard. I had no TV. I had no phone, and I ain't got a bathroom. I ain't got a suit. I asked God every day, could I be rich? I told God if you let me make it, when I get there, I'm going to tell everybody it was you. Here I am. It was Him.  

   Now, you got another route you want to take, go ahead. It’s by faith He is. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1. You don't need nobody's permission. You don't have to take that loan. You don't have to get accepted into the course. You can start your faith today. You can start to walk with God today. You ain't got to clear it with nobody. There are plenty of openings. He's available. All you got to do is go. I got rich, and I'm not bragging, but I'm just telling you, I got rich because I asked. It is an amazing scripture, right? If you would only ask, "Well, Steve, what do I ask for?" “Everything.” You want a relationship with God where God is not only your king, He's your companion, He's your guide, and He’s your friend. You know how you can tell your friend anything? That's the relationship He looking for. You ain't got to go to church to get that. You have that at your house. You can have relationship with God on your own. You got to have it. Start asking God for big stuff. Stop wasting lots of time with all this little stuff. Lord, help me make my dream. Doesn’t He always? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you should ask God for mortgage? You make payments every 30-day. Do you think God’s got mortgage money? But you know why you don't ask God for the mortgage because you keep getting in the way. They say as, "You have not because you ask not." But you say, "Well, I don't have a job that allows me to afford a mortgage. I don't make enough money. I got bad credit." Do you think God doesn’t know that? He said, ask. You have not because you ask not. So you rule yourself out of the mortgage simply because you won't ask. Just go ahead and ask God for the house. You think He doesn't know you need a better job? You block your own blessings because you get in the way of the answer. Just ask God for big stuff.

   Lord Jesus helped me get out of debt in seven years. Why would you ask God to get you out of debt in seven years? Who you think you're talking to? He’s the same God that made heaven and earth in six days? Why would it take him seven years to get you out of debt?

   He made heaven and earth for six days, and you need seven years from God to get you out of debt. You're crazy. God does the big stuff. Ask God for some big. Now, here is something. The next thing you need to do. Oprah has been on TV for 30 years telling people about vision boards. If you don't have a vision board, if you don't have your dreams written down, that's the other reason you don't have. I just gave you the two main reasons why people don't have the life of their dreams. Number one, you don't ask God for it and number two, you won't write it down. It has to be written. You have to write it down. It's a principle of success. Anybody can be successful. You just have to know the principles of success. See, I know the principles of success. I could stop and go start selling tomatoes, and I could go make a lot of money selling tomatoes. You know why? Because I know the principles of success. The second principle you need to know is you have to write it down.

   Write the vision and make it plain so that he who reads it will run to it, and even involuntary wait for it. For surely, it will come at an appointed time. Everything I've ever dreamed and asked God for, I have to written it down. Everything I ever had was written on a piece of paper and everything extra I got came from his grace. I've got stuff and He gave me more stuff than on the paper. So here's an exercise I want all of you to do. I'm just telling you how to be successful just how I did it. It won’t cost you. I flunked out to school. I have no education.

   Albert Einstein has a quote that changed my life. I’m going to give it to you. Because this is for everybody in this room, because it's something that we all have, and you may have never understood. Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is everything. It's the preview to life's coming attractions." I want you to listen to me now because this going to be my last day but this is so good. If you can get this right here, this can change you. Imagination is everything. It's the preview to life's coming attraction. You know what that means? That means everything you see in this world came from somebody's imagination. Everything.

   The Wright brothers said, "Man, I want to fly like a bird." They laughed, but they flew.

   See, you've been thinking, all this time that your imagination was just some hocus pocus. I’m going to teach you something now. I want you to hear me on this one. This is the most powerful thing that I can tell you today. Albert Einstein had that quote but Albert Einstein took that quote from the Bible. Albert Einstein took the second half of my mother's favorite scripture. My mother's favorite scripture is and you've all heard it. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I’m in front of this crowd now, and I usually tell that to people and they're going, "What and where is it?" Faith is the substance of things hoped for. That’s the message of faith and hope.

   While you’re sitting in this room trying to get to the next level. Listen to me, there will be no more levels for you unless you get to the next level of your faith. Ain't any other level for your partner? Your imagination is a preview of the coming attraction God has for you. That's what your imagination is. That's what it's been this whole time. Oftentimes, you've been imagining being rich. That wasn't just up there; God put it in your head because that's what He has for you. That big house you keep wanting, God put it in your head because that's what God has for you. That promotion on the job you keep imagining, that's what God put in your head because that's what he has for you. When you keep dreaming of taking a summer vacation somewhere, that's because guess what? God has it for you. When you dream of retiring one day, having retirement income is in your imagination, because God put it there. Because that's our coming attractions that God has for you. That's what your imagination is and you've been tripping.

   Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Now, check this out. The second half of that scripture is the evidence of things not seen, here go the lesson. Your imagination is the evidence of things not seen. You know, why it's the evidence of things not seen? Because your imagination, you're the only one can see it. Nobody can see your imagination but you. But God places what he has for you in your imagination. After you become an adult, it shouldn't be hope any more, but a turning into some faith. You got to go man, I don't hope hard enough and God gave it to me. What's the matter of turning to faith? Quit hoping man turn it into faith. Faith is the belief in things that you cannot see. You got to ask God for some. Remember I told you to write it down? Ask for something from God. You don't know how and where you are going to get it. You know what's on my vision board? Things I have no idea how will I get. That's what has to be on your vision board. You know how many times you didn't write all your imagination down. You know the danger about your imagination? You tell it to the wrong people. That's the danger. You want to kill a big dream? Tell it to a small minded person. Or they will shut it down every time. Won't they?

   You know how many wonderful ideas you've had? Stuff that God gave you, you thought was, "Man, this is it." You went in at to your friends and your family and you shared it with them, and they shut it down. You know why they shut it down? Because they ain't seen it. You know why they ain't see it? Because God ain't given it to them. Because He put it in your imagination. If He wanted them to imagine that, He could put it in their head. That's why people can't see what you're going to be. That's why the teacher said, “Look at you. You're standing there. You can't even talk. Why would anyone put somebody like you on TV? Well, maybe what you didn't know was, I wouldn't be stuttering forever. You didn't know God was going to get me over my stuttering. Did you? You didn't see it because nobody else from 112 Street has ever been on TV. You didn't think I'd be the first. You know why? Because you ain't seen it. God put it in me; he put it in my head. I was just dumb enough to think it could happen. When you go get dumb enough to think that your imagination is real, you begin to accept it by faith.

   I know this is a motivational conference. I know you want to hear about some book that you’re going to buy and read. You already have the book it’s at your house, and probably covered with dust. Do you know everything you need to know about success is in the Bible? Every self-help book today is written off the principles that are in the Bible. Now, is it good buying these other books? Yes it is. But if you got to buy, what is in it? Or if you want to buy book that's based on the Bible, go buy this book called, The Magic of Thinking Big. Faith without works is dead. If you have not because ask not. Faith is substance things hope for and write the vision and make a plan. I gave you a poem that changed your life. Somebody say, "Well, if you go and mention your God, you need to stop all these jokes." That's what I do, I tell jokes. I tell jokes for a living. Everyone enjoys me telling jokes. That's all I do when you hired me. I use humor because I hold people's attention with humor.

   I'm telling you, somebody is going to find something wrong with it. Somebody will always find something wrong with what you're doing. It's okay. Somebody is always saying something about me, and I'm used to that. They say, “I don't appreciate him talking about the Lord that much.” Okay, well don't bring me back. I didn't like the jokes. We're here for motivation. But you know what? It doesn't matter what they say. Who are these people talking about me? People will talk about me even if they have never met me. I've told you a lot of things. I hope you grasp some of it. I want you to know that I was really honored to be here. I pray that God give you peace.

Steve's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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