November 26th, 2010
10:24 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Matt Chandler

The Dallas, Texas, pastor has turned his yearlong battle with a brain tumor into sermons and video journals that talk about his struggles. Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, which averages around 8,300 people for Sunday services.

Before his surgery to attempt to remove the tumor he recorded a video for his congregation reminding them not to be angry - that even people of faith must deal with struggles.

"My hope would be that you would see that [God] is good in all things and that he would never send to any of us things that he does not provide strength for," Chandler said, according to the Dallas Morning News.

According to the Morning News, Chandler's sermon podcasts on some occasions have reached 250,000 downloads for the month. And his inspirational story earned him invitations to speak at Christian conferences and inspire others.

"Among young evangelical pastors, I think you've got to put Chandler in the top five most influential," Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, part of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the newspaper.


November 25th, 2010
01:09 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Caleb Campbell

The West Point graduate is playing in his second NFL game today for the Detroit Lions, two years after being drafted out of the U.S. Military Academy.  Campbell is the first Army player in over a decade to play in a NFL game.

He thought he'd be able to report to the Lions in 2008 and serve as a recruiter while playing football, but the Defense Department changed the rules at the last minute, according to Yahoo! Sports blogger Chris Chase. After serving nearly all of his two years of mandatory military service, Campbell was signed to the practice squad in September and made his first game appearance Sunday. Today, surely he has plenty to be thankful for, and a second chance.

Choosing football over a military career is a decision he struggled with, Campbell told the Detroit News.

"They are over there putting their lives in harm's way and I'm here playing football," he said. "... I wondered if I was doing the right thing."

Update: The excitement over Campbell's play in the NFL was quelled when he was placed back on the practice quad before the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game.