Monthly Archives: January 2013

Super Bowl inspiration: Gospel celebration set for Feb. 1 in New Orleans

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – The great sounds of gospel music will take center stage at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Friday, Feb. 1 with the 14th Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.

The musical celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefront Arena on the campus of the University of New Orleans, 6801 Franklin Ave. in New Orleans.

Slated to perform at the NFL-sanctioned event are some of the best gospel artists today, including Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton, LeCrea, Pastor Marvin Winans, and Fantasia Barrino. Kirk Franklin will serve as host of the music portion, with “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd as MC for the event. Also, the audience will be treated to performances featuring the sixth annual NFL Players Choir. The 40-member ensemble includes current and former players and coaches. The choir allows NFL players who are Christians to share their love for Him in song. Past participants have included Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner, Cris Carter, Darrell Green, Deion Sanders, John Elway, and Lovie Smith.

Melanie Few Harrison, creator and producer of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, announced Jan. 28 the celebration will feature a tribute to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis as the second Lifetime of Inspirations award winner. Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy is the only other winner of the prestigious award, as he was present the award in 2009.

“His (Ray Lewis) accomplishments and triumphs have inspired football fans, teammates and colleagues – a true representation of what the essence of the convergence of faith and football is all about,” Harrison said. “As a big supporter of the event, Ray Lewis has attended many Super Bowl Gospel Celebrations and sang in the NFL Players Choir, so we are beyond thrilled to honor him in what is sure to be a memorable year.”

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Learn more about the SBGC and the performers at http://www.superbowlgospel.com/

Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

By now, you’ve seen the clip.

When 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s challenge of the catch made by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas was denied, coach went into a rage. Fortunately, for him, the call had no bearing in the result of the Jan.20 NFC Championship game, as his 49ers held off the Falcons, 28-24, to advance to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Harbaugh’s sideline rants have been the ridicule of many since he has become the 49ers head coach. Some sports journalists don’t care for the guy, especially since Harbaugh is hush-hush on issues related to his team that would probably make a great story.

Just when the reporters have the chance to learn about a different side of Harbaugh, they sorta passed it by. But I don’t completely blame them. When Harbaugh took his annual trip to Peru to do the Lord’s work in June 2012, the mainstream reporters asked about it, but he didn’t really elaborate.

However, Harbaugh was more than willing to discuss the trip with media that could relate, such as The Catholic News Agency. Judging from the quote, the trip was quiet personal for him. “The doors that God will open for you by the people you meet or by the circumstances you’re in (allow) your character to be shaped and your spirit to grow. Those kinds of doors are opened for (me) here.”

If you want to go back farther, I found a Bleacher Report guest column from 2008 written by Carla Ingle. The column, titled Jim Harbaugh and Jesus Take The Field …, was created while Harbaugh was head coach at Stanford University. Ingle reveals when Harbaugh was quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-1997, he would acknowledge God before beginning his press conferences. Ingle wrote, “When he first started playing for the Colts it would warm my heart when a reporter would interview him and the first thing he would say was ‘I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for making all this possible.’ Then he would continue on with the interview and address whatever question that had been posed to him.”

Then, Ingle began to notice when the wins began to disappear, there was no mention of God and some “not-so-kind words” came from Harbaugh’s mouth. Did that make Harbaugh less of a Christian? No – not in the Father’s eyes. If we are honest with ourselves, we are human and guilty of this at times.

As Christians, we should be careful not to assume everyone who doesn’t put their faith on public display every day is a fair-weather Christian. He uses us in different ways. If only Harbaugh’s acknowledgment to the power of God was heard beyond the readers of the CNA others will begin to think a little differently about him.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim’s older brother and opponent on Feb. 3, was quite open about his team’s inspiration after they defeated the Denver Broncos in overtime, 38-35, in the AFC Divisional Playoff on Jan. 12 and in the win against the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Jim Harbaugh open a press conference in 2013 in the same fashion he did during that great 1995 he had with the Colts? Either way, we know there is more than rage that sits in the heart of Jim Harbaugh.

Related story

Harbaugh finds gratification helping others in Peru 6/27/2012

‘Fruit Of My Spirit’ a tale of God’s love despite our missteps

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By Tonya R. Andris
Inside The Pew

Deanna Nowadnick isn’t perfect. Despite her physical and internal imperfections, she also know that God loves her just the way she is.

In her book, “Fruit Of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace” ($12.95, Rhododendron Books; ebook available on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook), she takes us on her spiritual journey. The book left me confident and empathetic.

Part Bible study, part memoir, and part confessional is the best way to describe Nowadnick’s release. The Monroe, Wash., author takes readers through moments in her life and shapes them around the nine qualities of the Holy Spirit’s fruit. In Galatians 5:22-23, apostle Paul tells the people of Galatia: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Recalling the nine qualities of the Holy Spirit’s fruit, the author uses pictures to relate each attribute to its Greek equivalent. The chapter on “Joy” or chara (Greek for divine happiness) is paired with cherries; “Kindness” or chrestotes (Greek for goodness) is paired with strawberries.

Charming black-white photos capture transformations through 30 years of marriage for Deanna Nowadnick and her husband, Kurt, and family time with their sons Kyle and Kevin. In chapter 3, titled “Peace” or eirene (Greek for tranquility) she discusses how she found tranquility in several situations, from enjoying the outdoors without camping and overcoming a need to find comfort in food. Her reaction? She gave it to God.

“My heartfelt prayer was nothing more than, ‘Please, God.” I didn’t even have the words to know what to ask for. All I could repeat was, “Please, God,” she wrote.

Each well-developed story reveals a lot about the growth Nowadnick and how she learned she no longer rests on her own understanding and “let go and let Him.” By pouring out her soul in prose, she benefits. Even in recollection, Nowadnick shows how maturity and understand of her inner self.

Nowadnick feels confident in the way God made her. The tone of her writing is genuine and relatable. There are periods of self-doubt and weakness, but these traits don’t destroy her. Deep inside, she knows she is still loved by the Almighty, a feeling all His children has to understand and embrace.

Visit www.fruitofmyspirit.com to learn more about Nowadnick’s spiritual walk.

Comment on this weekly column by emailing Tonya Andris at pewnews@aol.com.

Greater Sixty Aid continues service to Baton Rouge communities

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Editor’s note: This story originally ran on Inside The Pew on Nov. 20, 2009. Visit the Greater Sixty Aid Baptist Church website at www.greatersixtyaidbc.org.

By Tamikia Jones
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Rev. James Barrett Sr. is in the midst of bringing God’s word to the Gardere community and the city of Baton Rouge. After all, he is part of a historic congregation that has done so since 1876.

Barrett’s road to Greater Sixty Aid is a journey of sacrifice, the husband and father of two said. He traveled around the country for 13 years evangelizing. Concerned and tired of the wear and tear on his body, Barrett said her started his own Bible study in December 2007, where he established a following that are still with him today.

In January, Barrett, together with the congregation, celebrated his acceptance of pastorship over Greater Sixty Aid.

The church is located at 655 Gardere Lane in Louisiana’s state capitol.

“Everything just flowed,” Barrett said.  “I have to attribute everything to God, He ordered my steps,” he said as he reflects on his coming to Greater Sixty Aid.

The pastor said education is an important element of ministering to people.  Make no mistake, Barrett places the same emphasis on his own education, which is why he is constantly researching and reading ensuring that he provides his congregation with good information.

“It’s important to understand what and why you believe,” he said. “Theology shapes people’s lives,” Barrett said. “Pastors are shaping how people think, and you do not want to give out bad information.”

Barrett said his preaching philosophy is to provide empowerment, encouragement, forgiveness and healing.

“Church is not a place to come to get beat down, we all need to be encouraged,” he said.

Not only is Rev. Barrett touching the lives of the members and guests of his church, he said his future plans include reaching out to the surrounding Gardere area. That is weighed down by drugs, high crime, and low-income families.

Barrett also has a passion for helping children. Greater Sixty Aid has recruited personnel to organize Boy and Girl Scout troops. They have also brought in an instructor for liturgical dance, he said. Moreover, two computers have been donated in effort to develop a small lab.

Currently lending a much-needed hand to the surrounding community is the Food Bank Program that is run by the church. The ministry issues multiple boxes of food and
toiletries to qualifying low-income families.

“The Christian walk and salvation is not just an experience of God, it’s a sense of renewed commitment to live a better life in truth, to share that knowledge and an appreciation for God.”

Report: Africa rises on World Watch List of worst persecutors of Christians

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ANS) – Africa, the continent of my birth, where Christianity has spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest, a new report says.

According to World Watch Monitor, the two-year-old Arab Spring has toppled autocrats across Northern Africa, but it also has energized militant Islamist movements that have killed hundreds of Christians and endanger thousands more, according to the annual World Watch List, released Tuesday.

The list, published by Open Doors International, a ministry to persecuted Christians, ranks the 50 countries it considers to be most hostile to believers during the year that ended Oct. 31. The countries on the list are home to about a quarter of the world’s 2.2 billion believers.

The story says that for the 11th straight year, North Korea tops the list, and Open Doors says it figures to stay there as long as its combination of “communist oppression” and “dictatorial paranoia” remains in place. The ministry estimates between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians live in the country, where they face arrest, torture and even execution if exposed. It is the only country where the list says “absolute persecution” reigns.

Two other African nations, Somalia and Eritrea, are included among the World Watch List top 10. In all, 18 African countries are included on the list of 50 nations. Five are ranked closer to the top than they were in 2012. Five others — Mali, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Niger — are on the list for the first time.

China fell furthest in the rankings, down 16 spots to No. 37. Its Christian population is growing faster than anywhere, and the government’s direct suppression of the Mao era has evolved into a wary watchfulness, according to Open Doors.

“There does seem to be the possibility of greater rapprochement,” said Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, director of Open Doors strategy and research, as Communist Party leaders begin to regard the church’s ability to moderate social tensions as an asset during and age of rapid economic and societal change.

Austin marketing company to help 500 Texas nonprofits with web hosting

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Is your nonprofit in need of funds for web hosting? Fahrenheit Marketing in Austin might be able to meet the need.

Ricardo Casas, CEO of the Web design firm, recently announced his company will underwrite Web hosting for 500 charities through its FahrenHosting program.

The deadline to register for the program is Jan. 31.

“We wanted to make a small difference for a lot of organizations that serve our community. Having a website is vital for almost every charity now, but paying for Web hosting is yet another yearly expense for nonprofits that are trying to find the best use for every dollar they receive,” Casas said. “We chose to do this because we wanted to make keeping a website a little easier for nonprofit organizations that serve our state.”

Casas said if less than 500 nonprofits apply, all will receive Web hosting for a year. If more than 500 nonprofits apply, the staff will narrow the field based on the nonprofit’s need and scope.

To qualify for the program, organizations must currently have a functioning website, serve Texas in whole or in part, be a registered 501 (c) 3, and be willing to mention Fahrenheit Marketing as the Web host sponsor.

Casas said organizations can register for the FahrenHosting program by filing out the contact form at http://www.fahrenheitmarketing.com/contact-us/.

In addition, Fahrenheit Marketing is offering a $50,000 Web design grant to one lucky Austin charity. To register for the grant program for Austin-based nonprofits, visit www.fahrenheitmarketing.com/fahrengrant. The winner of the grant will be picked by the Fahrenheit staff and selection will be based on applicant need, reach and focus of the applicant, and how fun the project looks.

The FahrenHosting program won’t require nonprofit organizations to switch hosting services, but will instead pay for the hosting through whichever service the charity currently uses.

For more information on Fahrenheit Marketing, visit www.fahrenheitmarketing.com.

Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

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Special To The Pew

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Atlanta Underground Music Awards nominee, Fly Away Records, recently snagged its first Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nomination in the Best Record Label/Company of the Year category. The fifth annual Rhythm of Gospel Awards weekend event is slated for July 25-28, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I am privileged to be recognized and is thankful to the good hand of the Lord for being with me as I continue down the highways and byways of this awesome journey of sharing the gospel message through music to so many people,” said Fly Away Records president Michael Vaughn.

Leading the buzz around label in the gospel music industry community come from two new singles, “Never” and “You Know” by recording artist Appointed. “Pastor Wanda,” a native of Wharton, Texas, and current resident of Augusta, Ga., has also racked up a few gospel music award nominations of her own that include an Urban Inspirational Award, a Prayze Factor Award and a Gospel Music Channel Most Powerful Voices Top Ten Finalist spot.

In addition, Vaughn said Fly Away is now accepting submission from independent recording artist with a Christ-centered message for its compilation project titled “Independents,” Volume II, Guaranteed Hot, the sequel to “Independents,” Certified Hot that was well received several years back and reviewed by GospelFlava along with other online gospel music sites.

For more information about Fly Away Records, please visit www.flyawayrecords.info.