Monthly Archives: July 2014

One pup at a time: Project2Heal changes lives of children, adults

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Charlie Petrizzo

By Charlie Petrizzo
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Project2Heal breeds and trains service dogs and companions and donate them to service organizations around theCharlie Petrizzo U.S., free of charge. The organization has sent dogs to help those in need all over the country, from children with autism to wounded warriors. According to Petrizzo, founder of the organization, the name Project2Heal reflects the fact that the greatest project ever undertaken to heal was when God sent his only son to save the world from sin. “Each of us has a project to heal and it’s only when we find the talent that God blessed us with that we will find true happiness,” Petrizzo said.

Why did you create your business?

“I faced two life-threatening injuries before turning 20. When I finished college, I married Sandy, the love of my life, and my injuries continued to bother me, both physically and emotionally.  I questioned my faith and my career as a Fortune 500 executive, and I slipped into depression. I took a leave of absence and through a period of healing, reflection and time spent with a special puppy, I started to become myself again, and I returned to the Catholic faith. I sought spiritual wealth above all and God showed me the path of service and healing from an unlikely source: puppies.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Two scriptures have played an important role in making me who I am today. First, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil 4:13) and second, ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.’ (Rev 3:15) There have been many times when I’ve looked at my injuries and asked myself, ‘Why me?’ I struggled to find faith in God and myself. Founding Project2Heal has helped me rediscover God and grow in the confidence and strength of his love. I consider myself a blessed man, and the scriptures have helped outline my path as I continue to get to know God my Father.

What the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“Use the gifts God has given you to help others. I have a gift for working with animals and using them to help people heal. That’s myproject2heal_logo Project2Heal, but we each have a Project2Heal that we can harness and share with the world. Take advantage of your talents and use them to serve God and your community. If you make mistakes along the way or lose faith in yourself, just remember that God is always looking out for you, that he loves you, desires good for you and wants to use each of us to tell others about His love.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“One of our amazing success stories involves a marine from Indianapolis named Nick Bennett. While deployed in Iraq, Nick’s unit was unfortunately struck by a rocket and he was seriously injured. Twenty-six surgeries later, Nick’s hands and legs are repaired, but the actions that used to be stress-free, such as tying his son’s shoes or attending a baseball game with his family, incited much fear and anxiety due to Nick’s PTSD. We bred a dog named Festus to help Nick, and Festus received additional training from the Indiana Canine Assistance Network (ICAN). With the help of Festus, Nick is now able to be the father that he always wanted to be.”

Learn more about Project2Heal online: http://www.project2heal.org/. Nominate for nonprofit spotlights via email at pewnews@aol.com

 

Paths of purpose: Boys to Men mentors young men of color

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By Tera Alston
Special to Inside The Pew

On a daily basis there are thousands of young men of color entering into the prison pipeline. In some cities across our country it

Terrence Alston

has even become an epidemic. Young men of color are being incarcerated in alarming numbers with some studies showing more young men of color being incarcerated every year than graduate from high school.

The million dollar question is: What can be done about this ever-growing epidemic?  There is no quick and easy solution. We are dealing with a complex issue that will require an all hands on deck solution if we truly want to make any type of positive and lasting impact.

Over the years there have been programs instituted to assist young men who appear to be heading down the wrong path. Training programs such as pro-social skills and violence prevention have been instituted in schools and community-based programs. However, it can’t stop there. Additional methods are needed to help rescue the growing number of boys and young men of color entering the prison system.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

A great place to look for these solutions is to research ideas that have proven to work and change lives. One of those solutions is mentoring. There are many studies which show young people who have mentors are more successful throughout their lifetime.

Although 1:1 mentoring is most commonly known, there are other forms of mentoring that can also be used. For example, group mentoring can be used to provide a safe environment for participants to discuss issues with their peers and their adult mentors.

There is one group in Chesapeake, Va., that utilizes this approach to help boys and young men turn away from the path to prison towards paths of purpose.

Boys to Men is a Christian-based ministry at Union Bethel Baptist Church. The ministry reaches out to boys and young men, encircling them literally and figuratively by older men in the church. The organizers also encourage fathers to participate in this circle of mentors. According to Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, there is a “…need for black boys to be surrounded by older, black role models.” Boys to Men has done just that by providing a circle of role models to mentor not only boys of color but any boy or young man in need of a positive role model.

The mission of Boys to Men is simple says Terrence Alston, one of the group’s leaders: “our mission is to mentor and mold young boys and young men…to encourage unity; teach respect for oneself and others, and most of all…to teach young boys and young men to be strong upstanding men in the eyes of God and in their communities”.

Alston is a proponent of mentoring and a supporter of reaching out to young men who are at risk and are on the threshold of the prison pipeline.

The ministry was started in early 2000 by the late Pastor Calvin White. Pastor White tasked the church deacons to become involved up close and personal in the lives of boys in the community. According to Alston, “he wanted us to be their role models instead of rappers and athletes; he tasked us to teach them how to be men.”

As a collective group, the boys and men discuss topics such as anger management, peer pressure, the dangers of drugs, bullying, success in the classroom, their future, dressing for success, and how to explore their feelings. Part of the group’s focus is also based on biblical principles, which is highlighted in their pledge which the boys recite at the beginning of each group. Part of the pledge reads, “I will live my life based on God’s word…Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You” Psalm 119:11 (NKJV).

The outcomes are proving that the group’s approach is working. This year, several participants graduated from high school and college and one entered the military. This helps to show that what we see and hear on TV is not true about all boys and men of color. They can succeed and are succeeding towards paths of purpose.

For more information about this ministry, contact Union Bethel Baptist Church at 757-488-3117 or email Terrence Alston atTera Alston mccann1983.ta@gmail.com.

Tera Alston is a women’s ministry leader and human resources professional in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.  She also partners with her husband to assist at-risk youth and their families.  She has a BSBA from Old Dominion University and an MBA from Saint Leo University.

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Rutherford: Three spiritual lessons from the Tour de France

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By Dudley Rutherford
Special to Inside The Pew

If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would one day ride 60 to 70 miles on a road bicycle for fun, I don’t think I wouldDudley Rutherford have believed you. But years of playing basketball and golf had finally caught up to me, causing major damage to the meniscus cartilage in my knee. I could hardly walk after playing in a game—that’s how bad it had gotten. Then a good friend of mine recommended that I try cycling as a way to stay in shape and maintain the competitiveness I love about sports, but with less strain on my knees. So I joined the cycling ministry at Shepherd Church, the congregation I pastor in Los Angeles, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Now that I’m an avid cyclist, the Tour de France takes on a whole new meaning for me. I’ve always admired the strength and endurance of the athletes who compete, but now I have a deeper understanding of the passion and intensity of the sport. Of course, I would never be able to race at the speed of the professionals, but as I was writing my latest book, Walls Fall Down, about the seven-day victory God gave the Israelites over Jericho, I got to thinking about what believers can learn from the Tour de France to obtain victory in our spiritual walks.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul actually compares the Christian life to race in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Here are three biblical lessons we glean from the Tour de France on how to be victorious whether we are facing a personal battle or striving to accomplish something extraordinary:

Race with purpose: Every cyclist in the Tour de France has one goal: to win (or help his team leader win) the race. These athletes do not put themselves through months of painful training for the purpose of taking a leisurely bike ride in Europe or aiming to come in 57th place. No, their mission is to be the best. Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali proved his dominance in cycling to the world on July 27  by winning the annual race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul writes, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? RunVincento Nibali in such a way as to get the prize. “From the moment you decide to become a Christian—from the very second you put your faith in Jesus Christ—your race begins. And it’s not sprint; it’s a marathon. It’s a lifetime journey that takes commitment and perseverance. It ends when you die, or when Jesus returns in glory (Matthew 24:30). Until that day comes, your purpose in life as a believer is to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-39) and to make disciples as Jesus did (Matthew 28:19-20).

Practice self-discipline: Can you imagine the extreme physical training and the strict dietary regimen that would be required to prepare one’s body to cycle across the nearly 2300 miles of terrain for the Tour de France? How many people would be willing to sacrifice time, energy, junk food, and hobbies in order to dedicate his or her entire life to a sport?

Paul writes, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). The apostle ran the Christian race with purpose and was intentional about rejecting worldly, temporal vices so that he would not be disqualified from the ultimate prize of eternal life.

As I wrote my book Walls Fall Down: 7 Days Steps from the Battle of Jericho to Overcome Any Challenge, the Lance Armstrong doping scandal had erupted in the media. After convicting him of using performance-enhancing drugs, the US Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from cycling. Armstrong later stated that he broke the rules because of the culture of drugs in cycling—that by using performance-enhancing drugs, he was simply operating on a “level playing field.”

In sports and in the Christian life, there are no shortcuts. We will not be victorious by impure means or by trying to fit in with the culture. We simply must follow the guidelines God has set forth in His Word, the Bible, and win the race the good old-fashioned way: with integrity, commitment, faith, and self-discipline.

Focus on the eternal rewards: Every cyclist in the Tour de France dreams of getting to wear that iconic yellow jersey—the coveted prize awarded to the champion. In many other sports, the winner receives a trophy. In the Olympics, it’s a gold medal. In the Apostle Paul’s time, it was a crown, which was just a wreath made of wild olive leaves. He writes, “They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (v. 25). Paul is pointing out that, in any competition, the culmination of all the hard work, sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears produces a winner, and that winner receives something that will not last forever. However, when we run the Christian race and keep our faith in Jesus through life’s various trials, we will receive the crown of eternal life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10). We will spend an eternity with our Father in Heaven where there will be no sorrow, pain, death, or disease (Revelation 21:4).

God has wonderful things prepared for those who love Him! The Tour de France is an incredible event showcasing some of the greatest athletes in the world. But the Christian race has far greater implications. So run your race with purpose. Don’t be distracted or led astray by the things of this world. And keep your eyes fixed on the prize: the crown of eternal life. No other prize is better. No other victory is sweeter.

Dudley Rutherford is the author of Walls Fall Down and the senior pastor of the 10,000-member Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch (Los Angeles), California. You can connect with Dudley on Twitter @pastordudley. Visit www.WallsFallDownBook.com for more information.

Through crowdfunding, WeRaise equips nonprofits to serve communities

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By Abigail Miller
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s Note: Abigail Miller is manager of crowdfunding and social media at Wheat Ridge Ministries. WeRaise is a Christian crowdfunding site, hosted by Wheat RidgeWeRaise_Homepage Ministries. Wheat Ridge provides start-up funding and resources to new health and human care ministries around the world. Christian organizations use WeRaise to share their ministry project details, spread the word, and raise funds – all online!

Why did you create your business?

“We built WeRaise as a tool for inspired Christian leaders to raise funds and support for their ministry ideas. Our long term vision is to provide additional grant funding to innovative projects launched with WeRaise that are positioned to scale, replicate, or expand. We want WeRaise to be a tool, which is why, unlike many crowdfunding sites, we don’t take any portion of the funds raised. Our hope is that WeRaise allows leaders to be innovative, creative, and intentional when it comes to addressing the needs in their community.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“One verse that captures the essence of WeRaise is 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” We know that each community is different – the leaders, the people, and the needs. It is encouraging and inspiring to see the brilliant, selfless ways people use the gifts they’ve received from God to serve those around them. Crowdfunding uses the gifts of the whole community – from donors and their financial resources, to project teams and their social networks, to organizations who give energy and commitment, to Wheat Ridge staff members who help the process run smoothly. WeRaise equips people of all ages to put 1 Peter 4:10 into action.”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“Seek counsel and support! When we work with WeRaise project leaders, this is one of our key pieces of advice. Crowdfunding is a group effort – not just in fundraising, Crowdfundingbut in planning as well. As projects are created, we encourage the leaders to establish a prayerful, committed team to work through the entire process together. Together you can seek God’s will, encourage one another, and hold each other accountable.

“Another piece of advice is to be confident in what God is calling you to do! If it is on your heart, it might be time to take a step out in faith. We have seen many successful ministries come out of a small nudge that someone heeded. God can do big, life-changing things through just about anything – no matter how small, insurmountable, or just plain crazy it may seem to you right now.

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“WeRaise currently boasts a higher project success rate and higher average donation rate than the industry average. We think this is due to the nature of the crowdfunded projects. The passion behind the projects is inspiring, and donors are eager to give to leaders who bring health and hope in the name of Christ.

As an organization, Wheat Ridge has had the honor of seeding many ideas that have grown to become amazing ministries. A few organizations that began with funding from Wheat Ridge include:

Bradshaw: That’s just wrong!

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Sherry Bradshaw

By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

I don’t think you can go through life without at some point feeling wronged or be wronged by someone. I wish it weren’t true. But in the Back 9, I can say from experience, if you have lived long enough, you will unfortunately feel that way at some point. Depending on the wrong, the hurt can be mild or it can be severe and devastating. The only way I have found to truly get to a place of healing and comfort is in “running” to God, not only running there but camping there.

Only God knows the whole picture, the motives of my/your heart and the motives of the other party. He does have the “helicopter” view and He has everyone’s greaterSherry Bradshaw good in His heart. One of the main responses to hurt is anger and bitterness. It is only in going to a “loving” God that we can find the nourishing help we need to appropriately deal with the pain.

Even when our children were young, I would see human nature (our sin nature) reveal itself when one would hurt the other one–anger, tears, and, at times, “revenge” would be the quickest course of action they would take. I didn’t have to teach them this…Revenge was the direct, almost instant response. In adults…it can be the same way except maturity has molded revenge into a plan of action that is just more crafted and not as obvious.

Revenge is the last thing that God would want us to take into our own hands. Proverbs 20: 22, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” I love this scripture and can honestly say for 100% sure that I have lived and experienced God’s delivery.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Wait is a key word here. Seems simple, but running to God enables you to be delivered from the natural tendency to seek “revenge!” The key is taking a step back, taking a “hard right” and seeking a Holy God! There is much to say in God’s Word about how we should respond when we are wronged.

I love the book of Proverbs. It is full of direction and wisdom in how to live an obedient and prosperous life in Christ. For instance, when you’ve been wronged and you choose to turn around and seek revenge, take a look at what scripture teaches about that choice. Proverbs 26:4, “Do no answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” Or, with regard to evoking the “wait on the Lord” scripture, look at Proverbs 25:28, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lack self-control.”

One of the hardest, yet most rewarding, scriptures I have ever chosen to live is Proverbs 25:21, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”

The KEY is seeking the Lord’s approval and rewards and not my/your own selfish desires. God’s way is 100% the best way always. It may not make human sense. I have obeyed at times and trusted that the way I “feel” will change, trusting God with that also. It is amazing, now that I have lived many years that I can truly say that He has and will bring my feelings along!

Sometimes we have to realize obedience to His Word comes before we start to have the “right feelings!” If I had waited to feel like it, it makes me shudder to think where I might be. In fact, I had to learn this lesson through disobedience. Yep…sitting and harboring and “thinking of several ways I could get even or ahead” took me further away from God. It hindered everything about my day and robbed me of the “peace and joy” that Christ desires for us to live.

Revenge, bitterness, and even thoughts of getting even only “tear our city walls down!” Christ created us in His image…He knows what is the very best for us. His desire is for us to lay our hurts at His feet. He promises to bind, heal and, yes, even take care of the “wounders!”

Sherry Bradshaw is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.

 

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Allow God to direct all business efforts; how can you go wrong?

Published by:

John Crawford

By John Crawford
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Contrax Furnishings provides turn-key furnishing and equipment solutions for educational environments.

Why did you create your business?

“Not too long after graduating college with an engineering degree, my business partner and I purchased our business through aJohn Crawfordc leveraged buyout. To be honest, I had neither history, nor particular affection for the industry in which we had entered. I had been one of only a small number over the last few generations of my family that actually graduated college. Most were businessmen of one sort or another and perhaps that is in part why I was so restless three months into my new ‘career’ as an engineer.

“I had been searching for a number of business opportunities during that time and in God’s grace came across an opportunity that was too good to pass up. Although I am sure it was of some benefit, I promptly put aside my previous few years of university training and jumped into the deep end you might say of the pool of business. It was something akin to boarding a fast-moving train and then working hard to keep it on the tracks. Thankfully, it has stayed on over the years and I have been able to learn, grow and have some fun in the process.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal” (John 6:27). Although the full context of this passage is richer than just a simple application to business, I have always treasured it as a word from God to direct all of my efforts. In the end, whatever I am doing must contribute ultimately to building God’s Kingdom. All other ambitions will produce fruit that may taste good now, but in the end will perish.”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“The business world is changing quickly and competition has increased exponentially. Although it may be different than myreal_stamp_proof experience, I think it is essential to get involved in a business that you 1) are passionate about and 2) one that can harness God-given talents or previous experience. If someone is more passionate than you about your business then chances are their passion will translate into harder work and creative thinking on their part. This is an ‘edge’ in business against which it is difficult to compete. Find your own edge and make your contribution where you are most likely to succeed.

“I would also highly recommend a good business partner or at the very least, an advisory board that can be helpful in challenging you in order to make you better. We all need the “iron that sharpens iron.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“I have been blessed to experience business on a number of levels. Our current business has grown from just a handful of people in a limited market to a large number spread out throughout twenty states and across a national market. It has been a fun and challenging ride. During that same time I have sought outlets through which to contribute that actually exceed my passion for business. In recent years it has resulted in a book that was published and a website on which I blog regularly, www.CovenantalDivide.com.”

 

Mother on death row for marrying Christian says baby daughter is fine

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Meriam Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and baby Maya are pictured inside the US embassy in Khartoum where Meriam is waiting to hear when she can leave Sudan.

By Jeremy Reynalds
ASSIST News Service

KHARTOUM, SUDAN (ANS) – The Christian mother put on death row for refusing to become a Muslim has revealed that herMeriam Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and baby Maya are pictured inside the US embassy in Khartoum where Meriam is waiting to hear when she can leave Sudan. baby girl has not been damaged after she gave birth whilst shackled to the floor.

According to a report by Antonella Napoli for a MailOnline story, Meriam Ibrahim said that 2-month-old Maya will undergo an ultrasound in the coming weeks to confirm that she will be able to walk.

It had been feared that, like her father Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen who has muscular dystrophy, she could be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

MailOnline said Ibrahim, 27, spoke to Italian journalist and activist Antonella Napoli who visited her and her family in the library of the US embassy in the capital Khartoum which has become their makeshift home while they wait to leave Sudan.

Four camp beds have been put down in the floor and the family are being attended to by embassy staff in the cramped building.

Writing exclusively for MailOnline, MailOnline reported that Napoli said Ibrahim and Wani wanted to thank the public for all their support which played a huge part in getting her out of jail.

Napoli wrote, “Meriam knows that her and her family will be safe only when they will be very far from away from Sudan.”

MailOnline said Napoli is one of the few journalists to speak to Ibrahim in person since she was freed on June 30 after spending eight months behind bars in a women’s prison in Khartoum.

Ibrahim had been sentenced to death and 100 lashes for apostasy and adultery for marrying Wani, as they are both Christian and a court wanted her to convert to Islam.

During her time in jail Ibrahim gave birth to Maya. Her son Martin, 21 months, was with her during the entire ordeal.