Monthly Archives: October 2015

Vallot-Baskin: Woman. Warrior. Witness.   

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By Lori Vallot-Baskin
Special to Inside The Pew

We women prepare for the day by applying our makeup, fragrance, and clothing. We contour our faces to perfection, enhancing our God-Lori Vallot-Baskingiven beauty. We spray a fine mist of fragrance over our bodies and we adorn our frames with the right attire to complement our bold, beautiful, and bountiful curves. We take care to choose a shoe that speaks so that we do not have to. Our accessories are exquisite, leaving admirers and onlookers stunned. We spend hours on end achieving a flawless look, right? Imagine if we put this much effort into preparation for every aspect of lives.

Now that I have your attention, hello beautiful! Yes, you! Woman, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Woman, you are more than a conqueror. Being fearfully and wonderfully made and being more than a conqueror, comes with some responsibility as you might imagine. For instance, you must overcome forgetfulness. Unlike your lip-gloss or your mobile phone, your clutch, sweater or planner, there are some things that you just simply must not leave home without. We all do it, in a hurry, rush, or dash for the door; we realize we have left something important at home.

If you knew you were going into battle, wouldn’t you want the necessary tools and resources for the event? Well, there is a war going on and we, as warriors, must be equipped for battle at all times. You see, the media outlets will not show coverage of this war. You must simply be prepared for your time to battle should you be called. After all, we are revered for our strength, courage, and endurance. If you are up to the task

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:14-17)

My prayer for you, my sisters, is that you face each day boldly, that you are equipped and clothed for battle. May God bless the women warriors who stand as living witnesses attesting to the might, power, and strength of our God. I pray that God clothes you with beauty, strength and dignity and that you are always ready to conquer the day no matter the war or how formidable the opponent in your way.

I am a woman. I am a warrior. I am a witness.

Lori Vallot-Baskin, founder of On Fire to Inspire is a speaker, mentor, vocation trainer and personal brand strategist with 10 years of experience. She is dedicated to impacting and inspiring women to identify their unique and God-given gifts and talents for use in the workplace, their communities, their churches, with their families and in their personal lives by a three-point strategy: Motivate. Educate. Empower. Visit Lori’s blog and connect with her on Facebook (On Fire to Inspire), Instagram (@onfire2inspire), and Twitter (@onfiretoinspire).

Woodlawn movie: racial strife, football, faith

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By Rusty Wright
Special to ASSIST News Service (ANS Movie Review)

MOUNT HERMON, Calif. – A nation too-often tarnished by racial conflict could use an inspiring film like this.

When I learned this movie involved Tony Nathan, I perked up.  As a longtime Miami Dolphins follower, I knew of his NFL exploits.  But I Woodlawn 1was unaware of his Woodlawn High School days in Birmingham, Ala., and the poignant story of how football and faith helped bring harmony among racial enemies.

Woodlawn skillfully portrays that 1973-74 tale.  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are executive producers.

Picture Alabama on the heels of the Civil Rights era.  In his 1963 inaugural address, Alabama governor George Wallace had infamously proclaimed, “segregation now…segregation tomorrow…segregation forever.”

Three months later, in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr., had written, “…racial injustice engulfs this community.  Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States.”

Racial derision and harassment

Now, in 1973, Tony and other African American students find themselves bused to predominantly-white public schools, becoming theBear recruits Tony - ANS size

objects of derision and harassment.  Woodlawn football players who didn’t want to be teammates were thrown together.

Enter Hank a sports ministry worker who had experienced a spiritual transformation at Explo ’72, a Christian convention in Dallas that drew 80,000 people.  He was especially impressed by an evening session in the Cotton Bowl, where all attendees had small candles.

Billy Graham lit a candle, then passed the flame to another.  The flame spread until the stadium was ablaze with candlelight.  The event helped reinforce to Hank his own significance in God’s eyes.

Faith awakening

In the film, Hank (Sean Astin, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Rudy) persuades Woodlawn’s football coach Tandy Gerelds to let him speak to theHank - ANS size team.  He tells the team God can make a difference in their lives and invites them to place their faith in Jesus.  Over forty players take him up, and division gradually morphs into unity.  The team plays with fresh purpose and camaraderie.

Gerelds, a skeptic, observes this transformation and trusts Christ himself.  The real Tandy Gerelds later wrote of that decision, “The Lord came into my life…and gave me what He gave the players: love.”

Spiritual spark spreads

The spiritual spark spreads as students gather on campus for spontaneous interracial prayer for their school and city.  Players adopt the symbol and slogan of the era’s Jesus Movement – a raised forefinger signifying “One Way!”  The slogan derives from Jesus’ statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

The spark even reaches the coach and many players at Banks – a rival school – with powerful effect.  Players conditioned to hate each other become friends.  The film’s climax involves a showdown between Banks and Woodlawn, both undefeated.  The 1974 high school game drew 42,000 fans to Birmingham’s iconic Legion Field.

Football action

Football fans get plenty of gridiron action in this film.  Oscar winner Jon Voight plays legendary University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Team prayer - Web sizeBryant.  Actual game footage of Tony at Woodlawn and Alabama adds spice.  This Dolfan would have enjoyed at least one of his NFL clips.

I nominate January 2, 1982, the Orange Bowl.  Miami trails San Diego 24-10 in a playoff game.  Six seconds remain in the first half.  Dolphins’ ball on the Charger’s 40; no time outs left.  In a flash of brilliance … but, I digress.  Google “NFL films hook and lateral” (without quotation marks) to see it.

On another personal note, it’s encouraging to see Explo ’72’s ongoing impact.  I worked for the convention organizers.  My colleagues and I spent countless hours recruiting university students to attend.  Maybe Woodlawn can fan that same spiritual flame in a nation still deeply in need of racial healing.  It only takes a spark…Rusty Wright

Copyright © 2015 Rusty Wright

Photo captions: 1) Caleb Castille as prep superstar Tony Nathan. 2) John Voight as Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant recruiting Tony to ‘Bama. 3) Sean Astin as Hank, team chaplain. 4) Team pre-game prayer.

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents.  He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.

‘I got tainted’: Justin Bieber’s monumental return to Jesus

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Justin Bieber

By Mark Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – In the last few years, singer-songwriter Justin Bieber’s bad-boy antics and run-ins with the law have alienated some of his Christian fan base and even led thousands to petition the White House to have the Canadian-born star deported. But recently, the 21-year-old pop sensation has reconsidered the error of his ways and made a stunning turnaround in his relationship with Christ.

In an interview with Joe La Puma for the Oct/Nov 2015 issue of COMPLEX conducted at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel, Bieber bares his soul about the dramatic restoration of his walk with Jesus.

“I forgot what I was about, what my mom raised me to be,” Bieber confessed to COMPLEX. “I veered off, and I got tainted. I came into the music industry at 13. I was trying to trust people and they’d break my heart at 15,” he says.

Bieber became disillusioned with people who took advantage of him. In response, he started to “do his own thing.”

“I got into a little bit of trouble,” he admits, “—nothing that other 20-year-olds don’t get into—just rebelling a little bit. Now, being 21, I’m coming into my own and around some pretty cool people who are not afraid to tell me what’s real.”

He says his behavior pushed the limits. “I was doing anything. I was doing so many things that I shouldn’t even be on the planet still. I think that it (my survival) was by the grace of God.”

During his time of rebellion, he says his manager, Scooter Braun always made sure he was safe and that situations didn’t escalate out of control. Sometimes Braun’s oversight as a “fixer” worked, and other times it backfired, he told COMPLEX.

The night he spent in jail was an unforgettable experience. “It’s freezing; it’s uncomfortable; there are people in there you just don’t want to be around. I had people who were yelling at me. They were saying, “Bieber! We f___ with you, bro! We love you! Aye! Keep your head up, bro!” It was kind of funny to hear that, especially from cats in jail.”

Bieber admits some people around him wanted him to rebel.

Following his epic break-up with Selena Gomez, his heart began to soften toward God. “Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is.

“You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her,” he continued. “That’s something in life that I had to figure out. I can’t lean on people. I got to lean on God. I gotta trust in Him through all my situations. Then, hopefully, my other relationships will flourish around me.”

After his turbulent adolescence, he also began to reflect on the limits of science and his place in the universe. “For a ‘big bang; to create all this is more wild [cq] to think about than thinking about there being a God,” he told COMPLEX.

“Imagine putting a bunch of gold into a box, shaking up the box, and out comes a Rolex. It’s so preposterous once people start saying it. At this point, my faith has gotten me to where I am. My faith has brought me to a whole other level. I love talking about my faith.”

Photo captions: 1) Bieber with Selena Gomez. 2) Justin praying with friends.

Mark Ellis is senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service and also the founder of Godreports, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions.