Monthly Archives: July 2016

God at work: When community comes together, great things happen

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Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series on a collaboration that benefits one north Texas city.

By Lisa V. Cone
Special to Inside The Pew

Do you believe that giving is contagious? A group of McKinney, Texas, business owners and community leadersThe Word Church Repairs certainly do. Their generosity and charitable spirit not only helped people, but their giving has spurred a ripple effect of generosity across the community.

It all began with a small church that hosts worship services from an old building on the east side of McKinney — an area impacted by economic hardships and poverty. Many of the area’s residents struggle to find jobs and provide the basic necessities for their families. In the middle of so much darkness, The Word Church has been a source of hope, restoration, and light. Men, women and families come to the church not only to worship, but to receive a warm meal, clothes and even a place to sleep. In addition, the church offers job training programs, money management skills, counseling, job referrals and other resources to help those who need guidance and a hand-up.

“The goal for this church is to create a place where people in need can heal, be restored and connect with their families, their community, and, most importantly, with God. Our church hosts worship services and Bible study groups, but we want to be even more to those in need. A house on the adjacent lot provides transitional housing for single mothers and the working poor who are trying to make ends meet. We want to be a resource for the community while sharing the love of Christ,” explained The Word Church Pastor, Robert Dyson.

And even as their building was falling down around them, The Word Church was steadfast to heal and restore those in the community from the inside out. But to provide even more resources, the church building and house were in desperate need of repairs that were beyond what the congregation could provide on its own.

A Community United

Enter the C12 Group of Collin/Denton, a peer advisory forum for Christian CEOs and owners committed to building great businesses for a greater purpose. C12 members focus on critical business topics to strengthen their businesses while finding ways to honor God through ministry. This network of men and women who all own or lead a business in the area became aware of The Word Church eighteen months ago. The church’s needs were apparent. C12 members decided that applying their skills, time and energy was a way to bless their local community — and the outcome is beyond what anyone could have imagined.

C12 member, Sam Cuccia who owns a telecommunications consulting company, is one of the nearly dozen C12 members who have been part of the team helping The Word Church. From his perspective, it all started with a prompting from God. Cuccia recalls hearing a sermon at his church, Christ Fellowship Church, when Pastor Bruce Miller (also a C12 member) shared stories and a video clip documenting the poverty and heartache in McKinney’s east side.

“McKinney, Texas was named the best place to live in America by Money magazine. But if you travel to the east side, it is a different story. How can this be happening in my city and I don’t even know it? It shook me,” explained Cuccia. “After witnessing photos of poverty and loss, I wanted to do something, but I just wasn’t sure what to do. Perhaps this was the vision from God I was supposed to follow.” And so he did.

Brokenness Repaired

After speaking with his church, Cuccia was advised to meet with 3e McKinney, a ministry that brings care, hope andThe Word Church Stands Strong transformation to the city through the collaborative efforts of many churches. He learned about The Word Church and how Dyson wanted to make a difference to the east side. Cuccia soon discovered how this church was providing worship and support services to residents, but was having a difficult time operating out of their aging, dilapidated building.

“That’s when I asked fellow C12 member, Russell Polk, who owns a construction and remodeling company to come with me to meet with leaders of The Word Church,” Cuccia explained. The critical needs and opportunities were immediately clear. With a passion in their hearts to help, Polk and Cuccia discussed the opportunity to assist the church with all the C12 Groups in Collin and Denton counties. Many other members felt the same tug on their hearts and asked how they could help.

C12 members went to the church to meet with Dyson and his leaders. He immediately witnessed the power of giving through the C12 Group and calls them the catalyst for change.

“These men and women are busy running their own businesses but, they so selflessly donate their time, financial contributions and talents with repairing the building,” Dyson said. “They are hands on, in the trenches getting it done, working side by side, all while relationships are being created and strengthened.

“Giving, honoring God and blessing others through time and talents is exactly what these men and women are doing. We have a building that was falling apart, but this building is a source of guidance and healing for our community. If we can restore this building, then we can restore more people.”

And the Project Began….

Find out the details of the project, how the community got involved and the outcome of dozens of charitable hearts in part two.

Photo cutlines (courtesy of Lisa V. Cone):

Top: Volunteers renovate The Word Church in McKinney, Texas.

Bottom: Sign attached to church shows “The Word” stands strong. 

Lisa V. Cone is a writer for The C12 Group, America’s leading roundtable for Christian CEOs and owners dedicated to building great business for a greater purpose. She resides in Austin, and provides marketing and communications strategic support for non-profits and growing businesses across the country in various industries. 

Love and how it will heal Baton Rouge

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Montrell Jackson with baby

By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE – I begin this column by sending my condolences to the families of the three wounded officers and the loved ones of the three Baton Rouge peace officers who lost their lives on July 17: Montrell Jackson, 32, Matthew Gerald, 41, and Brad Garafola, 45. My city has been a place of turmoil since the shooting of Alton Sterling on July 5. However, in the midst of the turmoil, I see a Baton Rouge that is capable of making change.

After reading Montrell Jackson’s Facebook post, written on July 8, we were all confronted with a man who felt heMontrell Jackson with baby was not respected on either side of the fence. Despite all the nasty looks Jackson contented he received, he adopted the only emotion that is kind, unselfish, and perseveres: love.

It is the only thing that will help us mend a wounded Baton Rouge.

Somewhere along the way, we have become numb to the concept of respecting life. Jesus came to do away with all evil acts (1 John 3:8). Now, more than ever, is the time to adorn the façade of Christ: Stand up against the enemy. Instead of attempts to play the blame game, now is the time to pray ask for forgiveness. Remove the political and selfish agendas. Once all that is gone, we have common ground.

Remember what the Bible says about love? Ask for our Father to restore us with agape love. The greatest commandment that we love one another as He loved us (John 13:34). Ask God to restore us as a people and a nation.

When we focus on loving each other, healing begins. Speaking of agape love, we have a generation who believeGrelan Muse Sr. bloodshed is the only way to express themselves. Youth know a cold world. Mentors of youth: Let’s listen to lesser-known voices and show them positive steps toward unity and understanding while simultaneously showing discontent. I recall Martin Luther King Jr. achieving a lot without harming a soul. Young men and women have it within them, but they need role models to show the young an effective way to express their anger. Channel that anger for change that is beneficial and life-changing. The answer isn’t violence.

Solomon wrote there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-9). Now is the time, Baton Rouge, for us to plant seeds of positivity and to harvest love for all.

Photo cutlines:

Top: Slain Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson.

Right: Grelan Muse Sr.

Grelan A. Muse Sr., a Baton Rouge resident, is founder of Inside The Pew and Pew Talk Radio.

© 2016 Inside The Pew

Louisiana among 8 states to benefit from AmeriCorps, DRA partnership

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Corporation for national and community service

Special to Inside The Pew

A new partnership for national service, DeltaCorps, will help address economic and social needs of local communities in the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta region, leaders from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps.

Announced July 14, DRA and AmeriCorps plan to deploy the first group of DeltaCorps members in fall 2016 to each of the eight states of the DRA footprint: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. This deployment will coincide with a national commemoration of the one-millionth participant to serve in AmeriCorps.

This partnership, valued at $1.6 million, will deploy up to 100 AmeriCorps members to the Delta region over the next year.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PLZ54wDoDlX7cAjIze5irZH_5C6oi8Oa-M&hl=en_US

DeltaCorps: a program of AmeriCorps and the Delta Regional Authority will deploy AmeriCorps members to local organizations to help them improve economic opportunity in their communities. DeltaCorps members will serve with nonprofit organizations that have distinguished themselves as powerful catalysts for change in the Delta region. The program will utilize a diverse portfolio of models that develop stronger local economies through workforce training, health and wellness, emergency preparedness, and additional focus areas.

“Our communities in the Delta region are in need of increased capacity to their existing assets so that they can better address the numerous challenges and harness economic opportunities for Delta workers, families, and businesses. We are looking to the existing, proven model of success in AmeriCorps and investing our resources to deploy interested service members that will help these organizations create jobs, build their local communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people in the Delta region,” said Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the DRA.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

The added capacity that DeltaCorps brings to community organizations will help them expand and reach into traditionally underserved communities. As DRA recognizes the important role national and community service plays in the economic development of the Delta region, the program also elevates the culture of service and civic engagement in the Delta. Region-focused leadership training for the DeltaCorps members will develop future leaders for the Delta region while also increasing the positive impact young residents can have in supporting their local communities.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Delta Regional Authority, which shares our belief in improving economic opportunity through unique and innovative partnerships like the one we announced today,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “For more than 20 years, AmeriCorps has helped organizations meet critical needs in communities around the nation. Through the new DeltaCorps partnership, AmeriCorps members will continue to address some of the most pressing social and economic challenges facing the Mississippi River Delta Region.”

The Notice of Federal Funding Availability has been posted on both agencies’ websites at DRA.gov/DeltaCorps/ and NationalService.gov/DeltaCorps. The program is accepting applications on a rolling basis. Organizations with existing infrastructure to support the AmeriCorps program are invited to apply for DeltaCorps member slots.

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Meet the Author: Deanna Nowadnick

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deanna nowadnick

By Deanna Nowadnick
Special to Inside The Pew

Just for the record: I’m still getting used to the title, author. I never expected to write anything beyond an annual Deanna Nowadnick--Author PhotoChristmas letter. When I started Fruit of My Spirit, I thought I was going to be sharing a single story with my sons about how I met their father. Instead many stories emerged about how the fruit of God’s Spirit has been with me through the joyous, sad, cringe-worthy, heartwarming, forgettable, memorable moments in life. In Book 2: Sign in Life, you’ll learn about driving disasters. Again—my antics have been able to connect with Bigger (yes, capital B), more important lessons of God’s love and faithfulness.

Favorite Books Growing Up?

Nancy Drew! Carolyn Keene gave me my first “can’t put it down” experience in reading.

Favorite Author?

Anne Lamott. Bird by Bird still inspires me to write and to keep writing. I attended a writing workshop with her in May. I WAS SO EXCITED!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Write. Write. Write. And then write some more. Find someone you trust to offer advice and counsel. I’d like to thinkSIL front cover that a great story will just happen, but it takes work. It’s like exercise. Some days I’m stiff and tired. Some days I feel unstoppable. Every day I try to do a little more, a little better.

How have your reflections helped you to grow?

My two books are memoirs of stories. Looking back I was able to see that a loving, merciful God was with me at all times in every way. The reflections have given me confidence. I just don’t fret about the stumbles that may come.

What Bible verses inspire you?

Different verses speak to me at different times. My inspiration for Book 2 is from Psalm 25: “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Amen.

Coffee or Tea?

Grande iced mocha first thing in the morning. I shower, brush my teeth, add a dab of mascara, and head out with wet hair to my local coffee shop.

Guilty Pleasure?

Dreyer’s Slow Churned Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. They now make mini sizes. They’re the perfect evening treat.

Guilty Pleasure #2?Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Downton Abbey. Beautiful people in beautiful clothes, upstairs/downstairs intrigue, English accents in the English countryside. What could be better?

Guilty Pleasure #3?

People Magazine. I was only slightly embarrassed when I won the prize at recent bridal shower. We were given a list of celebrities and asked to name their significant other. Where are my priorities?

Hidden Talents?

I knit. I play violin. The first should not remain hidden, the second one should.

Most Annoying Habit?

I insist on telling people what to do and how to do it, whether I know or just think I know (see Book 2). Most of the time, it’s the latter. My husband has the patience of Job (who really wasn’t that patient).

Most Endearing Habit?

I tend to over tip. I was a waitress for four months after college. I will be forever grateful for the service of others. Trust me, I was not an endearing part of the restaurant’s wait staff.

Photo cutlines:

Top: Deanna Nowadnick
Center: Cover of Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels With God

Learn more about Deanna at www.deannanowadnick.com. Twitter: @deannanowadnickLinkedIn: Deanna Nowadnick, and Facebook: Deanna Nowadnick – Author/Speaker.

Prayer vigil brings solace after Dallas police shooting

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

DALLAS – Mourners of all faiths converged on Thanksgiving Square in Dallas on Friday to pray for the city and individuals directly impacted by the attack on Dallas and Dallas Area Rapid Transportation (DART) police officers. The attack, called the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since 9-11, left five officers dead and seven other officers and two civilians injured.

During his closing prayer, Bishop T.D. Jakes asked for spiritual guidance and asked for men and women to gain courage to take on other people’s burdens.

“If we agree, we can turn this nation around. Our country is laying on the edge of destruction, but just because it is on the edge doesn’t mean it has to fall over. Let that which unites us be greater than that which divides us.

“We were made from one blood. We have different skins. We have different styles. We have different philosophical ideologies, but by one blood that you made all men.”

Local and national leadership, Jakes said, should resemble the same love, compassion, and wisdom of the Almighty.

More hugs

One man in attendance wore his feelings for everyone to see. An unidentified man wore a shirt that read, “Free Hugs.” During an interview with a FOX 4 Dallas reporter, he said “This is what this city needs right now.” He wasn’t alone, as you can see from this video posted on Twitter by Kristen Hampton from WBTV in Charlotte, N.C.

Billy Graham team arrives in Dallas

ASSIST News Services reported Friday the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has been deployed to Dallas less thanBilly Graham RR 24 hours after the mass shooting.

“It’s hard to know what to say in the face of all of the violence we’ve seen in recent days. Our hearts are broken,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team in a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team news release.

“Please pray for this entire situation, stretching from Minneapolis to Baton Rouge to Dallas. We’re sending chaplains into Dallas to offer a ministry of presence to a community in crisis.”

Michael Ireland of ASSIST News contributed to this report.

Photos

Main: Crowd gathers in Thanksgiving Square in Dallas for the Interfaith Prayer Vigil on Friday. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Campos.

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