Category Archives: Pew Business

How to honor God with your money and achieve financial freedom in ’17

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harvest-for-your-life-2017

By Jeff Rogers
Special to Inside The Pew

Saving more money and getting out of debt always rank as some of the most common New Year’s resolutions. But resolutions are easy to break, especially if not backed by a strong sense of purpose. This New Year, consider what God is really wanting you to do with your finances. How did you do last year in this area? And what do you want to improve on this year, to better honor Him?

This fresh start of 2017 is a perfect time to evaluate your finances in light of God’s Word, and work towards managing them better, in the way He has called us to in scripture.

So, here are some tips to honor God with your money and achieve financial freedom in 2017. 2017 can be your best money year yet if you follow these simple, God-honoring principles.

Research what the Bible really says about debt.

One of the biggest chokeholds that Satan has on many Christians is excessive debt. Debt brings bondage, not freedom. If you have a strong understanding of how God really feels about debt, you will be more prone to avoiding it. Research scripture and spend time praying about how and why God wants you to avoid debt. As Proverbs 22:7 says “…the borrower is slave to the lender.”

Set long-term goals.

As a financial advisor for over 33 years, I’m sometimes amazed at how many individuals or couples have never setjeff-rogers-stewardship-legacy-coaching long-term financial goals. As the old saying goes “If you aim at nothing…you are sure to hit it!” God’s Word speaks wisdom in this area in Ephesians 5:15-17 (AMP) “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.”

Build liquid reserves & savings to respond to emergencies and unexpected expenses.

Many otherwise good financial plans are ruined or suffer a setback because they don’t have the liquid reserves and flexibility to respond to emergencies or unexpected expenses. We recommend setting a goal of building 3-6 months worth of your household budget in liquid reserves/savings. It will take some time, but paying off debts can free up money that can build your liquid reserves as can using things like tax refunds, bonuses, overtime pay, etc.

Spend less than you earn

As the old saying goes, “If your outgo exceeds your Income, your upkeep will be your downfall!” Nobody (the government, corporations or you and I) can spend more than what we bring in for an extended period of time without running out of money. Develop a spending plan and budget, and stick to it. You may find it is easier than you think!

Rejoice in generosity

Have you ever noticed that some of the most unhappy, bitter people are those who are stingy and who hold tightly to every dollar? Have you also noticed that many of the most joyful people in this world are generous (toward God and towards others)? In fact, I’ve heard one Christian leader say “I have never seen an unhappy…generous person!” And you know what, neither have I! As the late Larry Burkett said, “Nothing breaks the chains of materialism like generosity.” I learned a lot from Larry’s teaching and that was one of the most valuable lessons and has transformed my life. Have you allowed generosity to transform your life, your marriage, your family? If you want to break the bondage of materialism and selfishness in your children or grandchildren, read the Kingdom Assignment and do a generosity project with them; or take them to your local Rescue Mission or a third world country where they can experience real poverty and hardship. They will likely come back changed…and so will you!

Spend some time this New Year praying through what God wants for you and your family financially. By following these tips, lots of prayer and a little bit of self-discipline, 2017 can be one of your best money years yet. For more tips visit http://stewardshiplegacy.com/blog/

Photo cutline: Jeff Rogers

Jeff Rogers is founder and chairman of Stewardship Advisory Group and Stewardship Legacy Coaching.

And the community project began…

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

By Lisa V. Cone
Special to Inside The Pew

Imagine being a busy business owner or a CEO running a multi-million dollar company. Would you find the time in your busy schedule to help a church? Help a community? Help restore lives and bring light to so many in darkness.

This group of business leaders in the McKinney, Texas, area did just that by restoring the Word Church. They areFundraisers at the Word Church members of an organization called the C12 Group — a movement of Christian business executives building great businesses for an even greater purpose.

C12 member, Russell Polk, who owns a construction and remodeling company assisted in many of the assessments and construction activities needed to make the critical improvements to The Word Church building. C12 member Jim Schwalls, who owns tax and real estate companies, introduced Pastor Dyson to a banker who arranged a loan and helped negotiate a purchase price for the house. Schwalls explained, “The Word Church was leasing the building with an option to purchase. We unanimously knew purchasing the building and the home on the adjacent lot was the right option,” Schwalls shared. “This was God at work. Everything fell into place.”

The church closed on the house and building in November of 2015. In January 2016, two families moved into the house. The church remodel and restoration project is currently underway.

The Gift of Giving
“I see this spirit of giving and volunteering now spreading to other sectors of the city to include city leaders,” sharedCommunity Volunteers to Fix Home and Church on property Pastor Dyson.

Many in the community have been led to be part of a blessing that has a tremendous ripple effect. Husbands, wives, families and local residents are all coming together to work on the church and volunteering to clean the building, paint, help maintain the grounds and donate furniture for fundraisers.

“The Holy Spirit is changing our hearts. The church needed thousands of dollars in electrical repairs and improvements, but the Lord provided. A local electrician donated his time and was even able to have the parts sold to the church at a wholesale price. A new roof was required. A roofing company donated shingles. We needed appliances, they were donated. People are opening their hearts and helping in any way they feel called to help,” explained Schwalls.

C12 Group Chairman, Tom Hawes shared, “C12 members are unique in that they are business owners who make it a priority to honor God in all things. Sharing their business skills and talents, C12 members formed an advisory group to The Word Church providing strategic direction, financial insights and business guidance. Truly, their businesses are serving a greater purpose.”

Rising Up to Meet the Community Needs

Pastor Dyson believes that C12 was a God-send and knows that they would not be able to meet the needs of the community and fix the church if it wasn’t for the expertise and business acumen of this group. “They helped us with the details of financing the new building, helped us put a transitional home together for single mothers –all within a budget. In every area of this church, we have been touched by these blessings and partnership,” Dyson said.

The Word Church also helps individuals on the streets or those facing difficult times. Pastor Dyson shared the story about an east McKinney resident who is fighting cancer. She is facing enormous health care bills and since she is sick, can no longer work and pay her rent. Many individuals have donated money, food and clothes on her behalf. A C12 member created a benevolence fund within his company and has offered to donate part of the fund to help this woman pay her bills. Others are working with the insurance companies to help her get the best heath care benefits.

A Source of Light and Inspiration
“As business owners the big question we ask is how can we use our business to do what God wants us to do in our community. How can we get involved and make a difference?” Cuccia explained.

The intangible gifts are what makes this project so unique. Beyond paint, furniture and a new roof, the generosity comes in the form of volunteers creating marketing plans, organizing fundraisers and coat drives, and drafting strategic plans for The Word Church.

“The people in east McKinney do not need a hand out, they need a hand up,” said Pastor Dyson. “They need work, coaching, training, guidance and someone who truly cares.” Providing a hand-up in life and connecting them with Christ is the vision of this church and Pastor Dyson looks forward to being part of this amazing journey.

Hawes shared, “This is such an uplifting story shows how men and women of different backgrounds, vocations and circumstances can unite to serve the community together. We are honored to work with The Word Church and to remember that we all have something to contribute. When members of the community pull together for a united cause, the power and inspiration becomes unstoppable.”

Photo cutlines (photos courtesy of Lisa V. Cone):

Top: Fundraisers at the Word Church

Bottom: Group of community volunteers to fix a home and church on property

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. 

Easter a popular time to visit Israel

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By Michael Ireland
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

DALLAS – Tens of thousands of Christians are expected to visit Israel to celebrate Holy Week and Easter in theGarden of Gethesemane next two weeks and visit the very places described in the New Testament.

“There is nothing like experiencing Holy Week in Jerusalem,” according to Don Weitz, marketing and sales consultant with E.D.I. Travel Israel Tours.

“Celebrating the greatest events of salvation history and of Jesus’ life at the very sites where they occurred is a moving and unforgettable experience of faith for all believers,” he told ASSIST News Service.

“On Easter and the preceding Holy Week, Jerusalem fills will pilgrims from all over the world,” Weitz said.

“On Palm Sunday (March 20), more than 1,000 Catholic and Protestant pilgrims come streaming down the Mount of Olives singing hymns and bearing palm fronds, reenacting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. A procession takes place in the afternoon, beginning at the Bethpage Church on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives and descending into Gethsemane and ending in the Old City at the Church of St. Anne’s. Olive Trees in Garden of Gethsemane,” he said.

Weitz said that another highlight is Maundy Thursday (March 24), when the faithful commemorate the Last Supper and the washing of the apostle’s feet by Jesus and his last hours prior to his arrest in Gethsemane.

“In the afternoon, a short Catholic prayer service in several languages takes place at the Cenacle, while the Anglican, Lutheran and Protestant denominations hold a procession from St. George’s Cathedral to the Redeemer’s Church and Christ Church, ending at Gethsemane,” Weitz stated.

Weitz said that on Good Friday a procession of thousands bearing crosses and led by the Patriarch, the Custodian of the Holy Sites, and other independent groups marks the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem’s Old City to the Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

“In the evening, a burial procession is held in the Holy Sepulcher (Catholics), in the Old City churches and at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem (Protestants), where services are also held in English.”

Weitz described how, on Easter Sunday (March 27), when the faithful celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, the Latin Patriarch heads a procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for a multi-lingual reading of the Gospel of Resurrection and celebration of the Easter Masses.

He said Protestants partake in the Easter services in English at the Garden Tomb and several Protestant churches in Jerusalem.

Please see a schedule of Garden Tomb Easter events at this link www.gardentomb.com/easter-2016

Photo: Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Text Request makes communication easier between churches, nonprofits and their audiences

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Special to Inside The Pew

Text Request, a newly launched text communications company based in Chattanooga, Tenn., is making it easier for the public toText Request Logo communicate with their favorite organizations.

Text Request enables individuals to text their favorite organizations the same way they text friends and family. The company is fulfilling its mission of “connecting organizations with their customers through personal texts” by allowing the public to use standard text messaging to share and receive information from schools, local businesses, places of worship, and more.

“Text Request started as a great tool for consumers to contact their favorite businesses,” said Brian Elrod, the company’s co-founder. “However, it’s also an ideal tool for nonprofit organizations to stay in touch with their patrons and to further relationships with them.”

A Pew Research study cites that 33 percent of Americans prefer texting over all other forms of communication. This data suggests the trend will increase as text messaging continues to take over a larger percentage of everyday communication.

Text Request can be implemented anywhere from schools to hearing-  and speech-impaired institutions, to colleges, churches and other nonprofits to effectively open personable lines of communication with students, parents and members.

Organizations using the service find that phone lines are more open and incoming inquiries are handled much more efficiently. For example, parents inquiring about school events simply text a designated number to request the information instead of making a time-consuming and inefficient phone call.

The company has already helped several organizations to communicate more easily and effectively with their base.

St. Nicholas School in Chattanooga is one of the organizations using Text Request.

“Our parents love the convenience. It’s much easier and faster for them to text rather than call,” said Tammy Niel with St. Nicholas School. “With a text, parents don’t have to wait for a call to go through, then someone to answer and take a message.”

Chattanooga’s Christ United Methodist Church is another nonprofit using Text Request to stay in better communication with its congregation.

“Communicating with our parishioners and the community is one of the most difficult tasks that we face,” said Mark Flynn, senior pastor of the church. “We have so much going on, and want to make it easy for people to connect with us – to make sure that the lines of communication are always open. The reaction has been so positive from our community. Not only younger users, but people who are workforce age; everyone is texting.”

Christ United Methodist parishioners use Text Request to ask questions about what is going on in the life of the church, to send in a prayer request or notify other church leadership about hospitalizations.

There are no apps to download. Consumers simply text a standard phone number unique to each organization. Organizations can even respond in real-time to messages received through the Text Request platform.

Text Request is not a mass texting or SMS marketing tool and users will never receive unsolicited messages from Text Request nor the businesses they choose to communicate with. Additionally, other than standard text messaging rates from their cell phone provider, Text Request is completely free to consumers.

The company rolled out a beta launch in the summer of 2014 to a diverse set of initial customers within a variety of consumer segments, including hospitality, education, ministry and food service.

These beta test users and others have encouraged their customers to contact them through the Text Request platform and have reported significant growth and satisfaction since implementation.

Those interested in learning more can visit textrequest.com to see how it works for free. Scalable pricing plans are available to meet every size business.

 

Shape what your Father gave ya!: Dove Foundation gives seal of approval to exercise DVD

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Kristy McCarley is not one to question God, but she still finds it hard to believe that she – a woman with two engineering degrees and aThe Shazzy Fitness team of Vira, left, Kristy, Apollo, and Leslie sport red shoes in honor of the blood Christ shed for us. limited choreography background – has produced two well-received exercise DVD’s.

Two years ago, McCarley, founder and CEO of Shazzy Fitness, decided to create a family-friendly exercise DVD’s for the masses. In August, she reaped the benefits of sacrifice and obedience when the Dove Foundation recognized Shazzy Fitness by giving it a seal of approval.

“I wanted the music to be fun and for people to get excited about fitness,” McCarley said. “Shazzy is good for people who want to do something good for their body and for their spirit.”

The Dove Foundation described Shazzy Fitness’ Christian hip-hop dance workout videos as a “wonderful workout that not only exercises the body but the mind and soul alike.”

Furthermore, in August, the workout DVD was the top seller in the fitness category for Shazzy’s distributor, Total Fitness DVD’s.

“The fact that an independent faith-based video is leading all other secular dance fitness video sales is just incredible and so very humbling,” said the creator of the fat-burning (cardio) and dance DVD.

The invigorating choreography from Apollo, Leslie, and Vera mixed with the sounds of award-winning Christian hip-hop offerings from Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Breezy Brown, E.Dot, and Jai have won over parents and exercise enthusiasts.

“One thing moms said is that they can do it (Shazzy Fitness) with their kids,” said McCarley, who is a wife and mother of two girls. She decided to create a Shazzy Fitness to bring family-friendly exercise DVD’s to the masses.

McCarley said Shazzy is short for Daniel’s Babylonian name, Belteshazzar (Daniel 1:7).

According to the company’s website, “The Hebrew prophet, Daniel, is a model of the power of faith. Despite dire circumstances, Daniel never let fear override his commitment to God. If Daniel were alive today, his hip-hop nickname just might be … ‘Shazzy.”

McCarley, a longtime professional in IT management, was laid off from her job in late 2011. Instead of finding a job that replicates her Kristy McCarley, center, works with the guys from her production team, ECG Production, on video editing.background, she opted to take a not-too-distant memory from 10 years ago and make it a reality.

“During a ‘spin’ class, a Kirk Franklin song was played. I had never heard that type of music in an exercise class,” McCarley said. “I just enjoyed how it made me feel not just during the class but after the class. It made my soul feel good. It made difference to me; it made a lasting impression. We need more of this.”

She wanted to do a live class in the Atlanta area, but she figured it would limit visibility. At the suggestion of others, she decided to produce a DVD.

McCarley pumped up her pursuit. She did her research, found a production company – ECG Productions – and choreographers to make inspiration a reality.

Diversity in the video is important to McCarley. The video’s participants vary in age and race.

“Christian hip-hop transcends race, gender, and age” she said. “Everybody can do this; it is not just for one group of people. Plus, good music is a universal language.”

McCarley said her organization is also aggressively seeking churches, schools, dance studios, non-profits and community organizations that are interested in becoming Shazzy Fitness ambassadors – meaning they are interested in partnering with them to bring their faith-based dance classes to their communities, events, and dance studios.

A question that consistently pops into the mind of the self-professed reluctant entrepreneur is, “Lord, what are we doing?”

“This is purely a walk of faith,” McCarley said. “I remember you can do all things through Christ. There are days when I ask myself, ‘How are we gonna make it?’ The only answer is Jesus.”

Learn more about Shazzy Fitness at www.shazzyfitness.com. Also, follow Shazzy Fitness on Twitter and Facebook.

Meltzer: Those who maintain God’s goodness in business dealings go far

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David Meltzer

By David Meltzer
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: David Meltzer and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon are founders of Sports 1 Marketing. According to Meltzer, “We bring the rightDavid Meltzer people to our projects that, in turn, attract more of the right people. This elevates the awareness and exposure of the project thereby allowing us to maximize its monetization in order to make a lot of money, help a lot of people, and have a lot of fun!

“We take great pride in partnering with both outstanding individuals and exceptional corporate brands that have the same moral character and integrity that we believe in as our daily operating ethics.  We have also been involved with consulting and producing some of the most inspirational and aspirational films of our time.”

Why did you create your business?

“Warren Moon and I created Sports 1 Marketing in order to make a lot of money, help a lot of people, and have a lot of fun.”

What is the one scripture that you draw strength from?

“Psalm 107:1, ‘Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good.  For his mercy endures forever.’  This psalm teaches the importance of gratitude and the connection to God or goodness. Gratitude provides perspective and empowerment, and the concept of enduring forever shows not only how important it is to connect to God or goodness, but also maintaining that connection.  This is what my book – Connected To Goodness – is all about.”

 

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur.

“I’d like to advise a fellow entrepreneur to be kind to your future self.  In everything you do stay connected to goodness and do the right thing.  You never know who orConnected to Goodness by David Meltzer what will come back in your life to either help or hurt you. So be kind to all and everything you encounter especially your future self!”

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

“I try to devise ways in order to let my employees and interns experience the awesome power of gratitude and goodness. For instance, before the office closed for the Christmas break, I gathered everyone into the conference room per our usual Friday training session (which is based on the principles found in my book).  However, instead of a training session, I handed out small pieces of paper, instructed everyone to write down a number between 1 and 10 describing how they were feeling at that exact moment. After collecting the pieces of paper, I handed each individual in the room – employee and intern alike – $60 in cash in the form of three $20 bills. I told everyone that they had one hour to go out to any store they wanted and do the following: the first $20 was to buy a gift to place under our office tree (to be taken to the Orangewood Children’s Home), the second $20 was to be used to buy a gift for a child in the store, and the third was to be used at their leisure.”

“Upon their return, I huddled everyone back into the conference room and returned their pieces of papers to them.  I proceeded to ask them to write a number that corresponded to how they were feeling at that very moment.  Everyone in that room now reported being at a “10” …  all simply because making someone else feel good made them feel good.  These random acts of kindness connected everyone to goodness and kept them connected.  Quite simply, in the case of this Christmas experience, everyone, including myself and Warren found this to be the most fulfilling day we’ve ever experienced at the office … bar none!”

Meltzer’s book, Connected to Goodness, is available for purchase online at http://www.connectedtogoodness.com. Read more about Meltzer’s and Moon’s sports marketing company at http://sports1marketing.com.

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:

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

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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.”

 

Seeking inner peace: Agency encourages abused women to ‘know who they are in God’

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By Tera Alston
Special to Inside The Pew

One of the dark and often dirty secrets that plague our society is domestic violence. According to the National Coalition AgainstErica Hermann, CEO of Inner Peace Christian Life and Marriage Coaching Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience this type of abuse in her lifetime; a statistic that is alarming. Based on these numbers, more work is needed to help those affected by this oftentimes unseen form of violence.

Resources allocated for programs that assist individuals in need have steadily decreased over recent years however, there are still agencies that continue to see the need and continue to reach out. One such agency is Inner Peace Christian Life and Marriage Coaching, a Portsmouth, Va., agency that helps individuals deal with issues that negatively affect their lives and helps them understand God’s plan for their lives. One main focus of Inner Peace is to help women affected by domestic violence. The CEO, Erica Hermann, started the agency because she saw a serious need and realized there were limited places for abuse victims to go for assistance.

While working for years in home health, “I found myself doing more ministering when I went to visit versus anything else,” Hermann said.

Hermann said she sees her work as a ministry not just a business. God was telling her where He wanted her to be; He wanted her to go towards ministry, and she said yes.

Once launching her business, Hermann quickly began to see the layers of issues clients were dealing with. Women would come in for one issue and through coaching sessions, other issues such as childhood sexual abuse and low self esteem would be revealed. When these issues are coupled with current physical or emotional abuse, it makes the path towards healing a long road to travel for many. To help clients down this road, Hermann uses individual coaching sessions along with Bible studies that focus on the biblical truth that God loves them and the beauty God sees in women. Lessons also focus on topics such as the Proverbs 31 woman.

According to Hermann, “a large percent of the women do not know who they are in the eyes of God” and because they are in abusive relationships, many find it hard to believe God really loves them.

Another issue that Hermann helps the women deal with is the jaded view many have concerning submissiveness. This view often comes from years of misinterpreting what the bible truly means about the subject and often times this causes many Christian women to stay in abusive relationships. It may be hard for an abused woman to relearn what submissiveness truly means in biblical terms and to learn that the husband is mandated by God to love their wives as their own body (Ephesians 5:28), not to abuse them. Hermann believes the church can play an important role in helping women get over this hurdle by providing sound biblical teaching about submissiveness, providing domestic violence education to their congregations, and offer support groups.

Hermann’s prayer is that her services will help women get to a point when they are no longer in abusive relationships. To helpTera Alston women get to this point, the agency offers more than just coaching sessions. Inner Peace also provides job training/placement assistance, transportation, assistance finding shelter and other community resources. These added services can be invaluable to a woman fleeing abuse.

Inner peace says a lot about what Hermann is trying to accomplish. To her, inner peace means “to have peace; a peace that God meant for us to have” and her desire is to continue to minister to abused women so they can experience the inner peace that can only come from God.

For more information contact Inner Peace at 757-774-0388 or visit their website at www.inpcoaching.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/innerlifecoaching.

Tera Alston works as 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.

2 Sow or Not 2 Sow: Board game merges God’s word, money matters

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Players engage in 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow board game.

By Michele Lawson
Special to Inside The Pew

Shevon Sampson is the founder of Sowers Reap International and the creator/designer of the Christian based board game 2 Sow Shavon Sampsonor Not 2 Sow.

“As a Mother and a Christian I been seeking ways to teach financial responsibility using the spiritual resources I have learned over the years,” Sampson said, “because, let’s face it, whether you are an adult or a child, talking finances is never exciting.”

A business woman who is a successful insurance and retirement consultant, Sampson often saw people struggling with the delicate balance of obtaining financial success, money management, and living a charitable lifestyle according to God’s plan.  As Christian adults, Sampson believes that it’s our obligation to work morally, be financially successful, and fiscally responsible so that we can provide for our biological family, church family and community. She will tell you, “By putting my faith in God’s ability to provide and by learning God’s will for me and my family in regards to making, saving, spending and giving money, my life has changed.”

Passionate about helping others change their life when it comes to finances, Sampson believes that you are never too young to learn about finances.

“We teach our children what God’s word says about every other aspect of their life so why not tell them what God says aboutPlayers engage in 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow board game. money matters?  They see mom and dad buying groceries, gas, clothing, giving at church and giving to others.  It is important that they understand that this is God’s will in action.”

That is the principle behind the conceptualized game 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow.  An interactive board game, 2 SOW OR NOT 2 SOW takes its players on an entertaining yet educational journey filled with life lessons, teachings about decision making and consequences and spiritual challenges.

What do others think about the project?  Sampson tells us, “Through hands-on research of playing a prototype of the game with people from all walks of life, we have found this to be an excellent game and teaching tool for children, teens, and adults.  Players enjoyed earning, budgeting, spending and investing all while learning the Bible’s message about money.”

To learn more about Sampson’s 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow, visit www.sowersreap.com or follow the company on Twitter @sowersreap and Facebook.

Michele Lawson, RHIT, is a freelance writer, brand manager, and public speaker who is passionate about helping other succeed in business. Previously trained at the University of Florida, Michele taught communication skills, diversity, professionalism, and effective job searching which included resume building and interviewing skills. Michele now helps others with professional development, social media marketing, and provides one-on-one coaching.