Category Archives: Sports

Raiders QB Derek Carr grew up in church, but rebelled until God’s love drew him back

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr

By Mark Ellis
Special to Inside The Pew

At only 11-years-old he was throwing 50-yard passes with his older brother David Carr, then a rookie NFLOakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr quarterback. Raised in a godly Christian home, younger brother Derek sowed his share of wild oats until the love of Jesus expressed through a woman drew his heart back to God.

“I grew up in this church and I knew who Christ was and I knew who God was and I loved him,” Derek shared in his home church in Fresno, Calif., in 2015.

But even though Derek prayed to God and knew who He was, he didn’t fully give his life to Christ and follow Him until later.

“I grew up loving football, basketball, and baseball,” he recounted. “My dad went to all my games and if he couldn’t be at a game, he would call me on the phone and pray for me. He was always there for me. My mom was always there to pray for me and talk to me. My family life was awesome. I had parents who loved me.”

His father taught him about discipline and order by using a ball box in the garage. “He wanted everything put back in that box a certain exact way. It was his house and that was how he wanted it done and I respected him,” Carr said.

The family lived in Bakersfield, Calif., before they moved to Texas in 2002 when David became the first draft pick of the Houston Texans. Derek and his family moved back to Bakersfield for his senior year, where he attended Bakersfield Christian High School.

Derek admits he made some bad choices in high school. “I was smoking weed, having sex.

I wish I didn’t do those things. I was out partying, staying out late.”

Still, he maintained a façade around his parents. “I was a different kid on Sunday than I was on Friday and Saturday night.

“I would still tell people about Jesus because I believed in Him and knew it was the truth, but I would go do these things and say, ‘Father, forgive me.’ That’s a scary way to live.”

Derek Carr’s Testimony

In three years playing as a high school quarterback in Texas and California, he passed for nearly 7,000 yards. The recruitment letters began to flow in from USC, Cal, Notre Dame, and Miami. “Stanford recruited me until they got my transcripts,” he joked.

Before Derek’s grandfather passed away he went to visit him at the hospital. While his grandfather was too weak to speak to him, the dying man wrote Jeremiah 29:11 on a board:

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Deeply touched by the encounter, Derek later got the verse tattooed on his wrist.

After he enrolled at Fresno State, he competed for the starting job as a freshman. “God knew I wasn’t ready to handle that. If He was to give me all those things when my life wasn’t right yet, oh my goodness, I wouldn’t be here, you would be praying for me,” he confessed.

He was still deeply enmeshed in the party lifestyle. “There are things I don’t want to remember. I was so selfish and hurt other people. My heart wasn’t right. I wanted what I wanted. I wanted to please myself. I was thinking I was living the life.

“The life I was living was leading me down a road to destruction and death. That’s where I was headed,” he said.

But one day God used a beautiful young woman, Heather Neel, to get his attention. They met at BJ’s Brewhouse, where she worked as a server. “I hit on her. I talked to her. I used a corny pickup line and it worked. She told me I needed to come to church with her.”

Derek knew he should be going to church but never found the time.

Heather began to pray for Derek to come back to the Lord. “One day we got in an argument over something. I won the argument and then she grabbed my hand and started praying for me.”

She followed up the prayer with a 10-page letter. One line in the letter stuck in his gut: “you’re not the person I thought you were.”

As Derek pondered the implications of her letter, the Holy Spirit began to pierce his heart and he began weeping. “I was this mean, tough, football player and I was bawling his eyes out, alone, in my bedroom, in the house I shared with my buddies,” he recounted.

He knew the time had come for him to get right with Jesus. Derek recognized that nothing could fill the void in his heart except the love of Christ. He dropped to his knees in surrender and began to pray.

“My life is yours. Forgive me of my sins; forgive me of the sins I don’t even know I committed. My heart is yours. Take it and do what you want with it. No matter what you tell me to do the answer is yes. I’ve been sitting on the fence long enough. I don’t want to do that anymore.”

“That is the day my life changed and I said no to sin.” He married Heather in 2012 and they have two sons.

During his three years as a starter at Fresno State, Derek threw for 12,843 passing yards and 113 touchdowns. InDerek Carr stretches before NFL game in 2015. 2013, Carr won the Sammy Baugh Trophy, which is awarded annually to the country’s top college QB. He finished in 8th place in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Drafted by the Oakland Raiders, Carr had 53 career touchdown passes, the second most by a quarterback in his first two seasons. He replaced Aaron Rodgers in the 2016 Pro Bowl.

He gives glory to God for transforming his life. “Don’t make the stupid choices I did and search for the things this world tells you is right,” he said.

“Give Jesus true Lordship and control over your life. Say you are God and I’m going to live for you. The greatest decision I ever made is to give him Lordship over my life.”

Photo cutlines:

Top: Derek Carr

Center: Derek Carr, right, with his wife, Heather, with one of their two sons.

Lower: Derek Carr stretches during pre-game warm-up.

SAGU Lions use soccer to spread love throughout Brazil

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By Natalie Tristan
Special to Inside The Pew

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It’s safe to say that Rio will be the most famous city in the world for the next twoBrazilPhoto1 weeks. Hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to Rio for the 2016 game to watch the world’s best athletes compete. Six members of the Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) men’s soccer team will also be in Rio. However, they will be there to minister to the local communities surrounding the Games.

Juan Herrera, Juan Ramon Cardenas, Mike Havdra, Felipe Melo, Renato Martin and head coach Clem Oancea are helping throughout impoverished areas of Brazil, as well as partnering with Street Child United who is working to bring hope and love to the homeless children of Rio.

The SAGU team arrived in Brazil on July 26 and they were quick to get down to business.  The first favela (Brazilian shanty town) they visited is called “Vaquemquer,” which means “go if you want to.”

“As you can see from the name it is a very scary place,” explains Coach Oancea, “The locals and young boys have been telling us that it is a dying favela and it has been called ‘go if you want to and leave if you can,’ but the Lord has been reaching souls not only on the soccer fields but also in the street evangelism.”

SAGU’s main objective for Brazil is to spread the love of Jesus through the game of soccer. Early in the mission’s trip, the boys experienced a heartbreaking day that would be a lasting memory. The team visited with a Brazilian girls’ soccer team that had lost one of their teammates in a motorcycle accident earlier in the day. They spent time talking with the girls and gave them soccer balls. Given the circumstances they decided not to play a game. However, after the boys shared their testimonies, the girls changed their minds and challenged the boys to a game.

That small match is just one of the many visits Coach Oancea will never forget, “Our boys have been touched by the
Lord in so many ways. The up and coming players coming from Brazil said to us, ‘coach you came to Brazil to show us a Brazil that we never knew.’ I’m so humbled by the lives changed, and not just the locals but ours as well.”

Captain Juan Herrera is quick to agree with Oancea, “I will not see life the same way ever again.  This experience is incredible and indescribable! We often say we shouldn’t take life for granted, but being here has made us realize that having a pair of shoes is a true blessing.”

In addition to teaching soccer to the street children, SAGU team members are organizing evangelistic meetings at soccer events, holding leadership seminars to help empower the local churches in serving their own communities. They will also visit and serve families through repairing homes and giving food packages, as well as praying with them.

According to UNICEF, estimates suggest that 30 children and adolescents are murdered daily in Brazil.  More than one in three adolescent deaths in the country is a result of murder, compared to one in 20 deaths among the total population. During a major sporting event, children are at an even higher risk of atrocities including murder, sexual abuse and child labour.

While partnering with Street Child United for parts of their trip, SAGU will be committed to making a difference forBrazilPhoto3 the children of Brazil who literally call the streets home. Street Child United uses the power and popularity of sports to provide a global platform for street children to be heard and seen- on a level playing field.

There is no doubt that Brazil will be bustling with people this August. Despite the dignitaries and famous athletes, SAGU’s Juan Ramón Cárdenas is humbled to serve the street children, “There is so much this great country has to offer the rest of the world. I am overwhelmed by the people’s passion to live life to the fullest every day. Their hospitality towards visitors, deep national identity, and their fervent longing to please the one and only true God is undoubtedly contagious. It is my sincere desire to take and share those Brazilian qualities’ with my brothers & sisters back in the USA.”

The SAGU six will arrive back to campus on Aug. 10.  They will immediately jump into preseason training.  The Lions first official game is Aug. 22 against Paul Quinn College.

Photo cutline

Six members of the Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 31st Olympiad. (Photos courtesy of Natalie Tristan)

Watch Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

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WATCH NOW


Quality: HD
Title : Fifty Shades Darker
Director : James Foley.
Release : 2017-02-08
Language : English
Runtime : 118 min.
Genre : Drama, Romance.
Synopsis :

Movie Fifty Shades Darker was released in February 8, 2017 in genre Drama. James Foley was directed this movie and starring by Dakota Johnson. This movie tell story about When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.

WATCH NOW

Belles: Super Bowl sex trafficking is not a myth

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Now that Super Bowl 50 is history, one organization continues its call for more awareness on sex trafficking that occurs during the annual game and other large events.Nita Belles

Nita Belles, founder of In Our Backyard, recently took her fight for victims to San Francisco, taking issue with journalists and supporters of the sex industry who called increased sex trafficking during gatherings of this sort as an urban myth.

“An urban myth? Are they serious?” questions the human trafficking expert. “There is no myth about it.

“Traffickers smell the money present at the Super Bowl celebrations and bring their victims here to exploit them and take the money. We are not talking about voluntary prostitution,” said Belles, author of a book that bears the same title of her organization. “The fact is that adults and children are being forced into sex trafficking. Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing crime in the world—and that includes the United States. It is happening 365 days a year in every ZIP code. Trafficking, and even the recruitment of new victims, absolutely escalates around large events that draw big crowds like this week’s Super Bowl.”

Belles lead a team of professionals who worked non-stop to ensure that those who are being trafficked have a fighting chance at freedom and that the sex buyers and traffickers will be brought to justice.

“There’s a saying that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world,” Belles said. “But it’s the oldest abuse in the world. Here is my request to the media: Don’t be quiet. Don’t fall prey to the lie that human trafficking is not increasing.  All the traffickers ask is that we keep quiet and perpetuate the myth that it doesn’t happen here. I ask for the media’s help in making it hard to be a trafficker.”

A 2014 study by the University of Arizona about increased sex trafficking during large events stated that “The Super Bowl, or any large event which provides a significant concentration of people in a relatively confined urban area, becomes a desirable location for a trafficker to bring their victims for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.”

After last year’s Super Bowl in Arizona, the FBI announced that Arizona police departments and law enforcement officers conducted recovery operations for six months leading up to the Super Bowl, where agencies recovered numerous juvenile victims, ranging in age from 13 to 17, as well as adult victims who had been subjected to physical abuse by their traffickers.

Overall through their efforts arrests included 360 customers of commercial sex, 68 traffickers and the recovery of 30 juvenile victims.  Belles said that in 2014, 45 arrests were made around the New Jersey Super Bowl, with 16 juveniles recovered.  In New Orleans the year before, 85 arrests made and five victims recovered.

“Any time you have a large number of people gathering in one place with a party atmosphere—especially males, it’s prime ground for sex trafficking,” Belles said. “I know of animals who are treated with more respect than those who are trafficked. They are forced into horrendous acts that we don’t even want to imagine. Prostitutes are usually victims,” she says, “and ‘john’ is too nice a word for someone who should be called a ‘sex buyer.’ She adds, “Those who are being trafficked are precious children of God and deserve to live free of modern slavery. That is why I do what I do.”

Belles explains that escape is difficult because victims are closely watched and often traumatically bonded to their captors. Those that are rescued are hoping that they can get the help needed to find a new, safe, happy life.  Sex trafficking victims, particularly minors, have a tough road in front of them, even under the best circumstances. They need trauma-based treatment, kindness, understanding, a stable and non-threatening environment, and lots of time.

“Many will need professional counseling and medical or mental health services to recover from the atrocities that have happened to them,” Belles said. “Those recovered in the anti-trafficking efforts in the Bay Area will be offered that help.”

Copyright © 2016 Inside The Pew. All rights reserved.

Bradshaw: Bragging rights

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Editor’s note: No. 1 Clemson defeated South Carolina, 37-32, on Nov. 28.

By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

As I write this blog…I am sitting in my bed…fire going…listening to the hustle and bustle in our home as everyone gets ready for the Clemson-South Carolina game. Biggest game ofSherry Bradshaw the year in most South Carolinians hearts…if they are honest… 🙂

Yes, I am a Clemson graduate and a Clemson fan…of course I am. Since I married a former USC football player some ask if I am still a Clemson fan. In my mind I say, “Really?” and wonder why they would think I am not a Clemson fan. After years of being asked this question I have come to the conclusion that because I live in Columbia, and don’t go to every Clemson game, and I don’t heckle people about “whose team is better,” many others have concluded that I must have “crossed over!”

To set the record straight–always have been and always will be a Clemson fan. But I can honestly say that my identity does not rest there. In fact, having our identity wrapped up in what team you pull for or what school you go to or graduated from is absurd to me. I am not at all saying “don’t be a fan or be proud of your school choice!” By all means be a huge fan, supporter and cheerleader for your school…nothing at all harmful about that.

But when it defines you…
your happiness meter is based on wins and losses and
it separates you from being friends with people who don’t see things the way you do…
then there is a REAL PROBLEM in my opinion…
that is when…we need to check the “idol status” in our lives.

Yes, I do love my team and my school. I have observed something over the last 5 or 6 years. I have found it interesting to watch how people, on both sides of the fence, act when their school is on top or on bottom. I have watched, in particular, some of the biggest fans for Clemson and South Carolina as the successes of both schools have varied drastically in the last couple of years.

I especially love to see who wears their colors after the game in the weeks to follow and who still flies their flags. Is it based on wins? Or true love no matter the outcome? I can honestly say that in the last few years of living in Columbia I wore my orange to the gym for four years straight after losing to South Carolina. Yes, on the Monday after the game I continued to sport my colors. My love meter didn’t rest in the win/loss tally.

Where am I going with this…..??????

Don’t let wins/losses determine your joy, your friends, your loyalty. Watch your words…your posts. Check your “idol meter!”

Of course idolatry can be many things…but “sports and the success of OUR team” is a big one. Funny…how hot and cold I have heard the same people be on Coach Spurrier and Coach Swinney.

Love one year and hate the next.

Wow…just Wow…the mentality: “I will love you now if you are winning.”

I am so glad I am not hated or loved by family and friends based on my performance. I encourage you first, to remain a “loyal and true fan to your school, win or loss”. Second, what really comes from boasting? Can’t we just let the record speak in any year without “showboating” like we were the ones who suited up and did the work?

Everyone is going to know the outcome and the score. Do we really have to “roar” or “cock-a-doodle-doo” when our team wins?

If you disagree…oh well…. just saying…… true peace, joy, and contentment in life isn’t at all derived from wins from your team. It is fleeting, not lasting at all. If you are a Clemson or a Carolina fan, just look at the last few years. Both have won and both have lost. What is your joy meter based on? Where does your joy come from?

I encourage you to look for joy and contentment in things that last….that aren’t fleeting. I encourage you to “re-purpose your fan-ship” into a growing and thriving relationship with Christ. One that could bring you to “raising your hands in worship on Sunday” instead of just in the “stands on Saturday”.

Six years ago it was apparent to me that I could not say I was a bigger fan of the Lord than Clemson if I treated one differently in my praise. “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks….” (see Luke 6:45). I needed to examine my actions and I realized that when others looked at my life they would probably have said…”your actions are so LOUD…I can’t hear what you are saying!”

What is your heart? It will always overflow into your words and actions! Psalm 33:1, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.”

Columbia, S.C. native Sherry Bradshaw is author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life (Life Bridge Books), and founder of Back 9 Ministries.

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 am Second short film highlights Jeff Fisher’s walk to salvation

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Nonprofit, Pepsi MidAmerica collaborate to give fans VIP game-day experience with longtime NFL head coach

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

When NFL fans think of Jeff Fisher, the moustache and cool sunglasses come to mind.

But now, Fisher has provided an enduring image of himself – son of the Almighty.

In a bonus short film released by I am Second, Fisher, who is entering his fourth season with the Rams, takes his place on the ceremonial white chairI am Second Jeff Fisher to detail the walk that eventually lead to his commitment to our Savior.

The Plano-based nonprofit announced Aug. 17 it is collaborating with Pepsi MidAmerica to offer fans the opportunity to win a VIP sideline experience with coach Fisher. Fans can enter the text-to-win and online contest between now and Sept. 30. Four winners will be chosen to receive a VIP prize of two suite-level tickets to a St. Louis Rams game, hotel accommodations, a meet and greet with Coach Fisher, a stadium tour and Saturday field passes. Entries are being accepted now at http://www.pepsimidamerica.com/iamsecond/.

“We are excited to be partnering with Pepsi MidAmerica for the first time to offer fans an inside look at NFL life from a coach’s perspective,” said John Humphrey, director of communications. “We want to give viewers a never-before-seen perspective via the film but also help create an experience they will never forget.”

In his testimony, the coach candidly admits a hurtful event that took place in the pews when Fisher was approximately 8 years old.

“I had this moment in church which I think really, really turned me off,” he said.

Fisher recounts how monsignor corrected his behavior with a hint of aggression and little explanation.

“It terrified me; I was in complete shock,” he said. “This is where my journey began.”

The spiritual void remained with Fisher, as he experienced success in collegiate and professional football as a player with USC and the Chicago Bears, respectively. Fisher’s coaching career – his 20th – isn’t exactly shabby either, as he spent 17 seasons as head coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. Fisher’s Titans played the team he now coaches, St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

“In my world, there’s never time to figure out what is, in fact, missing,” Fisher said.

In 2010, Fisher’s life was about to change for the best. One day, a friend asked Fisher an important question: Do you honestly believe that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior?

At the opportune moment, Fisher was rescued from the drudgery he experienced, the part of him that longed for more than a successful NFL coaching career.

Sadly, according to Nina Thompson, author of Church Hurt Ain’t No Joke, what Fisher experienced happens to children and adults. She said she hasNina Thompson encountered many people who are the way Fisher used to be: they avoid Him and church out of fear of being hurt again.

“Church hurt is anything other Christians do to interrupt others’ closeness to God,” the Ferguson author said. “We need to be very careful that we are not concerned with the pettiness while, at the same time, we maintain structure, process, and ceremony in the church.”

After viewing Fisher’s I am Second testimony, Thompson said the chastising Fisher encountered as a child is an example of the pettiness she discusses in her book.

“Why chastise him for something as small as that?” she said. “Church became unattractive to him, solely because of one bad experience. Why become associated with something that brings pain?”

Thompson said she is grateful that Fisher’s friend opened that door of knowledge of God.

“Early on, he didn’t get that God is his helping mate and that he doesn’t have to exist in his own strength.”

Humphrey said Fisher’s reaction to the events that happened one day in church is not foreign.

“It is sometimes common for people to form an opinion like that based off those experiences,” he said. “Jeff’s story is an honest portray of a new believer who is sorting how to grow in the walk with his Father.”

SAGU football standout spends semester in Zimbabwe, Africa

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By Natalie Tristan
Special to Inside The Pew

It wasn’t the way Southwestern Assemblies of God University football standout Jeremiah Maat pictured his junior Maat on mission tripfootball season going.  During spring ball over a year ago, the linebacker tore his rotator cuff.  It was a season-ending injury and it changed the course of the next year.

“Having to sit out last season was the worst for me,” Maat said, “It was the first time that I haven’t played and started football in my position since I began football in seventh grade.”

It didn’t take Maat long to readjust his focus. The mission’s major from Slidell, La., decided to take an internship in Zimbabwe, Africa. He spent three months oversees, completing a semester of school while getting invaluable hands-on experience, “I worked with the missionaries on the field, and was allowed to do many things on my own such as speaking engagements, prayer meetings, and just fellowshipping with local pastors who became good friends.”

Maat worked hand in hand with local missionaries, helping to build churches, visiting villages and speaking toMaat and Group congregations. One all-night prayer meeting stood out in his memory, “We arrived at what I can only describe as a brick and mud hut. It had two rooms and no water or electricity. We had a small lantern for light and our voices for music. It was me and these amazing African people worshiping God in a hut the entire night. We sang and danced at times, cried out to God, and just sat in his presence at times.”

The semester overseas was life-changing for Maat as he came to realize people, at the core, were all the same, “It’s those moments when you make a friend despite color of skin, continent you grew up on, or amount of money you have. Those are my favorite moments.

Maat is back in the United States preparing for what will be his final season of football, “I have never worked out harder in all of my life as I am now. My shoulder is getting stronger than it has ever been, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will come in this season in my best shape.”

Being in his best shape ever is exciting news for SAGU football. In 2013, Maat helped lead his team to a 6-4 record and a Central States Football League Co-Championship, averaging nine tackles a game as a sophomore.streaming Beyond Skyline

Maat’s immediate goal is focused on his strongest football season ever, but his long-term goal is to make it back to the mission’s field, “My time overseas has changed my outlook on life a lot. I have a deeper perspective on what poverty is and what is necessary for happiness.  I learned just to love people no matter what because that is what Christianity is at the core of it all.”

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Youth engagement summit comes to Dallas Baptist; spoken word ministry preps for ‘Rhetoric’

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

In Carrollton – Holy Arms Ministries will play host to a Community Response Intervention Event on July 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Carrollton Public Library, 4220 N. Josey Lane/E. Hebron Parkway in Carrollton. The event is free and open to the public. The event will bring awareness to child safety. The Child Advocacy Center of Denton County. Call 972-822-9408 for more information or visit www.holyarm.org.watch Captain America: The First Avenger 2011 movie online now

In Los Angeles – Passion 4 Christ Movement will hold RHETORIC 2015, billed as the world’s largest Christian Preston Perry and Jackie Perryspoken word event, on Aug. 7 starting at 7 p.m. at Cottonwood Church, 4505 Katella Ave. in Los Alamitos. Cost is $20. To learn more about this exciting ministry, visit http://www.p4cm.com or view on YouTube.

In Waxahachie – Southwest Assemblies of God University will hold its diaper dandy camp for boys and girls ages four to 10 years old on July 24 and July 25 from 9 a.m. to noon.  The camp will be held on Sheaffer Gymnasium on the university’s campus.  Sign-up on the day of the event is welcome.  For more information call the Athletics Office at (972) 825-4672. Cost is $50 per camper.

In Dallas – On July 11, World Vision will host its fourth annual Youth Engagement Day for youths and adults from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Sadler Global Missions Center on the campus of Dallas Baptist University, 3000 Mountain Creek Parkway. Free event but registration is required. Lunch will be provided. Organizers say the event is appropriate for those entering grades 8-12 and students entering college and those completing their first year of college. Contact Rafael Munoz at 972-790-1204 ext. 2228 for more information.

In Anaheim, Calif. – The Harvest Crusades with evangelist Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, will return to Southern California for the 26th year. From Aug. 18 to Aug. 30 at Angel Stadium, the SoCal Harvest will feature a message of hope and contemporary Christian entertainment each night, including THIRD DAY, Jeremy Camp, Phil Wickham, and Lecrae. The free event will be broadcast live via the Internet at www.harvest.org and daily blog accounts of the crusade will also be made available. Updates about the Harvest outreach will be posted on Facebook (www.facebook.com/harvestcrusades ), Instagram (harvest_org or search #HarvestSoCal and Twitter (www.twitter.com/harvest_org ).

In Washington, D.C. – Rodney and Adonica Howard Browne’s Celebrate America 2015 will continue this Rodney and Adonica Browneweekend with Power Evangelism daily until July 11 at 10 a.m. and nightly events at 7 at the Daughters of American Revolution Constitution Hall, 1776 D. St. NW in Washington D.C. The Brownes say this event is for Americans to come together and turn their hearts to Christ, something much needed in this nation. Celebrate America’s promotional clip and the 2014 highlights are available at http://celebrateamericadc.com/media/.

Photo cutlines: Top, Preston Perry, left, and Jackie Hill Perry perform the poem, “The Fall“, during Rhetoric 2014.  Courtesy: Zoe4Life Productions. Bottom: Rodney and Adonica Browne.

Submit church and nonprofit events, Christian concerts, and fundraisers to Jacob Trimmer at pewnews@aol.com for publication.

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NBA MVP Curry shining light for Jesus, on and off the court

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By Michael Ashcraft and Mark Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

Stephen Curry, who picked the lock to Cleveland’s defense to win the NBA championship, likes to point people to “the Man who died for our sins onStephen Curry the cross.”

Curry was named the NBA 2015 most valuable player and led the Golden State Warriors to the championship, but he said worldly prizes don’t compare with Heavenly ones.

“I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top,” Curry told Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

LeBron James seemed to be willing his way to the championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers, without two of his supporting stars who were injured. Curry was floundering with low points as the finals initially favored the Cavaliers 2-1.

Then Curry, 27, started dropping his trade-mark, high-arched three-pointers. When double-teamed, he would make miraculous passes. And for the rest of the finals, the Cavaliers played a futile game of catch-up as the Warriors won each of the next three games to clinch the championship.

Curry was 13 when he accepted Jesus as his Savior. “It was a big decision that my parents couldn’t make for me,” he said. “It’s been a great walk since then. He means everything to me.”

With Christian humility at the MVP ceremony, Curry showed up void of all the mad-dogging swagger of other superstar ballers. He credited his wife for being his “backbone” and his parents for teaching him that studying and washing the dishes were more important than basketball.

“First and foremost, I have to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with the talents to play this game,” said the 6’3”, 190-pound point guard. “I’m His humble servant right now, and I can’t say enough how important my faith is to who I am and how I play the game.”

Steph – as he’s called by his teammates – was raised in Charlotte, NC, the son of a 16-year NBA veteran. He had a brother and a sister. His mom was something of a Christian disciplinarian, keeping the sports-obsessed boys on track with firmly established priorities.

“How we did in school growing up was important,” he said. “If we didn’t handle that business, there were no privileges. I remember sitting out my first middle school game because I didn’t handle my stuff at home. That was a pretty embarrassing moment if you go to your first middle school game and you have to tell your fellows, ‘Hey, I can’t play tonight. I didn’t do the dishes at home.’ That lesson taught me there’s more to life than basketball.”

His rise to prominence was unlikely. He was told he was too short, too lightweight, not physical enough. His high school had only moderate interest in his play. But Curry ignored the criticism and focused on what he could do. He developed an exquisite sharp-shooting touch that eventually silenced critics and left opponents shaking their heads.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

His Under Armour gear is trade-marked “4:13” from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”Curry 4:13 shoes

At Davidson College in North Carolina, he led the Wildcats on consecutive NCAA title runs. After his junior year, the Warriors drafted him in 2009.

In the summer of 2013, Curry joined a mission trip to Tanzania. He donated 816 mosquito nets to African refugees to fight against malaria. He calculated the unusual number of nets by multiplying by three the number of three-pointers he had scored the previous season.

Not only does Curry lead his team on the court, he leads them off the court with his Christian example. Most of the players are Christians. They attend chapel before every game. Their devotion to Christ is so note-worthy that the San Jose Mercury News called them “choirboys.”

“The Holy Spirit is moving through our locker room,” he told Breaking Christian News. “It’s allowing us to reach a lot of people, and personally I am just trying to use this stage to share how God has been a blessing in my life and how He can be the same in everyone else’s.”

The ever-cool, baby-faced three-point-maker keeps improving, looking to extend his basketball legacy and all the while shine his light for Jesus.

“Basketball has always had a special place in my heart,” Curry said. “And being saved is a great feeling. There are so many things we have to overcome in this life. Jesus, through his work on the cross, has paid the ultimate price for us. I’m proud to be a child of God.”

Individual Curry photo courtesy of The Associated Press; “4:13” shoes from Godreports.com.

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