Tag Archives: dallas

Refugees from world’s hot spots share their culture, learn about Christmas in U.S.

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Dallas police officer with refugee

By Dan Wooding
Founder of the ASSIST News Service

DALLAS – With tensions about refugees running at a high point in the United States, a Dallas-based refugee outreach, has arranged for a uniqueRefugee children enjoying their gifts Christmas event for refugees that have settled in its region.

Gateway of Grace, founded by a refugee, has turned the tables on the traditional “helping hand” this Christmas. Instead of serving meals to the displaced in North Texas — the displaced will serve their homemade dishes to North Texans.

“The goodwill we celebrate at Christmas extends to everyone,” said Samira Izadi Page, founder and executive director of Gateway of Grace. “This Christmas, refugees in our communities can give us the gift of meals from their homelands, even as we reach out to them with gifts and an explanation of what Christmas is about.”

According to a news release from Lovell-Fairchild Communications, the event —a Christmas Party for Refugees called “Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Mankind” will be held Dec. 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Wilshire Baptist Church, 4316 Abrams Road in Dallas.

More than 200 refugees, their families and volunteers will be on hand for a potluck lunch of native food from around the world from countries likeDallas police officer with refugee Burma, Bhutan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Senegal, Sudan, Congo and Syria, to name just a sampling of nations represented. And dishes will range from African rice to Uzbek stew to whatever the families bring.

“Each refugee family receives a gift card, and as live Christmas songs are sung, Santa Claus will share the story of St. Nicholas with children and explain what Christmas is about,” said the news release.

In 2014, of the 70,000 refugees arriving in the U.S., Texas received 11 percent – more than any other state, Page said. She knows their plight well. Her family fled Iran and sought political asylum in the U.S., where she eventually converted to Christianity, attended seminary and founded Gateway of Grace.

“The negative portrayal of refugees these days causes them to feel unwanted, to feel shame, insecurity, anxiety and fear,” she said. “With all that is going on in the world, this year, more than any other time, the message of Christmas is relevant in imparting dignity and worth to refugees. To shareSamira Izadi Page the joy of Christmas with refugees who have never experienced Christmas is a great way of removing some of the fear and anxiety and bringing healing into their lives.”

The event still needs volunteers for transportation and to provide gift cards plus necessary items for the refugee families including winter coats, baby formula and diapers.

To learn more or to volunteer, call Gateway of Grace at 469-324-8825 or go to http://www.gatewayofgrace.org.

Note: Samira Izadi Page is the founder and Executive Director of Gateway of Grace Ministries. She was born and raised in Iran as a Muslim. Samira and her family fled Iran due to persecution and obtained political asylum status in the U.S. Samira converted to Christianity and earned her Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Ministry in Missional Church Studies at Perkins at SMU.

Samira has committed her life to bringing the hope and love of Christ to those whose hope, dignity, and humanity have been taken away by oppressive governments and circumstances. She frequently speaks nationally and locally at conferences, churches and other venues on issues of interfaith relations, Islam and Christianity, and refugee outreach. Samira works cross-denominationally with pastors and mission leaders and moves local congregations into new ways of mission and outreach.

VISION of Gateway of Grace:

To see the practical and spiritual needs of refugees in our communities met through compassionate, meaningful, Christ-centered relationships with the local Church

MISSION

To educate, equip, and mobilize the Church to bridge socio-cultural gaps between Christians and refugees so that refugees can know the hope of Christ through words and deeds of compassion.

SERVICES

Gateway helps refugees start over, many of them survivors of severe trauma, with donated furniture, pocket money, groceries, baby showers, job assistance, language lessons, and more. Most important, perhaps, Gateway trains volunteers and churches to adopt refugee families, the point where friendships form and assimilation begins.

ScriptureArt debuts clothing line inspired by Josh Hamilton

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Josh Hamilton fans can now share their love for Christ and the Texas Rangers all-star outfielder everywhere they go.

ScriptureArt, a provider of Christian gifts, home décor, and clothing, has created a line of clothing inspired by the life and testimony of Hamilton.

The Hamilton Tee Shirt Collectionis now available for purchase on ScriptureArt’s website, according to the company’s co-founder, Kelly Shiley.

“Josh has been amazingly transparent and out front about his struggles and about how his faith has helped him overcome them,” Shiley said. “His input was instrumental in helping us create designs that express that faith and dependence on God in authentic and graphically compelling ways.”

Hamilton, an outspoken Christian, has publicly acknowledged his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. This revelation, however, has not dampened his popularity. With 4.2 million votes, the 2010 Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player was the top vote-getter for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.

He and his wife, Katie, who is also co-founder of ScriptureArt, have four daughters.

The t-shirts – with styles for men, women, and children – feature inspirational slogans such as “iBelieve,” “Believe This,” (the “T” resembles a cross), and “Play Hard, Pray Harder.”

Based in Raleigh, N.C. and Dallas, Texas, ScriptureArt was co-founded by the Josh Hamilton’s wife, Katie, and Shiley in July 2011 with a mission to develop high quality products and designs which inspire others to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Shiley said the company will showcase Hamilton’s line of inspirational clothing and many other creations at the AmericasMart trade show, from July 11-18 in Atlanta, Ga. Their booth (no. 1111) can be found in building 3, floor 5.

“We’re doubly excited to now be able to bring the Hamilton line of clothes and our other exclusive creations to the trade at wholesale pricing for the first time,” Shiley said.

Bible explains how sin passed down from one man

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Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Inside The Pew staff.

By Donald Lee
Special to Inside The Pew

Question: I was recently asked, Why is everybody (including babies) paying for the sin of one man (Adam)?

Answer: Because when the one man, Adam, sinned by disobeying God and eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree, he passed the sin nature (or the state of sin) on to every other person born from him and his wife, Eve. So, what this means, is that even though a newborn baby isn’t old enough to perform the act of sin, the sin nature still is passed down to him by his parents (or lineage).

Take, for instance, a baby who is born addicted to crack cocaine because his mother smoked crack while he was in her womb. Just as the “addiction” is passed through the mother’s blood, so it is that the sin nature [or the state of sin] is passed down the lineage of man.

So because of this fact, God’s plan for redemption of mankind (restoring “man” back to his original state of “innocence” and uprightness and fellowship with God) meant that God had to send His Son, Jesus Christ, down here to the earth to suffer the punishment that we all “inherited” from Adam.

Remember what God told Adam in the beginning: The day you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall SURELY die.

What happened? Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, or forbidden tree. So, what was his punishment? He was banned from paradise and he was sentenced to die (even though God’s perfect plan was for Adam and Eve to live forever in paradise).

God’s judgment handed down to the serpent (through whom the devil spoke) was that he’d (the serpent) crawl on his belly and eat of the dust of the ground; God tells the serpent that He’d create “enmity” (which is a natural hatred) between the woman’s “seed” and the serpent’s .

God goes on to tell the serpent that the seed of the woman (He was speaking prophetically about Jesus Christ, God’s sacrificial Lamb, sent here to die for the sins of the world) would bruise his head (the “seed” of the serpent) and the “seed” of the serpent would bruise his heel.

God is speaking prophecy. He’s letting the devil know (through these scriptures) that even though the devil “beguiled”, or tricked, the woman into eating of the forbidden tree, and she in turn gave some of the fruit to her husband, and he disobeyed God and ate it because his wife suggested he eat it, God already has a plan to redeem the “fallen” man (or mankind) back to him.

That plan is by sending Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb and Savior to the world, to earth to fulfill prophecy. In other words, God’s plan was to kill Jesus, the Lamb, and shed His blood (which holds in it the power to wash away ALL sins) so that through Jesus’, the Lamb’s, death, mankind (those who accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His blood to pay the cost of their sins) can live throughout eternity with God.

Man, still must die a literal death (as you know). But instead of going to hell and eternal torment after dying, everybody who confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior before they died (or die) will be (or will have been) “SAVED” from eternity in torment and saved into everlasting life in the presence of God (or BACK in the presence of God, rather).

In other words, everybody who accepts that Jesus sacrificed His life so that they can be “saved” (or “born again”) will have eternal life. And everybody who rejects God’s plan for salvation and who rejects Jesus’ sacrifice will be banished into outter darkness (eternal torment in the lake of fire).

So, from this lesson, you see that God is “fair” and He is “just.” Just like the state of sin [or the very nature of sin] was passed down through the disobedience of one man (Adam), salvation also is passed down through the obedience (or sacrifice) of one Man, (Jesus, who also is referred to as the “Son of Man” or “the Last Adam”).

In other words, just like the only thing we had to do to be guilty of sin is to just be born, the only thing we have to do in order to be made righteous (in Christ) is to just be “born again.” So, by one man (Adam), death passed to ALL men (good men and bad men).

So is it that by one Man (Jesus Christ), eternal life has been made available to ALL men (meaning all of mankind). But in order to be “saved,” or “born again,” a person MUST confess Jesus Christ as his (or her) Lord and Savior.

Romans 10:9-10 (in the Amplified Bible) says Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 5:15 says But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.

Verses 16 through 19 continue to explain how Adam’s sin brought death on everybody, but Jesus’ sacrifice of His life has made it possible that all can be saved and be made righteous.

You very well know that not everybody will accept Jesus’ sacrifice. Those who don’t accept what Jesus did for us will have to pay the price for Adam’s fall. That price, again, is eternity in torment.

So, if you haven’t made Jesus your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do so. It’s the greatest, most profound, decision you’ll ever make in your life. Accept His gift of eternal life.

 Donald Lee is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas. He can be contacted at pastordonjlee@yahoo.com or (225) 773-2248. To get a copy of “Married to Commitment,” the profound book on relationships he co-authored, call Xulon Press toll-free (866) 909-2665 or visit http://www.xulonpress.com. Follow Lee on Twitter at @donaldj_lee. Listen to him “live” via teleconference toll-free (760) 466-8123 (code 279498#) for the 10 a.m. (CST) Sowing of the Word on Sundays and 7 p.m. Bible study on Thursdays.

Former Pew intern honored for influence in social media

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Three years ago, Alejandra Suarez was a recent graduate of the University of North Texas waiting for her break as a public relations and marketing professional.

Now, Suarez, who served as Inside The Pew’s first summer intern in 2009, is being recognized as one of the most influential Latinas in the blogging and social media arenas.

From May 20 to May 22, Suarez will take part in the Top Latina Blog Retreat at Hotel Helix in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Latinos in Social Media (LATISM). She is one of 70 Latina bloggers who received an invitation to attend the event.

“We knew Alejandra would go on to bigger and better things,” Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, said. “She always worked hard to generate stories for us in a short period of time, and was instrumental in helping to develop The Pew En Español. She was committed to helping spread the gospel in English and her native language of Spanish.”

The Dallas resident and native of Mexico City, Mexico, earned a B.A. in public relations and a minor in marketing from the UNT.

After completing her internship with Inside The Pew, Suarez continued to work as a freelance writer until she landed a position with iNSPIRE!, a Dallas advertising agency which markets to the Hispanic consumer. As part of her duties with iNSPIRE!, Suarez oversees Brand LaTeen (www.brandlateen.com), a blog which addresses marketing trends among Latino teenagers.

Suarez said she envisioned delivering Christian news through social media and the Internet.

“In personal account, I learned to focus more in details while interviewing, writing and reporting. I was able to polish my writing skills while interning at The Pew,” Suarez said after completing her internship. “These small accomplishments are steps that get me closer to my long-term career goals.

“I really value the site and its motives as well as the very passionate people who I’ve had the opportunity to interview that are making a difference in their communities and around the world.”

A selection committee included the leaders of the top Latina blogger communities, including Latina Bloggers Connect, Las Blogueras, Blogs de Mamas, and New Latina. The committee was in charge of reviewing the bloggers’ applications based on influence, traffic, and quality of content.

The bloggers will take part in sessions ranging from blog and business best practices, leadership skills, and social good. They will also be paired up with mentors including top executives from industries, companies and causes that match their core interests.

According to the LATISM website, the 501(c) 4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization is dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. The organization also helps to raise awareness among corporate brands, NGOs and government entities about using social media to reach Latinos. To learn more about the Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) organization, visit http://latism.org

Kathy Burrell to host women’s conference in Port Arthur

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

For years, Inside The Pew has collected church and nonprofit event announcements to run on the website. At the request of frequent visitors, we have decided to return the listing to it rightful place. If you have announcements that pertain to church or nonprofit events, workshops, or concerts and plays, send them to us at pewnews@aol.com. The list will also run on our Twitter and Facebook accounts as well.

In Port Arthur, Texas: The Woman Be Thou Empowered Conference is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on May 17 and May 18 at Solid Rock Baptist Church, 1337 E. Fifth St. in Port Arthur. Gospel singer and songwriter Kathy Burrell, sister of gospel sensation Kim Burrell, is the host of the event. Burrell will feature some of her own music and wonderful messages from various speakers each night. The cost for the conference is $20 for both nights. The vision of the conference is to awaken the soul of every woman in the Golden Triangle and surrounding areas. Both men and women are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Email iwasbornblessed@yahoo.com or call 409-454-6779. Time is running out so register ASAP to ensure a spot.

In Frisco, Texas: The International Network for the Professional Development of Women (INPDW), a group which supports female Christian entrepreneurs, will hold a yearlong program called Impact Mastermind Group will beginning in July.  Open enrollment for the group ends June 15. The program is slated to begin July 1. This group is designed to help women grow their businesses to the level they desire. Branding, marketing, client attraction, systems, social media, outsourcing are some of the training topics. Only 20 women are allowed to participate. The cost is $67 per month. Visit http://www.inpdw.com/mastermind.html for more information.

In Dallas, Texas: ManeLock Communications will hold a workshop titled, “Introduction to Memoir Writing” from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on May 19 at St. Phillips School and Community Center, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Dallas. Writing consultant Linda Jones will facilitate the program. This fun and thought-provoking workshop will help attendees turn their memories and special moments into precious family heirlooms. Learn how to become gatekeepers of unique histories and storytellers in families. The workshop fee is $45. Bring a friend and get an additional $5 discount. To RSVP, email manelock@yahoo.com.

In Dallas, Texas: ManeLock Communications will hold a workshop titled, “Writing Through Grief” from 1 to 5 p.m. on May 20 at the Center for Spiritual Living, 4801 Spring Valley Road Suite 115 in Dallas. Writing consultant and author Linda Jones will teach participants to use writing as a vehicle to work through grief cause by death and other losses. This time sensitive workshop will explore journaling techniques, mood monitoring, music meditation, affirmations, and poetic approaches. The workshop fee is $50. Bring a friend, and he or she is admitted for $40. To RSVP, email manelock@yahoo.com.

In Euless, Texas: CAREER SOLUTIONS, a nonprofit job seeker ministry, will hold a workshop “Networking on Steroids” from 8:15 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 19. The workshop will take place at First Baptist Church, 1000 W. Airport Freeway, in Euless. Seminar leader Mike Richards will teach career changers how to do so from a biblical perspective. Preregister online for $50 or $80 donation the day of the event. Spouses may attend the seminar FREE with your paid registration. Remember to enter your spouse’s name in the comments field when you are purchasing the seminar. Deadline to register for seminar online is May 17.

In Arlington, Texas: The Lyricist’s Café will celebrate its 10-year anniversary at 7:19 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 at the Artist’s Boot Camp, 1940 Stadium Oaks Court in Arlington. Cost is $10. Tallied as one of the hottest Christian open mics in DFW, the event will be hosted by SE7EN. Poets, rappers, singers, musicians and anyone who would like to be on the open mic should email Robert L. Wagner at robertlwagner@live.com.

 

MLB pitcher Clayton Kershaw expands challenge for 2012

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LOS ANGELES – For Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and defending Cy Young Award recipient and Regal author Clayton Kershaw every strikeout in 2012 matters — for his team on the field and also for children at risk on two continents.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw kicks off the second year of Kershaw's Challenge.

According to a news release, Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have announced that for the second consecutive year they will donate $100 each time he strikes out an opposing batter as the centerpiece of what they call Kershaw’s Challenge: Striking Out to Serve. During the 2012 season, which begins today with Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers in San Diego, the funds will go to four diverse non-profit causes, including one in Southern California, one in the Kershaw’s home state of Texas, a national movement called “I Am Second,” and the work with orphans in Africa that started it all.

Kershaw’s Challenge: Strike Out to Serve (www.kershawschallenge.com), which has just been re-launched, began in 2011. For each of the league-leading 248 batters the Dodger ace struck out last season, he and his wife, Ellen, gave $100 to help build a new children’s home in Zambia, teaming up with Arise Africa (www.Ariseafrica.org). Kershaw also donated a portion of the monetary prizes he received for baseball honors and added direct contributions from others to bring the total amount raised to $202,000.

In January 2012, the Kershaw’s traveled to Lusaka, Zambia, for the second consecutive off-season, walking the land where the new home is now under construction. To be called Hope’s Home, this orphanage will be a safe haven for about one dozen at-risk children.

“Our inspiration is a 12-year-old girl named Hope,” said Kershaw, a native of Highland Park. “She is an HIV orphan who stole our hearts. She desperately needs a place to call home.”

The Kershaws tell the story of their dream to serve others in Zambia (and baseball stories, too) in Arise, a book they co-authored and released in January 2012.

Seventy-percent of the 2012 Kershaw’s Challenge proceeds will go toward Arise Africa projects in Zambia, including furnishing the orphanage, purchasing adjacent farmland so the children can learn to grow crops, building a chicken coop, establishing a medical emergency fund and funding a child feeding program.

Why Zambia? As a high school student, Ellen Kershaw was moved by a segment on orphans in Africa featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In college, she decided to make a difference, and has now traveled to Zambia six times, joining forces with Arise Africa.

The Kershaws remain committed to Africa, but their desire strike out to serve goes further. Thirty percent of the proceeds from the 2012 challenge will go to three nonprofit organizations, each receiving 10 percent. The Kershaws will partner with the Peacock Foundation in Los Angeles (www.peacockfoundation.org), Mercy Street in Dallas (www.mercystreetdallas.org) and I Am Second (www.iamsecond.com).

The Peacock Foundation uses rescued animals in a therapy program to bring healing to at-risk and traumatized children and their families throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Kershaws Challenge will help fund a Peacock Foundation program called Creature Comfort.

Mercy Street seeks to see transformation in a west Dallas, Texas, neighborhood, through mentoring, sports and community development. Kershaws Challenge will fund a youth baseball program for inner city kids with baseball equipment.

I Am Second is a nationwide grassroots and media campaign that empowers people in various walks of life to live for God and others. Clayton Kershaw’s I Am Second film went live online April 5.

Kershaw said the essence of Kershaw’s Challenge: Striking Out to Serve is that the better you do, the more you give, making whatever you do about something more.

“Baseball is more than just a passion of mine. It’s a platform to do more, to give back to our community, and to make a difference in the world.” In 2011, the Kershaws were thrilled when college, high school and little league baseball players joined The Challenge, donating 25 cents or $1 or more per batter they struck out or per hit they got. Non-athletes partnered, too, donating various amounts.