By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A Christian clothing line founded by a former NFL player ranks as the top read story on Inside The Pew for 2013.

Mark Clayton, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, launched his own clothing line – My Christian T – back in 2011.Mark Clayton Although Clayton confirmed with Inside The Pew on Twitter in 2012 that he no longer operates the clothing, there is still an interest in the wide receiver’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

Clayton was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2010, but injuries signed the Oklahoma Sooner’s career in the NFL. He told Sean Devine of Did You See That?! in September he has no regrets about his NFL playing days.

“Every minute, every experience, every relationship, I’ll never forget any of it. I’m working hard to come back and I hope to continue my career. Hopefully we can add some more stories, relationships, and experiences to my legacy.”

Three other sports related stories made the top 10. The filming of a biopic on high school football coach Bob Ladouceur in New Orleans came in at No. 4, while stories about Super Bowl XLVII coaches (and brothers) Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh were ranked No. 7 and  No. 8, respectively.

The story of Tyres Dixon, a Houston resident who works for the United Way and winner of the nonprofit organization’s Achiever of the Year, landed at No. 2 on the list.

Three stories from the Pew Business spotlight landed in the top 10. Whitening Lightning founder Jennifer Gerard (No. 3), National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) president and CEO Gary C. Smith (No. 9), and Ezechiel “Zeke” Bambolo and First Born Son Inc. (No. 5) made the annual list.

Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, was pleased at the amount of popularity generated by the spotlight. The section was officially launched in March.

“When we created the section, we wanted to help boost the presence of like-minded entrepreneurs who take Him in to the workplace every day. These types of stories are what our readers want to see. Hopefully, Christians who are considering entrepreneurship can draw from the stories of these individuals.”

Fly Away Records and its Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nominations (No. 10) and Melanie Stone’s column on the attributes of a Kingdom builder (No. 6) rounded out the top 10.

List of top stories

  1. NFL wide receiver launcher clothing line to give glory to God
  2. Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year
  3. Gerard to fellow entrepreneurs: Trust Him, great things will occur
  4. Filming of Bob Ladouceur movie takes place in New Orleans
  5. The First Born Son Inc. helps restore individuals and families
  6. Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder
  7. Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday
  8. John Harbaugh slated keynote speaker at FCA Maryland event
  9. NAEIR redistributes corporations’ unsold products to nonprofits
  10. Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

John Harbaugh, Super Bowl XLVII winning head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, will serve as the keynote speaker of Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquetJohn Harbaugh and fundraiser at 6 p.m. on March 4. The event will take place at Martins West, 6817 Dogwood Road, in Baltimore, Md. Harbaugh, who has been head coach the Ravens since 2008, led the Ravens to a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers (coached by his equally talented brother Jim Harbaugh, on Feb. 3. Learn more about the Central Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes at http://centralmdfca.org.

Harbaugh’s alma mater, Miami (Ohio) University announced Feb. 26 the school will induct John into the “Cradle of Coaches” next year. According to The Associated Press, the statutes honor Miami grads “who have been names a coach of the year at the college or professional level, won a national college or NFL title, or been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame or Pro Football Hall of Fame.” More irony, John will join Bo Schembechler, among others, in the “cradle.” Schembechler coached Jim while the younger Harbaugh was a quarterback at Michigan.

Tebow to headline sold-out men’s conference

Where ever Tim Tebow speaks, it is almost always guaranteed to quickly sell out. The 2013 Wildfire “Men’s Impact Weekend” conference in central Virginia is no different.

The New York Jets quarterback will headline the conference on at the Liberty University Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va., on March 8-9, starting at 5 p.m. Tim Clinton, founder of Wildfire, said Tebow will share his testimony of faith on March 8.

To get on the waiting list, visit http://wildfireweekend.com/.

Other notable guests slated to speak at the conference include John Smoltz, former Atlanta Braves pitcher; Willie Robertson, star of the reality show, Duck Dynasty; Joe White, president and founder of Kanakuk Kamps; Rick Rigsby, a dynamic motivational and leadership speaker; and more!

This annual gathering will also feature inspirational praise and worship with Michael O’Brien and the Wildfire Worship Band. Attendees can expect a two-day event packed full of workshops, exhibits and fun around the stuff that men love — hunting, fishing, motorcycles, racing, athletics, extreme sports and other outdoor activities — taught by some of the leading experts in the world.

Davis makes history

Congratulations to Texas Wesleyan University distance runner Jessica Davis for becoming the first athlete in the school’s history to make the finals of the NAIA indoor national championships in the 5K-meter run. She clocked a time of 17:57.71. Finals for the 5,000 is March 2. Davis looks to continue her success when she competes in the 3K-meter run on March 1 during the three-day event in Geneva, Ohio.

Contact Trimmer at pewnews@aol.com

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

By now, you’ve seen the clip.

When 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s challenge of the catch made by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas was denied, coach went into a rage. Fortunately, for him, the call had no bearing in the result of the Jan.20 NFC Championship game, as his 49ers held off the Falcons, 28-24, to advance to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Harbaugh’s sideline rants have been the ridicule of many since he has become the 49ers head coach. Some sports journalists don’t care for the guy, especially since Harbaugh is hush-hush on issues related to his team that would probably make a great story.

Just when the reporters have the chance to learn about a different side of Harbaugh, they sorta passed it by. But I don’t completely blame them. When Harbaugh took his annual trip to Peru to do the Lord’s work in June 2012, the mainstream reporters asked about it, but he didn’t really elaborate.

However, Harbaugh was more than willing to discuss the trip with media that could relate, such as The Catholic News Agency. Judging from the quote, the trip was quiet personal for him. “The doors that God will open for you by the people you meet or by the circumstances you’re in (allow) your character to be shaped and your spirit to grow. Those kinds of doors are opened for (me) here.”

If you want to go back farther, I found a Bleacher Report guest column from 2008 written by Carla Ingle. The column, titled Jim Harbaugh and Jesus Take The Field …, was created while Harbaugh was head coach at Stanford University. Ingle reveals when Harbaugh was quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-1997, he would acknowledge God before beginning his press conferences. Ingle wrote, “When he first started playing for the Colts it would warm my heart when a reporter would interview him and the first thing he would say was ‘I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for making all this possible.’ Then he would continue on with the interview and address whatever question that had been posed to him.”

Then, Ingle began to notice when the wins began to disappear, there was no mention of God and some “not-so-kind words” came from Harbaugh’s mouth. Did that make Harbaugh less of a Christian? No – not in the Father’s eyes. If we are honest with ourselves, we are human and guilty of this at times.

As Christians, we should be careful not to assume everyone who doesn’t put their faith on public display every day is a fair-weather Christian. He uses us in different ways. If only Harbaugh’s acknowledgment to the power of God was heard beyond the readers of the CNA others will begin to think a little differently about him.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim’s older brother and opponent on Feb. 3, was quite open about his team’s inspiration after they defeated the Denver Broncos in overtime, 38-35, in the AFC Divisional Playoff on Jan. 12 and in the win against the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Jim Harbaugh open a press conference in 2013 in the same fashion he did during that great 1995 he had with the Colts? Either way, we know there is more than rage that sits in the heart of Jim Harbaugh.

Related story

Harbaugh finds gratification helping others in Peru 6/27/2012

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside the Pew

During the 2011 NFL season, San Francisco 49er fans saw miraculously how first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh turned an off track 49er team into a squad that was one step away from representing the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI.

But, on-the-field successes cannot compare to the work one can do in His name. According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), the former NFL quarterback was one of a several volunteers who traveled to Piura, Peru, on an eight-day mission trip to assist Most Blessed Sacrament Parish. The parish’s outreach, according to CNA, a women’s shelter, an orphanage, a drug rehabilitation center, a hospice facility and, most recently, tuition-free Catholic school for kindergarten through 11th graders.

According to Harbaugh, the Catholic school was opened in 2011, and has approximately 600 students in attendance.

“Every desk was full,” he said. “Three years ago when we came down here, the school was just an idea.”

The coach told news agency reporters volunteers helped build 20 homes and packaged and delivered rice and beans to supplement meals to 1,400 families.

Harbaugh, who recently completed his third trip to the impoverished town, said he learned about the trip through acquaintances at his parish in Menlo Park, Calif.

“It’s incredible the amount of work they do and they joy that they do it with,” the 48-year-old coach told the news agency.

An aspect of the trip that brought the reigning NFL Coach of the Year pride is the steady growth of the parish, headed by Father Joe Uhen since 1993. Harbaugh noted the abundance of individuals who participate in Mass.

“I’ve always been struck by the attendance and the joy they have for Mass,” Harbaugh said. “You can only describe that as the fruit of the Holy Spirit.”

Outreach to the residents of Piura doesn’t end with the trip. According to the report, Harbaugh said the Santisimo Sacramento helps American families and those in Peru connect through an “adoption.” The program – which Harbaugh is a participant – allows American families to supply scholarships, food, and basic housing items to needy Peruvian families.

Harbaugh said the mission trips are gratifying and allows him to put grow as a believer.

“The doors that God will open for you by the people you meet or by the circumstances you’re in (allow) your character to be shaped and your spirit to grow,” he said. “Those kinds of doors are opened for (me) here.