Dec. 14, 2010 /Christian Newswire/ — As Christians around the world celebrate the miracle of the birth of the Christ child this December, one Christian non-profit is hoping for a Christmas miracle of its own. This December may very well mark the closing of the Love INC headquarters, which assists communities that want to mobilize their local churches to help the poor, if it does not receive immediate funding from its Christian constituents. While the Minneapolis-based Love INC headquarters has supported its 157 affiliates in communities in 30 states across America to meet more than one million needs in 2010, the potential of the movement that is meeting the needs of neighbors will be lost.
The organization needs to raise $1 million by the end of the year due to unprecedented growth which includes the opening of 17 new affiliates. Unfortunately, donor support has not kept pace with demand.
Love INC’s mission is to mobilize the church to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. The organization works across denominational lines to serve the poor in areas of food, clothing, shelter, life skills, health care and family support services. Love INC is unique in its approach in that it strives to bring the poor out of poverty through caring relationships that transform lives in the name of Christ.
“These unprecedented economic times have created an influx of people who are struggling. They are the new poor and they need the help,” said Robert Odom, president of Love INC. “We need Christians to step in and give generously so that we can help meet the needs of the poor in communities across the United States.”
Love INC was spun off from World Vision in 2003 and has been a separate nonprofit based in Minneapolis since that time. Each Love INC affiliate is its own 501c3 and is self-funded. Love INC’s headquarters starts new affiliates and provides affiliate support, training and program best practices throughout the life of the affiliate. It relies primarily on individual givers to meet its annual budget of $1.6 million.
Founded in 1977, Love In the Name of Christ brings churches together across denominational lines to help the poor with immediate needs such as food and clothing, to longer-term responses such as transitional housing programs, health care and life skills training. Love INC meets more than one million needs each year through 157 affiliates in 30 states, representing a network of more than 9,000 churches, 7,000 community-based organizations, and 300,000 volunteers working to serve the poor. For more information visit www.loveinc.org or call 1-800-777-5277.
Tags: Christian interest, love inc, non-profit
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(Nashville, TN) – As Facebook and MySpace continue to vie for the number one and number two positions as the top social networking sites on the web, a newcomer to the social network crowd has quietly combined the best features of both Facebook and MySpace as well as incorporating Twitter applications. But MyBLAB.com has an even greater mission in mind than becoming a social networking empire.
“Honestly, MyBLAB.com started out as a social networking site to compete with Facebook and MySpace,” says co-founder Chris Burkhart. “But I really began to become convicted by God to make it into a worldwide community for Christians. I didn’t want to just add more ‘noise’ to the internet. I wanted the network to bring something positive into people’s lives. I grew up in the church as a preacher’s kid and I had the strong desire to create a worldwide community for believers to interact with each other, encourage each other and just ‘have church’ online.”
MyBLAB.com (acronym for “Be Linked as Believers”) is a non-apologetic, targeted community structured to bring Christians and organizational ministries from every denomination and every part of the world together online. Burkhart spent over three years and literally hundreds of thousands of lines of code to develop a site that has all the functionality of the most popular social networks, yet offers a safe and contained environment for people who profess the Christian faith.
“MyBLAB.com doesn’t have all the unnecessary clutter in it,” Burkhart explains. “We wanted to make the content all about the users – the community. Other networks are secular meeting places, but we wanted MyBLAB.com to be a safer place.”
So are non-Christians barred from the site? Absolutely not, says Burkhart. Like a church, his vision is for MyBLAB to become a community where people who are interested in the Christian faith can come and find answers to their spiritual questions. Ultimately, Burkhart sees the site becoming a valuable resource to connect people with churches in their area or Christian-based organizations that can help them with both their spiritual and practical needs such as dealing with addictions, pregnancy care, or other problems they may be facing.
Burkhart says the applications in MyBLAB.com are fast, scalable, reliable, and feature-rich. Because the site is new, joining MyBLAB.com now allows individuals or organizations to grab simple and personalized URLs, something almost impossible to do at this juncture with any other social networking site. Plus, music lovers and video fanatics can load their profiles with great Christian music and videos. Christian artists can promote and share their music by uploading songs to their profile page. And like other social networks, MyBLAB.com is completely free to use.
“The vision for MyBLAB.com is to form a community of believers across the globe, encouraging one another in their journeys of faith,” says Burkhart. “I can’t think of a better way to use the internet than that.”
Tags: Christian interest, myblab.com, social networking
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Thelma Wells, a prominent international speaker and author, a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. As a student at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas (now the University of North Texas), she was a member of the first group of girls to integrate the school’s dormitories. She earned her Bachelor’s degree there and eventually received a Master’s of Ministry from Master’s International School of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. In 2002, she became the school’s first African American female professor.
In 1980, Wells became the first African American woman in the South to organize her own international speaking and consulting corporation. Her natural talent for public speaking and storytelling attracted the attention of the Women of Faith Tour, and in 1996 she became the first African American core speaker for the organization. She has authored several books, including “God Is Not Through With Me Yet” and “What These Girls Knew –How Girls Back Then Talk To Us TODAY”. She serves as the president of The Daughters of Zion Leadership Mentoring Program, an organization she founded in 2000 (another first for an African American woman). Through this ministry, “Mama T,” as she is affectionately called, has mentored over 100 spiritual daughters. Wells also received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Saint Thomas Christian College, Jacksonville, Florida in 2006. www.ThelmaWells.com
Sue Ann O’Neal Bev Henry Vikki Wells
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Tags: branson, Christian interest, thelma wells
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What is the legacy of a great coach? When the players of the Great Falls Central Mustangs arrived for the first day of practice in the fall of 1962, they had their sights set on the unlikely goal of the state championship. But what their coaches delivered was far more lasting than a championship ring.
Coached for Life, by Ed Flaherty and Jack Uldrich, is the true account of how two high school football coaches, Bill Mehrens and John McMahon, molded an undistinguished group of young men into state champions. The book includes a dramatic 40 year retrospect from the players themselves (including Flaherty, a former team captain) describing how the principles instilled in them during the 1962 season continued to shape their lives in positive ways long after they left the football field.
Coached for Life author Ed Flaherty shares about what makes a great teacher:
Q: What separates the good coaches and teachers from the great ones?
A: Being a great coach is not merely about understanding the fundamentals of the game or possessing the will to win. The achievements on the field of play and even the ability to coach aren’t what ultimately determine a coach’s success. It is their ability to love. Simply put, the best coaches and teachers love their students. That love—not the quest for a winning record—is the motivating factor behind every lesson in discipline, responsibility, perseverance, accuracy, and community. This is a heritage that has been handed down through generations of coaches and players. Coach Mehrens and Coach McMahon passed these lessons to every player they ever coached—including the 37 members of the 1962 Great Falls Central Mustangs. True to their heritage, the 1962 Mustangs have kept up the tradition, whether as fathers, coaches, teachers, military officers, or business leaders.
Q: Though the word “coach” is usually associated with athletics, the principles your coaches taught you, and that you have shared in the book, are much bigger than a football game. In your mind, who else fulfills the role of a coach?
A: The role of a coach is to shape character, to help people realize every bit of their potential. There are so many relationships that involve an aspect of coaching. If you are in a leadership position, you are—or rather, you should be—a coach. Parents, teachers, business owners, managers, supervisors, ministers, and counselors are all coaches.
Q: How have the lessons from your coaches most shaped your life and career?
A: Of all the lessons Coach Mehrens and Coach McMahon taught me, the one that has borne the most obvious fruit is the idea of setting goals and making a plan to meet them. As an entrepreneur, I have started or purchased three-dozen companies in my career. The combined annual sales from those companies approach one billion dollars. Each of these successes is the result of incremental goals I have set for myself—the first two being to work for myself and care for my family, then to make enough money to give back to my church and community. This lesson is one that I have passed on to countless employees, and it has also enabled some meaningful charity work. My coaches demonstrated that my life could make a difference in the lives of others.
Tags: books, Christian interest
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One Mom’s Experience with Sensory Integration Dysfunction
By Jennifer Shaw
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Sensory Integration Dysfunction is closely associated with autism in that many autistic children have some form of SID. To date, the medical community is unclear of the exact connection. SID is also often misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD. The following is an editorial from singer/speaker Jennifer Shaw:
I was the mother of two beautiful girls and was thrilled to add a son to our family. After a difficult and dangerous pregnancy, we were especially thankful that our baby boy, who we named Toby, was born healthy. He seemed to be a very unhappy baby compared to our girls, but we hoped he would grow out of it.
The first indication that something was out of the ordinary was when we could not get him to eat any food. I nursed him without a problem, but when we introduced baby foods, it was a daily struggle that we lost. We also noticed that he never babbled or made any sounds and he rarely smiled. Eventually it was clear that he was very speech-delayed, but because he had suffered from repeat ear infections which caused clinical deafness during his first year, we attributed a lot of his mood to pain and hoped that when his hearing improved, his speech would come along. After surgery on his ears, his hearing did get better and his infections went away, but he still did not make any sounds.
During Toby’s second year, my father was dying of ALS and that took much of our emotional energy. But Toby’s behavior was becoming more and more extreme. He wouldn’t touch anything or play, he did not want to be touched, and he was terrified of being messy or being anywhere near things like grass or sand. A drop of water on his clothing would make him scream. It became really frightening and we did not know how to help him.
When Toby turned two, we started him at a therapy school for speech delay. There was an occupational therapist on staff and she was the first to diagnose Toby with Sensory Integration Dysfunction (also known as Sensory Processing Disorder). Toby’s brain was not interpreting sensory input correctly. People with this disorder can suffer in a variety of ways, but in Toby’s case, he was extremely hyper-sensitive to touch of any kind. Food in his mouth, clothes on his skin, crumbs on his hands were all completely intolerable to him — he thought they were actually hurting him.
Toby began play-based occupational therapy, speech therapy, some physical therapy (because he didn’t touch things or play and had poor balance, his muscles were very weak), and food therapy. Within two months my son who had previously uttered no sounds said, “I love you, Mom.” Within a year, Toby’s progress was nothing short of miraculous. He is now five and was discharged from all private therapies a year ago. He never had to have any medications or drug therapies. Although he still has some minor sensory issues, he has learned to cope with those challenges and he is now considered a typical child.
I am a songwriter and recording artist, not a doctor or therapist, but we learned a lot of things in our journey with SID that I share with people who suspect this condition in their own children. There is so much hope if you know where to look, and although Toby’s outcome is not typical, there is help for every child with this diagnosis. So here’s my advice:
Do not ignore the signs even if you don’t know what they mean. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but some of the symptoms of SID are speech delay, poor coordination, poor balance, avoiding touch or seeking touch in extreme ways (running into walls or falling down on purpose, running into people), extremely picky eating or extremely messy eating, irritability or a “difficult” personality. SID is often misdiagnosed, especially in older children, as ADD or ADHD.
Do not wait, even when your pediatrician tells you to. After everything we went through with Toby, my pediatrician (whom I love and respect) told me that she gave me the wrong advice by advising me to wait for Toby to catch up. This is what most doctors are taught, and while it is probably true for many problems, SID is not one of them. Treatment is so much more effective before the age of three that you cannot afford to waste time. If you suspect something, trust your instincts and get your child tested by an occupational therapist. If they say there’s nothing to worry about, fine, but if not, you have not wasted valuable time that your child needs for therapy.
Get educated. Find out all you can and do everything in your power to help your child on a daily basis at home. We used to laugh about “our life as therapy” as we tried to integrate all Toby’s therapies into everything we did. An excellent book on this topic is The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz.
Get help. There is a federal program for developmentally-delayed children from age 0-3 available in every state. It goes by many different names – ours was called “Help Me Grow”. They will do testing and help get your child into therapy programs, most of which are free if you qualify. Toby’s therapy program literally changed his life and ours. You can call the special needs department at your local school district and they should be able to tell you who operates the program in your area. After the age of three, help is available through your local school district. Take advantage of any therapy coverage on your insurance plan. Talk to your therapists about what you can do at home, watch the therapy whenever possible, and ask a lot of questions. We were able to overcome a lot of Toby’s food issues only because we learned techniques from our therapists.
Re-define baby steps. This is not a quick fix. For example, Toby was literally afraid of food. We were not usually able to get him to stay in the same room with us while we ate. And sitting down and eating a meal was out of the question. So first, we worked on getting him to be with us in the room at meal times, eventually coaxed him to sit at the table, then got him to allow us to put food on the plate, then he learned to touch the food with a fork, then he touched it to his tongue but didn’t eat it, etc. It was a long, frustrating process, but my son eats a healthy diet now and the simplicity of a family meal has become a true blessing in our lives.
Get support. SID can be very lonely and frightening. Our church was an amazing support to us and truly held us together at times. I met so many parents of special needs children at the school and it helped us realize we weren’t alone. They were also a wonderful resource of ideas as we all talked about what was working or not working for our children.
Don’t give up. SID can be overwhelming and confusing. It can be hard to navigate the system. Every therapy will not work for every child and you will need to be careful and wise about your choices. Take comfort in knowing that there is help and things can improve. You are your child’s best advocate.
SID makes family life difficult, and it can be very hard to watch your child struggle. But there is hope and help, making positive results very possible. With persistence, we can help our children cope with their world and enjoy their lives, as we enjoy the blessing that they are in ours.
For more information on Jennifer Shaw, visit www.JenniferShaw.com.
Jennifer’s first radio single from her new CD, LOVE BROKE THROUGH, has already topped the national worship charts. Jennifer has been interviewed on several national television shows as well as radio stations across the country.
Schedule an interview with Jennifer today!
Call toll free 888-253-3622
We have a few review and giveaway copies of her new CD still available!
Tags: artists, autism, Christian interest, family, guest contributer
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The film, which chronicles Arthur Blessitt’s amazing journey of
nearly 40,000 miles and 40 years, will now be available on DVD.
A remarkable story of survival, perseverance, and unquenchable spiritual passion. — Variety
You will be inspired by Arthur Blessitt’s life and encouraged in your faith. — Joel Osteen
Tags: Christian interest, entertainment
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Top Student-Nominated Teachers From Five Counties Receive Recognition
(Fort Myers , Fla.) The Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida, Inc. invites the public to join them as they honor nominees and finalists in Christian education at the Fourth Annual Golden Halo Award Dinner on Saturday, March 13, 2010 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Grace Community Center in N. Fort Myers , Fla. Tickets are $35 per person, $65 for a couple, and $25 per student (high school and under) and are available online at http://hischamber.org/GoldenHalo.aspx or by calling the Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida during regular business hours at 239-481-1411.
Ten finalists, selected from over 100 nominees in the five-county region (Lee, Collier, Charlotte , Glades, and Hendry) will be honored and the overall winner announced live during the banquet. Teachers chosen as top ten finalists receive two free tickets to the Golden Halo banquet and a gift basket from various Christian Chamber members and merchants. The winner also receives a custom diamond pin created by Southwest Florida ’s Diamond District.
The evening is being chaired by Vikki Luft of Compass Construction and Sue Fowler of Elegant Affairs Event Planning and will be emceed by Patrick Nolan, Evening News Anchor from Fox 4 TV (WFTX). Entertainment will be provided by Grace Church in addition to a Silent Auction prior to dinner. Sponsors include Fox 4, Lee Sar, Gravity Benefits, CoolAir Conditioning, Inc., Rice Contracting Enterprises, Inc., J.L. Wallace, Inc., Evangelical Christian School , Compass Construction, Saks and Messmer Florist. Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available including limited advertising space on a 12 month calendar that will give given to all attendees at the Golden Halo Award Dinner.
Sierra Minott, Miss Florida 2008 and fourth runner-up in the Miss America 2009 Pageant, will be the featured speaker. She will talk about the importance of Christian education to help develop students’ own uniquely valuable talents, passions and abilities. Minott is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with a Minor in Musical Theatre at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach , Fla.
In 2006, the Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida began the first-in-the-nation recognition of outstanding teachers in Christian private schools. Since then, over 300 teachers have been nominated by their students based on qualities their teacher possess that make them a role model, and how the teacher has enhanced the students education and faith.
“The Golden Halo recognition program began when the Christian Chamber realized that educators throughout the country are being honored in our public school system, while private Christian school teachers were often forgotten. We are proud of every teacher who is nominated and pleased to support the education our Christian teachers provide. We hope more individuals throughout the U.S. will join us in paying tribute to all the teachers in private Christian education for their investment in our children’s lives,” says Jeanne Sweeney, President / CEO of the Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida, Inc.
Tags: awards, Christian interest, golden halo
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