Archive for Rev. Jim Mann

North Texas community embraces people with Down syndrome

Posted in Disability, Down Syndrome with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2018 by saynsumthn
Down syndrome

Blake Pyron, who lives in the small North Texas town of Sanger, has become the state’s first businessman with Down syndrome. Live Action recently sent a film crew to Denton County, Texas, to meet Blake, who, with the encouragement of his amazing family and supportive community, started Blake’s Snow Shack at the young age of 20.

Blake’s mother, Mary Ann, told Live Action News that she always wanted to be a mother. She has two sons: Mitchell, and his younger brother Blake, who was born with Down syndrome.

Blake became the youngest person in his city to own a business and he also became the first business owner with Down syndrome in his hometown of Sanger (and possibly all of Texas).

Image: Mary Ann and Blake Pyron for World Down Syndrome Day

Mary Ann and Blake Pyron for World Down Syndrome Day

As a result, Blake’s business has been recognized by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as well as other dignitaries, and Blake has been featured on many media outlets both nationally and internationally. Blake’s Snow Shack has also received a NASCAR endorsement.

Live Action News spoke with Mary Ann about how the community has embraced Blake. “Early on, I thought that it would be harder for Blake to make friends than his brother Mitchell,” she said. But that wasn’t the case. Blake is extremely outgoing and has become quite a legend in his community.

Image: Blake and brother Mitchell Pyron

Blake Pyron (R) and brother Mitchell Pyron (L)

“Once people people get to know him, they find it easy to like him. He has a lot of friends,” she stated.

One of Blake’s oldest and best friends is the son of Jennifer Watts, a long time friend of the family. Jennifer told Live Action News how her son Brance, who is currently playing football at Emporia State University in Kansas, became good friends with Blake.

Image: Jennifer Watts

Jennifer Watts

“My son was one of Blake’s ‘helpers.’ They were friends through school and lived in the same neighborhood,” she said. Blake and Brance began their friendship in the fourth grade. “Brance’s teacher, Mrs. Morris, was the one who was instrumental in that,” Jennifer said. “They were in the same home room and she knew Blake needed a helper. She had two or three students capable of managing their work and helping others. My son was one of them.”

Image: Brance Watts and Blake Pyron

Brance Watts (LH) and Blake Pyron (RH)

Jennifer said that the concept behind “Blake’s helper” was inclusion, and if Blake needed help, Brance would be a peer helper for him.

“Blake nicknamed Brance ‘Kip.’ And the name has stuck,” she said. “When Blake was participating in Special Olympics, Brance would get on the field and do his warm up walks and cheer him on.”

“Whenever Blake and Brance were in High School, Blake was part of their football team. He started out as a water boy and would run out through the sign. Their senior year, Blake was made an honorary team captain, ” Jennifer recalled.

Image: Blake Pyron and the Sanger football team

Blake  out front with Sanger football team

Pastor Jim Mann, an avid sports enthusiast and lead pastor at New Life Church in Sanger, has watched the community support Blake for years. Pastor Mann said that by the time he first met Blake, he was already embraced by the community. “He was a popular football team player, just one of the guys. That says a lot about a community to me.”

Image: Pastor Jim Mann

Pastor Jim Mann

Pastor Mann pointed to Blake’s family and praised the way Blake’s parents always encouraged him to do what he wanted to do.

Blake’s mom, Mary Ann, said exposure is key, and that Blake and her entire family loved to volunteer and do things around the community:

Our family served the community and that included Blake.  Because of that, we have had families tell us that their children are better people for having Blake as a friend. Family dynamic has also helped. His big brother Mitchell has been his biggest fan since day one.

Blake wanted to play football just like his big brother Mitchell, so Sanger High School and his coach made him the manager. He would run out with the flag in support of the team.

Blake’s football coach, Chuck Galbreath, was part of the community support for Blake and others with disabilities. He named not only Blake but another young student with Down syndrome, Austin Waters, as Honorary Team Captains.

“They’re an inspiration for all of us. I know for me, specifically,” the coach told the media in the video below.

“Whenever I talk to other moms, I tell them to be involved. All moms should be involved with their kids lives, but moms of kids with special needs have to do double time,” Mary Ann said.

She told Live Action News that as a result of the way Blake brought the community together around football, he was granted Sanger’s Citizen of the Year award in 2015.

Image: Blake Pyron gets Citizen of the Year Award

Blake receives Citizen of the Year award from Sanger, Texas

Blake graduated in 2015, but Mary Ann told Live Action News that because Blake paved the way, there is now another young man with Down syndrome at his old school who will have the same opportunities opening up to him. “If Blake had not paved the way, that wouldn’t be happening.”

In addition to football, Blake also loves music. His mother said she allowed Blake to follow his dreams and as a result, it was Blake that changed the world. “Blake loved music and we had a friend who taught him the guitar,” Mary Ann said. “He said, ‘If it doesn’t work, no hard feelings.’ And it worked.”

Image: Blake Pyron has Down syndrome and plays guitar

 

“[Our friend] said, ‘I never thought Blake could play the guitar. I am so glad I gave him the chance.’ He is now teaching a young lady with autism. Blake has opened his heart to expand.”

Pastor Mann said that family, church and community are key to coming alongside any family who has a child with special needs. New Life Church embraces all kinds of people, he said, pointing out that he has several families in his congregation who have disabilities or children with special needs. “When you have a church and an entire town behind you, it makes it a lot better,” he said.

Pastor Mann recalled the day that Blake hung out his shingle at Blake’s Snow Shack. “He was tearing it up – he had a lot of people eating snow cones.”

Image: Blake Pyron owns Blake's Snow Shack

Blake Pyron owns Blake’s Snow Shack

Although he usually doesn’t eat snow cones himself, Pastor Mann makes an effort to buy them from Blake anyway. “We’ve hired him a couple of times to do Vacation Bible School (VBS); he’s always the main attraction. The line is long.”

Live Action News asked these three how other communities could embrace people with Down syndrome just like Sanger has.

“Just embrace them like anyone else – just give them a chance,” Blake’s mother said. “Be accepting. Open your heart up to them as an individual, regardless of any diagnosis. Everyone should be seen as an equal. We are really all more alike than we are different.”

Jennifer agreed. “It means everything, the teacher being instrumental in creating a classroom environment where students of all abilities are welcome and where children help one another, the comradery and the team aspect, the environment she created — that’s real. I know it taught my son. It gave him an opportunity to help someone else and he felt good about that. It gave him an opportunity to help others. I felt it was just as beneficial to the quote unquote ‘normal students’ as it was to the students of disabilities.”

“Part of the solution is to celebrate people like Blake,” Pastor Mann stated. “Sanger has really embraced him, without being told they have to. It was authentic. It was real.”

“Blake brings hope to people,” said his number one fan, his mother Mary Ann. “He has such a wonderful personality. A lot of people with Down Syndrome do. I feel like these people who have gotten to know Blake – if they ever receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome, they will say, ‘Hey, I knew this really cool kid with Down syndrome.’”

Image: Blake Pyron

Down syndrome business owner Blake Pyron

 

Pastor Mann summed it all up: “You celebrate these people as people. See them for what they are and what they can contribute. Blake is always smiling. He always gives you a thumbs up. He is Sanger’s most famous resident. ”

Special Note: Wednesday, March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) and Blake, as one of 12 speakers across the globe, has been invited to speak on Disability Employment at the United Nations Headquarters. Blake is expected to speak about the benefits and struggles of owning his own business, the reach of families that come to see him, and the impact his business has had within the community. The following day, on March 22, 2018, Blake will ring the NASDAQ opening bell at 8:30 am CT. Blake may be one of the first men with Down syndrome to to this.

    • This article is reprinted with permission. The original appeared here at Live Action News.

Note:

Blake speaks to United Nations (2018)

 

 

Blake was invited to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange as well:

Christians in Dallas rally to support the persecuted in Iraq

Posted in Christian Martyrs, persecution with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by saynsumthn

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Sunday, in Dallas, Texas several hundred Christians from area churches gathered together in front of Dallas City Hall to show love and support for those being persecuted in Iraq.

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The Islamic group ISIS targeted the churches in Iraq and marked their homes with the Arabic “N” in the same way that the Nazis marked the Jews they killed.

WERN Scripture

The theme of the rally was Hebrews 13 which calls for Christians to suffer with those who suffer.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Heb 13:3 (KJV)

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The group gathered to pray for the persecuted!

Jim Mann Pray beseech GodPrayers

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Lord, first we are grateful for the rights that you give us…The rights to assemble, the freedom of worship,” Pastor Jim Mann of New Life Church of Denton prayed, “We don’t recognize those rights coming from our government they come from you,” he continued, “We assemble together as one body, today our body is broken, our body hurts. You tell us to love those who are being persecuted even as if your own bodies were being broken. You tell us Lord to rejoice with those who rejoice to weep with those who weep. You tell us there’s one body, there’s one Baptism, there’s one Spirit. So, these are our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world. So we pray for them – we lift them to you oh God..

Jim Mann Prayers

Pastor Mann continues, “There doesn’t seem to be much we can do, but we can beseech you the God of the Universe, Almighty God, to intervene on their behalf. We can speak up and let our voices be heard….Lord about your church, that we would awaken. Awaken to your grace, awaken to our eroding freedoms Lord, that we would take a stand. Lord, that one day- if the day ever comes, God forbid, that we are called to take the sign of the Nazarene on us, that we would take it with pride and we would take a stand for you..Holy Spirit fill us, break our hearts for our brothers and sisters.”

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Billy Grate

There’s only one church, there’s only one church. Jesus is coming back for one Church. What they suffer – we suffer,” said Pastor Billy Grate, “We’re not asking the government to move for us- we’re asking Jesus to move for us.”

Broden Prays

Other pastors who attended or spoke at the rally included Minister Clarence Davis of Full Gospel Holiness Church and Pastor Stephen Broden from Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Dallas as well as Iraqi born Pastor Jalil Dawood of the Arabic Church of Dallas, who helped organize the event.

broden

Pastor Broden called for the immediate defunding of all US Tax dollars to countries that allow Christian persecution and Pastor Dawood warned that what is happening in Iraq could come to the United States.

Christians are being killed, their children are being sown in half…and much of this is happening on our watch, Pastor Broden told the crowd. He said they had an obligation to speak up.

Clarence Prays

God we ask that you would quicken not only us but other pastors around the world to their God-given duty, to their God-given right to stand with your people.,” Minister Clarence Davis prayed.

Brothers from Iraq and Assyria also prayed in Assyrian for the persecuted:

Prayers in Assyrian

Also present were Arab and Assyrian Christians from Palestine and Iran who led the group in chants for the suffering:

Chants

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Jalil Dawood ppl suffering

Iraqi born pastor, Jalil Dawood told the crowd that they want the world to know the Christians in Iraq are suffering, “These people need help and we are here to voice that,” Dawood told the crowd, “If we say nothing, do nothing, we are accountable before the Lord. We will give an account before the Lord that we did nothing.”

Dawood Account

I want you to pray for these people, I want you to pray for them every day, because these people are hurting,” Dawood stated, “And I’m talking about 250,000 people in Iraq alone, who lost their families, their lives….And I thank God for this country that we are able to speak. What I am saying to you right now in the Middle East I’ll be in prison. In a Muslim country I’ll be killed. But, I thank God for this nation that we can speak.We pray for this nation that the freedom will continue…We need to stand here for the weaker over there, Amen?

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As the group assembled in the late afternoon the Christian Motorcycle Club arrived to offer support to the group: Motorcycle _9146186076074010146_n

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Those who attended came from across the Dallas metroplex including, Plano, Denton, Sanger, Little Elm, Arlington, Ft Worth and surrounding counties.

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Despite the group sending out press releases to every news outlet in the state of Texas including e-mails and phone calls only a few media outlets bothered to show up at the rally.

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CBS channel 11 came and filed this report:

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Despite censorship from the secular and main stream media ( MSM), the Christian media took an interest in the rally and media outlets such as WorldNet Daily KDKR, and the Janet Mefford Show, Janet Folger, and the Christian Post ( links below), Point of View Radio, AFR radio and others filed reports before the rally:

http://www.wnd.com/2014/08/isis-wont-stay-in-middle-east/

5 Things Americans Can Do to Help Persecuted Christians in Iraq (Christian Post)

http://www.christianpost.com/news/5-things-americans-can-do-to-help-persecuted-christians-in-iraq-125821/

Many of those interviews can be heard here.

Rev. Jim Mann: Author [Anne Rice] wrongly turns back on Christianity

Posted in Abortion, Christian, Church with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2010 by saynsumthn

08:52 AM CDT on Friday, August 27, 2010


Rev. Jim Mann

Author wrongly turns back on Christianity

Oh, Anne Rice. Bless her heart. In case you missed the controversy, Rice publicly “quit” Christianity several weeks back. She wrote on Facebook: “I remain committed to Christ as always … [but] it’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous group.”

She said she refuses to be anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-Democratic, anti-secular humanism, anti-science and anti-life. It was such big news even columnist Leonard Pitts took a break from his usual race-baiting, conservative-bashing sentiments to revel in the matter (DRC, Aug. 10).

In case you don’t know Rice, she was into vampires long before vampires were sexy. A former student at the University of North Texas, she wrote a series of novels following her bestselling Interview With the Vampire. She experienced a dramatic religious conversion more than 10 years ago, which she chronicles in Called Out of the Darkness. For full disclosure, I have read two of her fictitious books about Jesus’ life and ministry, which I thoroughly enjoyed. She’s quite a talented author.

Rice admittedly came to the church with an agenda. When the church did not buy into this agenda, she left. The question is: Did she ever truly convert to Christianity?
Jesus warned us 2,000 years ago that the Bible’s message would be offensive to the world. Heck, it offends Christians, too. The reason for the affront is the mirror-like aspect of God’s word, revealing our deepest flaws and all our ugliness apart from God. The Bible calls us to change our thinking. It calls us to change our actions. That’s where we get the term “conversion.”

In other words, we come to God on his terms. We don’t force him to change his tenets, nor do we get to pick and choose which beliefs we want to accept as true. God doesn’t have (or need) an editor.

Imagine a liberal signing up for the local “tea party” and then getting upset when the platform includes cutting government spending. It’s laughable. Signing the tea party rolls doesn’t make you a fiscal conservative, and joining the church doesn’t make you a convert.

Is Rice correct? Are there some quarrelsome, hostile and disputatious folks in the church? Sure. Some of them are pastors. I once had an ethics professor in graduate school who was the meanest, most unfair professor I ever had. The irony was not lost on me, but I was somehow able to avoid jumping to the conclusion that all ethics professors are unethical.

I’ve heard it said the church is less a home for saints than it is a haven for sinners. Or as I like to tell folks who reject the church because of the hypocrites they find: We’ve got room for one more.

We come to God on his terms, not our own. We don’t always live up to his terms (hence the apparent hypocrisy), but we try. Pitts, in his observations on this controversy, falsely argues that the church is dying. He says that a new “openness” is needed from churches to ensure the future of “organized religion.” In essence, he’s suggesting the church lower its standards and kill two birds with one stone. Lower moral standards mean less moral failure and therefore less hypocrisy. Also, lower standards mean the church will no longer run off enlightened, important people like Anne Rice. But what Pitts doesn’t understand, and what Rice has learned, is that the Bible says what it says. You take it or leave it. Anne Rice left it. I’ll take it.

Brett McCracken recently wrote in an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal: “If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched — and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.”

I know Rice loves Jesus. She’s written about him quite reverently. But if she wants to be his follower, she will have to accept more than just the “idea” of Jesus — she’ll have to convert to his way of thinking.

THE REV. JIM MANN is a native of Denton and the pastor of New Life Church. He’s an adjunct professor of the New Testament at Liberty Seminary. Visit www.NewLifeDenton.org for more information. If you’re interested in the intersection of politics and faith, visit his site, http://www.agoracommunity.org .

Ms. Rice- here is one scripture :
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”