For it is by grace you have been saved...

Friday, February 29, 2008

For The Children

Everyone knows that being a parent is difficult. It's hard work raising children in general, but add to that the element of trying to raise Christian children in an increasingly anti-Christian world, and the job just gets tougher.

Every time I turn around I read stories about state governments that are going out of their way to protect everyone's rights except those of the Christian student and their parents. The latest (that I've heard anyway) is about SB777 in California, recently signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger. It ensures that no one can openly criticize homosexual and transgendered teachers. What about the protection of the children in those classrooms. We don't seem to care much about them, do we?

Or go to the Homes School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website and read about cases all over the nation where Christian homeschool families are being targeted by local school districts, DFS offices, etc.

Of course, there are positives here and there. In Missouri our legislators are trying to pass HJR55 which would clarify students' rights to pray in public places, as well as the right of the average citizen to do the same. But at times I wonder if things like that are too little too late.

I would encourage you to check out two ministries:

1. Exodus Mandate. Their stated purpose says that, "Exodus Mandate Project is a Christian ministry to encourage and assist Christian families to leave government schools for the Promised Land of Christian schools or home schooling."

I know that sounds so radical to some, but take time to remove the historical blinders and look at the true history of education. Government education the way we do it now is a very modern invention, and I don't think those who started down this road ever intended it to go so far in removing families from the equation. Christian people need to realize that our children have been given to us to raise, not the state or anyone else, and we are responsible for their training in godliness and in everything else. Get involved parents! Your children's future depends on it.

And speaking of parental involvement...

2. This organization seeks to bring "together everyone who agrees that the vital role of parents in the lives of children should not be undermined by government action or policy." Of primary concern here is not only keeping an eye on state and federal legislation that removes parental rights in various ways, but also the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Yes I know that's been around since Clinton, but the threat still looms as there continues to be pressure for the US to officially endorse this. On the surface it seems good, and in ways it might be, but the end result would be a serious erosion of the rights of parents to bring up their children with Biblical values and principles. Check out their site for more information on this and other issues.

The bottom line is that parents need to get involved, stay involved. We've abdicated our role and responsibility in the rearing of our children to the state, and to others in general, for too long. God has called us to be parents, to ensure the faithfulness of the next generation, to be sure that future generations know of the greatness of our God. We can't do that by standing on the sidelines and letting godless government agencies determine what's best for our children. For their sake, get involved.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Run, Mike, Run

I’ve been out of it for quite awhile. The previously mentioned flu bug knocked our family out for several weeks, and then just trying to catch up, keep up with things at church, etc. It all left little time for things like blogging.

But while I was away, the one thing that I kept hearing over and over was this idea that Mike Huckabee should be stepping aside, dropping out, throwing in the towel, whatever phraseology you want to use. What a ridiculous idea.

This is part of our process, isn’t it? The people have the right to vote for their party’s nominee. And that should mean that we have a choice in the matter. I love the way Gov. Huckabee has been stating it in recent interview: “This is an election, not a coronation.”

And he’s right. Sure Sen. McCain has more delegates; but he doesn’t have enough to secure the nomination. And until he does, the Gov. has every right, and I believe every responsibility to stay in the race. And that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that Huckabee is the only choice for the true conservative.

So here’s the deal.

First, Gov. Huckabee’s campaign is sending a letter to Sen. McCain asking to meet for a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. This would let folks see the positions of the two men side-by-side and give us a clearer portrait of just who it is we’re nominating. I think this is a wonderful idea and would encourage you to follow this link to sign that letter of request to Sen. McCain.

Second, my friend Rod Albert sent me a link to a poll asking about Huckabee pulling out. I would encourage you to follow that link as well, and let’s send a message to all those pundits out there who think the American way means to lay down and let the other guy have a free ride. (BTW you should also read Rod's post regarding a "brokered" convention. Interesting stuff. )

Hopefully, I’m getting back on track here. And hopefully I can talk about something besides politics in the very near future.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

True Love and the Newsboys

It’s been a rough week or so at our house. We’ve passed around what feels like a winter flu bug on steroids. I actually missed preaching on Sunday morning for the first time in my brief 17 years of pastoral ministry. At this point I’m not sure I’ll have a voice by this Sunday, putting it in doubt as well. But leave it to my wife to bring a little sunshine and encouragement.

Our local Christian radio station was running a little contest, giving away tickets for an upcoming Newsboys concert (which I very much wanted to attend, but also very much couldn’t afford right now). Following the theme of their song “In Wonder” callers were asked to call in and tell a story of someone or something wonderful in their lives.

My darling wife (whom for years I’ve known that I don’t deserve) called in this morning to tell them about her sweetheart, who coincidentally was born on Valentine’s Day. (That would be me, in case you’re wondering). She told of how I proposed to her, and a little bit about our family, etc. And lo and behold, she won tickets for us to go the Newsboys concert!

Now that’s true love, folks. For several reasons. One, she doesn’t really want to go the concert. Two, she hates telling stories about our life like that. Three, she hates even worse to talk on the phone to radio stations, especially knowing they might play it on the air (which they are going to do tomorrow morning, BTW). All for her sweetheart.

My loving wife is a constant reminder of what grace is all about. It’s a shame that she had to win me Newsboys tickets to get me to talk about it again, but I am daily reminded of God’s goodness because of her. I don’t deserve her love any more than I deserve His, but in His grace I’ve been given both. To quote a much earlier song from the ‘boys: “When we get what we don’t deserve, that’s a real good thing. When we don’t get what we deserve, that’s a real good thing.”

That’s grace.
And that’s true love.

Happy Valentine’s Everyone.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

There Really Is A Free Lunch

In 1975, economist Milton Friedman wrote a book called There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Far be it from me to argue with a Nobel Laureate Economist. After all, in my one college consumer economics class, when I finally dared to open my mouth and answer a question, the professor’s response was “Please tell me you’re not a business major!” (No joke, that actually happened!)

Anyway, qualifications aside I must go on record as saying that there really is a free lunch. Thanks to the Springfield News-Leader, that old adage will have to be revised.

A few weeks back my wife pointed out a little blurb in the paper about a program called “Dine on Our Dime.” Apparently, the paper was looking for suggestions of restaurants to be written up in their Weekend section. So I fired off an email recommending my favorite BBQ joint called Bandanas. (By the way, my wife says to let everyone know that one of the best parts of Bandanas is their very inexpensive kids meals.)

Within a few short days, I heard back from the paper and had made arrangements with their restaurant reviewer to meet at Bandanas for lunch . . . all on their tab!

Sandy Clark, a transplant from California, was a most gracious host. Because he wanted to get a good sampling, we ordered way more food than I usually would have. We had a pleasant meal and an even more pleasant visit. He even offered some tips and offers of further help to my daughter who wants to be a writer. If you’re interested, you can read the final review here.

My only complaint with the whole experience was the photography skills of my host. Now, I’m neither vain nor unrealistic. After working in radio for several years I told folks my choice of that medium was because I had a “radio face.” But the picture printed in the paper (of me, not the food seen here) wasn’t too great (although it looked better in the paper than online!). I know he didn’t have much to work with, but I thought a good photographer was supposed to make you look better or something. Of course, after lunch he took three pictures with his digital camera and after the last one he said, “Whoa! That didn’t come out well.” So I guess I’m glad he didn’t print that one!

At any rate, it was a good experience overall. I got to have lunch at my absolute favorite restaurant. I got to visit with an interesting writer. I got a little more free press. And it didn’t cost me a thing! So if you happen to live in the Springfield area, not only would I recommend the Bandanas, but you might want to drop a line over the News-Leader and see about getting a free lunch of your own. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Earning Respect on the Issues

If nothing else, yesterday’s Super Tuesday result have finally earned some respect for Mike Huckabee and the legitimacy of his candidacy. Instead of folks calling for him to pull out and endorse Romney, the call is now reversed. Even the liberal network news guys were giving Huck credit, albeit reluctantly.

And to all five people who read this, a big thank you to the other 185, 626 Missourians who went out and voted for Mike yesterday. We only came up a little short, calling into question the winner take all method in this state.

Also, congrats to the people of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia for their wisdom in declaring the right man to be their candidate.

It seems John McCain will be next to impossible to stop at this point, but here’s hoping that the Grand Old Party will stand up and take notice of those who truly make it run. It’s not about Mormon vs. Baptist, as the media would have you believe. It’s about the issues we truly care about: protecting life, marriage, our borders, etc. These are the things that have propelled Huckabee’s campaign and that McCain and his ilk need to take into serious consideration.

And the tide rolls on!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Go Vote!!

Super Tuesday is upon us, and I would simply like to remind you to go vote.

I'm frustrated by those who are already calling for Huckabee to give in and endorse Romney. Let's wait until the votes are counted, shall we? And, by the way, the latest polls have Huckabee gaining here in Missouri, and leading handily here in the Ozarks.
And for pity's sake, let's have some conviction. If you truly believe in a candidate, support him to the end. And if you are a candidate who truly believes in your issues, then stick it out to the end. No Compromise!

So let's get out there Missouri, and let's vote. Of course, I agree with what Mike Huckabee said during his stop in Springfield on Friday. He said, "If you're not going to vote for me, then stay home!" (It's a joke, friends, the guy has a sense of humor).

If you don't vote now, even in the primary, then you can't say later that you truly care about the future of our nation. For the sake of our kids, go vote! - I Like Mike!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day!

Seems like I've been hitting the politics a little hard lately, so let me move on to a truly important subject. Since the mid-1980's Groundhog Day has been a highlight on my calendar. My college roommate and I both have birthdays in the first two weeks of February, and it seemed only fitting that we should celebrate together. Kind of like President's Day for both Washington and Linclon. Anyway, the proximity of the already popular Groundhog Day just seems to be a perfect fit.

So, in case you haven't heard, here is the official proclamation from the only true Groundhog Day groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil at his official website.

Phil's official forecast as read 2/2/08 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob:

Here Ye! Here Ye! Here Ye!

On Gobbler's Knob on this fabolous Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2008 Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators, Rose to the call of President Bill Cooper and greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths.

After casting a weathered eye toward thousands of his faithful followers, Phil consulted with President Cooper and directed him to the appropriate scroll, which proclaimed:

"As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me. Six more weeks of winter it will be!"
So Happy Groundhog Day everyone.

And yes, I've already sent Bob a Groundhog Day e-card.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Is Creationism A Hard Sell?

The liberal media just doesn’t get it. On Jay Leno’s Tonight Show tonight, former long-time news anchor Tom Brokaw was opining about the presidential race. The subject came up regarding Mike Huckabee as a running mate to John McCain (notice they’ve already written Huckabee off, but that’s another story). Brokaw said he would be a help to McCain because of his social conservatism, however (now listen carefully) “Huckabee is a creationist, he doesn’t believe in evolution and how are you going to sell that the country?”

How are you going to sell that to the country!? Are you kidding me? How out of touch can these liberals really be. This is supposedly a world class journalist. And yet this hillbilly preacher spent five minutes on the internet with a Google search and came up with these facts on the first page of searches:

*A 2004 poll by CBS showed that: "Americans do not believe that humans evolved, and the vast majority says that even if they evolved, God guided the process. Just 13 percent say that God was not involved." The full results showed that only 13 percent of Americans believe in naturalistic evolution while a full 55% believe in creation.

*In August of 2006, Jon Miller of Michigan State University in East Lansing, reported on a study conducted in 32 European countries, the US and Japan which found that “only Turkey is less willing than the US to accept evolution as fact.” And in fact, the percentage of Americans who accept evolution has declined over the last 20 years.

*In November of last year, a Harris poll found that "More Americans believe in a literal hell and the devil than Darwin's theory of evolution."

*And an April 2007 Newsweek poll “found 91 percent of American adults say they believe in God and nearly half rejects the scientific theory of evolution.”

“Selling” creationism to Americans actually seems like a pretty easy job, doesn’t it? This is just one more example of how a liberal media pretends to speak for the nation, when in reality they are so far out of touch with the average American they’d have to travel several time zones just to get close enough for a good cell phone signal. And yet, how many people listen to these guys on the evening news night after night and act as if the media guys really know what they’re talking about.

Hopefully, there are enough intelligent Americans out there who realize that Brokaw and his liberal media buddies are just engaging in a little wishful thinking when it comes to where folks really stand on these issues, whereas people like Gov. Huckabee are right in line with where most of us are. One more reason our man Huckabee is the right man for the job.

Huckabee Returning to Missouri: Update

The time has changed on Gov. Huckabee's appearance in Springfield. The official word is as follows:

"Meet Mike Huckabee" Rally
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Springfield-Branson Airport, Ozair Charter Service Hanger
Doors Open at 6:00 PM

Unfortunately, the later time will keep me from being able to attend, since I am already committed to speaking at an Associational Men's Conference tonight at 6:30. So someone please go and give an extra yell or two for me, would you?

BTW. Just a little more shameless self promotion. I was interviewed by a reporter from the New York Times a week or so back about all this stuff. I've been a little worried about how anything I said about the campaign may have come out. The article came out in today's edition, and though I am quoted, it's really a harmless one liner. You can read the whole article here.

So, I've been quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and now the Times. Does this qualify me as an "expert" in all future interviews? And as such, can I charge for my time? Just wondering. Maybe I can get a spot on the O'Reily Factor or something as the expert from Missouri.