The Rushmore Report: Steve Springer, Evangelism and the Divine Conspiracy

David Limbaugh - The Rushmore Report

In my new book, “Jesus on Trial,” I explain how the Bible itself serves as its own apologetic. Holy Scripture, if we’ll give it a chance, can bring us to faith. So one of the main goals I have with my book is to encourage people to crack open this amazing book and give it a chance to work in their lives. They may be surprised.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). “From infancy, you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

I must say that I didn’t always have this high opinion of the Bible. When I was a young lawyer, in my skeptical days, I was visiting my friend Peter Kinder, now Missouri lieutenant governor, at Christmastime. He had brought some of his law school classmates home to stay at his parents’ home during the Christmas break.

Peter, his friend Steve Springer and I were sitting around the fireplace discussing various things, when the subject of Christianity came up; I can’t remember who initiated the discussion. I allowed as how I did not buy into Christianity and wasn’t at all sure about Christ’s divinity, among other things.

Steve — who was a devout believer, as it turned out — surprised me. He didn’t fit my stereotypical image of Christians at the time. Had I known he was a strong believer, I would have expected him to wag his finger at me and scold me for my irreverence, but he did just the opposite. (By the way, this is no slam on Christians; it’s just the impression I had at the time of many of them, and I was wrong.)

Steve responded patiently and graciously. It was as if he knew, intuitively, what Christian apologist extraordinaire Ravi Zacharias now teaches his students. It is just as important, says Zacharias, that the evangelist focus on the questioner as it is that he focus on his questions. In other words, really pay attention to the person you’re talking to, and try to meet him where he is. Don’t just give him some bullet points about the validity of the Christian faith; otherwise, your words are very likely to have no effect.

Steve didn’t rebuke me for questioning Christ’s divinity or for doubting certain doctrinal teachings. He just quietly excused himself from the conversation for a few moments, went to his guest bedroom, retrieved his Bible and returned.

At the appropriate time — without being overbearing, judgmental or arrogant — he simply opened up that brown leather-covered book and walked me through certain passages of Scripture. He then pointed out how these passages were linked to other passages that spoke to the same subject. As far as I know, it was the first time I’d ever been introduced to a reference Bible.

Lights went off. I know, I know — it’s embarrassing how ignorant I was. I didn’t realize the extent to which the Bible — Old Testament and New Testament — was wholly integrated. It truly fascinated me and piqued my interest. Intuiting my interest, Steve gave me that Bible on the spot.

I didn’t become a believer immediately as a result of Steve’s enlightening gesture. But he had planted a critically important seed for my spiritual journey, which would later bear fruit.

Steve had no earthly idea the impact he had on me. I know that for a fact because when he was visiting Peter many years later, the two of them came by my house to see me. While we were all sitting at the table catching up, I excused myself from the room, went to my library, retrieved that very Bible and returned to the room. I told the story of how important this moment, some 20 years ago, had been in my life. Steve was moved and, I believe, quite gratified.

This incident should be encouraging to Christians. Don’t ever assume that your evangelism is having no impact just because you see no immediate evidence of it. Not everyone’s conversion is the result of some “lightning bolt” epiphany. It often happens gradually and over an extended period of time.

Steve’s particular approach to me has also been very significant because one of the most compelling proofs to me of Christianity’s truth claims is the marvelous unity of Scripture, to which Steve initially exposed me.

I am so moved by the unity of the Bible that I devoted a chapter to the subject in my book. As many know, the Bible was written over a period of some 1,500 years by 40 different authors, writing in different languages and different geographical locations. Yet the themes, the moral lessons and God’s revelation about his nature are consistent throughout. It’s as if it were the product of a conspiracy.

But how can that be? Most of the Bible writers didn’t even know one another. Well, it can be because the true author of the Bible is God. It was a conspiracy, all right, but not by human hands. It was a divine conspiracy.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is “Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.” Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

The Ability to Walk Away is Key to Empowerment

Politicians like to talk about empowering the middle class or other segments of the voting population, but they’re typically a little fuzzy on what empowerment really means. That makes sense when you consider that elections are essentially about politicians asking to get power rather than share it. The truth is that we all have more power as consumers, volunteers, supporters and members than we do as voters. That’s because the key to empowerment is the ability to walk away. That’s a lesson learned over the past half century by Major League Baseball. Up until the 1960s, baseball players were restricted by something known as the “reserve clause.” It was a contract provision that restricted a player to one team for life. In those days, the minimum pay for a ballplayer was $6,000 a year. The average salary was under $20,000 a year. Then, in the 1970s, a Supreme Court ruling gave players the chance to become free agents when their contract expired. Today, the minimum salary is $490,000 a year with an average pay topping $3.2 million. That change, from an average salary of under $20,000 a year to over $3.2 million, didn’t come about because the owners suddenly became generous and decided to share more revenue with the players. It came about because players won the right to walk away and force the owners to compete for their services. Few of us will ever earn the kind of money that Major League Baseball players command. However, our employers also recognize that we also have the power to walk away and that they have to deal with it. The fear that we will walk away has created a cottage industry of countless consulting firms, seminars and books advising companies how to keep their employees happy. The Wall Street Journal explained why companies are willing to underwrite that industry. “High employee turnover costs business owners in time and productivity.” The paper suggests offering perks “to show employees you are willing to accommodate their outside lives” and practical gestures to “help employees better manage their lives.” It suggests promoting from within because “Employees will become frustrated and may stop trying if they see no clear future for themselves at your company.” Companies that follow such advice attract the best employees and enjoy the most success. The same logic applies whether it’s shopping or looking for a job. We get the best prices not because some store owners are more generous than others. It’s because we have the power to walk away by taking our business elsewhere. When it comes to shaping our community, we have that same power over charities and nonprofit groups. Whether it’s a food bank or a local theater group, their survival depends upon convincing us to give our time as volunteers, our support as members, and our cash as donors. If we don’t like their mission or don’t think they’re effective, we walk away. So, the next time a politician talks about empowerment, ask the candidate how they are going to give you more power to walk away and make your own decisions. To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 SCOTT RASMUSSEN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

The Rushmore Report: I Love Autumn

The Rushmore Report AutumnI love autumn. The dance of a brisk fall breeze signals colder days ahead, and maple trees punctuate the landscape with bright tartan colors. Flower beds sing with a chorus of vividly colored pansies and mums. Roadside stands beckon travelers to stop and fill rustic wooden baskets with firm red apples. Front porches are adorned with scarecrows and hay bales. Chatter at the local grocery stores often turns to which team will win the Friday night football game, or when the first freeze will occur.

Our nation’s countryside is sprinkled with autumn celebrations. They may be called fall festivals, harvest festivals, or something entirely different, but their common thread is to applaud the autumn season. I dare anyone to leave one of these wonderful gatherings without being wooed by a sweet funnel cake, or a spicy homemade candle.

The animals know when it is autumn. My hummingbird feeder, a place in spring and summer for the tiny winged ones to congregate, is now abandoned. At the same time, crows are abundant. They convene on high wires and in tree tops, greeting the day with a cacophony of calls. Other creatures tend to the business of preparing for winter. Sometimes, I think they are wiser than we are. They don’t neglect their chores, but go about them with gusto, gathering and storing and hiding.

Autumn is the perfect season for making pumpkin pie. There is nothing like the aroma of cinnamon and ginger to make a kitchen extra cozy. Sharing a piece of warm pumpkin pie with a loved one is one of life’s vastly underrated pleasures.

Some people do not like to see autumn arrive. They view it as an end to lazy summer days, instead of heralding in a new season filled with brilliant color. As I enter the autumn of my life, I realize how blessed I am. My life is dotted with the rich hues of children and grandchildren. I no longer receive a pay check, but I am quite wealthy. Watching a toddler, head bowed in prayer, is the most wonderful harvest anyone could reap.

The cooler autumn days do not bother me. I welcome them, knowing soon it will be winter, and the winter of my life will soon arrive as well. I’m not afraid. If it’s as wonderful as my autumn, I’m going to have a ball.

~The author is a retired-early-by-choice RN who lives in Texas with her husband and three parrots. She has a daughter, step daughter, and five grandchildren. She is a published author, and loves to write for the Lord.

Article Source: https://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITERS

Student Bullies Trump 1st Amendment

Well, the wild and crazy 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is at it again, this time ruling that in a conflict between bullies and the First Amendment, bullies win. The court let stand a previous ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that school officials of Live Oak High School can prohibit American students from wearing to school clothing featuring the American flag because of threats made against the American students. You read that right: not threats made by the American students but threats directed at them by others. Admittedly, it’s hard to surprise sane people anymore with all the wrongheaded things going on in this country, but this just won’t do. It’s one thing to insist, for example, that English be the official language; it’s one thing to forbid American students from heckling Mexican students for celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday. But it’s altogether another thing for the school administration — and then the courts — to prevent peaceful American students from wearing flag apparel because it might provoke some rowdy students who don’t approve of American students demonstrating and displaying their patriotism. What country are we living in again? It’s sometimes hard to be sure. It’s as if the politically correct American left is so disdainful of America that it won’t even stand up for free speech when the speakers are American patriots. I would warn readers that if these mind-frazzled leftists keep going, they’re going to have a revolt on their hands by the silent majority, but if that were going to occur, wouldn’t it have already happened? I do believe that patriots still constitute the majority, but I don’t know how many of us have any fight left in us. After being treated to the left’s browbeating for decades now, some seem to have lost their spirit and become resigned to the fate of an abused majority. It’s very sad, actually. During the 2009 Cinco de Mayo celebration at Live Oak, school officials ordered the students to turn their shirts inside out or go home, apparently because Latino students at the school couldn’t be blamed if they became incensed at the flag shirts and resorted to violence to express their outrage. The American students at one point hung an American flag and began chanting “USA,” and that was simply too provocative for Latino students, who responded with profane language, accusing the American students of racism. “F—- them white boys. Let’s f—- them up,” one of them supposedly said. A year later, during the 2010 Cinco de Mayo celebration, Mexican students confronted three American students wearing American flag shirts again. “Why are you wearing that? Do you not like Mexicans?” one asked. Why didn’t school officials go after the troublemakers instead of taking the easy and cowardly path of punishing the peaceful students? Why didn’t they act like adults, let alone proud Americans, and threaten disciplinary action against the wrongdoers? Instead, they rewarded their thuggish behavior and incentivized further acts of bullying. The court, by approving this horrendous school decision, has now set a precedent — short-lived, I hope — that if you want to shut down people’s speech, the best way to do it is to act unlawfully yourself. Can you believe I’m writing these words? Can you believe you’re reading them? You know how the left is always warning that conservative speech can lead to violence? You know, if we say things they don’t agree with or if conservative talk show hosts show a little passion in their voice, this could lead to violence? As preposterous as that is, this ruling is even worse. Here, that dreaded violence the left is willing to suppress speech for is actually being used to suppress speech. So if leftists don’t like your speech, they’ll suppress it to prevent violence. Or they’ll use violence in other cases to suppress it. This thinking would be comical if it weren’t so destructive to liberty in this country. If free speech is this easily thwarted — especially what is arguably political speech, deserving of the highest protection — what can we expect in future rulings by crazy courts? Who could possibly guess? What is undeniable, though, is that leftists are quite creative and imaginative when it comes to rationalizing excuses to shut down the voices of their political opponents. Will they next tell us that Christians can’t cite particular scriptural passages in certain venues if those passages might offend others to the point of provoking them to violence? Don’t you dare laugh, unless you can tell us how such a scenario differs, substantively, from the 9th Circuit case. Will responsible liberals express their objection to this outrage, or will they simply nod their heads in tacit approval because the ends of shutting down conservatives justify any means? I know we can count on a few intellectually honest liberals to join us in voicing our disgust at this, but probably just a few. These liberals sure are lucky that conservatives, the people they are targeting, are the nonviolent ones and not like the people they jump to protect, even to the point of shredding the Constitution. David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is “Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.” Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

How Confident Are You?

The Savage Truth on Money — Are you feeling better about the economy? The rest of America is more optimistic. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reached a 14-month high in September. And on the same day, it was reported that retail sales in August grew broadly, as well. Barring unexpected events in the international arena, it appears that Americans are more willing to commit their emotions — and their dollars — to the economy. The job news has improved each month, and that has helped add to confidence. Even the high level of the stock market has contributed to the optimism, though many participate in the stock market only indirectly, through retirement plans. So what should you do with this news? Does it make you confident enough to go out and buy a new house? The jury’s still out on that issue because, despite record-low interest rates, mortgage applications have stagnated. Maybe that’s too big a leap of confidence for those just starting out on the first step to home ownership. Does the news make you confident enough to start searching for a new or better job? Or at least, does it make you feel bold enough to ask for a raise? According to the PayScale Index, U.S. wages are expected to grow at a rate of 1.9 percent, quarter over quarter, in the period that ends this month. It’s a nice increase — but far below the 3 percent plus wage gains that were common before 2008 and the financial crisis. Does it make you confident enough to go out and buy a new car — or at least a new “used” car? It already has. The surge in new car sales in August has raised the possibility that sales could top the 16.6 million sold in 2006, the last full year before the recession, according to Edmunds.com. That’s up from 10.4 million vehicles sold in 2009 during the depths of the economic collapse. Since then, sales have risen by at least 1 million units annually through last year, when 15.6 million were sold. Or should you just go out and replace items in your wardrobe that have worn out in your years of stringency and economic fear? Retail sales, even excluding autos, rose more than expected in August after a flat figure in July. Consumers are expressing their optimism at the store. Or are we just getting back into the same debt trouble that brought us into the financial crisis? Yes, credit card debt is rising again. In fact, according to Sober Look, “Over the past three months, the year-over-year growth in credit card debt has exceeded wage growth in the United States. This is the first time we’ve seen this trend since the Great Recession.” And that does not include student loan debt, which continues to rise beyond $1.1 trillion, exceeding total credit card debt outstanding. Meanwhile, the personal savings rate, which had spiked to about 12 percent in the summer of 2012 amidst a continuing anemic recovery, has now dropped back to a rate of 5.7 percent. Spending more and saving less? It may be temporarily good for the economy — but is it good for you? That’s called the “paradox of thrift” — a concept popularized by economist John Maynard Keynes. It basically says that what is good for the individual (saving), is not necessarily good for the broad economy. So where does your responsibility lie? Are you encouraged to spend because it will “help the economy” by increasing demand for products, causing companies to hire more workers, who will, in turn, spend more money? Or is your greater responsibility to yourself and your family to be conservative in your spending, to pay down the burden of your debt while the economy is growing and you have the income to do so — and to put more money away for your retirement so you will be less reliant on the government. It’s an unconscious choice for most Americans. If income and credit are available, we will spend and borrow. That does help the economy in the immediate sense. But it’s no way to deal with our long-term economic future. And that’s The Savage Truth. Terry Savage is a registered investment adviser and is on the board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. She appears weekly on WMAQ-Channel 5’s 4:30 p.m. newscast, and can be reached at www.terrysavage.com. She is the author of the new book, “The New Savage Number: How Much Money Do You Really Need to Retire?” “Terry answers readers’ personal finance questions on her blog at www.TerrySavage.com. To find out more about Terry Savage and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com COPYRIGHT 2014 TERRY SAVAGE PRODUCTIONS DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Blood and Sand

In June 2011, this column introduced you to Sgt. Jason Cartwright and his military working dog, Isaac. Both warriors had just returned from a year of hunting for improvised explosive devices buried beneath Afghanistan’s treacherous sand. “These are real IEDs — real explosives — and everything else is out of the picture,” the soldier said. Today, Sgt. Cartwright and Isaac are once again searching for enemy bombs. “Isaac and I left Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., on our way back to the sandbox of Afghanistan,” Cartwright wrote in a September email to “The Unknown Soldiers.” The Army dog handler, who also served in Iraq, misses his wife and four-year-old son. But Isaac, a black Labrador that saved countless American and Afghans last year, has also become family. Now, the soldier and his best friend are once again risking their lives. “Thirteen months we were on that battlefield with all the explosions, firefights, and sights of seeing the bloody, wounded, or the open-eyed stares of the dead,” Cartwright wrote. “We soon hit reality, to not only put our war faces on but also knowing our country has called on us yet again to serve.” While conventional wisdom inside the United States is that the war in Afghanistan is “winding down,” the image of Cartwright and his black Lab scouring the country’s unforgiving terrain for bombs that kill and maim troops and civilians, including children, challenges our perception of a conflict entering its 12th year. “The first thing I have to do is get educated on the Taliban’s tactics, as I just know they have changed,” Cartwright wrote. “(I’m) hoping at the age of five, (Isaac) will be as proficient and experienced to bring us home one more time.” While confronting a ruthless enemy, Cartwright admits to also battling the scars of his first deployment, which included finding bombs that terrorists intentionally buried near schools and hospitals. “The flashbacks and memories are strongly on my mind,” he wrote. “(I know) the dangers that Isaac and I will soon be facing again.” Cartwright and Isaac serve with the Engineer Canine Company of the Army’s 5th Engineer Battalion, which has consistently proved itself as one of America’s elite defenses against enemy IEDs. “My wife said, ‘I am more at ease knowing that they are sending one of the best teams again,’ ” Cartwright wrote. Even though they completed a previous Afghanistan deployment, the Army, which is focused on countering the evolving Taliban threat, made sure the soldier and his dog underwent months of pre-deployment training. Once they arrived in the war zone, the preparations continued. “Two weeks have gone by of intense training,” Cartwright wrote. “We now stand ready to go out and support NATO and coalition forces.” Being separated from your family by thousands of miles for months at a time is almost unimaginable to those of us who haven’t served in the military. Afghanistan, in particular, is a desolate place where loneliness can creep up on even the most seasoned warrior. “Across the airfield through the open desert and dusty air, those unforgettable mountains that I said goodbye to are standing still and bold,” the soldier wrote. Having Isaac by his side is a source of daily comfort. “I couldn’t imagine going back without my dog,” Cartwright said before his second deployment. “We have a special rapport and special bond; I know I trust that dog, and that dog trusts me.” Both the soldier and his black Lab survived close encounters with the enemy during their first go-around. This deployment will almost certainly carry the same perils. “We are going to support the troops on the front lines of the battlefield; to seek and search for the deadliest weapon used against U.S. and NATO force — the IEDs,” he wrote. The willingness of heroes like Sgt. Jason Cartwright to serve in Afghanistan gives his fellow Americans the luxury of worrying about other things. Yet for the foreseeable future, I’ll be checking my email every morning, hoping to learn that this soldier, his courageous dog and their fellow troops are safe. “To a destination unknown, we take off into the dusty air over the mountains of Afghanistan,” the soldier wrote. “To be continued.” (Pictured)  U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Cartwright and his military working dog, Isaac, are on their second deployment together to Afghanistan. Their mission is to find enemy improvised explosive devices. Photo courtesy of Sgt. Jason Cartwright. To find out more about Tom Sileo or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

A Plea for Constitutional Literacy on this Constitution Day

Earlier this summer, I managed to perplex, perhaps even offend, a famous TV interviewer when I declared I want a federal government that follows the U.S. Constitution. Seemingly aghast, the interviewer went so far as to suggest my position was a “highly charged thing to say.” Imagine that. A journalist — who, owing to the Constitution, has the right to report and speak freely — being uncomfortable with a fellow American’s allegiance to the Constitution and to the Founding Fathers’ vision of a limited central government. I fear we as a nation have drifted too far away from an understanding and appreciation of the greatest governance document the world has ever produced. We have a president today who usurps power never given to him in the Constitution, a dysfunctional Congress so gridlocked that it can’t fulfill its mission as a separate-but-equal branch of government, and a Fourth Estate of media elites who cheerlead for a bigger, more intrusive government that unnecessarily addicts those struggling to escape poverty to handouts, rather than encouraging self-reliance. Let me be clear. Rightly sized and empowered, government serves an excellent purpose. Our Founding Fathers knew that and created a perfect vision for a republic of independent states protected and served by a central federal government with strong checks and balances. Those checks on powers were essential to the Framers, who established three equal but separate branches to ensure we always had a government “of the people, for the people and by the people,” as Abraham Lincoln so wisely said. But today we have people who are simply overgoverned — subjected to taxation, regulation and intrusions by a massive federal government that our Founding Fathers never would have tolerated. It wants to control what we eat, how we live and even how much we can earn. It values political correctness over freedom, codependence over self-reliance, and redistribution of wealth over personal success. That’s why I said what I did that Sunday morning to that talk-show host. I told him I would love to have a government again that places the Constitution at the center of its mission, that recognizes government was never intended to intrude on every aspect of our lives. Everywhere I go in this great nation these days, I hear that same plea, from farmers in rural communities fearful the next federal regulation will put their generations-old family farm out of business, to shopkeepers suffocating under an unnecessarily high tax burden, to young people seemingly reconciled that their government will monitor, record and track their every movement. How do we reverse this creeping despair that we have drifted too far away from our founding principles? It’s simple. I think we must go back to the source of our great American experiment: the U.S. Constitution. In little more than 4,500 words, the Framers created a vision of government that preserves liberty first and foremost and also serves the basic needs of a republic. For 200 years, that document has guided this great nation through dark times and soaring success. For most of our history, schoolchildren were taught the guiding principles of the Constitution from the earliest age, and even members of Congress with controversial civil rights histories such as the late Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia kept a copy of that great document in their jacket pockets to remind them of the responsibilities and limits of governance. On this Constitution Day, a wonderful holiday created with bipartisan support just a few short years ago, let’s recommit ourselves to rereading and appreciating our Constitution and to ensuring that our children and our children’s children grow up with the same appreciation we were given. Familiarity with the greatest ideas ever created for preserving liberty will breed appreciation. Appreciation will help us all overcome the ignorant political correctness of a few media elites and governing officials who seem to dismiss the fundamental principles of a government that respects liberty first and foremost. Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the new book “One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future” (Sentinel). To find out more about Ben Carson and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 THE WASHINGTON TIMES DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Christianity Grounded in the Historical Fact of the Resurrection

Jesus’ apostles and other disciples were willing to die for him. But so what? Haven’t the followers of other religious leaders and even some political leaders been willing to die for them, as well? What makes Jesus’ followers so unique in this regard? I address this very question in my new book, “Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel,” because I used to wonder about this, too. What, if anything, distinguishes the Christian martyrs? New Testament scholar Gary Habermas offered an insight that I hadn’t considered before, and I find it enormously probative. “One grand distinction,” he argues, ” makes all the difference in the world. Like other examples of religious or political faith, the disciples believed and followed their leader’s teachings. But unlike all others, the disciples had more than just their beliefs; they had seen the resurrected Jesus. This is a crucial distinction. Their faith was true precisely because of the Resurrection.” Habermas cements the point with a few more questions: “Which is more likely — that an ideology we believe in is true or that we and a number of others saw a friend several times during the last month? If eternity rested on the consequences, would we rather base our assurance on the truth of a particular religious or political view, or would we rather that the consequences followed from repeated cases of seeing someone?” This is fascinating — and compelling — is it not? Contrary to conventional wisdom, Christianity is based in history — in historical facts. The faith didn’t come first; the history came first, and the faith followed. In fact, many of the disciples were dejected and dispirited when Jesus died — until they witnessed with their own eyes his bodily resurrection. They weren’t imagining they saw him. They didn’t expect to see him. But when he appeared to them in his body, he proved to them he was real. He ate with them; they touched him; he talked to them; he opened up the Scriptures to them and showed them how they pointed to him, his sinless life, his suffering, his crucifixion and his substitutionary death on the cross for us. He appeared first to a woman. Is this something the New Testament writers would have made up had they been concocting a believable story upon which to base the religion they were about to preach on his behalf? In those days, the eyewitness testimony of women was not considered nearly so credible as that of men. He made some 12 resurrected appearances before different numbers of people at different times; in one case, it was more than 500 people. The Apostle Paul wrote about this particular appearance 20 years or so after Christ’s death, when many people who would have been alive at the time could have affirmed or contradicted his account. He challenged them to contradict his account. No one did. Would the apostles have been transformed from feckless unbelievers to bold proclaimers of the Gospel had they not witnessed Jesus Christ in his bodily resurrection? What incentive would they have had to subject themselves to abuse, ridicule, mistreatment and ultimately martyrdom if they had not seen him? It’s one thing to suggest that someone would die for an ideology he believes in even without physical evidence; it’s altogether another to contemplate that men would die for something they absolutely knew to be false. For if Jesus Christ had remained in the tomb and had not appeared to them, they likely would have believed their earlier hope had been for naught, but in any case, they wouldn’t have manufactured a mythical story that they had seen him alive when they hadn’t just so they could have the pleasure of dying for nothing. Dwell on that for a moment — seriously. No, these followers did not die for an abstract ideology. They did not develop some elaborate theology around which they could base a religion for no reason. They were eyewitnesses to the most remarkable event in human history, and their faith was built around that. Their theology was grounded in the historical fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, which Paul admitted is essential for the validity and authenticity of the Christian faith. For as Paul said, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; for you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:14-19). The fact of the historical Resurrection, my friends, is essential and foundational to Christianity. We Christians don’t deny that our faith depends on it. We can’t. This faith is not based on idle speculation. It is not based on some man-made ideology. It is grounded in the historical truth of Christ’s incarnation, his sinless life, his suffering, his death and his resurrection. The biblical records come down to us with flawless accuracy as originally written by numerous reliable eyewitnesses who had the greatest motivation imaginable to carry this “good news” to the ends of the earth. And they did. David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is “Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.” Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

The Rushmore Report: Those Valedictorians

Zig Ziglar - The Rushmore Report

An issue of Parade Magazine featured the results of a long-term study of 81 class valedictorians conducted by Professor Terry Denney of the University of Illinois.

His quest was to find out whether or not they succeeded. The answer is yes, they were successful, but as a group, the discovery was that they stand apart in how hard they work. He gave them standardized tests that measure motivation to work hard, and the discovery was that they knocked the top off the work scale compared to any other group. However, on the standardized ACT test, which measures some intellectual skills, the valedictorian scores varied ranging from just average for college-bound students up to the top percentile. Conclusion: They’re not always the brightest kids in school; they are the hardest working.

Message: While brains are important, commitment, responsibility, persistence and hard work are qualities that 100 percent of us can acquire and use to significant advantage.

Most of these valedictorians were responsible young people who made good decisions on the practical side of life, determining which course was best suited for them, then working until they achieved their objectives. Results: Almost 60 percent of the valedictorians have graduate degrees, three are doctors, six are lawyers, 10 are MBAs and 15 are Ph.D.s. Interestingly enough, none of the valedictorians in the study has become famous or even a leader in his or her profession. Associate Professor Karen Arnold of Boston College, who became director of the project when Professor Denney retired in 1986, observed that most of us, if we made the effort, could achieve comparable success. I agree. I’ve seen too many “average kids” with above average commitment and work ethic who made it big, which gave them something to smile about.

To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Subscribe to Zig Ziglar’s free email newsletter through info@zigziglar.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

The Rushmore Report: Kids Talk About God – What Can We Learn From Adam Naming the Animals?

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“If Adam hadn’t named the animals, we wouldn’t know one animal from the other. We might have cow brains for breakfast, lizard guts for lunch and dog toes for dinner,” says James, 9.

With such an active imagination, James has more going for him than cow brains.

“If Adam didn’t name the animals, he would call for an animal, and all the animals would come to him,” says Cody, 8.

“Adam and Eve didn’t want to call the animals ‘Thing,’ because they all would be named ‘Thing,'” says Elizabeth, 9.

Good point, but remember, Eve came later. Morgan, 7, has some insight on Adam’s search for Eve: “Adam named the animals because he and God were looking for a helper for Adam.”

Yes, after all the naming, the Bible says, “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:20). Adam didn’t find a match among the animals. He knew he needed a partner, and God knew it, too.

“God delegated authority to men, since the act of naming the animals shows lordship or dominion. It was also a spiritual exercise to prepare Adam and to make him aware of his aloneness. None of the animals corresponded to him,” says Kelsey, 12.

After creating Adam, God paraded animals before him “to see what he would call them” (Genesis 2:19). The Scripture records that Adam’s animal names stuck, which may indicate the names were more than titles in that they accurately described the animals.

“Names are important to everybody and everything. Adam obeyed God to name every animal,” says Jessica, 8.

Names are important to God. Abram the fatherless, at age 99 becomes Abraham (father of many nations); Jacob the manipulator becomes Israel (prince of God), and Simon, not known for his stability, becomes Peter (rock). Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” becomes the rock or foundation upon which the universal church of living stones (Christians) is built.

Adam’s exercise of naming the animals was more than an exercise in linguistic freedom, says author Quentin Schultze in his book “Winning Your Kids Back from the Media.”

“Biblically speaking, the ‘name’ of something is a symbol for its true meaning,” says Schultze. “Parenting is mostly communication. Adults use verbal and nonverbal communication to create identity for themselves and their offspring.

“One of the greatest myths of modern society is that the media are essentially in the entertainment or information business. Mass media, as vehicles of communication, are more fundamentally in the identity business. They create and/or reflect the basic values and beliefs of the people who use them.”

In the book of Revelation, we learn that God gives a white stone to those who overcome. A new name is written which no one knows except the person who receives it (Revelation 2:17). Here’s your personal ID from the Lord Jesus himself! It’s a reward for overcoming.

All who trust in the Lord Jesus as their savior share in his victory over death, but there’s something more. Jesus will award special names to those who allow him to live his overcoming life through them.

Think about this: Let God give you a name, and you’ll be free from false identities created for you by advertisers, Hollywood, peers, bosses and even misguided relatives.

Memorize this truth: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Ask this question: Who is doing the naming in your life?

Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CAREY KINSOLVING

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