Longest

The word for today is “longest.” Do you know the longest movie ever? If you’re a guy, that would be just about any romantic comedy. But in real time, the answer is Berlin Alexanderplatz, at 14 hours, 56 minutes. War and Peace, based on the book by the same name, was a mere seven hours, 22 minutes.

What was the longest song? Limiting our discussion to Top Ten hits, it would be American Pie, by Don McClean, at eight minutes. This song also gets the prize for strangest lyrics. I’m still not sure what to make of the Holy Ghost taking the last train for the coast.

The longest football game was the playoff adventure between the Dolphins and Chiefs in 1972. The longest baseball game was the 26-inning affair between Brooklyn and Boston in 1920.

But my favorite is the world’s longest banana split, constructed in Selinsgrove, PA on April 30, 1988. Consisting of 33,000 bananas, 2,500 gallons of ice cream, and 600 pounds of nuts, the all-you-can-eat dessert stretched 4.5 miles.

But here’s something even longer than that: the distance between you and God apart from the gift of his Son. But because he came a really long way, all the way from heaven, we can spend a really long time with him in heaven.

Reagan Shot – 36 Years Ago Today

It was a day I shall never forget. I was a junior in college when I got the call. “The President has just been shot.” I raced across Houston to my mom’s house, where we followed the news together.

On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan in the chest as he left a Washington hotel. The attempted assassination occurred just 69 days into his presidency. While leaving a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded. The most seriously wounded victim, James Brady, died decades later of complications related to his injuries. Brady’s death was subsequently ruled a homicide.

That fateful day in 1981 reminds us that life is short and can be taken at any second. What’s the lesson? Live every day as if it might be your last – because, one day it will be.

The Rushmore Report: Selena Gomez Goes Public with Her Faith

Pop star Selena Gomez took a break from her busy schedule to watch one of her favorite pastors, Judah Smith, preach a sermon that inspired her to quote the Apostle Paul. “Today, I watched a sermon from one of my favorites,” the young pop star wrote in her Instagram page. She capped off her pastor shout-out by sharing a Bible verse with her legion of fans. It’s found in Romans 7:15.

She quoted, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

The 24-year-old didn’t explain why she chose that verse to go along with her post about the Los Angeles-based City Church pastor, but many of her fans said they were encouraged by her public display of faith.

“Wow, bless you for being a Christian in Hollywood, must be difficult,” one comment read. Others questioned whether or not she was talking about regret over her past relationship with Justin Bieber or her new boyfriend, The Weeknd, but she did not respond.

This was not the first time Gomez put her faith on public display. Last year she surprised fans at Hillsong Church’s Young & Free Revival Concert in Los Angeles when she sang an original worship song for the first time.

“I got to perform my first worship song I ever wrote. So grateful for His grace and understanding,” she posted.

In a world where it is politically correct to defend radical Islam and rebuke mainstream Christianity, it is refreshing to have a young star such as Selena Gomez share her love for Christ from the midst of a thoroughly secular pop culture.

Good job, Selena! May others be emboldened to follow your example!

The Rushmore Report: Rep. Gowdy – ‘Jesus Wouldn’t Be Satisfactory Chairperson to Democrats’

Top Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee spurned a request from the panel’s Democratic ranking member Monday night to have chairman Devin Nunes recuse himself from an investigation into Russia and intelligence gathering related to the Trump transition. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was rather direct. In defense of Nunes, he said, “Jesus wouldn’t be a satisfactory chairperson to Democrats.”

In making his recommendation for Nunes to step down, Rep. Adam Schiff cited Nunes’ meeting with a source on White House grounds the night before the Republican made allegations about the incidental collection on the Trump team after Election Day. Schiff also pointed to Nunes’ decision to brief the White House before committee Democrats last Wednesday on the intelligence he had seen.

“Much in the same way that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after failing to inform the Senate of his meetings with Russian officials,” Schiff said, “I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman.” Nunes was a member of Trump’s transition team.

Nunes brushed off Schiff’s statement. He told The Weekly Standard, “People say a lot of things around here, and it’s fine. It’s politics.”

Asked whether he was considering Schiff’s request, which was later echoed by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Nunes said “no.”

Some of his fellow committee Republicans were more colorful in their rejection of calls for his recusal.

“Jesus would not be a satisfactory chairperson to some of my Democratic colleagues,” Gowdy said. “They would complain about his hair.”

About the Author

Jenna Lifhits is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.

C.S. Lewis

One of the most prominent minds of the first half of the twentieth century was philosopher and author C.S. Lewis. As a young man, he met Joy Greshem, a poet. They established a strong friendship that grew into love. They eventually married, then Joy was diagnosed with cancer. After a hard battle, she died. But there were many ups and downs along the way.

During a period when Joy was responding well to treatment, a colleague of Lewis’s approached him with words of praise. “I know how hard you’ve prayed. God is answering your prayers,” he said.

Lewis replied, “I didn’t pray for that. I prayed because I can’t help myself. The power of prayer isn’t that it changes my circumstances, but that it changes my heart.”

Most of us practice what I call “outcome prayers.” We pray in order for God to change an outcome. But real spiritual maturity is marked by the man or woman who prays in order to get in touch with the Father out of a desire to change their heart.

Joy still died. But C.S. Lewis went on to change the world. But before he changed the world, God changed his heart.

The Rushmore Report: Trump, Ryan Lost on Obamacare, What Now?

When it came to bringing Republicans together to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Trump’s sweet talk, threats, horse trading, and ultimatums were not enough. “At some point, you can only do so much,” a resigned White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Friday. Along with House Speaker Paul Ryan, the president was unable to convince enough members of his own party to vote for the historic measure.

Despite last-minute changes, and an overnight delay, there were still too many Republicans opposed to the White House-backed plan to unravel the 2010 health law known as Obamacare. Party leaders tried to appeal to conservatives by repealing requirements that health insurance plans cover “essential benefits” like maternity care and hospitalization, but opponents from the right-wing Freedom Caucus insisted the bill still maintained too much of the original architecture and would not sufficiently lower costs. More moderate Republicans, meanwhile, balked at the legislation because of the number of people projected to lose insurance coverage, among other things.

“I will not sugarcoat this – this is a disappointing day for us,” Speaker Ryan told reporters after the vote was cancelled. “All of us, myself included, will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done and do it better.”

The questions are twofold.

Is the Republican healthcare overhaul dead?

Republicans in Congress have expressed hope they could revisit healthcare, though no one offered a timeline. Senator Mike Lee said, “We will begin working collaboratively with our more moderate colleagues in the Senate and in the House to produce a bill that will reduce costs, save taxpayers money, and make our healthcare affordable again.”

In the meantime, Ryan conceded that Obamacare would remain in place indefinitely. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take us to replace the law.”

Where do Republicans go from here?

In the interim, both Trump and Ryan expressed confidence they can move on to other items on their agendas, starting with tax reform. “We will probably start going very, very strongly for the big tax cuts and tax reform – that will be next,” the president told reporters. Ryan insisted the healthcare plan’s failure is not a “prologue for other future things.”

On Friday, Ryan conceded that Republicans still have not figured out how to govern. “We were a ten-year opposition party where being against things was easy to do . . . and now, in three months’ time we’ve tried to go to a governing party, where we actually had to get 216 people to try and agree with each other on how to do things,” he observed. “We weren’t just quite there today. We’ll get there.”

The next few months will show if he’s being overly optimistic.

About the Author

Emily Cadei covers government, international affairs, and economics for OZY, a digital news and culture site.

The Rushmore Report: Four Mistakes Men Need to Quit Making

I have worked with many men through my years as chaplain for the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and the Colorado Rockies of the MLB and in my involvement with other men’s groups. Through the years, Gari and I have identified habits that can lead men to absolute destruction. Some of the destruction I’ve experienced included going to federal prison. We share these four common mistakes men make in hope that you will avoid them.

Mistake #1 – Choosing your career over your children

I had a great dad, but I didn’t have a great daddy. When my siblings and I were small, my dad was playing baseball for the Cleveland Indians. When he was home, he didn’t get involved in our lives. Luckily, I learned from his mistakes. “Daddy” years are when children make secure attachments, and no one has a greater influence than daddy. If you don’t make those connections in the physically demanding daddy years, it’s hard to have influence when your kids grow into the “dad” years.

You need to play with your kids, read to them, take them to fun places, build terrific memories. Pray for them, discipline them when they need it, be creative in how to make these important connections. Be a daddy. Don’t miss this time! It goes fast, and you never get another chance.

Mistake #2 – Choosing friends who can lead you astray

I went to prison partially because of the men I did business with. I see men in their late 20s and 30s not understanding how careful they need to be with the people they hang around or do business with. The Bible says to choose your friends wisely, because whoever you spend time with, you will become like them.

Mistake #3 – Not listening to your wife – advice from Gari

One of the best parts of marriage is having someone love you deeply – listening to your dreams, hopes, and struggles; and giving you wise counsel and support. When a man has the habit of turning to some woman other than his wife for this significant support, it can lead to disaster. This woman could be his mother, resulting in undermining the importance of his wife. It could be a female coworker, a woman friend at church, or someone else, resulting in emotional or physical affairs.

Mistake #4 – Rejecting or neglecting a relationship with Jesus Christ

Nothing is more important than your relationship with God. Without his son, Jesus Christ, you will never have the power to live the life you can be proud of. God loves you and wants a personal relationship with you! He is standing at the door of your life. When you accept him as your Savior and Lord, he brings love, forgiveness, purpose for your life, and the power to live the very best life you can imagine. Your best days are ahead of you, even if you feel doomed in life today.

In my darkest moments in prison, I began to understand prison was the perfect place for me to be. God had my full attention, and he could finally free me from the chains of living my life at a reckless pace and get my temper under his control. One of the greatest things he did was help me learn to forgive myself, and give me the power to forgive others so I didn’t live the rest of my life in anger and bitterness. Knowing Christ and forgiving others has given me great freedom.

About the Authors

Bo Mitchell is chaplain and senior advisor for the Colorado Rockies. The former minor league baseball player has a master’s degree in Christian leadership and has cofounded several nonprofits. Gari Mitchell directs consulting services for Crosswalk Fellowship of Denver. Married for more than 45 years, Bo and Gari have two children and four grandchildren. Together they share their story in the book Grace Behind Bars, available now from Focus on the Family.

The Rushmore Report: Atheist Bill Maher – “I Never Hear Anybody Go ‘Merry Christmas’ Before a Bomb Goes Off”

Liberal television personality Bill Maher has offered what would seem to be a surprising defense of Christianity – a faith he mocks regularly. He has expressed his disgust over fellow liberals, regarding Islamic terrorism, noting that he never hears someone scream “Merry Christmas!” before a bomb explodes. Maher made amazing statements, comparing Christianity and Islam, regarding their roles in religion-spawned terrorism.

In the wake of the attack outside the Parliament building in London where a British-born Muslim man named Khalid Massood rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians killing four, including one American, Maher said people ought not “pretend this has nothing to do with Islam, the religion.”

Louise Mensch, a former Conservative member of the British Parliament and a columnist for Heat Street, disagreed. “It has nothing to do with Islam the same way Timothy McVeigh had nothing to do with Roman Catholicism,” Mensch said.

Maher, agitated, persisted. “Every time some bomb goes off, before it goes off, somebody yells ‘Allahu Akbar!'” He continued, “I never hear anybody go ‘Merry Christmas! This one’s for the flying nun!'”

The Rushmore Report: Three Things Trump Must Do – Now

On the heels of his major setback on healthcare President Trump’s approval ratings have now dropped to 36 percent in the latest Gallup Poll. Democrats, aided by most media outlets as usual, are piling on. Charles Krauthammer says his presidency is “damaged.” Mika Brzezinski says “this presidency is fake and failed.” Chuck Schumer says Trump has demonstrated a “basic lack of competence.”

While Mr. Trump has enjoyed many early episodes of success, it is undeniable that the healthcare debacle is a major setback. Why the Republicans failed to find consensus on “repeal and replace” over the past seven years is a mystery. But Trump can turn things around. Trump can be a huge success. But he must do three things – now.

Here’s the deal. At the end of the day, Trump’s presidency will be measured by those who matter most – voters – based on just two things. Those two things are not national defense, the war against ISIS, the budget deficit, national debt, immigration, or the wall. Trump’s success or failure will be determined by just two things . . .

1. Wages

2. Jobs

That’s it. If wages go up and jobs are created, Trump wins. If wages continue to stagnate or decline, and job creation is anemic, Trump loses. It matters not what the Dow does, how the war ends or doesn’t end, what happens to Obamacare, or how well he builds the wall.

George H.W. Bush failed to understand “It’s the economy, stupid!” And it cost him re-election. It is still the economy. That’s what Americans care about more than anything else. And more specifically, they care about their personal economy. Do they have a good job at a rising wage? That’s it.

President Trump will fail if he allows himself to get distracted from these two issues – wages and jobs. So what are the three things he must do – now?

1. Form a jobs task force.

Economist Daniel J. Arbess wrote for Fortune: “President Trump should commission a public/private task force on the future of employment – with an emphasis on innovative ideas – including a broad range of thinkers.” Because America’s innovators have already shown willingness to meet with Trump, regardless of their political leanings, the president can bring in some big names and adopt some big ideas. He must empower this blue-ribbon group to make sweeping recommendations.

2. Invest in infrastructure.

The one thing Trump and Hillary Clinton agreed on during the past election cycle was the need for infrastructure. The Brookings Institution notes that infrastructure jobs “offer more equitable wages, require less formal education for entry, and are projected to grow over the next decade.” Trump’s campaign site promised “thousands of new jobs in construction, steel manufacturing, and other sectors to build the transportation, water, telecommunications, and energy infrastructure needed to enable new economic development.” If the president makes good on this promise, he will be seen as a uniter (infrastructure appeals to Democrats), while creating jobs at the same time.

3. Embrace green energy.

While this sounds like a non-Republican idea, it actually fits with the president’s stated goals. His own energy plan, during the election, stated, “Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of America.” The statement went on to promote renewable energy, as well. Tom Randall, writing for Bloomberg, said, “Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015, and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels.” By embracing green energy, Trump would create new jobs, while staking out the middle ground of American politics that has not been seen since the days of Ronald Reagan. Not bad company.

The Funniest ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Miss Ever

A contestant on Wheel of Fortune last Tuesday missed the show’s easiest answer ever. A player identified as “Kevin” was one letter away from solving the puzzle. It read, “A Streatcar Na-ed Desire.” Kevin decided to spin the wheel one more time and landed on the $600 spot. So, for all the money, he chose “K.”

“A Streatcar Naked Desire.”

He was wrong and the crowd let out a collective sigh. His opponent to his left correctly solved the puzzle: “A Streatcar Named Desire.”

“A Streatcar Named Desire” is, of course, the name of the famous play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams.

Pat Sajak, the show’s host, was a good sport. He told the winning contestant, “Although you got the answer right, I’d rather see Kevin’s play. But that’s just me.”

At the end of the show, Sajak gave Kevin one parting shot. “The nice thing I can tell from meeting you, you’re a nice guy and I’ll bet you have really nice friends. They’re not going to make any remarks of you. They’re not going to give you any grief at all. Good luck with that.”

Kevin missed the big money by just one letter. That’s how it is in life. Most misses aren’t big misses – but they have big consequences.

Consider, for example, the man in the Bible known as “the rich young ruler.” Jesus told him, “This one think you lack.” Most of us fall short, not because of many things, but just one.

Which letter is missing from your life?