Standing Still

The Tartar tribes of central Asia spoke a certain curse against an enemy. They didn’t call for their enemy’s swords to rust or for their people to die of disease. Instead they said, “May you stay in one place forever.”

The best way to assure yourself that you will never get better is to stand still. Jim Rohn said, “In order to do more, you first have to be more.”

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said, “The great mystery isn’t that people do things badly but that they occasionally do a few things well. The only thing that is universal is incompetence.”

Drucker’s point is that we all have flaws, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is standing still, not doing anything to improve.

I read a story about a St. Louis doctor who met a young man in high school who had lost his hand at the wrist. When the doctor asked about his handicap, the teenager responded, “I don’t have a handicap, sir. I just don’t have a right hand.”

It turns out the boy was the leading scorer on his basketball team. He learned to focus on what he had left rather than on what he had lost. He learned to not stand still.

Paul said, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up. Your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

Paying the Fines

Once when Mr. LaGuardia, the famous ex-mayor of New York, was presiding at a police court, they brought a trembling old man before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. He said his family was starving.

“Well, I’ve got to punish you,” said Mr. LaGuardia. “The law makes no exception, and I can do nothing but sentence you to a fine of ten dollars.”

Then he added, after reaching into his pocket, “and here’s the ten dollars to pay your fine. And now I remit the fine.”

Then, tossing the ten dollar bill into his famous outsized hat, he said, “Furthermore, I’m going to fine everybody in this courtroom 50 cents for living in a town where a man has to steal bread in order to eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines, and give them to this defendant.”

The hat was passed, and the incredulous old man, with a light of heaven in his eyes, left the court room with $47.50.

We are all like that old man. We have made mistakes. They are called “sin.” We are all guilty. A fine has been assigned. But a loving Judge has already paid the penalty, and blessed us with far more than $47.50.

Did You Know?

The Olympics aren’t what they used to be. For example, did you know the last time the gold medals were solid gold was in 1912? I bet there are other things you didn’t know!

Did you know your middle fingernail grows fastest and your thumbnail grows slowest? Did you know the word “news” comes from North, East, West, and South? Did you know the most dangerous job in the United States is being a fisherman? Did you know “Goodnight, sleep tight” comes from Shakespeare’s time, when mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes – when you pulled on the ropes, the mattress became tight, or firm. Did you know that 95% of American television viewers keep their volume level on an even number? Did you know that “a bug in the computer” comes from a moth that invaded a computer at Harvard in 1945? Did you know that in the United States, more toilets flush during halftime of the Super Bowl than any other time? Did you know the man who pitched the ball that Babe Ruth hit for his last home run also pitched the ball that Joe DiMaggio hit for his first home run? Did you know that if you multiply your age by 7, then multiply that number by 1,443 – the result will be your age repeated three times?

Did you know a fetus starts to develop fingerprints at the age of eight weeks?

Whoa! What was that last one? Did you know God has already put his unique mark (fingerprints) on every child several months before the United States says it’s okay to abort that baby?

One more – Did you know America used to value the unborn child? That’s right. From 1776 until 1973 abortion was illegal. So, for 82% of all American history, abortion was considered murder.

Two more . . .

1. Did you know some people still call this a “Christian nation”?

2. Did you know there are actually people who claim to love God, love the Bible, and love children – who are perfectly fine with the taking of the unborn child?

Sounds impossible, huh?

How to Preach

One day, St. Francis of Assisi said to one of his young monks at the Portiuncula, “Let us go down to the town and preach!”

The novice, delighted at being singled out to be the companion of Francis, obeyed with excitement. They passed through the principal streets, turned down many of the byways and alleys, made their way into the suburbs, and at great length returned by a circuitous route to the monastery gate.

As they approached it, the younger man reminded Francis of his original intention. “You have forgotten, Father, that we went to the town to preach!”

“My son,” Francis replied, “we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. We have been seen by many; our behavior has been closely watched; it was thus that we preached our morning sermon. It is of no use, my son, to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk.”

The unknown writer said it well. “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day. I’d rather one would walk with me than merely show the way.”

Your job is to preach every day. And on a few occasions, this may even involve words.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

The Rushmore Report – Ray Lewis Inducted to HOF, Talks Faith & Second Chances

A conversation with former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is typically dotted with homespun philosophy, frequent mentions of faith, and biblical references. Upon his induction to the NFL Hall of Fame, Lewis has encouraged members of the press to read Psalm 91, which ends, “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” This isn’t the first time the all-time great has spoken out about his faith. And Ray Lewis also likes to talk about the God of a second chance.

Lewis said, “For me, through the ups and downs, the roller coasters of 17 years, you have to find a safe place. You have to find that place that is very quiet in your head, and anytime I read it, anytime I come across it, my Bible, the first Scripture I read is Psalm 91.”

The former NFL Player of the Year compared himself to the character of David in the Old Testament. He sees David as a flawed, but righteous king, warrior, musician, and poet.

Speaking of his personal faith, Lewis said, “Man doesn’t dictate what you do or how you do it. If you believe in God, never stop trusting. That is where my faith lies.”

Back to the comparison with David, Lewis identifies with him because he was a sinner who turned his life around and made good. There were ramifications for his mistakes, but David discovered a God of a second chance.

Lewis has become a force in the community and a mentor to young athletes. His standard piece of advice to them is not to use his life and career as a model. “Follow my advice, not my footprints,” he says. “Don’t ever do it the way I did. You got to be willing to walk in a storm. That’s what I tell people all the time. If there’s something in your life that you know needs changing, make sure you change it before God has to do it for you. Because if God’s got to change it, you ain’t going to like it.”

Ravens executive Ozzie Newsome, himself a former NFL great, said of Lewis, “It’s not about how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get back up. And Ray has gotten up. He has followed his faith to a second chance God. Ray Lewis is a Hall of Fame player, but more than that, he has become a Hall of Fame person.”

About the Author

William Rhoden writes for the New York Times.

The Rushmore Report – The Very Simple Reason Evangelicals Are Sticking with Trump

He has been married three times. He has admitted to multiple affairs. His use of crude language is indisputable. He is not an active church person. Yet, President Donald Trump enjoys record support among Americans known as evangelicals – men and woman devoted to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Christian leaders such as Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr. acclaim him as the greatest friend Christians have ever had in the White House. Last week’s poll by YouGov found that those who self identify as “born again” support the president by a majority of 87-13 percent. Yet, only 45 percent of this group approve of the president’s personal behavior. So what gives? How come Christ followers support President Trump by greater numbers than for Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush? The answer is actually quite simple.

We have President Trump for no more than eight years. But we will have the ramifications of his policies for decades.

It is certainly understandable that many see this as the definition of hypocrisy. Here we have a sitting president who has been tied to an affair with a porn star, and his greatest defenders are evangelical leaders. What could be a greater disconnect than that?

But keep in mind, while Trump only has about a 45 percent approval rating, that trumps the media’s 24 percent trustworthy rating (CBS survey).

The CBS poll found that by an overwhelming majority, people find Trump’s behavior unbecoming of a president. But it also found that most people vote based on policy, not personality – or so they say.

So this is where most evangelicals stand. They would rather have a president with questionable character who delivers lower taxes, stronger defense, secure borders, religious freedom, a growing economy, conservative judges, low inflation, a rising stock market, and more jobs – than a president who is a great Sunday school teacher, but leads the country to a weakened national defense, higher taxes, porous borders, liberal judges, and higher unemployment.

The way evangelicals look at it is that in ten years, we won’t have Trump around. But we will have the result of his policies. And they are willing to put up with some personal issues with which they disagree for the sake of the long term good of the country.

For those who like to see ISIS on the run, North Korea discussing a reduction in its nuclear threat, Russia under economic sanctions, lower taxes, conservative judges, low unemployment, stronger national defense, secure borders, record jobs, and a soaring stock market – evangelicals make a good point.

Evangelicals are sticking with Trump. The reason is quite simple.

The Rushmore Report – Three Reasons So Many Millennials Love Socialism

It’s true that socialist Bernie Sanders is anything but a millennial. And it’s true that socialism was popular long before any millennials were born. But there’s no doubt that socialism is becoming increasingly popular among young people today. Why? According to the Daily Caller, “Young people view socialism as more attractive than older people. Of people ages 18-29, 55 percent considered socialism favorably compared to other age groups, according to a 2016 Gallup poll. Only 37 percent of people between the ages 30 and 49 viewed socialism as positive.Twenty-seven percent of people between 50 and 64 years old thought of socialism positively.”

So, millennials, especially younger millennials, have a very favorable view of socialism. But do they — or most of us — even know what it is?

Professor Jay Richards offers this helpful primer.

“Marx and his disciples claimed that ‘capitalism’ must give way to ‘socialism,’ where private property would be abolished and an all-powerful state would own everything on behalf of the people. That’s what Marx meant by the word socialism, and that’s the main dictionary definition.

“This was only supposed to be a stage, though, not the end of all our strivings. At some point, under socialism, people would lose their silly fondness for property, family, religion, and other evils. A ‘new socialist man’ would emerge and then the state would ‘wither away.’ Everyone would enjoy peace, prosperity, and the brotherhood of man. Marx and his acolytes called that final, stateless paradise ‘communism.’”

And how has that vision worked itself out in history?

Prof. Richards states: “Here’s the point: Those regimes led by mass murderers with their gulags, death camps, man-made famines and killing fields were socialist. That’s not slander. It’s what these countries called themselves. USSR stood for the ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.’

“You gotta break millions of eggs with socialism to make the communist omelet. Socialism, you might say, was the necessary evil to reach the bliss where no state would be necessary.”

Yet the lure of socialism continues, getting stronger in the last few years, especially among American youth. Why?

Here are three simple reasons.

1. Young people want “equality.”

The word “equality” has become almost sacred to the younger generation, and in many ways, that’s a good thing. They want a level playing field. They want everyone treated fairly. They want to leave behind our discriminatory, racist past. All that is positive.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity.

Unfortunately, there is often a passion for equality that is not based on realism (or function, as in all the talk about “marriage equality,” where sex differences are blurred).

The fact is that life is not always fair. There are winners and losers. And some people work harder than others, because of which they succeed more.

That success is well-deserved and should be appreciated. But all too often today, success through hard work is scorned.

Question: “Why should you have more than I do?”

Answer: “Because I worked hard for it.”

Response: “But that’s not fair.”

Socialism, then, is the fix!

2. Young people today have a deep sense of entitlement.

Conservapedia.com defines the entitlement mentality as “a state of mind in which an individual comes to believe that privileges are instead rights, and that they are to be expected as a matter of course.”

I am owed a free lunch, and it’s got to be a good lunch too. The lunch of my choosing. I deserve it.

As explained by Dr. John Townsend in his book The Entitlement Cure, “Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment. Entitlement is: The man who thinks he is above all the rules. The woman who feels mistreated and needs others to make it up to her.”

This dangerous attitude is crippling a whole generation. As expressed by Kate S. Rourke in her article, “You Owe Me: Examining a Generation of Entitlement,” “Children in the most recent generation of adults born between 1982 and 1995, known as ‘Generation Y,’ were raised to believe that it is their right to have everything given to them more than any other previous generation.”

Socialism plays right into this mindset, especially the fuzzy, idealized, unrealistic socialism being put forward today: “We all get our free lunch!”

Unfortunately, that can only happen when the government owns all the lunches. Do young people understand this?

3. Young socialists haven’t done the math.

The obvious question is this: “If you’re getting a free lunch — no, if we’re all getting a free lunch — who’s paying for it?”

The immediate, thoughtless answer is: “The government!”

And that leads to the real question: “Who’s paying the government?”

The answer is as painful as it is obvious: “You are!”

As one news commentator suggested, there’s no reason to wait for the government to become socialist. Just start paying more taxes today and do your part. Right!

Do you remember the viral video clip where a young Florida woman, Peggy Joseph, was ecstatic after hearing candidate Barack Obama speak in 2008? She said, “I won’t have to worry about puttin’ gas in my car, I won’t have to worry about payin’ my mortgage.” Obama will take care of it!

Six years later, working as a nurse and the suburban mom of four kids, she was asked by filmmaker Joel Gilbert, “Did Obama pay for your mortgage and did he pay for your gas?”

She laughed and replied, “Absolutely not! Mortgage got worse and gas prices got higher. … At that time we needed a change but a change for the better not the worse.”

When I asked my assistant Dylan, himself in his early 30s and the married father of four, why he thought so many young people were into socialism, he answered, “Perhaps because of being so absorbed with social media that they’re used to soundbite answers and haven’t thought it through.”

Or, as Jay Richards stated, “Too many of us are still clueless about socialism and communism. I blame biased media and fuzzy thinking.”

The bottom line is that most young proponents of socialism simply haven’t done the math. Had they done so, they’d start working the capitalist system a little harder. They would find it far more rewarding than socialism.

About the Author

Michael Brown writes for the Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report – The Man Who Would Be Speaker

Jim Jordan wants to be your next Speaker of the House. If you watch much cable news, you are familiar with the Ohio Congressman. If you watch C-SPAN, you have seen him spar with Democrats on a weekly – if not daily – basis. If you want someone to shake things up, he might be your man. If you like a long shot, he is definitely your man. If you like political correctness, he is definitely not your man. So what do we know about this Republican Representative who would be Speaker?

1. Jim Jordan is a former college wrestler.

Jordan competed at the highest level of college wrestling, as a member of the team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He would become a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

2. Jordan has served in Congress for 12 years.

As of the end of this term, Jordan will have completed six two-year terms as the representative of Ohio’s 4th Congressional district. Before that, he served in the State House (1995-2000) and the State Senate (2001-2006).

3. The Congressman is a big family man.

Jordan is married to Polly. They have four children and live in a family-oriented neighborhood near Urbana, Ohio, which is between Columbus and Dayton.

4. Jordan is a staunch conservative.

As a member of the Freedom Caucus, Jordan is passionate about the Constitution and conservative values.

5. The congressman has strong views.

If elected Speaker, Jordan says he will focus on expanding influence among more members of Congress, fulfilling the Trump agenda, and correcting the dysfunction of Congress.

6. He is not the party favorite.

House Majority Leader Keven McCarthy is likely to land the support of President Trump. And even if that doesn’t derail Jordan’s chances at becoming Speaker, there’s one other detail he must confront. Republicans must hold control of the House – which most experts say is becoming increasingly unlikely.

The Rushmore Report – African American Pastor Calls Trump a ‘Pro-Black’ President

President Donald Trump met with inner-city pastors from all over the country Wednesday. He listened to each man’s story as the group discussed prison reform, among other issues. Trump stressed the importance of churches in American life. And then prominent pastor Darrell Scott did the unthinkable. The African American pastor raised eyebrows when he praised the president for his support for minority communities. Of course, that has landed Rev. Scott in hot water.

Scott said, “To be honest, this is probably going to be the – and I’m going to say this at this table – the most pro-black president we have had in our lifetime. This president actually wants to prove something to our community, our faith-based community and our ethnic community.”

Scott said of President Obama, “The last president didn’t feel like he had to. He felt like he didn’t have to prove it. He got a pass. But this president is probably going to be more proactive regarding urban revitalization and prison reform than any president in your lifetime.”

Several pastors in attendance faced criticism from within their black communities. John Gray, formerly a pastor under Joel Osteen at Houston’s Lakewood Church, said he understood that the “optics” of the meeting did not look good. But he reasoned that he could do a lot of good “for people who look like me” by attending the meeting.

Another prominent pastor, Van Moody, of Worship Center Christian Church in Birmingham, faced intense scrutiny. He praised Trump for being “compassionate and caring for all people.”

For his part, President Trump concluded the meeting by telling the black pastors that “they will always have a friend in this White House.”

These pastors are to be commended for a) attending the meeting, and b) speaking truth as they see it. The best outcome will not be that a majority of African Americans suddenly embrace President Trump and his policies. The best outcome would be that they simply give him a chance.

In 2008 it was wrong for millions of white Americans to oppose President Obama because he is black. And today, it is just as wrong for millions of black Americans to oppose President Trump just because he is white.

What we need is open dialogue. President Trump was wise to invite the black pastors to the White House, and they were wise to go. But it’s what happens next that will matter most.

The Fall of Rome

What man builds can come down in an instant. On July 18, 64 A.D., a fire erupted in the world’s greatest city. The market area of Rome is where the flames were first seen. Rapidly, the fire spread to the center of the city. When the flames finally died out more than a week later, nearly two-thirds of Rome had been destroyed.

Emperor Nero used the fire as an opportunity to rebuild Rome in a more orderly Greek style and began construction on a massive palace called the Domus Aurea. Some speculated that the emperor had ordered the burning of Rome to indulge his architectural tastes, but he was away in Antium when the conflagration began.

According to later Roman historians, Nero blamed members of the “mysterious Christian cult” for the fire and launched the first Roman persecution of Christians in response.

Of course, the burning of Rome was a tragedy of international proportion. But it also reminds us that human nature has not changed. When something goes wrong, we still play the blame game. And far too often, Christians are blamed for the problems of the world.