How Revival Breaks Out

God spoke through his prophet Jeremiah, to his people. His message was simple: “Return to me.” To the very end, he called them to return and repent. As a good shepherd, he called to his wayward sheep. And as a potter with the clay, he patiently and persistently applied pressure on Judah, in order to make them a vessel of honor. But they refused God’s call, and judgment was rendered through a 70-year Babylonian captivity.

In chapters six and seven of 2 Chronicles, upon the dedication of King Solomon’s temple, the Lord reminded Israel that if because of their sin he brought judgment upon them, or if they had been carried into captivity because of their wickedness, there was still hope. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

While the primary interpretation of this passage is for the nation of Israel, its application is ripe for today’s church. Israel was to declare God’s glory to the nations. But they were in need of revival themselves. So it is with the church in America. If the church is to influence America, she must first be influenced by the Holy Spirit. A national revival must come. We find the first two keys to national revival in verse 14.

Key #1 – The condition: It is such a little word. God begins with “if.” Revival is not a certainty. It is not an unconditional promise. There is no magical formula for revival. There is only a Biblical formula. Revival must come on God’s terms.

Key #2 – The company: God’s people. Revival will never begin in the White House, but in God’s house. We do well to pray for the lost and our national leaders. But the President of the United States could go on national television and announce he is committing himself to Jesus Christ, goes to church every day, and gives his entire salary to the church. Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, and every other well-known athlete could share a radical, personal conversion story. None of this brings revival. Revival will only come to America when the church wants it – desperately. Until then, we can long for revival and even pray for revival. But until God’s people are desperate, revival will not come.

The Rushmore Report – Why Faith’s Influence on Politics Isn’t Going Away

“Social issues to return to the forefront on GOP trail.” That’s the title of an article in the Washington Post. What is striking about the article is its title.  “Return to the forefront?”  First, from the earliest days of the last presidential campaign to the present, social issues – protecting the unborn and their mothers, religious liberty, the radical agenda of LGBT activists, etc. – have been in the top tier of issues politicians have been discussing.
The debate over the North Carolina legislation prohibiting men from using women’s bathrooms, as well as issues like dismemberment abortion and protecting the free exercise of religious conviction, are not sudden intrusions, as if unwelcome and unruly guests had burst into a sedate dinner party.  These concerns are at the heart of the kind of country we want to be.  Will we honor life at all its stages, uphold religious liberty as our most essential freedom, esteem marriage as the union of one man and one woman, for life, and strengthen families to better enable every child to be raised in a home with a mom and a dad?  Or will we exalt radical sexual autonomy, continuously redefine human sexuality, treat the unborn as mere collections of blood and tissue and dehumanize their mothers through abortion-on-demand, and encourage the fracturing of families through laws that foster divorce, cohabitation, promiscuity, and pornography?
Second, secular journalists seem perpetually amazed that issues like abortion and religious liberty are actual concerns of real people.  It is natural that like-minded people talk mostly to others with the same perspectives and don’t engage as much with those whose outlook is fundamentally different than their own.
Yet over the past several decades, has it not become apparent that a massive, even preponderant number of Republican voters are socially conservative and that, as the country undergoes profound social turmoil, the convictions of these voters will inform what their party’s candidates discuss in their campaigns?
As Terry Mattingly has convincingly documented for many years, most reporters “don’t get religion.” Mike Cromartie, long-time director of the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Faith Angle Forum, has spoken of once being called by a journalist at a premier publication who “asked for the name of the author and publisher when Cromartie mentioned the book of Ephesians.”
Christians should not belittle journalists for their ignorance, but nor should journalists fail to recognize the significance of the traditional religious faith of tens of millions of their fellow citizens and its implications for American public life.  As the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life documented in a study last year, more than 70 percent of the American people identify as Christians and many Jews and Muslims carefully observe the tenets of their faiths.
Of course, not all of these self-identified believers share the same convictions about the doctrines and practices and political implications of their faiths.  But faith does have implications, real and compelling ones, for one’s beliefs about and conduct regarding the kind of government we should have and the kind of culture we should be.  To dismiss them or pretend they are inconsequential shows a certain contempt for one’s fellow citizens and a measure of intellectual dishonesty when reporting about law, politics, social life, and so forth.
Writing of that great 19th century French observer of our then-new republic, Alexis de Tocqueville, historian Alan Kahan argues that “Tocqueville rejected the militant secularism that saw religion as the enemy, and there is no reason to believe he would have changed his mind today. He rejected equally the claim of some religious people that freedom was the enemy of religion. For Tocqueville, the only way for either freedom or religion to prosper in the long run was by recognizing that they were mutually necessary, and mutually beneficial.”
When journalists, on television or in print or online or on the radio, miss this central insight – that religion and liberty are entwined not only in the fabric of our country but the hearts and hands of scores of millions of Americans – invariably they will be surprised by social issues that just keep “returning” to the fore of public concern.
And that should be no surprise to anyone.
About the Author
Rob Schwarzwalder writes for the Family Research Council.

The Rushmore Report – The Six Senate Races that Really Matter

The 2018 midterm elections are just two weeks away. It seems likely that Democrats are poised to take control of the House of Representatives with a net pick-up of at least 23 seats. But the Senate is another question. While 35 races are on the ballot, only six really matter. The others will all likely be won by incumbents, meaning none of these 29 races will impact the Republicans’ current 51-49 lead. So how are these six key races stacking up with just 14 days to go?

First, a bit of history. PolitiFact notes that, dating back to 1862, the party that holds the White House has averaged a net loss of two Senate seats in midterm elections. If that holds this year, Democrats will flip the Senate by the most narrow of margins, 51-49.

The problem for Democrats, however, is that of these six races, they are defending four of them. So let’s take a look, state by state.

1. Missouri

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is trying to fend off the challenge of Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R). The state voted for Trump, 57-38 percent. but McCaskill has already been elected to the Senate twice. And she led this race by as much as seven points just two months ago. But recent polls have shifted toward Hawley. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polling puts Hawley ahead, 46.3 to 45.8 percent. This narrow lead of .5 percent has given optimism to Republicans in a highly Republican state. However, energy remains on Democrats’ side. This may be the closest of the six competitive races. I’m going against recent polling and guessing that McCaskill will hold this seat by a whisker.

Winner: Claire McCaskill (hold for Democrats)

2. Nevada

Republican Senator Dean Heller is trying to hold a seat in a state won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. In fact, this is the only state where a Republican won a senate seat along with a Clinton vote for President. Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen, who has represented Nevada’s third congressional district for two years, has the strong backing of former President Barack Obama. Heller is not particularly popular in his home state. Current average polls give him a narrow – but growing – lead of 1.7 points.

Winner: Dean Heller (hold for Republicans)

3. Florida

This one will go down as the most expensive Senate race in history. It is truly a battle of the heavyweights. In one corner is Senator Bill Nelson (D), who is running for a fourth term. In the other corner is popular Governor Rick Scott (R), who has the backing of President Trump. Trump beat Clinton in Florida by 1.2 points. A wild card is the governor’s race, which is currently leaning Democrat. For months, Scott maintained a narrow lead in the polls. Then things shifted to Nelson, who led in most polls by three to five points through early fall. But now, things are shifting back toward Scott. Real Clear Politics has this as a dead heat, 46.3 to 46.3 percent. So who will win? I give the edge to Rick Scott for three reasons. First, momentum is on his side. Second, when an incumbent can’t crack 50 percent in the polls, that incumbent usually loses. Third, people want change. Re-electing an aging three-term senator hardly represents that change.

Winner: Rick Scott (pick-up for Republicans)

4. North Dakota

One-term Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) is being challenged by Kevin Cramer (R) in a heavily Republican state. Cramer is the state’s only member of the U.S. House, so he has high visibility, the president’s backing, and he is surging in recent polls. The latest polls out of North Dakota have the challenger up, 57-42 percent.

Winner: Kevin Cramer (pick-up for Republicans)

5. Arizona

With the retirement of Sen. Jeff Flake (R), this state is wide open, and is becoming more Democratic by the moment. Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema led for months over Republican Rep. Martha McSally. But recent polling is moving in McSally’s direction, with Real Clear Politics now giving McSally a very narrow lead of 45.3 to 45.0 percent. I have moved this state from Democrat to Republican based on two factors: polls are sliding toward McSally, and her experience in the military will sway the older population of Arizona.

Winner: Martha McSally (hold for Republicans)

6. Montana

Jon Tester (D) has held this seat since 2007, in a heavily Republican state. State auditor Matt Rosendale is mounting an uphill challenge against the popular Tester. But President Trump is going all in with his support for Rosendale, and it seems to be working. What makes this one hard to predict is the lack of polling in the sparsely populated state. Montana is reliably unpredictable. My thinking is that voters will place a high value on keeping their incumbent in place, as Tester has moved into leadership roles within the senate.

Winner: Jon Tester (hold for Democrats)

Summary

Remember, the other 29 senate races are pretty much set. Unless there is a major upset in West Virginia or Indiana (both held by incumbent Democrats), it will all come down to these six states: Missouri, Nevada, Florida, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana. Because only two of these are held by Republicans (Nevada and Arizona), in order for Democrats to retake the Senate, they will need to hold all four of their seats and pick up both Republican seats. Neither is likely. I see Democrats losing Florida and North Dakota, with no change in the other four states. This represents a net pick-up of two Senate seats for the Republican Party.

Final Score: Republicans 53, Democrats 47

The Rushmore Report – New York Giant Odell Beckham, Jr. Boldly Shares His Faith

Odell Beckham is perhaps the most exciting star in the National Football League. The stand-out wide receiver for the New York Giants made what is described as the most sensational catch in NFL history last year. He has been rewarded with the largest contract of any receiver in history. But the life of Odell Beckham is much deeper than what happens on the gridiron. Every Sunday, well before the National Anthem is played, Beckham takes a knee. Why?

Odell Beckham is happy to answer that question.

Beckham says his life was changed when he turned it over to God this past summer. He took to Instagram to share with his 11.5 million followers that he has dedicated his life to Jesus Christ. In July, Beckham was on a trip to the Holy Land when he decided to get baptized. The receiver shared a photo of the experience with the caption, “FRESH START.” He said he had “been forgiven.”

For Odell Beckham, this is about his life, not just a single event in Israel. He said, “My journey is just beginning.” The next month, he posted, “God, I can’t even put into words my gratitude. This is only the beginning. I’m thankful.”

And before the start of the NFL season, Beckham posted,  “Lord, I come to you at this time, not to ask you for anything, but just to say Thank You.”

And in his most recent post, the Giant wrote, “Mind. Body. Spirit. God I can’t thank u enough for completely puttin me back together and givin me another opportunity. It’s OUR time.”

The LSU product, first round draft choice, and three-time Pro Bowler is a role model for today’s youth. In a time when kids are starving for men to look up to, God has provided such a man. His name is Odell Beckham.

 

Seven Keys to Wisdom

The Bible has a great passage about wisdom. It’s found in 1 Chronicles 28:9-10.

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”

Within this passage, we find seven keys to the wisdom of Solomon.

1. Acknowledge God. This means acknowledging that God is real. He loves us and wants us to succeed. Acknowledging God also means realizing that we depend only on him.

2. Serve him wholeheartedly. if we don’t take action, our acknowledgment becomes empty. God deserves our full obedience through diligent service. We serve God by serving others.

3. Keep motives pure. If we serve only for what we get out of it, we’re really not serving. We’re being selfish. Instead, we should be sure that people benefit from our service by being drawn closer to God.

4. Be faithful. Regardless of results, circumstances or progress, if we’re faithful in our walk with God, our efforts will never be in vain. We see from the stories of David’s life that God blesses faithfulness, despite our faults and failures.

5. Realize that God chose us. We’re not accidentally a part of God’s plan. He chose us to serve him. He has a specific purpose for each of us to fulfill.

6. Be strong. God goes beyond choosing us. He also equips and energizes us to do whatever he sets before us.

7. Do the work. Knowing these keys, it’s time to get to work. When God calls and we get moving, he’ll be able to accomplish incredible feats through us!

Alice Chapin said, “How could I possibly be the apple of God’s eye when my behavior is not yet perfect? Because green apples are apples, too! One day I shall be a mature September apple, perfectly formed. But for now, I am still growing.”

The Rushmore Report – Can Anti-Trump Hatred Carry the House for Democrats?

“I have some thoughts on ‘enthusiasm’ and the election,” tweeted Amy Walter, the Cook Political Report’s ace analyst of House races. What I and, I suspect, others expected to follow was a discussion of how voters’ enthusiasm, positive or negative, tends to determine who wins elections, especially off-year elections, when turnout is more variable.

Democrats had greater enthusiasm in 2006 and won both houses of Congress; Republicans had even more enthusiasm in 2010 and gained the largest number of House seats either party had since 1948.

In this off-year election cycle, it’s been obvious for months that Democrats have greater enthusiasm, almost entirely of the negative variety. They’ve been itching to inflict damage on President Trump and on the political party he chose to associate himself with three or four years ago in order to get elected president.

We’ve seen the results in Democratic-tilted turnout in special elections and in Democratic breakthroughs in polls. Pundits and psephologists have been predicting that Democrats would gain vast numbers of House seats.

But Walter wasn’t making this now-familiar point in her tweet. She was saying that the degree of enthusiasm of the very large number of people who may or may not vote appears less decisive, at least this year, than the degree of enthusiasm of the much smaller number of people who may or may not run for elective office.

And that may be the case if, as many analysts have concluded, enthusiasm among Republican voters has risen sharply, up toward or even with the Democrats’ level, because of the hearings over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

Many of them really didn’t like the way Justice Kavanaugh was treated; they seem determined to inflict damage on the Democrats who violated the usual process, and the banshees television viewers could hear shrieking in the hearing room chamber and clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court across the street.

Walter’s tweet goes on: “regardless of what turnout looks like in Nov., Dems used their 2017-18 energy to recruit candidates, raise $$. Without that, there is no extended House map. And, House isn’t in play.”

Walter’s implicit thesis that candidates’ decisions to do the unnatural thing of running for Congress can, pretty much by itself, change partisan results and public policy is supported by history.

Democrats’ 48-seat gain in 1974 resulted from the candidacies of dozens of ambitious young liberals disgusted with the Vietnam War, Watergate and former President Richard Nixon. They cut off funding for South Vietnam, steadily increased Medicaid funding and imposed liberal discipline on what had been a disunited caucus. They cemented Democrats’ hold on the House for 20 years.

Republicans’ 54-seat gain in 1994, engineered in large part by citizens motivated to run by Newt Gingrich, resulted in similar reforms (election of committee chairmen), and they ended up promoting welfare reform, budget surpluses and a market-driven Medicare prescription drug program. Starting in 1994, Republicans have won House majorities in 11 of 13 elections, a formidable record even if they lose this year.

Republicans’ 63-seat gain in 2010 has not been as productive, in large part because of tea partiers’ distrust of Republican congressional leaders. Their record in the Trump years has been spotty: unity on tax cuts but division on Obamacare repeal and dithering on immigration.

The odds seem to be declining that 2018 will see such large gains in House seats for the party out of power. Nate Cohn of The New York Times Upshot blog, which has been conducting dozens of House race polls, has noted that he saw a trend of Democrats being “able to do well in red states/districts” that has “abruptly come to an end” in their data since the Kavanaugh nomination fight.

This suggests Democrats could gain most of the 23 Republican districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016, which would get them near the net gain of 23 seats they need for a majority, but would have a hard time gaining seats that voted for Donald Trump. That’s the pattern in the Virginia state legislative races in November 2017.

But all those enthusiastic candidates who stepped forth and volunteered to run, campaigned hard and raised piles of money, Amy Walter suggests, will probably win enough seats to give Democrats at least a small majority.

We’ll see – and we’ll see if the young, highly motivated Democrats make a difference on policy, as the 1974 Democrats and 1994 Republicans did, or if their enthusiasm fizzles out in a frenzy of harassment of Donald Trump.

About the Author

Michael Barone writes for Townhall.

Teacher Late to Work 111 Times – Keeps Job

It happened in Trenton, New Jersey. An elementary school teacher who was allowed to keep his job despite being late to work 111 times has explained the reason for his chronic tardiness – breakfast. “I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning,” said Arnold Anderson, a 15-year teacher.

In a decision filed August 19, an arbitrator in New Jersey rejected an attempt by the Roosevelt Elementary School in New Brunswick to fire Anderson from his $90,000 per year job, saying he was entitled to “progressive discipline.” In other words, Anderson keeps his job because he has not yet been punished for his wrongs. But now on warning, he responded, “I guess I have to cut out eating breakfast at home.”

Mr. Anderson was late 46 times in the last school year and 65 times the year before that. But because the district did not provide due process via a formal notice of inefficiency or a 90-day period for him to correct his problem, he keeps his job. Governor Chris Christie tweeted, “Think I’m too tough on the teachers union? This is what we’re dealing with in New Jersey.” Anderson has been suspended, but not fired. When his suspension ends, he promises, “I will be early on my first day back.”

We have had 239 years to put together common sense laws in America. And this is what we have come up with. A man can be late to work 111 times because he fails to finish breakfast on time, and he keeps his job. Eventually, one would think, this law will be adjusted. There are other crazy laws that persist in America. In Kentucky, a woman can’t buy a hat without her husband’s permission. In California, it is unlawful for a dog to chase a bear. And in Las Cruces, New Mexico, you can’t carry a lunchbox down Main Street.

So it’s okay to be late to work 111 times, but not okay to carry a lunchbox. Despite 239 years of sincere attempts at getting it right, we still fall short. But God, in one try, got it right. He handed down something we call the ten commandments. They worked then and they work now. When you break God’s law, God’s law breaks you. But there is good news. Though we have all been found guilty, we have an advocate who has taken the punishment for our crimes. Through Jesus Christ we all have forgiveness. And one day, either at his return or our death, we will step into heaven, pure and righteous. And none of us will be late.

Big Boys Don’t Cry

When we were little boys, a simple scraped knee or a harsh word from a friend could send us instantly into the arms of our parents. We felt no sense of shame in our tears or in seeking the comfort of a loving person.

And then we grew up and became big boys.

As men, we find that too often the pain and weight of failure, loss, disappointment, and regret weigh relentlessly on our hearts and souls. The more intense our emotional or mental distress, the more our bodies feel resulting aches, pains, and fatigue. As big boys, we presume the correct “macho” response is a grin, and we are to endure it and just get over it. “Bite the bullet,” we tell ourselves.

King David was a man’s man, and a woman’s man; a bare-handed killer of bears and lions and a slayer of giants; a brilliant military strategist and a decisive national political figure. Yet, when in distress, David didn’t just “get over it.” Rather, he felt his aches and pains fully, to the point of becoming faint! In the Psalms, David wept profusely and openly groaned about his feelings of despair and anguish.

Jack Hyles said it like this: “Laughter means nothing unless there have been tears.”

The Mazeroski Home Run

The 1960 World Series was significant in many ways. For example, it was the only year in which the World Series Most Valuable Player came from the losing team – Bobby Richardson, of the New York Yankees. But the series is best known for the greatest home run in baseball history.

The date was October 13, 1960. The place was Forbes Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates were tied, 9-9. It was the bottom of the 9th inning. The Pirates were at bat. The pitcher was Ralph Terry. And the hitter was Bill Mazeroski.

Mazeroski was not a power hitter. In his 17 Major League seasons, he hit just 138 home runs. Maz was known as a defensive player, turning more double plays than any second baseman in history, making 10 All-Star appearances in the process.

But this day would be different. The light-hitting second baseman stepped to the plate with the world watching. And then he hit a fastball 430 feet, over the head of left fielder Yogi Berra, over the 406-foot sign, and over the fence and out of the park.

As a side note, a 14-year-old boy named Andy Jerpe recovered the ball, had Mazeroski sign it for him, and then lost the ball while playing in a park six months later.

But the lesson of “the home run” is this. We are defined by single moments. Bill Mazeroski played 17 seasons, set fielding records that still stand today, and made it into baseball’s coveted Hall-of-Fame – as a defensive genius. But he is known for one swing of the bat – producing the only walk-off ninth inning, game 7 home run in World Series history.

For good or bad, people will remember you for your defining moments. Here’s the good news. No matter your past, no matter your failures, your best days are still ahead. And here’s the even better news. God gets the last at-bat.

The Rushmore Report – Herschel Walker Calls Out Don Lemon for Despicable Comments on Kanye West

CNN host Don Lemon said some incredibly hateful things about Kanye West last week. His racist rhetoric was ignored by most of the media, of course. Worse, Lemon said the famous rapper was mentally ill, as evidenced by his support for President Trump. Then he laughed when a liberal guest on his show, Bakari Sellers, said, “Kanye West is what happens when Negros can’t read.”

Lemon then referred to West as “the token Negro of the Trump administration.” Thankfully, not all African Americans share Lemon’s hate speech. In stepped legendary NFL great Herschel Walker. What he said should be read by every American.

Walker tweeted, “Went to bed appalled over Don Lemon’s despicable behavior laughing at Tara Setmayer and Bakari Sellers’ awful remarks about Kanye West’s visit with Trump! Woke up wondering why CNN doesn’t take all three off the air?” Walker concluded with one word – “Shameful.”

This did nothing to soften the tone of the Left, whose hollow cries for civility work only in one direction. Setmayer responded to Walker, “Bless your heart. You want to silence me because I expressed a different opinion than yours?”

Of course that is not what Herschel Walker was saying. Otherwise, he’d call for the firing of every host on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, etc. To his credit, Walker is only calling for the firing of one host – Don Lemon – who has made a mockery of both journalism and human decency.

In Walker’s own words: “No, Tara Setmayer, anyone that is African American with an opinion different than yours, you want to call them out by using the N-word and Don Lemon is laughing? To me that is bullying and shameful.”

Walker is not the only African American who was offended by Lemon’s immature remarks.

Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock said, “These reprehensible, racist comments on CNN are typical of the Trump-hating left. Black Americans who think for ourselves are mocked and degraded with words we last saw under Jim Crow. When one of America’s most prominent black entertainers praises and visits the president, he is trivialized as a ‘token’ who ‘doesn’t read.'”

When President Trump’s policies led to the lowest black unemployment rate in American history, Lemon said nothing. When Chicago’s inner city blacks killed each other by the hundreds during the Obama years, Lemon remained silent. But when one prominent African American – accompanied by NFL legend Jim Brown – had the courage to stand on his convictions, Lemon lost it.

Don Lemon is a blight on journalism and decency. He has found a safe home at CNN. And that is the silver lining. As long as he is at CNN, he can’t do too much damage – since no one is watching.

Good job, Herschel Walker! God bless you for standing up, speaking up, and doing what you can to inject sanity into a rather insane week.