Family Tree

The great American novelist Mark Twain said that he spent a large sum of money to trace his family tree and then spent twice as much trying to keep his ancestry a secret. He was like the family that reportedly wanted its history written up, so they hired a professional biographer to do it, but they were worried about how the document would handle the family’s black sheep. Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder.

“No problem,” said the biographer. “I’ll say that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, and his death came as a real shock.”

We can’t do much about our ancestors, but we influence our descendants greatly. I have often commented that I will change the world more by how I pastor my son than by how I pastored my churches. Even if you could change your ancestry, would it matter? Spend your time where you have the most influence, with your family. The seeds you plant today will bear fruit tomorrow. The Bible says it like this – “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3).

The Rushmore Report – Rick Warren: ‘You Don’t Have to Forget’

You’ve heard this phrase over and over: “Forgive and forget.” There’s only one problem: You can’t do it. It’s impossible! You really can’t forget a hurt in your life. In fact, you can’t even try to forget it. Because when you’re trying to forget it, you are actually focusing on the very thing you want to forget. Forgetting is not what God wants you to do. Instead, he wants you to trust him and see how he can bring good out of it. That’s more important than forgetting, because then you can thank God for the good that he brought out of it. You can’t thank God for things you forget.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

It doesn’t say that all things are good, because not all things are good. Cancer is not good. Disease is not good. Death is not good. Divorce is not good. War is not good. Rape and abuse are not good. A lot of things in life are evil. These are the realities of living in a world that has been contaminated by sin.

But God says he will work good out of the bad things in life if you will trust him. When you come to him and say, “God, I give you all the pieces of me life,” he will return peace for your pieces. His peace in your heart comes from realizing that even if you don’t understand the hurt in your life, you can still forgive, knowing that God will use that pain for good.

You don’t have to forget the wrong thing that someone did to you. You couldn’t do it even if you tried! But God says you don’t have to forget it. You just have to forgive and then see how he will bring good out of it.

About the Author

Rick Warren is senior pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

The Rushmore Report – Nine Parenting Truths from John Piper

John Piper addressed the question, “Does Proverbs Promise My Child Will Not Stray?” in a recent episode of Ask Pastor John. As you might have guessed, the question was based on Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Piper ended the episode by sharing these nine truths for parents to remember and follow:

  1. In general, bringing up children God’s way will lead them to eternal life. In general, that is true.
  2. This reality would include putting our hope in God and praying earnestly for our wisdom and for their salvation all the way to the grave. Don’t just pray until they get converted at age six. Pray all the way to the grave for your children’s conversions and for the perseverance of their apparent conversions.
  3. Saturate them with the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
  4. Be radically consistent and authentic in your own faith — not just in behavior, but in affections. Kids need to see how precious Jesus is to mom and dad, not just how he is obeyed or how they get to church or how they read devotions or how they do duty, duty, duty. They need to see the joy and the satisfaction in mom and dad’s heart that Jesus is the greatest friend in the world.
  5. Model the preciousness of the gospel. As we parents confess our own sins and depend on grace, our kids will say, “Oh, you don’t have to be perfect. Mom and dad aren’t perfect. They love grace. They love the gospel because Jesus forgives their sins. And I will know then he can forgive my sins.”
  6. Be part of a Bible-saturated, loving church. Kids need to be surrounded by other believers and not just mom and dad.
  7. Require obedience. Do not be lazy. There are so many young parents today that appear so lazy. They are not willing to get up and do what needs to be done to bring this kid into line. So we should follow through on our punishments and follow through especially on all of our promises of good things that we say we are going to do for them.
  8. God saves children out of failed and unbelieving parenting. God is sovereign. We aren’t the ones, finally, who save our kids. God saves kids and there would hardly be any Christians in the world if he didn’t save them out of failed families.
  9. Rest in the sovereignty of God over your children. We cannot bear the weight of their eternity. That is God’s business and we must roll all of that onto him.

The Rushmore Report – Tim Tebow Says Parents Homeschooled Him to ‘Instill Love for God’

Christian sports star Tim Tebow has opened up about his experience being homeschooled as a child. Speaking to Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Tebow said that his parents, Bob and Pam, wanted to make sure he and his siblings were taught to love God above all else.

“They wanted to instill love in our hearts, love for God, love for one another. They wanted us to be able to learn a work ethic, a dedication,” he continued.

Now the two-sports star says he has “a heart to encourage the homeschooled kid.”

He said, “To let them know that they are loved, and they are special, and they might feel different, and sometimes might feel alone, sometimes might feel afraid. There might be those times where you go through that.”

The athlete, who was homeschooled until college, explained that his days were filled with Bible study and doing chores on the farm. He had some difficulties when interacting with children who attended regular schools while playing sports, however.

Speaking of his football days as a teenager, he said, “I was brand new at this place [high school football field] and you could tell that that group just, it had so much disdain, you know, because I wasn’t part of them.”

The Rushmore Report – NBA Broadcaster Tells How He Became a Christian

He has become the voice of the NBA. Now he is the lead studio host for March Madness, as well. His name is Ernie Johnson. He is one of the top sports broadcasters in America. He is a family man. But more than that, he is God’s man. And now he is speaking out – telling how he became a Christian.

Johnson is profiled in the latest issue of FCA Magazine. He tells the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ lead publication how his life was changed at the age of 41.

Twenty years into his studio assignment, working alongside Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal, Johnson credits his most significant success to his relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is how it happened. Twenty years ago, Johnson’s two oldest children, Eric and Maggie, asked him why they didn’t attend church as a family. After some discussion, Ernie and his wife Cheryl decided to give it a try. They began attending Crossroads, a nondenominational church in Atlanta.

The Emmy-winning broadcaster was moved by the first service he attended, when the pastor asked the congregation two questions: Who’s the provider in your family, and are you pursuing happiness or wholeness?

Those questions challenged Johnson. He knew he needed to be a better husband and father. He returned to Crossroads the next three weeks, and then asked the pastor, Kevin Myers, out to lunch. On December 10, 1997, at an O’Charley’s restaurant, he prayed to God and became a Christian. Cheryl made the same commitment a few months later.

Their pastor explained to them that even before they became believers, God was working in their lives. For example, beginning in 1990, they began adopting children out of love, empathy, and compassion.

That same year, Cheryl watched a “20/20” report on overcrowded orphanages in Romania, where thousands of children were being neglected. Five months later, in 1991, Cheryl convinced Ernie to adopt Michael, a three-year-old boy with special needs. Michael eventually learned how to walk and later speak. Two years later, the Johnsons adopted Carmen from Paraguay. Then in 2011, they added half-sisters Allison and Ashley to the family. Cheryl had met the girls through her work with Street Grace, a faith-based organization mobilizing community leaders to end the sexual trafficking of children throughout the United States.

“She has taught me so much,” Ernie said of Cheryl. “I wanted to play it safe sometimes. She had bigger dreams. You have to put other people first. This can’t be all about you.”

As his faith grew, Johnson considered leaving TNT. Should he continue his career after turning his life over to God? Should he try to find a faith-based job? He asked Cheryl what he should do. She responded on his spiritual birthday by giving him a large compass as a gift. Cheryl’s handwritten note with it reminded him to remember the day he found his ultimate direction in life – and to let God direct him.

Johnson ended up staying with TNT. He knew the platform God gave him would provide opportunities for him to share his faith. And God did just that.

Several moments for these opportunities stand out. First, in August 2003, after noticing a bump near his ear, Johnson was diagnosed with stage two Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. During that time, “Trust God – Period” became his mantra. He was candid about his cancer after the NBA’s All-Star weekend, and six grueling chemotherapy treatments later, Johnson’s cancer was in remission, where it has remained since. He returned to “Inside the NBA” in 2006, never missing a show. A year later, Johnson won the Emmy for outstanding studio host.

“God sometimes whispers and sometimes shouts that His way is better than my way,” Johnson said during his acceptance speech.

Years later, Johnson experienced hardship again when his beloved father died in 2011. About a month later, Michael, who has muscular dystrophy, was put on a ventilator to remain alive. Since then, Johnson spends most of his mornings caring for Michael, now 29, at their home.

Then soon after the most recent presidential election, “Inside the NBA” decided to discuss on air the results that left the country divided. In just over two minutes, Johnson’s commentary resonated with many and was shared millions of times on social media.

“I never know from one election to the next who’s going to be in the Oval Office, but I always know who’s on the throne,” Johnson said into the camera. “I’m on this earth because God created me, and that’s Who I answer to. I’m a Christian. I follow a guy named Jesus; you might have heard of Him. And the greatest commandment He gave me was to love others. And Scripture also tells us to pray for our leaders, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to pray for Donald Trump.”

Johnson sums up these opportunities to shine for Jesus – and the many more chances that will undoubtedly follow – with one concept.

“The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served,” Johnson told FCA. “Being a servant is where I find myself.”

Man Credits Gallon of Milk for $22 Million Lotto Win

A gallon of milk has made a Milwaukee man the biggest winner in Wisconsin Megabucks history. John Rumpel, a high school teacher, claimed his $22.2 million check Friday. And he gives the credit to his wife, who sent him to a convenience store for a gallon of milk. While he was there, he decided to buy a ticket.

“It wasn’t until after the drawing that I flipped on the news and saw that the winning ticket was sold in Milwaukee,” he said of the May 30 drawing. “I looked up and saw this convenience store and went, ‘Oh man, that might be me.'” Rumpel had 180 days from the drawing to claim his prize at the Lottery’s headquarters in Madison.

Rumpel took the cash payment option, and walked away with $15.7 million. The store, A&I Services, also received a $100,000 check for selling the winning ticket. The jackpot was the largest in Megabucks history. The game was first introduced in 1992. Drawings take place every Wednesday and Saturday night.

We can take three things away from Mr. Rumpel’s story. First, he is now a former high school teacher. Second, he is very, very, very rich. And third, he has forever discovered the value of a man doing exactly what his wife tells him to do. I know a lot of men who would have told their wives, “You get the milk!” But not John Rumpel.

Here’s the deeper lesson. Marriage is a partnership. Paul said that love asks what it can do for the other person, not what is can receive from the other person (1 Corinthians 13). And when a man loves his wife in deed and not just words, blessings will follow. Try it, guys! You may not win $22 million. In fact, I’m pretty sure you won’t. But you will win something far greater – the appreciation of a wife who you probably don’t deserve in the first place. It is truly amazing . . . the blessing you can receive . . . all for the price of a gallon of milk.

14 Things You Didn’t Know about “Leave It to Beaver”

Anyone can write about ISIS, Donald Trump’s rants against Muslims, or President Obama’s strategy to defeat Islamic terrorists. You can read that anywhere. But I think we can use something light every once in awhile. So let me share with you 14 things you probably didn’t know about the greatest comedy series in the history of television, Leave It to Beaver, which ran for six seasons, from 1957-1963. Like most of my generation, I grew up watching the Beave in reruns, which continue to this day. For 58 consecutive years, Leave It to Beaver has been on the air. Let the countdown begin . . .

1. Hugh Beaumont, who played Ward Cleaver, was an ordained minister with a degree in theology from the University of Southern California.

2. Tony Dow had no prior acting experience; he was a junior Olympics diver.

3. This was the first television series to show a toilet on the air.

4. Ken Osmond, who played Eddie Haskel, went on to become a Los Angeles police officer in 1970, and was once shot three times (but saved by his bullet-proof vest).

5. Barbara Billingsley, who played June Cleaver, wore a pearl necklace to hide a small indention on her neck.

6. The show was set in Illinois. Actually, the state is never given, but they once used a stock photo that represented the fictitious setting of Mayfield. The photo was of Stokie, Illinois, population 64,784.

7. Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver Cleaver, showed up for his audition in his cub scout uniform, as he was on his way to a den meeting.

8. In the opening, Ward drove his car into the driveway, but his car had no back window. They removed the window to eliminate glare.

9. The show didn’t end because of bad ratings, but because Jerry Mathers went off to high school.

10. Barbara Billingsley didn’t wear heels in the first season, but did in seasons two through six, to maintain her height advantage over the boys.

11. Hugh Beaumont wasn’t the first choice for Ward. That was actor Max Showalter.

12. Leave It to Beaver was the first show in television history to end with a scripted finale.

13. The show was originally to be called Wally and the Beaver, but this title was abandoned because it sounded like a nature show.

14. After the show was ended, Jerry Mathers recorded an album, featuring Don’t Cha Cry, which met universal scorn.

My mom made me watch the show every day because it always had a lesson she thought I needed to learn. With the passing of time, I chose to watch the show and I still do. Debuting on October 4, 1957 and ending on June 20, 1963, the show remains an icon for its generation. I’ve seen all 234 episodes at least 234 times. Although it never broke into the Nielsen ratings top-30 nor won any awards, it placed on Time magazine’s list of “The 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.” Tony Dow said, “If any line got too much of a laugh, they took it out. They didn’t want a big laugh; they wanted chuckles.” Fifty-two years after the final episode, all of America is still chuckling. Thank you, Ward, June, Wally, and Beave. Thanks for reminding us of a time when the typical American family had breakfast and dinner together each day, went to church on Sunday, and led wholesome lives worthy of any generation.

The Rushmore Report – The Left’s Vile Attack on NRA’s Dana Loesch

It’s one thing to have a disagreement over gun control. It is understandable that people fall on both sides of the argument: beef up security at the schools vs restrict access to guns. What is not understandable is the vile and sexist remarks from the Left, directed at NRA leader Dana Loesch.

A series of recent tweets was beyond disgusting.

A man named Jeff Black posted offensive, manipulated pictures of Loesch online, referring to her as a “depraved doggie.” He called the NRA a “death cult,” and slandered Loesch with sexist comments beneath the dignity necessary to be repeated in this space.

When called out for his crude remarks, Black refused to delete them. This elicited a response from Loesch’s husband, Chris.

“This guy doesn’t have the decency to delete this tweet even though he admits that the woman in the pic is not Dana. Is it OK to falsely sexualize women in order to try and demean them?”

Can you imagine the response if an NRA leader had attacked someone from the other side is a similar way? If that had happened, you wouldn’t have to imagine it – the story would be headline news all over the country. To her credit, Dana Loesch has handled the entire episode with her typical dignity and grace.

Will the gun debate ever be solved? Not completely.

Will we make progress? Only if both sides can focus on the issues and leave junior high childish antics behind.


Ronald Reagan – Happy Anniversary!

On March 4, 1952, actor and future president Ronald Reagan married his second wife, actress Nancy Davis. The couple wed in Los Angeles at the Little Brown Church in the Valley. For trivia lovers, the matron of honor was Brenda Marshall and the best man was her husband, actor William Holden. Nancy Davis met her husband in 1949 while Reagan was serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild and Nancy was embroiled in an effort to remove her name from the notorious McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist of possible communist sympathizers. The two fell in love and were married three years later. Ronald Reagan became governor of California in 1967, a position he held until 1975. In 1980, he became president, serving for two terms. For her part, Nancy embraced the role of governor’s wife and later, First Lady. Thought of as America’s first couple, the Reagans appeared to embody traditional American values.

The Reagans were married for 52 years, until the president’s death in 2004. What made their marriage special? One of Reagan’s press secretaries said, “They never stopped courting.” Mr. Reagan once wrote to Nancy, “Whatever I treasure and enjoy, all would be without meaning if I didn’t have you.” When he was in the hospital in 1981, she slept with one of his shirts to be comforted by his scent.

In a remarkable letter in 1994, Reagan wrote, “I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience.” Four years later, while he was well into his disease, Nancy told Vanity Fair, “Our relationship is very special. We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it’s true. It did. I can’t imagine life without him.”

Happy anniversary, Mr. President. Happy anniversary, Mrs. Reagan.


The Rushmore Report – The Question the Media Asks Ivanka Trump that They Would Never Ask Chelsea Clinton

On Monday, Ivanka Trump was interviewed on NBC’s Today Show, when reporter Pete Alexander asked her a personal question about the President of the United States. It was intended to create sensationalism. And it was a question the mainstream media would never ask Chelsea Clinton about her father.

Alexander asked Ivanka about sexual harassment allegations against the President. “Do you believe your father’s accusers?” Alexander asked.

Ivanka offered a brilliant response. “I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated that there’s no truth to it. I don’t think that’s a question you would ask many other daughters. I believe my father. I know my father, so I think I have that right as a daughter, to believe my father.”

Ben Shapiro writes, “Whether President Trump ought to be believed in his rejection of all accusations of sexual misconduct is one question. (The simple answer is no, given his history and the multiplicity of the allegations.) But there’s little question that children tend to believe what their parents say. And there’s no question that Ivanka is absolutely right about the media’s variable treatment of Republican children and Democratic children. The question to Ivanka wasn’t inappropriate. But has any member of the media ever asked Chelsea Clinton about rape and sexual harassment allegations regarding Bill Clinton?”

There is a really good reason so many Republicans believe the media is biased against them. They are.