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 – 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.”

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.


The Rushmore Report – Rick Santorum: ‘What All These Shooters Have in Common’

In an interview with CNN host Jake Tapper, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said the public debate after the Parkland mass shooting should not be focused only on gun control, but also on the real problem. Santorum identified the number one problem that is leading to all these mass shootings across the country.

Appearing on State of the Union, Santorum said the most consistent problem among the school shooters is that “these kids come from broken homes without dads, and that is not something we’re talking about. We want to talk about things we can work together on. How about working together to try to see what we can do to get more dads involved in the lives of their kids?”

Santorum continued, “The idea that we’re going to ban these guns is never going to happen and the idea that we’re even focused on this when there are so many other issues that are much more relevant to the systemic problem we have in this country of the breakdown of the family and father – we need to be talking about these things.”

Sen. Santorum has hit on the real issue. Messed up families produce messed up kids, and messed up kids do messed up things. The only real solution is not to control the guns or to arm the schools (though some legislation in these areas may be appropriate). The real issue is to clean up the mess – the mess created by fathers who are not present in the lives of their kids.

Keys to a Great Christian Marriage

Surveys show the average couple gets married when the man is 31, the woman 29. For someone who is age 30, their average life expectancy is 82. So the average couple getting married in 2016 can expect 50 years of marriage, barring divorce. So what makes for a happy marriage, based on the principles of God? I offer a few suggestions.

1. Put God first, not your marriage. When couples marry, they always assume the best. But when God brings two sinful people together, they don’t leave their sin nature behind. And people are self-centered. That is because of sin. So don’t give your spouse a God complex. Only God deserves to be on a pedestal.

2. Do unto your spouse as you would have your spouse do unto you. Consider the consequences of our words and actions. Ask how you want to be spoken to, and speak that way to your spouse. The Bible says, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, or criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment” (Luke 6:27 The Message).

3. Learn to defer. I met a couple last week, who has been married for 56 years. I asked the man the key to a lasting, happy marriage. He said he learned to say two words: “Yes dear.” The Bible says believers are to submit to one another. That works better in marriage than anywhere else.

4. Put friendship before intimacy and you’ll get both. Sex is not the key to an enduring bond – friendship is. The typical couple spends less than five minutes a day in conversation together. They share only two meals a week. They drift. And then, too often, they divorce.

5. Love as God loves – unconditionally. Until God is at the center of your life, he won’t be at the center of your marriage. God’s love is like an airplane. It overcomes gravity because it is built according to the laws of aerodynamics. What happens if it loses power? The natural law of gravity takes over. A successful marriage is not natural. It is dependent on the power of God, understood or not.

6. Avoid debt. In the first year of marriage, studies show three things are toxic: sexual issues, in-law issues, and money issues. Read about debt. Get on a budget. The Bible speaks of debt a lot. And it never has one good thing to say about it.

7. Learn to forgive. This may be the most important thing I’ve learned in 33 years of marriage. A great marriage is the union of two forgivers. Don’t wait for the apology. True, biblical forgiveness is unconditional.

The Rushmore Report – When Children View Pornography

No healthy parent wants to think about his child viewing pornography, but it often happens. Some researchers have stated that the average age of exposure to pornography is down to eight. Before the days of the Internet, children were typically between the ages of 11 and 13 when they began viewing soft-core porn found in magazines.

Today’s child lives in a culture where hard-core porn abounds. Our children are being seduced daily, and we need to bear this fact in mind whenever we have the occasion to redirect them away from pornography.

It is also extremely important that parents not direct all their efforts toward their sons at the expense of their daughters. Porn and other sexualized media can adversely affect girls as well as boys and often leads to significant damage in their ability to form healthy relationships as an adult.

The goal

We want to be intentional parents. It’s our privilege and responsibility to educate them about sexuality. We want to begin early, and continue throughout their time with us in the home.

The ultimate goal for our children’s sexuality is that they will be able to see the dynamic interplay between sexuality and spirituality. As Christians, we want to help them understand, for example, that sexual intercourse is an act of love shared between a husband and wife. This sacred act symbolizes the spiritual union that will occur between Christ and His bride, the Church, upon His return to earth. We hope our sons will see themselves as a type of Christ as they relate to their wives, and that our daughters will see themselves as a type of the church as they relate to their husbands. What we model today in our marriages will likely reproduce itself in our children’s marriages.

By helping our children to see the big picture about the sanctity of sex, we are better prepared to confront the problem of pornography when and if it occurs in our children’s lives.

Do you and your spouse share the same core values?

Ideally, parents will share the same core  values that promote sexual purity. This unity will facilitate your child’s recovery. On the other hand, if a child’s parents are divided about pornography, that child’s rehabilitation will be more difficult.

A child’s repetitive involvement with porn can be a symptom of an unhappy home. Once the child’s issues begin to surface, his parents may benefit from marital therapy if they continue to be at odds on pornography in general or fail to agree on how to facilitate their child’s recovery.

Before you start beating yourself up, however, any exposure to porn can harm children – even otherwise healthy children. The point here is not to blame parents but to help them identify any problems that may be negatively affecting their children’s understanding of sexuality or recovery.

Did my child view pornography intentionally?

I’m convinced that children are victims of a covert form of sexual abuse whenever they are confronted with sexually provocative materials. With this in mind, our children need us to be healthy advocates for their well-being – even if we must confront their willful exposure to porn.

If a child has been found with porn, it’s important to not jump to conclusions. A harsh, impulsive interrogation will most likely just shut down your child. An unhealthy shame often leads to more acting out with pornography.

You will want to learn how your child found porn. For example, did someone introduce your child to porn? Mental health professionals recognize the power differential that occurs as a result of age, and if the person who introduced the porn was older by three or four years, it constitutes a type of sex abuse. These incidents should be reported to local authorities.

Was this my child’s first exposure?

It will also be important to learn if this was his first exposure to pornography. The frequency of exposure matters, as a child becomes increasingly desensitized over time. As desensitization occurs, a child typically begins to seek a greater frequency of porn, and a harder or more severe quality. Greater frequency and a shift to hard-core porn are indicators that the brain has begun to seek more stimulation which can lead to addiction.

If you learn that your child has developed a habit of viewing porn, it will be important to seek the services of a specialist who is trained to facilitate recovery.

Just exactly what did my child see?

What types of porn did he see? Sadly, with the Internet a child can be exposed to a wide range of sexual perversions in seconds. If your child has an email address, chances are he or she is being exposed to pornographic email. One recent study found that 47 percent of school-aged children received porn spam on a daily basis. This study also found that as many as one in five children open the spam they receive. It will be important to learn about the types of porn that your child viewed. For example, was the porn heterosexual or homosexual? Was it limited to body parts or did it include sex acts? Was sexual violence a part of the porn, and did it include bestiality?

Regardless of what was viewed, it will be more important to rehabilitate your child than to merely correct or punish him.

How can you prevent future occurrences?

Frankly, there is no guarantee that even the best parent can prevent his child’s exposure to pornography. As with parents of any age or culture, we seek to do the best we can with the resources we have. Should another incident occur, it will be another teachable moment where you restate the precepts and principles that guide us toward wholeness.

Fortunately, the probability of future occurrences can be diminished by taking a four-pronged approach.

1. Behavioral

Behavioral approaches attempt to prevent a scenario from developing in the first place. The house and grounds, for example, should be purged of all pornography. Media should be carefully screened for “triggers” that serve as gateways to acting out. The computer should be moved to the family room, in view of everyone.

2. Cognitive

Porn is propaganda and generates destructive myths about sexuality. Once exposed, it will be critically important that a comprehensive sex education gets underway, if it has not already been initiated. The child will need to learn what and how to think about sexuality.

3. Emotive

Sex is inherently emotional. Premarital sex has even been linked with codependency, where at least one person becomes compelled or addicted to be in relationship with another. Our children need to understand that emotional attachment is often involuntary, and especially when the relationship has been compromised sexually.

4. Spiritual

At its core, sexual integrity comes down to a spiritual commitment. The Christian message of how Christ loves His bride, the Church, is our inspiration. The prohibitions and consequences of sexual sin are secondary to the intimacy that one experiences in obedience to God.

A final thought

If we really believe that sin is a powerful barrier between our child and God, we will move past a mere “sin management” approach to mentor them into a loving relationship with us and, more importantly, with Him. Wherever pornography or sexual sin is found, whether in the lives of our children or in our own, we can surrender ourselves and those we love to the greater care and compassion of our Father. His purity remains and cleanses us.

About the Author

Rob Jackson writes for Focus on the Family.

The Rushmore Report – A Dying Pastor’s Final Wish Come True

Shane Hall was the beloved pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. For three and a half years, the 46-year-old battled stomach cancer. Friday, the battle ended, as he went to be with the Lord. Knowing all medical options had been exhausted, Hall knew his fate. He had one dying wish. And that wish came true.

Hall’s final desire was to see his youngest daughter, Mallory, come to faith in Christ before he died. Here is the timeline of the pastor’s final days.

On Wednesday, February 7, Mallory trusted Christ as her personal Savior. Two days later, on February 9, Misti, Shane’s wife, announced that all medical options to save Shane’s life were exhausted, and they were now focused on pain management until his death. Then, on Sunday, February 11, Pastor Hall baptized his young daughter. On February 16, Misti posted, “Tonight he is worshiping with Jesus.”

The last person Hall would baptize would be his daughter.

The funeral service for Shane will be today in Oklahoma City. This week, Misti posted, “We continue to see God’s sustaining grace in all of this. Shane said he just wanted to baptize Mallory. So, for him to say that and then to see it within two or three weeks was just a precious gift to him. I felt like, that’s what kept him here for awhile, his wanting to fulfill that desire to see her come to know the Lord.”

Frank Page, President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, prayed with Hall many times in his final weeks. “When I heard about Shane’s miraculous efforts in helping to baptize his daughter, I wept,” he said. “It spoke of a father’s love. It spoke of a pastor’s determination. God bless his wonderful family.”