The Rushmore Report – Five Principles for Raising a Godly Family

Godly families are the bedrock of any spiritual community, and having godly children is a blessing that many parents long for. The big question many are asking is how does one actually produce a godly family. Issues of parenting and family discipline are not easy to advise on, because hard and fast rules are difficult to come by.

Even a cursory look at both biblical and historical heroes of faith shows that these men and women were not necessarily the best parents. So, is there any hope? Strategies that work with certain children and certain families don’t work exactly the same way with others; advice from younger parents (I am currently raising five children myself) doesn’t have the blessing of hindsight, while advice from older parents has to be tempered with the understanding that parents today are parenting in a different culture to that in which the previous generation was raised.

Despite these challenges, there are some timeless principles that we should not deviate from. And in examining these principles, I asked my own parents for advice. For the record, they raised four children, who are all serving the Lord in some capacity—my brother Wes and I have been part of the leadership team at International House of Prayer in Kansas City for most of the life of this organization. So, here is the advice from my parents.


Principle One: Godly Families Begin with Godly Marriages.

“It is critical to begin with a right understanding about the subject of families, and that is this: God is FOR family, and God is for you. The Godhead is a family, and it is clear throughout scripture that it’s God’s desire to extend this family. Family begins with the marriage of a man to a woman. Marriage is a God covenant, a God idea—it was not just a good idea thought up by someone down the centuries. The permanency of such a covenant, in an age where marriage is anything but permanent, is the primary foundation to create a good bedrock for a godly family.”

Principle Two: Raising Godly Children Is a Parent’s Mandate and Responsibility.

“God said to the first married couple, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.’ As man was made in the image of God, His desire was that His offspring would also be reproduced in His image. This injunction from God has not changed. Christian couples must always be mindful that God desires them to send out kingdom offspring, in His image, and as lights into a dark world. This is a big responsibility that God has given to married couples.”

“It can never be emphasized too strongly that bringing up children in the nurture and love of God is a divine call and command. There is always a danger that couples, perhaps unconsciously, consider their children to be appendages and burdens which bring restrictions upon their own personal plans and lives. The reality is that in the span of eternity (and let’s be honest, even the span of an adult life), the time taken to raise a child from birth to adulthood is very brief. In these years, the influence that parents will have on their children, for good or bad, is incalculable. The Word says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and . . . he will not depart from it.’ Remember—however you act as a parent, will train your child.”

“Further, a married couple who are Christian must always be aware that it is their own responsibility as parents to bring their children up in the love and nurture of the Lord. So many couples abdicate this responsibility, and seek to transfer it onto their church leaders and church communities. Other influences can be good, but cannot replace parental responsibility before God.”

Principle Three: Discipline in a Godly Family.

“Discipleship is about living in obedience to God’s will and purpose; many people find it difficult to live in obedience to God when they have never learnt to be obedient to their parents in the first place.”

“People often equate discipline and punishment as being the same thing; it is not. A couple must be united, one together, with the disciplines they place around their family for safety and protection. Punishment only occurs when children flagrantly disobey what they have been clearly told by their parents to do, or not to do. We always found when our children understood this, there was rarely any need for punishment.”

Principle Four: Maintaining a Right Attitude.

“One important family value, which we have built in as a discipline, has been that we do not argue or carry bad attitudes with each other—the child is taught from an early age to resolve conflict with a right attitude. These issues were often what we talked and prayed about at the ‘family altar,’ and this was how issues were generally settled.”

Principle Five: Praying as a Family.

“It can be cliché, but it is true—the family that prays together, stays together. Parents must pray together as a couple, and with their children. The importance of such a family altar can never be emphasized enough. Many have asked us through the years, ‘At what age do you start to pray with your children?’ The truth is that couples should already be praying together before the children arrive, as part of a healthy marriage, so that when children are born, they are brought into the correct environment. Children should never be in an environment where family prayer is not a normal part of family life. A family’s life in God together should never be underestimated—it is the foundation of a strong family in an ungodly world.”

Families who pray, pull, and play together stay together, and shine out as a bright light in a dark and confused world.

About the Authors

Jim Hall started life as a farmer in Northern England. He entered full-time Christian ministry in the 1970s, working as an evangelist with British Youth for Christ. Jim has also served as a Senior Pastor, planting two churches in the North East of England.

He has been married to Jessica, who is originally from the London area, for nearly 50 years.  Jessica has worked alongside Jim as well as being a high school teacher. They have four children who are all married and actively involved in serving the Lord in different capacities. Two of their sons Wesley and Jono have been on staff at IHOPKC for a number of years.

The Rushmore Report – Rethinking the Rainy Day Fund

On the road to building personal wealth, everyone hits a roadblock sometimes. Whether it’s an unexpected job loss or a surprise medical bill, it’s bound to strike when you least expect it – and often when you’re least prepared for it. That’s when it’s time to tap into your rainy day fund. The classic savings account for a rainy day is designed for those unexpected misfortunes that might otherwise bring you to the precipice of a financial crisis.

American savings habits, however, are no longer what they used to be, and creating this financial shield in a world of shopping online, with overnight delivery, isn’t as easy as it used to be. A recent survey found that 57 million Americans don’t have any savings accounts in place for emergencies (or for that matter, retirement).

There are, however, a few tools that can help you keep this vital account in place when you’re tempted by a new TV or vacation.

First, make sure your rainy day fund is accessible – but not too accessible. Dan Andrews, founder of Well Rounded Success, a personal finance consulting firm based in Fort Collins, CO, says a good way to do that is to have it at a different bank from your day-to-day checking and savings accounts. The account should hold money you can access immediately – not funds tied up in stocks, certificates or deposit or retirement accounts. Good places to stash your funds include high yield savings accounts and money market accounts.

How much should you have in a savings account for this purpose?

“I will stipulate that clients have four to six months of cash in their bank account in addiction to whatever I’m managing,” says Chris White, a certified financial adviser and the author of Working with the Emotional Investor. “That makes it less likely they’ll call for distributions at an inopportune time.”

One way to jump start your rainy day fund: when you receive a cash windfall, whether you got a tax refund or you’ve finally paid off a loan and have extra money on hand each month, funnel that into a high interest savings account until it has reached a sufficient level. Keep that four to six months of expense range in mind. Once you’re beyond that goal, you should consider putting the money into a retirement account, such as an IRA, CD, or Money Market account.

If you’re carrying debt, try to get it paid off as quickly as possible. By eliminating interest payments, you’ll reach your savings goals more quickly. And even as you’re paying down that debt, you should put a small amount into the rainy day fund each week or month at the same time to stay in the habit of contributing.

Finally, if you’ve been looking to kick an expensive habit, like smoking or drinking, establishing a high yield savings account can be a good motivation. The national average price for a pack of cigarettes is $6.16. Putting that money from a pack-a-day habit into a rainy day fund would add up to $2,248 per year.

About the Author

Chris Morris regularly contributes to national outlets including Fortune, CNBC.com, Voice of America, Variety, and Common Sense Media, as well as to dozens of other major publications.

 

The Rushmore Report – NFL’s Philip Rivers Credits the Success of His Marriage to Jesus

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is known for many things. Since taking over the reins as starting quarterback in 2006, Rivers has never missed a start, has thrown at least 20 touchdowns a season, and passed for more than 4,000 yards in eight of the last nine years. And while he is well on his way to being the greatest QB in Chargers history, less discussed is his unwavering commitment to his family and his strong connection to his faith.

In a recent sit-down with Rock Church’s Pastor Mile McPherson (a former San Diego Charger himself), Rivers opened up about his Catholic upbringing and how his relationship with Christ informs every decision that he makes.

Born and raised Catholic in a small town in northern Alabama, Rivers described Jesus as the “center of my life” since a very young age. He was an altar boy at church and attended mass every Sunday with his parents and two younger siblings, but it wasn’t until he went away to college at North Carolina State that his faith “really became my own.”

“My faith has always been very important to me,” Rivers told McPherson. “When I went to college is really when it became my own. I had to get up out of that dorm room and go to church, go to mass on Sunday. That’s when I took ownership of my faith.”

Rivers married his middle school sweetheart at the age of 19. Some 16 years later, the two have eight children—six girls and two boys—together. He shared that “remaining pure” and “being chaste” prior to getting married were “very important” to them, and since he “didn’t have a penny to my name” when they got married, Rivers said the foundation of their relationship was and is Jesus.

“I think that the center of our marriage and the foundation of our relationship was on Jesus,” he said. “That is why it’s worked to this point.”

Toward the end of the discussion, Rivers shared one of his favorite Bible versus, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, which became particularly important to his family in the wake of his son Gunner’s type one diabetes diagnosis.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

“I hope that God has used me to touch one of you in your faith journey with Jesus,” he concluded.

About the Author

This article first appeared on the newswire of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The Rushmore Report – Carrie Underwood’s Tearful Revelation

Last Sunday, music and entertainment icon Carrie Underwood did an interview with CBS Sunday Morning. The winner of multiple Grammys, three-time Female Singer of the Year, and most decorated star in AMA history talked about her faith, her family, and her fears. It was her fears that brought Underwood to tears. She, with her husband Mike Fisher (NHL star), has a three-year-old son named Isaiah. But it was her account of a second child that brought a tearful revelation.

The couple had planned to have a second child in 2017. Although she became pregnant in early 2017, she now says “it didn’t work out.” The 35-year-old star says she felt it just wasn’t God’s timing, and that she would bounce back.

The native of Checotah, Oklahoma got pregnant again that spring. Again, she says, “It didn’t work out.” When she had her third miscarriage early this year – that’s when she broke down.

“It was just kind of like ‘what’s the deal?’ she recalled thinking. “What is all of this?”

Underwood continued, “I had always been afraid to be angry because we’re so blessed. My son Isaiah, he’s the sweetest thing. He’s the best thing in the world and I’m like, if we can never have any other kids, that’s okay because he’s amazing. And I have this amazing life. Really, what can I complain about? I can’t.”

She continued, “I have an incredible husband, incredible friends, an incredible job, an incredible kid. Can I be mad? No. And then I got mad.”

While sobbing one night, she poured her heart out to God, asking him, “Why?”

“Why on earth do I keep getting pregnant if I can’t have a kid? Do something, God! Either shut the door or let me have a kid,” she told God.

Underwood concluded, “For the first time, I feel like I actually told God how I felt and I feel like we’re supposed to do that. It still hurts, but I’m going to keep on trusting God when it hurts and when it doesn’t. If he doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want, I’m still so incredibly blessed.”

About the Author

Sheryl Lynn writes for the Christian Post.

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 pastored my son than by how I pastored three churches over a span of thirty years.

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 your greatest inheritance is your kids.

“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3).

The Rushmore Report – ‘Deeply Religious’ Chelsea Clinton Sees Abortion Ban as ‘Unchristian’

Chelsea Clinton has said that, as a “deeply religious person,” the idea of America going back to a pre-Roe v. Wade society where abortions were banned is “unchristian.” In an interview with Sirius XM’s “Signal Post,” on Thursday, Clinton said every day she makes the “moral choice” to be optimistic for her children when it comes to what she says is the battle for women’s rights.

“That my efforts and my energies, particularly when I’m fortunate enough to be in partnership with fellow travelers, hopefully will make a difference,” the activist and former first daughter said.

“And when I think about all of the statistics that are painful of what women are confronting today in our country, and what even more women confronted pre-Roe and how many women died and how many more women were maimed because of unsafe abortion practices, we just can’t go back to that,” Clinton said, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the country.

“Like that’s unconscionable to me, and also, I’m sure that this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction, but as a deeply religious person, it’s also unchristian to me,” she added, referring to her Methodist faith.

Clinton added that she has been receiving “a lot of hate” over the issue, and has been compared to slave-owners and Nazis.

Several conservative figures, including evangelist Franklin Graham, have recently taken objection to Clinton’s continued comments on abortion. Back in August, she spoke at a pro-abortion event “Rise Up for Roe” in New York City against Judge Bret Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

At the event, she seemed to suggest that the ability to have legal abortions has led to economic growth in the U.S.

Graham wrote on Facebook that such notions are a “lie,” however.

“Hitler probably also claimed that killing the Jews would be good for their economy. Legalizing abortion hasn’t added anything to our country, it has only taken away. It has cost this nation more than 60 million lives — lives precious to God,” Graham said.

“Just think of the contribution these people would have made. There will be another high cost. I believe God will judge America for allowing the heinous murder of our own children in the womb,” he added.

Clinton added in a subsequent statement that what she is saying is not that having an abortion is good for the economy, but that women were more likely to enter the workforce due to the legalization of abortion.

“From 1973–1985, American women’s deaths from abortion declined 5-fold. Reproductive rights are also about women’s economic rights and agency,” Clinton tweeted.

Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit that seeks to advance pro-life women in politics, responded to Clinton’s original comments on the economy and abortion by asking her to consider “the 60 million aborted babies who won’t enter the labor force or pay into Social Security.”

“Their parents won’t purchase diapers, clothing, toys, cars or houses to accommodate them. … Yes, abortion’s had a huge impact on America’s economy and it hasn’t been good. Not only are we hurting economically, we’re missing 60 million blessings from God and the good they would have contributed,” Brad Mattes of the institute said.

About the Author

Stoyan Zaimov writes for the Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report – The Surprising Way Mark Wahlberg Starts Every Day

Mark Wahlberg was Hollywood’s highest paid actor in 2017, bringing in $68 million. The 47-year-old star has made a name for himself as an actor, producer, businessman, model, rapper, and songwriter.  The husband and father of four is known to keep an insanely intense daily schedule that includes weight training, family time, and a strict diet. Wahlberg’s day begins at 2:30 am; he is in bed by 7:30 pm. But it’s what he does first – from 2:45 to 3:15 am – that is noteworthy.

The first thing Mark Wahlberg does every day is spend 30 minutes in prayer.

The star of the upcoming movie Mile 22, says that prayer has been an essential part of his life for years. He told the Catholic Herald, “Being a Catholic is the most important aspect of my life.” Then he added, “The first thing I do when I start my day is, I get down on my hands and knees and give thanks to God. Whenever I go outside of my house, the first thing I do is stop at the church. The kids will be mad with me. ‘Daddy! It takes too long!’ Because I do. If I can start my day out by saying my prayers and getting myself focused, then I know I’m doing the right thing. That 10 minutes helps me in every way throughout the day.”

Wahlberg has also expressed regret over some of the roles he played earlier in his career, especially one in an Oscar-nominated film in which he portrayed a porn star. He told Cardinal Blase Cupich at an event in Chicago, that “I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving because I have made some poor choices in my past.”

When Cupich asked if her regretted any of his movie roles, Wahlberg answered, “Boogie Nights is up there at the top of that list.”

On the subject of his daily routine of prayer, the actor says he does not pray for success. Instead, he prays for three things every day: his wife, his children, and his personal character.

“For me to sit down and ask for material things is ridiculous. It’s a much bigger picture than that. I want to serve God and to be a good human being and to make up for the mistakes I have made in my past. I want to make up for the pain that I have put people through. That’s what I’m praying for, and I recommend it to anybody.”

In an interview with Men’s Health, Wahlberg was asked about how he accomplishes all that he does. He said, “If you’re doing the right things, then there’s always enough time in the day to get it all done.”

The Rushmore Report – Six TV Shows You Can Watch as a Family

It’s one of the hardest things to do – finding television shows you can watch with your family. But if you love good, wholesome entertainment, the shows can be found. No, there aren’t a lot of faith-based or family-friendly shows these days. But you shouldn’t watch too much television anyway. With the fall season upon us, we are here to help. Below, we suggest six shows that you can watch with your kids – without worrying about foul language or questionable content.

1. Last Man Standing

This may be my all-time favorite comedy. I didn’t discover the Tim Allen show until it had already finished its six-year run on ABC. Following its cancellation two years ago, fans have demanded a reboot. And fortunately, Fox listened. The show features strong conservative themes that are pro-family and pro-America. Mike and Vanessa Baxter and their kids are even seen in church regularly.

2. NCIS

This long-running crime show seems to only be gaining in popularity. The show features a team of special agents who solve crimes and fight terrorism within the context of the U.S. Navy. The show has a strong patriotic emphasis. Unlike most shows, NCIS is void of sexual messages. I know NCIS is a good family show, because I used to watch it every Tuesday night with my mom, until her passing ten years ago.

3. Seal Team

After just one year, this new hit has garnered a strong following. The Navy SEALs train, plan, and execute the most dangerous, high-stakes missions imaginable. Like so many of the CBS prime time shows, Seal Team promotes a strong message of patriotism.

4. Blue Bloods

Another CBS show, Blue Bloods is my favorite crime show. This is a no-nonsense multi-generational show, featuring Tom Selleck and his family of police officers. Selleck grapples each week with a new moral or ethical issue plaguing his police force, always vigilantly protecting the officers who dutifully serve the city of New York.

5. Duck Dynasty

While the show ended its historic run in 2017, episodes are readily available on A&E network. The show follows the duck call tool-making Robertson family as they run a business, raise a family, and engage assorted good old country redneck fun. Few shows have ever featured family values and a strong Christian faith like the Duck Dynasty family.

6. Fixer Upper

Like Duck Dynasty, this show has completed its run. And like Duck Dynasty, it can be seen in reruns, on HGTV. The show features the magnetic couple of Chip and Joanna Gaines, from Waco, Texas. They fix up houses for buyers, but the show is much more than that. It features a strong Christian message and a family that is fully engaged. More than any show I’ve ever seen, Fixer Upper combines absolute hilarious antics with a passionate pro-family emphasis in every show.

 

Dream House

The song I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a standard around the holidays. The song was written by James Kimball “Kim” Gannon, who was an American songwriter. The famous singer, Bing Crosby, recorded the song in 1943, and it became a huge hit. The song is still popular today.

What many people do not know is that the song is about a soldier in World War II, hoping to come home so that he can be with his family at Christmas. Knowing this, the haunting lyrics become more poignant.

Christmas Eve will find me where the love light beams. I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.

Home is like a magnet, always drawing us back. Matthew Henry wrote, “If therefore our houses be houses of the Lord, we shall for that reason love home, reckoning our daily devotion the sweetest of our daily delights; and our family worship the most valuable of our family comforts. A church in the house will be a good legacy, nay, it will be a good inheritance, to be left to your children after you.”

I’m planning ahead. This year, I’ll be home for Christmas – if only in my dreams.

The Rushmore Report – Guess What Justin Bieber Was Just Seen Carrying?

Justin Bieber is one of this generation’s most iconic pop stars. The 24-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter became famous with the release of his platinum album, My World, in 2009. He has already earned 20 Teen Choice Awards and a Grammy Award. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records 14 times. Bieber is now engaged to actress Hailey Baldwin. But it is what he was seen carrying on the streets on New York last week that is making news.

Raised in Christianity by his mother, Bieber describes himself as a strong adherent to the faith. He was baptized by Pentecostal pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in New York on January 9, 2014, after what he described as a “born again experience.” He has given millions of dollars to evangelize the Philippines, as well as to other Christian causes.

Last week, the star was spotted leaving Baldwin’s apartment by photographers. And he was carrying a book by Timothy Keller – The Meaning of Marriage.

Keller’s book, based on his sermons, “draws a profound portrait of marriage from the pages of Scripture that neither idealizes nor rejects the institution but points us back to the relationship between God and man. The result is a vision for marriage that is refreshingly frank and unsentimental, yet hopeful and beautiful,” according to Keller’s website.

Bieber and Baldwin both attend Hillsong. Hailey is the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.

It is not rare for famous couples to claim to be adherents to Christianity. What is rare is for them to mean it.

I’ll admit it. I may be the only person in America who has never heard one note or syllable of a single Justin Bieber song. But count me as one of his biggest fans.