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.

 

The Wizard of Oz Debuts

On this day in 1939, The Wizard of Oz, which would become one of the best-loved movies in history, opened in theaters around the United States. It was based on the 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1856-1919). Nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category, The Wizard of Oz won a Best Song Oscar for “Over the Rainbow,” which became one of star Judy Garland’s signature hits.

Garland won a special award at that year’s Oscar ceremony for Best Juvenile Performer. Filmed at MGM Studios in Culver City, California, The Wizard of Oz was a modest box office success when it was first released, but its popularity continued to grow after it was televised for the first time in 1956. An estimated 45 million people watched that inaugural broadcast, and since then, the iconic movie has aired on TV countless times.

Today, some of the film’s famous lines, including “There’s no place like home,” and “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” are well-known to several generations of movie goers.

Let’s break down those two lines for a moment.

1. “There’s no place like home.” I have a soft spot for my hometown, which is Houston, and the part of town in which I was raised, which was Sharpstown. I still remember my first home address, the kids who lived on my block, and where we played in the street every day after school. When in Houston, I still love to drive by and make sure nothing much has changed. Indeed, “there’s no place like home.”

2. “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” I love that line, as well. My parents were both from Kansas. As a child, we used to go back there at least once a year, to the big cities of Kingman (dad’s hometown) and Pittsburg (mom’s hometown). I still love Kansas, its wheatfields, and the generous people of that great state.

Here’s the lesson. We like what we know. Familiarity is comfortable and we like comfortable. And for the most part, that is probably a good thing. But don’t get too comfortable. The Christian life is about movement. We are to move closer to our God, our faith, and those around us.

Times change, but the Gospel doesn’t. So share it wherever you go. I know three things. There’s no place like home. We’re not in Kansas anymore. And God is good – all the time.

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 – Mariah Carey Speaks on the Faith of Aretha Franklin

Iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin died Thursday and as tributes flooded social media, one of her mentees, Mariah Carey, revealed that the pastor’s daughter never left the church despite her successful mainstream career. “Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singer’s singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime,” Carey wrote on Instagram Thursday.

“The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend. You showed me I could sing the songs I wanted to sing and bring God with me. You’ve inspired millions everywhere yet never left home, never left church,” the pop star continued.

Carey went on to say that she will forever cherish the moments she spent with Franklin.

“I say a BIG prayer for you. You will forever have all our RESPECT,” Carey concluded.

Franklin was surrounded by family and friends before she died Thursday morning. The legendary singer died from an advanced form of pancreatic cancer which was confirmed by her oncologist.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942, Franklin’s family moved to Detroit when she was five years old. Her mother, Barbara, was also a singer, but she died when Franklin was nine years of age. Her father, Clarence LaVaughn “C.L.” Franklin, was a popular preacher at Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church. Her famous dad was often visited by people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who Franklin accredited as her mentor.

Franklin began her singing career at church and released her first gospel album by the time she was 14 years old. At 18, however, she shifted to secular music and the rest is history.

Franklin is known for her hits such as “RESPECT,” “Natural Woman,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “Chain of Fools.”

Franklin spoke about her singing abilities being a gift from God, and told Yahoo News, “Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that. My faith always has been and always will be important to me.”

Throughout her career that spanned seven decades, Franklin paved the way as one of the most successful female artists in music history. With 18 Grammy Awards under her belt, and 75 million records sold worldwide, she was the first female to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone name her “the greatest singer of all time” in 2012, and she was also inducted into The Gospel Music Hall of Fame along with fellow music legend Elvis Presley (who also died on August 16, 41 years ago).

About the Author

Jeannie Law writes for the Christian Post.

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.

The Rushmore Report – John Piper Answers: What Is My Reason for Existence?

John Piper, reformed theologian and head of the popular website DesiringGod.com, has offered answers to hundreds of questions about faith, doctrine, and the Christian life. Recently, he was asked one of the most intriguing questions of his ministry. It is the question at the heart of most people: “What is my reason for existence?” His answer will inspire you. In an episode of the podcast, Ask Pastor John, a listener named Tyler asked the “why” question.

“What is the overarching concept for my life, my reason for existence, and relationship with God?” Tyler asked. “I know if I better understood this, I would dive into the details and perform them more effectively and joyfully within the larger contest.”

Piper responded by saying that the purpose for his life was to “live to make Christ look magnificent.”

He said, “Almost everything I’ve done in the last 50 years has been a working out of what it means that God created the universe for his glory. The greatness of being human is to join him in that eternal purpose. Everything else finds its ground and its significance in God’s purpose to create and do all acts of providence and all acts of redemption for his glory.”

Piper encouraged Tyler that if he lives “in view of this great overarching purpose,” he can “be able to dive into the painful and happy particulars in your life.”

To review, the great purpose of life, in Piper’s words, is “to make Christ look magnificent.”

He is right. As Rick Warren says in his introduction to The Purpose-Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” It’s about God. A Christ-centered life is a life full of purpose. It’s that simple.

The Rushmore Report – Florida Atlantic Coach Lane Kiffin’s Remarkable Journey of Faith

Lane Kiffin has been a football coach at some impressive places: the Oakland Raiders, University of Tennessee, USC, and Alabama to name a few. Along the way, the colorful coach has made a lot of friends – and enemies. He has developed a reputation as the coach the other teams’ fans love to hate. But along the way, God never gave up on him. And now, the coach who has resurrected the anemic program at Florida Atlantic University, has found God. This is his story.

After his USC team lost a game to Arizona State, the coach was pulled off the team bus, where he was told he had been fired. He had to find another way home.

“I don’t wish that feeling upon anyone,” he says. “I wanted to die, because at the time, I was defined by my job.”

But God had other plans.

Kiffin says, “Just when I needed God most, he answered in a big way. I don’t know if God is a sports fan or not, but I do know this: he loves a good comeback.”

When he was at Tennessee, team chaplain Roger Woods gave the coach a copy of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Drive Life. Years later, that book would change his life.

“On the first page were four words that changed everything,” he says. “It’s not about you.”

Kiffin says that brought an old message a fresh meaning to his life. He believes he had “too much success, fame, and money in life too soon.” He was the youngest head coach in NFL history.

Looking back on his dismissal from USC, he says, “What it turned out to be was the beginning of God humbling me to become the man I am today. I was not using the platform he put me on for him. As my pastor once said, God wan’t punishing me; he was just giving me a wake-up call.”

Kiffin plans to use the rest of his career to point others to Christ. Already, he has made a difference in the life of the man he respects most, as his dad has come to Christ, as well.

The coach says, “I don’t like to focus too much on my past, because then it stops becoming your past and starts to become your present. However, my story is a special exception, because it shows people that it’s never too late to discover God, and we can overcome anything in our past. I like to tell people these days, if God can forgive me, he can forgive anyone.”

Did You Know?

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

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

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

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

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

Two more . . .

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

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

Sounds impossible, huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

William Rhoden writes for the New York Times.

The Rushmore Report – College Football Icon Talks about His Faith

Clemson’s head football coach, Dabo Swinney was recently interviewed during the press briefing for the upcoming season for the Atlantic Coast Conference, where the Tigers are picked to win another conference championship. The coach of the 2016 national championship team, Swinney was asked about football – and then his faith. Clearly, Swinney cherished the opportunity to talk about his faith, and how Christ has changed his life.

“Man, that’s the easiest question I’ve had all day,” Swinney commented. Enthusiastically, he responded, recounting his childhood, being raised by parents who taught him there was a God, and later, coming to Christ at the age of sixteen: “And that was a game-changer for me,” he said, “That’s really become the foundation of my life.”

Swinney continued, “It’s hard to survive and thrive in this world if you don’t have a spiritual foundation and have something that that you know, [sic] will give you peace, because life is hard. And we’re all going to experience death and failure and setbacks and disappointments and cancer. God has always – in my relationship with Christ – given me hope and peace.”

Swinney also shared his life verse, Jeremiah 29:11, saying that he applied it to his life’s journey. The Coach of the Year said that, even though he is the head coach of Clemson’s football program, this life hasn’t always been this way.

“I’ve always used that as, to me, if there’s really hope in the future, then there’s power in the present to deal with whatever mess you’re dealing with in your life. You know, to step through, to hang in there, to persevere, to continue to believe in something. And that’s what my relationship with Christ did for me. It gave me a hope and a belief – the ability to have a hope and a belief beyond my circumstances.”

Referring to his greatest accomplishment, Swinney said it is his three sons’ professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

Swinney concluded, ‘Trust me, the people that know me know I ain’t perfect, but I do try to live my life in a way that can be pleasing to my Maker, because I know I’m going to meet him one day. And he’s not going to pat me on the back, talking about how many wins I had, how many coach of the year trophies we got, or how much money I made. Rather, he’s gonna hold me accountable to, you know, how I took advantage of the opportunity and the blessings that he gave me, the impact that I had on young people, the type of men that we develop through a game.”