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).

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 – 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: Francis Chan – Stop Idolizing Family

Many Christians have lost their edge – their radical, burning fire for Christ, says preacher and author Francis Chan, a firm believer that while family is important, the mission of the Kingdom of God should come first. In a video message recently shared by, Chan says that after many Christians get married they place Christ’s mission on the back burner, spending their days in the bubble of relationships, children and the comfort of security. The preacher challenges married Christians to stoke the flames of their passion for Christ and his work, and to step out of their comfort zones to take more risks to further His Kingdom.

Chan, who’s been married to his wife, Lisa, for over 20 years and has seven children, asks, “Could I be an example of someone who’s married and has kids and is still thinking ‘Kingdom first?'” He adds, “Your mission with the Lord doesn’t end when you get married,” giving examples of how when people date, or get married, or have children their focus tends to shift from standing on the frontlines for Christ to pouring the majority of their time and energy into nurturing and protecting their relationship, family, and security.

He says, “It’s not about going out in the harvest and being a worker anymore. It’s about ‘let’s protect our family now . . . let’s keep us safe. Let’s find some gated community and keep them all in our house – away from all the bad people.’ There’s no excuse for that.”

The preacher says that the mentality of only worrying about oneself and one’s family causes believers, and even their children, to miss out on life.

“That’s why so many of the kids, when they turn 18, they just ditch God altogether,” says Chan. “Because they didn’t see anything real in your life. They didn’t see that sense of adventure, and you didn’t put yourself in positions where God had to come through – and then when He comes through and your whole family is going, ‘Wow, that was amazing! I am never going to leave that God.’ No, you just create a little bubble for yourself . . . how is God even going to operate in that?”

Chan wants Christians to “surrender their lives” to take risks for Christ and to be examples of living by faith.

He knows a thing or two about stepping out on faith and taking risks. The Christian Post reported in 2010 how Chan and his wife left the security of leading their California megachurch to surrender to God and allow Him to send them anywhere and have them do anything.

The preacher is saddened by how some Christians often choose security over the uncertainties that may come with furthering Christ’s mission. “Not only are you missing out on life, but we are turning away our children by the droves because our lives are not the adventure that they see in Scripture, and they are not experiencing the Holy Spirit,” says Chan. “They’re experiencing a Christian version of the American dream that’s watered down and we’re just making excuses for, really, idolizing our families rather than really putting Christ and the mission first.”

About the Author

Kevin Porter is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: Ten Keys to Great Parenting

When I minister in churches, couples often ask, “How can I raise godly children?” I sense these parents are longing for me to give them a formula in which to input their offspring so that children who love and respect the Lord will pop out. However, as most seasoned parents understand, this requires the wisdom gleaned from biblical principles.

Therefore, please understand these ten keys are not meant to be an all inclusive parenting manual, but rather major biblical points of consideration that God has shown Debbie and me over the last 30 years as we raised our four sons. We readily admit that we made mistakes along the way, but our God was gracious to confirm what we did right and to gently teach us through our mistakes. Hopefully, you can benefit from all he has shown us.

1. Develop a passionate relationship with God.

God tells parents, “You shall teach your children diligently, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:6). Parenting knows no breaks and has no holidays.

2. Strong marriages add stability to a child’s life.

It is only the couple who loves each other and has a strong marital foundation that realizes successful parenting. If the marriage is not sound, the parenting won’t be sound.

3. Make the Word of God your standard.

We are living in a day that offers as many views on parenting as there are parents. But the ultimate authority is not our personal experience or what Dr. Benjamin Spock has to say – it is what God has to say.

4. Both parents must be on the same page.

In Amos 3:3, God asks, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” To succeed as parents, mom and dad must be reading from the same playbook.

5. Protect your children.

In a culture that is infiltrated with humanistic thought, sexual immorality, ungodly media, and false teachers, it is essential to protect kids’ well being.

6. Bless your children.

The necessity of bestowing blessings is frequently overlooked. There are many children today who are desperately  pleading with Esau, “Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Genesis 27:34). Every child longs for the blessing of his or her father and mother.

7. Understand your child’s greatest need.

Understanding your child’s greatest need begins with acknowledging their greatest problem. Their chief problem is that they are born a sinner (Psalm 51:5). Parents must emphasize the need for a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

8. The father should lead in parenting.

Paul gives dads specific parenting advice that is not given to mothers (Ephesians 6:4). One of the most critical needs in our culture is for fathers to take an active role in parenting their children.

9. Train your children.

Children are trained to do two things: obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). John MacArthur writes, “Children do not go bad because of something their parents do. They are born sinful, and that sinfulness manifests itself because of what their parents do not do.”

10. Teach your children to reverence God.

One of the most overlooked keys to raising God-honoring children is teaching them to fear God. This starts with teaching them the wonderful attributes of God.

About the Author

Sam Wood is the founder and director of Family Fortress Ministries, along with his wife, Debbie. Together, they have conducted hundreds of marriage and parenting conferences. They authored What Is Marriage in 2004; it serves as a signature guide for parenting for churches and couples.

The Rushmore Report: Three Reasons Clinton Is a Pro-Abortionist Extremist

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton positions herself as a moderate on abortion. Yet, she now holds the most extreme positions on abortion of any presidential candidate in history. It’s not even close. Three examples follow, and each of them should scare off any voter who claims to value life.

1. She wants taxpayers to pay for abortions.

Clinton supports government funding for abortion. On June 10, she delivered a speech at a Planned Parenthood event in which she called for repealing the Hyde Amendment, a policy that prevents taxpayer funding for abortion.

“Let’s repeal laws like the Hyde Amendment that make it nearly impossible – for low-income women, disproportionately women of color, to exercise their full reproductive rights,” she said.

The Democratic National Committee added this goal to its platform after Clinton became the nominee.

Amazingly, Clinton wants well-intentioned Christians who value life and have genuine opposition of the taking of innocent life, to use their own money to pay for the taking of life. No Democratic candidate has ever taken this position – ever.

An August YouGov poll found that 55 percent of Americans support the Hyde Amendment. This includes a large number of Democrats, who are about evenly divided. Forty-one percent of Democrats support the ban on abortion funding while 44 percent oppose it.

2. She supports abortion until birth.

Clinton supports abortion right up until the very moment of birth. Of course, she doesn’t say it that way, because it sounds awful when you say a baby can be legally killed right before she’s born. Instead, Clinton uses some shifty Clintonian lingo.

She has said she supports restrictions only in the third trimester and only if there are exceptions for the “life and health of the mother.” (In one interview she said there should only be restrictions at the “very end of the third trimester.”) But as Clinton understands, and most voters don’t, the “health exception” is just a huge loophole that allows for abortion for any reason.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, that the health exception can be whatever the abortionist decides it is.

In an April appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Clinton was asked if she supports legal abortion “just hours before delivery,” and she agreed. That same week, on “Meet the Press,” she was asked, “When or if does an unborn child have constitutional rights?” She answered, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

A July 16 Marist poll found that only 13 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal “through the entire pregnancy.” Similarly, a 2012 Gallup poll found that only 14 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal “in the last three months of pregnancy,” and a July 2014 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 59 percent of Americans support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, which is during the second trimester.

3. Clinton thinks abortion should be common, not rare.

Clinton no longer argues that abortion should be rare. During his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton said that abortion “should be safe, legal, and rare.” It was controversial at the time within the pro-choice community,  because saying that abortion should  be “rare” implies that there is something wrong with getting an abortion. But the phrase helped establish Bill Clinton’s public image as a moderate on abortion.

Hillary Clinton also used the phrase “safe, legal, and rare” to describe her abortion position when she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and when she ran for president in 2008. During her current run for president, however, she dropped “rare” from her vocabulary on abortion.

In July 2013, after undercover videos showed how Planned Parenthood benefits from selling aborted body parts, Clinton initially called the images “disturbing.” She changed her tune quickly, however.

Six days after those remarks, Clinton’s campaign released a video, “Support and Stand with Planned Parenthood,” expressing her support for the abortion provider. She accused Republicans of launching a “full-on assault on women’s health” and claimed that Planned Parenthood provides “life-saving preventive care.”

In the pro-Planned Parenthood video, she talked about “safe and legal” abortion. No “rare.”

In a February interview on ABC’s “This Week,” she even claimed that her “record for many years about where I stand on abortion” was that it “should  be safe and legal.”

What about rare? That was her position, also.

“I have the same position that I’ve had for a very long time,” Clinton added.

Some Clinton supporters think she’s a moderate on abortion. There’s a reason for that. They haven’t been paying attention to anything she actually says.

If you can support the taking of the unborn life, right up to the point of birth (she also supports partial-birth abortion), with a clear conscience, by all means, vote for Hillary Clinton.

But if you value life – you might want to think again.

About the Author

Napp Nazworth is a political analyst and writer for the Christian Post. Based in Washington, D.C., Nazworth focuses on issues that affect modern culture, from a Christian worldview.


The Rushmore Report: How to Raise Christian Children

Solomon wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). James Dobson observes, “By the time your child turns ten, you will have spent half the time with them that you ever will.” We all want great kids. But how does this happen? Biblical principles offer ten keys to raising Christian children.

1. Be a good example.

The old statement, “Do as I say and not as I do” is wrong, it doesn’t work, and it isn’t biblical. Jesus trained his children by example. You cannot lead anyone – especially your children – somewhere you have never been.

2. Teach them the fruit of the Spirit.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Kids who exemplify the fruit of the Spirit will do well.

3. Attend church with them.

Don’t send them to church; take them. Teach them how important it is to be in the house of God, to worship and to fellowship with other believers. Jesus died for the church – the least you can do is take your kids there once a week.

4. Pray together.

Pray in front of your children and pray with your children. Teach them the model prayer early on. This acronym for prayer works well – A.C.T.S. This stands for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

5. Read the Bible together.

Ask your kids for their opinion after you read a passage out of the Bible and focus on application. Teach them the principles of God’s word and watch them grow in their faith.

6. Teach them how to be saved.

My greatest joy in life was praying with my son when he came to Christ at the age of six. It is not your pastor’s job to lead your kids to Christ; it is your job, mom and dad. Start early. Share the basic Bible verses that show the way of salvation.

7. Teach them about spiritual authority.

Help your kids memorize parts of Ephesians, about the full armor of God. Teach them James 4:7 – “Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In order to get over what should be under them, your children must get under what should be over them – God.

8. Teach them to obey God.

This is old-fashioned. But it works. The Bible says the first commandment with promise is to obey our parents. It is impossible for your children to live the abundant life apart from living for God.

9. Teach them a positive outlook.

Philippians 2:14-15 teaches us to do all things without complaining and disputing, in order to become blameless and harmless children of God. A negative outlook creates negative people.

10. Teach them righteousness.

Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” James tells us that God honors the prayers of the righteous. Teach your children that true righteousness comes only from a daily walk with Jesus Christ as Lord.

The Rushmore Report: Boy Dies at Water Park – Four Lessons

A Kansas City water park and the world’s tallest waterslide remained closed this week while authorities investigated the death of the 10-year-old son of a state lawmaker. Caleb Schwab died Sunday at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas, while riding the Verruckt – German for “insane” – a slide that drops riders at 65 mph from a height of almost 169 feet. Riders sit in a three-person raft and are secured with straps across the waist and shoulders. Marketing materials include the slogan “R U Insane?”

“Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those he came in contact with,” the family said in a statement. “As we try to mend our home with him no longer with us, we are comforted he believed in our Savior Jesus, and they are forever together now. We will see him another day.”

I see four lessons from this horrible tragedy . . .

1. Speed kills. Man is always seeking new ways to go faster. Men still brag about the “horsepower” in their cars long after they quit riding horses. Nothing in this life ever satisfies. I still remember the day in 1984 when I skipped seminary to be at Waterworld, the first water park in Houston, on the day that it opened. I was the first person to go down what was then the tallest water slide in the world. That slide would barely make it into a kiddie park today. Speed can be fun, but the constant desire to go faster, do more, and get more – kills.

2. Life is brief. James asked, “What is your life? It is but a vapor that quickly vanishes” (James 4:17). Caleb was just ten years old. But whether you live to be ten or 110, life is so short. The lesson? Live every day, all 24 hours and all 1,440 minutes to their fullest. Make every second – all 86,400 seconds of every day – count.

3. Family matters most. I know what it is to lose two parents, all my grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, and many close friends. What I don’t know is what it’s like to lose a child. I pray that is something I will never experience. But may this horrific experience of the Schwab family remind us the value of family. I try to meet my son for lunch once a week. And we never leave without a hug.

4. Jesus is the great Comforter. The Schwab’s family released their statement. Let me say it again: “We are comforted Caleb believed in our Savior Jesus, and they are forever together now.” Such a crisis may never hit your family. But some tragedy will. And when it does, only Jesus will be enough.

The Rushmore Report: Master’s Champion Almost Didn’t Play

The last shall be first. Danny Willett was the last to accept his invitation to play in the Super Bowl of golf. Then he went out and finished first. There are 89 players in the Master’s Golf Tournament. Twelve days before the tournament began, they had 88 of the 89 players confirmed. Willett refused to commit – until his wife gave birth to their fourth child. Her due date was April 10, the final day of the tournament. Only when his wife delivered the baby early did he commit. And 12 days later, he walked off the 18th green $10 million richer.

Afterward, he sounded awestruck by the series of events that led to his being at Augusta National in the first place. “I always said I wouldn’t come here if he wasn’t born yet,” the 28-year-old Englishman said of baby Zach. “Fortunately, he listened to my prayers and came early. It’s just been the most awesome 12 days.”

Willett didn’t get to Augusta in time for his normal set of practice rounds. “My preparation wasn’t as good as possible,” he said, “but I had two days” of practice rounds. When asked to describe the feeling, he used two words – “surreal” and “mind-boggling.” He continued, “I’m not sure which is better, this day or last Tuesday. They are very, very close.”

I don’t think I have ever known anyone who would admit that money mattered more than family. But it is refreshing to see someone who actually chooses family when push comes to shove. Though he is ranked #12 in the world golf rankings, few on this side of the pond have heard the name Danny Willett. Maybe his “child over golf” decision will change all that.

There’s more. Danny looked really good in his green jacket, the famous prize of the Master’s champion. But he doesn’t get to keep it past next year. But there is one thing they can never take away from him – his memories of being there when his son was born.

If crowd favorite Jordan Spieth hadn’t knocked the ball into every body of water available on the 12th hole, we would have never heard about Danny Willett, much less Zach Willett. But as much as I was cheering for Jordan, it’s good to be reminded that life is about more than golf.