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The Rushmore Report – Nicole Kidman Talks About Her Faith

In promoting her upcoming film Hollywood icon Nicole Kidman has opened up about her faith and personal belief in God.  For the December/January issue of Allure magazine, Kidman, who was raised in an Irish Catholic family, sported a diamond-studded crucifix, which she said was a gift from her grandmother. She wears it all the time. “I’m spiritual in the sense that I absolutely believe in God,” she said.

Kidman went on to reveal that she once thought of becoming a nun. “I loved the idea of being a nun,” she said. “I did not choose that path, but I was very drawn to it.”

The 51-year-old is the star of the new film, “Boy Erased,” in which she plays a pastor’s wife. Her role as Nancy Eamons is the wife of a small-town Baptist pastor who put their son in a “gay conversion” program after discovering that he was gay.

Once linked to Scientology, Kidman shared that she had become estranged from her two oldest children. Her kids left her for a life with their adoptive father Tom Cruise following their divorce.

“They are adults. They are able to make their own decisions. But my job is to love them,” Kidman said.

Now married to country music star Keith Urban, the two recently visited a children’s hospital in Australia together. There, they sang “Amazing Grace.”

Urban and Kidman toured the Monash Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, visiting kids with cancer. Others in the hospital halls joined them in singing the famous hymn.

Such outings and quiet ministry have become commonplace for both Kidman and Urban. Nicole Kidman has returned to the faith of her childhood. Her Christian faith is growing and increasingly becoming a part of her daily lifestyle.

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.

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.

 

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 Death of a King

The king died 41 years ago today. It hardly seems possible. On August 16, 1977, music icon Elvis Presley died in Memphis at age 42. The death of the king of rock and roll brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

Elvis’ record “Heartbreak Hotel” made him a national sensation in early 1956. He followed up with the double-sided hit record “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” In September of 1956, he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and teenagers went into hysterics over his dynamic stage presence, good looks, and simple but catchy songs. Presley continued to dominate the music charts and film screens into the 1970s. Presley is buried on the grounds of Graceland, which continues to attract fans and has been turned into a highly successful tourist attraction.

The lesson of Elvis Presley is two-fold. First, we want a king we can see. Presley was on TV, the radio, and in the movie theaters. We grew up with him. He was accessible and obvious. He was someone we could get close to at his concerts. We felt we knew him. He was real. The prophet Elijah lived in a day when people bowed to any god they could see. We have not changed since. Millions would rather worship the king they could see than the King they cannot see.

Second, all mortal kings face the same future. They all die. If he was still with us today, Elvis would be 81 years old. But whether he died of drug overdose, cancer, or other natural causes, he was destined to die. And therein lies the difference between the king and the King. Jesus died, but his grave could not hold him. As for Elvis, where he was buried 39 years ago, you can still find him today.

The Rushmore Report – ‘America’s Got Talent’ Star Stands Up for Christ

Joseph O’Brien is a student at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. But he’s not your average Joe. Joe’s got talent. And because Joe lives in America, America’s got talent. So it was a natural fit for Joseph O’Brien to try out for America’s Got Talent. He made it. Last week he played keyboard and sang a rendition of “Hello” by Lionel Richie. He received a standing ovation from the crowd. But it was what he said next that is newsworthy.

The judges loved him. Judge Mel B. said, “There’s so much potential of where you could go with your vocals. I absolutely adore you.”

Howie Mandel said he sensed O’Brien was nervous, but believed he could go far on the show.

Another judge, Heidi Klum, added, “I absolutely love it.” Then all four judges voted to promote him to the next round.

But before he sang, the native of Columbia, Tennessee was asked a few awkward questions about dating and kissing. Klum asked him if he came alone to the show.

“I’m by myself,” O’Brien responded.

Klum continued, “Do you have a girlfriend or a wife?”

Joe said, “No, I don’t have a girlfriend. I’ve actually been single my whole life. I’ve never been on a legit date or anything like that.”

“Really? You’re a handsome guy. How is that possible?”

“I guess the right opportunity hasn’t come along,” O’Brien countered.

While the other judges looked on in disbelief, Klum continued. “Have you ever kissed anyone?” she asked.

“No, I have not,” he said.

Klum let it go at that.

O’Brien’s Facebook page says: “My goal is to write music that is centered around Scripture and inspires a generation to stand up for Jesus Christ!” His father, Michael O’Brien, is a former member of the group NewSong.

Denny Burk, professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, said he, too, was impressed. O’Brien is one of his students. Boyce is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

“I thought Joseph’s performance was fantastic,” Burk told ChristianHeadlines. “He is a rare talent. His poise and good humor in the face of awkward questions from the judges was impressive. I couldn’t be more proud.”

To their credit, the panel of America’s Got Talent did not denigrate O’Brien because of his faith and strong moral stance. And to his credit, Joe O’Brien took a stand for Christ . . . one that will not be soon forgotten.

The Rushmore Report – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Share the Secret to a Great Marriage

Acclaimed country music singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have spoken out on marriage, sharing their perspectives on what makes a great marriage work. They speak from the experiences of their own 21-year marriage, in a time when celebrities tend to measure marriage in days, not years. Among their marriage tips, McGraw and Hill cite one specific key to a great marriage.

Prayer.

That’s right. Prayer. They pray together every night.

The pair married in 1996, and have seen their family grow, along with their careers. The parents of three children, they told People magazine that they’re intentional about keeping their love alive.

“As we get older, it’s less about the big gestures and more about just spending time together at home,” McGraw said. “For our 20th wedding anniversary, we stayed home in our pajamas and watched TV. We loved it.”

Hill and McGraw are country music royalty, with 25 #1 hits, the top-grossing tour of all time, five Grammy Awards, and 15 Academy of Country Music Awards between them. They are currently on the road together on their “Soul2Soul” world tour.

Taking time for a few interviews, Hill spoke of the traditions that they have both embraced since early in their marriage.

Prayer.

Hill said they pray together, for each other, and before every concert. “Without prayer, I don’t know where our marriage would be today,” she said.

Jaws Released – This Day in History

The ominous tones of the now-famous “shark theme” (composed by John Williams and performed by tuba player Tommy Johnson) marked the arrival of Hollywood’s first major summer blockbuster on this day in 1975, when director Steven Spielberg’s thriller Jaws debuted in U.S. theaters. I remember it like yesterday. I was a 15-year-old boy, thrilled to be included with the “big boys” who let me ride along in a car full of teenagers intent on being there the day the movie came out.

Based on the bestselling book by Peter Benchley, Jaws took place in the fictional resort town of Amity Island, where police chief Martin Brody (played by Roy Scheider) learned that a young woman had been killed in a probable shark attack. Though greedy town officials wanted to cover up the threat to tourist business, another attack forced Brody to enlist the help of a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a shark hunter (Robert Shaw) to try to catch the lethal beast, which turned out to be an enormous great white shark.

Eventually shown in nearly 700 U.S. theaters, Jaws became the first summer mega-hit, racking up an impressive $260 million at the domestic box office. All told, the film would gross some $450 million worldwide and establish Spielberg as the preeminent creator of summer movie magic.

Again, the movie grossed $450 million – back when that was a lot of money. It is amazing what people will pay for a couple hours of entertainment. But I know of a better deal. You can have eternal joy, and it costs nothing. Actually, it costs a lot, but the price has already been paid. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have the offer of eternal life, eternal joy – in a place called heaven.

What a deal! And the best part? The admission has already been covered – by the blood of the Lamb.

The Rushmore Report – Pelosi Slams Great Job Numbers; James Woods Fires Back

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is at it again. The new jobs numbers – lowest unemployment numbers in 40 years, first income increases since 2009, and record tax cuts for the middle class – were met with her predictable disgust. In stepped actor James Woods, a rare Hollywood Republican. And his response to the millionairess Democrat was priceless.

First, let’s lay out the numbers that have Pelosi so upset. The U.S. saw 223,000 new jobs in May. Unemployment hits 3.8 percent, a rate last seen the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Second quarter economic growth is on pace for a staggering 4.8 percent.

But that is all bad news for Ms. Pelosi. Never mind that when unemployment dropped to 7 percent under President Obama, she called it “historic.” She referred to Trump’s economic policies as “reckless. Then she stepped onto her government financed jet, on which she flies across the country twice a week – again at taxpayers’ expense.

James Woods has apparently had enough. After hearing Pelosi’s description of the greatest tax cuts in recent history as “crumbs,” on top of her most recent diatribe, he weighed in.

Woods said, “Pelosi is terrified that Americans are working again, of course. The entire Democratic strategy is based on welfare, illegal immigration, and taxing those who work and create. Misery and poverty are the recruiting engine of the Democratic Party.”

Woods concluded with a message to President Trump. “The lowest unemployment in recorded American history. Thank you, Mr. President.”

In a world where 3.8 percent unemployment is considered “reckless,” while 7 percent is “historic,” former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee offered this prayer on a Sunday news show. The Governor said, “I went to church this morning and prayed, ‘Please God, let the Democrats keep Nancy Pelosi as their leader.'”

Will Huckabee’s prayer be answered? Time will tell. Until then, Pelosi’s definition of economic success – and the response from such humorists as Woods and Huckabee – will be fun to watch.