The Rushmore Report – Rick Warren: ‘You Don’t Have to Forget’

You’ve heard this phrase over and over: “Forgive and forget.” There’s only one problem: You can’t do it. It’s impossible! You really can’t forget a hurt in your life. In fact, you can’t even try to forget it. Because when you’re trying to forget it, you are actually focusing on the very thing you want to forget. Forgetting is not what God wants you to do. Instead, he wants you to trust him and see how he can bring good out of it. That’s more important than forgetting, because then you can thank God for the good that he brought out of it. You can’t thank God for things you forget.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

It doesn’t say that all things are good, because not all things are good. Cancer is not good. Disease is not good. Death is not good. Divorce is not good. War is not good. Rape and abuse are not good. A lot of things in life are evil. These are the realities of living in a world that has been contaminated by sin.

But God says he will work good out of the bad things in life if you will trust him. When you come to him and say, “God, I give you all the pieces of me life,” he will return peace for your pieces. His peace in your heart comes from realizing that even if you don’t understand the hurt in your life, you can still forgive, knowing that God will use that pain for good.

You don’t have to forget the wrong thing that someone did to you. You couldn’t do it even if you tried! But God says you don’t have to forget it. You just have to forgive and then see how he will bring good out of it.

About the Author

Rick Warren is senior pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

Miracle at Niagara Falls

On July 9, 1960, Jim Honeycutt took his co-worker’s children for a boat ride on the upper Niagara River. Jim wanted to give the two kids, 17-year-old Deanne Woodward and her seven-year-old brother Roger, a great view of the rapids, so he took their boat past the marked “point of no return.” Soon, he was being quickly swept downstream, and his efforts to turn back were useless. The boat flipped, and Jim and Roger were rushed toward the brink of the Falls, while Deanne was rescued by John R. Hayes, a New Jersey police officer, who leaned over the protective railing and pulled her out of the water.

Mr. Honeycutt and the young boy fought with all their might, but were no match for the three thousand tons of water that crash over the Horseshoe Falls each second. Predictably, Honeycutt plunged to his death. But Roger, unable to swim, was spotted by Clifford Keech, Captain of the Maid of the Mist sightseeing boat, who saw his orange life jacket popping up within the white water. Keech threw the boy a life preserver, and Roger Woodward became the first survivor to go over Niagara Falls.

In 1990, Roger Woodward returned to Niagara Falls, Ontario, on the thirtieth anniversary of the event. He shared his story with the Glengate Alliance Church, telling of the panic that gripped his heart as he was thrust into the rushing waters. “I was scared to death. I can remember going through the rapids and being thrown into the water and being beaten up pretty badly. My panic shifted to anger as I saw people up and down the shoreline and wondered why they wouldn’t come out and rescue me.” How did the seven-year-old boy survive? “It wasn’t the hand of fate,” he says. “It wasn’t the hand of luck. It was the hand of God that saved my life that day and saved my sister so that we could one day come to know Him.”

Last week, Beth and I visited Niagara Falls. We rode the Maid of the Mist boat and observed the very spot young Roger went over the Falls. Indeed, it was the hand of God that saved him. While there were great numbers of tourists on either side of the Falls that historic day 55 years ago, God did for Roger what no person could possibly do. I’m sure many of them were well-intentioned. But none of them were a match for the raging Falls of Niagara. The boy himself did not know how to swim. All he knew how to do was take the life preserver that was thrown in his direction. That was a decision he had to make for himself.

Each of us were headed toward the inevitable falls. Our efforts could not save us, our friends could not reach us, and our works could not help us. The words of the Psalmist come to mind: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit . . . he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2). The miracle of Niagara Falls can be your miracle. The Captain has provided your life preserver in his Son, Jesus Christ. There is no more work to be done, but there is a decision to be made. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Like Roger Woodward, you have been preserved for a moment like this. It isn’t the hand of fate. It’s not the hand of luck. It is the hand of God that is reaching out to you today.

FBI Debuts Ten Most Wanted – This Day in 1949

On this day in 1949 the Federal Bureau of Investigation instituted the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wire service news story about the “toughest guys” the FBI wanted to capture. The story drew so much public attention that the “Ten Most Wanted” list was given the okay by J. Edgar Hoover the following year. To date, nearly 500 of the criminals on the list have been apprehended or located, 153 as a result of tips from the public. The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of the FBI asks all 56 field offices to submit candidates for inclusion on the list. The CID in association with the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs then proposes finalists for approval by the FBI’s Deputy Director.

I did the math. The FBI, with its $8.3 billion annual budget and 30,000 employees, has managed to apprehend eight criminals off the “Ten Most Wanted” list per year. That comes to $1 billion and 3,700 personnel for every capture. Admittedly, the FBI probably does more than chase down the “Top Ten” guys. But when I did the math, I sent an email to James Comey, current FBI Director. I offered to find one man off the list for $900 million. So far – no response.

We spend an incredible amount of time, talent, and treasure tracking down the men on our “Most Wanted” list. God has a similar list. Your name is on it. Would God spend $1 billion and 3,700 angels to apprehend you? No – he spent so much more. He gave his son who shed his blood. To have spent $1 billion would have meant getting off easy for God. So he went all in. Why? Because you are on his “Most Wanted” list. He will not rest until he finds you.

The $180,000 Car that Won’t Start

They only made 503 of them. This particular 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona cost $3,993 new. The second owner, an Alabama man, bought it for $1,800 in 1974 and painted a set of flames on the front fenders for a spring bread trip to Panama City. He drove it sparingly until 2011, until he was in a wreck. The car was then put under an open shed, where it has deteriorated and rusted ever since. Today the car is worth about $180,000.

The red coupe has just 20,553 miles on its numbers-matching 440 Magnum V8, and features the rare combination of bucket seats and a console-mounted 3-speed automatic transmission. Despite its poor condition, the car will pass the auction block in Kissimmee, Florida next month at the Mecum Auction. It is expected to draw between $150,000 and $180,000. Not bad for an investment of $1,800.

The psalmist asked, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). Max Lucado writes, in his daily devotional, “God sees us with the eyes of a Father. He sees our defects, errors, and blemishes. But He also sees our value. What did Jesus know that enabled Him to do what He did? Here’s part of the answer: He knew the value of people. He knew that each human being is a treasure. And because He did, people were not a source of stress, but a source of joy.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has calculated the value of a human life at $9.1 million. The Food and Drug Administration’s current estimate is $7.9 million. The Transportation Department puts the number at $6 million. A lung alone can bring $100,000.

But when you break it down on the periodic table, we aren’t worth so much. A corpse’s raw resources are worth about a dollar. Once the water is drained from the body, there are trace amounts of sulfur, which is the most valuable element in the human body.

So according to one perspective, man is worth $1. Other estimates take man to over $9 million. God puts the value much higher than either. When King David asked the question, “What is man that Thou art mindful of Him?” he said what most of us were thinking. What is there about me that brings value to God? Do I have value in the eyes of God? Paul said, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). On our worst day, we were of such great value that God would sacrifice his only Son for us.

Lucado nails it. God sees each human being as a treasure. And because He does, people are not a source of stress, but a source of joy. The 1969 Daytona finds its value, not in its condition or how well it runs. It was created unlike most other cars. With its deteriorated condition and rusted out body, its value is not diminished; in fact, it has gone up. I have more miles on me than at any other point in my life. Every morning, it takes a few more seconds to knock off the rust so I can get out of bed. I don’t look new and I don’t drive new. Sometimes, my engine won’t start. But the One who made me still sees value in me. On my worst day, to God I am not a source of stress, but a source of joy.

The Rushmore Report – Billy Graham Speaks from the Grave

Editor’s note: Before his death, Billy Graham wrote this response as his final My Answer column. 

I hope I will be remembered as someone who was faithful – faithful to God, faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and faithful as an evangelist, husband, father, and friend.

I’m sure I’ve failed in many ways, but I take comfort in Christ’s promise of forgiveness, and I take comfort also in God’s ability to take even our most imperfect efforts and use them for His glory.

By the time you read this, I will be in heaven, and as I write this I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the day when I will be in God’s presence forever.

I’m convinced that heaven is far more glorious than anything we can possibly imagine right now, and I look forward not only to its wonder and peace, but also to the joy of being reunited with those who have gone there before me, especially my dear wife, Ruth. The Bible says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But I won’t be in heaven because I’ve preached to large crowds or because I’ve tried to live a good life. I’ll be in heaven for one reason: Many years ago I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to make our forgiveness possible and rose again from the dead to give us eternal life. Do you know you will go to heaven when you die? You can, by committing your life to Jesus Christ today.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

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

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

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

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

The last person Hall would baptize would be his daughter.

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

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


Congress Enacts Slave Law – This Day in 1793

On February 12, 1793, Congress passed the first fugitive slave law, requiring all states, including those that did not allow for slavery, to forcibly return slaves who had escaped from other states to their original owners. The law stated that “no person held to service of labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

Several Northern states enacted measures prohibiting state officials from aiding in the capture of runaway slaves or from jailing the fugitives. This disregard of the first fugitive slave law enraged Southern states and led to the passage of a second fugitive slave law as part of the Compromise of 1850 between the North and South. The second fugitive slave law called for the return of slaves “on pain of heavy penalty” but permitted a jury trial under the condition that fugitives be prohibited from testifying in their own defense. Notable fugitive slave trials, such as the Dred Scott case of 1857, stirred up public opinion on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The Bible says we are slaves to sin (Romans 6:20). But someone came to set us free. His name was Jesus. And Scripture proclaims that those who are free from sin are “free indeed” (John 8:36). But an odd thing happened in the old slave days. Some of them returned to their former owners and acted as if they had never been set free.

One day a man captured a monkey. To make sure he never left him, he tied a rope around his neck and attached it to a tree, allowing the monkey the freedom to roam about 100 feet in any direction from the tree. After a few months, he noticed the monkey was no longer even trying to break free, so the man removed the rope. For the rest of the monkey’s life, he stayed within 100 feet of the tree.

The monkey was free, but lived like a slave. If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you have been released from your sin and your past. You are no longer a slave. You are free – free to enjoy life, live for God, and be victorious in every way. You are no longer a slave. It’s time to act like it!

Lost Cat Found 1,400 Miles Away

It takes about 22 hours to travel from Wisconsin to Florida – unless you’re a cat. In that case, the 1,484-mile journey takes more like two months. At least that’s how long it took Nadia to get from her snowy home in Wisconsin to sunny Florida. The Naples Daily News reports that Cheri Stocker adopted the cat nine months ago in Wisconsin. On Christmas Eve, the cat escaped.

A woman in Naples, Florida found the kitty last week. Workers at an animal shelter found the cat’s microchip and, through a pet relocation service, got ahold of Stocker’s sister, who had been listed as an emergency contact. Now, the cat has been returned to her owner.

This is a parable on life. Let me count the ways.

1. We all have lost our way. The Bible says, “All we like cats have gone astray” (2 Barnicles 7:14). Ok, I made that up. But people are like cats. We are independent thinkers who like to do life our own way. That’s why, out of the top 100 businessmen in America, not one owns a cat. You don’t “own” a cat. Jay Leno said he came home one day and “found my cat ignoring the neighbor.” He told his cat, “Hey, I’m your owner. You’re supposed to ignore me!” Most of us have gotten really good at ignoring our Owner.

2. We follow who feeds us. Put food down for a stray cat and he is no longer a stray. He’s now yours. They follow their stomachs. Where they find food, shade, and comfort, they go. We are like that. We bow to the god of pleasure. Whatever feeds us for the moment becomes our friend.

3. Rarely is the return permanent. I’m sure Nadia was happy to be back home. And she will stay at home – until the urge hits her again. We say we will never sin again, but we do. We say we are done with our cheatin’ ways right up until the moment we cheat again. The Bible says we are like the dog who returns to his vomit (Proverbs 26:11). Only a radical transformation and all-out commitment to our God will keep us from straying again.

4. Our owner celebrates our return. I know. I’ve been there. When Beth and I came home from a wonderful vacation several years ago, we were greeted with the news that the people watching our cat left a door open, and the cat escaped. We put up flyers, went door-to-door, and recruited a gang to help us in our search. After a nine-day journey to who knows where, Tabitha was found. She was weak, tired, and dirty. But she was still our cat. When we spotted her, Beth lit up with a joy I haven’t seen since the last time I left for a week’s business trip. Our cat was lost, but now was found. We celebrated her return.

You and I were weak, tired, and dirty. But mostly, we were just lost. Never one to quit searching, our God found us, took us back home, and then he cleaned us up. We don’t know what Nadia was up to for those 22 months or how she managed to stray so far from home. And to the owner, it doesn’t really matter anyway. All that matters is that she is home now. It matters not how far we stray or how much dirt we collect in the process. The important thing – the only thing – is that we come home.

Grand Canyon Turns 110

The Grand Canyon is 108 years old today. Well, not exactly. On January 11, 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument. By the end of the nineteenth century, America’s biggest hole in the ground was attracting thousands of tourists each year. One famous visitor was Roosevelt, a New Yorker with an affection for the American West. After becoming president in 1901, he made environmental conservation a cornerstone of his administration. After establishing the National Wildlife Refuge to protect the country’s animals, fish, and birds, Roosevelt turned his attention to federal regulation of public lands.

In January, 1908, he helped turn more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon into a national monument. “Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is,” he declared. “You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

Did you hear about the two guys who had a bet on which of them could jump from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other? The first man stepped back, got a running start, and took off. He jumped 20 feet out, off the ledge, before plunging to his death. His buddy looked down into the canyon and yelled, “I can do better than that!” Then he proceeded to jump 25 feet before joining his friend below.

Each of us is facing a canyon that separates us from God. And no matter how good we are – how far we can jump – none of us is good enough to jump all the way to the other side. That’s where the bridge comes into play. In Jesus Christ the Creator of the universe built a bridge from where we are to where He is.

It doesn’t matter how good you are or how far you can jump. You can’t cross the canyon on your own. The bridge has been built and the toll has been paid. All you have to do is take one step – by faith.

The Golden Gate Bridge Turns 85 Today

On this day in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages. Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan was hatched to build a bridge that would span the Golden Gate, a narrow, 400-foot deep strait that serves as the mouth of San Francisco Bay, connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with Marin County. When the Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, it was the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The first public crossing had taken place the day before, when approximately 200,000 people walked, ran, and even roller skated over the new bridge. With its tall towers and famous red paint job, the bridge quickly became a famous American landmark and a symbol of San Francisco.

Elsewhere on our website, you can view the top ten bridges in America. According to the Associated Press, there are 607,380 bridges in the United States. But their study offers alarming news. They found that 65,605 of those bridges, over ten percent, are classified as “structurally deficient.” Of those, 20,808 are “fracture critical.”

The point of a bridge is to get someone from one place to another, which he or she could not otherwise access. But with the passing of years, wear and tear, and weather assaults, bridges eventually fail. Except one. Paul told Timothy, “There is one mediator [bridge] between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

We need a bridge to God, because in our efforts to get there on our own, we can’t be good enough, give enough, pray enough, or excel enough. There is this huge chasm between us and God that only Jesus could bridge. When he said “It is finished” (John 19:30), he finished the bridge. The toll has been paid. With his resurrection that bridge opened to all a personal access to God that otherwise would have never been possible. All that is left is for us is, by simple faith in Christ, to cross over.

The next step is yours.