Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Time for Hope

Merry Christmas! I hope that you and your family will experience a blessed and peaceful season. Unfortunately, for some of our neighbors, this Christmas will be a tough time, devoid of much hope.

The recent story of Denver's Aurilia Cisneros, the ten- year-old girl who was the victim of a gang-style shooting, reflects this fact. Then there is a good and godly friend of mine who recently and unexpectedly lost his wife of many years to a sudden illness.

Crime. Illness. Shootings. The list goes on and on. There seems to be no limit to the extent and depth of human tragedy. Where then in the midst of human tragedies is hope? For many, tragedy and hopelessness are an arbitrary definer of the human experience.

When God intervened into human history more than two thousand years ago, it was a tough neighborhood too. God knew what was on the line. Eventually, His own Son would go to a rugged Roman cross and die an unbearable death in a dark world similar to our time. As God's Son hung dying on a cross, all hope seemingly crashed around his disciples and other followers. But in reality, Jesus Christ's death injected a fiery splinter of new hope into the human equation-- and it goes like this.

There is a God who cares. This same God has given away His Son to die for us and to give us eternal hope. And this same God is both in control and available to comfort us in our afflictions. For those who seek God in the midst of tragedy they will find solace, hope and peace. Recently, I read a great verse out of Isaiah 40:31, "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Christmas is about such hope. "The Lord delights in those who put their hope in his unfailing love" (Psalm 147:11). Seek out God and His hope this Christmas. He will light your path

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Me, I Still Believe in a Loving God..."

Like many Coloradans, I am still trying to make sense of the church killings on Sunday. In times like this, we all wonder how these things fit into God's plan.

Matthew Murray was a troubled soul who satiated himself on hating Christians. But this is just the cover for a far deeper problem. Here's what Murray penned before his rampage:

"Me, I still believe in a loving God, but not the christian god who is full of hate.."

Scary thoughts from a kid who then went out and killed people in cold blood.

There are many angles to the Colorado church tragedy. But a key one that is just starting to get some discussion is the apparent connection that Matthew Murray had with the writing of the dead Columbine murderer Eric Harris.

Today's edition of the Denver Post offers a solution.

In retrospect, releasing all of the Columbine tapes and letters might have defused the mystery around the writings of Klebold and Harris. Possibly.

But, the deeper issue here for all Colorado adults is the toxicity of our culture and what it is doing to our kids. Murray's comments about a "hateful christian god" offers a peek into a troubled soul.

Obviously, his soul tipped the wrong way.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Understanding Tragedy

Tragedies happen.

I know that this fact fails to soothe the afflicted. But inevitably, when tragedy occurs, and particularly when it appears random and vicious, people always ask the "question"- WHY WOULD GOD ALLOW SUCH THINGS TO HAPPEN?

For centuries, people of faith have tried to answer this profound and difficult question. I am not sure if any of their answers really scratch the itch.

Matthew Murray, the latest perpetrator of violence, came from a good home. Most of the reports paint this kid as one you would expect to succeed. No one expected him to be on the trigger hand of a weapon, killing people in cold blood...He too is part of this tragedy.

We live in a fallen world, filled with evil people. Its a result of human sin. God can and does intervene in our world. Christmas is such a reminder of His greatest intervention. Yet, there are many times when God does not intervene as we think He should or could. To this, there is no answer.

All I know is that scripture teaches that God is the Lord of the universe. Yet, in that role He is very personal. If allowed, He will fill this terrible void and good will come out of the wreckage of Sunday's events...

Your thoughts?

Friday, December 07, 2007

New Report Sheds Discouraging Light on Teen Sex

Fo several years now, pro-abstinence groups have hailed reports which have showed a slow decline in the number of teen births.

Unfortunately, and as we suspected, their optomism may be misplaced.

Here's the report...

U.S. teen births rise for first time since 1991
In 2006 birth rate overall climbed to highest level since 1971, report finds
December 5, 2007

ATLANTA - In a troubling reversal, the nation's teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials who had no immediate explanation.

The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

U.S. health officials said it was possibly a one-year statistical blip and not the beginning of a new upward trend.

But several experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blame the increase on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education programs that do not teach how to use condoms and other contraception.

Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teen pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health.

"It's not rocket science," she said.

The new report is based on a review of more than 99 percent of the birth certificates from last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A final report is due out next year, but the findings are not expected to change significantly, CDC officials said.

The new teen birth numbers are based on the 15-19 age group, which accounted for about 99 percent of the more than 440,000 births to teens in 2006.

The rate rose to nearly 42 births per 1,000 women in that age group, up from 40.5 in 2005. That translates to an extra 20,000 births to teen mothers in 2006, according to CDC data.

The CDC also reported that births to unwed mothers reached an all-time high in 2006, but that is part of a continuing upward trend and was expected.

Health officials cautioned that the rise in teen births is not the chief cause of births to unwed mothers, however. Teens account for fewer than a quarter of unwed mothers, said Stephanie Ventura, head of the CDC's Reproductive Statistics Branch

About thirty years ago, more than half of unwed mothers were teenagers.

Women in their 20s and 30s represent the largest proportion of unwed mothers, Ventura said.

New Report Sheds Discouraging Light on Teen Sex

This is bad news but not surprising.

Many pro-abstinence folks have hailed recent reports which showed a downward trend in unmarried teen births. However, we have always suspected that these optomistic reports were somewhat inaccurate.

The truth of the matter is that American teens remain sexually active. How can you blame them? They live in a culture filled with mixed messages about sex. On the one hand, the teen culture and their music is satiated with sex-filled messages. And on the other hand, their parents and other adult figures are telling them to abstain.

If I was a teenager in 2007, I would be confused too!

Here's the new report...

1) NEWS: U.S. Teen Births Rise For First Time Since 1991

Report at:
U.S. teen births rise for first time since 1991
In 2006 birth rate overall climbed to highest level since 1971, report finds
December 5, 2007

ATLANTA - In a troubling reversal, the nation's teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials who had no immediate explanation.

The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

U.S. health officials said it was possibly a one-year statistical blip and not the beginning of a new upward trend.

But several experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blame the increase on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education programs that do not teach how to use condoms and other contraception.

Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teen pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health.

"It's not rocket science," she said.

The new report is based on a review of more than 99 percent of the birth certificates from last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A final report is due out next year, but the findings are not expected to change significantly, CDC officials said.

The new teen birth numbers are based on the 15-19 age group, which accounted for about 99 percent of the more than 440,000 births to teens in 2006.

The rate rose to nearly 42 births per 1,000 women in that age group, up from 40.5 in 2005. That translates to an extra 20,000 births to teen mothers in 2006, according to CDC data.

The CDC also reported that births to unwed mothers reached an all-time high in 2006, but that is part of a continuing upward trend and was expected.

Health officials cautioned that the rise in teen births is not the chief cause of births to unwed mothers, however. Teens account for fewer than a quarter of unwed mothers, said Stephanie Ventura, head of the CDC's Reproductive Statistics Branch

About thirty years ago, more than half of unwed mothers were teenagers.

Women in their 20s and 30s represent the largest proportion of unwed mothers, Ventura said.

Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness

Merry Christmas! I hope that you and your family will experience a blessed and peaceful season. Unfortunately, for some of our neighbors, this Christmas will be a tough time, devoid of much hope. The recent story of Denver’s Aurilia Cisneros, the ten year old girl who was the victim of a gang-style shooting, reflects this fact. Then there is a good and godly friend of mine who recently and unexpectedly lost his wife of many years to a sudden illness. Crime. Pornography. Illness. The list goes on and on. There seems to be no limit to the extent and depth of human tragedy. Where then in the midst of human tragedies is hope? For many, tragedy and hopeless is an arbitrary definer of the human experience

When God intervened into human history more than two thousand years ago, it was a tough neighborhood too. God knew what was on the line. Eventually, His own Son would go to a rugged Roman cross and die an unbearable death in a dark world similar to our time. As God’s Son hung dying on a cross, all hope seemingly crashed around his disciples and other followers. But in reality, Jesus Christ’s death injected a fiery splinter of new hope into the human equation-and it goes like this. There is a God who cares. This same God has given away His Son to die for us and to give us eternal hope. And this same God is both in control and available to comfort us in our afflictions. For those who seek God in the midst of tragedy they will find solace, hope and peace. Recently, I read a great verse out of Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Christmas is about such hope. “The Lord delights in those who put their hope in his unfailing love”-Psalm 147:11. Seek out God’s and His hope this Christmas. He will light your path.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Family Tragedy

Today's (Friday 11-30) edition of the Rocky Mtn News carries pictures of the Cisneros family tragedy. There are a couple of images that I want you to notice...Look at the kid with the joint in her mouth. Or how about Dad's picture pointing a handgun into the camera?

Most of us are aware of the ongoing saga of now-deceased 10 year old Aurilia Cisneros and her family. I for one am outraged. Its one thing for clueless teenagers to be in gangs. But it is quite another thing for parents to be playing the same game.

This story is the face of tragedy. Not only for Aurilia, but for her clueless family. Any way you slice it, "gangsta life" has one ending- death or jail.

Applause is due to Denver's Department of Human Services who have launched an investigation. My question would be this: are there other endangered children in this family?

I have another idea. How about removing any other kids from this troubled family?

Your thoughts...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Ode to Thanksgiving!

If you turned on the news today, you would have thought doom and gloom was gripping America. There's a mortgage crisis (a bunch of people who could not afford loans got loans anyway from an over zealous mortgage market-the market will take care of it), high gas prices, crisis' in Iraq and Pakistan (p.s- where winning in Iraq right now) and a stand off with Iraq (most Americans cannot find any of these countries on a map!).

Yikes. My day would be pretty gray too if I listened to this stuff. Frankly, I don't think its that bad. Most Americans are not worried about these things- at least not on Thanksgiving..

But, in reality, most Americans are not letting this "bad news" slow them down! Here's a great story about Thanksgiving 2007.

I don't know about you, but there's always something wrong or needed. If we would pause a bit and look back in our wake, we would all have much to be thankful for this year!

When the Pilgrims held their first thanksgiving, their were a lot of problems in their world too. Click here to read the first Thanksgiving proclamation by Governor William Bradford...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Return of the Mice Catcher and Plunger Man!

I guess I am the ultimate family man! You know that your family has missed you, when upon your return home from a 10 day business trip, you are met at the door with a passing hello, a toilet plunger and a box to catch mice.

Yes, I can report success on both fronts. I also fixed an errant window alarm to boot!

Now, I know that my family appreciates me but I have to wonder what they think I am really good for?

Rejoice in the subtles of life. At least some one cares....

DOMA Under Siege

Just when you thought that the definition of marriage was safe? Here's a story that will remind us to stay vigilant. Our opponents will not give up. They are masters at the art of incrementalism...

Today's Boston Globe reports that the homosexual advocacy group GLAD is developing strategies to overturn the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Passed by large margins in the Congress and signed into law by former President Bill Clinton. gay activists are looking to either have this law ruled unconstitutional or have it rolled back.

Keep in mind that the federal DOMA is a law and is subject to a court's interpretation.

In 2006, Colorado voters by an overwhelming margin passed our defense of marriage act, an amendment to our state's constitution. Our current Governor opposed this measure.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Actions Have Consequences

As a parent, one of my top chores in shaping my kids is to teach them one of life's unalienable truths- actions always have consequences.

As a preface, let me say that everyone makes mistakes in life. However, some can be really costly down the road. Proverbs 14:8 offers this wise counsel---"the wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception."

Unfortunately, you come across stories where some one's action long ago have crippled their plans for today.

Check out such a story about former University Nebraska Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rogers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

God's Harvard and the Skepticism of Scularlism

Throughout the history of our blog, we have occasionally touched upon the issue of secularism and its pervasive growth in our culture.

I want to come back to this issue today, framed in the context of a new book by Hanna Rosin, God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America.

A Christian college on a mission. Wow, is that ever politically incorrect. For some it sounds like the Crusades all over again. Today's secularists scoff at such a narrow minded notion. They see it as uninformed lacking any intellectual or rational basis. You can feel the skepticism of Hann Rosin seeping off the pages of her book.
But, little do they know but most of America's prominent colleges and universities (even Yale and Harvard) at one time in their hallowed histories espoused such a mission. In their early years, both Harvard and Yale were renowned schools for producing pastors!

Most secularists, like the author of this book Hanna Rosin, know no better. Their world view is shaped by a far different perspective.

If anything is true, we are to remind ourselves as believers, that we live in a culture that increasingly does not share our values and principles.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

SCHIP Solutions

Here are some solutions we think would fill the current gaps in health care for poor families:

-Fix the tax code as it related to health insurance. Remove the distortion of the tax code with regard to the tax treatment of health insurance. Offer refundable, advanceable tax credits.

-Promote an alternative to traditional employer health coverage. Not all families fit into the employer-based system. Instead, lawmakers need to look for ways to facilitate individual purchases of health care products and stimulate a robust non-employer marketplace.

-Add greater personal choice. Enrol lees should have more coverage choices. Give them the option to use their existing public program allocations to purchase private coverage through the market

These are some of our ideas. What are yours?

SCHIP-Do We Need It?

Today's hot issue...

One of the core values of the Rocky Mountain Family Council is affordable health care for our Rocky Mountain region families.

Having a family health-care package is a valuable but less common employment benefit. Many employers have cut this area of their employee costs by either eliminating coverage for employee family members altogether or requiring the employee to bare some if not all of the cost.

For families at the Federal poverty line ($41,000 for a family of four), buying private health care is often unreachable. The SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) funds insurance for 4 million children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to buy private insurance.

In Colorado, the SCIP Program offers families whose income falls between 151 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level, a one-time registration fee of $25 for one child or a $35 fee for their entire family.

Founded in 1997 as part to the Balanced Budget Act, it originally authorized $20 billion over ten years to assist states in purchasing health care for children from poor families. The law authorizes states to provide health care for targeted low-income children who are not eligible for Medicaid or are not insured.

According to some advocate groups, there may be more than 9 million children nationally without medical insurance. Recently, Congress voted an additional $35 billion over five years to extend the SCHIP coverage to millions of these kids.

This is a sensible program. It legitimately helps poor families and their kids. But like most federal entitlement programs, the DNA of these programs is to grow and expand. And the price tag will grow too. The bump in the road on this one is how large this program should be. Democrats in Congress want to expand this program's coverage while President Bush is seeking to keep it smallish.

Our solution: Provide SCHIP coverage for families who income falls below the federal poverty level. Also, looks for ways to enable insurance companies to offer reduced premiums to families.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Successful Life Prescriptions

We are all familiar with the Beatitudes that Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 5.

We have come up with a set of similar life prescriptions which contain some powerful teachings from scriptures.

Here they are:

*Blessed are those who live each day with eternity in view. For in looking back o life there will be no regrets.

*Blessed are those who embrace a vision greater than themselves, for if that vision is the Kingdom of God, their work will endure forever.

*Blessed are those who treat others as they want to be treated- with mercy, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, love and patience.

*Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall sow seeds for peace.

*Blessed are those who endure temporary trials, persecutions, hardships and illness, knowing that God uses all things to shape them for eternity.

*Blessed aer those who take every opportunity to be salt and light, giving a reasoned answer for their faith to all who ask.

*Blessed are those who love and pray for their enemies irregardless of their response, knowing that few have ever been argued into the Kingdom of God while many have gained entrance because of love.

*Blessed are those who sacrificially meet the needs of others, holding loosely to the temporary material blessings they possess.

*Blessed are those who invest in heaven.

A Happy Marriage Kills Stress

Bristish researchers have reported that a lousy marriage will make you sick. They also found that marital strife can raise your risk for heart disease too. Are you surprised?

Those with the worst close relationships were 34 percent more likely to have heart attacks or other heart related problems.

Their conclusion- stress is often a byproduct of troubled relationships which can lead to health problems.

Our bottomline- Invest some time into your marriage. Maintain it like you would any other valuable possession you have. Don't take it for granted...

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Bulwark of Liberty/Fighting off Leviathan

"The natural family, not the individual, is the source of ordered liberty, the fountain of real democracy, the seedbed of virtue for the nation." That according to a new book by Allan Carlson and Paul Mero. In their book they point to a large body of scientific information that shows that children who grow up in a two parent household with a mom and dad make markedly better citizens. A recent National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that juvenile delinquency was lowest among children from intact married families. The list of advantages go on and on.

Rescuing trouble marriages and families fights off the leviathan. As the family breaks down, leviathan emerges as the state steps in to establish order and supply social services.

The bottomline-marriage and the natural family is great for our culture and nation. Its an antidote to many of the ills we suffer.

Your thoughts?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Daily Humility

When I back my car out of my driveway every morning and head to the office, my own level of personal humility for that day is not often on my mind. I must admit that I am thinking about "my ministries", work, finances et al.

But today's personal devotion hit me between the eyes. You guessed it-personal humility.

I must admit that while I have studied and reflected upon the issue of humility, its one that more often than not slips by me. Its not that I am an egostic or self-absorbed too much; I just don't think about it much.

But that's not how God would have it.

1 Peter 5:5 and following declares that we are to "cloth ourselves with humility." That seems to be pretty encompassing. I am to wrap myself in God's humility towards others. What kind of a world would it be if everyone acted this way? A lot different.

It just seems to me that there's a deep power and peace that comes with humility. Mother Teresa (who I have blogged about before) exemplified this notion of humility. She lived it. She poured it out on those around her. She was a powerful woman in a different way. She watered the dry ground around her with humility, service and grace.

Let's be spigots of humility today. The ground is really thirsty.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More People of Faith Are Coming...Soon

I have a good friend who has 11 kids!

Now, some may call it a plot while others would say that its a love of kids. My good friend and his wife are strong Christians too. And there is a very good chance that each of their kids will share their faith and transmit it onto their future families.

While its easy to be frustrated with ideas and beliefs which run counter to Christian values, their is hope in the future- more kids from Christian families.

Chuck Colson (one of my favorite authors and Christian thinkers)calls it the "fertility gap." You need to read his commentary here.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No Rush to Get Married in Colorado?

Young couples are avoiding marriage in Colorado, according to a Rocky Mountain News story in today's edition.

Based on US census data, young Colorado couples are fearful of marriage, not wanting to experience their boomer parents broken marriages. And whose to blame them?

If this trend is true and holds, the future for families and children is chilly.

There is a lot of work to be done to turn our state and region into a strong marriage and family culture..

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Thank you Mother Teresa...

Thank you Mother Teresa. Even in your death, your life continues to teach us humility and service to the poorest of the poor. Your life also illuminated Christ's poignant teaching in Matthew 25, where Jesus instructed his disciples to care for the poor as though they were caring for him.

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of this diminutive yet peerless champion of the poor. In 1950, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, located a stone's throw away from the meanest streets in Calcutta.

When it is all said and done, one's legacy matters the most. Her work continues to shine through the hands of other disciples. Missionaries of Charity has expanded to more than 4800 sisters and 750 homes worldwide.

Thank you for reminding us what is really important.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Curse of Immodesty

This one may get me in trouble with a whole lot of women, but I have had enough of it!

Let me preface my comments by saying that I am the father of one and nearly another one. But, today was the last straw.

As a colleague and I were having lunch in the local Chipotle, in walked examples "a, b and c." Let me give you the profile: 1- teenage girls; 2- age 14 to 16; 3-immodestly dressed (defined as painted on clothing with more private parts showing than not); and 4, clueless to their standing.

A generation ago, examples a, b and c would have been given a t-shirt by the restaurant owner and their parents would have been called. Today, this is the norm!

As a father of a teenage girl, I am appalled. I would no more allow my daughter to dress this way than I would become an astronaut! Where are our parents, and in particular the parents of these girls?

The answer- likely, either their moms don't care or they dress and act as they do.

Your thoughts?

Sex and Christian Teenagers

Are you feeling smug about your "Christian" teens sexuality? Read on...

Several weeks ago, WORLD magazine writer Gene Edward Vieth, hit a subject that should worry all of us who care about our kid's sexuality.

Its a great piece titled "Sex and the evangelical teen."It is a must read.

Vieth hits the nail on the head. "Churches used to teach and exempplify self-control, the necessity of keeping one's emotions in check, the discipline of self-denial and mortification of the flesh." He adds that today's church "cultivates letting go, emotionalism, self-fulfillment, and an odd religious sensuality."

Bingo. But I would add one other piece. Parents are charged to raise their kids and teach them purity and sexual wholeness. The fact that "Christian" teens may be more immoral than non-Christians is awful and it should serve as a wake up call to all of us parents of teenagers.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good Bye Churchill

Finally, CU did something right.

With great "fear and trepidation" the CU Regents finally unloaded Professor Ward Churchill, firing him on Tuesday.

Don't be conned by Churchill or his disingenious attorney, David Lane. This whole episode is not about Churchhill's right to freedom of speech but about his lack of scholarly professionalism and overt plagarism. Here's the Rocky Mountain News take on it...

Your thoughts!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Teenagers Having Less Sex, Study Shows...

Okay, some good news sort of.

The National Center for Health Statistics has released a new report about teens and sex....

Teenagers are having less sex! Yahoo. Less sex, huh? How about no sex? I know that I am a prude from the twentieth century and little appreciation for today's enlightened postmodern teen culture. But hey, catching an STD today is a whole lot worse than the sex bugs from my teen years. And your chance of getting something is whole lot higher too today.

Here's the study.

Your thoughts....

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Good Name Is More Desirable Than Riches...

Proverbs 22:1 states that, a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

When you are young, you often do things that you regret later. Right about now, the new beauty queen of New Jersey might be regretting her actions from years gone by. Here is the story. Understandably, this young lady and her family are victims of an extortion scheme. But, a better choice in years past could have avoided this current embarassment.

I only make light of this story to make the point that Proverbs 22:1 does. When one's life is all said and done, our most valued treasures will be our name, reputation and the relationships we have.

Bad ways always has a way of showing up when it is least expected.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Colorado's Sinking Marriage Culture

Boy, I hate bad news. But, recent statistics from Colorado's Department of Public Health and the Environment paint a cloudy picture of our state's marriage culture. Colorado has a low marriage rate (and dropping) of 7.4 per thousand; a divorce rate of nearly 50 percent and a booming cohabitation trend.

You may ask why anyone should care (a common sentiment from our libertarian friends)? A fair enough question particularly if you are coming from the view that people's private conduct (and relationships) is no one's business. As we have all heard the worn out excuse which sounds something like this-"what one does in private has no bearing on their public demeanor."

Well, that comment is simply that- a poorly thought our excuse for poor behavior. Most baby boomers have rebelled against the notion of cause and effect. For example, it you light a match and put your finger in it, you will get burned. Or, if you nose-dive off a building you will hit the ground....

But what we do in private has much bearing on the greater culture which surrounds us. These marriage and divorce numbers paint a grim future not only for the adults involved but their children. And these trends also indoctrinate a new generation who will see marriage as only one of many equal adult relationships...

Your thoughts?

Thinking About 'Evan Almighty'

Touted by some media commentators as a great summer comedy, Evan Almighty is a dud.

I will spare you the pain of having to set through this movie to know the plot- here it is in a nutshell.

God (played by Morgan Freeman)tells anchorman-turned congressman Evan to leave everything behind a build an ark. This modern-day Noah's mission is to save all of the earth's animals. Sound vaguely familiar? Well, its at that point that this sequel-story line goes down hill with a major divergence from the original.

Most critics are giving this klunker 1 star and maybe, generously another half-star for sympathy.

I am not Siskel and Ebert, but I know a stinker when I see one. Spare your family and kids this one. Go rent a good movie like Facing the Giants....

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fathers Becoming Dads...

Its not hard to father a child. But its a lot tougher to be a dad to a child...

There is no quicker way to break down a community than to allow men to be fathers but then absolve them of any responsibility to be a dad.

Here's a great story about a new wave of fathers becoming dads...

I am cheering for all of us dads who believe that household labor is good for the male soul!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Having A Good Name

When you ask someone "what's most important to you?", you can expect a lot of different answers. Some will respond with wanting "things"-cars, houses or more money. Others wish for good health, long life or happiness...

But here's a thought- how about a good name? Can you imagine standing before all of your friends, business colleagues and family and asking all of them if there are any debts, grudges or issues any of them have with you? Wow, I shudder at what my group might say to me.

The Old Testament prophet Samuel gathered the entire nation of Israel together at the end of his life and asked them to bring forth any complaints they had towards him. Not a soul stood forth (1 Sam. 12:3-5)!

Here's my point. A good name is priceless. You can't buy it. It comes with a heart that is right before God.

Each of us have been given "land" by God. Its your sphere of influence. Do the people in your sphere see you as having a good name?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thanks Dad

My dad died on July 5, 2003. I knew he was sick, but I really never thought he could or would die. He was a superman in my eyes. Of course, a 74 year old man with diabetes, nearly blind with heart fibrillation has little hope. But still, he was my dad. I remember him not as the frail old man but the 45 year old school teacher, naval officer who could still run me down if I dared challenge him...He took me to church too. And every summer, he and my mom would pack up our station wagon and our family would embark on three great weeks of camping somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Even though he was never eloquent about God or Christianity, he lived it. My dad was from that generation that never said much from their soul. They showed their love by working hard, being home most nights, loving my mom and paying for most of my college education. He was no sentimental fool. He loved USC football (unfortunately he missed the championships), collecting stamps and traveling all over the world.

The last time I saw him, he held my arm and wobbled into the care house he was staying at. I will never forget him.

Rest in peace.

Thanks Dad.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Colorado Right to Life Gets the National Boot

Colorado Right to Life is no more, at least from the viewpoint of the National Right to Life. Several weeks ago, Colorado Right to Life (CRTL) took out newspaper ads criticizing Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. Here's the story.

From our view, CRTL has always been strong on principle but unwise in their "public sense." Their latest capstone (and headstone) was their criticism of Dr. Dobson. Their recent salvo is nothing new. CRTL has historically burned many bridges with friends and potential allies in Colorado's fight for Life.

RMFC applauds the birth of a new principled pro-life group in Colorado headed by Pat Miller. Pat Miller will bring strong principles plus a winsome approach to the public square.

This is the right move for life in Colorado.

Fighting Through Fear

Here's something different. I think many of us can relate to it- fear. I battle fear every day. For most of us its a normal human emotion. But, it can severly cripple a Christian too.

Scripture tells us to fear God only (Deut. 6:13 et al). This "fear" can be synonimously described as respect, love or obedience. As Christians we are to only fear God but to use it as a catapault towards a loving heavenly father.

Unfortunately, Satan twists this godly. The Devil wants believers to not only lose their fear of God but to become fearful of life itself. His aim is to infect believers with fears of this life, changing their focus from God on to themselves. Fear of anything other than God leads one into selfishness.

The next time something comes through your life which causes fear, step back determine the source. Chances are that its not from God. Your human fears do not originate with our Heavenly Father but conduit their way into our lives by the Devil.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ouch! Colorado Right to Life Jabs Friends...

You know this saying with a funny twist- "we have met the enemy and its us!" I guess that's the thinking these days with our "friends" at Colorado Right to Life (CRTL).

Earlier this week, the Colorado state chapter ran a full-page ad in the main Colorado Springs paper blasting most pro-family groups in our state. The issue-the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court banning partial birth abortions. CRTL's ire came because certain family groups hailed the decision as a breakthrough in the battle for life.

Oouch! I am not sure who cooked this one up but generally its considered bad form to air dirty laundry in public. Good friends should be able to disagree from time to time but no one wins when allies blast each other in the media. While I applaud CRTL ardor, passion and commitment to the cause, they are shooting at their friends!

Check out the repercussions here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll (Plus a little Bush-bashing too!)

Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Sprinkle in a little Bush-bashing and you have the makings of another great day of public education in Colorado a la Boulder style.

Sounds too good to be true right? Believe it or not it happened at Boulder High School last week.

When I went to high school ages ago, we studied boring subjects like math, english, civics, etc. Makes you wish you could go to high school now!

Check out the story and see if you want your son or daughter a part of such a good time!

PS- Your taxes funded this "fun day of enlightened thinking."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Colorado Teen Pregnancy Crisis

"I guess I thought it couldn't happen to me." Most mom's who don't expect to get pregnant say this after the fact.

For several years now, my wife and I have watched the struggles of a neighbor girl who got pregnant. To her and her family's credit, she had the child. But she is really struggling with all of it as a 17 year plus teenager whose a mom. Its not to say that being a 17 year old mom is wrong but its an uphill battle in today's culture to have a child at this young age.

Colorado is gripped by a growing unintended pregnancy crisis. Read the entire story here.
Here are some numbers for you from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:
*40 percent of all births in Colorado are unintended!

*75 percent of teen births in Colorado were unintended!

*25 percent decline in teen pregnancies in the past decade. 14 percent of the decline attributable to teens having less sex.

Assumably, other factors contributed to the overall decline such as abstinence education. No matter how you slice it, our culture has little sense of cause and effect. Meaning this: if you have sex you may get pregnant.

I don't think that these trends should surprise us. Our young people live in a sex-whenever culture and many have the false impression that everyone is "doing it." If given a chance, most kids want to reserve their sexuality and not discard it cheaply. Anything other than abstinence poses high risks of disease or unintended pregnancies.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Real Christians of Genius Video Clip

This is how we sound and look at times to the world. The video clip says it all.

Some Thoughts About Sex...

Okay, nobody may see it but you know you are smiling. Sex just does that to us. While I am no sexologist, I am human, a guy and sex is frankly, very appealing. And I am a Christian too...

Christian sex is radically exclusive. Our sex-crazed culture is anything but exclusive. Yet, despite our "sexual freedom" and stimulation, most people are unfilled. Sex outside of marriage is horribly destructive. An ancient parable states that "sex outside of marriage saps a man's soul."

I am not a prude or Elmer Gantry, but only a realist who sees the brokeness of a culture where sex runs out of the banks.

There's a better way.

You see, God archicted sex to be an exlusive bond between a man and a woman. Its a holy convenant. Its an act of love towards your wife or spouse. My wife is the focus on my desires. At the core of our relaitonship is a soulish intimacy no one else has with either of us.

Its a giving away of oneself to another...

Bad News for Colorado Families

Finally, its over. This year's legislative session was one of the darkest in recent memories for Colorado families. A whole host of bad ideas have been passed and Governor Ritter has signed most of them. I fear the path we are heading down will not bring prosperity to our families and communities.

Here's a synopsis of this year's "bad stuff." For more information, visit our web site at

Health Care/Emergency Contraception: Anti-family forces were finally able to produce a law which will require hospitals and pharmacies to provide emergency contraception (abortion) information and drugs to rape survivors (SB 60). Additionally, Colorado's Immunization Registry has been expanded to require health information on all children born since 1989. Helath care professionals will be required to submit patient information to this data base (HB 1347). Finally, legislators passed a law which establishes a fund for cervical cancer vaccinations and a public awareness campaign (HB 1301).

Education: A new law would require school districts to teach science-based comprehensive sex education. This curriculum will include both abstinence and contraception information. School districts which currently receive federal funding for abstinence education are exempt (HB 1291).

Homosexual rights: Homosexuals were one of the major winners this year. A new law was passed that would grant adoption rights to second parents designated by the main adoptive parent (HB 1330). Additionally, a second possible law granting homosexuals and transgendered people special work place protections is on Gov. Ritter's desk. This law would impact religious associations and groups which accept any federal funding (SB 25).

Marriage and Family: This year's edition of the Colorado Fair Housing Act law includes a redefinition of the family from biological or adoptive to "any two people who live together" (SB 124).

Planned Parenthood: Another big winner this year. They are celebrating a return of state funding for their community services.

Scripture clearly states that we should give thoughtful and considerate answers on what we believe and to salt the culture with godly values (1 Peter 3:15). Thank you for your support and prayers this year...

**For more information on these new laws, please go to

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lowering the Divorce Rate? Maybe...

Are Americans staying married? Are we on the downward side of the divorce scourge in our nation.

Read the latest story here and decide.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

National Day of Prayer for the Family

If you missed the news, today is the National Day of Prayer. I don't know about you, but for me, every day has to be a day of prayer. In fact, First Thessalonians 5:17 tells believers to pray continuously not just once per year!

Anyway, here's a little twist on today's prayer event. I think we need a national day of prayer for the family.

Here in Colorado, many of our lawmakers think that family should be "broader; more inclusive." Their bottom line- a definition of the family which a decade ago would have been laughed at.

This is really not a political issue but a cultural one. Now some will say, "what's the harm?' Others would chime in and say that a broadening of terminology only helps those on the outside looking in. For afterall, don't we want people to be happy no matter what "gathering" they choose? Afterall, we are an enlightened and tolerant culture...

These sentiments have caused me to seek for a national day of prayer for the family.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Safer Colorado Schools? Maybe...

Today's Denver Post trumps the "growing success" of making Colorado's schools safer.

I don't know about you, but I would assume and expect that my kids school was always safe. I know that in today's corrosive cultural we cannot expect Mayberry RFD. But, varying degrees of safety does not reassure me when it comes to my kids welfare.

Our collective national "psyche" is a bit bruised right now with the Virginia Tech tragedy.
Perhaps there's some linkage to school violence and the "expulsion" of God from our public schools

To me, its a sad day when we have to have armed guards in our classrooms and hallways.

Who Lost the War?

I apologize for deveating from my normal line of thinking, but I could resist asking this question to fellow Coloradans (and Senator Harry Reid), who won the war?

If its true that we have lost the war in Iraq, then I like to know who they think won it? I also shudder what our world would have been like if these same defeatists were alive in 1942.

The war in Iraq has not been lost- yet. However, our "Vietnam" generation seems bound and determined to take us down that path again, where we win it on the ground but lose it between our ears.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Colorado's Black Eye on Abortion

In 1967, a freshmen state representative named Dick Lamm successfully passed a bill which made Colorado the first state to liberalize its abortion laws.

For forty years, our state has snuffed out a lot of lives. Most of these unborn children lost their lives because their mother's lives would have been inconvenienced.

Despite its restrictive nature, this measure opened the door to abortion on demand and sowed the seeds for Roe versus Wade in 1973.

Read and weep about the history of Colorado and abortion in this Rocky Mountain News article...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Public Education-Your Choice Is Your Choice

Today's feature news article in the Rocky Mountain News fuels the ongoing debate over the efficacy of public schools, particularily the "crashing and burning" of the Denver Public School system.

"Denver Public Schools lost about 5500 Denver students to suburban schools last year. Nearly half the Denver kids ages 5 to 17 who go to suburban schools live in southwest Denver."

No mysteries with this fact.

Simply, many families have left poor DPS schools for better educational options. Southwest Denver, in effect, has educational competition, something that educational choice advocates have always wanted.

Grace Harris, the 6 year old in the article's first page, represents the choice which suburban families are making- they are leaving bad schools and going to quality schools. Their rationale- they want their kids to be in the best schools possible. Like any other "product" people want the best. In a perfect world, good schools would flourish while those who offer a poor educational product would go out of business.

The winners here are the kids and their families. School choice does work.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Colorado Legislature Okays Adoption by Homosexual Couples

Colorado's Legislature okays adoption by homosexual couples.

Surprised? Don't be.

This headline sort of slipped under the radar screen last week. Buried by the avanlanche of "news" about the paternity story of a dead playboy's daughter and a story about the racist comments of a New York shock jock, this one went by unnoticed for the most part.

The impact of this misguided proposed law will be huge. In essence, if signed by Governor Ritter, Colorado's definition of what a family is will be changed.

What's startling about this new measure in "family correctiveness" is that Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected a similar scheme last November when asked to approve adoption right for domestic partners.

Now, folks are already shrugging their shoulders in apologetic motions. Some claim that the definition of a family needs to change with the times. And this definition would radically accomplish this purpose.

Shock and Horror

Today's campus shooting at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia is sending a tremor through our nation's collective conscience.

When will we wake up and stop our cultural sewer? Last week it was the racist comments by shock jock Don Imus. This week a bloody college campus.

Friends, our nation is facing a moral crisis.

While we will deplore this heinous crime, a deeper look at our culture must be warranted. There will be those apologists who will say that there is no connection between these events. But, when life becomes cheap, the trickle down effect touches all parts of our society. Whether its racist demeaning comments intended as a "joke", or a brutal murderous college rampage, there is a connection.

To think otherwise is thoughtless.

What we put into our culture will come out in some form. Flip on the television or engage in most of the popular media and it doesn't take long for the sewer of our culture to lap its banks poison your life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Words Matter

Words matter. Words establish the meaning of your heart. They tell others what you think and believe. There used to communicate our deepest beliefs and our jokes. And what you say will be used to measure who you are by others.

I don't know Don Imus. But his comments of last week and over the years paint a picture of who he is. Even though Mr. Imus claims that what he says is all in jest and fun, many people don't see what he says that way.

Jesus Christ is known as the Word of God. Scripture is referred to as the Word of God. God has establised His identity through His Word.

What you say matters. For believers, are speech is to be seasoned, meaning that our words are to glorify God and bring wisdom into every situation. The Apostle Paul writes,"Let your conservation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone"-Col. 4:6

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Three Reasons Why America Needs God

Its amazing to me but we live in a time where many Americans (whether they are of faith or not) have forgotten the blessings of "Providence."

Our founders had no confusion on this issue. The architected a system which reflected that belief in Providence at every turn. John Adams wrote in 1798 that, "our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

So for those who have either forgotten or simply disagree why America still needs God, here's are the arguments.

William Federer, best-selling author and president of Amerisearch offers these argument...

First, our rights. At the soul of our Declaration of Independence is the idea that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..." The origin of these rights come from God. They are not issued by a government but their protection and equal application becomes the purpose of a government.

Second, our equality. President Calvin Coolidge stated in 1924 that, "the right to equality has for its foundation reverence for God. If we could imagine that swept away, our American government could not long survive." This idea was central to our nation's founding, that every citizen was equal before the law having an equal vote in all elections. The origin of this idea was based on the biblical principle of equality before a Supreme Being.

Third, few laws. To be a nation with few laws requires a citizenry with private moral restraint. Men and women must be controlled by either an internal power or a power without them-either the Word of God will temper our actions or the strong arm of government. Our founders believed in an after life where one's earthly actions would be judged by God. That knowledge would prove to be a powerful force for human activities and the promulgation of moral restraint.

President Reagen summed it up best in 1984, when he stated that "without God there is a coarsening fo the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure...If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Go Coach Go!

AP News Flash---
Alexander City, also. (AP)- Central Alabama Community College baseball coach Don Ingram has resigned because the school removed two signs on the outfield fence carrying religious messages. The eight foot by 12 foot signs, sold to sponsors for one-thousand dollars apiece, were taken down after the school received complaints. An individual paid for a sign reading "John 3:16" that was sponsored by the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. The second sign, sponsored by a local Baptist church, read: "True success is finding out what God wants you to do, then doing it." In a letter to his latest signing class, Ingram said, "I resigned because I will not compromise my commitment to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." He will remain as coach and athletic director until his contract expires August 31st.

Just when you think that most Christians have sought cover from our modern corrosive culture, a hero of the faith stands up. I am reminded of the classic OT passage where Elijah complains to God that every Jew no longer followed God. Well, God smashed Elijah's pity party, stating in First Kings 19:8 that, "I reserve seven thousand in Israel whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him." In those dark times, God had preserved a remnant that still served Him and which was not corrupted by the culture of that time.

Numbers mean little to God. It may appear for a time that the forces of evil are and will prevail. But if we look a little closer, God is still in control and there is still a vibrant and faithful remnant today.

Steely Resolve-Badly Needed in the UK

In today's New York Post, columnist Ralph Peters sarcastically asks the rhetorical question that many of us have been thinking of late, "Was Margaret Thatcher the last great man in Great Britain?" I would imagine that Winston Churchill is doing multiple flips in his grave over the weakness being displayed front and center by the current crop of British leaders the hostage crisis with Iran. Those of us Americans old enough to remember our own hostage crisis with Iran in the 1970's remember our weak and tepid response. It was a shameful chapter for America.

Remarkably, a recent British poll showed only 7% of the British public believed that military force should be used against Iran while only 44% believed that military force should be used in any case to resolve the current crisis.

It is sad to see few Britishers with their proud heritage of fighting tyranny world wide blink in the face of naked aggression by a terrorist state.

I still hold hope though that the ghosts of great British leaders like Lord Nelson, William Wilberforce and Winston Churchill will summon forth Britain's deep national pride to push back the latest incarnation of evil.

Rule again Britannia!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Faith Always Trumps Party

I will die for my faith but not for my politics. But that aside, I would self describe myself politically as a social conservative

Perhaps you have heard of best-selling Christian author Jim Wallis (God's Politics) or even Reverend Tony Campolo. Both men claim faith in Jesus Christ and express their spiritual views in an evangelical fashion.

But both men are liberals politically. What then would we have in common?

In the last several years, there is a widening fissure between conservative evangelicals and liberal evangelicals over the hot political issues of the day- the war in Iraq; homosexual rights; the role of the government, etc. These political differences are significant.

But the balance point for all of us, is to keep in mind that faith always trumps party. In this sense, Chapman, Wallis and Campolo have much in common. There is no political litmus test in heaven only a spiritual/faith requirement- faith in Jesus Christ and the advancement of God's Kingdom.

Jesus encountered the political leaders of his day. He did not take sides in the political issues of that day (and there were lots of hot issues then too). What he challenge them to do was to think beyond their politics to a bigger equation- what truly is the Kingdom of God.

Those principles which Jesus taught are ideas that we can rally around now.

Before we slay each other, let's remember that politics will fade away in heaven. I will break bread with the Jim Wallis' and Tony Campolo's of the world one day in glory.

I have a hunch that my political affiliation will mean little on that day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The "Haggard" Effect

You may be surprised by a recent Rocky Mountain News story which shockingly stated that more than 5o percent of pastors are unfaithful to their spouse. Here's the story.

Some in the Colorado media are titling this problem the Haggard Effect. Frankly, this crisis in the pulpit has nothing to do with Ted Haggard other than the emerging fact that a bunch of pastors may be infected with the same disease.

Is there some truth to this story- yes, I think so. But is every pastor a sex-crazed addict- no. Most pastors are not leading a double secretive life. However, many pastors set themselves up to be tempted and to fall. They often labor with little gratitude, scant accountability and inappropriate attention from people they are counseling. Mix in a lack of family time and long hours, and temptation can find some pretty fertile ground.

Sometimes we think pastors are super humans impervious to human temptations. They are not. Encourage and care for your pastor. Challenge them to be married to their wife and family, not the church. Provide the means for your pastor to go on a marriage retreat to renew their relationship with their spouse...

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

World Congress of Families

This May 11-13th, the World Congress of Families IV will be held in Warsaw, Poland. For many of us this conference is too far away to attend.

But what caught my attention was their premises. Here they are and they are refreshing indeed:

*From "The family as an obstacle to development" to "The family as the source of social renewal and progress."
*From "overpopulation" to "under-population" as the demographic challenge of the 21st century.
*And from religious orthodoxy as a "threat to progress" to "religious orthodoxy as the source of humane values and cultural progress."

Sounds good to me.

Pure By Choice- A Huge Success!

Last Sunday, my eldest daughter and I attended the fourth annual Pure By Choice conference here in Denver. Wow! What a great event...If you haven't heard about it, its a "cannot miss" event for you in 2008 if you have teenagers. There were more than 4000 kids in attendance!

Most of us would agree that the current teenage culture is corrosive and poisonous- and that's on a good day. The excesses of this teen culture is spewing out human wreckage every where, and there's a future price tag that will come due one day for what we are exposing our young adults to.

But in the midst of this darkness, a glimmer of hope is shining brightly. Its all about sexual purity. Its all about reclaiming a new ethos, that is a way of life based on the timeless principle of sexual purity and abstinence before marriage. Pure By Choice is a half-day conference for teens dedicated to encouraging and promoting their sexual abstinence and purity. They have great teen speakers, loud teen music and most of all, a wholesome godly message.

This whole event is completely counter-cultural to what teens normally hear and see in their schools, on television and in their pop music. Everything they do is centered on this fact: God has made sex and its very good. And God wants us to wait until marriage to experience it. For me at least, this was a refreshing wind free from the current stench of our cultural sexual values and practices.

I could go on and on about this event, but let me summarize by saying this...Decades ago when I was a teenager, the worse thing a sexually promiscuous teen could contract was syphilis. It did not kill you. Today, sexually transmitted diseases are rampant. A teen in the twenty-first century has a one in four chance of catching some pretty nasty bugs which will kill you...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Abstinence Carries the Day!

Feel free to disagree but here are five abstinence facts to think about:

Fact: Government spends $12 to promote contraception for every $1 spent on abstinence.

Fact: Early sexual activity has harmful consequences.

Fact: Most teenagers say that they wish they would have waited until they were older before having sex.

Fact: Abstinence programs reduce teenage sexual activity including a reduction of out of wedlock births.

Fact: Parents overwhelmingly oppose the values of comprehensive sex education.

The facts have it...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Celebrating Ash Wednesday

For many believers, the annual celebration of Ash Wednesday is an essential practice of their faith. Among Catholic communities in Colorado, its practice is very popular. Yet for many Christians its origins remain a mystery.

Believed by many to have started in the 6th century A.D., its celebration is marked by the placing of an ashes in the form of a cross on the forehead of the recipient. Seen as a staple of Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions, its practice is gaining popularity among more evangelical protestant groups.

The heart of Ash Wednesday is to remind believers of God's mercy towards them while encouraging merciful acts towards others. For more information on Ash Wednesday and its origins and practices, click here.

Amazing Grace

Great movie, Amazing Grace- it opens on Friday, February 23rd. I hope movie fans and folks who enjoy an uplifting and redeeming movie will buy tickets for this one.

Much can be said for this film but what struck me was Wilberforce's commitment to two great causes- the ending of slavery and the reformation of his society and culture. Wilberforce accurately assessed the fact that to change the slavery laws would require changing the hearts and mind of people. But most importantly, this task would be impossible unless his own heart was transformed.

Wilberforce's pastor, John Newton, penned one of the most famous Christian hymns, Amazing Grace. Born during a fierce ocean storm, this song continues to captivate its listeners with its radical but simple message of God's grace for the sinner.

Newton and Wilberforce realized a truth- a timeless truth we need today. God in his sovereign work offers all of us amazing unmerited grace. And the grace, when sipped by a grace-seeker, not only aligns us with God it motivates us to rescue others. Grace is not limited by race, color, social standing or wealth. It flows openly to all who believe in and commit their lives to God.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Amazing Grace and Christian Collaboration

Unfortunately, Christians are inconsistent when it comes to working well for the common good of our culture. But there are some shining exceptions to the "rule."

One of my favorite Christian writers, Chuck Colson, pens a fantastic article in today's daily update. He tells the poignant story about the collaboration of two Christian groups in nineteenth century England who worked together to end slavery. The most infamous member of this group was William Wilberforce, a well known principled Christian statesman in England during the nineteenth century. His partners in this endeavor were a lesser known sect, the Clapham Saints.

Their collaborative work changed their culture.

Before you read Colson's thoughts, let me quickly add one of my own. First Corinthians 12 reminds all believers of our integration with other Christians. The Apostle Paul brilliantly states that every Christian, great or small, has vital skills and talents needed by the entire church.

If we are to impact our time and culture, we must work with each other for the common good, finding issues that we can offer solutions to...

Here's Colson's article, the Spirit of Collaboration.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The True Meaning of Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day-almost...Most of us think about Valentine's Day in a couple of ways. Hopeless romantics pine away for the day, planning extravagent romantic ventures. The rest of us either forget about it and get caught short-handed or we quickly grab a some flowers or candy on the fly.

But Valentine's Day has a great historical background. Here it is below and its a bit long....

When we think of Valentine's Day, we often think of red roses, candy in heart- shaped boxes, mushy valentines, and winged cherubs flying about shooting starry-eyed lovers with arrows. But did you know that the origin of Valentine's day, or Saint Valentine's Day, comes from the life and death of a Christian martyr? According to author Martha Zimmerman, the date traditionally celebrated as St. Valentine's day finds it origin in the Roman festival of romance called Lupercalia, when the gods Juno and Pan were honored. It was a fertility festival or a lover's holiday looking forward to the return of Spring. In the fifth century, in an attempt to abolish the pagan festival, Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia and its February 15 date to February 14 and called it Saint Valentine's Day. Even though the names and the date were changed, the emphasis continued to be on love. Who was the real Valentine, and why did he have a day named after him?
Some authorities credit Geoffrey Chaucer with originating the custom of linking Valentine's day with lovers. No link between the day and lovers exists before the time of Chaucer, thus leading some to conclude that it was this famous English author who connected the day with lovers. The fullest and earliest description of the tradition occurs in Chaucer's "Parliament of Fouls" composed around 1380. Since that time it has been traditional to connect St. Valentine's Day with love. But who was the real Saint Valentine? St. Valentine was a Roman Christian who, according to tradition, was martyred during the persecution of Christians in the third century by Emperor Claudius II. The only thing certain about the day we remember as St. Valentine's day is that it commemorates a martyrdom. Claudius II declared all Christians illegal citizens. By his definition, they were guilty of treason because Roman citizens were required by law to worship the Emperor by declaring publicly, "Caesar is Lord!" Of course, this no Christian could do.
The real Valentine was a Roman Christian martyred during the third century A.D. by the Emperor Claudius II. Prior to his death, Valentine continued to minister in prison by witnessing to his prison guards. One of the guards was a good man who had adopted a blind girl. He asked Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight. The guard and his whole family, 46 people, believed in Jesus and were baptized. When the Emperor heard about this he was furious that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he sentenced Valentine to death. Just before being led out to his execution, the young Christian wrote a note to the jailor's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine." The first valentine was really a Christian witness. Growing out of this story we participate in a custom of sending cards to people we love.
Given that the tradition of sending love notes grows out of a letter written by St. Valentine to his jailer's daughter on the eve of Valentine's execution, it's ironic that the card we send has received the emphasis, instead of remembering the content of the original Valentine's card: a message of unconditional devotion to Christ, even upon pain of death. Over time the word "Saint" has been dropped from St. Valentine's Day, further obscuring the origins of this holiday. Instead of a negative reaction to some of the pagan origins of the day, why not celebrate the true love that compelled young Valentine to give up his life? Remember that the day we know as St. Valentine's day actually commemorates the death of an early Christian martyr, Valentine, who was put to death for refusing to renounce his faith in Christ. Instead of chubby cherubs, sappy cards, too much candy, and soon-wilted flowers, why not point your family toward the true significance of St. Valentine's day this year? By all means, celebrate the day, but re-inject it with Christian meaning by resolving to live for Jesus without fear or shame, following the godly example of Valentine's unconditional love for Christ.
How can you celebrate St. Valentine's Day in a way that honors the original Valentine, who was martyred for his devotion to God? First, give your life to Christ. Second, declare the truth about God's love even if it costs you something. Third, become a servant to those you love, rather than demanding that your needs be met. According to pastor Alex Stevenson, we all want to hear the phrase, "be my Valentine." It simply means "you are loved." This Valentine's day, remember that you are loved. God loves you and wants you to be His valentine. The love that God gives us is not like the world's love. The world's love is only as sturdy as a paper Valentine's card. But God's love is not a flimsy, cheap imitation: it is the real thing. It is an all-giving love that was and is willing to suffer and die for our deliverance. Will you be God's valentine? It is your choice. Say yes and give to God the love He desires. And when you do, remember the first Valentine and how he gave everything, including his life, to the God he loved.
Rocky Mountain Family Council
8704 Yates Drive, Suite 205
Westminster, CO 80031
(303) 292-1800
This resource may be reprinted without change and in its entirely for non-commercial purposes
without prior permission from the Rocky Mountain Family Council.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

TV Violence Explodes

According to a new report from the Parent's Television Council, a Los Angeles based media watchdog group, TV violence is rampant. "The television season that began in the fall of 2005 was one of the most violent in recent history-an increase of 75% since the 1998 television season."

Wow. Guess who is most impacted by our television-watching habits? Children. TV violence is a bit of paradox in that social science studies have proven that repeated television violence leads to delinquet behavior in children. Yet, adults routinely turn on such violent shows as CSI, etc.

Here are some more major findings from the report. These numbers represent the increases in violence on television since 1998:
1- Violence increased during the 8:00 p.m. hour by 45%.
2- Violence increased during the 9:00 p.m. hour by 92%.
3- ABC has experienced the highest growth in violent programs-nearly 309%!
4- ABC' s short lived program, Night Stalker was the most violent show in the 2005-2006 season.
5-Every program airing on NBC in the 10:00 p.m. hour contained at least one instance of violence.

Finally, the "v-chip" technology, heralded as the anti-dote to television violence, has made little difference the number of children watching violent programs.

As adults, we need to review what we watch and remember that our kids are not prepared to watch what we do...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Really Good Guy- Colts' Dungy Has the Right Perspective

I was flipping through the sports pages this morning and came across another great article on Super Bowl champion coach Tony Dungy. This story warms my heart. If you have followed this story, much has been rightfully made about his ethnicity and being the first black coach to win a Super Bowl title.

But, there are some great life lessons to be learned from his story. Here are the ones that stand out for me.

First, Tony Dungy is an inspiring role model for all of us. Its easy to get cynical today. His success is a refreshing reminder of all that is right about the American dream; that hard work and perserverence is the recipe for true success.

Second, his climb to success was not without hardship and trial. Dungy was fired in Tampa Bay and suffered through the tragic loss of a son and Smith had to endure many closed coaching doors. In today's immediate gratification society, we think that we are all owed immediate success or that it will automatically come to us. Dungy and Smith would attest that is not the case.

Finally, faith matters. I appreciated his now infamous comment right after the Colt's win where he stated that what matter most to him was winning God's way. What a great selfless, humble comment. Its a comment that I hope many will absorb.

We need a dose of good guys acting well today. Cheers for Tony Dungy!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Requiring Cervical Cancer Vaccination-Give Me a Break!

According to Colorado State Senator Suzanne Williams, every 11 and twelve year old Colorado girl is or will be sexually active. At least that's the premise undergirding her latest proposed law requiring the vaccination of these children prior to their admittance into any Colorado junior high school.

Senate bill 80 carries this idea.

I am appalled at the premise of the idea. Now, don't misunderstand my passion. Cervical cancer is a terrible disease. I want every means used to prevent it and cure it. My problem with this idea is that it assumes sexual promiscuity will be a natural event for young girls. And the logic here gets worse because it promotes the notion that this shot will magically protect these children and they can continue their promiscuity. The fact is that cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, which is contracted through sexual intercourse. A better way to handle this to promote abstinence measures.

As a father of two girls, I intend to protect my daughter's virginity until they move out on their own. If they decide to get this vaccination when they are 18 so be it. But for now, we are raising our girls to value their sexuality and to save it. I am not going to get these shots for them as a protective hedge.

Senator Williams and her crowd need to adopt a new view that kids are more than goats. Good public policy in this area would advocate abstinence which would reduce acts of promiscuity which in turn would cut down the transmission rates of the human papillomavirus.

This idea is enlightened irresponsibility.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why We Do What We Do-Christians in the Public Square

As we turn the page into 2007, I think its important to refresh ourselves about the importance of our witness in the public square.

What would Jesus say and do?

Consistently, Jesus and other biblical writers spoke about the importance of being salt and light. They saw the role of Christians in the culture as vital; a beacon of light to dark and dying societies.

Most of us today like to think that we live in illuminated times-that our cultural problems are really not that bad.

I would beg to differ.

Our cultural peccadilloes are enormous-abortion, homosexuality, drugs, poverty, crime, etc. If God gives us a pass he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. There is no shortage of opportunities.

So what should your response be? A great starting point is in 1 Corinthians 8:6-7, where Paul writes, "for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord. Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone knows this."

Here's why we do what we should do. My pedigree as a Christ-follower starts with my view of life anchored in the fact of who God is. Collectively, humanity has departed from this wisdom and chased other gods. Whether it be in the political arena, the workplace or my neighborhood, people need to be touched by Jesus!

More than ever, Colorado's public square cries out for believers to be engaged. Many would have us moderate our views. I say no to that notion. I say that we more godly values in the public square.

*1 Peter 3:15

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Contraception Bill Returns Again

For five years abortionist Democrats in the Colorado legislature have been trying to pass a law requiring hospitals to provide contraceptives or contraception information to "rape victims."

This year it may pass with Democratic control of the legislature and a friendly new Democratic Governor.

Here's the issue and the problem. Democratic supporters of this issue argue that rape survivors deserve this type of emergency information. Okay. They also state this will shrink the number of unwanted pregnancies and provide a "compassionate" response to the crime of rape.

Let me preceed my comments by saying that rape is a horrible crime worthy of no one. It is one of the most de-humanizing acts any human can foist on another person.

Having said that, the breakdown with this law starts with the institutions which would be mandated to carry this law out-hospitals. On the surface, it sounds reasonable, but in reality its a Trojan horse.

First, this law would run roughshod on hospitals who operate with moral principles, particularly Catholic ones, ordering them to act. Its troubling to think that the government could be empowered to order private institutions to violate their moral views. Second, it assumes that every "rape survivor" has truly been raped. I would never diminish the anguish of any rape victim, but I am cognizant that some may see this service as a path to free birth control. Third, the dispensation of emergency contraceptives could be harmful without the consultation of a doctor with a history of the patient. Finally, there is no evidence that this type of service reduces unwanted pregnancies.

So there it is. This is still a bad idea for Colorado.

Here's a good story on this issue.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Celebrating Life

Today marks the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion-on-demand.

Incredibly, it is estimated that 45 million babies have been aborted in part by this tragic decision. And this may be under reported.

While many media polls trumpet the President's low poll numbers, being popular and doing the right thing are not necessary inclusive.

Thus,standing true to his pro-life convictions, President Bush weighed in by stating that, "America was founded on the principle that we are all endowed by our Creator with the right to life and that every individual has dignity and worth."

Bravo for the President.

Being pro-life assumes several premises. First, that you believe in personhood at the moment of conception; that all life is valuable-the disabled, terminally ill and
unwanted. Second, being pro-life gushes respect for the dignity and humanity of every person. Finally, being pro-life complements being pro-family.

Without human life, human families fail to exist.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Value of Personhood

Governor Ritter's recent decision to refund Planned Parenthood's operations has reignitied an old debate- the value of life, specifically unborn and elderly persons.

Let me start by saying that abortion is a slippery slope. The ideology of euthanasia finds its roots in abortion. While doctors, ethicists and philosophers may argue when a unborn person establishes personhood, scripture offers a clear position- and its a position historically held until the recent era of abortion.

In the Old Testament book of Psalms, chapter 139 offers a compelling description of God's intentional procreative work. Specifically, verses 13 through 16 delineate God's pre-birth design and personhood for every unborn human.

But there is hope around our nation in the life battle.A new proposed law in Georgialikely will pass through that state's legislature and become law.

Changing the hearts and minds of men and women is a large task. But its a battle which demands our attention.

There is work to be done here in Colorado. More than 9800 abortions were reported in our state in 2003!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Want Peace Too!

I want peace too! But it occurs to me that there is a difference between true peace and appeasement. For peace to breakout, there must be two parties who desire the same outcome. Unfortunately, it doesn't work well when one side wants to kill and impose their system (ie Islamofacists).

Most Americans do not remember Europe's historic "peace" with Adolf Hitler in 1937. The Eurpeans thought they had a real lasting deal for peace. It didn't last long. Two years later, the world was engulfed in World War II.

Yesterday's Martin Luther King Marade participants talked about his dream of peace. Noble stuff from a noble man. But true peace cannot exist until evil is vanquished. America faces overt evil in our world today. Victory will give true peace. Appeasement will not.

Tax Dollars for Colorado Abortions?

Seldom can you give a fox a chicken and tell it not to swallow.

Last week, our newly minted Governor Ritter made his first mistake as Guv. In his first state of the state address to a joint session of the Colorado legislature, he proudly announced that he would refund Planned Parenthood's (the fox) "pregnancy prevention and family services with tax dollars (the chicken). His rationalization- we need to prevent more unwanted pregnancies and Planned Parenthood is well-equipped to provide this service. Again, seldom can you give a fox a chicken and tell it not to swallow.

Several years ago, then Governor Bill Owens cutoff state tax dollars to Planned Parenthood because of their inability to prove that tax dollars (chickens) were not being used to aid their abortion services. A subsequent audit proved Owen's original premise. Since that time, Planned Parenthood's lobbyists and political allies have plotted and planned to get their hands on your tax dollars once again.

They have found a friend in Bill Ritter.

Sources tell us that Ritter has "privately" pro-life. Yet, what good is that? Its akin to saying that you don't want harm to come to your neighbor yet failing to call the fire department at 2am as their house burns, not wanting to disturb them.

Guv Ritter has invited the foxes into the hen house. Sadly, this act is a payoff for key political support leading to Ritter's election. Planned Parenthood will not get its hand caught in the cookie jar again. They will be more stealthy this time around, erecting legal and corporate moats to protect their state funding of their "services."

This is a bad start for our new Governor. And the foxes will enjoy their dinner.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Christian Fascists? The Rising Tide Against Christians

One of my favorite Christian writers and thinkers is Chuck Colson. Today's installment from Mr. Colson in his Breakpoint ( column should be seminal reading for all believers who are engaged in our present cultural struggles.

It hits the nail on the head describing the ideological challenges we face.

Here it is in its entirety.

America's Secular Jihadists
Atheists on the Offensive

January 12, 2007

Just a few months ago, I thought it was insulting to be called a "theocrat." I was wrong. "Theocrat" is almost a compliment compared to what the Left is calling Christians now.

According to a New York Times review, we Christians are fascists—that's what the Nazis were. And if we're not stopped, we'll try to take over America. It's an illustration of how vicious the invective has become against faithful Christians.

"Of course there are Christian fascists in America," writes Rick Perlstein in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. How else, for example, to explain the cadres who took former Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument on tour?

Perlstein was reviewing the latest in the recent crop of hate books about the Christian faith, this one titled, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, written by Chris Hedges. He details all the wacky killings, like the Aryan brotherhood over the last twenty-five years, and then concludes by saying that Christians are about to do the same thing. Talk about guilt by association.

The really dangerous thing here is that, by writing this kind of stuff, they are likely to embolden some nut to start shooting pastors and Christian leaders.

Perlstein was honest enough to admit that there has been no violence from Christians lately—but he reminds us that there used to be, and may be again, driven by all those violent Left Behind books.

Gee, what a backhanded compliment! We're not as bad as we used to be—or will be in the future.

American Fascists is just the latest book in a long line of anti-Christian literature to hit the best-seller lists—all reviewed and promoted by the New York Times. Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, suggests that the government may have to stop parents from sharing their religious beliefs with their kids, calling it a form of child abuse.

What's behind this witch hunt? Two things.

First, it's an effort to drive Christians out of public debates, like abortion and same-sex "marriage," and sadly, there are signs it might be working.

Second, as Sam Schulman noted last week in the Wall Street Journal, atheists are trying to move heaven and earth (so to speak) to destroy belief in God.

In the Victorian age, it was atheists who were gentlemen, rather civilized, though held in low public regard. Today, atheists are trying to turn the tables: turning religious faith into "a cause for personal embarrassment."

To the new atheists, religious belief is both misguided and contemptible, "the mark of people who need to be told how to think and how to vote," Schulman writes. Belief in God is "a form of stupidity"—or so they say.

But the faith these atheists present is a parody of the faith that thousands have given their lives for, and for causes like ending the slave trade and human rights causes today. Look over the history of Western civilization, as Rodney Stark, the great sociologist, writes, and you'll see that Christianity has been the source of all the great reforms and advances of Western civilization.

The best response to these attacks, of course, is just a loving assertion of the truth and a renewed effort to silence the critics by doing good.

And in the midst of these best-selling books that try to embarrass us out of our faith, we ought to remember the words of the Apostle Paul: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for all those who believe."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Welcome Aboard Guv Ritter!

Below are excerpts from a letter not-sent to our newly minted Governor, Bill Ritter. Here we go:

Welcome aboard Guv Ritter! You are number 41...As one of those "evil" socially conservative Republicans, I will try and stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. Some of your political allies see us akin to mold. Honestly, I thought that I would be penning a congratulatory letter to your gubernatorial opponent, Bob Beauprez. But its you not he who sits in the governor's high-backed leather chair today. Your friends and allies are in overdrive telling us how focused, teachable and visionary you are. We have even heard that you are bipartisan. Time will tell. But one thing is for sure-your office is no longer the Denver District Attorney's suite. Humbly, I would like to offer three gentle suggestions to you. I know that a lot of folks are telling you how to govern and what your first acts should be, so here's my two cents worth:

1- Don't let the job create a wedge between you and your family. They will still be your family long after your guv job ends.

2- Don't rush to judgment. My mom always told me that haste makes waste. What might look good now stinks a year from now.

3- Be cautious who you keep time with. Pandering and patronage are long-held political tools to get politicians to embrace an agenda. Get out of Denver a bit and see how the rest of the state lives.

Finally, I know that you have political debts to pay but remember you are every Coloradans governor, even us evil Republicans...


Jim Chapman

Wisdom in the Public Square

In Colorado, the advent of January means several things: great skiing and the ignition of our state legislature. For the next five months, debates over the issues facing our state will ensue- from illegal immigration to health care to education.

For the next two years, Colorado Democrats will have unparalleled political power. Their hold on both houses of the state legislature and the governorship may usher in a very different direction for Colorado. Time will tell. But, Coloradans have a great opportunity to participate in making our state strong. Your ideas do count!

2007 also marks a great opportunity for believers. As Christians, we have a responsibility to witness to whomever holds the power, pointing towards godly ideas and solutions. The New Testament book of 1 Peter addresses our need to offer sound, godly and insightful answers for our beliefs. The underlying assumption is that Christians will be in the public square and that they will witness for God no matter what the context or setting may be.

All ideas, either good or bad start somewhere. Let's be the one's who initiate the ideas.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Democrats Rule the Roost: Our Predictions for 2007

The Democrats rule the roost in Colorado.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Dems control both houses of the state legislature and the governorship. A mere eight years ago, the Republicans held the power in Colorado with similiar numbers. Time has certainly changed the political landscape.

As we head into 2007, here's our short list of things we expect to happen with the convenience of our state legislature and the inauguration of our new governor Bill Ritter.

*Refunding of Planned Parenthood with tax payer dollars. Unfortunately, our new governor may put aside his personal pro-life beliefs and succumb to pressure from his political abortion minded allies. This reversal may be his first executive order.

*Concerted effort to limit CSAP- the annual measurement used to measure public education's effectiveness and efficiency. Teacher unions contributed huge dollars to the Ritter campaign. They expect some CSAP relief. A coat tail effect will be future review of all school-choice options, including home schooling.

*Increased efforts to pass additional special rights for homosexuals and transgendered people. Expect to see new laws which guard the "rights" of these groups particularly in the workplace. Also look for efforts to grant homosexual couples the right to adopt children and dare we say, some type of a civil union option.

*The smorgasboard of issues to include emergency contraception services, embryonic stem cell research et al. Expect higher taxes.

The Dems rule the roost for the next two years. Let's hope that the voters made the right decision.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Finding Your Dad for the First Time

Katrina Clark looks and sounds like a normal 18 year old college freshmen.

She's smart, precocious, buoyant and has the world by the tail-at least that's what it appears like on the surface.

But Katrina Clark is the first wave of children who are becoming adults who were conceived through artificial insemination. Her mom was a single-parent. Despite a caring mom, Katrina's heartache has been for the father she never knew.

This story reflects a growing (and troubling)trend in America of non-traditional families and the children they raise. I believe that these new "family systems" will gain ink in 2007.

We are quickly jettisoning the parameters of family, which have stood for a millennium, for untested familial arrangements. More often than not, lawmakers and judges have constructed familial arrangements not based on what's best for a kid but to satisfy the claims of adults.

What do you think?

Here's the link to the story about Katrina Clark. It will touch you.