A surprising number of business owners I’ve spoken with over the last several months are shaken by the state of the economy. They’ve been candid about the difficult predicament this tight economy has put them in. Many are concerned about having to cut the size of their staff in order to stay financially viable. Others are painfully aware they’re about to lose their family business and, with it, their entire life savings if sales don’t improve.
Sometimes God has to use simple words to get through to me. Case in point.
One of the things I like to do after dinner is to engage the family in a brief time of devotions. Given the age of our boys, we’re reading from a children’s picture story version of the Bible. The other day I was reading the story of King Saul, David, and Goliath. Keep in mind that the editors of the children’s Bible condensed the whole 58-verse saga down to about eight illustrated pages with maybe six words on each page.
When Dr. Dobson recorded his first 15-minute radio broadcast some thirty years ago, he had a hunch there might be an audience in the U.S. for insight into marriage and parenting issues. Never in his wildest dreams did he envision a day when his advice would be broadcast around the world. Today, Focus on the Family is heard from Alabama to Albania, California to the Congo, and New Jersey to Papua New Guinea. In fact, some version of a Focus program is heard in 149 countries in 26 languages!
One week ago, our staff at Focus on the Family gathered together for a time of corporate prayer. Like many Christian ministries, we’ve experienced a dip in financial support from our friends and partners due to these tough economic times. We happen to be about $5 million behind the budget right now. However, we did not gather to weep and wring our hands in fear, perplexed by our circumstances. Why would we? Whether in good times or when times get tough, our only hope is found in the Lord.
I don’t know about you, but God seems to find new ways to stretch me. My latest stretching moment occurred earlier this month. The Honorable Bill Armstrong, former Senator from Colorado and now the president of Colorado Christian University (CCU), invited me to give the commencement address for the graduating class of 2009. Me? I had never done that type of thing before. Weren’t there more qualified people to do the job?
Talk about being outside of my comfort zone.
Are you ready for some good news?
For the last decade California has been a battleground state in the debate whether to redefine the meaning of “marriage” to include same-sex couples. Last November, 7 million Californians—roughly 53% of those voting—voted in favor of Proposition 8 which amended the state constitution with these fourteen words: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
The people spoke. Case closed. Right?
Not so fast.
The official start to the football season is several months away, but I’ve got football on my mind probably because I just had the privilege of spending some time with Jim Zorn, NFL head coach of the Washington Redskins. Jim was hired by the Redskins franchise shortly after legendary head coach Joe Gibbs retired in January of 2008. Jim’s been a long time friend of Focus on the Family and, I might add, his daughter graduated from our Focus on the Family Institute.
Michael Vick was released from prison today. At the time Michael’s story first broke back in April of 2007, there was an aspect of his situation that caught my attention: the power of friends and the need for strong accountability. Who can forget the tragic tale of Michael Vick, one of the best running quarterbacks in the NFL.
At age 24, Vick was offered a ten-year, $100+ million dollar contract. His inspiring performances for the Atlanta Falcon’s propelled him to the top of the game.
Last week I traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in an Alliance Defense Fund breakfast held in honor of former Attorney General Edwin Meese. He’s one of those rare men with a long record of distinguished service to our country and a man I admire. Ed Meese served as President Ronald Reagan’s chief policy adviser and currently works at The Heritage Foundation.
Of his numerous accomplishments, General Meese has been—and continues to be—a champion of “originalism”; he believes the Constitution should be interpreted in light of the “original intent” of our Founding Fathers rather than what an activist judge might want it to mean.
I know this is a tad early, but here’s a reflection with Father’s Day around the corner. As I said in my first book, Finding Home, life is wonderful . . . and life is hard. Having moved 23 times as a kid, I’ve experienced my share of both and prefer the good stuff this journey has to offer. Especially considering the train wreck that was characteristic of my childhood. My family put the “D” into Dysfunction.