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.
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.
Last year I blogged about a father who, while walking to McDonald’s with his four-year-old daughter, observed the erratic driving of an oncoming car. As the vehicle barreled down on them, with the impact just seconds away, this father instinctively knew what he had to do. Giving no thought to persevering his own life, he grabbed his daughter and held her above his head. His quick action prevented her from being crushed by several thousand pounds of steel.
About a month after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, two of us at Focus on the Family traveled to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. Our goal was to determine whether or not open doors existed for Focus to minister to Iraqi families in that war-torn country. At 4:30 a.m., we piled into two GMC Suburbans and departed from Amman, Jordan for the 10-hour drive to Baghdad. Keep in mind, although the war had ended, Iraq was still very much a hotbed of violence.
If you are like most Americans, you’ve watched your retirement savings shrink with the plunging stock market. You might be one of the hundreds of thousands without work searching for a job as unemployment soars. And the forecast out of Washington, D.C. these days says we’re in for tough times. America isn’t the only country rocked by such economic turbulence. Countries around the world are in the same boat.
Which is why the current global economic crisis was the hot topic at last week’s G-20 summit of world leaders in London.
Here’s a conversation stopper: try talking about the topic of death with dinner guests. See how long it takes before someone wants to change the subject. Death and dying makes us uncomfortable, doesn’t it? Even Christians, who have the promise of spending eternity with Jesus, don’t necessarily like to linger on the reality that death is a very real part of life.
They’re two sides of the coin.
As the saying goes, none of us gets out of here alive.
It was supposed to be a routine checkup for an ear infection of their first child. But last month, when Joel and Jess McClenahan took their precious 11-month-old baby girl, Cora Paige, to the pediatrician, they discovered Cora had stage-four cancer. Two weeks after the diagnosis, Cora died, leaving the McClenahan’s with a mind-numbing grief and a host of unanswered questions.
And yet, Joel and Jess clung to their faith in Jesus to sustain them. On their blog, which they created the day Cora was born for the benefit of friends and family, Jess wrote: “Joel and I can’t make it through this on our own, but we know we can with the Lord walking with us each step of the way, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,’ Psalm 46:1.”
When they began to blog about Cora’s diagnosis and treatment, Cora’s story went “viral” on the web and, almost overnight, the events surrounding little Cora’s life and death was followed by concerned visitors from around the world.
Jean and I are in Orlando, Florida enjoying a break with the boys. About 5 o’clock on Sunday night, we learned that the Discovery Space Shuttle was scheduled for a 7:43 p.m. launch at the Kennedy Space Center. Since Cape Canaveral was less than 60 miles away, we piled into the minivan and headed due east. The traffic was pretty heavy so we found a place to park along with about forty other cars in a wide area near the intersection of Highways 417 and 528
Even though we were thirty-five miles from the launch pad, the view was breathtaking.
One of the six principles which guide our work at Focus on the Family is the Permanence of Marriage. We believe that marriage, as the basic building block of human civilization, was designed by God to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman. And since we live in a fallen world, all couples who are committed in the covenant of marriage will at some point face trials, sickness, financial crises and emotional stresses.