Jean and I were at a birthday party last week. While we dined with the adults, the boys were in another room with their peers enjoying kid-friendly food and games. One of the after dinner activities for the children was playing with a Wii (pronounced “We”). That’s the hot new video game console offered by Nintendo. As I learned, what sets Wii apart from other video games is a wireless controller that senses motion. This allows the gamers’ hand movements to interact with the on-screen action.
Last Sunday tragedy struck close to home.
As you may know, Matthew Murray, 19, barged into New Life Church here in Colorado Springs just two miles down the road from Focus on the Family. His goal? He desired to inflict mass casualties. Armed with three weapons, including a powerful assault rifle and two semiautomatic handguns, Matthew took the lives of two teenage sisters, Stephanie and Rachel Works (pictured), in the parking lot after the worship service.
You probably already know that Tony Dungy was the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl championship. What you may not know is that he’s been a big fan of the Focus on the Family broadcast. While coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1981 to 1989, Tony listened to our broadcast every day during his drive time to work. Recently, Tony was in the studio sharing with Dr. Dobson the impact that those days listening in the car had on him and his wife as they raised their children.
Last year my family was living in a community just around the corner from Focus on the Family. I remember one particular evening Jean needed to go shopping after dinner. I offered to hang out with the boys while she ran errands. I should point out it was already dark by the time Jean backed the minivan out of the driveway . . . right into our neighbor’s car across the street.
Jean wasn’t distracted or in a hurry.
There are five unsung heroes at Focus on the Family whom I’d like to extend a hardy “Well done!” These men are the backbone behind the Pastoral Care Hotline. Day after day, Roger Charman, John Barner, George Stahnke, Ralph Kelly, and Alex Person field phone calls from pastors who are in crisis. They don’t seek the limelight, just an opportunity to bear the burdens fellow pastors carry.
Here are three short examples of the kind of situations these men address.
How was your Thanksgiving? Let me tell you about Thanksgiving at the Daly’s household. In some ways it was quite miserable – as you’ll see in a moment. On the other hand, I came away with a fresh reminder of what’s really important. Here’s what happened. In preparation for Thanksgiving last week, Jean worked hard and long preparing a mountain of fixings to compliment the turkey. She cleaned the house and made sure everything was in order in anticipation of some fifteen guests.
This Thursday, with the aroma of baked bread and a freshly roasted turkey filling the air, our family will sit down to dinner for a meal shared by millions of other grateful Americans. I can’t wait! One of our traditions is to take turns sharing something that we’re thankful for before digging into the feast. I’m sure we’re not the only family who recites what God has done in the past twelve months. This year, however, I plan to take that tradition to the next level.
I was heading up the International Division at Focus on the Family when we were contacted by Mr. Wee Min Lee, a listener in Malaysia. That wasn’t particularly unusual since the Focus broadcast is heard around the world. This particular businessman, however, had a deep passion to strengthen families in his country and wanted to know what he could do to make our resources more readily available. He was alarmed over the deterioration of the family unit – especially between the practice of polygamous marriages, poor parenting skills, and an alarming increase in juvenile crime in his nation.
My mother died when I was nine. My dad died when I was twelve. With both parents gone, I became an orphan back in elementary school. Which is why I relate so closely to the deep longing orphans have for a family where they can belong; for a place to call home.
No wonder my heart goes out to the 143 million orphans worldwide who hunger for the chance to call someone “Mom” and “Dad” and to feel safe in their care.
When the Mamas & the Papas recorded California Dreamin’ in 1963, I’m sure they never envisioned a heart-stopping roller coaster ride inspired by their song. Sure enough, the engineers at Walt Disney Imagineering drew inspiration from that Sixties classic when they built California Screamin’ at Disneyland, the 5th longest roller coaster ride in the world.
Talk about built for speed, this baby launches guests into hyperspace from zero to 55 miles per hour in just four seconds.