About a year ago the Lord impressed upon my heart the need to pray more often with my boys. That’s when I got the idea to start a family tradition called The Prayer Road. When Jean or I drive the boys to their charter school in the morning, we follow a road that cuts through a somewhat rural neighborhood. That’s our “prayer road.” As we drive, we intentionally don’t turn on Adventures in Odyssey, the radio, or listen to music.
The latest Focus on the Family ad featuring our “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life” message was banned last week by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Here’s what happened. In short, our agreement with CBS Sports to run the Tim and Pam Tebow ad in the Super Bowl included the placement of banner ads on various Web sites which the network maintains. One of those outlets was a Web site for the NCAA basketball tournament.
I should point out the banner ad had nothing to do with the topic of abortion or sexuality or any other “hot button” issue.
Over the last several weeks I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my new book entitled, Stronger, which is scheduled to be released this fall. I realize the title might be a bit misleading. After all, it’s not a workout manual, a primer on pumping iron, or getting fabulous abs of steel. While I do have a treadmill in the basement and believe in physical fitness, the idea here has to do with building strength of character.
It’s true, isn’t it, that our best laid plans often go astray? Just looking back over this past week, I’m struck by how events have unfolded. Life is full of surprises! To be sure, we anticipated there would be interest in our first-ever Super Bowl commercial featuring Pam and Tim Tebow. If not, we wouldn’t have done it. But never in our wildest dreams did we think it would become the most “buzzed”-about spot leading up to the big game.
On January 1, 404 AD, thousands of spectators crowed into the Roman Coliseum itching to see a good fight—a fight to the death, that is. While the bloodthirsty fans took their seats in the stadium, dozens of Roman gladiators steeled themselves for the afternoon battle.
This was a kill or be killed contest.
Wearing colorful body armor, the gladiators marched around the perimeter of the battlefield. They raised their weapons of choice—a war chain, a three-pronged trident spear, a dagger, a net or lasso—to the cheers of the throng.
I just read a letter from the Focus mailbag that convicted me of sometimes being shortsighted. It was written in response to a recent Focus broadcast by a woman I’ll call Maria.
About thirty years ago, Maria and her husband relocated to California with their one-year-old child. Not long after the boxes were unpacked, Maria decided to get plugged into her new community by volunteering with a number of Christian ministries. She was enjoying her new life and friends when a rather unexpected turn-of-events occurred: Maria discovered she was pregnant .
If you toss a pebble into the still, glass-like water of a pond, what do you get? Ripples scurrying across the surface of the water constantly moving in an outward, circular fashion from the point of impact. These gentle ridges of water form an ever expanding ring of motion as each wavelet multiplies the reach of the initial splash.
Since we’re in the middle of the Sanctity of Human Life week, let me apply that pebble-in-the-pond phenomenon to our pro-life work here at Focus on the Family.
When I, as a parent, hear about a disaster on the scale of what’s happening in Haiti, I immediately think about the kids affected by the largest earthquake recorded in Haiti. My heart goes out to the three-year-old who suddenly doesn’t have a mom or a dad. For reasons he cannot comprehend, one minute his parents were caring for him, the next minute they’re just gone. Now what?
Or the ten-year-old who, having lost her parents, finds herself becoming the parent to her younger siblings out-of-necessity.
If you were to sit where I sit and see what I see on the horizon, I’m sure you’d agree that God is very much at work at Focus on the Family. Of course, for practical reasons, sharing my chair isn’t an option. So let me run down a number of the reasons why I’m energized by the journey ahead of us.
The first one is a biggie.
God moved in the hearts of several incredibly generous donors to introduce our mission—namely, Helping Families Thrive—to an audience of tens of millions of families.
Assigning adjectives to the devastation brought on by the Haitian earthquake threatens to bankrupt the English language. Currently, reports are circulating that thousands are dead. Morgues are full and bodies are piled high along the debris-strewn streets. Scores more are likely still trapped, and hundreds of thousands of the country’s island residents are without the basic necessities of life.
The needs are breathtaking and nearly endless in scope and size. But along with our prayers, we might offer a very tangible contribution to the relief efforts by making a monetary contribution to one of the many excellent organizations on the ground in Haiti.