If you’re familiar with my personal story, you know I’ve had my share of tough times. Especially at Christmas. As mentioned in my book Finding Home, the first Christmas after my mom died, I was nine-years-old and living with a foster family. While thankful that I had a place to live, my siblings and I didn’t receive any Christmas presents. None. About all we could do is watch in silence while the children with whom we lived ripped open gift after gift.
I have a friend whose Thanksgiving tradition looks like this. The entire extended family, at least those who live in the area, gather together at the home of one of the relatives. I’m talking upwards of 40 people. The older cousins and uncles rally in the backyard for the annual Turkey Bowl–a rousing game of football, while two turkeys are carved with care inside.
Cakes, pies, and enough pastries to satisfy a king are artfully arranged in the dining room.
Author, speaker, and parenting coach, Tedd Tripp, is perhaps best known for his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. In chapter eight of his latest book, Instructing a Child’s Heart, I love the emphasis that Tedd places on helping our children to be dazzled by God. He believes all of us have been uniquely created for worship, and worship of God occurs almost as a reflex whenever we’re dazzled by His glory.
Personally, I’m dazzled whenever I witness an awesome sunset, one of God’s colorful creatures, or when I’m standing in the presence of a massive waterfall.
I’d like to offer some perspective on the election of Barack Obama. While I happen to have a deep difference of opinion with him regarding the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious freedoms among other things, I’d like to take a stab at explaining why the election of America’s first black president is important for our nation.
The roots of what I’m about to say can be traced back to my first visit to South Africa back in 1991.
Last week I was speaking to a group of Focus on the Family friends in Michigan. At the end of most events I have the time to linger with the guests. I enjoy getting to meet and spend one-on-one time listening to their stories.
Among those in attendance was a women named Glenda who came over to shake my hand. Glenda told me how her husband, Fred, had read my autobiography Finding Home almost exactly one year ago to the day.
Last week best selling author Anne Rice was a guest on the Focus on the Family broadcast. For two days she and Dr. James Dobson had a conversation about her spiritual journey from “an unhappy atheist,” as Anne described herself, to a follower of Christ in 1998. If you missed these programs,you’ll want to carve out some time to hear Anne speak about the awesome way that God changed her heart.
I should point out that not everyone who heard these programs was pleased that Anne was on the Focus broadcast.
Earlier this year I mentioned a powerful little booklet by Charles Hummel entitled, The Tyranny of the Urgent. Hummel artfully describes the tension between two contestants which vie for our time: the urgent things and the important things. He argues that the urgent things–such as the demands at the office, “the winds of other people’s demands,” or even our own “inner compulsions”–typically trump the things which are important, like regular dates with our spouse, personal solitude, exercise, or devotions.
Yesterday, I began to share with you the dramatic story of baby Ethan, the son of our niece Cassandra. From the moment Ethan was born, his life hung in the balance. As promised, here’s the rest of what happened.
Fifteen minutes outside of Vero, Florida, Cassandra and Shawn received much needed good news: Ethan survived the trip to Miami’s Children’s Hospital and was in the operating room. A fresh wave of tears hit them as they reflected on the goodness of God.
Last week I was in Washington, D.C. to participate in the Value Voters Summit hosted by the Family Research Council at the Washington Hilton. Whenever I’m in the nation’s capital, I cannot help but stand in awe over the rich history that drips from just about every place I turn. The Lincoln Memorial. The United States Capitol. The White House. The Washington Monument. And the National Museum of American History among other landmarks.
I’m also impressed with the thought that for more than 200 years, presidents and members of Congress have come and served in this city–for better or for worse.
I’ve been working at Focus on the Family for some twenty years. I never cease to be amazed at how God has brought together some of the brightest and most talented people around under one roof. Whether they’re working in the correspondence department answering tough questions about family issues or are part of the warehouse team fulfilling request for resources with excellence, there’s a prevailing ministry-oriented heart reflected throughout.
It’s also been fun to follow the lives of “Focus Alumni” who, once their time with Focus ended, went on to develop exciting ministry opportunities of their own.