Sunday, February 1, 2009
by Rick Reilly
Gainesville State players douse head coach Mark Williams in celebration.
They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.
It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.
Did you hear that? The other team's fans?
They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.
"I WOULDN'T EXPECT ANOTHER PARENT TO TELL SOMEBODY TO HIT THEIR KIDS. BUT THEY WANTED US TO!"
It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.
"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"
And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.
But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.
This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.
So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."
Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"
And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."
Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!
"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"
It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"
Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.
After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."
And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.
As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.
The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."
And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.
Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.
My mother's father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China! The Great Depression was at its height and Grandpa had six children. He had spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. It's not fair, he told God as he drove home in frustration. I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this. Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather's small church in Chicago. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting him.
But most of all, he said, I must thank you for the glasses you sent last. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top. The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued:Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that. The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way. There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking him! Perhaps we ought to try to thank Him more often.
May GOD bless your week. Look for the perfect mistakes. People are like tea bags - you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are.
By: ~Harry S. Truman~
Friday, January 30, 2009
Fatherhood comes first, then the game
Commentary By Mike Tomlin
When I am asked for my advice on how to succeed in life, I often answer: dream … dream big. And it will be a dream come true Sunday when I walk onto the field to coach the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. It is a dream made possible by the incredible effort of my players; the unwavering support of the owners, the Rooney family, and Steelers fans; and the steadfast love of my family — my wife, Kiya; my mother, Julia; and especially the man I call Dad.
Leslie Copeland came into my life as my stepfather when I was 6 years old. He was a postal worker; I had a passion for sports. He took the overnight shift so he could coach my baseball team. I worked hard so he'd be pleased with me. Over time, I began to see he was teaching me much more than how to throw a baseball or catch a pass. He was teaching me how to be a man. He was teaching me how to be a father.
I had big dreams when I was a child. But without my dad, those dreams might not have come true. He brought stability to my life. He made my world a safe place in which to think and to learn. And though not every boy may aspire to become a football coach, every father can aspire to become the dad of his child's dreams. But to make that a reality, fathers must choose daily to work toward that goal.
In my own home, that means I make my wife and our children — Dino, Mason and Harlyn Quinn — my No. 1 priority. I try to start my day by eating breakfast with my children. In those minutes, I learn what's going on in their lives, and have the opportunity to share the values my wife and I want to pass on to them.
I also try to make my life fit into theirs. When I can, I drive them to school, coach their sports teams and go over their homework. If they're proud of me for coaching the Steelers, that's great, but I want them to know that my primary purpose in life is to be their dad.
Dreams can take us far; they can take our children far. But our children need our help. They need dads who believe in those dreams as strongly as they do, men with the maturity and wisdom to guide them to the place where their dreams are within their grasp. Children need a father like my own, who day by day and year by year lifted me higher and higher, until the possibility of my dreams was well within my reach.
I would not be coaching the Steelers in the Super Bowl now if it weren't for the man who walked into my life when I was a young boy and became my dad. I've always dreamed of being a champion, but it was my dad who championed my dreams.
Mike Tomlin, the Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach, is also a spokesman for the fatherhood program All Pro Dad.
Monday, January 26, 2009
By AARON BEARD AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina State's Kay Yow, the Hall of Fame women's basketball coach who won more than 700 games while earning fans with her decades-long fight against breast cancer, died Saturday. She was 66.
Yow, first diagnosed with the disease in 1987, died in the morning at WakeMed Cary Hospital after being admitted last week, university spokeswoman Annabelle Myers said.
"Everyone who had the privilege of knowing Kay Yow has a heavy heart today," N.C. State athletic director Lee Fowler said in a statement. "She faced every opponent, whether on the basketball court of in a hospital room, with dignity and grace. She will be greatly missed."
The Wolfpack's game at Wake Forest on Monday was postponed to Feb. 10. Its next game will be Thursday at home against Boston College. Plans for a memorial service were incomplete.
Yow had a record of 737-344 in 38 years - 34 years with the Wolfpack - in a career filled with milestones. She coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1988, won four Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships, earned 20 NCAA tournament bids and reached the Final Four in 1998.
She also was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2002, while the school dedicated "Kay Yow Court" in Reynolds Coliseum in 2007.
But for many fans, Yow was best defined by her unwavering resolve while fighting cancer, from raising awareness and money for research to staying with her team through the debilitating effects of the disease and chemotherapy treatments.
She served on the board of the V Foundation for Cancer Research, which was founded by ESPN and her friend and colleague, former N.C. State men's coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993.
"Kay taught us all to live life with passion and to never give up," said fellow board member George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports. He said the network would remain committed to a research fund established in Yow's name.
"Kay was passionate about life and coaching. She was a giver and she gave so much to every life she touched," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said in a statement. "She made a difference in the lives of so many people, not just the life lessons she shared with her student-athletes at Elon or North Carolina State."
There were moments of silence to honor Yow before several basketball games Saturday, including before the N.C. State-Boston College men's game in Boston. Duke - one of N.C. State's closest ACC rivals - also honored Yow before the men's game against Maryland.
"God bless Kay," Blue Devils men's coach Mike Krzyzewski said to end his postgame news conference. "A fighter until the end."
In her final months, Yow was on hormonal therapy as the cancer spread to her liver and bone. But she never flinched or complained, relying on her faith as the disease progressed. She commonly noted there were other patients with "harder battles than I'm fighting" and said it was inspiring for her to stay with her team.
"We're all faced with a lot of tough issues that we're dealing with," she said in a 2006 interview. "We know we need to just come to the court and let that be our catharsis in a way. You can't bring it on the court with you, but we can all just think of basketball as an escape for a few hours."
Yow announced earlier this month that she would not return to the team this season after she missed four games because of what was described as an extremely low energy level.
The team visited Yow in the hospital before leaving Wednesday for a game at Miami. Associate head coach Stephanie Glance - who led the team in Yow's absences - met with the team Saturday morning to inform them Yow had died, Myers said.
Dr. Mark Graham, Yow's longtime oncologist, remembered how Yow always took time to talk to other patients when she came in for treatments in recent years.
"She could have tried to come into the clinic and be completely anonymous," he said. "She just wanted to be another patient. She was very open to sharing her experiences with others and being encouraging to others."
Yow's fight was never more public than when she took a 16-game leave to focus on her treatments during the 2006-07 season. After her return, her inspired Wolfpack won 12 of its final 15 games with wins against highly ranked rivals Duke and North Carolina in a run that attracted plenty of fans wearing pink - the color of breast-cancer awareness. Her players also wore pink shoelaces.
Yow always found ways to keep coaching even as she fought the disease. She spent most of games during that emotional 2007 run sitting on the bench while Glance stood to shout instructions at players or help a weakened Yow to her feet.
"She's the Iron Woman, with the Lord's help," Glance said.
Born March 14, 1942, Sandra Kay Yow originally took up coaching to secure a job teaching high school English at Allen Jay High School in High Point in the 1960s. Her boss, along with the boys' coach, agreed to help her plan practices and to sit on the bench with her during games. Midway through the season, Yow was on her own.
She spent four years there followed by another year in her hometown at Gibsonville High, compiling a 92-27 record. She moved on to Elon, going 57-19 in four seasons before being hired at N.C. State in 1975.
Her original cancer diagnosis came the year before coaching the United States to the gold in the Seoul Olympics. She had a mastectomy as part of her treatment, then discovered a lump in November 2004 close to where cancer was first discovered. She had surgery that December and started on a regimen of radiation and daily hormone therapy. Still, the cancer came back again and again.
She missed two games of the 2004-05 season while attending an eight-day nutritional modification program, which called on her to eat an organic-food diet free of meat, dairy products and sugar. She stayed on the diet for eight months, losing 40 pounds by keeping junk food and Southern favorites like biscuits and gravy off her menu.
Still, she cheated on her organic diet during home recruiting visits because she didn't want to offend anyone by passing on a home-cooked meal.
Over the years, Yow never lost her folksy, easygoing manner and refused to dwell on her health issues, though they colored everything she did almost as much as basketball. Ultimately, her philosophy on both were the same.
"If you start to dwell on the wrong things, it'll take you down fast," Yow said in '07. "Every morning, I wake up and the first thing I think of is I'm thankful. I'm thankful for another day."
N.C. State Athletics: http://www.gopack.com/
The V Foundation for Cancer Research: http://www.jimmyv.org/
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thank God for the Little Stuff
by bradstine on Mon 24 Nov 2008 01:16 PM CST Permanent Link Cosmos
f During this Thanksgiving Holiday I believe it is important to take a moment to thank God for the little things that often get ignored or neglected in our hectic lives. Lots of football will be watched over Thanksgiving for example, which reminds us to take time and say a little prayer thanking God for commercials. Why commercials you ask? Thus proving my point that we as Americans often neglect to realize the crucial theological principle that what Satan meant for evil God uses for our good. Commercials were first implemented in the 50”s I believe when T.V. was in its infancy and no one knew how important it would be to create moments in a program, mini intermissions if you will, that advertise some unnecessary junk in order to give we the viewers our cue to go to the bathroom, make a sandwich or put on our pajamas. Over time of course it became obvious that there wasn’t enough triviality we could do to occupy and numb our minds to the point of distraction in order to avoid the commercials and thus we actually found ourselves sitting through them. Thus we had to endure things like the makers of exercise products that preach having the body of your dreams comes not by exercise anymore but by buying an overpriced machine that is fun to use, requires no effort, and trims your waistline while reducing fat and you do nothing but strap it on and eat pizza which proves that the new axiom in retail is no longer “the customer is always right” but instead a more accurate 08 version is “the customer is always stupid”. We should be thankful for this serendipitous situation of course because with this insidious relentless hammering to our skulls of these insipid and creativity crushing vignettes singing the praises of toilet paper and feminine hygiene products (none of which ever needed to be advertised considering we all are well aware of their usefulness) that it finally became too much for some computer/ technology geek who found them so repulsive he actually spent a Sunday afternoon once not watching football but instead figuring out a way to record T.V. in real time, pause it when we needed to leave the area and when we returned have the omnipotent option of fast forwarding through the commercials to get right to the action and thus Tivo was born. All thanks to commercials and our disdain for them. It’s comforting to know that though the Lord finds Himself in the unenviable position often times of having to let our fallen status catch up to us in the form of pain and temptation, even God finds Himself feeling compelled to intervene in our affairs when it comes to certain forms of hell on earth like commercials. So I wish everyone a happy and grateful Thanksgiving. Be sure and use your Tivo to save yourself aggravation and maybe take a moment to bow your head and give a quick shout-out to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who if T.V. was around in his day I believe would have, like that fruitless fig tree, found the desire to curse and damn commercials a tough temptation to dodge and probably would have been one of Satan’s most devious temptations in the wilderness.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Should you take that big promotion even if it means more travel? Should you change careers?A dad named Tim recently asked us for advice on some big decisions related to his career and how it impacts his ability to be a father.
Well, Tim, here's a decision-making system I recommend, and it'll work even for your daily work/family decisions.
First, you can try the time-tested method of listing pros and cons related to the decision. What are the benefits of changing jobs?" "What are the liabilities of working late?" Put them all in a list. Get your wife's input as well.
Next, come to a clear understanding of your hopes, your dreams, your desires-not for your job-but for your family. Which comes first?
Then, I'd suggest going to another father-perhaps a mentor-who can offer his own practical insight.
Ultimately, tough decisions related to your family will mean committing yourself to your hopes and desires for your family. And, you should know, commitment always involves some sacrifice.
Now, committing more of yourself to your children may mean a pay cut or giving up opportunities in the business world. Still, that commitment always seems pretty smart to me. I talk to a ton of retirement-age men who'd give anything to go back and make different choices when it comes to spending time and energy at work as opposed to investing themselves in their families.
Committing to our jobs first is often easier to do. That's because the job description is more clear, we have more control, a paycheck makes us feel valued, and-let's face it-sometimes at home with our families, we feel like "excess baggage."
But I believe that's our culture's deception. Remember, our kids need us, even if they don't show it. Putting work first probably means we'll be giving up a lot of the satisfaction of being close to our children.Jobs will come and go, but we have limited opportunities to make memories with our children.
And Tim, remember, you're not alone. Many dads face the same tough decisions every day. I know you'll make the right choice.
By: Ken Canfield
Howard, who grew up without a father, is a 37-year-old father of five. He became a father in his teens and has struggled for years with the demands of raising five children, especially since he never had a male role model. Working two jobs, he was always too tired for his kids and made excuses instead of spending time with them. When Howard got into trouble for substance abuse, his rehabilitation program included a fathering class, where signs of a life change began to show.
His wife Rita said, "I've seen a lot of changes in Howard.... He's a different man." As Howard said, "It takes work. I'm trying to learn how to be more consistent with my kids. I just want to love them more."Randy also deserves a lot of credit. He had the courage to stand up in a group of men from his church and confess, "I'm struggling with my stepson, who I'm trying to love, but he just will not respond. It's brought tension to the whole family. I've done everything I can think of." He continued, "Will someone pray for me?" The men did, and Randy gained strength to keep trying.
A week later, he had a major breakthrough with his stepson.
These are growing fathers.James was approached by his young adult daughter about what she hadn't received from him growing up. She knew he cared for her, but she sensed that he was always too busy for her. She felt a gnawing lack of love and attention; something was still unresolved, she said.James' responded with, "You're right, honey, those things were missing. I'm sorry, and I want to make sure they're not missing now." That day was the start of a change in their relationship.These growing fathers took the initiative to restore and rebuild relationships with their children. Each of them has realized that fathering is an adventure in humility, where honesty and the support of others is as important as having the right answers. They are able to learn from mistakes and grow through the tough times.
GROWING FATHERS HAVE:
A Steadfast CommitmentHow do you assess your commitment to your children? Many times, it isn't so much what you're doing, but what you're not doing what you're willing to give up in order to gain in the eyes of your kids. Being a good father takes sacrifice.
Some of the best stories of fathering sacrifice come from extraordinary situations. Men have altered the course of their careers and their entire lives to take care of their special-needs children, children facing unusual physical or mental challenges. Those men should inspire us, but we should also recognize that all kids, to some extent, have special needs.You may have to make adjustments for the sake of your family, sacrificing job advancement, activities you enjoy, or even extra service in your community or church. As a committed dad, sometimes you have to sacrifice what is good for what is best.Maybe you stay up late to help your son with a speech that he's nervous about when you also have a presentation to give the next day. Or you give up your Saturday round of golf to go bicycle riding with your daughter.Committed dads recognize that difficult circumstances aren't an excuse to bow out on their responsibilities. Fathers father. Growing fathers find ways to be effective even in the face of adversity and discouragement.
It may seem like no one notices all you do, but the fruit of committed fathering a close bond with your children?is its own reward. And there are few satisfactions in life that can compare.A Long-Range PerspectiveGrowing dads know that their actions today have an impact on tomorrow. They see beyond the immediate temptations of recognition, power and achievement that the world offers and strive to succeed first with their families. Steven Covey's advice, "begin with the end in mind" has almost become a clich?, but it's an important concept for good fathers.
Fathering from a long-range perspective means that, when your son acts up at the dinner table, you don't simply assert your authority and threaten or punish him to get your way. That may be a quick-fix solution, meeting your immediate desire to restore order and quiet to your household, but you may ultimately be driving him toward bitterness.
If you are truly motivated to act in your child's best interest, you'll step back, consider the long-term effects on the relationship, and then act in a way that results in both you and your son winning. And you may still see fit to discipline the child; or you might decide that a good talk would better deal with the behavior problem and reinforce your relationship with him. However you handle it, the important thing is that your motivation is right, because you considered the long-range implications.Ten or twenty years from now, these daily battles aren't likely to be important to you, but your relationships with your children will matter, and realizing that can make a huge difference in how you father today.
Sources of Ongoing Encouragement and Equipping Your Children's Mother. The most valuable resource available to help you grow as a father is the mother of your children. Of all your "secret weapons," she's at the top of the list.You gain confidence when you have support from someone with the same goals and purpose. She provides another perspective on what your children need and reminds you of commitments you've made to them. You compare notes, get feedback on how you're doing, and gather the strength to love your kids through whatever struggles tomorrow may bring.
When men come together to learn about being better fathers, good things almost always happen. Besides the practical insights you may learn, it can be invigorating to see other men who share your desire to be there for your children?and some who share your struggles. You'll hear stories that move and inspire you; you'll meet people who change the way you look at fathering; you'll join a room full, church full, or stadium full of men who are committing to be the fathers that their children need.Other Resources. There are more quality resources available for today's fathers than our dads ever dreamed of: books, tapes, magazines, radio programs, feedback surveys, Internet sites, seminars, and ongoing training curricula. (Other pages of this issue of will point you to some of these resources.)
When moms get together for coffee or talk on the phone, one of them will say, "Guess how I finally got Abbie to stop sucking her thumb," or, "You should have seen what that kid of mine did last Friday." They naturally relate experiences and share about their joys and struggles. They are swapping tips and telling each other, "Be encouraged; you're not alone." As men, we need to do the same.
There are men on your block, in your church, and at work who are growing in their fathering, just like you, and you'd benefit from meeting regularly with them. Some of them have kids who are hard to handle. Some have kids who strayed from the path they intended. When you bring up a recent problem with your daughter, one dad says, "Boy, I know how tough that is." He tells you how he handled it and what he'd do differently if it came up again. These men could have a dramatic impact on your fathering, and you may have some insights to share with them.They should also have permission to confront you about some destructive habit in your fathering. It's uncomfortable, but you know they're only looking out for you. And, with their continued concern and encouragement, you'll find motivation to make changes for the better.
A Willingness to Adjust
Our kids need us to be consistent?predictable in our moods and habits. At the same time, we need to adjust our behavior to the ever-changing demands that come with life-long fathering.
We need to be aware of our children's development as they move through various stages. Ask any father of a teenager if he has adjusted the way he relates to his child. We need to alter our approach according to each child's unique personality and life dreams. One child is embarrassed easily in public; another thrives on that attention. Each child is unique, and we need to adapt our fathering accordingly.
There are other good reasons to make adjustments. Maybe your father was emotionally distant, and you're just now learning about the deep satisfaction of connecting to your children emotionally. As you grow in this or other ways, that should show up in your fathering.
We also want to change when we recognize our own unhealthy behavior patterns like an explosive anger, avoiding conflict, or some overbearing personality trait. We need to take whatever steps are necessary to improve in those areas, for our kids' sake.We need to be consistent and rock solid as fathers, while leaving room for creativity, spontaneity and change.Humility precedes hope. Even "good dads" struggle to meet the many challenges of fathering. Some of us have made many mistakes, and we're trying to win back our children's trust.
Others have spent years frustrated with work schedules that have kept us apart from our children. Some had success early, but lost touch as our compliant son or daughter turned into a distant teenager.But there is always hope for growing dads. We trust that things will get better, not worse, and that prevailing optimism affects the way we think, talk, and live our lives. It restores our larger purpose and provides a sense of confidence and enthusiasm. There are no guarantees that everything will turn out fine, but the best predictor of the future is the present. What we do today will make a difference tomorrow, the next day, and the next.Each one of us must face our past and our shortcomings, and then step up to be the everyday heroes our children need.
Read a book that addresses an area of personal development for you: communication, self-discipline, anger management, etc.
Develop long-range goals for your fathering. Write them down; verbalize them to someone; review them periodically.Talk with your spouse about each of your children's specific needs including what you'll need to discuss with each one in the next six months.
Commit yourself to a lifelong learning plan for your fathering.Buy breakfast or lunch for a dad or two with older kids. Ask them what they would do again, and what they'd do differently.Sit down with your family and write a mission statement where you define or reaffirm your important life values.Form or join a group of fathers who meet regularly to share encouragement, accountability, and fathering insight.
Tell your family, "I want to be a growing dad." Ask them for suggestions or ideas.?
By Dennis Prager
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Were the controversial comments made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright "prophetic"? That is the claim made by a large number of black and white clergy, by the head of the United Church of Christ and by many other defenders of Rev. Wright.
As summarized by the religion editor of the Kansas City Star (March 29, 2008):
"Scholars and black clergy say Wright … simply reflects a heritage of prophetic preaching in the black church. Prophetic preaching 'is the trademark of the black church tradition, of which Jeremiah Wright is perhaps one of the most illustrious exemplars,' said Walter Earl Fluker of Morehouse College in Atlanta.
"'Black prophetic preaching emerges from black slavery,' said the Rev. Angela Sims, instructor of Christian ethics and black church studies at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. 'Black prophetic preaching can be associated with Old Testament prophets, including Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah and Isaiah,' she said.
"'The African-American church has always had a prophetic role in black life in America,' said the Rev. Donald D. Ford I of Second Missionary Baptist Church of Grandview.
"'Wright fits in that tradition,' said Peter Paris, professor emeritus of Christian social ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey." The Chicago Tribune (March 28) reported that "Wright's preaching … is in the 'prophetic' tradition, one of many that have evolved in black pulpits. … 'Shocking words like 'God damn America' lie at the core of prophetic preaching,' said Rev. Bernard Richardson, dean of the chapel at Howard University."
In the Wisconsin State Journal, Bill Wineke, a columnist and ordained clergyman of the United Church of Christ (UCC) wrote:
"You see, you and I may look at the short clips of Wright sermons played almost endlessly on cable television and agree that they are filled with 'hate.' [Hillary] Clinton knows better. … She knows the tradition of prophetic preaching in the church. Every theologian I know who has actually attended Trinity United Church of Christ -- including Martin Marty, probably the most popular theologian in America today -- agrees Wright's sermons, taken in context, rest squarely in that tradition."
Wineke then goes on to relate how another UCC minister, from a generation ago, also spoke from the prophetic tradition:
"In Madison, the late Rev. Alfred W. Swan, minister of the First Congregational Church (now part of the UCC) from 1930 to 1965, was regularly denounced for his preaching. One Sunday in 1952, Swan mounted the pulpit to announce 'I am not a Communist, and I have no intention of being one.' That was after Swan had criticized the Korean War, urged the country to make peace with China and suggested that Russians were better off than they had been before the 1917 Revolution. Not surprisingly, Swan regularly faced calls for his dismissal."
The Rev. Anthony B. "Tony" Robinson wrote in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (March 28), "After 9/11, Wright charged that 'America's chickens are coming home to roost' … he said 'God damn America.' … Sounds like what the Bible calls a prophet."
The Dallas Morning News (March 29) reported, "More than two dozen well-known black preachers and scholars, in Dallas for a long-planned conference, offered unequivocal support Friday for one of their number who was not there. … Several of the scholars and preachers spoke at a news conference. They said that Dr. Wright's sermons fit into a long-standing black tradition of prophetic preaching."
Warren Bolton, associate editor of Columbia's (S.C.) The State (March 26), compared the Rev. Wright with Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Marshall Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago, wrote in the Austin Weekly News (March 26): "It is providential that this has come in the midst of Holy Week 2008, a season when we commemorate the crucifixion of Christ and the vindication of God for faithfulness to prophetic speech."
The Dallas Morning News (March 19) quoted the Rev. Tyrone Gordon, pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, as saying: "One thing I said to the church on this past Sunday is that a lot of us are taking it personally because it is an attack on the whole black prophetic experience."
Now, what are some of the comments that are so widely deemed "prophetic?"
"We've bombed Hiroshima, we've bombed Nagasaki, we've nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye."
"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant. Because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards."
"America's chickens are coming home to roost. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred and terrorism begets terrorism."
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America'? No, no, no, not 'God Bless America,' 'God Damn America.'"
"The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied."
As morally disturbing as the Rev. Wright's comments are, and as troubling as is the fact that the man favored to be the Democratic Party's candidate for president of the United States chose to stay in the reverend's church for 20 years, there is something even more disturbing in the widespread labeling of these comments as "prophetic."
It is one thing to have a broken moral compass as do the Rev. Wright and those many Americans of all colors who also see America as a force for evil; who also believe immoral American behavior caused the slaughter of 9/11; who similarly regard America as morally equivalent to its terrorist enemies; and who see Israel as the moral equivalent of those who seek to exterminate the Jewish state. But to distort the biblical prophets' values to mean the opposite of what they actually mean is arguably an even greater sin.
The essence of the real prophets was not that they said things that disturbed people; the moral essence of the prophets was their moral clarity. They knew the difference between good and evil. "Woe unto those who call good 'evil' and call evil 'good,'" said the Prophet Isaiah.
Those who cannot see the monumental moral gulf between America and the unspeakably evil jihadists America is fighting in Iraq and elsewhere are not prophets. Those who think Americans got what they deserved on 9/11 are not prophets. Those who think the Russian people were better off under Communism are not prophets. Those who think America developed AIDS and infected people of color with it are not prophets. Those who think America is more worthy of damnation than of blessing are not prophets. They are fools. Dennis Prager is a radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of 4 books including Happiness Is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual.
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Thursday, November 8, 2007
Thanks and Praise: I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.
A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from “Chosen” Company 2-12 Infantry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.
The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ” Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers. (Videotape to follow.)
Here is a link to the photo:
Monday, October 29, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
By Associated Press - May 15, 2007
One week on the PGA TOUR was enough to remind Todd Demsey where he wants to be -- not only because of the perks and the prize money, but also because of the players he once called his peers.
Demsey walked past Tiger Woods on his way to sign his scorecard after the third round of the Wachovia Championship. They were teammates at the 1994 World Amateur Team Championship in France, where the United States won by 11 shots.
"It was good to catch up with him," Woods said. "He was one of the best putters."
As he stood on the steps of the Quail Hollow clubhouse, Phil Mickelson saw the 34-year-old Demsey and came over to bump fists. They played one year together at Arizona State. Mickelson won the NCAA title as a senior, Demsey won it the next year as a sophomore.
"Very talented golfer," Mickelson said.
Also playing that week was Justin Leonard, one of Demsey's teammates at the 1993 Walker Cup, where the United States set a record for the largest margin of victory (19-5) against a Great Britain & Ireland team that included Padraig Harrington.
"He had the best-looking swing of anyone," Leonard said. "He had a pretty sweet motion."
They all went on to win majors and play in the Ryder Cup.
Demsey had brain surgery twice to remove a tumor the size of a golf ball.
"It puts things in perspective," Demsey said. "I used to live and die on every shot. It's still my job. It's what I love to do. It's not quite as important to me as it was before all this. But I feel real lucky to be able to play golf for a living, especially
after back problems and a brain tumor. I have nothing to complain about."
Back injuries slowed his momentum out of college. The real jolt came five years ago when he missed the cut in half his starts on the Nationwide Tour while coping with constant pressure in his left sinus. An MRI revealed a large tumor going into his brain, requiring two operations to remove it.
A month ago, he found out the tumor had returned. All indications are that it is benign.
"I'll have to go in for radiation at some point," Demsey said. "It's a slow-growing tumor. It just needs to be managed."
He continues a slow road back to the PGA TOUR, where everyone figured he would be all along.
Demsey tied for 23rd at the Henrico County Open in Virginia, then decided it was too far to drive to the next Nationwide Tour stop in Arkansas. Instead, he stopped off in Charlotte, N.C., to try to qualify for the Wachovia Championship, and earned a spot in a playoff.
It was his first time on the PGA TOUR in 10 years.
His previous start came at the Las Vegas Invitational in 1997, his final event of his only year in the big leagues. Demsey was four shots off the lead until shooting 81 in the third round to miss the cut by one shot in the 90-hole event.
"I took this for granted," he said. "I didn't think it was that big of a deal. But after playing the Nationwide Tour, and being away from this, it was a reminder that this is where you want to be."
Through it all, Demsey never complained about why his career took such a hairpin turn. The back injuries were one thing. Demsey won't forget the voice mail his doctor left on his cell phone after the '02 season.
"He said there was a very large tumor behind my left sinus going to my brain," Demsey said. "That was tough to hear."
He got married 24 days before the first surgery in January 2003, and doctors had to go back in at the end of the year to remove the remaining 20 percent of the tumor. He still feels numbness in his face, although he doesn't think it affects his game. Next up is Cyberknife treatment, a powerful radiation that attacks tumors without having to cut open his skull for a third time.
Demsey doesn't look different from other golfers, at 6-foot-2 with a fluid swing. The only difference is when the temperatures dip below 65 degrees, and he pulls a ski cap over his head. It leads to some peculiar stares.
"I've got some titanium in my head, so my head still gets cold," he said. "People give me a hard time."
He doesn't take time to tell them his story, that he was one of those can't-miss kids who never anticipated brain surgery, and who refuses to give up his dream even as his peers are enjoying success he figured would belong to him.
He doesn't waste time wondering how his career might have turned out, if not for the brain tumor.
"I just have faith it's going to work out," he said. "I guess there's a chance it can still cause problems, but I feel like I'm in good hands."
Demsey now is back on the Nationwide Tour, playing this week in the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C. He probably won't try another Monday qualifying on the PGA TOUR, preferring instead to concentrate on getting his card. He is 34th on the Nationwide money list, and the top 25 are exempt to the big leagues next year.
He used to see Mickelson quite a bit when they belonged to the same golf club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Mickelson has moved back to San Diego, but he still tries to keep in touch.
"He's a great player," Mickelson said. "His day will come."
Monday, April 23, 2007
Please take the time to read this. It is a problem in our society and it is not the fault of anyone else but us. Please pass this information to others who might be able to proactively affect this problem in their families.
A WEIGHTY ISSUE
A growing number of children, especially girls, fret about their body image. A poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that 17% of girls ages 8 and 9, and about a third of girls ages 10 to 12 perceived themselves as overweight. That compares with 16% and a fifth of boys, respectively, in the same age groups.
What are the causes? Some researchers and parents blame images in magazines and on TV, and even textbook drawings of girls that have become skinnier through the years. New research in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that adolescents who diet a lot are influenced most by two factors: media images and what their fathers think. Among those classified as "constant dieters," the number one factor was their father's concern about their thinness.
To Think About ...
Bruce has always made weight an issue with his three daughters. Though each of them has always had a healthy body ratio, from the time they were young Bruce would often caution them at mealtimes about their weight and talk about thinness as the ideal. He'd say that overweight women are ugly.
The girls responded differently to their dad's approach. The oldest was able to take it in stride and adjust in a healthy way. The other two became compulsive and anorexic. When the second daughter began seeing a young man regularly, Bruce warned her, "He wouldn't like you if you were even an ounce overweight." Since the young man gave her the attention and acceptance she longed for, she grew closer to him and eventually moved in with him--much to the disappointment of her father.
Since then, this daughter has continued to demonstrate desperate cries for acceptance--bouts with depression and even thoughts of suicide. But for now, her father has failed to make the connection between his obsession with thinness and his daughter's cry for help.
Dad, what role does your child's appearance or body image play in your perception of her and your consistency in showing her affection and appreciation?
ACTION POINTS for Committed Fathers
- Have you ever criticized your wife or children about their weight? Discuss with another dad how this impacted them. Then, apologize to your wife or children, tell them you were wrong, and don't do it again.
- Point out two unique and beautiful physical features about each of your family members. Make it clear that, even without those features, you'd still love them just as much.
- This weekend, ride bikes, jog, swim and/or take a hike as a family.
Ken Canfield ©2001 National Center for Fathering
10 Things Parents Can Do to Help Prevent Eating Disorders
1. Consider your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors toward your own body:
Accept the genetic basis for the natural diversity of human body shapes and sizes, and
Make an effort to maintain positive, healthy attitudes & behaviors. Children learn from the things you say and do!
2. Examine closely your dreams and goals for your children and other loved ones. Are you over-emphasizing beauty and body shape, particularly for girls?
Avoid conveying an attitude which says in effect, "I will like you more if you lose weight, don't eat so much, look more like the slender models in ads, fit into smaller clothes, etc."
3. Learn about and discuss with your sons and daughters:
The dangers of trying to alter one's body shape through dieting;
The value of moderate exercising toward stamina and cardiovascular fitness; and
The importance of eating a variety of foods in well-balanced meals consumed at least three times a day.
Avoid dichotomizing foods into "good/safe/no-fat or low-fat vs. bad/dangerous/fattening".
Be a good role model in regard to sensible eating, sensible exercise, and self-acceptance.
4. Make a commitment to exercise for the joy of feeling your body move and function effectively, not to purge fat from your body or compensate for calories eaten.
5. Make a commitment not to avoid activities (such as swimming, sunbathing, dancing) simply because they call attention to your weight and shape.
6. Practice taking people in general and women in particular seriously for what they say, feel, and do, not for how slender or "well put together" they appear.
7. Make a commitment to help children (both male and female) appreciate and resist the ways in which television, magazines, and other media distort the true diversity of human body types and imply that a slender body means power, excitement, and sexuality.
8. Make a commitment to educating boys about the various forms of weightism, and their responsibilities for preventing it.
9. Encourage your children to be active and to enjoy what their bodies can do and feel like. Do not limit their caloric intake unless a physician requests that you do this because of a medical problem.
10. Do whatever you can to promote self-respect of your daughters, nieces, and sisters in spiritual, intellectual, athletic, and social endeavors. Give boys and girls the same opportunities and encouragement.
© Linda Smolak, Ph.D. and Michael Levine, Ph.D. All rights reserved. This article was reprinted with permission. Please do not publish this article without direct consent from the author. Family First is not authorized to permit the reproduction of articles contributed to FamilyFirst.net by non-staff authors.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
By Frank Pastore
Sunday, January 28, 2007
With poll after poll revealing only half of those who self-identify as Christians voting, you’ve got to wonder why. Of all people, shouldn’t Christians know how precious and fragile this experiment in self-government is. Why is it that so many of them think “Christian Patriot” is an oxymoron?
Perhaps they know not because they’ve been taught not.
The hat worn by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln when he was assassinated at Ford's Theater in 1865, is displayed by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, November 16, 2006. Over 150 well known objects from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History have been temporarily moved to the National Air and Space Museum while the American Museum history undergoes major renovations until 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)
My own “political testimony” is a classic example…
A mutual friend had thought it a good idea to get me together with Dr. Larry Arnn, then the president of the Claremont Institute (today he’s the President of Hillsdale College). The idea was to brainstorm about doing some joint speaking events. I, the popular Christian apologist from Talbot School of Theology, would do the Christian thing. Dr. Arnn would do the conservative-political thing. The idea was to do some cross pollination: to get Christians to care about conservative politics, and to get conservatives to care about Christian theology. This was our first get-together–just the three of us over coffee.
I started the conversation after the initial round of polite greetings.
“Larry, I’m an evangelical Christian, and I really think we just need to help people–conservatives especially–understand that this was a Christian nation. The only real way to turn America around is to get the Church serious about walking with the Lord again. We’ve simply moved too far away from our Christian roots, that’s the whole problem.,” I said.
“Frank, I’m a Christian too. But, if–as you believe–all the answers are in the New Testament teachings of Jesus, then why do you think it took eighteen centuries for there to be an America? Why would Christians want to create a new government when both the Lord and Romans teach that we are to obey whomever is in power, even tyrants? Furthermore, how would Christians know how to do such a thing? After all, Jesus never raised an army, levied a tax, guided a policy debate in a legislature, or administered a government,” he said with quiet confidence.
I was stunned. I honestly had never considered any of these questions.
“I’ve got no clue,” I confessed.
For the next two hours, Dr. Arnn laid out the broad contours of an answer. I had never heard anything like it. It was the story of political philosophy, the story of Christianity, the story of Western Civilization, and the story of the American founding all rolled into one. He ranged with ease from Plato’s Republic to the Federalist Papers, with stops along the way at Jesus, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Jefferson and others–all off the top of his head–often quoting from memory.
Why have I never heard any of this? And if I haven’t heard it–and I’m a professor at a Christian college–I guarantee a whole lot of Christians haven’t either.
You see, it isn’t that Americans have lost their Christian roots, it’s that Christians have lost their American roots. They don’t know that the American story, and the larger story of Western Civilization, is their story. No wonder they don’t vote. They don’t understand America was and is the greatest expression of Christian values in all of history.
They don’t understand politics is theology applied–it’s how we live out our faith.
Adequate answers to Dr. Arnn’s excellent questions range far beyond the scope of this limited column. But, for now, here’s a few humble suggestions to think about.
It took so long for there to be an America because so many things had to get worked out. In the ancient world, all laws came from the local gods, and the ruler was therefore both king and priest. As Rome expanded, they would attempt to accommodate all of these local religions into their Pantheon. Rome paved the way for the later acceptance of monotheism. A universal empire made it easier for a universal religion.
Yet, who should rule? The one, the few, or the many? It took many centuries for democracy to displace monarchy, aristocracy, and the divine right of kings. A king may be God’s man on earth, but what to do about succession?
Only equals can trust one another with the responsibilities, duties, and privileges of democracy. Equality is the precondition for democracy. For why would you allow someone not your equal to have a vote as valuable as yours? But who are one’s equals? If no man is born with a saddle on his back, can there be such a thing as a natural slave? If all men have equal standing before God, then why does one own the labor of another? There would be a Civil War over this.
Jesus’ radical “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s ” (Mt. 22:21) simply remade the world. It is the source of both the separation of church and state, private property, and the idea of limited government. No man should be both Caesar and High Priest, nor should the state have authority over the soul, the conscience, or the fruits of one’s labor.
So much for trying to do Western Civ. in a few paragraphs.
Let me just suggest that each element of this four-part calculus plays a critical role: Old Testament, New Testament, Declaration of Independence, and Constitution. Omit one, and the whole thing breaks down. Fail to understand each precedent, and the consequent hangs in mid air. You’ve got to know where you’ve been to know where you are.
Perhaps I can ask you a question.
Think of what it is conservatives are trying to conserve, what liberals are attempting to liberate from, and what progressives are striving to progress toward. Think of the utopias of each. Would you want to live in that society? If not, why not? What are you doing today to make sure that doesn’t happen? That’s politics. Someone’s vision of the future is being implemented today in the here and now. Whose will it be? That’s why you vote.
American Christians have overcome more evil, promoted more good, and advanced more justice than any people in history. Every American ought to be indebted to the Judeo-Christian value system that is the foundation of our American superstructure. Every Christian, regardless of where they’re from, should admire this wondrous thing called America that has been the best political expression of our Lord’s teachings.
Jesus may never have raised an army, levied a tax, guided a policy debate in a legislature, or administered a government. But He has raised us up to do these things in His name. May we be faithful to His high calling.
The Frank Pastore Show is heard in Los Angeles weekday afternoons on 99.5 KKLA and on the web at kkla.com, and is the winner of the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year. Frank is a former major league pitcher with graduate degrees in both philosophy of religion and political philosophy.
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By Frank Pastore
Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Frank Pastore Show is heard in Los Angeles weekday afternoons on 99.5 KKLA and on the web at kkla.com, and is the winner of the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year. Frank is a former major league pitcher with graduate degrees in both philosophy of religion and political philosophy.
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Saturday, April 14, 2007
We are about half way to day 100. I feel like it has taken forever to get to this point but we are grateful Dale continues to do well. We went to clinic at UCLA twice this week. The wbc and ANC have been stable. The ANC is around 4,000. The Hgb is still 9.6 . The plts are now 97,000. Dale has not needed another transfusion since his discharge from the hospital. Because the platelets have been over 50,000 for more than a week, Dale can now use a toothbrush to brush his teeth instead of the sponge toothettes and he can ride his bike as long as he wears a helmet. The liver enzymes have been about the same. The last AST - 60 ALT - 173 and total bili - 0.7. Since they added the Cellcept (another immunosupressant) the doctors have been slowly tapering his steroids (prednisone). His face and body are puffy from the prednisone so it will be good to get him off of it. The progress is slow but steady. Derek is now home all day because of spring break and follows Dale around the house. We are all happy to be on spring break. Have a great Easter Sunday. Thank you for your prayers. Grace and peace to you all....
This is a page with video sermons by Pastor Louie Giglio. He is one of the most insightful and inspirational ministers that I have ever heard.
Take a look at these videos and let me know your thoughts. I pray that it will ignite and turn up the Lord’s flame in you and inspire you all to be used by the Lord to spread His grace and mercy through your daily works… each and every day.
I especially was moved by the "Indescribable" sermon and the one called "Grace Works".
Have a blessed weekend.
Your brother in Christ,
Thursday, April 12, 2007
We praise you Lord when we win and we praise you when you test us and sometimes fail. We hand everything over to You Lord and ask that you quite our pride and use us to spread you love, mercy and grace. In your son's most glorious name Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.
His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him.
He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.
Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed:
"Lord- You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don't know how.
It is not fair Lord. I didn't deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn't have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don't know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray that you teach me to do this one thing I cannot do - Teach me To Forgive."
As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt.
He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them
He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man's tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.
"Have you ever told a lie?" He asked?
The man answered - "yes, Lord."
"Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?"
The man answered - " yes. Lord." And the man sobbed more and more.
"Have you ever taken something from work that wasn't yours?" Jesus asked?
And the man answered - "yes, Lord."
"Have you ever sworn, using my Father's name in vain? "
The man, crying now, answered - "yes, Lord."
As Jesus asked many more times, "Have you ever"? The man's crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer - "yes, Lord."
Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.
Jesus said, "I didn't deserve this either, but I forgive you."
It may be hard to see how you're going to get through something, but when you look back in life, you realize how true this statement is..
Read the following first line slowly and let it sink in.
If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it.
Lord I love You and I need You, come into my heart, today. For without You I can do nothing.
When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!