This last weekend Cheryl and I were privileged to be a part of the 86,000 to attend the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Houston, Texas.  What a great group of people.  Their patriotism was ablaze as the crowded into the Houston convention center.  When America’s freedoms were so much as mentioned applause exploded from these people who love their country and are committed body, soul and spirit to protect those freedoms.

I was blessed to be on the program and bring the keynote message at the NRA prayer breakfast on Sunday morning.  It turned out to be the largest ever for the NRA with over 900 in attendance.  I  was honored to share the program that morning with my friend Dr. Rick Rigsby, artist Brian Keith Daniel, and Buck Knife President Chuck Buck.  It will be one of the great memories of my journey.  I had the opportunity to call men and women to accept Christ and signed card revealed that 123 surrendered to Christ’s as Savior and Lord, and 97 clearly indicated that they were making a significant decision to raise the bar in their relationship and walk with Jesus Christ.  Every part of the breakfast played an integral role in that result and we were all honored to work with each other.

Additional program personalities included Glenn Beck, Ollie North, Ted Nugent, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, former Senator and presidential primary candidate Rick Santorum, among so many others.

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1871 that promotes firearm ownership, as well as police training, firearm safety, marksmanship, hunting and self-defense training in the United States.  Their defense of America’s Second Amendment is legendary.  NRA membership has surpassed 5 million this year.

For a guy who loves to hunt and speak at Wild Game Dinners it was the thrill of a lifetime to be with so many who love the outdoors, love to shoot for sport,  hunt and believe the freedom to own arms is constitutional and essential in a free nation.  Wish you could have been there if you weren’t!  Maybe next year, in Indianapolis.

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It’s only hours away now.  The National Rifle Association annual convention is about to launch in Houston, Texas!  And it could be the biggest ever!!

Last year St. Louis welcomed over 70,000 to the city with the arch.  And this year looks likely to see over 80,000 converging on Houston…a natural setting for the largest defender of our Second Amendment rights.  There will be acres of displays of guns, accessories and outfitters ready to take any interested parties on hunts of a lifetime.

And the program will include personalities like Sen. Ted Cruz, Glen Beck, the Eli Young Band, Gov. Rick Perry, the Honorable Rick Santorum, and Gov. Bobby Jindal just to name a few. 

So, you can imagine how honored I am to have the privilege of bringing the key note message to the annual Prayer Breakfast to be held on Sunday morning May 5.  On the program with me will be Chuck Buck of Buck Knives and Dr. Rick Rigsby.

I look forward to seeing you there!  And if by chance you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time.  You won’t want to miss what may be the largest NRA gathering ever.  In that case, go to and click on the information about the convention May 3-5 to be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  Find the Special Events list, click on Prayer Breakfast, and get ready for a great morning of focusing on what is really important!

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Facing Life’s Storms

One of my favorite cities in the world is San Diego, California.  So, when I
was invited to speak there at the prayer breakfast for the U.S. national
association of Golf Course Superintendents (top PGA courses in America) I
didn’t have to take much time to pray about it.  My great friend Ken Mangum,
who is superintendent for the renowned Atlanta Athletic Club, was going to
be honored with the highest award for servant leadership in the industry.
Tommy Witt, superintendent of the  famous Northmoor Country Club in the
Chicago area, was also a key part of the leadership for the event.

As we planned what would be appropriate for the message we began to talk
about handling storms.  Superintendents have to deal with them all the time
in trying to keep their courses in tip top shape.  But they also have to
deal with them in dealing with members, challenges, unmet expectations,
employee problems and disappointments.  So that took me to Matthew 14 and
Jesus coming to the disciples as their fought the storm in the boat on the
Sea of Galilee.  And God showed up in San Diego.

Men and women were weeping as God spoke to their hearts. Some were dealing
with storms in the work, some in the family, some in their relationships and
some physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  We talked about why God
allows storms in our life, what He promises when we are in the midst of
them, and how He teaches us to handle them.

I left there so thankful that God has placed some of His great people On
Mission is some of the greatest golf courses of America…Followers of
Christ brilliantly disguised as golf course superintendents!!  What a
God…what a life…what a ride!!!

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Any marriage counselor will say that communication is key to a healthy relationship.  That’s true in a marriage, a business or a partnership. It’s also important between the houses of Congress and the White House and the Hill.
We’ve watched in the last months a prime display of how NOT to communicate as we’ve watched the President basically be absent on the job when it came to communicating with both parties leaders, as well as between leaders of the respective parties.
In any company where the scale of challenges are being faced that are presently being faced by Washington, you would not see people head of for Christmas vacation or put off the hard decisions just because they may not be popular.  That’s because they have to operate on their own money as a company, not someone else’s.
It amazes me, working in Washington a lot the last few years, how it seems Washington is not hearing what America is saying.  There seems to be on the part of many in Washington a deaf ear to issues such as balancing the budget, sound fiscal policy, the fact that government doesn’t create private sector jobs but the private sector does.
And one of the worst breakdowns in communication in Washington the failure to talk and work through spending more than you take in.  When a family does that on a continual basis it is only a matter of time until there is a breakdown in relationships, tensions so thick they could be cut with a knife, inability to meet obligations, and ultimately potential bankruptcy.  If it’s true in a home, it’s true in a business, and it’s true in a government.  And like in a home to solve the issue leaders of the family have to actually talk with each other, not at each other.
And until that is learned in Washington, I fear we will find ourselves as a nation repeatedly where we find ourselves now…in a mess!  Based on a study of the new deal set forth by the Senate, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has found it will increase the debt over ten years  by $4 trillion! Clearly what we have is a spending problem, not a revenue problem…especially considering this past year brought in the third highest revenue level in the nation’s history.  The reality is so simple…the execution, evidently, so difficult.
And speaking of communication, what is being communicated to our nation when so many are out of work, our debt is over $16 trillion, we are teetering on the precipice of the fiscal cliff, and President Obama just signed an Executive Order giving federal workers including Vice-President Joe Biden, members or Congress and the Supreme Court a raise?  Am I missing something here?!  Or is the communication, or lack of it, screaming OUT OF TOUCH?!?!?!
It would be good for all sides to remember Proverbs 22:7, ”The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower (in this case the U.S. in order to meet its debt obligations) is servant to the lender.”  That is a warning we need to heed.

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It often is true that the dysfunction of a family rises to the surface during holiday seasons.  Sadly we are seeing that in our government as well.

While the Fiscal Cliff looms, our president jaunts off to Hawaii for vacation rather than stay in Washington and do what a President should…lead.  But personally I believe that is being done because he wants the cliff, thinking there will be political advantage at its bottom.  And he believes he can paint the opposition as the entire problem.

On the other side, the House appears to have broken down in holding to long standing conservative principles, while trying to push through a Plan B…which both the President and Senate Majority Leader had said would be D.O.A.

So now what?  If things don’t get worked out soon, and the dysfunction wins out, here are some of the tragic outcomes…

  • The Bush-era lowered tax rates will cease for all levels of income
  • Capital gains tax rate will move from 15% go be taxed as regular income (a hit to job creators)
  • The short-term Social Security payroll tax cut will expire and move from 4.2% to 6.2%
  • The Congressional Budget Office predicts the country may lose as many as 3.4 million jobs
  • 73 weeks of Federal and State jobless benefits would fall to 26 weeks and will most likely affect 2 million unemployed
  • Medicare rates paid to doctors will fall by almost 30%, making more doctors determine, “It is not worth it!”
  • Sequestration would lower military spending significantly and according to many would reduce America’s preparedness for our National Security and global presence to less than it has been in decades.

And these items don’t cover the entire negative impact on our nation.  Add to that the government debt ceiling will be reached most probably December 31 and another crisis arises.  The ceiling has been raised 102 times since its establishment in 1917.  While the nation’s credit rating could be at stake once again, now the President is asking for unrestrained and unaccountable ability to raise the ceiling at his will for up to two years!

And according to news reports there has not been much communication between the White House and the Hill leadership over the last 10 days.

What a mess!  Where did the statesmen go who would pay the price, staying at the task, until what was best for the people was reached?  Why is it that the greatest question on the mind of many today is, ‘What will get me re-elected?’ rather than, ‘What will keep us as a great nation?”
Dysfunction can have a fearful cost.

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Eleven days before Christmas, the nation was looking forward to a holiday season celebrated with family and friends, having survived a contentious presidential race that seemed to last an eternity.  And even with the threat of a Fiscal Cliff being handled by a dysfunctional Congress and seemingly unresponsive Administration, perhaps a glimmer of hope was just around the corner.  Friday morning arose like so many other pre-Christmas mornings—brisk, sunny, a chill in the air, and decorations being finished for the big day.  Suddenly, gun shots rang out in an idyllic town called Newtown, Connecticut, and moments later 20 children and six adults were ruthlessly slain by gunman, Adam Lanza, who had started the day by killing his own mother, Nancy.
And then the troubled destroyer turned the gun on himself.
How could this possibly happen to such innocent people?  And in a school?  And worst of all…to children?!?!  And, somehow it seems more poignant  for this to happen as we approach Christmas.  Instead of a time of anticipating the smiles of these 20 children and  6 adults exchanging gifts in joyous celebrations, the time will be filled with funerals,  eulogies and mourning.
It is a question for all time, and it has been happening through the ages.  At the birth of Christ, as a helpless infant wrapped in blankets normally used to wipe down livestock in a barn-like shelter, we know that shepherds were sent by the Most High God to celebrate his arrival. A choir of angels sang his praise.
It was not until later, when the child was likely walking, that Wise Men from Persia came guided by a star seeking the Messiah.  It was on the way to their ultimate destination that they made a fatal stop.  They asked Herod where the child was born.  Not knowing, he sent for his scholars and religious leaders and discovered that the child had been prophesied to be born in Bethlehem.  Sending them on their way, in seeming normalcy, Herod bid them good luck and told them to report to him when they found the child.
And find him they did, honoring him as a King with gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  However, God warned them not to return to Herod but to make their way back home.  When the tortured and demented Herod heard this, he flew into a rage and commanded that all children under the age of two be destroyed (thus we know Jesus was probably that age or just under).
How could it be?  How could anyone be so cold hearted and ruthless?  How does the world produce such a monster?
They didn’t know then, and we don’t know today.  But as the Governor of Connecticut said so poignantly, “Evil visited this community today.”  It did in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago and in Newtown Friday.  While we can’t explain evil sufficiently, we can reach for comfort in the midst of tragedy.  In Isaiah 43, God offered the people of Israel a word of hope while in the grips of agony and tragedy:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God…your Savior.  (43:1-3)
So while God didn’t promise to take away circumstances that are up to our neck, or swift currents of events that seem like they will sweep us away, or ones in which we feel we will be consumed, He did promise to be in them with us and to take us through them.  It will just take time.
My grief and prayers reach out to all of those in Newtown, Connecticut, just as I know yours do.  May the God of all comfort draw each family affected to His heart and hold them in His hand.
And in this season, pull those special to you close for a hug to let them know how much they mean to you, for we never know what tomorrow might bring!

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As January 1 approaches, I cannot believe how Pres. Obama and his administration are pushing America towards the touted Fiscal Cliff, all because he wants those earning over $250,000 to pay higher tax rates.  He constantly refers to them as “millionaires.”  I’m not sure what new math he is using, but last time I looked, there was a $750,000 difference between “millionaires” and those earning $250,000.

But in an attempt to prove some point, he continues to push.

Come January 1, 2013 if something doesn’t give here’s what we have to look forward to…

  1. The Bush –era tax cuts will cease and taxes will rise for all
  2. The two year cut in the Social Security payroll tax will expire, adding more increase in the tax load
  3. The Alternative Minimum Tax(AMT) will not be adjusted for inflation, so millions will experience still another rise in taxes
  4. Medicare payments rates to physicians will be cut
  5. Extended unemployment insurance will expire (which I question the length of anyway)

And with no action, the defense sequester goes into effect with one of its outcomes reducing the strength of America’s  response capabilities throughout the worldSo, what will be the likely result?  It is predicted that these impacts could take upward to $500 billion out of the economic engine of our nation.  Spending will likely be reduced by many households thus directly shocking the health of the economy.  More will likely be laid off and many contracts will likely face threat of cancelation.  And when spending is down, there is less reason to produce more goods, and that effects company’s health and slows the economy further. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that unemployment will climb once again to above 9%.

And all this is occurring while there is basically no addressing of the real problem…SPENDING!  Money continues to be “invested” in green companies that fail, entitlements continue to expand, new arms of government are launched (i.e. The Consumer Protection agency), and on and on the spending goes.   I have found in my own family that it is extremely unhealthy to spend more than what comes in.  And, the way to get out of a problem is not to max every credit card, and once that is accomplished…go out and get some additional credit cards!  What about that does Washington and Mr. Obama not understand?

And even surprising sources say this is not the way to proceed. “We have to cut spending,” says former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.  Bowles told Face the Nation that even if the president got his tax rate hikes, we’d still have trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Raising tax rates won’t solve our debt problem.

All that is being sought is more money to grease the machine of ever increasing big government.  How tragic.  All we have to do is look no further than Europe and Greece to see how that scenario plays out.  I may not be an economist or politician, but I believe even Ray Charles could see where this train is headed.


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With those words, December 7 became a pivot point of history.  On Dec. 7, 1941, hoards of  Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. Pacific fleet.  353 planes struck all eight battle ships with four being sunk.  Three cruisers and three destroyers were also heavily damaged or destroyed.  188 planes were destroyed with over 2400 Americans killed and more than 1200 wounded.
Thus,  America would be drawn into the Second World War, which would cost the lives of over 60 million people. This was equivilent to over 2.5% of the world population at the time.
This week, 71 years later, the Greatest Generation who fought that war and preserved America’s freedoms are dying at over 800 per day.  Before long, that generation will be past.  They stood in the gap, protected our freedoms, fought for our constitutional liberties and paid whatever price was required.
I fear that my generation may be seen historically as the “Caving Generation.”  It seems my generation is caving to political correctness, secular humanism, attacks on religious leadership, entitlement, and expanding government.
I pray that somehow we will find our bearings and convictions and become The Greatest Generation, Part II!”

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“It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.”  So begins A TALE OF TWO CITIES.

That apt description could well apply to the Conservative movement in America, and the U.S. Senate this week.  My friend Sen. Jim DeMint announced he will be stepping from his strategic role in the Senate, to the new role as President and CEO of the renowned Heritage Foundation.  He follows another friend and colleague, Ed Feulner, who has served the Heritage Foundation in that role since 1977, built the Heritage Foundation into a powerhouse casting as strong light of illumination on conservative public policy.  In addition, Ed also added Heritage Action (a c4 organization) which would mobilize grass roots activists for conservative policy.  Now an additional part of Ed’s great legacy will be handing the baton to Sen. Jim DeMint.

And in the process, a statesman follows a statesman.  And that is hard to find these days.

Jim brings a marketing expertise from his days in business, a thorough knowledge of the halls of congress, experience in the legislative process, a treasure trove of relationships, respected leadership, and most importantly…a wonderful humility.  The future is indeed bright with this transition of leadership and no doubt Heritage’s influence and strength will continue to impact this nation…and hopefully alter its direction.

The conservative movement and Heritage gained a broadened influence and impact of a great leader, and the Senate lost a giant.  “It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.”

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The New “Leadership” T-Shirt

Too many of us have watched with shattered hearts and minds as we see leaders in politics, finances, church life and various other professions admit that while they were saying one thing, they were doing another.

Others of us have had children who, old enough to be involved with other teens, came home from activities of which we as parents may have had some questions.  Yet when we asked such questions as:

“Was there alcohol at that party?”
“Was there anything going on of which you wouldn’t want us to know?”
“Were there boys (or girls) there that shouldn’t have been?”

….they responded not with an answer, but with a question.  Cheryl and I learned a long time ago that when that happened, the answer was YES!  And something was being covered up.

I’m sure the same could be said regarding a number of marriages, which have broken apart.  Or partnerships.  Or church splits.  Or….you fill in the blank.

I recently came across a T-Shirt that perhaps, in our culture, would be handy for many to have handy….sadly.  Take a look!

"I'm telling you....nothing happened"

"I'm Lying"

But, for you, my closing encouragement would be go read Proverbs 4:23.  It’s a guide we should all keep handy!

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