Wednesday, April 23, 2008
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now struggling with cancer and him having accumulated incredible "wealth" from the book sales. This is an incredible interview with Rick Warren, "Purpose Driven Life " author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw, Rick said:
People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.
We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,"which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.
It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.
So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.
That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Exclusive: Jill Stanek sees 'Big Bang' coming from the left April 18
Posted: April 10, 2008
1:00 am Eastern
FROM: World Net Daily
By Jill Stanek
On April 18, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," will boast the largest U.S. opening of any documentary film ever.
Scheduled for release in 1,000 theatres, "Expelled" will be hotter than "Farenheit 9/11," which debuted on 868 screens, and much more convenient to see than "An Inconvenient Truth," which I was surprised to find opened on only four screens nationwide despite all the hype, peaking at 587 before its appeal melted.
What's "Expelled" about? Synopsizes CNS News:
"Expelled" calls attention to the plight of highly credentialed scholars who have been forced out of prestigious academic positions because they proposed Intelligent Design as a possible alternative to Charles Darwin's 150-year-old theories about the origins of life.
Instead of entertaining a debate on the merits of competing theories, the scientific establishment has moved to suppress the ID movement in a "systematic and ruthless" way at odds with America's founding principles, the film asserts.
Liberals have been going ape about "Expelled" for months as it has been screened around the country.
On March 20, two Darwinian defenders, who accepted payment to talk like buffoons on the film, tried to bust into a private screening in Minnesota.
"PZ" Myers, a University of Minnesota biology professor and proprietor of the popular atheist blog Pharyngula, was quickly expelled, much as he condones expelling professors who deviate from the monkey line, as he wrote on The Panda's Thumb blog:
The only appropriate responses [to Intelligent Design proponents] should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many school board members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians." ~ Comment #35130, PZ Myers, June 14, 2005
Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist at Oxford who wrote the book "The God Delusion," gained entry only by foregoing his evolved surname for the formal, Clinton.
Myers then disrupted an "Expelled" conference call with reporters the next day.
These uncivilized spectacles caused a liberal mass meltdown. According to an "Expelled" press release, the "Expelled" controversy held the No. 1 slot in the blogosphere all day March 24, as registered by Nielson's BlogPulse, and garnered over 800 Technorati results.
If we are seeing this meltdown on the left even before "Expelled" officially opens, expect a Big Bang on April 18.
"This is not a scientific battle; this is a worldview battle," "Expelled" producer Mark Mathis told me. Mathis has encountered unbridled hostility from the scientific establishment, i.e., avowed Darwinists, at previews.
"Expelled" connects atheism and Darwinism with no missing link, one of the film's two major flashpoints.
Darwinism is a specific evolutionary theory that excludes everything but material processes in the design of all life forms. No Intelligent Design allowed.
"What's driving it is Darwinism is a foundational principle – scientific validation of secularism, atheism, liberalism – and that it strikes at the core of who they are," said Mathis.
"Secondarily, these scientists are the high priests of the biggest question ever asked. They have all the authority, knowledge, power, funding," continued Mathis. "This is ground they own exclusively. They look down their elitist noses at the unwashed ignorant religious masses and scoff. That's why they respond with such extreme hostility. They are very concerned that if this monolith cracks, then the whole thing could crash."
Indeed, "Expelled" is already making a difference. Last month, Ben Stein, star of "Expelled," screened it for Florida legislators as they prepared to present a bill guaranteeing academic freedom in their schools. It looks ready to pass.
Last week, Stein screened "Expelled" to Missouri lawmakers followed by a press conference promoting three academic freedom bills germinating there.
Not only is Darwinism foundational to atheism, it is foundational to eugenics, the other reason for the left's apoplexy against "Expelled," according to Mathis. They cannot tolerate the connection "Expelled" draws between Darwinism and Adolf Hitler.
Or Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.
"Planned Parenthood is a direct outgrowth of Darwinism," said Mathis. "Sanger was an open proponent of eugenics, and Darwinism is an idea that naturally leads to eugenics, which they are denying," said Mathis. "But they are compatible."
That Hitler and Nazism drew from Darwinism is irrefutable. "Hitler said genocide of Jews was doing good, cleansing the world of 'useless eaters' and strengthening formation of an 'Aryan' race of super-humans," said Mathis.
One complaint Darwinist scientists interviewed for "Expelled" have not lodged is that the filmmakers applied Michael Moore cut-and-paste editing to make them look bad. The film includes many of their long, uninterrupted thoughts.
That's also part of their problem.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
SAN ANTONIO -- The shot that saved a season took just a moment -- a Shining Moment, you could say.
The hug lasted for minutes.
After hitting the biggest Final Four jumper since Keith Smart's in 1987, Mario Chalmers summoned his mother, Almarie, down from the Alamodome stands to courtside. The unflappable Kansas Jayhawk wrapped both arms around her, laid his head on her shoulder and bawled like a baby.
She pumped her left arm. He wouldn't let go.
"We did it, Mom," Chalmers said between sobs.
"A dream come true," Almarie said later, her own eyes glistening. "A prayer answered. We've been waiting on this moment since he was 2."
This moment -- this Shining Moment -- was almost preordained four years earlier, when Mario went to the Final Four in this same building with his dad, current Kansas director of basketball operations Ronnie Chalmers. They watched Connecticut beat Georgia Tech for the title, and Ronnie remembers one spectacular play from that game when he jumped to his feet but Mario remained in his chair.
"What's wrong?" Ronnie asked his son.
"I'm thinking," Mario said.
"What are you thinking about?"
"One day," Mario said, "I'm going to be out there winning the national championship."
That goal guided the Chalmers family from Alaska to Kansas three years ago. It guided them to this game and ultimately to this moment -- this Shining Moment -- that rescued Kansas from near-certain defeat and gave the 2008 NCAA tournament its signature.
Chalmers' shot capped the Jayhawks' steely nine-point comeback in the final 2:12 of regulation on their way to a 75-68 overtime triumph. It was the blow that broke an excellent Tigers squad -- a Tigers squad that turned the school's first championship into a stunning championship choke.
"You have a lead like that," coach John Calipari said, "you're supposed to win the game."
The emotional whiplash that followed Chalmers' 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining will be felt for years on both campuses. Memphis will always love a team that finished 38-2 -- but always wince at the way it unraveled at the very end. And giddy Kansas now has another name to add to its list of all-time heroes: Clyde Lovellette, Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning …
I thought it was going in when it left my hands.
"It will probably be the biggest shot in Kansas history," coach Bill Self said.
The kid scored 18 on the night, earning Most Outstanding Player honors. But the replay that will live forever in Lawrence will focus on a single shot. For years to come, kids all over Kansas will go into the driveway or the backyard or the gym and pretend to be Mario Chalmers swishing that jumper.
With 10.8 seconds left, Self diagrammed the play. It called for the potential tying shot to be in Chalmers' calm hands -- a pass from penetrating Sherron Collins for a 3.
Of course Chalmers was the choice: He has home-state ice water in his veins. He's been good in the clutch his entire career.
"In YMCA and AAU and high school, he was always the go-to guy," Ronnie Chalmers said.
For the go-to guy's shot to matter, though, Kansas needed at least one more in a nightmarish series of missed free throws from Memphis.
Awful foul shooting was the endlessly discussed weakness of these Tigers, but they had made it a moot point in three straight rampaging NCAA tournament victories over Michigan State, Texas and UCLA. Now, with the title right there for the taking, star junior Chris Douglas-Roberts missed three straight, leaving the door open for Kansas.
Then, with 10.8 seconds on the clock, sensational freshman Derrick Rose stood on the line with Memphis up two, trying to ice it. His first shot hit the rim and fell off. He made the second, but the one miss gave Kansas its opportunity to tie.
Collins dribbled upcourt and veered to his right -- almost losing the ball as Memphis players hacked at him, trying to foul and prevent a 3 from being hoisted. Collins' strength probably prevented a whistle, though, and he shoved a pass to Chalmers as he came curling off the wing.
The ball came up into Chalmers' chest. He took one rushed dribble to his left and elevated. Rose jumped with him, arm outstretched. Chalmers arched the shot over Rose's fingers and into the tension-drenched Texas air.
"I thought it was going in when it left my hands," Chalmers said.
Teammate Brandon Rush, who was directly underneath the basket, concurred.
"I could see it splash right in there," Rush said. "Pretty cool."
Blessed with a good sight line in the stands behind the play, Almarie Chalmers knew, too.
"I saw it going straight in," she said. "When it hit the bottom of the net, I breathed."
Everyone else screamed. Kansas fans in ecstasy. Memphis fans in agony.
The Tigers had nothing left in overtime. No momentum. No Joey Dorsey, who had fouled out. No legs for tired Douglas-Roberts and cramping Rose. Kansas scored the first six in OT to take command of a game it had come amazingly close to losing.
Earlier in the second half, as the game began slipping away from the Jayhawks, Self was telling his players, "You've got to believe." But the situation was dire enough that when Memphis' Robert Dozier went to the foul line with 2:12 left and the Tigers up seven, Ronnie Chalmers reached into his pocket for some divine guidance.
On a piece of paper, he'd written two verses from Psalms: 46:10 and 46:1. He pulled them out and read them to himself.
"Be still, and know that I am God," reads 46:10.
"God is a refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble," reads 46:1.
"We were in trouble at that time," Ronnie said.
The trouble deepened when Dozier swished both free throws. The lead was 60-51 as the clocked slipped inside two minutes. This was desperate.
But Chalmers and Collins -- two guards who had taken some very bad shots as Memphis asserted itself -- rode to the rescue.
Chalmers passed to Darrell Arthur for a jump shot that made it 60-53. Then, after a timeout, Collins made the two plays that really made it a ballgame -- he stole the ball from Antonio Anderson and, after a couple of quick passes, got it back in the corner for a 3-pointer.
Until then, Kansas was 1-for-9 from 3-point range. Collins swished it.
After a pair of Douglas-Roberts free throws, Chalmers made a pair of his own. That set the stage for Memphis' foul-line debacle, which was augmented by a bad decision to attack the basket with 20 seconds left instead of pulling the ball out and killing clock while clinging to a two-point lead.
But all the Memphis foibles down the stretch could have been survived if Chalmers hadn't hit the shot of a lifetime.
"First, I'm happy for Mario," Ronnie Chalmers said. "Then I'm happy for Coach Self -- he was long overdue for this. Then I'm happy for the team.
"It's great for a parent to see their son's dream come true. … You've got to think about it every day the rest of your life. This is the moment."
One Shining Moment.Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com.