Wednesday, July 28, 2021

"Questioning Jesus' Authority"

Following Jesus' bold actions of cleansing the temple of unholy profiteers, 
the religious powers that be sent a delegation to trap Him into an admission that might justify an arrest. However, Jesus' handling of the confrontation underscored His divine authority in an unique and memorable way. 
There are several lessons for us all in this 16-minute sermon 
delivered at Aksarben Village Senior Living last Sunday.
 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Another Church Birthday Party

The Sunday afternoon church services that Vital Signs Ministries has been conducting at Aksarben Village Senior Living since back in February certainly present Claire and I with some of the most inspiring, encouraging moments of our week. Yet even in this ongoing series of blessings, there are some days which stand out among the others...like today. 

Today's highlights? Well, first of all, there were our three video music selections: "Glory To His Name" performed by the choir and congregation of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia; "Have a Little Talk with Jesus" performed by The Oak Ridge Boys; and "I’d Rather Have Jesus" by the elegant, beautiful Gracias Choir featuring soloist Taejik Woo. Then there was "Questioning Jesus' Authority," my short sermon (they are always between 13-15 minutes) covering Luke 20:1-8. 

And finally, a superb time of visiting afterward with the 24 residents -- but extended today because we added another 10 guests to the mix as we combined our visiting with a celebration of the 87th birthday of "Coach" Dennis Schroeder. For this task, we were particularly delighted that we had a larger visitation team than usual and everyone did a really splendid job: Keith & Carol, Patrick, Allen, and Rick & Kathy. 

What a grand time!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Another Mountain Adventure (But with a Twist)

This month’s letter comes a bit later in the month than what I hoped but this past week has presented a few obstacles that have kept me from getting it written and sent over to the printer. The most involved of those obstacles were: 1) a fierce rain and wind storm that busted up our front yard trees and left us without electricity for 4 days; 2) a terrible sewer backup that required a lot of cleanup, professional repairs, and then the replacement of all of the ground floor carpet; and 3) a brief stay in the emergency room of a Colorado hospital and 4 subsequent doctor visits.

Quite a week, huh?

Read the rest of the Vital Signs Ministries July letter right here...complete with photos!


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

“Anticipating Heavy Glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

The truths of this brief section of the New Testament are rich in realism, challenge, and hope as the apostle Paul talks about the grand purpose of suffering and the extravagant, lavish, and "weighty" rewards awaiting in the life to come for Christians who patiently persevere. This is an exciting 13 minutes of Bible exposition from the Vital Signs Ministries Sunday afternoon church service at Aksarben Village Senior Living.
 

Friday, July 16, 2021

The Great Work for Which I Was Spared?

Tuesday morning, July 13.

I was down in my basement earlier this morning, working to clean up the bathroom and laundry room after a messy sewer backup that we discovered a couple of hours previously.  It was an ugly job in a depressing, dark atmosphere.  And I do mean dark…like in having no electricity! Indeed, our side of the street hadn’t had power since it was knocked out by the severe rain and windstorm that hit Omaha just before midnight on Friday night. True, I did have a sturdy Maglight flashlight on hand but it was hardly sufficient for the job at hand.

Of course, there was another complication involved and that was the advice I had been given by doctors that I refrain from physical exertions for at least a couple of weeks. That was because of the orbital fracture and other injuries I suffered from a bad fall during a climb of Mt. Bierstadt just a few hours shy of one week ago.  What a predicament. And what a mess.

However, I found that an attitude Claire and I had been trying hard to practice this past week was still very much available to me.  It was an attitude which combined patience, thanksgiving, hope, and a calm listening for the Lord’s moment-by-moment direction.  After all, God had certainly underscored to us His providence in that mountain accident for, quite plainly, it could have been so, so much worse. Thus, it had been rather easy in these last few days to seriously count our many blessings instead of griping or worrying. Among the most obvious blessings? Well, number one; I had survived the fall. Plus, I had suffered no fracture, no concussion, and was never unconscious. The blood from the lacerations around the right eye stopped pretty quickly and Mark and I got them patched up enough to continue down the mountain. And mentioning Mark leads me to add to the count the great help I received from my other climbing colleagues: Ron, Ryan, and Aldo. 

Furthermore, when I finally got down to Frisco to meet Claire, I received the kindest, most excellent care from the nurses and a physician’s assistant at St. Anthony’s Hospital. As they cleansed my wounds, glued and stitched my cuts, and checked for less obvious problems using a CT scan and x-rays, they too marveled that I hadn’t been more severely hurt. They discharged me after just a couple of hours and I was able to drive back to Nebraska the next day. The subsequent week had brought substantial healing to my various wounds and I had returned to a fairly regular schedule. (Except, of course, for having no electricity!)

So, with all of this precedent of God’s providential care, it only made sense that I just keep counting my blessings -- even stuck down in that dark, dank laundry room, Such an attitude is, as Roman 12:1 says of our ongoing surrender to Christ’s Lordship, an eminently reasonable reality.  And, if we are willing to yield to the Holy Spirit’s control, such miraculous fruits as peace, patience, faithfulness, self-control, even joy can be ours in full measure, no matter what the surrounding circumstances.

Nevertheless, the graciousness of our loving Father gave me another helpful gift in the midst of that discomfiting cleanup – a gift of exhortation and encouragement that was colored, I believe, with a bit of divine humor.  For when I first began the work down in the laundry room, I started an internal conversation with God.  In that conversation I reminded Him of Claire’s and my wondering over the past week if His sparing my life on Mt. Bierstadt was for some monumental work, some grand adventure, perhaps some dramatic change in our ministry that He wanted us to discover and pursue.  Nothing had yet come of these musings but we were still quite curious. 

And then suddenly, right there in that dark laundry room, a somewhat alarming question surfaced in my mind, “Lord, this can’t be the answer, can it? Oh, no. Please tell me that cleaning up this plumbing disaster is not the great work You spared my life for!”  

Well, I’ve got to tell you as soon as that sentence formed in my mind, I couldn’t help but smile.  Even more important, I felt confident that my Savior was smiling right beside me.  It was as if He was saying, “Denny, this is exactly what I saved your life for -- this and many other reasons that are way beyond your ken.  What is necessary for you to know is that I require of you the very things I always have; that is, to lean upon the Holy Spirit in order to complete whatever daily tasks I bring your way.  Humbly, steadfastly perform them in the confident assurance that every single act of love, every sincere prayer, every moment of trust in Me will be lavishly rewarded in the life to come.  Got that? Okay, then; be of good cheer and get back to the job at hand, remembering always that the Maker of heaven and earth is right beside you in everything you do.”  

Oh, Lord Jesus, thank You for Your love and mercy, Your enlightenment and empowerment, Your immediate presence and the promises of the glorious triumph that will soon be ours to share with You forever and ever.  And please keep helping me to stay the course, to redeem the time, and to finish well in whatever service You ask of me. Amen.

Say What? (The Left's Latest Lunacies)

* "The COVID Aftermath and Lessons Learned" (David Robb, American Thinker)

* "White House Brags About Colluding With Tech Oligarchs To Suppress Dissent" (Jordan Davidson, Federalist)

* "Congressman Byron Donalds: BLM’s Cuba statement exposes them as 'radical Marxists'" (Fox News Staff)

* "Why Cops Are Quitting" (Charles Fain Lehman, City Journal)

* "New Evidence Indicates Enough Illegal Votes In Georgia To Tip 2020 Results" (Margot Cleveland, Federalist)

* "San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus faces backlash for 'we're coming for your children' video" (Sam Dorman, Fox News)

* "Facebook's Latest Warning to Users Is Creeping People Out" (Katie Pavlich, Town Hall)

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Writing Letters for Life, Law, and Liberty

Because several of the regulars were on the move, the Vital Signs Ministries’ letter-writing party last night involved a smaller number than usual. However, I'm pleased to say that the 8 people who were on hand did a absolutely terrific job in turning out nearly 50 letters and cards in the 90 minutes we reserved for actually putting pen to paper. Way to go, guys!

Last night’s letters were sent to a variety of people and organizations. Nebraska’s Governor and Nebraska's two senators were among those letter targets as was Nebraska’s 2nd District Congressman.  The President and Vice-President, the Justices of the Supreme Court, and the heads of state who represent European nations (Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, and Poland) who are defending their pro-life standing against the pro-abortion bullying of the European Union were also on our list.

There were also letters and cards sent to “good guys” like Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Kathryn Limbaugh, Mike Lindell, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Franklin Graham AND to such “bad guys” as the Disney Corporation, Hulu, and the knuckleheads at Nellis Air Force Base who continue to maintain that a recent drag queen show held there was “essential to the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military.” Sigh.

We are convinced that letting our light shine through letters – just as we try to do in all of the other Vital Signs Ministries activities – makes a genuine difference in eternity. Therefore, we are proud to have kept this quarterly letter-writing party going throughout our 40 year history.

Of course, you can participate too either by 1) joining us in person at one of our letter-writing parties; 2) letting us help you set up a letter-writing party for your church, Sunday School class, or small group; and/or 3) writing letters and cards on your own.  To help with that last option, we can provide letter options, address lists, and even sample letters.  Just let us know.

And speaking of sample letters, I've posted a few of the open letters I wrote last night to members of the Supreme Court and over here to a few others.

"Do the Job at Hand" -- Open Letters to the Supreme Court

From last night's letter-writing party come these "open letters" to several of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Two of them will be sent later this afternoon to two of the genuine heroes of our day, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Jr. But four others will be sent to Justices whose service on the Court has been considerably less than stellar. Those very disappointing four are Justices Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Barrett, and Chief Justice Roberts.

Dear Justice Alito,

“Courage is contagious,” wrote Billy Graham. “When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” You, Justice Alito, have that brand of courage and though it may seem like it’s not yet “stiffening” the spines of your fellow Justices, please know that untold numbers of Americans (and freedom-loving people around the world) are encouraged and challenged by your example.

Please stay the course. God is not sleeping and your reward will be substantial indeed.

Dear Justice Thomas,

Admiral Chester Nimitz once wrote, “God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.”

Sometimes, as in the wacky days of the present administration, the defense of the U.S. Constitution (let alone the historic ideals of Western civilization) seems almost hopeless. But thank the Lord that He uses men like you to stand with courage, integrity, skill, compassion, and humility to keep the Constitution’s message clear and strong.

You are in our frequent prayers.

Dear Justice Barrett,

Harry Truman once said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and on unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Justice Barrett, “the job at hand” is to defend the Constitution, including allowing the key cases of liberty, justice, and the sanctity of human life to come before the Supreme Court in order for that Constitution to speak. You have too often already let those chances slip by – and the republic is very much the poorer for it.

Please…act in courage to do the crucial job at hand.

Dear Justice Kavanaugh,

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of the highest reality.” Justice Kavanaugh, it appears that the great hopes so many conservatives and other American patriots had in your tenure on the Court have been dashed as you fail to apply the Constitution to the case...or even disallow the case to come forward for the Court to hear it.

Is your courage failing at the testing point? Please, do your job with integrity and courage – for the Republic’s sake.

Dear Justice Gorsuch,

“He who loses wealth, loses much.  He who loses a friend loses more.  But he that loses his courage loses all.”  (Cervantes)

Justice Gorsuch, you have already had several chances to stand strong for the historic ideals of fairness, morality, and the social impact that are expressed clearly in the Constitution. But alas, you have faltered in many of those moments.

Please for the sake of the Republic, show courage (the kind of moral and intellectual courage shown by Justices Thomas and Alito) and vote to help heal the nation from its far-left enemies.

Dear Chief Justice Roberts,

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest gift of the mind – next to honor.” (T.S. Eliot)

Oh, what hopes moral conservatives had for your tenure on the Court! And how harshly have those hopes been dashed as time and again you have failed to allow the Constitution to plainly speak to cases. Indeed, with great frequency you vote to disallow the case from even coming to the Court for review!

Chief Justice, please stop serving the cause of the “cool kids” of the left and start serving the Republic with courage…and honor.

By the way, a few more details about last night's quarterly letter-writing party are posted here and here.

Of Heroes & Heels (A Few More of Last Night's Letters)

Dear Governor Ricketts,

Winston Churchill once wrote that "courage is rightly esteemed as the first of human qualities…because it is the quality which guarantees all others." You have again and again demonstrated political courage as an example of your principled character and devotion to high quality leadership. Thank you.

Thank you especially for the courage you have shown in the pro-life cause. But we are also proud of you – and grateful – for all of the services you have performed for the people of Nebraska. Stay the course.

Dear President Vella, (Malta)

Just a quick note to express our admiration and appreciation of your nation’s principled defense of the sanctity of life, especially as you seek to care for preborn boys and girls and their mothers. You are demonstrating a historic Christian ideal that challenges the whole world…and inspires it too! You are in our frequent prayers as you resist the E.U.’s bullying.

This next note was sent in a card bearing this photo of Ronald Reagan.

President Joe Biden,

Do you remember when the U.S. had a man of character, courage, and compassion for all, including pre-born boys and girls as our president? Well, we do – and we are fervently praying that you start following his example!

Dear Vice President Harris,

Remember when we had a real President? One who was a man of integrity, compassion, wisdom, and true patriotism? A President who cared about morality, justice, and the sanctity of all human life? A person who wrote his own speeches, who didn’t need handlers, and who was fairly elected to the office?

Sigh! We do too.

Dear Senator Sasse,

We are still waiting for your apology to the people of Nebraska for your “aiding and abetting” enemies of our country (i.e. the radical left which is controlling the Democrat Party nowadays) in your ill-timed and extremely counter-productive remarks against President Trump prior to the election.

And the second apology for your vote for Donald Trump's impeachment, especially now that the whole nation understands the January 6 fiasco to merely be a twisted media narrative with absolutely no evidence pointing to President Trump?

We’re waiting, Senator. We're waiting.

Dear Colonel Dyer,

A drag queen “entertainment” that, as was later claimed, helped ensure "our ranks reflect and are inclusive of the American people [which is] essential to the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military”? What a sad, sick joke to present a celebration of sexual deviancy as “essential” to military readiness. 

Sigh.

A few more details about last night's quarterly letter-writing party are posted here and here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Evolution's "Whale of a Tale"

Darwinists often point to the whale fossil record as one of the best examples of an evolutionary transition. But is it really? Here is an enlightening look at one of the evolutionist's "best" arguments. It's a very interesting, effective, and even entertaining look at the huge differences between evolution assumptions and scientific facts.
 

"Thinking About Missions" (Revisited)

One of the subjects under discussion at this morning's Hartford Cafe was the Western Church's decreasing partnership with Christians in other parts of the world. Despite the fact that it is the Church here that has so much of the wealth but also of the educational material, the strategies and means for effective relief (i.e., medical care, water purification, agriculture, construction, technological training, etc.), and the time availability, we have moved away in recent decades from involvement in foreign missions.

What an ironic and sad state of affairs.

Related to this morning's conversation, then, I post a brief article I wrote for Vital Signs Blog post dealing with this very problem. (Just click on the title below.) Yes, you'll notice it was originally posted 10 years ago, but I believe its more relevant than ever.

"Thinking About Missions"


Friday, June 25, 2021

The Latest R.R. R. ("Really Relevant Reads")

* "Democrats -- Not Republicans -- Are The Radicals To Worry About: Here’s The Proof" (Editorial Board, Issues & Insights)

* "Leftists Don’t Care About Mixing Politics And Religion So Long As It’s Their Politics In Charge" (Casey Chalk, Federalist)

* "Biden's gun crime prevention speech was equal parts ludicrous and scary" (Andrea Widburg, American Thinker)

* "Planned Parenthood Pushes Sex on 11-Year-Old Kids, Coaches Girls on Getting Secret Abortions" (Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews.com)

* "Soros and IPPF-funded EU parliamentarians aim to blacklist reputable Christian groups" (Staff report, Catholic News Agency)

* "Vaccine-Hesitant Nurses Face Dilemma As Understaffed Hospitals Mandate COVID Shot" (Jordan Davidson, Federalist)

* "Now MATH is racist" (Brian Stieglitz, Daily Mail)

On the American Attraction to Novelty

There is a strong and ongoing temptation towards novelty in the American Christian. Indeed, he has for so long and in so many clever ways been taught that “new is better” that he now believes it as a foundational premise. For his entire life he has been surrounded by a persuasive media that has defined him as a consumer and so it is, more than anything, the advertising agency that has determined the way he looks at the world. He has his learned lessons well and is now convinced that everything that is “new” must truly be “improved.”

Running a not too distant second in formulating the believer's attraction to novelty is the school system in which he was taught. There he was instructed carefully and incessantly in evolutionary thought. Whether the classes involved science, humanities, ethics, or Marxist-laced economics, the government school system has instructed him that everything is moving towards that inventible force called (note the capital P) Progress. A key part of his worldview is the maxim, “Every day in every way, things are getting better and better.”

It should be no surprise then that American Christians find themselves ever attracted to novelty…even in theological matters. The latest trend. The fashionable formula. The pragmatism promised by the most recent book. The American Christian, taking his lead from the advertising jingles in his head, believes that even in the search for religious significance, success will be found in the “new and improved” theological tricks – the latest, the hippest, the faith flavor of the month.

But G.K. Chesterton had it right when he declared, “It is the old things that startle and intoxicate.” And indeed, the believer’s strength is always found in the ancient truths, the essentials, the fundamentals of the faith. Ours is a Faith grounded in history and beautifully enacted by real heroes who have given us an extremely rich heritage. And we worship and serve a Messiah Who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” and Who has revealed himself in the timeless writings of the Holy Bible.

So please, my friends, beware of the siren calls from novelty for they represent an alluring but ultimately misleading force. No, it is much better to stay the course with He Who was, is, and is to come…He Who holds the future in His Hands…He Who is, quite rightfully titled, the Rock of Ages.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Are Journalistic Ethics & Relevance Forever Gone?

Well, I'm pleased to say that there are still a few honest, skilled, and relevant journalists out there. And they are writing articles you need to be aware of. Like this list...

* "Our Increasingly Unrecognizable Civilization" (Mark Steyn, Imprimis)

* "Identity crisis: how the politics of race will wreck America" (Charles Murray, The Spectator)

* "The Definition of Courage Has Shifted Since Normandy" (Ben Shapiro, Daily Signal)

* "Biden vs. the Pentagon" (Byron York, Washington Examiner)

* "Disney+ Hosting LGBTQ Pride Concert Aimed at Children, Starring Drag Queen Nina West" (Dvid Ng, Breitbart)

* "Hulu’s ‘Love, Victor’ Shows Catholic Mom Evolve from Rebuking Gay Teen Sex to Rebuking Priest" (Warner Todd Houston, Breitbart)

* "Nellis Air Force Base Hosts First-Ever Drag Queen Show: ‘Essential to the Morale, Readiness’" (Kristina Wong, Breitbart)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

"You Must Be Born Anew" (The Night Visit of Nicodemus)

He was a rich, influential, and, to all appearances, spiritually prosperous man. Indeed, he was a respected member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling court of Israel. Nevertheless, Nicodemus came to Jesus as a "night visitor" to hear the Lord speak of the radical new relationship God was offering to men -- a relationship that came through being "born anew." This brief sermon opens up this remarkable account with an emphasis on what it means to us today. P.S. Below the embedded video, we also post the links to the music selections featured in Sunday's service.
 

"No More Night" (First Baptist Dallas Choir & Orchestra) 



Thursday, June 17, 2021

Perchance, Whence Cometh Thy News? (Part 2)

* "Top 10 biggest lies liberal media has been caught peddling -- and why it matters" (Michael Goodwin, New York Post via Fox News)

* "Surrendering the Public Square" (Mark Pulliam, American Greatness)

* "Flashback: DC Mayor Honored At DNC For Riot Response. New Reports Reveal She, Not Trump, Teargassed Protesters" (Mollie Hemingway, Federalist)

* "Former Planned Parenthood board member: Defund this ‘racist’ organization" (Carole Novielli, Live Action)

* "The Number of Small Businesses Destroyed by COVID Lockdowns Will ASTOUND You" (Victoria Taft, PJ Media)

* "Virginia parents furious after graduation speaker's 'incendiary' warning on racism and White supremacy" (Joshua Q. Nelson, Fox News)

* "Hate Crimes Against Catholics Are Multiplying (But Politicians And Media Don’t Want To Talk About It)" (Christopher Bedford, Federalist)

Perchance, Whence Cometh Thy News?

* "Biden Divides Us. Here Are 12 Principles That Can Unite Us." (Charmaine Yoest, Daily Signal)

* "HHS Secretary Struggles To Define Term 'Birthing People'" (Charlotte Pence Bond, Daily Wire)

* "Biden Land Management nominee 'collaborated with eco-terrorists,' traded testimony for immunity" (Houston Keene, Fox News)

* "This is not a joke: should harmful stereotypes about chickens be criminalised? UK academics argue that animals can be victims of hate speech." (Michael Cook, Mercator)

* "Abortion numbers record high accompanies introduction of ‘DIY’ home abortions" (Right to Life UK News)

* "G7 Embraces Abortion Language in Communiques as U.S. Reverses Position" (Dr. Rebecca Oas & Alexis I. Fragosa, C-Fam) 

* "Wikipedia’s Quiet, Big-Tech-Funded Grip On Internet Knowledge Gives It Too Much Power" (Jordan Davidson, Federalist)

Epaphroditus: A Fellow Soldier in the Gospel

To be little known to the crowd doesn't mean you are little known, little appreciated, or of little value in the service of the Lord Jesus. No indeed. In this 14-minute sermon, we learn of the richly significant life of a person mentioned only twice in the New Testament; namely, the "recklessly" dedicated disciple, Epaphroditus. (And to learn why we use the word "reckless" here, you'll have to give a listen!)
 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Best of... (Part 3 of 3)

To help with the ongoing problem of information overload, here's 6 of the latest articles, chosen from the very best, the very brightest, and the most relevant to the culture wars.

* "How Five Media Lies Won Biden the White House" (Larry O'Connor, Town Hall)

* "How Ending Freedom Of Expression Gives Up Your Right To A Private Life" (Stella Morabito, Federalist)

* "Our Increasingly Unrecognizable Civilization" (Mark Steyn, Imprimis)

* "The Woke Takeover of the U.S. Military Endangers Us All" (Dakota Wood and Mike Gonzalez, Heritage Foundation)

* "Guatemalan President Blasts Biden's Border Policies for Enabling Criminal Human Smugglers" (Katie Pavlich, Town Hall)

* "The ‘kill whites’ psychiatrist and the high price of wokeness in medicine" (Kurt Mahlburg, Mercator)

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Best of... (Part 2 of 3)

In our continuing series aimed at helping you stay informed (without being completely inundated), here's some must-read articles from the many, many out there.

 * "How Google Is Attempting to ‘Newspeak’ the English Language" (Douglas Blair, Daily Signal)

* "Is Grafting Dead Babies’ Scalps Onto Lab Rats Any Better Than Child Sacrifice?" (Joe Allen, Federalist)

* "Danish journalist has sex during interview for segment on swingers club" (Mark Lungariello, New York Post via Fox News)

* "Why Did CNN Bring Back Jeffrey Toobin?" (Jim Geraghty, National Review)

* "Democrats silent on sexual assault allegations involving 62 children" (Jimmy Sengenberger, Washington Examiner)

* "Open Doors: U.S. should be demanding religious freedom" (Charlie Butts, OneNewsNow.com)

* "Why Woke Christianity Is The Greatest Threat To Christians Today" (Carina Benton, Federalist)

The Best of... (Part 1 of 3)

Feeling informationally overwhelmed? I can sure identify with that. However, that's the reason I offer these occasional compilation posts; that is, to pass along a few of the web's most important, most accurately researched, and best written articles from the alternative media. Don't be overcome...but don't be unaware either. Here you go.

* "Toobin, Cuomo scandals prove liberals can get away with anything at CNN, experts say." (Brian Flood, Fox News)

* "The 'Root Causes' Of The Migrant Crisis Are Biden’s Border Policies" (John Daniel Davidson, Federalist)

* "Anthony Fauci Says His Critics Are Attacking Science Itself" (Robby Soave, Reason)

* "It Is a Sordid Thing, This Divvying Us Up by Race" (John o. McGinnis, Law & Liberty)

* "Hunter Biden and the "n" Word'" (Paul Mirengoff, Power Line)

* "H.R. 1 Is a Non-Solution to a Non-Crisis" (Rich Lowry, Jewish World Review)

* "Trump Was Right: Study Shows Hydroxychloroquine Boosted Ventilated COVID Patients' Survival by 200%" (Michael Austin,  The Western Journal)



Thursday, June 03, 2021

So, You're Pregnant

Mega-thanks to the Canadian pro-life organization Choice42 for a terrific video aimed at young women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Newsworthy News: 7 Important Articles

* "17,000 tweet ‘Hitler was right,’ and Big Tech barely reacts" (Bethany Mandel, New York Post)

* "Biden’s Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Far Outspends Obama" (Fred Lucas, Daily Signal)

* "What if the Pandemic Was Man-Made?" (Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review)

* "ID PLEASE? Oregon Will Require Proof of Vaccine for Maskless Entry Into Businesses, Work, Church" (Human Events Staff)

* "As Hamas attacks Israeli civilians, the 'Squad' offers an 'All Lives Matter' response to antisemitism" (Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner)

* "Violent Attacks on American Jews Prove 'Anti-Zionism' Is Anti-Semitism" (David Harsanyi, National Review)

* "Children’s Hospital Colorado declares mental health state of emergency as suicide attempts rise" (Jennifer Brown, Colorado Sun)


Newsworthy, Indeed

* "Biden Abandons Religious Freedom as First Among Rights" (Grace Melton, Daily Signal)

* "How America turned into the EU" (Joel Kotkin, UnHerd)

* "Out of gas: what does the Colonial Pipeline shutdown say about US defence readiness?" (Karl D. Stephan, Mercator)

* "Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care about the truth" (Miranda Devine, New York Post)

* "Bill Barr on the Forces of Division in America" (Roger Kimball, American Greatness)

* "Biden's radical agenda stalled – here's how Americans responding to progressives' wish list" (Liz Peek, Fox News)

* "Consumer Prices See Largest Yearly Jump Since 2008 as Evidence of Inflation Mounts" (Isaac Schorr, National Review)

Monday, May 24, 2021

Is There No Place for Chivalry Today?

“Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world.”  That’s how Anglo-Irish writer Kenelm Henry Digby described chivalry in The Broad-Stone of Honour published in 1822.

That’s a nice description. But I like even more the way Sir Walter Scott put it when he had the charming and brave knight, Ivanhoe, answer a young woman’s question in this way:  “Chivalry?  Why maiden, she is the nurse of pure and high affection, the stay of the oppressed, the redresser of grievances, the curb of the power of the tyrant.  Nobility were but an empty name without her.  And liberty finds the best protection in her lance and sword.”

Chivalry. The word itself stirs the imagination and moves the soul to embrace manly virtues: strength, courage, a willingness to fight in a noble cause. But also kindness, innocence, courtesy and grace.  And we must not forget honor, self-discipline, loyalty, and a burning love for God...

The rest of Denny's essay, “The Code of Chivalry,” can be found right here on the Vital Signs Ministries website.

The Times, They Are A' Changin' (And Not for the Good)

* "The Revolution Comes to Juilliard: Racial hysteria is consuming the school; unchecked, it will consume the arts." (Heather Mac Donald, City Journal)

* "LEGO Releases LGBT Rainbow Toy Set to Celebrate 'Pride' Month" (Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart)

* "'Drag Queens in Training': Kids Show on PBS Features 'Lil Miss Hot Mess' Reading, Dancing" (Mary Margaret Olohan, Daily Signal)

* "Would you ask for euthanasia just because you hated to mow your lawn?" (Ann Farmer, Mercator)

* "Church of Scotland may ditch 'husband' and 'wife'" (Wallace B. Henley, Christian Post)

* "Genderella: Upcoming 'Cinderella' Features LGBTQ Actorvist Billy Porter as Genderless 'Fairy Godmother'" (CBN News)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

A Reality Checklist (Complements of the Alternative Media)

* "The Biden Honeymoon is Definitely Over" (John Green, American Thinker)

* "'How Politicians' Stupid COVID Reactions Lit A Match Under Inflation" (Helen Raleigh, Federalist)

* "What Really Is Behind the Latest Burst of Hamas Terror in Israel" (Dov Fischer, American Spectator)

* "How President Biden Emboldened Hamas, Islamic Jihad" (Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute)

* "Censorship, Masks, Vaccines, Right, and Revolution" (Angelo Codevilla, American Greatness)

* "This Article Is 'Partly False:' Supposedly engaged in a struggle against misinformation, Facebook and its fact-checking partner spread their own." (John Tierney, City Journal)

The "3 for 5" Prayer Program Against Planned Parenthood

Vital Signs Ministries wants to once again invite Christian pro-life advocates from around the country to participate in a concerted prayer initiative against Planned Parenthood, the mega-abortion corporation that is exploiting women, severely damaging the fabric of family life, and literally destroying the lives of thousands of preborn babies every week.   This prayer program is simple enough to participate in yet it is a a ministry which could have a very profound effect if it not only stimulates more people to pray but to pray in more specific, more strategic, and more unified ways.

We call this prayer program “3 for 5” and here’s how it works.

We’re asking believers to covenant together to pray at least 3 minutes a day on the 5 weekdays about specific issues related to Planned Parenthood’s ongoing assaults on the culture of life.  That could mean 3 minutes of prayer added to one’s morning meditations, a minute prayer lifted up three times a day…whatever.  And for every weekday, we’re encouraging prayers aimed at particular targets.  Again, this way we’re praying more AND praying for the very same things, agreeing with one another and the Holy Spirit to oppose the evil deeds of this mega-abortion corporation.  Below are the specific targets for each weekday, a sample prayer and a Scripture “springboard.”

1) Monday’s focus: Pray for Planned Parenthood’s scheduled victims for the week.

“This week many young women are scheduled to have their babies destroyed by Planned Parenthood abortionists.  Many more will abort children through the various chemicals that the business sells.  Father, we pray for many of these minds to be changed.  We ask that these moms will choose instead the guidance and loving assistance of pro-life family members, churches and pregnancy aid centers.  And we also pray that those who have already been exploited and victimized by Planned Parenthood find healing in the cross of Christ.”

Scripture exhortation: Deuteronomy 30:19 — “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.” (NASB)

2) Tuesday’s focus: Pray for shame and scandal to be the portion of Planned Parenthood.

“Holy Lord Jesus, today I pray that the immoral and violent nature of Planned Parenthood be increasingly revealed to the public.  Raise up journalists, lawyers, politicians, educators, celebrities, business leaders and more to expose the organization’s promotion and enablement of abortion, sexual perversion, promiscuity, and misuse of government funds.  Take from Planned Parenthood their financial support, their partnerships and their false cloak of respectability.”

Scripture exhortation: Ephesians 5:11 –“And so do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” (NASB)

3) Wednesday’s focus: Pray for spiritual conversion among Planned Parenthood employees and supporters.

“Please, Lord Jesus, reveal to those who work with, promote or otherwise support Planned Parenthood the organization’s inherent evils.  Give them a new understanding of the sanctity of life, marriage, family and purity.  And with repentance and conversion, make of these ‘born again’ people effective servants of Your grace and holiness.”

Scripture exhortation: 2 Corinthians 5:17 — “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come.” (NASB)

4) Thursday’s focus: Pray for those who stand against Planned Parenthood’s assaults on the culture of life.

“Dear Jesus, today we earnestly pray for all those who seek to defend the least of these and to restore a sanctity of life ethic to our nation.  We pray for those who, in various ways, prayerfully oppose the barbarism of Planned Parenthood.  We ask You to provide wisdom, protection and spiritual power in abundance for sidewalk counselors, clergy, medical professionals, pro-life educators and especially for those who serve with pro-life pregnancy aid ministries.” 

Scripture exhortation: Timothy 1:7 — “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (NASB)

5) Friday’s focus: Pray for a dramatic reformation of sexual ethics among American youth.

“Father, today’s prayer is for fresh and compelling conviction of Your truths regarding modesty, purity, self-control, and the blessedness of sexual relations within marriage.  Reveal these precious virtues especially to youth and to those who influence American culture.  And also, Lord, please expose for all to see Planned Parenthood’s perverse and counter-productive sex-ed philosophy.”

Scripture exhortation: Philippians 4:8 — “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (NASB)

We believe that anything that can help stimulate Christians to pray more regularly, more frequently and with greater purpose is wonderfully welcome.  And if there’s anything that can get us on the same page, coming together in the powerful fellowship of prayer and lifting up to our Lord a common appeal – that’s a huge bonus.  Of course, the prayers and Scriptures we have written merely serve as samples to stimulate individual responses. What is most important is the common focus of the day. 

We hope you find this “3 for 5” approach worthwhile and, if you do, please pass it on to those in your spheres of influence.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

"The Calling of Matthew" -- The Latest Sunday Afternoon Service (With Links to the Music)

The subject under review in last Sunday afternoon's lesson at Aksarben Village Senior Living was the ironic, even audacious, calling of Matthew the tax collector to become one of Jesus' disciples...and the equally audacious response to that most gracious invitation.

In addition to the 15-minute sermon, the prayers, and a wonderful hour of visiting over coffee, lemonade, and cookies, our afternoon service also includes three terrific video clips which feature musicians presenting some of the most theologically-sound and cherished songs of Christian history. Claire edits those video clips which she then projects onto a large screen so the residents can best enjoy them. We also have handouts that provide the hymn lyrics.

Anyhow, for those of you who have been blessed by the songs we have included in the Sunday afternoon service (as well as the short sermon), we also post the three clips (straight from YouTube and thus unedited and with ads) below.

So, first the link to the sermon.

And then the respective links to the songs we used:

"A Mighty Fortress is Our God" (Steve Green)

"The Holy City" (The Platin Tenors: Gary Bennett, Bela Mavrak, and Eric Reddet with André Rieu & his Johann Strauss Orchestra)

"This Is My Father's World" (The Collingsworth Family)

Monday, May 10, 2021

Just Checking In (More of the Best Reads from the Culture Wars)

* "How Apportionment Defrauds American Citizens" (Hans von Spakovsky, Daily Signal)

* "Evangelicals & Casual Sex" (John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, Breakpoint)

* "China’s Emissions Exceeded Those Of All Other Developed Nations Combined" (Ryan Saavedra, Daily Wire)

* "Joe Biden Cancels Declaration Trump Signed With 34 Nations Saying There’s No Right to Abortion" (Lisa Correnti, Life News)

* "Facebook’s 'oversight board' just shows how tyrannical it’s become" (Rich Lowry, New York Post)

* "NYC veterans fume over parade lockout after pot-smokers get permit to march" (Mary Kay Linge and Dean Balsamini, Fox News)

* "Here's How You Know Democrats Rigged and Stole the 2020 Election" (Wayne Allyn Root, Town Hall)

Keeping Track (The Latest "Most Important Reads")

* "Anthony Fauci Partners With Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz for Health Care Webinar" (Micaiah Bilger, Life News)

* "The Wokest Place on Earth (Disney Corporation)" (Christopher F. Rufo, City Journal)

* "GOP: Big Tech Is Playing a Losing Game of Monopoly" (Tony Perkins, Family Research Council)

* "What’s Behind Masks in Cars and Other COVID-19 Insanity" (Neil Patel, Daily Signal)

* "NYC education is now truly off the rails -- expelling Asian Americans from top schools proves it." (Bob McManus, Fox News)

* "What's Behind Vaccine Hysteria?" (Sally Zelikovsky, American Thinker)

* "Biden’s National Day Of Prayer Proclamation Forgoes 'God' For 'Climate Change' And 'Racial Justice'" (Greg Price, Daily Caller)

Thursday, May 06, 2021

An Open Letter to President Biden About Attacks on Religious Freedom (and Common Sense)

Dear President Biden,

Among the many outrageously immoral and socially destructive actions taken by your administration (requiring taxpayers to pay abortionists, eliminating conscience and free speech protections, funding terror-spreading nations, encouraging lawlessness in our nation’s cities and along our southern border, and so on), the audacious insistence of your administration to force even religious schools to make dorm rooms and bathrooms “unisex” may be the most irrational, mean-spirited, and tyrannical yet.

This remarkably bad policy came straight from you, Mr. President, and with the White House announcement coming so early in your tenure (as did your abortion zealotry), reveals how perverted are your priorities and how desperately despotic are your actions against the Constitution, against religious freedom, and against the sanctity of human life and family.

May God awaken your own conscience, perhaps by recalling to your heart the teachings of the Catholic Church that you are now so callously treading underfoot. May the Lord graciously persuade you to quickly (and thoroughly) repent and begin to repair the great damage you have already wrought.

We are pleased to learn that some are not yet giving in to your unfair and foolish demands.  For instance, we stand with Dr. Jerry Davis and the College of the Ozarks in their lawsuit against the Biden H.U.D. Department’s bizarre dictum regarding shared bathrooms and dorm rooms.  As Dr. Davis has said, “Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch. To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself.  College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode this essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”

We completely agree and have promised to pray for and actively support the College of the Ozarks in their defense against the Biden administration’s draconian overreach.  We will also be passing the word to others about your administration’s many anti-Constitutional moves.  And, of course, we will keep you and your colleagues in our prayers too as we ask the Lord to deliver you from the ideological irrationality to which you are now beholden.

Sincerely,

Denny Hartford     Omaha, Nebraska

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The Latest GateKeeper List

* "Biden-Harris administration 'respectfully disagrees' with Catholic Church on experimentation using aborted children" (Nancy Flanders, Live Action)

* "An Ugly but Telling Reaction to Sen. Tim Scott’s Speech" (David Harsanyi, Daily Signal)

* "Cuomo Aides Hid COVID Nursing-Home Deaths for Months" (Zachary Evans, National Review)

* "Maxine Waters' Anti-Cop Rhetoric Is Getting Black People Killed" (Larry Elder, Daily Signal)

* "Pro-Life MP Faces 6 Years in Prison Because Finland Says Her Christian Views are 'Hate Speech'" (Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews.com)

* "The Monster Is in the Classroom: Schools indoctrinate children as young as eight in race and gender essentialism." (Erika Sanzi, City Journal)

* "Is Christian Cohabitation the New Norm?" (John Stonestreet & Shane Morris, Breakpoint)

The Prodigal Son: The Latest in VSM's Sunday Afternoon Series

As many of you know, the newest outreach of Vital Signs Ministries is our conducting an informal church service every Sunday afternoon at Aksarben Village Assisted Living. And we are profoundly blessed that those services have gone so well.  Last Sunday's service, for instance, saw 20 residents join Claire, Patrick, and me for a time of prayer, 3 wonderful music videos (which are projected onto a large screen and played through our speaker system), a 15-minute Bible lesson, and then almost an hour of visiting over coffee and cookies afterward. 

Links to the video of last Sunday's sermon as well as links to the songs we provided are below.

The sermon: "The Prodigal Son"

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (Carrie Underwood & CeCe Winans )

"When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" (A Gaither Gathering at the Church in the Wildwood)

"Bigger Than Any Mountain" (Makhan Sunday School)


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Thinking, Talking, and Living in Expectation of Heaven

It's been a busy few weeks for Vital Signs Ministries with such diverse activities as prayer and sidewalk counseling outside the Planned Parenthood abortion business; presenting live "When Swing Was King" shows; preaching the Good Friday service at Herman Community Church (as well as the 15-minute sermons every Sunday in the new church services we're conducting at Aksarben Village Senior Living); doing the monthly LifeSharer letter and the 9-page activity packets for the residents of senior centers; our daily uploads on social media; a lot of correspondence; the various discipleship and networking meetings we have during the week, and hosting a Saturday morning brunch with 15 guests to enjoy a meal and discuss Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven.

Please remember that you can track our activities (and lift up more specific prayers for us) by connecting with us on our Facebook pages. Thanks!