Friday, October 22, 2021

Alternatives to the Mainstream Media Madness

Here's the latest in our ongoing compilations of "wow" articles from alternative media. They are important reads, indeed.

* "Democrats’ Destructive Spending Spree Would Turn America Into a European Social Welfare State" (Grace-Marie Turner, Daily Signal)

* "Walmart vs. Whiteness" (Christopher F. Rufo, City Journal)

* "Opportunities to Do Nothing" (Steven Malanga, City Journal)

* "TV star Austin Peck talks about challenges of being pro-life in Hollywood" (Doug Mainwaring, LifeSiteNews)

* "Miss World finalist resigns from competition over COVID jab" (Jeanne Smits, LifeSiteNews)

* "Female athletes say they faced pressure to abort: 'It seemed like no choice at all'" (Right to Life UK, Live Action News)

Catching Up


Wow articles? I've got a few of the best of 'em right here!

* "We Must Never Get Used to the New Cultural Craziness" (Michael Brown, The Stream)

* "The January 6 Insurrection Hoax" (Roger Kimball, Imprimis)

* "A Catholic saint is canceled in Los Angeles and the Catholic Church is quiet" (Jonathan Morris, Fox News)

* "Lectures From Limousine Liberals" (Bridget Phettasy, Tablet)

* "How Our Children’s Addiction to Technology Hurts the Country" (Armstrong Williams, Daily Signal)

* "What Happened to the Beloved Military?" (Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness)

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

And Now We're Home...

After two weeks of beginning my day with coffee at the Panera in Branson, Missouri, yesterday morning found me back home at my regular morning haunt over at the Paradise in Regency. It was a bit of a let-down, of course, because we did have a wonderful time in our annual working vacation there in the Ozarks, yet the Lord encouraged us there in many ways and gave us clearer perspectives and purposes for Vital Signs Ministries. So, we are refreshed in both mind and spirit as we assume the next steps in this great adventure.

That second week in Branson was a full one. For instance, at a coffee shop inHollister, Claire and I had our 3rd quarter evaluation of our progress on 2021's resolutions. Overall, our grades were encouraging and the discussion of how to finish the year strong was very helpful...Claire finished a couple of books and I finished the 3 volumes of Dante's Divine Comedy (plus enjoying an Ellery Queen detective novel and a WWII British submarine novel for desert.)...We fed the ducks a couple more times...We had 3 more long walks along Table Rock Lake (one of them a 5.2 mile hike in the rain!)...I prepped for upcoming Sunday afternoon church services at Aksarben Village Senior Living and for a talk I'm giving this Saturday at a men's retreat...We wrote some more letters and social media posts...And we worked on upcoming Vital Signs projects including this Saturday's Wilberforce Brunch and the Pie Social on November 5.

Our journey home on Saturday was very pleasant -- nice weather, a breakfast in Bolivar with missionary champions (and my cousin!) Gary & Martha Ellsworth, and listening to the Minnesota v Nebraska football game on the radio. Not nearly as pleasant was mowing the lawn as soon as we got home but it was terribly overdue and really needed it. Sunday we skipped church because we still had a lot to do to get ready for our Sunday afternoon service but that went extremely well. What a great group. 

And then Monday saw work during my early morning coffee at Paradise before joining Claire, Keith, Jim, and others for our prayer and public pro-life witness outside the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Next up was the first "When Swing Was King" show of the month Heritage at Sterling Ridge and then editing the Branson photos for posting. And now we're into Tuesday with a Panera meeting this morning with Dick and Sharon, getting about 50 pounds of popcorn for distribution, a haircut, and the next of 3 more "When Swing Was King" shows this week.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

The First Week of a (Working) Vacation

Well, we have completed (and then some) the first week of our annual working vacation down here in Branson and we have been pleased with its course. On the vacation front, we have taken three long hikes beside Table Rock Lake and another in Dogwood Canyon; fed ducks on Lake Tanneycomo; had a little bit of success in clothes shopping; had a cook-out at the Lake; enjoyed a few meals out at our favorite Branson diners; strolled along the booths at the Hollister Grape Festival; and twice now attended the Sunday worship service of Friendly Baptist Church. Contributing to our enjoyment has been the presence here in Branson for a few days of Keith and Carol Moran with whom we spent several delightful times.

 And on the working front? We’ve had a pretty good run there as well. I wrote the October LifeSharer letter during one of the early morning coffee times I take every day at the Branson Panera and we got it sent back to the printer. We participated in the Life Chain. We’ve written and sent quite a few letters. We made a video recording of my sermon for this Sunday’s Aksarben Village Senior Living church service. We finished the 3rd quarter evaluations of the year’s resolutions and discussed them. And finally, we got quite a bit of reading in. 

 What’s up for our second week? We certainly will be feeding the ducks another time or two as well as dining again at the Keeter Center there at the College of the Ozarks. We will also be working on preparations for the Vital Signs Pie Social on Friday, November 5th where we will be celebrating our 50th marriage anniversary. And there’s sermon prep for Aksarben Village, correspondence, reading, lake walking, prayers sessions, and crafting talks for a men’s retreat for Grace Bible Church and a chili cook-off event for Fremont Nazarene Church. This annual working vacation has, over the years, been a wonderful help to us personally and to Vital Signs and we are so grateful to the VSM Board for allowing us the time.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

God's Purposes Will Be Established (Isaiah 46:8-10)

From Table Rock Lake outside Branson, Missouri, Denny presents a brief commentary on the value and effects of remembering the "former things" God has accomplished. (13 minutes)

Saturday, October 02, 2021

The Latest "Reality Check" List

* "The Symptoms of Our Insanity" (Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness)

* "House Dems United in Death" (Tony Perkins, Family Research Council)

* "New York’s new governor wants Facebook to ‘curb the spread’ of the pro-life message" (Nancy Flanders, Live Action News)

* "Supreme Court Cases to Watch in the 2021-22 Term" (Zack Smith, Alexander Phipps, Daily Signal)

* "Tough on Russia? Not Joe Biden." (Paul Mirengoff, Power Line)

* "The Labor Shortage Isn’t Just Closing Small Businesses, But Shattering Entire Retirement Plans" (Kylee Zempel, Federalist)

"Your Move" (The Latest Compilation of News You Can Use)

* "COVID-19 and the Death of Science" (Victor Davis Hanson, Daily Signal)

* "France rejects American 'woke' culture that is 'racializing' country" (Louis Casiano, Fox News)

* "Chicago to mount bleeding control kits throughout city to help adapt to new 'environment'" (Robert Jonathan, BPR)

* "How Crazy Are the Democrats? This Crazy." (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

* "Pelosi’s archbishop: Women’s Health Protection Act is a bill you’d 'expect from a Satanist, not a Catholic'" (Laura Nicole, Live Action News)

* "How Should Christians Use Religious Exemptions for Vaccine Mandates?" (David Closson, Family Research Council)

* "Biden’s Del Rio Bridge Crisis: Far More Than Just Optics Problem" (Chad Wolf  et al, Daily Signal)

Friday, October 01, 2021

"Little Al" Does Some Remembering

Dear friends,

I have been employed by Vital Signs Ministries, the Christian organization that Claire and I founded back in 1983, for 38 years now.  But before that I worked several other jobs.  For instance, I operated a large silkscreen press to make panels for billboards; I worked on a crew hanging drywall in new subdivisions; I sold clothes in a shopping center store; and I did a little teaching of American History. However, out of all the jobs I ever had before Vital Signs Ministries, there is one that clearly stands out as my favorite and that was working at Banner Tire in south Denver.  

Banner Tire was a terrific place for a young fellow to get his first experience of “real” working, (that is, besides household chores, lawn work, and neighborhood jobs) because there I learned several skills and was exposed to people of varied races and ages and occupations. But it also gave me the positive influence of great mentors, most notably my own dad, who managed the operation.  Banner was a lot of things – a Conoco filling station, tire store, three-bay garage, tow trucks, and a bulk plant with gasoline that we redistributed to other gas stations and even some of the ranches east of Denver. It was a very  happening place. 

My contributions were modest. Pumping gas. Changing oil and tires. Lube jobs. Driving the truck to get auto parts and tires. Selling oil, STP, headlamps, and filters. And, of course, sweeping up. It was my first “grownup job” and I had the time of my life. 

Best of all, working at Banner Tire allowed me to see my dad in a whole different light. As the Dad at home, he was a super guy. But as the Dad at work, I was able to appreciate even more his knowledge and craftsmanship, his work ethic and habits, his remarkable friendliness and social skills, and the deep affection and admiration he won from customers, colleagues, and neighborhood folks.

I was sometimes called “Little Al” in my days at Banner Tire because I began my job there wearing Dad’s old Conoco shirt with “Al” emblazoned above the pocket. But I was pleased that even after I started wearing my own uniform shirts, the name tended to stick with some of the people who dropped in. I can honestly tell you that I never bore a more honorable title. 

The photo I print at the left dates from about that time and you can see my Dad and me standing next to my first car, a ’53 Chevy. Both this photo and my telling you about Banner Tire brings back some of the sweetest memories of my life. Therefore, I hope they stimulate a few memories of your own.

"Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things." (Cicero)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Vital Signs' Services to Seniors Facing Obstacles

With the quarantines coming back to nursing homes and senior living facilities, both the "When Swing Was King" outreach and the church services that Vital Signs Ministries conducts every Sunday afternoon at Aksarben Village Senior Living are being severely restricted. 

For instance, where our regular "When Swing Was King" schedule involved 12 facilities every month, we had only been allowed back in 7. And, in the past few weeks, that's been reduced again to 5. And the church services? Well, last month the administration moved to have everyone wear masks again for the whole service. And, even though I'm 20-25 feet away from the residents when I'm preaching, I'm masked as well. Furthermore, they ended our visitation team altogether -- only Claire and I are allowed. Also, no treats afterward can be served and they even cut our visiting time in half.

But just now, we have been alerted that they might close the church services completely for 2 weeks...or more.

Sigh.

So, you can appreciate why we have re-launched the ministry we created last year; namely, distributing our 9-page "activity packets" to any and all facilities that want them. Wherever they were passed out last year, these packets of trivia, song lyrics, quotations, photographs, and a personal letter from Claire and I, were a huge hit.

And yet, such is the malaise existing in so many of these places, very few of the activity directors that we have sent the offer to have responded. How sad. The packets have proven remarkably helpful in raising spirits, combatting isolation and boredom, stimulating minds, and forging friendships. And they come weekly -- free of charge. So why aren't activity directors utilizing them?

Search me.

By the way, if one of your friends or family lives in a senior care facility, why not make a personal request that the activity director there (or a higher official) take advantage of this free offer? And if they don't, you go ahead and copy each packet and give it to your loved one.

And, of course, prayers are very much in order here. Thank you.

Will Someone Please Turn Off the Noise?

When asked what he would like the orchestra to play while he was dining at a London restaurant, playwright George Bernard Shaw thoughtfully replied, “Dominoes.”

In this matter, I’m with Shaw.

It is a crazy, unhealthy feature of modern life — this matter of unrelenting noise. For instance, having television or radio, canned music or internet advertisements blaring at us absolutely everywhere we go. Airports, restaurants, convenience stores, doctor’s offices. the car mechanic’s waiting room, shopping malls, the vehicle next to yours at a stoplight, coffee shops, nursing home and hospital rooms, even church. For crying out loud, the other day I was putting gas in the car and had to try and block out the TV playing inside the gas pump!

Will someone please turn off the incessant noise!

George Prochnik, in his book “In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise,” warns of the harmful physical impact of noise. “Noise wreaks havoc on all different parts of our bodies. The heart rate accelerates. We get vasoconstriction…The really scary thing is even if we do habituate mentally to noise, that doesn't change what's happening to our bodies.”

Is noise truly inescapable in our time? Is there no place where we can escape the intrusion of dissonant sound? Must our bodies and brains be forced to suffer the constant stress from clamoring, clattering commotion?

Perhaps not. But it will certainly take effort to turn down the noise in our lives, to listen more attentively to the natural sounds of life: God’s creation, calm conversation, serene music. More radical still, shouldn’t we be making time to relish some peace and…genuine quiet?

William Penn, in a book containing advice to his children, wrote, “True silence is the rest of the mind and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. It is a great virtue; it covers folly, keeps secrets, avoids disputes, and prevents sin.”

Amen, Brother Penn. A quiet but unqualified amen.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Reviewing the Recent Best in Alternative Media

* "What A Competent Republican Party Would Be Doing About Democrats' Tyranny" (Joy Pullmann, Federalist)

* "The Squalid 'Squad' Is Trying to Destroy Bipartisan Support for Israel" (Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute)

* "Pope Francis Critiques Afghan Democracy Promotion in Interview, Silent on Taliban" (Mary Burke, Juicy Ecumenism)

* "Facebook denies having '2 systems of justice' for users after scathing WSJ report" (Breck Dumas, Fox Business)

* "Josh Hawley demands answers after Google blocks pro-life ads" (Samuel Dorman, Fox Business)

* "FEC just turned Twitter into all-powerful propaganda machine accountable to no one" (New York Post Editorial Board)

The Latest in "Not-To-Be-Missed" News (A Vaccine Edition)

* "Federal whistleblower comes forth claiming disturbing secret recordings about the jab" (Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, BizPac Review)

* "Tired of woke politics, COVID vaccine mandates? There's a new job site for you." (Breck Dumas, FOX Business)

* "Another COVID 'Fact' Turns Out To Be A Wild Exaggeration" (Editors, Issues and Insights)

* "Self-medicating for COVID with Cheap Drugs" (Jon N. Hall, American Thinker)

* "Reason to Fear a Vaccine Mandate" (David Solway, PJ Media)

* "Unvax Me Here" (Scott Johnson, Power Line)

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Neutral On the Subject of Abortion?

I recently came across some letters from a few years ago. The first was a polite but firm letter of protest I had written to CEOs of companies and charities who gave money to the mega-abortion conglomerate Planned Parenthood.  

We had, of course, written many such letters in the past but, given the revelations of Planned Parenthood’s latest acts of barbarism (namely, doing late term abortions and selling off the baby parts), we had taken the opportunity of writing these company leaders again, hoping they would reconsider their support of such an ugly, violent business. 

Well, among the  replies I received, the saddest to Claire and I came from the March of Dimes.  For they openly admitted that some of their chapters give money to Planned Parenthood.  But, not to worry, they tried to assure us; "The March of Dimes is neutral on the subject of abortion."  

How ghastly a sentence is that?  The torturous dismemberment and killing of an innocent little boy and girl in their mother’s womb – that’s what March of Dimes is neutral on?  

Lord, have mercy.

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Latest "Wow" Articles (Part Two)

* "18 States Passed Election Reforms This Year. Here’s What They Did." (Fred Lucas, Daily Signal)

* "The Real Existential Threat" (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

* "Joe Biden Marks 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Criticizing ‘Dark Forces’ in America Against ‘Peaceful Religion’ of Islam" (Charlie Spiering, Breitbart)

* "Rep. Nancy Mace: All House Democrats Voted Against Survey of Weapons Left in Afghanistan" (Robert Kraychik, Breitbart)

* "Australia's insane COVID rules are a warning to the rest of the Free World" (Rich Lowry, Jewish World Review)

* "The Fading Family" (Joel Kotkin, American Mind)

The Latest "Wow" Articles

* "The Problem with Biden’s Vaccine-Hardball Strategy" (Jim Geraghty, National Review)

* "Left Doesn’t Just Want to Censor You on Social Media. It Also Wants to Close Your Bank Accounts." (Annelise Butler and Anthony Imperato, Daily Signal)

* "A Failure of Memory and Nerve" (Roger Kimball, American Greatness)

* "Hundreds of L.A. cops and firefighters join forces to fight city’s vaccine mandate" (Ashley Sadler, Life Site News)

* "Hospital to stop delivering babies as maternity workers resign over vaccine mandate" (y Brendan Straub and Diane Rutherford; WWNY, Watertown, NY)

* "Biden Administration Orders Ideological Purge Of U.S. Military Academies" (John Lucas, Federalist)

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

"Searching for Hidden Treasure" (Plus, for Illustration, the Story of The Black Paw)

This 14-minute sermon covers Proverbs 2:2-5 which speak in profound, poetic parallels of the believer's passionate pursuit of wisdom -- wisdom which leads to a life well lived in the reverence and experiential knowledge of God. To illustrate the effort, excitement, and steadfast purpose involved in searching for wisdom as for "hidden treasure," Denny tells the infamous (but remarkably true) story of The Black Paw Treasure.
 

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)